Vipasana Meditation And Its Benefits
13 Aug 2021 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
Vipasana is often defined as the meditation practice that seeks insight into true nature of reality . With this method , you practice self- observation by focusing on your inner self in non – judgmental way . Vipasana meditation focuses on mind purification and elimination of delusions , thereby clearing the individual of negative attachments such as pain , suffering and distress. Breaking down this Sanskrit word Vipasana , there forms Vi means multiple and pasana means to see something distinctly or seeing more closely .
It has one main objective that is – to learn to see the “truth of impermanence , unsatisfactoriness , and selflessness of phenomena . It only happens when we are fully in the present moment and nowhere else. We are then able to accept that everything in this world is temporary and breakthrough maya and illusions and work towards liberation and moksh .
The main teaching of vipasana is – Awareness , Observations and Equanimity . This means learning the awareness of how the senses meet the mind and matter (body ) . Observing the changes happening in our body . finally learning how to stay equanimous and to react to sensations .
2500 years ago , Buddha find out that knowledge , insight , and goodness are the only reliable antidotes to dissatisfaction and suffering . He said that our happiness does`t depend on ever – changing external circumstances . By observing inwards we can discover that fulfillment and joy are our true nature . And insight meditation is the method we use to look inwards .
Many of our daily activities can be the object of the both mindfulness and awareness meditation . Our actions , thoughts , feelings and emotions , whether it is blissful or painful , it can be used as object of meditation .
Vipassana can be carried out by observation and control . First of all , you have to observe yourself , study the object , understand it carefully only then you will be able to pass your opinions and control over those things .so , in this case observation can be regarded as self study .
Suppose your sleep patterns are not well managed for this you have to know yourself , and study about your sleeping patterns then finally you try to judge yourself then you will be able to find out the reason behind the unmanaged pattern , you will be conscious about how can you change them and bring your mind under control .
Control is the result of awareness . Awareness is the foundation by which we can oversee sorrow , extinguish suffering and walk towards the path of realization
1) Vipasana can be further divided into four parts :
1)Kayanupassana –kaya – body
2)Vedananupassana – Vedana – feelings /pain /sensation
3)Chittanupassana – Chitta – mind
4)Dhammanupassana – Dhamma – uplifting
NU from Nupassana means single point focus
Now , lets dig in different parts of Vipassana from the perpective of observation and control .
1. Kayanupassana –
A) Observation –What we can observe
As kaya referes to the body so , Kayanupassana means what we can see in our body . Every individual observe differently . for instance – if we ask bunch of girls to put a tika on their forehead , each of them have a different spot where they put on the tika . One may wear it between the eyebrow , another may put little above the centres and last still above .
So , there are multiple observations but what can be considered as the truth ?
Keep observing our body can leads us to find the new things , answers we are searching
Some observations of our bodies :
- Our body behaves differently every single day , one day it can be active and another day it can be passive … Also , we can feel the pain in the hand someday and in the legs the another day . so its strange that our body isn`t the same everyday . It is affected by various factors .
- Our bodies has limits . for instance – when we go for hiking with our friends , some of us can walk 5 km continuously and still not tired but some walk about 2 km and also gets tired .
So , its about how much we can allow pain to affect our body or letting it go .
- Our bodies requires various things without which it can`t function . Like , food , water , sleep . adequate rest . But our minds works constantly even when our body is asleep . So , its our body with a lot of desired that leads us to a pain and suffering .
So here when we will be able to stop the desires in our life , that day will be the day when you will find out the truth and can be far from all those suffering and pain that happens because of our body . and Finally you can see your body and know what it is actually .
Take some time to be with yourself , minimum 20 minutes or more how much you can give your time for yourelf . This should be the time without any distraction , no phones , no other people , no need to go toilet or anything . Just observe yourself and have some silence . Some suggestions to help you start – concentrate on your breathe (Exhalation and inhalation ). Look at the speed of your heartbeat notice the breathe write it in your you journal . Just observe your inner body and be with yourself .
B) Control :
Once we become aware of our sensations . How do we exert control over them ? Vipasana uses technique named as Anapanasati . Here , Anapana means exhalation and exhalation and sati –means awareness / mindfulness . So , we can simply say that it is the awareness of breathe .
In this technique we tend to focus on our breathe , every time the mind diverts , bringing it back under our control by focusing on our breathe. Actually , we don `t want to change the way of breathing ,we just want to stop our mind from being distracted by having fully attention to the breathing process naturally .
We people have lots of thoughts regarding past and future . through this , we want to bring our mind consciousness in the present moment . And the most present happening in our body is our breathe . So , we train our minds by simply concentrating on breathe .
We have to be able to know ourself , and be able to know the nature of bodies in order to connect our body with the mind , consequently we will be able to hear the voice of our inner soul .
Kyananupassana is the first and toughest steps of Vipassana .
We can be easily distracted by the outer world desires and attached thorugh it due to our senses . whenever our eyes sees some thing it passes the signals fastest to our brain . So , what the eyes sees the mind `s desires . And the mind function is to explore . Therefore , to control over the mind and bring it back from those worldly things s, we bring all the consciousness towards our breathe . It is constant and with us all the time .
What you can`t see – feelings , senasations and pain
Pain has a tendency to stop our body
Suppose when we feel the pain in our legs , we wouldn`t go for a walk
Thus , pain just stop you from doing something more or demotivate you .
Feelings create a sensatioin to perform a task or a desire .
