Vipassana meditation has many proven physical and psychological benefits. Like Zen meditation, Vipassana is popular in many parts of Asia and around the world.
Among meditation techniques, Vipassana is one of the best techniques as it improves both concentration and awareness. Read on to learn more about Vipassana for beginners.
Vipassana or Insight Meditation
Greek philosopher Socrates said “know thyself”. If we know our real nature we can stay steady and calm even in the most turbulent of times. We do not have to depend on the outside world for our happiness. Instead, we should try to see ourselves with clarity which is easier and wiser than trying to change the world.
Vipassana is a rational technique to purify our mind by eliminating pain and distress. It does not involve seeking the aid of a God or spirit. We only need to rely on our own effort and dedication.
Vipassana teaches us that matter and mind are impersonal, unsatisfactory and impermanent. With dedicated effort, we will be to purify our mind and eliminate all types of attachment.
By reducing attachment, we are able to dilute delusion and desire. Buddha said that ignorance and desire are the root causes of suffering.
When they are eliminated, our mind will come into contact with a permanent and deathless happiness which is called Nirvana, enlightenment or salvation.
Vipassana meditation consists of being aware in the present moment by paying careful attention to our body and mind. Vipassana literally means powerful, deep and intense watching to gain insight into how our mind works.
This insight is beyond thinking and reasoning. We do not have to follow any set dogma or principles. We simply have to depend on our own findings and experiences about the truth as we see it.
How to Practice Vipassana Meditation
- Sit comfortably and start by paying attention to your breathing.
- As your mind becomes calmer, focus on noticing physical sensations such as pain, itching, etc.
- Passively observe these sensations, make a mental note and move on.
- If your mind strays, bring it back calmly to the focused object.
- Practise this simple technique every day to master your negative emotions and gain happiness.
Vipassana is Not a Religion
Even though the Buddha used Vipassana technique to gain enlightenment, it is not a sectarian type of meditation. It is said that the Buddha and his followers attained awakening and freedom from suffering by practising Vipassana.
Today, people of any religion as well as atheists are welcome to try this technique to find out if it suits them and provides practical benefits.
Benefits of Regular Vipassana Practice
You don’t need to travel anywhere to practice Vipassana. Simply be fully aware of your mundane daily tasks as you do them.
For example, be mindful of your steps as you walk, when you type on the computer or even while simply relaxing in bed after a hard day’s work. When you feel cold or warm, observe that sensation.
All you need to do is practise Vipassana for about 15 minutes a day to experience the following major benefits:
- Eliminates anxiety and stress
- Develops wisdom and clarity
- Reduces mental chatter
- Improves physical and psychological health
- Helps to improve your interpersonal relationships
Daily Vipassana Meditation
We keep reading about scientific research on the benefits of meditation. But we should practice spirituality and meditation in our daily life to personally benefit every day. Don’t consider Vipassana as a hard grind but take it easy and practise it in a fun and relaxed manner to reduce your tension.
You don’t have actually allot a set period of time to practice Vipassana. Buddha advised that you should try to maintain awareness at all times.
Practice mindfulness when you stretch your legs and arms, brush your teeth, take a shower, put on clothes, eat a meal, sip a drink etc.
Make a mental note of your bodily movements when you perform each and every activity during the day. Buddhist monks can sit for hours in the same position.
But this sort of demanding penance is not required for the layman or householder who is caught up with office work and professional duties for most of the day.
Many people spout the excuse that they are too busy for yoga or meditation. If you are busy throughout the day, try to wake up half an hour early to practise about 15 minutes of Vipassana meditation and 10 minutes of simple yoga poses and stretches.
This basic regimen can endow you with a healthy body, sound mind and a happy life.
We hope this article enthuses you to learn more about Vipassana for beginners and other meditation techniques like Zen.
Interest is growing in spirituality worldwide and more and more people are becoming curious about the benefits of regular meditation. If you can spare the time, visit a retreat to learn guided meditation which you can then practice every day at home.