Myanmar was stunning. In every aspect it was spiritual and peaceful. My personal highlight was learning to reconnect to the mind by spending ten days at a meditation center. There I learned how to truly appreciate the moment by bringing physical movements to a snail’s pace while existing in pure silence. In Vippasana Meditation it is mandatory to identify every sensation, thought, or movement and repeat the definition in your head as long as you notice it. This slowed the world around me as my focus was zeroed in on the primary action at the time. If you hear three different birds singing, people talking, and a dog barking  which is most distinct? By analyzing this, I started focusing on details that we usually overlook: the smell of the trees, the smallest sounds of my surrounding, the taste of sweetness on my tongue spreading and then dissolving in my mouth.

My first few days of meditating wasn’t about my thoughts but rather the observation of senses. Concentrating on my breathing wasn’t as difficult as I expected and my senses were heightened with my increased concentration. It started off simply acknowledging every part of my body, its weight, temperature and surrounding. Through labeling, the connection between my body and brain became more and more distinct. It even reached the point of feeling the physio-chemical composition of my body; I was able to concentrate on my heartbeat and the movement of substances such as air and blood. Finally the elementary state dissolved and left nothing but white light as my brain played with what I saw. The fading in and out of lights and formations, reminiscent of psychedelic art, made me feel as though I was on drugs while being absolutely sober.

Over time it became easier and easier to fall into this state of mind. And I started focusing on my thoughts, which seemed to be reappearing from the background. I wanted to discover what was at the core of my emotions and how past memories have influenced my character. By questioning the root cause of my reactions towards things, such as emotions and decisions in past and present, I was able to get to know myself and define my personality.

What changed? I have become more peaceful, gained a sense of self satisfaction, but most of all awareness of both body and mind. How does it feel? Amazing.

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