Vipassana is another name of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the trend that’s taking the world by storm, especially the western part. East has been practicing this for thousands of years under its original name, Vipassana Meditation. Buddha practiced this meditation while sitting under the tree, immersed in nature.
It is possible that you might not have heard of Vipassana meditation, but you’ve certainly heard of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the trend that’s taking the world by storm, especially the western part. East has been practicing this for thousands of years under its original name, Vipassana Meditation. Vipassana eternally means “insight”, or “clear seeing.” It’s all about seeing things without prior judgment or interpretation. Buddha practiced this meditation while sitting under the tree, immersed in nature thus meant to provide insight into the true nature of reality.
Mindfulness is believed to have incredible benefits. From easing depression, soothing mood and improving physical sickness, mindfulness allows us to achieve mental clarity so that we can show up for the responsibilities in our life with a renewed sense of calm and purpose. It soothes the anxious thoughts by being completely present in the moment and relieves us from the tied thoughts of the past or future.
In an increasingly stressed out routine, finding this calm is becoming more and more desirable by the people. Thus we see business, schools, prisons, and athletes turning to mindfulness to improve productivity, performance and to increase overall happiness.
This all might sound too heavy or might intimidate at first, but it’s very simple to make it a habit to meditate. Starting meditation practice doesn't need a huge commitment, and you definitely don't need to start dedicating an hour a day. Try to find small ways to be more present in your life. Put down your phone and just breathe, allowing your mind to quiet and your thoughts to arrive in the moment. Try this for a bit longer each day and experience the changes that happen to you!
Vipassana is an excellent meditation technique. Not just for practicing people but beginners too should do a ten-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat. This ten-day course will prove to be the most demanding endeavors of your life. Just sitting with an erected spine for ten long hours a day can be a challenge at first. Added complete silence and two vegetarian meals a day is when you might have some level of physical and emotional agony within you. But wait a little more, keep on the practice and you're surely going to come out as a polite person with calm thoughts.
There is nothing complicated about this style of meditation, in fact, it is much simpler. It asks our senses to be aware and wisely observes what is happening in the present moment. To practice, find a comfortable seat and breathe normal, without any extra effort. Then, focus your attention on the belly rising and falling. This is where your attention should stay, as this is all that should be happening in this moment. When the mind starts to concentrate, as it will sooner or later be, then observe whatever the distraction you come across and label it in its simplest form.
Even if there is a loud sound that is trying to take away your attention, label that thought as “hearing.” If the distraction is internal, like thoughts of the past or future, acknowledge and label those thoughts as “remembering or planning.” The idea is not to punish yourself for these distractions, but rather to simply be aware of them, label them, and come back to the attention of the rising and falling breath.
It is suggested that you should practice meditation for one hour a day and carry this mindset with yourself in everything you do. When you practice Vipassana meditation for a complete day, continue to observe and label each activity you take part in. Whether it's “wash the clothes” or “drive to work,” mindful attention should be present every time. These learnings are just a few things to list down you'll learn in Vipassana. Experience it yourself to get benefitted for the whole of your life.
The crux of the question for many is - whether they should take up Vipassana Meditation, or when to start practicing the same. This is not a question we could ever decide for someone. It’s highly personal. Other people can’t tell you whether it’s the right step for you, but we sure can give you a few thoughts through this post: The course has benefited most of the people because it gives a lot of perspective one needs in life. On a weekly basis, you'll find mind reframing situations with the recorded lessons and teachings of late S.N. Goenka that you will listen to each night. These lessons and spiritual exposure will aware you with core truths all the major religions advocate. These lessons help to clarify your life-related doubts, increases peace of mind and all of that happy spiritual-ness that one sought for. It didn’t fix your issues, but it will surely give you a new perspective.
Vipassana is not a cure-all magical solution to life’s problems. It doesn’t solve anything when you come out on the other side of the ten-day retreat. Instead, Vipassana is a tool. It’s a training technique that will show you the path to shape your mind and soul to be able to face the world in a better way. The ten days are only the introduction to the technique. From there, it’s up to you how much you get out of it.
A simple answer to the question, 'When to start?' could be as simple as quoted by someone - “Not everyone has heard of Vipassana, but it comes into your life when you need it. When you can most benefit from learning the teachings and technique.”
Vipassana was reintroduced in India in the 1970s by a retired industrialist, S.N.Goenka. Vipassana silent meditation program is a 10-day residential program. The rigorous schedule includes the day to begin at 4.30 a.m., so it's not for the faint-hearted people. However, there is no fee for the course, food, and accommodation. The courses are generally conducted twice a month throughout the year with same course structure at all centers. Major centers for Vipassana meditation in India are listed below.
Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri
Dhamma Pattana, Mumbai
Dhamma Bodhi, Bodh Gaya
Dhamma Sikhara, Dharamasala
Dhamma Sota, Haryana
Dhamma Paphulla, Bangalore
Dhamma Setu, Chennai
Dhamma Khetta, Hyderabad
11 Nights / 12 Days
10 Nights / 11 Days
8 Nights / 9 Days