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Written by AyurUniverse,
In spite of all materialistic accomplishments, happiness and peace eludes the world. The need of the hour is self-awakening and self-inspection.
Vipassana is one of the ancient Indian meditation techniques, propagated by Gautam Buddha as the ultimate solution to all ills and sufferings of the universe. Mr. S.N Goenka has been carrying forward this tradition and imparting the knowledge to millions of people around the globe since 1969.
Vipassana literally means knowing oneself. ‘Passana’ means “seeing/perceiving”. ‘Vi’ means “through” which together mean looking deeply into oneself as an onlooker. This insight meditation technique is based on the philosophy that our happiness and sufferings, desires and ignorance are not results of external factors, but born and nurtured inside us. With mindful meditation, the mind is purified and experiences the present moment rather than lingering on to the past or getting intimidated by the overwhelming future.
Vipassana meditation is a three-step process:
The first step is abstinence – here the mind is calmed by undertaking five moral precepts: practicing abstention from killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct and the use of intoxicants.
The second step is to learn to fix one’s attention on their flow of breath as it enters and leaves the body. The students observe the abdomen and its movements during breathing in (“rising”) and out (“falling”), thus concentrating on the present moment. The focus is only on breathing- its beginning, middle part and the end. This is practiced from 10 minutes up to 1 hour. This is usually achieved by the fourth day when the mind is calmer and more focused, better able to undertake the practice of Vipassana. From day 4, the meditation begins with observing your body parts, feeling the sensations but not reacting to them.
Lastly, learning the meditation of goodwill – love, kindness and compassion towards all beings. The entire practice of Vipassana is a mental training, used to develop a healthy mind.
Vipassana meditation courses are initiated through a 10-day residential course at various Vipassana centers, under the guidance of a qualified teacher. During the course, the students are literally cut off from the external world and have no access to phones, the internet, reading and writing and suspend any religious practice. Students begin their day at 4 am and meditate for nearly 10 hours daily. To achieve mental silence, students abstain from talking, making eye contact and other gestures. This may sound impossible initially but is extremely essential to focus exclusively on oneself, which is the sole aim of the course.
The deep breathing practice helps calm one’s chaotic mind and emotions and allows them to feel the various sensations and pressure points in their body: be it the pain in the joints, deep hurt in their chest or just some tingling in the back of the neck. Vipassana encourages the student to simply observe these emotions without suppressing or intensifying it allowing it to pass through them. Meditating for hours also brings forth a sense of peace, clarity and mindfulness.
A simple and healthy meal is served during the course. The course is very impactful and helps one lead a simple, calm, and positive life. Vipassana holds the power to transform the human character and purify the mind. Let go the sufferings and unhappiness; embrace a new life of bliss, health and peace with Vipassana!
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