Learning from aditthana

Every Vipassana meditator has a different technique to enduring aditthana. Also in life everyone has different techniques to being able to endure difficult situations, where they feel they might explode. This short piece invites you to consider the sitting of aditthana, a key requisite of sitting a 10 day course, and what insight it can give to the individual meditator.

“A good friend told me a story about a dedicated student of Vipassana, like my friend he had diligently maintained a daily practice and sat and served on courses for over 10 years. Being able to sit without opening his eyes, nor moving his arms or legs for the duration of the multiple group sittings, although never easy, was one part of the course this long term meditator was always able to adhere to. But when he sat his last course, something changed, and what he had become accustomed to being able to do, he could not. It caused him great agitation. He spoke to the AT about this who advised him to keep a balanced mind, to observe his reality as it is, not how he wants it to be. He tried, but could not do what he had been able to do anymore.Rather than being equanimous and compassionate to himself, he was not able to stay the duration of the course and left.”

“I was told this story as a soothing balm, after sharing my frustration of sitting my fifth course and still not being able to sit without moving during the group sits. Despite five years of regular practice, the sitting of aditthana still reduces me to a child unable to bear the physical discomfort prompted by not being able to move for a whole hour, and the mental reactions subsequent to it. After a course I always spend time reflecting on what I think I learnt and how it may apply to my day-to-day life. Thinking about my aversion to aditthana and what insight it may offer me, I have been reflecting on my past, particularly over difficult episodes where I have reacted in a negative way. It is possible to see many of the episodes that come to mind being due to my inability to step out of my comfort zone, or remain in a difficult, uncomfortable place. Maybe my inability to sitting aditthana relates to this. Could this be the one of the missing pieces in my jigsaw?”

Can you see a parallel between your ability to maintain aditthana and what you have been able to overcome or not, in your day to day life?

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