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10 Benefits From 10 Days Of Silence And 100 Hours Of Meditation

10 Benefits From 10 Days Of Silence And 100 Hours Of Meditation

I completed my second 10-day Vipassana retreat at the beginning of October. Vipassana is a form of meditation originated in India around the time of the Buddha. It is now one of the most widely practiced forms of meditation in the world with over 200 centers worldwide delivered in 55 different languages. The recently deceased S.N. Goenka teaches the meditation technique using video recordings.

Why endure 10 days of complete silence and solitude from the outside world? There has been a growing body of research about the many benefits of developing a consistent meditation practice.

Here are the 10 major benefits I have found after completing two 10 day retreats in the past year.

1. Increased awareness

If you are not aware, change is impossible. At retreats, you wake at 4 a.m. and lights out is at 10 p.m. These are long days with plenty of time for self-reflection. You start to become more aware of the positive and negative sides to your personality and life. Having time set aside each day gives you a chance for this reflection. With this improved awareness I feel much more in tune with my emotions.

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2. Remaining equanimous

This is the main teaching of Vipassana meditation. Remaining equanimous no matter what you experience. Equanimity is accepting all outcomes be it good or bad. So when you have a nice enjoyable experience you don’t cling or become attached to. Likewise, with bad experiences, you do not avert them. Accept everything as it is remaining equanimous.

3. Impermanence

Everything you know including yourself will eventually grow old and die. Everything. All of the people in your life and all of your possessions. During the 10 days you are consistently reminded of this. Realizing that your life is in a constant flux allows you to accept things as they are as opposed to clinging to the people and things in your life. It also makes difficult periods easier as you know that they will end as well.

4. Detox from life

During the ten days you observe noble silence. You are not allowed any electronic devices, reading, or writing material. This is such a strange and at times difficult practice as we spent our whole lives in a constant state of stimulation. Eliminating these distractions keeps all your concentration on your meditation practice. It also helps you slow down the pace of your thoughts as you aren’t digesting any new material. This lack of extra stimuli allows for a deeper focus on meditation and a much better detox.

5. Happiness

“There is only one place to find real peace, real harmony. That place is within.” – S.N. Goenka

The range of emotions I went through during the ten days was like a condensed version of an entire year in the outside world. There are many challenges. The pain in your knees and hips from the long periods of sitting. The hours of endless silence. As the days move on you begin to realize how many awesome things you have in your life. Living like a monk you see all of the things you take for granted each day. Not being able to talk reminds you of all the great friends and family you have. In future you won’t be on your phone when you’ve arranged to catch up with a friend. The long periods of silence allow you to appreciate all of the great people and things you have in your life.

6. Learning to Fail

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

With meditation you are constantly failing. The goal is to concentrate the mind by focusing on the breath. This helps quiet the mind but you are never going to go completely without thoughts, unless you reach enlightenment and this state is still impermanent. Constantly practicing daily throughout these failures builds willpower and perseverance. It makes you comfortable with failure which bleeds into other parts of your life.

7. Calmer

Goenka states in his lectures that the 10 days is a surgical procedure of the mind. During the  10 days I experienced minimal external stressors. Each day we were trained how to remain equanimous when different situations arose. This practice has helped me to observe stressful situations without reacting to them in an emotional way.

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8. Broader perspective

One of the stories told at the retreat is the story of 6 blind men who all touch a different part of an elephant:

Six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant’s body. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe.

A king explains to them:

All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned.

The practice of meditation gives us a broader perspective on situations. instead of looking outwards at all of the problems effecting yourself you start to see that it is all a manifestation of your own thoughts. You begin to take responsibility for your own life.

9. Improved efficiency with time

During the retreat I learned for the first time in my life how to slow down and listen. Up until the point my mind was allows crammed with thoughts of what I “should” be doing. After this experience I realized  that there is so much time in the day but it was how I was using my time that was the problem. I now focus on 2-3 important tasks and forget about everything else. Being more present allows for a deeper concentration when carrying out tasks. All of this results in completing tasks faster and more efficiently.

10. Improved mobility

Sitting cross legged for 10 hours a day is painful. The first few days will be agony for most of you. In the last 2 days my hips started to open as my body got used to sitting. Sitting cross legged with your spine straight, tail bone and knees in contact with the ground puts you in a perfect position that allows you to sit more comfortably for longer.

