Some time back Ryan talked about one of the most important concepts in spiritual world – Faith. Perhaps this is one of the most profound concepts in my life and I had difficult time digesting this concept.
I still remember, my first Vipassana course which metamorphosed my concept of faith. I am an Engineer by education and hence I am quite interested in understanding how the things work. For those who attend the Vipassana course for the first time, first day is most challenging. After observing breath in sensation and breath out sensation for almost a day, at the end of the first day I asked myself – What am I doing here? Can nonjudgmental observation of my respiration bring me anywhere close to liberation from miseries? What is the logic of observing respiration and purification of mind? Why so much importance to sensation at the nostril, I can also observe sensations at other body parts? As the course progressed, at least for the first 4 days my mind was filled with more skepticism – how can simple non-judgemental observation of sensations of my body lead to purification of mind? In pithy, I was following the instruction to a certain degree, because of lack of faith, I was not completely devoted for first 4 days. The more I was trying to get away from thoughts, the more I was getting involved in them. My attention to the thoughts was itself adding to the intensity.
Light Bulb Moment: Sometime, at the end of the fourth day, in the last meditation session came the ‘ Light bulb moment ( Eureka moment). When all the skeptical questions were still troubling me, I realized that as I am focusing on sensation in my body from top to bottom slowly the thoughts are losing their intensity. As my focus became sharper, the thoughts became less frequent and less intense. Nothing more was required to lessen the thoughts, just pure awareness of them. No aversion that these thoughts should not be there in my mind. I realized that “I do not want these thoughts” was itself a thought and I was craving for it.
I was doing exactly what I am not supposed to do – evaluate the situation. I was trying to understand all the things with only one yard stick – Logic and a methodological way. It is a challenge to believe all that is being told to me and give a fair try for learning the technique. By not following the instructions I was not giving a fair try at learning the technique. I thought if I keep doing this there is some question of getting the intended results. With this clarification, I devoted myself to Vipassana with complete faith. It was difficult to control my mind and follow the things without completely understanding the know-how of the mechanism.
Seeing is believing and Vipassana is one of the very few techniques which offers me an opportunity to see the difference. Seeing the results of how focused awareness liberated me from the skepticism and helped me in developing faith in Vipassana. Vipassana (just like any other technique) starts with faith and continues with awareness. As I walked on the path Vipassana, that faith lead to experiences and hence built a strong foundation.
I have just tried to explain one of my encounters with faith but faith has multiple dimensions and in coming posts I will try to touch them. I am from India and as an Indian faith is one of my biggest asset. Faith is at the core of Indians’ DNA, otherwise how would I describe Indians who believe in 33,000,000,000 Gods??