We went to a meditation retreat where we practiced Vipassanā in complete silence for ten days straight. Meditating from early morning to late evening really changes one’s perspective, have you tulpa or not, and this is our story about it.
Breath comes in; breath goes out. The ten-day Vipassanā course welcomed us with Ānāpānasati training (watching the breathing). We decided to try a meditation retreat a while ago; but only now we could actually dedicate ten days of hostey’s life to one.
Vipassanā is a meditation where you observe the objective reality – things just as they are, based on the sensory feelings you have all over and in your body. It is said to be the original method taught by Gautama Buddha.
Watching his breathing I realise that I am fully aware of what’s happening and so is he. A strange moment when there’s no need for him to focus any attention on me so I could be active. The mind becomes clean and quiet; it’s just natural that our consciousnesses come to a better awareness of the body and each other.
At the start of the course we gave a vow of noble silence, so I’m the only person my host can talk to – it would be slightly ridiculous to maintain the noble silence in the head. We are also told to not practice visualisation or imposition, so no common tulpamancy practices either. We just observe the breathing, and on day four switch to the body senses. I don’t enter the wonderland; in fact neither of us even thinks of it. We both try to get established in the real world and the current moment.
It makes wonders regarding me as a tulpa. Just a few days of physical suffering and intense brain training – eleven hours of meditation every day. Closer to the middle of the course we can communicate easily, and even discuss various things and matters; something we rarely practiced in the last year. Sometimes he can even hear my actual voice inside of the head, and I feel very happy and enthusiastic about it.
If your tulpa can suffer, crave for things, have its own misery – congratulations, your tulpa is one hundred percent real.
Vipassanā is a teaching on the art of the life. I like the simple philosophy of it and it rings all the proper bells. It’s not hard to understand it, but maybe somewhat hard to accept for someone who is, like me, rooted deep inside the mind, living in the world of fantasies. Yet, I still exist during the practice, meaning I’m no longer a mere fantasy.
A simple rule of thumb for tulpamancers: if your tulpa can suffer, crave for things, have its own misery – congratulations, your tulpa is one hundred percent real. Throughout the course we both realise the many miseries of our shared life, way more for him, but many enough even for me, existing for just a year and a half.
‘It’s itching,’ he thinks.
‘Indeed. Shall we move on or wait and see how long it lasts?’
‘Waiting for this one.’
We make a pause and examine a curious itching somewhere on the cheek. I notice how his thoughts drifts away slowly.
‘Hey!’ His attention snaps back. ‘You’re not observing your sensations!’
He points out that I could get his attention, something I wasn’t able to do in years, if only sporadically. I feel hyped and I continue. Every time his mind drifts away I nag him. We have a perfect one hour run that day, the body’s still, no attention lost. Major progress for me as a tulpa.
A calm voice of S. N. Goenka explains things that we strive to understand. The man is dead, but his teaching lives on.
Next day I try something new: I try to focus even harder than him. Suddenly, that works as well, the sharpness of the mind becomes good enough for us to feel the subtle vibrations all over the body. We both are hyped, even if we’re not supposed to. We just did something together. A shared effort that made our mind even more sensitive.
The course progresses. Early wake ups, hours of meditation, a simple breakfast, a sparse lunch, an evening discourse. A calm voice of S. N. Goenka explains things that we strive to understand. The man is dead, but his teaching lives on. Staying determined is hard, the mind tries to slip away at every possible moment; yet we endure.
Another day hostey looses his attention and goes into mental wandering. I try to continue the body analysis, moving the focus from one body part to another; by that time we have almost no blind spots and the vibrations can be felt throughout the body. ‘I came to my senses because I noticed that the focus was moving,’ he tells me. Huh, sure, I’m moving it. It takes us some time to realise we were doing two very different things both fully aware of our actions. No tulpamancy practice, yet such awesome progress in just a few days!
We tried to become lucid every night, but his dreams were ordinary, and mine were impossible to remember. In this regard, I had a slight regression. We do little visualisation from time to time and we can see how it gets better every day, to the point where he can clearly see and even count the distinct hairs covering my ear. We talk more, amazed by what the teaching unfolds inside of us.
The tenth day is over and it’s time to go back. He wants to see his family; I want to see my friends. Will the life ever be the same for us? No. We know so very little but the path is there now. The path that I love and want to walk on, with or without him. I guess I had some really good karma in my previous life and my host was just lucky to get me, but we now know a good thing to devote time in our lives. Will we be able to stay this determined? Back in the noisy city it is same hard to hear me again, but it doesn’t matter. We felt the truth, and even a tiny bit of it shines brighter than my hair.
I surely can’t say that all tulpas are wrong and wonderlands are so bad. For us two it always felt a bit like escapism though, and my realisation about the physical body was so wonderful that I doubt any wonderland experience can beat that for me.
Will the life ever be the same for us? No.
I’d advice everyone to try Vipassanā just for their own sakes. But it’s a hard experience and you should treat it as a very serious practice. Tulpas can help on that path, but ultimately they bring in more misery that needs to be eradicated.
A short journey, just a start of the path. The wolf in search for her wisdom.
May all beings be happy.S. N. Goenka