vipassana meditation

In this guide, we will look at how to do Vipassana meditation technique at home, the Vipassana meditation script, and its benefits. This will give you access to your insight.

As a meditation teacher, I personally use this method for twenty minutes every single day. From my personal experience and my experiencing teaching this method, I can say that it seriously help with health and happiness. It provides insight into the mind, and empowers us to be more in control of our thoughts and feelings.

It is often learned and practised at Vipassana retreats. However, in my experience, it is better to do Vipassana at home because that is where you spend most of your time. The insight you gain from doing Vipassana at home will be far more beneficial than the insights you get at a retreat.

Let me show you how to do Vipassana at home.

What Is Vipassana Meditation Technique?

Vipassana is a Buddhist tradition of meditation, an exercise used for improving our ability to perceive reality clearly and to gain insight into the workings of the mind. It is one of the core Buddhist meditations, alongside Samatha .

The actual word Vipassana is the Pali word for “clear seeing” or “insight”.

Vipassana meditation technique is all about cultivating insight.

Think about it like this. At any given time, you have different thoughts and feelings flowing through your mind. However, most of the time, you are likely too distracted to perceive these thoughts clearly, and so they go on while we are largely unconscious of them.

Vipassana enables us to see thoughts and feelings for what they are, and this gives us power over them so we are less reactive, less emotional, and more in control.

The method is currently in vogue, riding on the back of the mindfulness movement. And that’s a good thing because it is one of the very best types of Buddhist practices.
The Buddha himself said that the Vipassana meditation technique is best practised under a tree in a forest or a similarly peaceful environment. However, you can practise anywhere you feel comfortable. And yes, you can practice Vipassana meditation at home so long as you have a peaceful space to meditate in and you aren’t continually being distracted by the kids, Facebook, or Netflix.

 

How To Do Vipassana Meditation

how to do vipassana meditation
how to do vipassana meditation

You should be somewhere you can sit both quietly and comfortably when you do Vipassana at home.

In my opinion, it is best to do it at home because then you will gain insight into how your mind works in the place you are every day: home, which is far more valuable than doing it at a retreat.

Buddha said that the Vipassana meditation technique is best practised while sitting with the legs crossed in the lotus position. But if you find this position uncomfortable, just sit comfortably with good posture. Some retreats try to force people to sit in the lotus position, but this is not a good idea because it can lead to knee problems.

Try This Script At Home

As with most types of meditation, vipassana should be practised properly. Follow this script carefully. Here it is.

  1. Sit comfortably
  2. Close your eyes
  3. Breathe in and focus on your abdomen. Do not attempt to control your breathing. Breathe in a relaxed manner.
  4. As you breathe, focus on the sensation of the breath in your body.
  5. Focus on the rise and fall of your abdomen.
  6. Become aware of the entire breathing process. Take 25 mindful breaths in this way.
  7. Reach down with your mind and feel the sensations arising in your abdomen. Concentrate on the breath in the abdomen. Breathe in and out with both body and mind. Body leads and mind follows mindfully.
  8. We usually experience our breathing as a process of three steps. We breathe in, pause, and then breathe out. But the process is one and so should be the focus. Don’t consider in terms of “In breath”, “Out breath”. Be mindful of the entire process as one movement. At the same time, don’t force your mind. The focus should be natural and relaxed, and there should be no mental strain. Rest the mind on the present moment.
  9. It can be challenging to maintain focus for extended periods. If your attention wanders, offer your mind support. You can do this by saying to yourself, “My breath is rising… rising. Pausing. And now falling.” Describing the movement of your breath in this way will help you to maintain focus.
  10. If your mind creates thoughts, simply tell yourself, “I am thinking” and concentrate on breathing.
  11. If your mind strays don’t judge yourself, don’t say “I’m not focusing enough.” Though we try, it is impossible to maintain focus 100% of the time. Even the most advanced meditators experience moments when the mind strays. Simply guide the mind back to the rising and falling of your abdomen. Remember, when you’re learning how to do Vipassana meditation technique, don’t rush.
  12. There will be occasions when a specific noise draws your awareness. For instance, if you are sitting at home when the doorbell rings, your mind will immediately jump at the sound. This is one example of an intrusive event. This intrusive event lures the mind. We quickly lose focus and instead of focusing on the breathing, we pay attention to the event. When this happens, mindfully observe the event and label it as a sensation. For instance, if you hear a doorbell, mindfully observe the sound and label it “Sound.” This helps your mind to recognise the nature of external stimuli. Having observed and labelled the sensation, return your focus to your breathing.
  13. At times you will also notice sensations that occur in the body. Perhaps you feel an itch in your legs or tingling at the back of your neck. Label these sensations by describing the way the sensation feels. If you feel a warm air moving over your wrist, for instance, mindfully observe that sensation and say “warm movement.”
  14. Mental phenomena, such as thoughts and imaginings, should also be labelled. For instance, if you see an image in your mind, label it “Mental image.” Describe the precise reality of what the thing is. If you imagine hearing a sound, say “Imagined sound” and so on. This is immensely helpful. Most people are constantly being deceived by the mind. They come to think that the things they see and hear in the mind are real. Just by saying “Mental image” or “Imagined sound” you train your mind to understand the true nature of mental phenomena.
  15. There is a specific way to end Vipassana meditation. When you finish Vipassana, don’t just open your eyes and snap back to normality. Instead, open your eyes slowly, telling yourself “opening, opening.” Then, when you begin to choose what to do next, say “Intending, intending”. Then slowly and mindfully begin to go about your day.
  16. It is best to continue the Vipassana meditation process for the whole day. This doesn’t mean that you have to literally continue meditating for the whole day. Rather, when going about your day, be mindful of what is going on. Do one thing at a time. When thoughts enter your mind, label them in the manner described above. This helps to cultivate insight and mindfulness in your everyday life.
  17. For even more insight, practice the Shambhavi Mudra.

