Vipassana Meditation For Everyone (Meditation series for everyone)

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Articles

  1. A Brutally Honest Review of My 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat
  2. Meditation In Everyday Life
  3. Questions & Answers About the Technique of Vipassana Meditation
  4. Introduction to the Technique

I fantasize about escaping. We are about to sit and watch a video over an hour long so I happily busy myself by building a comfortable reclining seat out of bolsters and blocks. Kind of like this, but without the eye mask and with my eyes mostly open:. After a few minutes of relaxing in my reclined work of art, a volunteer comes by and whisper-scolds me to sit up straight.

I reluctantly deconstruct my makeshift bolster bed and hunch over my mat. Goenka , the revered teacher of Vipassana meditation, appears in grainy footage dated back to He is a chubby, cheerful-looking man with a shiny forehead and a crisp white shirt. He looks like a kindly Indian uncle who likes to sing loudly, usually slightly off-key, and gives you sweets while you gather around to listen to his stories. Except now, there are no sweets.


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Instead, he speaks of the root cause of all suffering: If we like something, that liking can turn into craving, which turns into clinging. If we dislike something or someone, that dislike can intensify into anger and hatred. When it comes to physical pain, focusing on it, becoming angry with it, and trying to force it to change or go away will only cause it to worsen and strengthen in its power and scope. But how do you escape the misery? By understanding that pain, sadness, and suffering are a natural part of life. You also have to understand that these are temporary and ever-changing, just as joy, happiness, and pleasure are.

Everything is temporary, so just notice each feeling. Observe it, without any sort of craving or aversion. This is a practice that offers a way out of suffering. Living not in the past nor in the future, but right now, in the present.

A Brutally Honest Review of My 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat

For the first time, a tiny ray of light glints through a crack in the darkness. It sucks, but I vow to keep sticking it out. It was a rainy, soggy, shitty mess during days three through five. The weather decided to match my mood. We are taught to switch from focusing on the triangle between our nostrils and our upper lip to scanning our entire body for both subtle and intense sensations, from the top of our head to the bottom of our toes. We are to do so with an equanimous mind, merely observing, not reacting, craving, hating, or judging. And despite the request for Noble Silence, a couple people continuously burp and yawn loudly.

I judge them, annoyed that they would disturb the silence so rudely when they could exert a little effort to contain themselves. I am supposed to generate love for Mr. This is the only time we are allowed to speak. I arrive at my assigned time and am ushered inside. Tina awaits my entry in the otherwise empty meditation hall. I notice she is wearing black New Balance sneakers beneath her long skirt.

How do we determine when and if to react to pain? We are learning to observe pain without reacting to it. Explore and observe the pain. If you are in danger or if it is pure torture, take care of yourself. Remove yourself from the danger. Stand up and walk around for a moment. Otherwise, simply notice it. Where is the pain? Where is its epicenter? Where does it begin and where does it end? If you keep observing and allowing it to be, while staying neutral, it will eventually pass because everything is temporary, even the worst pain.

This is a way out of suffering.

Meditation In Everyday Life

A dog likes treats and getting its belly rubbed. It dislikes being hit, and will react by biting whomever hit him. How can we understand what is healthy and good liking as well as disliking, versus excessive craving and unhealthy aversion? There are different degrees of liking and disliking something. Why make yourself more miserable about something that is temporary? I have a strong liking and craving for sleep, and I function a heckuva lot better when I have enough of it.

I think I could meditate and focus better if I got more sleep. However, unless you are actually starving, it can be a helpful practice to observe and accept your hunger during the day or at night. Be aware of your strong attachment to sleep. Keep noticing and observing the sensations with an equanimous mind. Your mind games are also a fantasy and future-oriented.

We are working on being in the present, not trying to escape into the future. My time with Tina is up. During the discourse this night, S. He tells amusing stories to illustrate each point. I do my best to listen through a heavy haze of pain. The pain has started to wax and wane with each body scan. This Vipassana meditation thing works. Pain really is only temporary and ever-changing. I try not to become attached to any outcome. I suspect I may be developing some supernatural powers.

Powerful 15 Minute Guided meditation Everyone Should Practice

And by supernatural powers, I mean an attention span that lasts longer than five seconds. On an early morning walk after meditation and breakfast, I stop to observe a giant ant colony, crouching down to watch this fascinating drama of nature, one that I call, As The Ant World Turns:. I could hear them buzzing, swarming, walking, and crunching. All of my senses were amplified. I look up at the sky for a moment before re-entering the meditation hall. The limbs of the sun stretch out from millions of miles away to touch my forehead and cheeks with their warmth.

Longer and longer moments of it, somehow strangely built up over the course of the past few days. And the times that it does suck pass, replaced by times that suck less, and even times that are kind of pleasant. Walking back to my room after the last 8: But if someone comes to a course concealing serious emotional problems, that person may be unable to understand the technique or to apply it properly to achieve the desired results.

This is why it is important to let us know your past history so that we can judge whether you will benefit from a course. People from many religions and no religion have found the meditation course helpful and beneficial. Vipassana is an art of living, a way of life. While it is the essence of what the Buddha taught, it is not a religion; rather, it is the cultivation of human values leading to a life which is good for oneself and good for others. Vipassana is taught step by step, with a new step added each day to the end of the course.

