My Experience Of Vipassana Meditation 10 Day Course

Recently, I participated 10 days Vipassana Meditation course in Jaipur, Rajasthan. These were best spent 10 days of my life so far…

Initially, I thought to write day by day experiences guide but in the end I realized it wouldn’t be a best way to describe 10 days experience. Also, many such posts are available who primarily describe the day to day schedule. Let me try and give little insight into Vipassana ideology and facts.

Little IntroductionVipassana is an ancient Indian meditation technique to understand and change mind-body relation. It was lost long back and rediscovered by Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha) 2500 years back. It was again forgotten by most after few centuries but one country, ‘Burma’ preserved it in its original form through teacher-student chain. S.N. Goenka, an Indian origin Industrialist back then, was taught this technique by his guru Sayagyi U Ba Khin. Mr. Goenka brought this technique back to India eventually.

Here are some thoughts, facts and answers to few of doubts I had before and during 10 days course –

  • This is NOT related to any sect or community, like – Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity etc… No one will try to convert or influence you into Buddhism because Buddha rediscovered this technique or Hinduism because S.N. Goenka was born in Hindu family or in any other sect. On the contrary, After learning vipassana, you start understanding, respecting and appreciating your faith in better ways. This was my one of the main worries before attending the course because if something is not for everybody, it can’t be the right thing.
  • These 10 days, I tried real hard to find foul motives of this group led by SN Goenka. It has become very difficult to digest the idea that someone can simply work for other’s well being, without expecting anything in return. I kept looking for any intention related to Monetary gain, Fame, promoting some kind of propaganda… but could not find a single strand of evil and came out even more respectful to the technique, to the teacher.
  • This is for everyone however, everyone may not be able to understand the depth of this technique and concept. Plus it’s very difficult to simple sit quietly and observe your breath objectively without letting your mind wander away. We are asked not to mix any other religious practice or yoga or any chanting with Vipassana for these 10 days only, just to give fair trial to the technique, not because this is against your religious practices. People find it difficult, people find it difficult to follow the instructions as they are given and mix something into it. Just to complain later that it doesn’t give result or in worst case adverse results.
  • A word of caution… it’s not a 10 days vacation. You’ll find these may be most difficult days of your life. It takes strong determination, patience and positive attitude to survive this course. From outside it appears that 10 days silence, isolation and tough life are most difficult part but believe me you’ll not get time to worry about those. These all are easier part. Tough thing is to meditate long hours each day and understand the technique. Technique is very simple yet we find it difficult because we have lost our ability to understand easy in easy way. You will find yourself desiring to quit many times but each time push yourself with strong determination and you’ll see all this sacrifice and hard work is not wasted.
  • The beauty of this course is it’s practical aspect. You’ll not be asked to assume a single thing, just because Buddha said it or teacher says it. Everything we do there, has a practical logical explanation, not just theory. You get to know how to use the technique in day-to-day problems. You start loving the simplicity and logic of this technique. First few days you might not understand some things and may look like some rituals but by the end of course, everything is explained and understood on practical level.
  • Even if you don’t learn the technique well… which is not advisable, you get an ocean of knowledge. If you have a curious mind, you will get lots of answers here.
  • A baseless belief that meditation is either for old people or troubled youth.  Nothing can be more wrong. People of every age, race, localities and status are greatly benefited from meditation (not just Vipassana) in every possible way.

I recently came across many discussions on internet, regarding Mr. Goenka’s way of teaching Vipassana is a cult or not. 

First of all, most of the people discussing either never attended the course or worse (Left the course in between). As I mentioned earlier, you do some things which may seem rituals but eventually you get to understand their practicality but a person who left the course in between would never come to know. In addition, one perform very deep analysis of sub-conscious mind during the course and quitting in between will have adverse results.

Second type of people were who mixed the technique with other things and didn’t learn it in it’s pure form, now wondering if it’s a cult.

Third type of people were benefited greatly but trying to fit the teaching method into definition of cult and compare with other such institutions.

I say, cult or not… if something is benefiting you in every possible way of life, making you, a better you, doesn’t convert you into something you are not…. What’s the harm?? Anyways, What good we have been doing by following established beliefs without understanding them properly? There will always be people talking nonsense, with or without purpose. You say it’s a cult, I am okay with that… you say it’s not a cult, I am okay again… Just try to see if it’s for you.

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How to quit smoking? A guide, based on personal experiences

I smoked for 9 years and then quit cold turkey 3 years back. It has been a proud decision ever since and one of the most difficult tasks I ever accomplished. The research I did and then personal experiences, I feel responsibility to share with everyone so that others can  be benefited from my experiences.