Benefits of Vipassana

There are lots of benefits of Vipassana meditation technique. And when you practice Vipassana meditation at home, you get even more benefits.

Health benefits include:

Spiritual benefits

Spiritually speaking, the technique has some significant benefit. Of all different types of meditation, it is one of the best for gaining insight into the true nature of reality, a reality which, according to Buddhist belief, is comprised of The Three Marks of Existence:

The Three Marks of Existence are:

By practising Vipassana meditation, not only do we improve our health, we awaken spiritually.

Plus, when you learn how to do Vipassana meditation technique at home, you will notice what’s going on inside your mind while you’re living your everyday life. This is actually far better than going to a retreat. At a vipassana retreat, you only see what’s going on in your mind when you’re at the retreat. That’s not very useful! It’s far more valuable to gain insight into what happens in your mind when you’re living the life you live every single day. And that is why you’re smart for learning how to do Vipassana meditation at home.

Insight  

Vipassana meditation creates insight into the true nature of reality.

The process of observing and labelling helps the mind differentiate between reality and mental phenomena. This, in turn, helps to teach you that your thoughts are not real and also puts you in touch with the true nature of your own reality.

When you are just starting to learn how to do Vipassana meditation technique, you may be surprised by what you observe in your own mind. This technique gives you the ability actually to explore your mind. It provides insight into your inner working!

You will find it beneficial to continue this insight while doing other activities. For instance, if you are going for a walk, walk in Zen fashion, being mindfully aware of the process of moving.

Continual practice of Vipassana meditation technique will lead you to deep insight into the true nature of reality, which is a significant step on the path to enlightenment.

Why You Should Practice Vipassana Meditation At Home

Many people make a huge mistake when meditating: They practice at retreats or in actual lessons.

You are far better off learning how to do Vipassana meditation technique at home.

Why?  Because most of the stimuli that affect you are at home.

Vipassana meditation technique teaches us to be less reactive to those stimuli. But to train the mind effectively, we must meditate where those things occur.

Buddha did not isolate himself in a beautiful hall where there were no distractions and no unpleasantness. He sat in the forest, in the village, even around death, because only by exploring his mind in these everyday environments could he liberate himself

Today we want to be free from the negative aspects of home, work, and, you know, actual life. The only way to do that is to meditate in the places you live your actual life. And that is not at a Vipassana retreat.

So, while it is great to go to a retreat for a weekend, it is far more effective to practice in your own home.

History

The practise of Vipassana meditation technique began back in the 6th Century during the time when Mahayana Buddhism was expanding through the East from India to South East Asia.

This was a time of great development in meditation, a time when many of the techniques used today were first created.

Vipassana teacher S.N.Goenka tells us:

“For five centuries, Vipassana helped millions of people in India, the Buddha’s homeland. This era saw the matchless reign of the great Emperor Asoka (273-236 BCE) who united India and initiated a golden age of peace and prosperity. Asoka also sent ambassadors of Dhamma to all the neighbouring kingdoms (including what has become Myanmar in modern times), thereby spreading both the practice and the words of the Buddha. [2]

The practice has advanced over the years. The style that is popular today is based on teachings from the 1800s when Theravada Buddhism went through a great rejuvenation.

“After about 500 years the practice of Vipassana had disappeared from India,” says Goenka. “Fortunately, it was maintained by a continuous chain of teachers in the neighbouring country of Myanmar (Burma) until the present day.”

Flash forward to today, and Vipassana has not only survived, but it has also become one of the most popular meditation techniques in the world. And more people are learning it every day.

Thank you for reading.

 

How To Do Vipassana Meditation At Home

SOURCES: 

Vipassana meditation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3174711/ 

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About Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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