I’ve struggled when attempting to explain the value of these meditation centers and their 10-day courses. People in my circles are starting to hear more frequently of the benefits of meditation, but it’s extremely hard for them to relate to 9 days of silence and constant awareness and internal observation. It just doesn’t make sense to most western minds that doing nothing could have such a profound impact on the health of a persons mind.
On my last course the idea of a Compassion Factory popped into my head. Meditation centers are fueled by all mental impurities, like anger, fear, anxiety, addiction, and hatred. At the centers, this fuel is literally burned away piece by piece. The product these fuels produce include peace, love, and compassion. The mental imagery of all types of people coming to a center to burn off the impurities and develop compassion resonates with me in a way other metaphors have not. The Compassion Factory demonstrates the concrete results, the universal application by all types of people, and the absence of any religious practice. Anyone can go to the Compassion Factory and follow the specific procedure which will burn off mental impurities and produce more peace, love, and compassion. Doesn’t everyone want this procedure taking place in themselves and their society?
This explanation of Vipassana may make a lot more sense to people than my failed attempts to explain the glory of observing the breath for 3 days in silence. While most people still won’t want to sit and meditate for 10 days, I might be able to convince more people that these centers and courses are valuable parts our or community. Time to meditate.