This week we introduce a Vipassana meditation technique. Vipassana meditation is all about focus on breath and breathing while identifying what comes to mind. It translates literally as “to see things as they really are” and is a traditional Buddhist meditation.
When a thought, image, emotion, or other focus comes to mind in this meditation, you are to contemplate its meaning, identify what it means to you, and then refocus on the breathing. In this way, one learns to see things as they are by investigating them, but by not allowing one’s self to dwell on them. This awareness and investigation into the thought, but then leaving it after noted to focus again on breath trains awareness to be decisive, investigative, but not to build up emotion and connection to that which is being observed. Many people in thinking of meditation practices are thinking of Vipassana in the sense of “letting go” or “seeing things as they are accepting them.” Aspects of Vipassana can be found in other meditations also, but this method focuses solely on this purpose.
Practical Meditation Exercise: Basic Vipassana Meditation
For this exercise, we’ll be using folded legs, and erect, but settled spines, with eyes partially closed and place your hands in your lap, palms facing upward, the right hand on top of the left. Alternatively, a normal sitting posture (straight back chair, or using a wall or other sturdy surface to sit up against) will suffice. If doing the exercise lying down, put your hands on the abdomen, one on top of the other, or at your sides. The important thing is to keep your spine erect but relaxed.
- Close your eyes. Direct your attention to the abdomen, an inch or two above the navel. Don’t actually look at the spot, Just place your mind there. As you breathe in, the abdomen expands; as you breathe out, it contracts. In meditation, these movements are called, respectively, “rising” and “falling.” They never cease to alternate as long as you live.
- As the abdomen rises, observe the motion from beginning to end with your mind’s eye. When the abdomen falls, do the same. Keep watching the rising and falling movements. Start to know the movements without judging or describing them.
- The rising and falling motions are actually separate movements. As you do the exercise, restrict your attention to what is occurring in the immediate present moment. Don’t think about the past or future—don’t think about anything at all. Let go of worries, concerns, and memories. Empty your mind of everything except the abdominal movements occurring right now. But don’t think about them; just know them.
When stray thoughts or feelings (other than the simple movements of breath) come into focus, accept them, acknowledge them, and let them pass without judgment or further attention. If it helps, imagine they are passing clouds in the sky that you are watching. Observe them and let them pass.
Week 5 Journal Exercises
- Contemplate the following points. In your journal, write your responses.
- What kind of thoughts, images, sounds, etc. did you experience? How well were you able to let them go? How do you feel about this process?
- How are you coming along on your meditation goals? Have you had to fine tune them by week 5?
Continue to write down in your journal your experiences with your meditation practice. Note what is working for you and what is not. Make notes on how and what you have had to change (if any) to make your experiences better with meditation.
Just as there are a seemingly infinite number of “Traditional” methods and practices, there are just as many “Modern” ones. In this course, we will focus on some of the more popular ones and introduce you to some simple practices that you can try at home. Again, we will not be going into the vast philosophies and ceremonies found within these systems. We are here to focus on the practice of meditation. … Continue readingMeditation week 6-Exercises
This is the cyberspace Home of the Knights of Awakening! For years, the KOA has been providing countless hours of conversation, learning, and entertainment on multiple media platforms. Starting out as a single radio show, the KOA has grown to encompass a larger multimedia footprint in the world! … Continue readingHome
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