As taught by SN Goenka
We all know we need to be better people – let go of the anger, hatred, jealousy, ego, greed and fear – all the negativity that is holding us back from reaching our highest potential. But how? Vipassana is a way out of our misery...
Vipassana is an ancient meditation technique which originated in India. It means,” to see things as they really are”. Vipassana was rediscovered by Gotama the Buddha over 2500 years ago. It was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal problems. However, Vipassana is not Buddhist – it is a meditation technique that someone from any religion or background can practise to eradicate their mental impurities. It is a technique to help us experience the highest level of happiness and ultimately full liberation.
It is a way of healing ourselves on all levels, and not merely for the curing of disease. It is a way to help you to come out of all your sufferings of this human life. It is a technique to transform the self by learning to observe oneself at a much deeper level.
Vipassana is also known as insight meditation. It works at the level of sensations (the life of the body), which is the deep connection between the mind and body. Through a process of deep, self observation, which the Buddha discovered for himself, he realised that nothing arises in the mind without something arising at the level of sensations on the body, and similarly, nothing arises at the level of sensations on the body without something arising in the mind. This was probably the Buddha’s greatest contribution to mankind.
When anger arises in the mind, it is impossible to observe as it is abstract, but by learning to observe oneself at the level of sensations, we indirectly start observing the anger and it begins to pass away. By learning to just observe the sensations, pleasant or unpleasant, and not react, we begin to change the habit pattern of the mind at the deepest level. We begin to experience the laws of nature within the framework of our own bodies.
A time will come when we realize that we are 100% the cause of our own suffering. This is because we are constantly reacting, out of ignorance, because we do not know what is happening deep inside of us. We spend so much time worrying about what is happening all around us, that we don’t even bother to pay attention to what is happening inside of us. The whole world is designed to numb us, to distract us from the truth within us.
We have 5 minutes alone and we turn on the TV, switch on the radio, call a friend, go to the fridge, and make a cup of coffee- anything –which distracts us. We do not how to be still. We begin to feel uncomfortable in the silence and therefore we remain ignorant to the truth deep within us.
When we are happy, we see the best in ourselves, the people around us and the environment. We also attract more positivity into our lives. When we are miserable we see all the negativity in ourselves and around us and begin to attract more negativity into our lives. When we to change our own vibrations we change our world. We have to change the habit pattern of the mind at the deepest level to change the world.
After the passing away of the Buddha, the king at the time, King Asoka, sent fully liberated monks to the nearby countries to spread the teachings of the Buddha. That is why there are Buddhist countries neighbouring India.
The technique of Vipassana, as well as the theory, was only maintained in Burma, for all those years, amongst a handful of monks, but it was lost to the rest of the world.
It was predicted that 2500 years after the passing away of the Buddha, the teachings of Vipasssana would spread throughout the world again. It was then that SN Goenka, the main teacher of Vipassana, received his teachings in Burma from Sayagi U Ba Khin. Vipassana was then brought back to India in the late 60s. The first centre was built, Dhamma Giri, in 1976 just outside of Mumbai. Vipassana then continued to spread throughout the world. There are now over 200 centres worldwide, with new ones opening up all the time. These offer 10 day, as well as longer courses, every month. They are all run on a donation basis. There is no fee for the teachings.
I’ve been practising Vipassana meditation for 6.5 years now (started in Feb 2008), which is not that long really. I have been very fortunate to spend much time in different countries sitting and serving 10 day as well as 20 and 30 day silent retreats. I also maintain a daily 2 hour practice. Along with a raw vegan diet, this really has changed my life. I have changed from a bundle or misery to someone who wakes up happy and feeling healthy, almost every day!
I believe that in order to learn the technique of Vipassana meditation properly, you will need to attend a 10 day, silent residential retreat where you will be taught the technique step by step. If you are interested you can take a look at www.dhamma.org which is the main website for centres all over the world. You can also go to the Dhamma Giri website for more information on Vipassana.
My passion for finding the truth and guiding others inwards has lead me to the place where I share my experience and dedication to our spiritual development, with others. It can be difficult to learn meditation on your own and to maintain a regular practice without someone there to guide you.
Having a guide can really help you to establish your own practice and keep you focused and inspired.
I teach a technique of meditation called Annapana meditation which is also called mindfulness meditation and works with the natural breathe. Annapana is the beginning part of the Vipassana Course.
Annapana can me practiced by anyone from any religion or belief as you are working with your natural reality and there is nothing sectarian or religious about it. Focusing on the breath helps to calm the mind allowing the mind to become more concentrated and peaceful.
I am available to teach meditation one on one, to groups or on retreats. If you are interested in my presence to help facilitate your spiritual journey then please contact me for more information.