Mindfulness in short is to be conscious of and attentive to physical sensations and external occurrences. Regular practice of Vipassana meditation can give us deep insights into our personality and thought processes as well as supreme inner peace.
Difference between Vipassana and Zen Meditation
Zen meditation involves ‘just sitting’ as well as counting your breaths which is a form of concentrative meditation. The Vipassana technique consists of being mindful of inhalations and exhalations, and the physical sensations of the abdomen as it rises and falls with each breath.
For beginners, we recommend attending a meditation retreat where you can learn the appropriate meditation technique for yourself. You can also buy or download DVDs or audio files on guided meditation to practice at home.
Vipassana and Mindfulness
Vipassana meditation works on the premise that observing ordinary experiences with equanimity and mindfulness produces insight and purification.
You need to be aware of the sensations experienced by the six senses. Sometimes while meditating you may not feel good about certain sensations such as pain.
During such times, you need to be equanimous and mindful, and simply observe and be aware of the sensation but do nothing. This method is a powerful tool to overcome negativity.
You are not ignoring or suppressing negative emotions or experiences. Rather you are identifying them and dissipating their energy so that they do not cause any harm to your mind. In essence you are observing negativity as it rises and dies, which is termed purification in Buddhist parlance.
Regular practice of Vipassana Mindfulness helps remove mental blockages and experience effortless joy which is the true nature of our mind. In short, Vipassana cleans the dirt on the window of the mind and helps the sun of spiritual reality shine through.
Most of us do not directly experience spiritual reality because our projections, conditioned beliefs and wishful thinking prevent us from seeing reality as it is. But regular practice of Mindfulness with equanimity can help us work through obstacles and obtain insight into the real nature of our mind and existence.
An ordinary person’s senses and mind are covered by the dirt of ignorance, aversion and craving. Vipassana helps clear this soot so that the senses become transparent and are able to experience the flow of nature effortlessly. The trick is to be mindful and accept sense experiences with equanimity. Persevere and find success to lead a spiritually fulfilling life.
Importance of Attending a Meditation Retreat
Our busy and harried modern lifestyle gives us little time for a ‘luxury’ like taking time out for relaxation and meditation. For your next holiday, instead of going to a beach or hill resort, we recommend spending time at a meditation retreat to learn the basics of Vipassana, Zen or any other type of meditation you favour.
Meditating in silence and solitude for a few days at a retreat can provide you great inner peace and contentment. You can also purchase guided meditation aids at the retreat which you can use to continue your meditation practice after you return home.Images by AlicePopkorn and Vinni123.