What Does Vipassana Mean?
Vipassana draws its meaning from the Sanskrit word for insight. The aim of vipassana is to see things as they really are by gaining insight into the true nature of reality. Many Westerners are more familiar with Samatha meditation, where you are given a mantra, prayer or medium to focus upon. Vipassana meditation focuses upon the senations of the body in order to understand our selves and reality better. It is one of the oldest traditions of Buddhist meditation, and has been taught through a line of teachers over the centurities that started with Buddha himself.
What Does Vipassana Meditation Do?
Vipassana meditation focuses on the sensations of breath rather than turning a mantra or prayer over in our minds continuously. Rather than trying to understand the underlying concept of an object or sound, Vipassana seeks to clearly see the world around us. It allows us to develop an increasing awareness of the world so that we can break free of whatever we let hold us back. It’s not a short-cut, though; Vipassana meditation can take several years of practice before you stumble upon its truths.
How Can Vipassana Meditation Help You?
Any kind of meditation is beneficial. While a Samatha meditation practice may help you refocus your mind for a bit, Vipassana meditation teaches you how to see through illusions in order to emerge as a better person. As you learn what are illusions and what are truths, you can integrate this knowledge into yourself making a conscious effort to change behaviors for a positive outlook. Vipassana will allow you to see yourself as you really are while showing you how you can change. By focusing on your breath and its sensations you’re really peering into the reality of you.
How To Start Vipassana Meditation?
The path of Vipassana Meditation is truly a journey of 1,000 steps. The hardest part will be in the beginning as you train both your body and your mind to the meditation.
There are several great guides and teachers available, but keep in mind the basics.
- Choose a comfortable, cross-legged sitting position next to a tree or wall. Be sure to keep your back straight and aligned.
- Focus upon the rise and fall of your breath and how this moves your body. What do you feel? Make note of that and let it go.
- If something comes up during your meditation, focus upon and label that sensation. This includes loud noises, thoughts, and any other sensations that you may experience.
Your meditation practice can help you create a better you, but don’t expect it to move quickly. Just relax into your practice and let the work begin.