Author Topic: How does vipassana work?  (Read 3373 times)

JMatlack

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How does vipassana work?
« on: September 03, 2014, 06:11:00 PM »
Hello forum,

This is my first post here and I hope it is a good one. I have some questions that don't seem to be answered on most general Q&A's about vipassana.  I got my best understanding of vipassana from this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNmxxbqJMxI  My questions are following:

1. During vipassana are we focusing primarily on thoughts as the video link suggests or are we focusing on biochemical reactions altogether?

2. How do you deal with the rest periods that are in between thoughts especially when the rest periods are longer when intentionally focusing on thoughts? More or less trying to be mindful of thoughts tends to make it more difficult for me.

3.  What do you do about having inner dialogue that specifically pertains to the meditating itself and is not actually from the depths of the mind? I tend to have the problem of constantly analyzing my meditating rather then letting it perform its function.  I know that I should not expect anything. I know that I am supposed to witness non-attached to everything that goes on inside.  Any tips on how to stop being so analytical during vipassana?
"THE ALL (god) is MIND; the universe is mental" written in The Kybalion

Dharmic Tui

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Re: How does vipassana work?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2014, 06:50:46 PM »
1) "Focusing on thoughts" is a little ambiguous. It's less the focusing on the subjective narrative of thought but more the nature of how the thoughts arise and pass.
2) The rest periods for me are generally what im trying to.achieve. They're a source of serenity and pleasure.
3) Time and patience are the key to reducing the amount of analysing you do. It takes decades to develop a mind which measures and judges, that fears and remembers, that finds fault and contrasts. The fruit is less some grand answer to a question that will attend to all of life's mysteries, and more the breaking down of an ego and developing a different way to exist.

I hope this is of some benefit to you.

Billymac629

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Re: How does vipassana work?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2014, 09:09:15 PM »
Vipassana is not really a meditation "technique", but rather a result or outcome of meditation.  It translates into clear understanding, or clear insight. 

There really isn't different meditation "methods" such as calm abiding or insight.  These are just outcomes of meditation.  One outcome of meditation may be more of serenity. Another maybe more of insight.  Another may have both equally.

True buddhist meditation rarely has just tranquility or just insight in a practice.   These are usually yoked (both calm abiding and insight) together in practice.

maha metta
William
Nothing in this world is to be clung to as I, me, or mine...

yossarian

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Re: How does vipassana work?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2014, 09:41:53 PM »
Hello forum,

This is my first post here and I hope it is a good one. I have some questions that don't seem to be answered on most general Q&A's about vipassana.  I got my best understanding of vipassana from this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNmxxbqJMxI  My questions are following:

1. During vipassana are we focusing primarily on thoughts as the video link suggests or are we focusing on biochemical reactions altogether?

2. How do you deal with the rest periods that are in between thoughts especially when the rest periods are longer when intentionally focusing on thoughts? More or less trying to be mindful of thoughts tends to make it more difficult for me.

3.  What do you do about having inner dialogue that specifically pertains to the meditating itself and is not actually from the depths of the mind? I tend to have the problem of constantly analyzing my meditating rather then letting it perform its function.  I know that I should not expect anything. I know that I am supposed to witness non-attached to everything that goes on inside.  Any tips on how to stop being so analytical during vipassana?

Now I'm no expert and I reckon that there are likely a number of different and equally correct answers to your question.

From what I've been able to tell, the crux of Buddhist meditation is learning to observe our experiences as objectively as possible. By doing so, we can stop reacting to said experiences, be they internal or external, in an automatic or conditioned way. I've been meditating sporadically for about 5 years but more regularly for just over a year now after completing my first 10 day vipassana retreat June '13.

The most novel and surprising experience I've gained so far has been the realization of "vedana" or the sensations that arise due to the experience of positive, negative, or neutral stimuli through our 5 senses or our mind.  To give you a sense of what I mean by sensation, in the past I may have called these "emotions" and "urges". These experiences are, interestingly enough, consistent amongst humans of different cultural backgrounds: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131231094353.htm.

This suggests a biochemical signaling pathway. These "sensations" are most likely the tactile experience of neurotransmitters involved in the reward system of the brain (norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, etc). We are biologically programmed to react to these sensations without necessarily being aware of them. In fact, it helps to think of them like a computers operating system, constantly going on in the background of whatever it is we might be trying to accomplish at the moment.
These drive some of our most deeply ingrained "survival" behaviors such as sex/love, eating, strong emotional attachments to family members etc...

Anyway, it seems to me that by becoming more aware of the raw sensory data that normally would drive our behavior in a non-reactive way, we forge new connections in the brain that strengthen our decision making capacity and self-regulation. At least, that's what I've gotten from it so far. I hope this helps you develop a better understanding.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 09:47:12 PM by yossarian »

JMatlack

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Re: How does vipassana work?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2014, 01:22:19 AM »
Thank you for the replies. This has given me much insight as to what vipassana is. 
"THE ALL (god) is MIND; the universe is mental" written in The Kybalion

yossarian

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Re: How does vipassana work?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2014, 01:34:10 AM »
Great, glad to help. Welcome to the forum! I see you're in Georgia. I'm nearby in South Carolina. Have you been to the Vipassana center in Jesup? That's where I sat my course.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 02:51:57 AM by yossarian »

JMatlack

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  • I am a psychology student who meditates
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Re: How does vipassana work?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2014, 07:48:37 PM »
Currently I am unable to since I am in college online. No time away from the computer will do. But once I get my degree in psychology, before I go on to get my masters, I plan on going to Jesup and taking the course.  I have the mindset that I am preparing for it until the day comes that I can go. I'm working on my seated meditation but my legs fall asleep or make me so uncomfortable I want to jump up after about 20 minutes, and time moves reaaalllly slow when I am doing anapana meditation. For the most part I have not begun any form of vipassana practice because it is still unclear to me what the objective is and how to go about doing it. But I know exactly what I am doing when it comes to the breath and focusing is getting easier everyday.  So Ill stick with that for now and hope that by the time I go to the course Ill be ready for vipassana. South Carolina is also the second home of Meher Baba. Have you ever been to his retreat. Do you know of him?
"THE ALL (god) is MIND; the universe is mental" written in The Kybalion

yossarian

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Re: How does vipassana work?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2014, 05:15:21 AM »
Never heard of Baba. You may want to try a better cushion for you legs. I really wish I'd had one of these on my first go-round: http://www.sunandmoonoriginals.com/store/p/1-Cosmic-Cushion.html

 

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