Vipassana: Mind Training for Depression, Anxiety & Other Problems
Vipassana or insight meditation helps us to see through everything that usually messes up our mental space – worrying about the future, feeling bad about the past, and chasing after the things we want.
Training the Mind with Vipassana Meditation
In the same way that you’d train your body at the gym so that it can thrive and be healthy, you can train your mind to be at its best – and this is where insight meditation or Vipassana really delivers. The definition of Vipassana is ‘to see things as they really are’. Vipassana or insight meditation helps us to see through everything that usually messes up our mental space – worrying about the future, feeling bad about the past, and chasing after the things we want. We then experience the body and mind in a new way. This can help with healing depression, anxiety, and other problems. By practising insight meditation we get to experience more control over ourselves so that we can start to live life the way we want it. And with this comes a feeling of peace and compassion for others. Sounds pretty good, right?
Mind-Body Connection: What to Expect with Vipassana Meditation
Practising Vipassana meditation means to look right at the physical sensations we experience everyday, like breathing. Why do this? When we concentrate deeply on these sensations, we start to see how the body influences the mind and the mind influences the body. We can stop blindly reacting to everything that goes on about us: so instead of blowing a fuse when someone is getting in your space, you can pause and choose a wiser course of action.
Going to a Vipassana meditation retreat is a pretty immense commitment: it lasts a whopping ten days, and involves committing to a moral code for a set period to clear your mind for the practice: so that means no alcohol, drugs, or sex. Then you learn the Vipassana meditation technique, and meditate for several hours each day – in silence. No phones, no distractions! Insight meditation practice starts with following the breath as it moves in and out of the nostrils. Once you’ve got the hang of that, you can look at the sensations in your body without reacting to them. Finally, you bring an attitude of ‘loving-kindness’ into your meditation, extending the peace you find to others.
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Facing your Demons
Vipassana retreats are available throughout the world, and the good news is they arefree. And you don’t have to commit to any religion to do it. Don’t expect that all your problems will be solved in those 10 days. Doing this course is intense, for sure, and meditating so much can bring up unfamiliar sensations and strong emotions and memories. Be prepared to face your demons! You’ll probably come back from a Vipassana retreat feeling very different from the way you used to be. And by continuing an insight meditation practice over time, you can experience the benefitsof the Vipassana retreat in your everyday life.
Machinery of the mind: What’s behind Vipassana?
The basic idea of Vipassana is that our mind, like any kind of machinery, needs to be understood to be worked properly. Vipassana brings us insight into what drives our thoughts, actions and what makes us feel depressed or stressed out. It is suitable for meditation beginners and open to people from all backgrounds and beliefs.
The Buddha’s Discovery for a Thriving Life
Vipassana is one of the most ancient techniques of meditation coming out of India. The Buddha re-discovered it over 2500 years ago, and it has been passed down since then through a long chain of teachers. Ms S.N. Goenka, the current teacher in this chain, has reached thousands of people from all backgrounds, in both Eastern and Western cultures. More and more people have become interested in Vipassana over the past decades. The Vipassana Foundation is a non-profit organization that gets Buddhist Vipassana teachings out to the world. Modern American Buddhist teachers of Vipassana include Jack Kornfield, author of ‘After the Ecstasy, the Laundry’.
How will this help you to transform your problems and pain?
We can only thrive when both our minds and bodies are tuned up – Vipassana or insight meditation helps us to clear out the crap so we can experience a clearer mind and a happier life.
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