Insights – Vipassana Mediation
There will be future, more advanced vipassana meditations posted on the site. For now, however, we will end this series with a final post about the insights often experienced via vipassana meditation. We learn via experience about impermanence, suffering and its causes, no-self, emptiness and
many other things – or, perhaps, better stated as no-things. If we are fortunate we experience less
grasping for sense-door pleasures, some disenchantment with all aspects of materiality, and greater dispassion about our mental states. A huge insight is the understanding that we can detach from the five aggregates: form, feeling, perception, volitional actions, and even consciousness. Join me now as we go into another vipassana-like meditation on the ways humans experience love-hate, pleasure-displeasure, joy-suffering, and boring neutrality. Here we will focus on thoughts, emotions, senses, and relationships – the stuff of life. Let’s begin.
- Settle into your cushion or chair. Allow your awareness to follow your breath: deep, slow, calm breathing. Be aware fully of the feelings/sensations in your body that arise and fall away with each in-breath and each out-breath. Meditate on this!
- Now focus full concentration on the inner feelings of cognition – thoughts. Focus, focus, focus on how you may have now learned that a thought is simply a thought. Meditate on the awareness, the insight, that your thoughts are not so very important. They simply sway or jump from pleasant to unpleasant based on your evaluated experiences. Vipassana should have taught you that unwholesome thoughts are unhelpful, and wholesome thoughts are helpful – but only as thoughts. Try to let go of whatever you are thinking right now. Just be in meditation, noticing without evaluating. Meditate on this!
- Move now to affect and emotion. Though they are not the same thing, they are related. Our emotional experience tends to be the power of our life, causing either great good or great evil. Emotions are potent precursors to action, joy as well as misery. However, they are only inner body feelings that we desire or hope to avoid. As feeling alone, they do not mean much in the ultimate reality of knowing. Although wisdom traditions let us know that wholesome emotions can do great things for others, in the final analysis they are simply another form of form. Although some would disagree with this statement. Meditate on this!
- Now move to your own sense-doors, the very route that activates when you encounter pleasant or unpleasant experiences and stimuli or objects. All senses have past, present, and future orientations. Now just focus your full concentration on being present, here now, only with your senses. Do your best to let go of the reinforcement from valued sensory experiences and the fear from undesired sensory experiences. Just meditate on the nature of what your senses are doing right now, right here. Do not evaluate. Meditate on this!
- What about your spiritual self? This is simply another manifestation of your no-self. However, spiritual experience can be very, very powerful in our lives. What is the character of your spiritual experience here in vipassana meditation? Do not evaluate. Just become aware. Meditate on this!
- Lastly, meditate deeply on the relational aspects of your life. Next to self-cherishing and self-indulgence, positive relational realities yield powerful influences on us. Let go of thoughts and emotions about relationships! Just focus on your own relationship now, here, with yourself. Try not to evaluate or judge. Do this in deep meditation!
- Pull it all together now. As you meditate let go of it all – cognition, affect, sense-doors, relationships. Just be here, now. Go deep into meditation.
- Prepare to end your meditation. Bring your awareness back to the room, and prepare to end this session.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness