Discover the numerous benefits of Vispanna Meditation. A meditation that belongs to no religion or sect…
Vipassana meditation is one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques. At one stage it was thought to have been a lost art, but was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha over 2500 years ago. Vipassana means ‘seeing things as they really are’ and is a process of purifying the body by observation & reflection. We will look at a step-by-step guide to Vipassana meditation techniques later on in this article.
As an overview, a person begins Vipassana meditation by observing their natural breathing rhythm and concentrating the mind. When the mind has focussed, the person uses this heightened sense of awareness to observe the changing nature of the body. They experience the universal truths of Egolessness, suffering and impermanence. Realising these truths leads to purification of the body and mind.
This is a meditation practice that has nothing to do with any organised religion. Because of this, it is free to be practiced by anyone and everyone, in any place. All people that practice vipassana meditation are equal. It is also recommended in enhancing mindfulness abilities and techniques.
What is Vipassana Meditation?
- A meditation technique designed to eradicate suffering.
- A method of mental purification which allows a person to face life’s challenges in a calm and balanced way.
- An art of living that is based upon making positive contributions to society.
- It is not a rite based on blind faith.
- It is not an intellectual nor a philosophical entertainment.
- It is not a rest cure, or socialising opportunity.
- It is not a form of escapism.
Vipassana meditation enables a person to achieve the highest spiritual goals, of liberation and enlightenment. On top of this, the method of mental purification often aids and heals many psychosomatic diseases. Vipassana meditation eliminates the three main causes of all unhappiness: craving, aversion and ignorance.
If you continue to practice vipassana meditation, it will continually release tensions developed in every day life in a healthy way. It removes the need for short term escapism or coping methods that many of us reach for after unpleasant situations.
Although Vipassana was developed as a technique by the Buddha, its practice is not limited to Buddhists an there is no question of conversion. This Meditation is based on the fact that all people share similar problems and the Vipassana meditation techniques are designed to eradicate these on a universal basis. People from all works of life and religious denominations have experienced the benefits of Vipassana meditation, and have found no conflict with their profession of faith.
Vipassana Meditation Techniques
The techniques we will be looking at are focussed around breathing meditation. It is common basis in vipassana meditation and is hugely beneficial to the body. When we are focussed
on breathing deeply, we are not only concentrating on drawing air in and out of lungs, but the feeling of energy coursing through our bodies. In breathing meditation, we learn to be sensitive to these feelings and let the energy flow unobstructed. This has the benefit of allowing the body to function at a higher rate, and can also be a method for pain management.
So, first things first. Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight and balanced. Try to centre your body, neither leaning forward nor back. Close your eyes and begin the session by softly saying to yourself “May I be truly happy and free from suffering.” This reminds us that it is ok for us to truly be happy, and the only real way of helping others to achieve happiness is by ensuring we have found that emotion in ourselves.
Vipassana is a form of meditation, so it is important to reflect on what true happiness is and how to find it. Happiness is in the now, the past is gone and cannot be brought back. The future is full of uncertainties, and fear of what is to come. The only place we can truly find real happiness, is right here-right now, in the present moment. This source of happiness is a constant, it is not based on changing things, such as sights, sounds and other people. It is a reservoir buried deep within, and we need to discover how to get straight to the source of this happiness within ourselves. A clever analogy is that Vipassana Meditation can often be like a treasure hunt. You are spending time trying to locate a priceless treasure, which can only be located by constant searching.
To locate this well of happiness, we need to, first of all, develop a strong basis of good will towards ourselves. Once that is established in ourselves, we then need to spread this good will amongst other people. Remember All living beings are equal, you must approach this task in a non-judgemental fashion. No matter who someone is, or what they have done; they too deserve to find happiness. This will be hard initially, we as a society, can be quite judgemental. However, we must remind ourselves that it is not up to us to judge someone. Instead we cultivate this energy of good will, unbiased and non-judgemental.
Once your mind has cleared using the above techniques, you will now be ready to focus on your breathing. Gently bring your focus onto this act. Draw in deep breathes and exhale slowly. Focus on different areas of the body and how they feel during this process. Your mind will gradually move into a more relaxed state. Focus on a part of your body that feels different to the rest. This could be your chest for example.
Concentrate on how good that area feels as your draw fresh air in and out of your lungs. Don’t force the actions, let them come naturally. Other thoughts will flicker across your conscious, do not dismiss these angrily, instead gently draw your attention back to the part of your body you are focussing on. Your mind may wander a thousand times, and who what? Simply bring it back gently, each time is starts to wander.
Adapt your breathing rhythm to that which feels most natural. If you are breathing too deeply, then shorten it a little. Experiment with different breathing patterns and find the one that feels most natural and least forced to you. Now you have found your most comfortable style of breathing in a comfortable position, move your attention to how other parts of your body are feeling. If you feel nothing, be aware of that. Slowly move through your body analysing all the different areas. When you come across an area, simply notice the feeling and pause a while. Is the breathing easier or slightly harder? If harder, does it feel as if there’s a tension or tightness?
If so, you will need to concentrate on easing and soothing this tension. Imagine a smoothing motion, you are moving across this area, pushing the tension from your core and down into your limbs. From your limbs you are smoothing this tension down to your toes or finger tips before gradually releasing it from your body completely. Repeat this with all areas of you body, Some people find visualising helps, moving the tension with a white light or other visual energy can be very helpful.
Take several minutes on each area you feel tension. Begin from the top of your head down through your body, paying particular attention to your Chakra’s. You will know you have got rid of this tension as you feel your breathing in that area return to normal again.
When you have moved through your body and are happy you have released all tension, go back to focussing on the last spot you’ve eased. Let your attention settle their and slowly grow your conscious so that awareness begins to spread across you body. From the head, down to the toes. Feel the awareness move through your entire body. Stay in this level of awareness for several moments while you breathe.
Then gently come out of your meditative state. You will feel completely relaxed and might not want to move for a minute or two. That is completely ok and normal after completing your Vipassana Meditation.
“May I be truly happy and free from suffering.”
This is an introduction to Vipassana Meditation Techniques and the benefits of it’s practice. However, you will not fully realise these benefits until you undertake a session for your self. So what are you waiting for? Give it a go and enjoy the enhanced well-being that accompanies this ancient practice.
If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a great video for beginners to watch.