"The house of miseries is built with bricks of attachment. Take away the bricks and the house will crumble." After his long meditation under the banyan tree in Gaya, Siddhartha Gautama opened his eyes and spoke these words with a joyful smile.
Once you become established in the technique, you can practice being the master of your own life -- you get to choose how to react to your body sensations. And this has a benefit not only when you are sitting calmly on the beach, but also when you are in a stressful situation.
You may not know the name of S.N. Goenka, who died Saturday at the age of 90. But if you've counted your breaths to relax in a hospital, or if you've ever tried to eat, walk, or speak "mindfully," you've felt his influence.
A 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat with Noble Silence, 4 a.m. starts and 10 hours of meditation daily was never going to be easy, but combining it with communal living and random explosions probably made it even harder.
A Vipassana course is travel of a very personal kind, as it is above all a journey with the self, which may or may not involve conventional travel. If you love travel of all types, you can, as I did, combine both.