For eg – When we sit in padmasana ( cross legged pose ) , then we start feeling pain in our knee at a certain moment . Our reflex action would be to stretch our legs, shake . But , How about ignoring the pain or accepting it with no reaction at all . bringing all our focus back to the breathe . After the lot of practice , you feel the pain but you are no more attached to it and you think the pain no more bother you at all .
All those feelings , sensations and pain are temporary . They come and go .Only way to control all these under our control is Awareness . Our minds tend to get attached to all three . This mind is addicted to the attachment . However , our soul is never attached to anything else ; It is fully in the present moment and just witness its flow . It embraces the every moment and accept what it is as it will eventually pass .
Lets explain it with the example :
Suppose you are in the top of the hills where you can obseve the best natural view . Here a part of you will be observing the breathtaking views , overwhelmed by the rivers flowing through the edge of the hills , the fresh air flowing , and many other things . Then , when you try to leave the spot where you are , then you just focus on the step ahead and leave that beauty behind . Another part of you may start wondering how fast the river goes , you may get annoyed by the animals sounds nearby , you may start to notice the garbage around it . That part of you also might start to wish to be there forever and even you leave that place your thoughts are still back there .The first part of you is your soul , it mesmerized the moment you were there and left it behind the moment was over . However the second part of your mind is wanting to making moments ( especially the happy ones ) forever .
On the contrary , if it is the sad moment we want it to end immediately . We have been taught that pain is something bad instead of accepting it for what it is .
Draw a rough sketch of our body , observe your body and point out parts where we feel pain or any kind of sensations , how does it make you feel ?How do you react it ? write this is you journal in a peaceful place without any ditractions .
How often we spend our time on ourselves , observing everything in our body and how they influence our mind . and remember that our mind body and soul are interdependent of eachother .
A) Observation :
According to our yoga , our mind can be divided into four parts :
Mana – the overall mind , has many layers and is connected to every single cell in our bodies . It is related with memory and intelligence . It is not intellect .
Buddhi – intellect – this is the logical mind and functions based upon the data that already exists .
Ahankara – ego – It is our sense of identity . once the anhakara assumes the identity , the intellect function only in that context . It is important to functions beyond the intellect because the intellect is suppressed to intellect .
Chitta – the conscious mind – (chetana ) is the mind without the memory . . It is pure intelligence which is like the cosmic intelligence . It connects you to consciousness .
Our chiita is always suctioning whether we are asleep or awake .The buddhi comes and goes ( our mind travels ) but Chitta is our present , it is our breathe . if we used buddhi to control our breathe , we lose focus .
Suppose you are flying in the sky on either of these two vehicles , a plane and flying carpet .
The plane has a fixed view from the cockpit . It cannot look beyond what it sees from the windows . So , it stay focuses on what is visilble from here and this helps the pilots to tuned in to the direction in which they need to fly .
Now , imagine yourself flying on the carpet , you have the ability to look around you , change positions you want , you can stand on the carpet , you can sit or stand up whatever you want .. it is sure that you will be fascinated by the everything around you and always gets distracted by the next thing in your vision .
Now , apply this theory to your own self . Your eyes have a cockpit view and your mind is flying on the carpet . we can train our minds to focus on the view we are currently seeing with the help of our breathe . even when our eyes are closed , our minds start to fly again we start focusing on the breathe to concentrate on the single point .
However there is someone who is watching our mind that is soul .
In kaya and vedana you try to remove the negatives . In the chiita , your practice helps you get connected to the present moment all the time . So , in Dhamma , we move higher .
Task you did in you journal , noting down all the things you had done just for you . The things make you feel good about yourself . you don` t do it for any other reasons besides the fact that it gives you happy feelings .
Eg : you feed the street dog just because you feel happy and you want to not because you will get good karma . Its an unselfish act .
Here it is important to understand following things :
Dharm – responsibility
Karma – every actions has its reaction
Bhagya – destiny – this is the result of your karma .
Karma and Dhamma is both related with the intention .
Karma is highly misunderstood. Every actions we perform , whether in thoughts and deeds , you will get the result in some form of reaction . This reaction may be sudden or it may be occur after long time or in the another life .
Karma is of two types :
Good karma ( punya ) karma
Bad karma ( sin/pap) karma
Destiny is the store house of all your good and bad karma . This destiny works on how your karma cycle has completed . lets understand this with the examples :
Suppose you have borrowed some money from your friend and after some time you return it to your friend .. here your friend did some good karma and it payed off later on when you returned back to him .so , destiny is not affected here .
But , when you borrowed money form your friend but you passed away before you return it back then . the karma cycle is left incomplete here so , in the next life the situation will come when you have to give your money to your friend in some form . So its the destiny .
Sometimes though you have good intention it may lead to bad actions or result where its not your fault . For eg , Teacher has given ram and hari to write an essay on importance of language on their own way , here ram point it out all the points first and started writing essay but hari has still not started writing it , so hari asked ram to give his copy to note down some points and helpful ram provided him with the copy. but hari copied all the essay rather than taking points and writing down himself. Finally teacher came to check and observed hari and ram has same answers then found that hari cheated and he got punished
So here , ram intentions was good but it leads to bad reactions because of hari own bad actions . Yamaraj is the firsts department that you encounter when you die and go to heaven where yamraj start judgement on your karmas , small good and bad karmas gets sorted out in the same life or in the yamaloka . Those small karmas you completed in your life are not recorded in your destiny but Big good and bad karma added into the next life