Meditation Benefits: Vipassana Meditation Brings Peace of Mind

Vipassana meditation brings peace of mind to the youth of India, at least around Mumbai, according to the Hindustan Times. Vipassana means “insight” in Pali, an ancient language of India. Vipassana is described as the essence of the teachings of Buddha, the experience of his teachings, because he attained the experience of the truth in meditation, so meditation is truly the essence of the teaching.

Vipassana Meditation Brings Peace of Mind

Vipassana Meditation Brings Peace of Mind

   

Vipassana is taught as a living practice of the Buddha’s teaching and it has been passed on for millennia. Vipassana as a technique is simplicity, is universally applicable and non-secular.

Vipassana is taught over a ten day period (though there are longer retreats) and is open to anyone that wants to practice this type of meditation. During this time the practitioner stays at the center, cutting all ties with the outside world. They are given instruction and told that refrain from all other activities such as reading, writing and, of course, any electronic devices are ‘turned off.’

While there is an open duologue with the meditation teacher, silence is observed between the participants. During the first three plus days the focus of practice is, appropriately enough, mental concentration, which is in preparation for formal meditation. Each day thereafter new practices or steps are introduced, until day ten when the silence ends. The tenth day is preparation for reentry into the everyday world, and the course end on the morning of the eleventh day.

The idea of meditating ten to twelve hours a day for days on end may seem a bit extreme to the uninitiated. In fact at the Vipassana centers around Mumbai, India, (as with all Vipassana centers) there is an evaluation process, like a doctors certificate, required to determine the fitness of the practitioner.

(For a detailed schedule of a ‘typical’ Vipassana retreat check out my post “The Benefits of Vipassana meditation.”)

But according to the Hindustan Times young people around Mumbai are embracing Vipassana meditation in order to relieve stress.

“Sujata Khanna, registrar, Pattana Vipassana Centre, Goregaon says that the number of people below the age of 30 who opt for Vipassana has increased noticeably in the past year. “While Vipassana was considered to be popular among the older crowd, we now find that the number of people below the age of 30 outnumber the senior crowd.”

She adds that during the vacation season, the ratio of women to men is higher: “Most come because they cannot handle the stress in their daily lives.”

Another reason for the youth to attend the intense retreat is to develop concentration skills that will help them in their studies and career.

“We always ask for a doctor’s certificate before they come, because Vipassana isn’t physically easy,” Khanna explains. “You have to sit for long hours and wake up very early, which is a big change from your usual routine. Some people do break down and cry, but a teacher is there to help them with the right techniques to deal with their situation. In fact, we’ve noticed almost 50 per cent of our young students come back.”

Advertising executive Labony Kaushal, 25, admits the only reason she thought of giving Vipassana a shot was to alleviate her boredom. “I was just tired of doing the same thing, and having nothing new in life to look forward to. I thought that 10 days of not talking to anyone would be good for me, since I’m not a very talkative person anyway.” Kaushal didn’t do any research before signing up, which she recommends for anyone who’s rolling the idea around in their head. “It’s not about religion; it’s an intense physical and mental experience because you’re just sitting and observing yourself. So, everybody’s experience is different.”

The first day, called Zero Day, is where an audio-visual explains the techniques of meditation to the new arrivals… and little else. “You expect someone to come up to you and tell you something, but you’re just sitting in one place, meditating. I got a headache on the first day, which is something they warn you of because your body is not used to it,” she recalls.

By the second day, Kaushal experienced a surge of energy, but admits the days dragged on. “I was doing a mental countdown to the end. And every day, it felt like I was running a never-ending race,” she says, adding, “But by the final day, I didn’t want to come back to Mumbai. And I definitely want to go back there soon.”

Ask Kaushal whether she’s noticed any permanent changes and she says, “ I was an angry person who’d react without thinking of the consequences, but I’ve become more patient now. I can feel a balance, though I would need to be in an extreme situation to test how powerful it is.”

Clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Seema Hingorrany admits she’s seen a substantial rise in the number of young patients opting for Vipassana, and cites stress as the main reason. “Patients between the ages of 22 to 30, who find that they cannot cope with the stress in their lives and the constant need to be in touch with people, take this step because Vipassana teaches you to detach yourself,” she says, adding, “Many of them are going through a break-up in their relationships, or have parents who are getting divorced. They listen to recommendations from friends or their spiritual guru, or have read up on the subject.”

Hingorrany says that she gets emails and calls from patients asking what the right age for Vipassana is, but she opines, “It’s not about being the right age, but having the right reason. If someone is emotionally disturbed or unbalanced, I wouldn’t recommend this intensive introspection because it might further upset the mental balance and cause you to crumble.”