Why bother quitting!

First question is why to quit smoking, why read this post further and why choose the hard way of quitting, why not simply keep smoking!

There are many answers and many arguments in favor of quitting. I’ll list some of those as we go along with this post but for now, I dare everyone to explain one (Just one) benefit of smoking!!

While you think, let’s see some of the reasons why one should quit smoking –

It makes you sick… very sick. Lungs are made to inhale air, not smoke. It’s not only nicotine, there are so many other toxins which enter body with smoke and cause various kinds of diseases. We choose to believe that we have been smoking for so and so years and there is no problem in body. We keep ignoring various physical warnings like prolonged cough and quick tiredness to name few.

It’s a slow crawling process and one day shocks us with cancer, tumor etc.

The picture on the right shows various toxins found in a cigarette. We generally believe cigarettes only contain nicotine and tobaccos but there are many more dangerous substances.

The picture below shows comparison between a healthy lung and a smoker’s lung. See for yourself, there shouldn’t be any need for explanations.

Yes, I know we all have to die someday but to die every day suffering from cancer is entirely another thing. Apart from lungs related diseases, smoking cause many heart, mouth and blood related disorders.

Smokers put their families and friends at equal risk of health problems as themselves. Passive smoking is way more dangerous to children than we can imagine, it can cause long-term disorders, even death. This alone should be sufficient reason to quit if you love your family and friends.

Every smoker starts smoking either to look “cool”, tough, stylish or fear of rejection in  social circle. However, it doesn’t fulfill any of these motives, except satisfying one’s ego and installing one of the worst addictions. No one sees a smoker as cool or stylish… stinking maybe.

These were few physical, social and moral reasons to quit and there are many more but most importantly, one must look inside and try to justify smoking with full honesty and act upon the outcome.

Benefits of quitting smoking

We talked about downside of continuous smoking and if that’s not enough push to quit, there are numerous benefits after you have quit. Our body starts healing very soon after cessation; here is the time line –


  • Blood pressure drops to normal.
  • Pulse rate drops to normal.
  • Body temperature of hands and feet increases to normal.


  • Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal.
  • Oxygen level in blood increases to normal.


  • Chance of heart attack decreases.


  • Nerve endings start growing again.
  • Ability to smell and taste is enhanced.


  • Circulation improves.
  • Walking becomes easier.
  • Lung function increases up to 30%.


  • Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease.
  • Cilia re grow in lungs, increasing ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection.
  • Body’s overall energy increases.


  • Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.


  • Lung cancer death rate for average smoker (one pack a day) decreases by almost half.
  • Stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker 5-15 years after quitting.
  • Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of a smoker’s.


  • Lung cancer death rate similar to that of non-smokers.
  • Precancerous cells are replaced.
  • Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases.


  • Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker.


  • Female excess risk of death from all smoking related causes, including lung disease and cancer, has now reduced to that of a never-smoker (2008 study). Risk of pancreatic cancer reduced to that of a never-smoker (2011 study).

Personally, after quitting 3 years I feel as healthy as a non smoker and now I prefer to  say myself non smoker rather a person who has quit smoking.

There are many other financial and social benefits, now you save money and have more social acceptance rather just bunch of smokers. Most important for me are the increased level of confidence in my will power and a beautiful feeling of me being in control of my life.

I remember clearly how bad I used to feel after every unsuccessful attempt of quitting.

Making the decision

Almost every smoker knows about disadvantages of smoking (more or less) but they choose to ignore or postpone the thought of quitting, at the best. Life simply goes on in a monotonous robotic way; we seldom stop and observe our action and inaction.  Evidently, that’s not enough and someday people find themselves in the middle of serious disease for which they are never prepared.

Our body gives us many signs like coughing, breathlessness, sore throat and stinking breath but mind plays tricks, it doesn’t let you make conscious effort because of addiction and inertia, at least not without some added will power.

So, the important thing is to break the momentum of ignorant life and to decide a date (Today is great!) and most importantly stick to it. Let mind not play more tricks and understand its inertia.

Visit any big hospital’s cancer ward and that might be a good eye opener. Always keep in mind, wide acceptance of anything doesn’t guarantee it’s authenticity.

Why it’s difficult to quit?

This is the most important part of this article. If well understood, this alone can get the task half done.

Nicotine Craving – Contrary to common belief that Nicotine craving is the biggest hurdle… it’s not. Nicotine craving is the first hurdle but it lasts only couple of weeks after quitting, there are more serious threats.

