Inner Pilgrimage: Ten Days to a Mindful Me

ABOUT Raji Lukkoor

Raji Lukkoor
I'm a happy, positive, fun-loving being who loves to read and loves to write.

A ten-day vipassana meditation retreat that I attended in the summer of 2008, inspired me to write about my spiritually transforming journey in my debut publication, "Inner Pilgrimage: Ten Da More...



A young woman’s yearning for inner peace is about to be realized—at a trip to the woods where she unlocks the secrets of the ever-thinking mind. Hosted by spiritual master S. N. Goenka, a ten-day meditation retreat she attends irrevocably alters her perspective…and her future.


Inner Pilgrimage: Ten Days to a Mindful Me is a comprehensive, moment-by-moment description of the author’s ten-day vipassana meditation retreat. The story unfolds with her arrival at the retreat as an ordinary being seeking a calmer, more centered existence. Sacrificing every luxury and self-indulgence, and following a rigid daily routine that excludes reading, writing, praying, listening to music, watching television, and talking, the author spends ten hours everyday, meditating. She focuses on her breath and observes her bodily sensations, often without moving for hours at a time.

Inner Pilgrimage provides rich imagery and clearly articulated details of the author’s physical experience and her mental & emotional states, during sustained meditation. It provides a compelling insight into her experience of discovering the realm and rewards of vipassana meditation.

Inner Pilgrimage is one practitioner’s personal spiritual journey. It is an inspiration to others looking to transform their restlessness and judgmental tendencies, into having an inner calm and heightened awareness that together nurture and enhance spiritual growth.

Have you ever experienced frustration, desolation, and emotional/relationship problems? Are you dissatisfied despite being swathed in material wealth? Are your fears, compulsive desires, and obsessions holding you hostage? Much of this suffering or “inner war” is directly rooted in what the Buddha calls cravings, aversions, and ignorance. Vipassana, more popularly known as insight meditation, is a tool you can use to emerge from the inevitable sufferings of existence. Compulsions and obsessions aside, my pet peeve is tormenting thoughts and the often dramatic, nearly catastrophic feelings that stem from my fear-fueled reaction to life’s challenges: fear of being judged, fear of failing, fear of abandonment, fear of losing a loved one. On a more immediate level, fear of lying, fear of being lied to, fear of being misquoted or misunderstood, fear of saying “no” and having to deal with the consequences, and fear of making the wrong impression on people are also quite agonizing. Then there’s the ego to contend with. To uphold my ego, I would react in some fearful, habitual old way, erecting a protective barrier around me, afraid to open or change. This is the trap of misery and suffering. Fear-based reactions encompass the entire gamut from anxiety, confusion, dread, denial, guilt, shame, self-recrimination, and depression to anger, frustration, blame, and resentment. Unconscious attachment to my thoughts, opinions, perceptions, impressions, and experiences and years, perhaps decades of conditioning have helped entrench this habit of blind, emotion-triggered reactions, with a false assurance of peace and happiness. Vipassana was the antidote for my “inner war.” A ten-day vipassana retreat in the summer of 2008 transformed my life in ways I could never have imagined—it brought me peace, a cloudless understanding of who I am, and, above all, it brought me happiness. Post vipassana, my life has become suffused with mindfulness and equanimity, and the barriers of habit and fear are gradually breaking down. Now during an unpleasant situation, instead of spinning off in the usual way, I choose to jam the brakes, slow down, and take some time to reflect. My favorite mantra now is, “Respond; don’t react!” This mantra translates to, “Take care of the situation; don’t get caught up in it!” Some of other mantras are "Listen; don't talk," and "think; don't assume." This does not mean I have attained enlightenment, nor does it mean I have suffering restrained; it simply means that I have begun a journey of profound awareness—an awareness that is helping me understand and embrace my various roles in life, explore coping skills to counter my fears, and examine and address my shortcomings in a constructive manner. This awareness has introduced a level of freedom I had never experienced in my life. I feel like I have evolved a thousand times over since the ten-day course. With vipassana as the backdrop and my mind as the vehicle for healing and growth, I am learning to live a life that is fully expressed, connected, healthy, compassionate, and vibrant. Hope you will enjoy reading my book.