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The Practice of Vipassana

Reflection as the key to attaining balance and calm.

Image Source: Scopio.

When we practice samatha and vipassana—well, practicing samatha and vipassana can be seamless; but they don’t have to follow one another– a series of events start to occur through practice:

1)            Our concentration becomes unwavering,

2)            We develop clarity and insight,

3)            With the power of our focused concentration we might exhibit some “special abilities”. Personally, I develop a “very strong sense of intuition”; or bear a strong inkling towards an ambition that seemingly “fosters greater good: well, specifically meaning, I get inspired to inspire others in mindfulness”.

4)            Our “eternal and looming queries about everything”—our lives, the universe etc.—get answered automatically, or that “we stop beating and haranguing ourselves to go seek out answers of questions that go in similar line”.

5)            We somehow develop wisdom and therefore courage.

6)            I, for instance, constantly find myself mulling few questions: “How are you coming to terms with your own life?” “What does it mean”?

7)            Your “physical and mental sense of awareness” heightens. They sharpen, so to speak.

We seek enlightenment through meditation. But what is enlightenment? Enlightenment is nothing…; it’s understanding that there is no understanding; and it’s about understanding nothing and being nothing; it’s about going nowhere and being no one. Yet it’s about being alive and full…alive and full and breathing in/through this mortal body, through this mind, through the open, expansive, spacious, timeless, deathless and all-invincible mind, all the while remaining joyous and free. Enlightenment is about entertaining a sense of aliveness and fullness in and through one’s mind and body and body and mind, understanding emptiness of it all (and understanding emptiness), and yet welcoming the concomitant fullness”. That is what “enlightenment” is all about. Simply life. Simply life is “simply enlightenment”. Embrace life. Embrace Buddha’s teaching on “mindfulness meditation”.

Finally, let’s recap about the steps of “vipassana meditation”:

1)            First, start by observing your breath.

2)            Then start “noting” whatever arises nonjudgmentally and gently.

3)            Then perform “counting” of your chosen object of meditation—like one, two for the inbreath and the outbreath.

4)            Watch and observe your thoughts, emotions and discursions of your mind. Watch good thoughts; and watch bad thoughts. But do not get involved and engaged. Just watch. Observe. They are mere neural activities; those thoughts will disappear if you sit still—in body, in mind.

5)            Consider difficulties—in meditation practice or in life—as your teachers; those “difficulties” will help strengthen your skills in meditation. Alleviate obstructions in meditation like sleepiness, boredom and sluggishness. And how do you do that? You dispel difficulties in meditation by remembering that “just the way it’s difficult to learn good and valuable skills, learning “to meditate” is not easy. It entails some effort on your part. You need to remain mindful and watchful: of your tendency to slip into laziness. You also need to check your own tendency to slip into negativity and pessimism.

6)            In “vipassana”, you try to observe the “non-self in you which is your ‘awareness’”. It is  timeless and empty, yet all-encompassing and all-powerful”.

7)            Let your meditation practice—or your breath…the in-breath and the out-breath– guide you to work through any physical, emotional and mental pain: both in your present and your past.

8)            Understand this: that your mind is expansive, open and already fulfilled. There is not even an iota of difficulty and anxiety there. Rest there. That is your abode. That is the practice of meditation: vipassana.

9)            Practicing vipassana meditation is also about “practicing and understanding the nature of your mind. And the way your mind works”. Your mind is the “seat of your happiness and pain”.

10)          When your mind is still, you can foster amazing power. You might develop the capacity to remember your past life, or your future life; you might see “supernatural events” like seeing visions of “Buddha himself”. But that—gaining such powers—isn’t the goal of meditation.  Transcend such “capacity or powers” and try to be “silent and calm”.

11)          Whatever arises in your consciousness, note them and label them. If you experience “distraction”, say “distraction”, if you notice “overactivity of mind”, say “overactivity of mind”, if you react with anger, say “reacting with anger”. With practice, you will be “silent and your meditation practice will be better”. Sometimes, it takes years of practice to arrive to this avenue. So, in the practice of “vipassana meditation”, note and label events from both your body and mind.

 “Vipassana meditation” should come to you easy. Why? Because you’re a human-and how rare and precious a human birth is!—and you can acknowledge and understand your “own life processes and your own motivations and inspirations, and you can observe and study the activities of your own mind; your own comings and goings…you’re in a way living a “vipassana-inspired life when you’re living mindfully alone” (your mind is so powerful!). What do I mean? When you develop mindfulness, you develop “openness and clarity”; when you develop “openness and clarity”, you develop “concentration and Insight”.

When you’re not thinking anything; when you’re quiet and not exactly asleep and when you’re also not meditating, your life—your entire life—will flash right before your eyes. That is a ‘vipassana moment’: the non-thinking actively…but your life flashing right before your eyes .

This article was first published as a component of my online course on Udemy titled “Principles and Practice of Mindfulness Leadership: Coaching Insights and Inspirations from Buddhism. Learn the actual practice of Mindfulness Meditation!”

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

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