3. Vipassana. Pain

by HelluvaGirl

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 


For the first three days, we just observe our breath. It is not required to sit in lotus posture, but important to keep the back straight.

Whatever posture I choose, it still hurts like hell. Feels like the leg of a stool is rammed in between my shoulder blades.

And then there are legs. They feel like torn out of joints, and numb in places.

Have I known pain?

All sorts and contexts of it. Pain is my playground, at least so I would claim.

This pain, however, gets the best of me.

As we are taught that hurting is the bodily signal something’s wrong and we have to react to it, make a change, do something about it, we usually do just that. I would merely play with pain until I’d decide when it was about enough. In other words, I would be in control of how far I wanted to go.

Here, I must observe and do nothing. The part of doing nothing is excruciating to the point of getting regularly nauseous. Sometimes I’m close to fainting. And it scares me thinking to what point the pain will grow. It doesn’t stop growing, overtaking my mind, pushing out my thoughts and filling me up with fright. How does this end if I do nothing?

Half of physical pain, they tell in one of the evening discourses, is psychological pain. If we just let it be, if we stand beside it and observe, it transforms, it lessens. Anicca. Impermanence.

Impermanence my arse!

Don’t you just faint or throw up, woman. We’re still doing this.