Vipassana (insight meditation) is the ultimate expression of Socrates’ dictum, “know thyself.” The Buddha discovered that the cause of suffering can actually be erased when we see our true nature. This is a radical insight. It means that our happiness does not depend on manipulating the external world. We only have to see ourselves clearly— a much easier proposition (but in the ultimate sense, knowing oneself with clarity reveals there is no permanent self, as the Buddha taught).
Vipassana meditation is a rational method for purifying the mind of the mental factors that cause distress and pain. This simple technique does not invoke the help of a god, spirit or any other external power, but relies on our own efforts.
Vipassana is an insight that cuts through conventional perception to perceive mind and matter as they actually are: impermanent, unsatisfactory, and impersonal. Insight meditation gradually purifies the mind, eliminating all forms of attachment. As attachment is cut away, desire and delusion are gradually diluted. The Buddha identified these two factors— desire and ignorance— as the roots of suffering. When they are finally removed, the mind will touch something permanent beyond the changing world. That “something” is the deathless, supramundane happiness, called “Nibbana” in Pali.
Insight meditation is concerned with the present moment— with staying in the now to the most extreme degree possible. It consists of observing body (rupa) and mind (nama) with bare attention.
The word “vipassana” has two parts. “Passana” means seeing, i.e., perceiving. The prefix “vi” has several meanings, one of which is “through.” Vipassana-insight literally cuts through the curtain of delusion in the mind. “Vi” can also function as the English prefix “dis,” suggesting discernment— a kind of seeing that perceives individual components separately. The idea of separation is relevant here, for insight works like a mental scalpel, differentiating conventional truth from ultimate reality. Lastly, “vi” can function as an intensive, in which case “vipassana” means intense, deep or powerful seeing. It is an immediate insight experienced before one’s eyes, having nothing to do with reasoning or thinking.
Instructions for practicing Vipassana
Before practicing Vipassana meditation, keeping a few instructions in mind can help. Follow them to a ‘T’ and you will be able to make the most of your Vipassana practice. Vipaasana can be practiced during any time of the day. Consult a Vipassana instructor or join a Vipassana Ashram if you are a beginner. Vipassana is so simple and beneficial that even children can practice it.
- Create a calm atmosphere of meditation around you. It will help you to concentrate better. For example, you can sit in a room with a dim light in a quiet environment
- Wear loose clothes to be comfortable while practicing Vipassana
- Avoid smoking, alcoholism and indulging in illicit behaviour while practicing Vipassana
- Concentrate on breathing from your nostrils
- Pay attention on different parts of your body from head to toe. For example, start from your forehead then come to eyebrows, then cheeks, then nose, lips and in this way continue till you reach your toes. Observe sensation of each part
- Avoid reacting to the sensations of your body and just observe them
- Avoid paying attention to any one part of your body for a longer time
- Try practicing this activity daily for 45 to 60 minutes
- Seek help of an instructor to guide you
- Avoid practicing this activity immediately after a meal. Take a half an hour break between a meal and Vipassana practice.
Benefits of Vipassana
Here’s a quick look at the benefits that practicing Vipassana meditaion provides. Remember, it will only take you about half an hour everyday to get these benefits and live a better life.
- Practice of Vipassana regularly helps control greed
- Helps face tensions and problems
- Increases awareness and helps make peace with yourself
- Helps attain self-control
- Helps control or stop day dreaming
- Helps face fear
- Helpful for stress management and anger management
Vipassana yoga poses
Content Credit :- mp3skulls