13. Vipassana. When People Talk

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. 


On the last day they teach us metta bhavana. It appears to be a meditation I have been practicing for years without even knowing it had a name. I love it; it is truly my favourite part of Vipassana practice and gives meaning to it, connecting the individual path to enlightenment with the fact that we are all cells in one organism, and thus erasing the isolation aspect personal development kinda naturally entails.

When we finish our morning meditation, the Teachers announce the end of the Noble Silence.

I must tell you this: few times have I been as surprised throughout my entire life.

All of a sudden, something radical happens to people’s faces and demeanour.

From grim, self-absorbed, annoyingly serious types they transform into radiating, warm, smiling, lively and relaxed creatures. The meadow fills up with laughter and chit-chat, and it feels like after a long and trying journey all the people have returned home, or to heaven, or someplace they actually belong.

I return to my cell, smiling at the thought.

And then she comes in.

She’s so beautiful when she smiles. Her name is Ingrid and she says “Oh!” as I automatically extend my hand to introduce myself, reminding we are still not allowed to touch each other for today. We laugh about the first time we say “nice to meet you” after living together for two weeks.

And so it appears she’s not a crazy vegan yoga teacher but works in film business in Estonia, and has a sense of humour that I dig, and she’s travelled here without the father of her baby. She’s in fact a cool down-to-earth person who doesn’t need to be taken by the hand to a foreign country being 8 months pregnant.

I just thought my hands are gonna be tied for the next couple of years, so why not now?

We go outside into the dizzying noise of human voices and laughter.

Is it really true we are meant to be alone – well, I keep saying we inevitably, existentially are, but are we really the best versions of ourselves when isolated – physically, mentally, emotionally? What I see and hear around me today proves something very opposite: that we are actually drawn to each other and we blossom in the human connection. We have been pursuing our individual goals for 10 days, and the restrictions imposed totally make sense: with distractions like talking or touching it would not be possible to experience certain things, to reach some places. But the eagerness and relief I see in people when they are finally allowed to experience human interaction makes me rethink our nature.

And so I come back to where I started: Vipassana is great, but metta bhavana I love.