If you leave early, you do not learn the full teaching and do not give the technique a chance to work for you. Also, by meditating intensively, a course participant initiates a process that reaches fulfillment with the completion of the course. Interrupting the process before completion is not advisable. The point is that leaving early is shortchanging yourself. You don't give yourself a chance to learn the full technique and so you won't be able to apply it successfully in daily life.

You also interrupt the process in the middle rather than letting it come to the proper conclusion. To get home a day or two early, you waste all the time you have invested. The tenth day is a very important transition back to ordinary life. No one is permitted to leave on that day. Privacy Policy Email Webmaster. Toggle navigation About What is Vipassana? Goenka The Art of Living: Some pages may have a mix of your selected language and English. About What is Vipassana? Why is the course ten days long? How many hours a day will I be meditating? What language is used in the course?

How much does the course cost? How much are teachers paid to conduct courses? I can't sit cross legged. I'm on a special diet. Can I bring my own food? Can pregnant women attend courses? Are there any special arrangements or instructions for them?

Questions & Answers About the Technique of Vipassana Meditation

Why is a course conducted in silence? How can I be sure I am capable of doing the meditation? Is there anyone who should not participate in a course? Ten days is certainly a very short time in which to penetrate the deepest levels of the unconscious mind and learn how to eradicate the complexes lying there. Continuity of the practice in seclusion is the secret of this technique's success. Rules and regulations have been developed keeping this practical aspect in mind. They are not primarily for the benefit of the teacher or the course management, nor are they negative expressions of tradition, orthodoxy or blind faith in some organized religion.

Rather, they are based on the practical experience of thousands of meditators over the years and are both scientific and rational. Abiding by the rules creates a very conducive atmosphere for meditation; breaking them pollutes it.

A student will have to stay for the entire period of the course. The other rules should also be carefully read and considered. Only those who feel that they can honestly and scrupulously follow the discipline should apply for admission. Those not prepared to make a determined effort will waste their time and, moreover, will disturb others who wish to work seriously. A prospective student should also understand that it would be both disadvantageous and inadvisable to leave without finishing the course upon finding the discipline too difficult.

Likewise, it would be most unfortunate if, in spite of repeated reminders, a student does not follow the rules and has to be asked to leave. People with serious mental disorders have occasionally come to Vipassana courses with the unrealistic expectation that the technique will cure or alleviate their mental problems. Unstable interpersonal relationships and a history of various treatments can be additional factors which make it difficult for such people to benefit from, or even complete, a ten-day course.

Introduction to the Technique

Our capacity as a nonprofessional volunteer organization makes it impossible for us to properly care for people with these backgrounds. Although Vipassana meditation is beneficial for most people, it is not a substitute for medical or psychiatric treatment and we do not recommend it for people with serious psychiatric disorders. All who attend a Vipassana course must conscientiously undertake the following five precepts for the duration of the course:.

There are three additional precepts which old students that is, those who have completed a course with S. Goenka or one of his assistant teachers are expected to follow during the course:. Old students will observe the sixth precept by having tea without milk or fruit juice at the 5 p. The teacher may excuse an old student from observing this precept for health reasons. The seventh and eighth precept will be observed by all. Students must declare themselves willing to comply fully and for the duration of the course with the teacher's guidance and instructions; that is, to observe the discipline and to meditate exactly as the teacher asks, without ignoring any part of the instructions, nor adding anything to them.

This acceptance should be one of discrimination and understanding, not blind submission. Only with an attitude of trust can a student work diligently and thoroughly. Such confidence in the teacher and the technique is essential for success in meditation. During the course it is absolutely essential that all forms of prayer, worship, or religious ceremony — fasting, burning incense, counting beads, reciting mantras, singing and dancing, etc.

All other meditation techniques and healing or spiritual practices should also be suspended. This is not to condemn any other technique or practice, but to give a fair trial to the technique of Vipassana in its purity. Students are strongly advised that deliberately mixing other techniques of meditation with Vipassana will impede and even reverse their progress. Despite repeated warnings by the teacher, there have been cases in the past where students have intentionally mixed this technique with a ritual or another practice, and have done themselves a great disservice.

Any doubts or confusion which may arise should always be clarified by meeting with the teacher. The teacher is available to meet students privately between 12 Noon and 1: Questions may also be asked in public between 9: The interview and question times are for clarifying the technique and for questions arising from the evening discourses. All students must observe Noble Silence from the beginning of the course until the morning of the last full day. Noble Silence means silence of body, speech, and mind.

Any form of communication with fellow student, whether by gestures, sign language, written notes, etc. Students may, however, speak with the teacher whenever necessary and they may approach the management with any problems related to food, accommodation, health, etc. But even these contacts should be kept to a minimum. Students should cultivate the feeling that they are working in isolation. Complete segregation of men and women is to be maintained. Couples, married or otherwise, should not contact each other in any way during the course.

The same applies to friends, members of the same family, etc. It is important that throughout the course there be no physical contact whatsoever between persons of the same or opposite sex. Although physical yoga and other exercises are compatible with Vipassana, they should be suspended during the course because proper secluded facilities are not available at the course site. Jogging is also not permitted. Students may exercise during rest periods by walking in the designated areas.

No such items should be brought to the course site. If brought inadvertently they should be deposited with the management for the duration of the course. No drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants should be brought to the site; this also applies to tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and all other sedatives.