Vipassana Meditation is an ancient art form of mastery over our habitual reactions.
When I mention going on a silent 10-day meditation retreat, people’s reactions are often respond with a glazed look and sort of a “I could never stay silent for 10 days” kind of a response.
But having been through it, keeping your mouth shut is easy. Your mind still chatters away, and observing this is just part of the fun. Developing the strength to sit comes one step at a time, and is why you go… Not a prerequisite.
Vipassana meditation is the practice at the heart of Buddhism, with an objective of enlightenment. As Daniel Ingram noted in his book, “Mastering the Core Teaching of the Buddha”, enlightenment is often misunderstood, sometimes to the point that people don’t believe it exists in the world today. In fact, Vipassana meditation spells out a clear practice that leads to enlightenment in an achivable manner. From his own experience, Daniel approached it with determination and effort, but found it less challenging than getting his medical degree.
The concept behind Vipassana meditation is that suffering exists, and, and starts at the level of sensations in the form of craving or aversion. The meditation is cultivating a practice of observing these sensations — that is, learning how to observe without reacting with craving or aversion, such that your suffering will be eradicated. How cools is that?
As a side effect, I’ve found when I practice, my mind is more calm, and I approach my day with more equanimity, being able to handle situations that arise with greater clarity… and less of the “why did you do this to me?” kind of junk which sidetracks the mind from functioning rationally. Yea. Cool.