Vipassana (Sanskrit:’seeing in the mind and heart’) is an ancient Buddhist meditation practice that seeks insight into the true nature of reality. It’s taught entirely from observation and reflection as a method for discovering freedom from suffering.
The aim of vipassana practice is to see things as they really are, without preference or attachment. It is based on the Buddhist theory of perception, which holds that all experience arises from our mental activity.
The meditation method can be applied to many areas of life, from personal relationships to the workings of society.
Vipassana meditation teaches us to see clearly, without any distortion or hesitation, into the nature of our own minds.
When we learn to observe our thoughts and feelings with this kind of clarity, we can discover that they are not really separate from us or independent of each other; they arise and pass away naturally, just as they do in life itself.
Over time, you’ll learn how to detach yourself from your thoughts and emotions so that they don’t disturb or distract you during meditation sessions.
This helps you achieve a state of composure that allows you to focus on your internal experiences without being pulled away by external stimuli.
If you want to practice vipassana meditation, the first thing you have to do is to make yourself comfortable. Sit in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed by anyone and where there is enough space for you to stretch out your legs. Make sure the temperature of your room is neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.
Choose a comfortable seat that allows an upright position with both feet flat on the floor. You can sit cross-legged if this feels more natural to you, but try leaning back against one or two pillows first before trying this position out.
If possible, choose a time when you won’t be disturbed by anyone for at least 30 minutes or so (at least 45 minutes is better).
The first step in practicing vipassana meditation is learning to breathe deeply and slowly.
The second step is learning how to observe your thoughts as they arise in your mind during the course of your day. This can be done by sitting comfortably with your eyes closed.
When you meditate, you’re in the present moment. You’re not thinking about anything else, and you don’t have any judgments or expectations about what might happen next.
The mind is like a wild horse or a raging fire. If you try to control it, it will just get worse. But if you let it be, then it will settle down into its natural state of restfulness and calm.
As soon as one thought arises in your mind, watch it come into being. Then let it pass away naturally by watching rather than thinking about it or trying to control it in any way. This process becomes easier with practice.
After a while, when you’re sitting down to meditate, you’ll notice that thoughts come and go more quickly than they used to. You don’t have to be aware of every thought; just watch whatever comes up and then let it go again.
If you’re new to Vipassana meditation, it’s not unusual for thoughts to arise in your mind. When this happens, just watch them come into being and pass away naturally. Then try this process again.
When one thought arises, watch it come into being. Then let it go by watching rather than thinking about it or trying to control it in any way. This process becomes easier with practice.
As your mindfulness grows stronger, the thoughts will become more easily observed and absorbed into your awareness without any effort on your part.
The third step is to watch your feelings. When you notice a feeling, such as anger or sadness, observe it and let it go.
This may sound easy, but it can be surprisingly challenging in the beginning. You’re not trying to change your feelings; you’re simply watching them arise and passing right through them.
Once you’ve noticed that you’re feeling a certain way, then work on recognizing the emotion itself—not it’s content (what subject it’s about), but its form (its shape). For example, “I’m feeling angry” can be translated into “I’m experiencing anger.” Once we see this, we can start observing our emotions more closely and see what they tell us about ourselves: what needs changing and what needs strengthening?
When you get beyond these three things (first-breathing, second-thinking, and third-feeling), all that remains is your pure consciousness!
At its core, Vipassana meditation is about surrendering all control and expectations. As you clear your mind of thoughts and feelings, you accept that the only thing in this moment is your pure consciousness. And then all that arises—emotions, desires, and thoughts—is also accepted. There’s nothing to do but watch them come and go until they disappear completely, leaving you in a state of pure awareness.
It can be challenging at first (because the thoughts and emotions will fight to “exist”), but as you practice over time, it will get easier—the turmoil will fade more quickly. And those few moments of meditation may leave you feeling relaxed, rested, and calm during your entire day.
You can practice vipassana meditation anywhere, anytime. You can find a quiet place in your home or at a park, or sit right in front of your computer. It doesn’t matter where you practice meditation.
Meditation is an important part of living mindfully, learning to recognize and observe our feelings as they arise and pass away. And it’s easy to learn how to meditate when doing so becomes second nature—when it just comes naturally and effortlessly.
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