Insight Meditation Techniques

Vipassana or insight meditation is an age-old Buddhist meditation technique. In this post, we'll explore the ins and outs of insight meditation.

I don't recommend learning insight meditation solely from books or videos. The reason being that you'll most likely need help along the way, especially in the beginning. My recommendation is to join an insight meditation center. If there are no centers in your area, it's always possible to get started by doing a short meditation retreat.

At a meditation center you'll be able to attend meditation talks and ask questions either in a group or one-on-one. The ideal approach is to learn the basics first and gradually get used to the techniques and sitting on the floor for extended periods of time. At first, it may cause physical aches and pains but it's something you'll get used to over time.

10-day meditation retreats are quite intensive and therefore make for speedy progress, however, as a beginner it's advisable to start out with one day and weekend retreats.

The purpose of the meditation techniques is to increase the meditator's awareness of the five senses and the mind. This aligns us with the present moment. The five senses are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. The mind is involved in perceiving the five senses and also serves as the base for thinking.

Ultimately, vipassana aims to realize supramundane wisdom. That includes the nature of impermanence, suffering and that the ego or I is merely a creation of the mind.

Insight meditation is mainly practiced in two body postures, namely walking and sitting. According to the Burmese Mahasi method the meditator should always start out with walking meditation which boosts mental energy. Then, move on to sitting meditation where the mental energy supports concentration.

By alternating between walking and sitting meditation, mental energy and concentration find a natural balance. It's not fruitful to practice only sitting meditation for a whole day and the same holds true for walking meditation.

Talks And Interviews

As a novice meditator it's essential to learn the correct meditation techniques and understand how the senses and the mind interrelate. Here, the meditation talks and interviews form a wonderful source of inspiration and support.

It's highly recommended to take an interest in the meditation talks and to be perfectly honest with your meditation teacher. This way you will benefit the most from your insight meditation practice.

At insight meditation retreats meditators are encouraged not to interact with other retreatants. The mind naturally calms down when not engaging in conversation.

Moreover, meditators do not only practice in the meditation hall. They should also walk mindfully, eat mindfully, shower mindfully and so on. To be mindful means to give attention to your feelings, thoughts, senses and actions.

Making Insights

Insight meditation suggests that meditators can make insights. These come with practice and in a number of forms, however, generally these insights confirm what you have learned from the meditation talks. As a result, your understanding of the body and mind processes deepen.

It's most rewarding to have an insight and it also boosts motivation.

Best of luck!

Related:   Intensive Meditation   Meditation Retreats   Goenka Meditation

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