This insight came mostly from the physical pain I experienced. Sounds fun I know..
On the fourth day you’re given the task of trying not to move for one whole hour during the group sittings – and my Lordy does this inflict some pain. Physically and mentally – for me anyway. Physically, because the intense sensations in my legs and back felt excruciating. And mentally, because I felt so determined to not move, that when I did, the feeling of failure felt seriously disheartening. But as the days went by, I began applying this to my life outside Vipassana..
Why do we react? Someone suddenly pulls out in front of you – you react. Your other half does something that P’s you off – you react. Or something happens at work that plays with your confidence – you react. Either internally, or by giving the reaction a voice. But either way, all this reaction does is cause you harm. How? Because you’re allowing this external situation to affect you internally.
The more you let go of and accept what’s happening, the softer your reactions become. They turn into nothingness. And in turn, so does your pain.
No matter how blissful or painful the situation, detaching from it and accepting whatever is going on in that moment brings so much peace. Detaching means being aware of what’s happening but not letting it consume your energy – and remembering that everything passes.
When you’re that still for 10 hours a day, your sensitivity is amplified. Itches, numbness, pins and needles all feel agonising.. The only thing you can think is how much you want to scratch or move – but to do so would be reacting. Reacting to the uncomfortable sensation and allowing it to effect your physical and mental state of stillness.
So yes, you could say resisting the temptation to scratch an itch is what lead me to this insight. To realise that when you overcome your desire to react, you’re causing less harm to your own peace. And not only your own, but others’ around you by adding less fuel to any fire you’re exposed to.
In life, some situations will obviously be harder to detach from and accept than others. But you always have a choice. It’s always up to you whether someone or something generates unease, pain or anxiety inside you. Just as it’s always your decision to view and feel situations in a positive, light-hearted way that brings you lessons and understandings. Crap things happen. Either physically, mentally or both. I personally haven’t had any devastating tragedies cross my path, but for what difficulties I have faced, I’ve found controlling my reactions has helped me to deal with certain situations in a much lighter and happier way.