For those who return from their retreat successfully, Hingorrany notices a change in their composition. “I’ve seen patients achieve a balance in body and mind.  Many reveal that their stress-related migraines and allergies disappear. And of course, they become emotionally stronger because they have enhanced their coping methods.” Read more…

The experience of Labony Kaushal is actually a common one. In the beginning most students find the meditation practice to seem more like torture instead of the deep inner peace they are seeking. They feel themselves very resistant to the forced timetable (like getting up at four or four thirty in the morning), the sparse facilities, instructions of the teacher, all the discipline and even the technique itself.

The big surprise for most of the students is, as it was for Kaushal, by the tenth day there’s the realization that Vipassana meditation brings peace of mind, that at some point the meditators slip into effortless effort, discover detached involvement and maintain a peaceful alertness.

My favorite books on Vipassana meditation are, “The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation by William Hart” and “Insight Meditation: A Step-By-Step Course on How to Meditate by Sharon Salzberg.”

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The Benefits of Vipassana Meditation

 

The benefits of Vipassana meditation are that as you practice it you will soon see that your thoughts and feelings are part of you but they are not you. You will be able to watch them, some being short flashes across your mind, others string themselves together to form long trains, still other create pictures in the mind and you are the one observing them all.

The Benefits of Vipassana Meditation

The Benefits of Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana is an awareness meditation; it doesn’t involve concentration on the breath, mantras or mandalas and candle flames. For a novice meditator, like Yvonne Moran, a ten day Vipassana meditation retreat was less like a retreat and a lot more like a marine boot camp, at least in the beginning.

But this experience is best told by the participant…

“The idea of meditating with no contact with the outside world for days on end on the sultry, tropical island of Sri Lanka might sound heavenly – but it proved to be the toughest thing I’d done in years.

No talking, no eye contact with others, no phones, internet, reading or writing: trying to spend all your waking hours during the 10-day course committed to learning Vipassana meditation was difficult enough.

But 10-plus hours spent meditating every day, all the time trying to sit – and remain immobile – in the lotus position, while simultaneously attempting to still the mind, to think of one thing only, and nothing else, was almost torturous.

Several “old students”, or experienced mediators, described their first course as “hell”.

Sweat was pouring off me in the early morning darkness and late into the night. The first few days were spent writhing in extreme discomfort and pain as I attempted to sit crossed-legged and erect on the cushioned floor in the same position for what seemed like interminable periods of time.

Stilling the mind, trying to clear it of everything other than focusing on breathing, for the first four days, then on the body’s sensations for the next six, proved a Herculean task.

Our busy minds run helter-skelter; trying to train the mind to focus on the one task and to have to continually bring it back from its incessant thought wanderings, was a monumental task.

It took many days before I came even close to achieving the recorded instructions. And still the mind wandered, just less often and with quieter thoughts. I had to keep on reminding the mind to focus, focus . . .

A ringing bell at 4am woke the 51 sleeping, mainly Sri Lankan, participants (there were three female and four male foreigners). Those pre-dawn two-hour meditation sessions were the toughest.

The 6.30am breakfast of tea, white rice, spicy vegetables and a banana was served to the segregated sexes in the dining room. Their metal cups and plates washed, meditators returned to the basic dormitories or two-three bedroom cottages to sleep.

Group meditation sessions started at 8am. During these four daily periods, participants were asked to try and remain in one position without moving at all. That meant no leaving the meditation hall for any reason. It was, apparently, a way of gaining strength from everyone undergoing the same process simultaneously.

Meditators could sit against the wall or walk outside for short rest periods if they needed a break during the non-group sessions.

A 10-20 minute break was followed by more meditation. Lunch at 11am usually consisted of rice, perhaps lentils, a good selection of spicy and some boiled vegetables, with something sweet to finish. This was the last meal of the day.

It was then time for showers, washing clothes and resting before the bell summoned us to the 1pm meditation. Group meditation continued through the early afternoon, followed by more meditation until teatime, – four crackers and a banana were the usual offerings.

Then there was another hour of meditation at 6pm. A video talk by lay meditator SN Goenka, who brought the technique from Burma to India, and from where it has spread around the world, followed. The last group meditation of 30 minutes finished at 9pm, followed by bed.

It was so hard; I was counting the days to the end. But slowly I came to realise it would be impossible to learn this form of meditation without undergoing such an intensive course.

The 2,500-year-old Vipassana meditation is universally applicable and non-secular. It teaches through your body’s sensations to see things as they really are.

By neutrally observing the changing nature of body and mind; of observing how the body’s sensations continually change, meditators learn the nature of impermanence, suffering and egolessness.

Eventually, you become more able to note the body’s pleasant and unpleasant sensations (pain or tension from sitting in one position, for example) without craving or aversion – without having to change your position to alleviate the discomfort, realizing that it is temporary and not permanent.

