Sri Satya Narayan Goenka came into my life in 1986. I was fifty, he would have been sixty-four. We never met. I heard him in audio recordings and saw him in video tapes. Only once did I see him in the flesh; when he came to Blackheath in the late 1980s. Yet Goenka made a great impression on me, as he has on thousands of others. He was the recognized head of the Vipassana Meditation Foundation. His teaching and his influence spread an almost dying meditational technique to one that is now flourishing in many parts of the world. Sad to say – though maybe not sad, for his legacy is even bigger than the man – Goenka died on Sunday 29th September 2013 at 10-40pm Indian local time. He was ninety years of age.
At around thirty five I took half-hearted steps to learn Yoga and, later, serious meditation. But it was not until 1986 that I undertook my first ten-day Vipassana Course at Dhama Bhumi in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, that I really got into a technique which I believe has made a big difference in my life. Nine days of total silence (Noble silence it is called) up at 4-00am. Meditating roughly twelve hours a day. It brought to me something I’d never experienced up until then: Total silence of mind.
How wonderful total silence is. How rare in our lives. But with rigorous training, within a peaceful meditation centre, it can be reached. I know, I have completed fourteen such courses.
At home, I continue with my daily routine of two sessions of Vipassana, one in the morning, one in the evening. It would be fair to say I’ve practised this technique for something like 23,000 hours over tweny-six years. Now, I can feel deep into just about every part of my body simply by bringing my attention to bear on it. But writing on this in any depth would take up far more space than is allowed for in this blog. However, if you are interested, check out Dhama Bhumi’s website. Or simply Google: Vipassana You’ll find a wealth of sites that can take you into this most fascinating of Buddhist Meditation; the technique believed to have been handed down by The Buddha himself.