What is Vipassana meditation?
Vipassana (Vipashyana) means “to see things in an extraordinary way”—not as we think they are or want them to be but “as they truly are in and of themselves.” It is pure awareness.
Vipassana is a form of mental training that will teach you to experience the world in an entirely new way. You will learn for the first time what is truly happening to you, around you and within you. It is a process of self-discovery, a participatory investigation in which you observe your own experiences while participating in them as they occur.
Vipassana is a gentle technique. But it also is very, very thorough. It is an ancient and codified system of training your mind, a set of exercises dedicated to becoming more and more aware of your own life experience. It is attentive listening, mindful seeing and careful testing.
Essentially, Vipassana meditation is a process of retraining the mind. The state you are aiming for is one in which you are totally aware of everything that is happening in your own perceptual universe, exactly the way it happens, exactly when it is happening; total, unbroken awareness in present time.
Why choose inhales and exhales as the primary objects of meditation?
The object of concentration should be portable, easily available, and cheap. It should also be something that will not embroil us in those states of mind from which we are trying to free ourselves, such as greed, anger, and delusion.
Breathing satisfies all these criteria and more. It is common to every human being. We all carry it with us wherever we go. It is always there, constantly available, never ceasing from birth till death, and it costs nothing.
Through the process of mindfulness, we slowly become aware of what we really are down below the ego image. We wake up to what life really is. It is not just a parade of ups and downs, lollipops and smacks on the wrist. That is an illusion. Life has a much deeper texture than that if we bother to look, and if we look in the right way.
By practicing Vipassana you will finally understand what the experience of being alive really is.
There are two different meditation techniques: Vipassana by Goenka and Mahamudra Vipassana in Tibetan Buddhism.
How to practice Vipassana
1️⃣If you are a beginner, ideally, one should practise Vipassana at a very quite place.
2️⃣Sit quiety and peacefully with legs crossed (your leg position isn’t that important when you re just starting your meditation journey). One should sit straight while meditating since an arched back would soon induce pain (and this is really important, you back should always be straight).
3️⃣Set up a time for your meditation session, it can anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes.
4️⃣It is very important for one to relax and let the body be at ease while meditating.
5️⃣Once the body feels like it has settled, the meditator should try focusing on the “triangle area” of your nose and nostrils. Breathing should be chosen as the primary object of meditation.
6️⃣You should constantly observe your breathing. You inhale, you exhale, don’t force, just breathe naturally. What you are looking for is the physical, tactile sensation of the air that passes in and out of the nostrils.
7️⃣It is natural for the mind to wander off and the best way to deal with it is gently, but firmly, without getting upset or judging yourself for straying return to the simple, physical sensation of breath (it can be anything: tickling sensation, cold/heat sensation, sensation of the air touching your skin, you name it). Then do it again the next time, and again, and again, and again.
8️⃣By focusing on your breath your are preparing yourself for the next stage of vipassana meditation where you meditate longer and focus on the body sensation (you start from your head, following with face, neck, shoulders, front, belly, back, spine, right arm, fingers, left arm, fingers, and so on). You keep going until you observe sensation on the every single part of your body. When you finish, start over. Starting from feet to head. And again. And again.
9️⃣When this is done, a deep calm pervades body and mind, a state of tranquility which must be experienced to be understood. This is an incredibly high goal, and not to be reached all at once. It takes practice, so we start small. We start by becoming totalIy aware of one small unit of time, just one single inhalation. And, when you succeed, you are on your way to a whole new experience of life.
Vipassana is a gentle technique. But it also is very, very thorough.
The official website of Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin - click here
If you are a beginner please check this link - Meditation for Beginners