Those meditating become more balanced and learn not to react immediately to everyday life’s perceived pleasant and unpleasant events. It enables them to face life with more equilibrium, knowing that nothing is permanent and that everything passes.

I was exhausted after six months of travel in India and felt that doing something completely different would instill a new enthusiasm. Meditation was something I’d been interested in learning about, and with time to spare, I thought it would be a good idea to attempt it.

I was also exhausted after the course, and thinner, but I felt lighter, more positive and a bit more patient.”

The benefit of Vipassana meditation is from breath awareness insight arises naturally. When all the different kinds of thoughts, feeling, sensations and images arise, we learn to rest in the stillness, allowing the mind to be as it is, without discrimination or judgment.

Insight meditation or Vipassana is, it’s said, to be the type of meditation that the Buddha himself taught. There are a few insight meditation centers in the US, in California and Massachusetts, that offer intensive short term (ten day) and long term (three month) retreats. Click here to visit the original source of this post

ZEN Stillness as a Meditation Benefit

“Whenever you feel Turmoil around you Ensure stillness Surrounds you.”
ZEN Stillness
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A short Meditative Break – Zen style.

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Meditation Benefits and Neuroscience

The Benefits of Meditation – the New Frontier of Neuroscience

Neuroscience has to be the number one topic related to meditation benefits this week. A research study published on line April 21st in the Brain Research Bulletin showed that a regular practice of meditation can help those who suffer from chronic pain. This seems to be happening as the result of control over specific brain waves, the alpha waves. And it’s these alpha waves that create the patterns which minimize distractions reducing the chance that other stimuli will get the meditators attention.

Meditation Benefits and Neuroscience

Meditation Benefits and Neuroscience

 

These types of studies have been going on for years; for example a study in 1966, showed elevated alpha rhythms throughout the brains of a group of Buddhist monks, who had a regular meditation practice. It was found during that study that it’s the different types of brain waves which regulate the flow of information between brain cells.

More recent studies in neuroscience are showing meditation affects the brain in many positive ways. It’s showing that meditation activates the pre-frontal cortex, causing the release of neurotransmitters, including brain opiates, serotonin, oxytocin and even dopamine, the body’s natural antidepressant.

Enter Dr. Richard Davidson

Dr. Richard Davidson, director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, is a pioneer leading the way, for almost twenty years, using neuroscience to study meditation. Invited and encouraged by the Dalai Lama in his research on the effects on the brain of meditation, Davidson has given the chance to examine Tibetan Buddhists in his own lab.

Through his research, Dr. Davidson has discovered that monks that meditated on lovingkindness and compassion generated remarkable brain wave intensity, and that this intensely compassionate state of mind could be exercised in the same way a muscle is.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November 2004, Dr. Davidson and his team found if the meditation could enhance the brain’s ability to produce emotions, it might also be used to modify or control responses like depression.

The actual research title of the Harvard and MIT, April 21st study was , “effects of mindfulness meditation training on anticipatory alpha modulation in primary somatosensory cortex,” which is the explanation that the researchers believe answers the question, why does meditation help alleviate chronic pain symptoms. So, while this MIT study has been this week’s ‘hot topic’ in neuroscience and meditation benefits, meditation, it turns out, has been on the ‘new frontier’ of neuroscience for a long time now.

Here are more post on Neuroscience and the Benefits of Meditation

10 Take-Aways from Workshop on Neuroscience, Meditation & Health

Learnings from Neuroscience: Daily mindfulness meditation is recommended for all of us. Mindfulness meditation leads to structural changes in our brain (neuroplasticity). Mindfulness meditation leads us to have integration of separate …

Publish Date: 05/03/2011 4:53

http://www.dorleem.com/2011/05/10-take-aways-from-workshop-on.html

Meditation gets even more support from neuroscience | Therapist

Mindfulness Meditation, pain management, mind-body medicine, holistic health.

Publish Date: 04/07/2011 3:40

http://glennburdick.com/therapistblog/wellnessholistic-health/meditation-gets-even-more-support-from-neuroscience/

flute | Cured My Panic Disorder by the Neuroscience of Meditation

Cured My Panic Disorder by the Neuroscience of Meditation. April 29, 2011 By: ADMIN Category: Flute. My out of body travels into exhilarating spiritual realm experience [ Articles : Main ] Sample chapter of my book entitled …

Publish Date: 04/29/2011 11:08

http://flute.musicalinstruments4u.us/cured-my-panic-disorder-by-the-neuroscience-of-meditation/

Translating the meditation research | David Chapman at WordPress

Naljorma gZa’tsal, like me, is a student in the Aro lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and has been meditating for decades. She has a background in clinical neuroscience; I have some background in basic neuroscience. …

