Vipassana Meditation: Everything you need to know
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Vipassana meditation or vipassana meditation is one of the oldest forms of meditation in Hindu culture. Its discoverer or creator was Buddha, about 2500 years ago.
It is an insight meditation , not a tranquility meditation, in which you begin by observing the movement of the air in and out of your nostrils, to achieve concentration and observe the movement of events, in order to get rid of of suffering and, with years of practice, perhaps, achieve nirvana.
Origins of vipassana meditation
Now that we know what vipassana is , it’s time to review its origins, to understand how it has come to our days and to Western culture.
The fact of having its origin in Buddha explains why it is a completely non-denominational meditation, which can be practiced by both atheists and believers of any religion, without any conflict whatsoever. Buddhism is a belief, not a religion, compatible with other beliefs or religions because it does not contain impositions of conduct or faith, despite the fact that there is talk of a Buddhist morality that is nothing more than an orientation guide.
Furthermore, vipassana is something universal , a good of humanity that should always be offered freely . Their practice is usually started with a few days of spiritual retreat, which will not incur any cost. In the future, those who have experienced physical or mental improvements can freely return and make a donation for the maintenance of the centers where the courses are taught and to cover the living expenses of those attending said courses.
Until a couple of decades ago, vipassana meditation was associated in Western countries with the practice of yoga or with very spiritual people, including ascetics. But clinical and epidemiological studies have shown the benefits of meditation in some patients with certain ailments.
As vipassana meditation is a free and non-denominational meditation, it was among one of the proposals for those who wanted to try meditating but found themselves in delicate situations from an emotional point of view. Despite everything, it is not impossible that there is someone trying to profit financially from vipassana meditation courses, so it is convenient to remember that this goes against its elemental bases.
Benefits of vipassana meditation on physical and mental health
It has been proven that, after years of continuous practice, all meditations have positive effects on physical health, alleviating chronic pain to a certain extent and improving recovery processes in patients with depression and/or anxiety . In chronic cases, we insist that after years of practice , patients can partially reduce the dose of anxiolytics or antidepressants they need.
Vipassana meditation is not a matter of faith , so there is not much chance of a placebo effect . Despite this, there are those who experience appreciable improvements with this type of meditation or another, those who achieve milder effects and those who do not achieve any change. In the case of short-term depressive or anxious processes, the truth is that the patient will be cured before reaching a basic level in meditation.
The so -called tranquility meditation also requires continuous and gradual practice, although it includes breathing control exercises from the beginning, which are very helpful in an anxiety crisis. What meditation is better or more effective to achieve relaxation? It depends on each person.
Vipassana meditation achieves detachment from suffering, being able to see things without affecting them (in an idyllic setting), or at least having less physical and mental repercussions. As you advance in the practice of vipassana in the hands of a recognized teacher, feelings such as benevolence and compassion are enhanced. Everything is a path to achieve the ultimate goal, nirvana.
In intermediate and advanced stages, vipassana meditation is performed in certain postures, when physically possible, so it also helps to tone the muscles.
Other additional benefits
All well-executed meditations and mindfulness help improve the ability to concentrate , and this can be used to study as well as to perform better or calm down at the onset of an anxiety attack.
The meditations that are based on leaving the mind completely blank and vipassana meditation are the ones that require higher levels of concentration, and perhaps that is the origin of the different results achieved from one subject to another. In the case of vipassana meditation, one becomes able to meditate by walking or performing automatic tasks such as painting or washing dishes.
Learning to meditate is somewhat complicated in Western countries due to the scarcity of serious centers and because free courses tend to hide something. When people who have been meditating for years are asked why they were born in places where children are taught to meditate, they usually answer that they are not trained to be teachers . Those who respond to us in this way are prudent people, because one learns to meditate with teachers who accumulate experience practicing but also teaching, in classes spaced out over time or in spiritual retreats of a few days, practicing daily and repeating, with a higher level, when that level is mastered (six months, one year…).
However, because vipassana meditation is a universal good , books and manuals have been published to introduce those who cannot find a teacher to the practice. These are dense books, full of concepts necessary to understand what is being done and how to carry it out, which are free of copyright and, in the case of being digital, are distributed and shared without monetary exchange.
In the case of some other forms of meditation, it may be necessary to pay a reasonable price to cover the expenses generated by the student, without this being an indication that one could be dealing with false teachers.
With vipassana meditation we will achieve a state of introspection that will help us in our daily lives, giving us the serenity and perspective necessary to live day to day calmly, away from anxiety.