What Are The Benefits Of Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana Meditation 5 29

Vipassana meditation is a Buddhist practice that uses pure self-observation to realize the transient nature of life's activities.

This is accomplished by meditating on the thoughts, sensations, and feelings that are moving through your body, and noticing their source and the fact that they are transient.

This technique is especially effective in helping to free the unconscious mind from habitual reference points, story lines, and automatic responses. It provides a haven of peace and space, both mentally and physically. And even though "becoming homeless" is a Buddhist metaphor to describe what happens to us when we learn to disidentify with our mental contents, one first-time meditator said that sitting on the cushion was more like "coming home."

How To Practice Vipassana Meditation

In a quiet place, sit on a cushion on the floor or in a straightbacked chair. If you are sitting on the floor, cross your legs in a comfortable way. In a chair, your feet should be flat on the floor.

Take the head-and-shoulders posture of meditation -- back straight, hands resting gently on the thighs, head and spine aligned, shoulders relaxed. Keep your eyes open with the gaze directed downward about four feet in front.

There are many systems of meditation that use the breath as the object of focus, and this one is no exception. In this practice, we put our attention on the outgoing breath.

However, it's not as if we are trying to shut out the world and focus wholly on our outbreath. We remain panoramically aware and available to any thoughts, feelings, sounds, sights, and smells that may arise. One Buddhist teacher compared this practice to carrying a teaspoon of water across the room. Our focus is on the water and the spoon, but at the same time we are aware of everything else in the room.

As thoughts or other stimuli arise, note them and return your attention to the outbreath. If you do find yourself thinking (and sometimes we've mentally told off our boss, taught our next seminar, or courted, married, and had children with the attractive person sitting next to us before we notice that we're thinking), then silently label it "thinking" and go back to the breath. If you hear a noise -- a cough or a siren on the street, for example -- label the noise "cough" or "siren" and return to your outbreath. If you feel discomfort in your ankles or knees, label it "pain," adjust your position if necessary, and return to the breath.

Be gentle in your approach. If you find yourself labeling thoughts with a tone that says, "Thinking, goddamn it!" try to be a little more friendly. There's nothing wrong with thinking.

The Point Of Vipassana Meditation

The point of this technique is not to stop thinking or achieve a state of bliss, but to become aware of mental activity. Vipassana meditation can be extremely liberating as we realize that we do not have to follow every thought that comes into our heads like an ant eating honey. We can notice what's happening and let it go.

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

Try to do this meditation for at least 15 minutes a day. When you let yourself practice labeling and letting go of the thoughts, feelings, and outer stimuli that come to you, pretty soon you'll notice that they aren't you. Although pure self-observation is our practice during the meditation, the eventual question is, "Who is observing?" Now we can identify our most common personality, and then go deeper to a more heartfelt observer, then deeper still to the simple witness who observes all and resides in deep peacefulness as it watches the ebb and flow of living.

The Best Way To Learn Vipassana Meditation

One note: Although it is possible to learn to meditate from a book, the best place to begin is with a qualified instructor. And practicing with a group -- especially if you're a beginner -- can be a very supportive way to start. The benefits of this practice are peacefulness, expanded awareness, and one more thing: As we learn to notice our thoughts and feelings, even though we do nothing immediately about them, we acquire an attitude and a distance that will allow us to master them and redirect our energies toward healthier, more positive, more creative ways of being.

Pathways to the Soul by Carlos Warter.This article was excerpted by permission from the book:

Pathways to the Soul
by Carlos Warter.

Copyright 2000, published by Hay House Inc.

Click here for more info or to order this book.

About The Author

Carlos Warter M.D., Ph.D.

Carlos Warter M.D., Ph.D. is a medical doctor, transpersonal spiritual psychiatrist, lecturer, and pioneer in the field of consciousness raising and alternative healing. He is the author of Soul Remembers and Who Do You Think You Are? The Healing Power of Your Sacred Self. Born in Chile, Dr. Warter has been awarded the United Nations Peace Messenger and the Pax Mundi awards for his humanitarian efforts. He presents keynote speeches, workshops, and seminars both in the U.S. and throughout the world. His website is at

Recommended Books: Health

Fresh Fruit CleanseFresh Fruit Cleanse: Detox, Lose Weight and Restore Your Health with Nature's Most Delicious Foods [Paperback] by Leanne Hall.
Lose weight and feel vibrantly healthy while clearing your body of toxins. Fresh Fruit Cleanse offers everything you need for an easy and powerful detox, including day-by-day programs, mouth-watering recipes, and advice for transitioning off the cleanse.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

Thrive FoodsThrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health [Paperback] by Brendan Brazier.
Building upon the stress-reducing, health-boosting nutritional philosophy introduced in his acclaimed vegan nutrition guide Thrive, professional Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier now turns his attention to your dinner plate (breakfast bowl and lunch tray too).
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

Death by Medicine by Gary NullDeath by Medicine by Gary Null, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio and Carolyn Dean
The medical environment has become a labyrinth of interlocking corporate, hospital, and governmental boards of directors, infiltrated by the drug companies. The most toxic substances are often approved first, while milder and more natural alternatives are ignored for financial reasons. It's death by medicine.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

More Articles By This Author

You May Also Like

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration




digital money 9 15
How Digital Money Has Changed How We Live
by Daromir Rudnyckyj
In simple terms, digital money can be defined as a form of currency that uses computer networks to…
An Equinox Altar
Making An Equinox Altar and Other Fall Equinox Projects
by Ellen Evert Hopman
Fall Equinox is the time when the seas become rough as the winter gales set in. It is also the…
curous kids 9 17
5 Ways To Keep Kids Curious
by Perry Zurn
Kids are naturally curious. But various forces in the environment can dampen their curiosity over…
koala bear "stuck" in a tree
When It’s Smart To Be Slow: Lessons from a Koala Bear
by Danielle Clode
The koala was clinging to an old tree stag while stranded in the Murray River, on the border…
quiet quitting 9 16
Why You Should Talk To Your Boss Before 'Quiet Quitting'
by Cary Cooper
Quiet quitting is a catchy name, popularised on social media, for something we’ve all probably…
woman's face looking at herself
How Could I Have Missed This?
by Mona Sobhani
I began this journey not expecting to find sci­entific evidence for my experiences, because the…
Like Genes, Your Gut Microbes Pass From One Generation To The Next
Like Genes, Your Gut Microbes Pass from One Generation to the Next
by Taichi A. Suzuki and Ruth Ley
When the first humans moved out of Africa, they carried their gut microbes with them. Turns out,…
Sedna and Our Emerging World
Sedna and Our Emerging World
by Sarah Varcas
Sedna is the Inuit sea goddess, also known as mother or mistress of the sea and goddess of the…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities | | | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.