Publish Date: 04/25/2011 11:22

You Tube, Meditation Benefits and Neuroscience

 

Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation

Google Tech Talks February, 28 2008 ABSTRACT Mindfulness meditation, one type of meditation technique, has been shown to enhance emotional awareness and psychological flexibility as well as induce well-being and emotional balance. Scientists have als…

Meditation Enhances Attention – Scientific American

Neuroscientists have discovered a specific example of how meditating can give you the ability to notice things that non-meditators can’t: When you’re concentrating on something and miss something else that should be obvious, that’s the attentional bl…

Transform Your Mind, Change Your Brain

Google Tech Talk September 23, 2009 ABSTRACT Presented by Richard J. Davidson In this talk, Richard J. Davidson will explore recent scientific research on the neuroscience of positive human qualities and how they can be cultivated through contemplati…

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche – Using panic attacks for meditation

A clip from “Joy of Living: A Public Talk” DVD, Recorded in August, 2007. In this talk based on his groundbreaking first book, The Joy of Living (Harmony Books), world-renowned Buddhist teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche invites us to join him in unlock…

 

And Just for Fun a Few Tweets

 

Meditation, Neuroscience and Culture summer courses at the Brown University Contemplative Studies Summer Program see @Browncontemplat

By cathy_kerr at 05/05/2011 11:43

 

MEDITATION AND THE BRAIN course will cover cutting-edge neuroscience. Presented by 2 Brown professors http://tinyurl.com/5rfv7v6

By Browncontemplat at 05/05/2011 12:02

Practicing the Five Strengths – Zen Meditation Benefits

The five strengths are instructions on how to live and how to die, and in Zen there is really no difference.

The first strength is strong determination. Strong determination involves connecting with joy, relaxing, and trusting.

Familiarization is the next strength. Familiarization means that dharma no longer foreign; your thoughts are in alignment.ᅠ

Familiarization means we don’t have to search any further than our own meditation, and we know it. The third strength is cultivating the seeds of joy, kindness, patience and wisdom. These qualities make up Buddha nature and are already in us.

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This post continues with the other three strengths and gives a more complete explanation of each of the strengths. Practicing the five strengths on a daily basis will connect you to peace, compassion and joy.

Reboot Camp or Meditation Benefits for the Mind

With a back ground in engineering and science the idea of a ‘new age’ approach to stress relief seemed foreign to Manish. His wife had encouraged him to do something different to deal with the business stressor, what he found was a life changing experience.

The words meditation and boot camp are not usually use in the same sentence, but this is exactly what happened for Manish and the number of meditation benefits that he discovered in this ten day ‘boot camp’ was remarkable. Besides stress relief there was relief from chronic back pain and a “deep compassion towards all living beings.”ᅠ

Through regular meditation, the mind resets and realises that both pleasant and unpleasant experiences are actually impermanent. We learn that we should not get attached to, or long for, only pleasant experiences and feel aversion towards unpleasant  
AsiaOne

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The ten day ‘reboot’ camp it turns out was a Vipassana meditation, a form of mindfulness meditation. In the end Manish feel that he had been transformed in powerful ways, the meditation benefits he experienced went deeper than he could have imagined when stepped through the door to the ‘boot camp’ ten days earlier.

Sai Baba – “Love all, serve all; help ever, hurt never.”

Sathya Sai Baba, one of the best known gurus and holy men of the twentieth century, with a following of at least twenty million died on April 24th at the age of 84. He will be given all the honors of a true Hindu spiritual leader when he is buried.

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

He encouraged his followers to meditate and sing devotional songs, and to take his darshan — that is, to see him in person, the better to experience his divine presence. He was also accused of faking miracles and of being a sexual predator.

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I have met those who have told me that they witnessed Sai Baba confer enlightenment with a touch or a look, others I’ve spoken with told stories of other kinds of magic. Not everyone believed in the magic of Sai Baba, some thought him a complete fraud while others simple saw him as a philanthropist and nothing more.

I never had the opportunity to visit the ashram or be in the presence of Sai Baba, so for me, he will always have a mystique and therefore a presence in my life. The time headline reads, “The man who was god is dead,” but Sai Baba understood we are all god in disguise.

 

Into the silence – Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana retreats last from ten days to three months and are held in complete silence, with the exception of instructions given by the teacher. Loving kindness or ‘Metta’ meditation instruction is often given as well.

This post give an inside perspective for anyone who has not had the opportunity to experience a ten day or longer retreat.ᅠ

WHITE ROCK – Last week my article was about the saving grace of silence in a 90-minute yoga class. Today,

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One question that is addressed is why would someone want to experience ten days of silence? The benefit of practicing Vipassana Meditation is learning be unconditionally happy and know reality as it is, not as we would like it to be.