If you give yourself the time and solitude you need to ask the important questions you will be rewarded with a greater understanding of who you are and what it is you want from life. If you are looking for more information about Vipassana meditation including dates and locations check out there website.

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Featured photo credit: Honey Kochphon Onshawee via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success

How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success

Successful people “think” success all the time. That is why their goals are firmly lodged in their subconscious.

While most believe that having a long-term goal is crucial to success, successful people understand that without small, daily goals, you will get demotivated easily; success will in turn become hard.

In this article, we will look into the importance of setting daily goals and how to having daily goals that help you achieve success.

How to “think” success with your subconscious

The subconscious is brilliant at prioritizing. It listens to you and gauges from your thoughts what you think is the most important task. This means that what you think about most of the time is what the subconscious will think is the most important thing for you, and will try to find creative solutions.

If you think about problems, the subconscious will try to find you more problems. If you think about solutions, goals and dreams, it will try to make them come true.

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But the subconscious goes even further when trying to understand what you think is important; it “listens” to your feelings.

Luckily, it has been proven that a positive thought is over 100 times as positive as a negative thought. This makes it a lot easier to drive positive emotions into your subconscious.

How daily goals keep you positive

It is enough to be positive and keep your thoughts on what you want — and you don’t have to go monitoring your thoughts all the time.

It is enough to imbue your thoughts a few times a day with a powerful positive emotion when thinking about your goals. The more you can do it, the more powerful this exercise will be.

For many, reading their goals or making plans become a chore, something that fills them with negative emotions. This ruins the full potential of these activities; filling yourself with positive emotions while thinking about your goals will make them a lot more powerful.

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Over the last several years, I have been taught several exercises that can help you focus more on your goals and spend more time thinking about and feeling about them. What I want you to remember when doing these exercises is to have fun. Never see them as a chore, you are living your goals, it is something to enjoy.

If you don’t feel uplifted at the thought of focusing on your goals, you might as well not do the exercise today. Do it tomorrow instead because it will do more harm than good if you are in the wrong mood when thinking about your goals.

Why positive thoughts inspire you ideas

In my business, I constantly need to come up with new ways to improve efficiency, new ideas to test and new subjects to teach. It takes a lot of creative work — and creative work has always been one of my weaker areas.

Luckily, thanks to all my work with goal setting (and because of my focus on my goals), my subconscious knows these are the things I need the most help with and that they are very important to me.

Every day I get new ideas of things I can try out, products I can create, seminar subjects I can offer, and so on.  All of them aren’t good but when you throw enough “mud against the wall”, something will stick. And that is what my subconscious does — it feeds me idea after idea.

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How to set daily goals for yourself

This method is used by countless thousands around the world and for everyone who has tried it, the effects have been incredible:

  1. Each morning, take a pen and a piece of paper and write down your 10 top goals. Don’t look at the day before, just think about what you want to most and write them down.
  2. Remember to write them in the positive present tense and remember to set a deadline for each goal. Just like we did when setting your long term and short term goals. (For example you could set the goal “I make 10,000 dollars per month by the December 31 next year.”)
  3. Do this for all 10 goals.

In the beginning, writing down 10 goals might be difficult. Each day, they might look a bit different and some of the goals you write never come back again.

If you forget a goal, it is because it wasn’t all that important and something more important has taken its place.

What difference does it make?

By starting your day setting your 10 top goals, you jump-start your creativity — which will motivate you for the rest of the day. You will have programmed yourself to focus on your goals and to move towards them and their completion.

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What will happen to you?

If you do this, you will start to realize what is important to you. You’ll see what goals keep surfacing and what goals vanish.

You will know what you want and you will find yourself presented with opportunities that you haven’t noticed before.

You will be more creative in finding ideas and chances to make your dreams reality.

The bottom line

Having goals on a daily basis can change your life for the better. It will help you keep moving faster and faster towards your goals and dreams.

So now set your goals and make having daily goals your good habit:

  1. Buy a notebook and a pen at your local bookstore.
  2. Start writing down 10 goals every morning, without looking at the day before.
  3. Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way and capitalize on them.
What’s next after setting your goals? While your routine is the key to achieving your goals, you can take these 6 simple steps to make progress towards achieving goals.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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