Integration at root level – Cigarette integrates so deep into everyday’s life that over the period of time, it becomes very difficult to imagine life without it. Our whole social circle seems falling apart with even thoughts of quitting. It gets attached to every emotion. We are happy, we smoke. We are sad, we smoke. We are tired, frustrated, excited, bored… you name it, we smoke. We get attached to cigarettes at very deep level and that’s why this is the worst hurdle to overcome.

It can only be challenged by strong will, may be make it a prestige point, we do so for many useless things daily. Why not use this bad habit as weapon against another bad habit.

Lack of commitment and excuses – Another problem is lack of commitment; most people get a short success in quitting but revert back very quickly. This lack of commitment could be in any form like…

Just one cigarette after drink or meal.
First cigarette in the morning is heaven. What’s the point of living if you don’t enjoy it!
I have quit for 2 weeks, let’s see how one puff feels like…
Life/relation/work is getting rough. I need cigarette now, I’ll quit once dust is settled.
I am having too much work load, can’t think without a cigarette. Different words, same result … just one cigarette.

If you want to quit seriously, only one cigarette is the biggest enemy. Keep the strong will.

Lifestyle – Smoking is cool!! They smoke in all movies, series and commercials. Believe it or not, the visual media makes a great deal of influence consciously or sub consciously and we start justifying the bad things when see a large number of people doing the same thing. Again, wide acceptance of anything doesn’t guarantee it’s authenticity.

Social smoking – Another cover for justifying smoking. There is no such thing as social smoking, either you smoke or you don’t. It’s simple binary, 0 or 1 … no middle thing. No society or party can force you to smoke if you don’t want, so stop making fool of yourself that you are a social smoker.

Think it over people; is it all worth carrying a disease, an unhealthy life and painful death?

How to quit?

Now, after circling all around, how to quit? This would be a lot easier task if “Why it’s difficult to quit” is well understood and worked upon with proper plan and infinite patience.

One need to understand downsides of smoking, then and then only, he/she can be properly motivated. Being motivated is very important when rough phase starts and person need to be more focused than ever.

There are basically two ways of quitting –

Slowly – This way smoker quits by slowly decreasing the number of cigarettes and finally stops. This takes a great deal of patience and will power. I have never seen anyone quit this way and personally, I don’t recommend this.

It’s very easy to stop trying and lose focus in between, when quantity of intake is decreased. Plus, you never get satisfaction of quitting until finally reduced to zero.

Cold Turkey (At once) – This way smoker quits at once. Decide a day/date/occasion and quit. Not even a single cigarette after that and yes, that includes beedi, cigar, chilam and hukka as well (Personal experience ;)).

This method is also difficult but way more successful than the earlier. I tried quitting multiple times slowly but used to lose focus as soon reduced to 1-2 cigarettes, and finally quit cold turkey. Trick is to be rigid and break the schedule.

Though, above are only methods of quitting but there are few helps that a person can avail if required.

There are various nicotine patches and gums are available in stores. I feel there is no substitute to proper will power and motivation. Still, if one feel need of these medical helps, go for them. Just make sure, you are not replacing one addiction from another.

Another very helpful thing is to make public commitment. Tell as many people as you can that you have quit, especially the ones who would love to embarrass you, if found you smoking.

Friends, even after trying all these you may not succeed in first or few attempts. I urge you, not to lose focus or faith in yourself. Know harms, hurdles and keep trying until you feel as proud as me 🙂

This topic can be discussed infinitely but I believe, I’ve made my point. Please help others and spread the word!!

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How To Learn Typing – My Experience

I have always been fascinated by typing skills and credit goes to Hollywood movies. Though, I didn’t put any serious effort until recently …

I started looking for online help on internet and came across many links and software. This can be really confusing and time-consuming to reach at right pages and software.

What one actually need is, a theory tutorial and a tool for practice & measuring the progress. Here is what I found most helpful –

Peter’s Online Typing Course

Very nice step by step tutorials distributed in 18 lessons, with small exercises. No need to install anything, no need to buy any product. This will teach you all A-B-C of typing in a systematic way.

Typing Master Software

This is really a good software and very useful for practice, once you have learnt the basics. This doesn’t provide any tutorial and just a practicing software. This contains the many type of tests and typing games which are fun to learn. It also tells you the typing speed so you can measure the progress and set the target. Download & read review here.

This is it people!! If you spend 1 Hr daily, typing basics can be learnt in 20 – 25 days and then it’s a patience game, all depends upon practice. I remember people leaving the ‘chat’ windows, assuming I am gone or busy elsewhere, while I was still typing and struggling with speed. 🙂

Initially, you will have poor typing speed and urge to go back to 2-3 finger typing.  Don’t lose focus and keep practicing.

Happy Typing!!

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