Mindful meditation has grown in popularity in recent decades and scientific researchers have looked at its effectiveness in treatments of various illnesses and conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Scientific researcher, Dr Heber, demystified mediation and helped to bring it into the mainstream by renaming meditation the ‘Relaxation Response’. His studies showed a direct correlation between meditation and better health.
In recent times of COVID19, we are dealing with different impacts on our life and this has provoked thoughts on how we may cope with new situations. Meditation is the perfect tool to bring peace into our mind and it is really is not that hard to try out.
Vipassana is a meditation technique that starts with the observation of breath and goes deeper with the observation of bodily sensation. To begin, we must close our eyes and maintain a proper posture such as sitting in an easy, cross-legged pose.
For the first five to ten minutes, pay attention to the incoming and outgoing breath at the entrance of the nostrils; this will develop your concentration. If you find your ‘monkey’ mind trys to take away the concentration, count only the incoming breath eight times and then repeat this cycle. Once the concentration develops, we can stop counting and keep our focus on the touch of the breath at the nostril. The more you are aware of the incoming and outgoing breath, the breathing process becomes very natural and the mind becomes more attentive.
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”
In the second phase, once the concentration has developed, start scanning your body parts from head to toe and again from toe to head, observing different sensations without judgment. We should be non-reactive to any sensation’s that may arise and simply observe them. You may experience different sensations including pain or tension created in the body due to posture, acknowledge these and repeat this process for up to 40 minutes.
By not becoming reactive to the sensations within the body, it helps to change habitual patterns. When the mind reacts, it develops into craving or aversion. When habitual patterns are reduced or considered, the mind gains clarity of thought and becomes motivated for the greater good. The defilement of the mind is removed with this process and amazing new sensations may be experienced.
This applies to everything we go through in our life; nothing stays forever whether it is suffering or happiness. The process is simple, but the key is the consistency required with daily practice for noticeable benefit. Meditation done in groups and under supervision of meditation teacher is always encouraged.
If you would like to find out more about Vipassana, click below to listen to a TEDx talk by Eilona Ariel, a documentary filmmaker whose work was deeply inspired by her life in Asia and the practice of this ancient meditation technique.