Vipassana meditation is one of the most ancient and most widely practiced forms of meditation. It originated in India many thousands of years ago as a way to cure universal ills.
Does that sound intimidating? Read on – it’s actually deceptively simple in concept, although it can be challenging to practice (but LifeFlow will help!).
The term vipassana means to see things as they really are. It is a form of mindfulness meditation – or singular focus on the present.
Why is it important to see things as they are?
Each one of us sees the world through a unique filter of beliefs and personal experiences. For example, if you grew up poor you would have a completely different worldview than someone who grew up wealthy. If your parents instilled the belief in you that you are capable and can do whatever you want with your life, you would have a very different worldview than someone whose parents constantly said demeaning things like “Don’t be so stupid!”
Each one of us, no matter how aware and thoughtful our parents may have been, is still influenced by the outside world – teachers, peers, society, the media, and so on – and from a very young age, we are programmed to fit in, by accepting and acting according to certain “truths.” But as you can imagine, one person’s truth can be radically different from another’s – and they are both valid, to the individual! Over a lifetime, we collect many “truths”. Some of them serve us, and some do not.
One example of a “truth” that serves NO ONE is “You can’t make money doing that.” So every time you think about your beautiful dream, the thing you most love to do in the world, it is diminished because that little voice chimes in and tells you to stop being delusional and start being practical. You can imagine, I’m sure, how bad that feels – soon you may start to feel miserable at the very thought of doing what you love… and this won’t end happily, will it?
Vipassana helps an individual get past their conditioned perceptions through self-observation and uncovers the real truth. The practice begins by giving your full attention to physical sensations (beginning with breath-awareness and moving on to awareness of physical feelings). Then, you move on to awareness of your thoughts and your emotions without allowing yourself to go down the rabbit hole – in other words, observe the thought, feel the emotion, and let them pass. When you do this, you will come to realize things like: “My own thoughts are the cause of my suffering!”
When you start having “aha moments” like that, life becomes more peaceful and you feel more in control of your life experience because you will be able to instantly spot when you allow an upsetting thought to take root and ruin your day – and prevent it from taking root!
It’s not easy to learn vipassana meditation because the mind is very busy and easily distracted. However, LifeFlow can help. You can start by settling into a deep meditative state and then begin with your self-observation and self-exploration.
As you start to develop mastery over the mind, you can begin the meditation session with breath-awareness and LifeFlow simultaneously… and as you hone your self-mastery and self-awareness skills, you can practice just breath-awareness as a way to get into meditation, and stay in a deep state of vipassana or awareness/mindfulness.
Vipassana meditation is a way to train the mind, just as exercise trains the muscles. And, just like physical training, it takes time to master vipassana – and that’s okay! Don’t approach it with a goal in mind, just enjoy the experience of the gradual unfolding of your true self – a peek here, an insight there, a happy realization after another… it’s a beautiful journey and worth the effort of learning!