Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Meditation: An introduction to Vipassana

I was introduced to meditation around 6 months ago by a close friend of mine. At this time i hadn't really explored my 'spiritual' side too much, and I do still see myself as more of a scientific thinker. However, i do find many of the ideas within spirituallity to be very interesting, as they usually expand upon the ideas and theories already established in science. While I'm uttermost critic to most of these spiritual theories, they are extremly facinating and entertaining, and may provide a foundation which science can build upon and either prove or completely shatter.

One of these spitual practises which have been widely practised for decades are meditation. This is one of the practises which benefits are no longer questioned and includes stress reduction, improved attention, better memory, and even increased creativity and feelings of compassion. In addition i would highly recommend it for anyone who suffers from depression, not as the only solution, but in addition to social activities and friendship. My personal  reasons for this, is that a meditation session can completely clean your mind from all thoughts, giving you a fresh start to an otherwise depressing morning.

An artistic display of a Buddhist monk meditating
 A buddhist Monk meditating 
(Origins of photo unknown. No copyright infringement intended. Picture will be immediately removed upon request.)

The technique I would recommend for people to start of with is called "Vipassana" and was the technique used by Buddah as he reached enlightenment under the Bhodi tree. It is easy enough to get into and learn, but extremely hard to master. I'm not going to explain the full extent of the practise myself here on the blog, as this has been done countless times before by better writers than myself all over the internet. Instead I'm going to redirect you to what I've found to be the most complete "guide" on the subject which can be found here. I would a recommend reading everything up to and excluding "walking meditation."

An excuse i hear over and over again when people are introduced to Meditation is that they do not have enough time. Work, kids etc. However, this is not true. In order to be able to function in society and be able to take care of the people around oneself, it's crucial to put of enough time to take care of oneself first. If this is neglected, stress and anxiety will build up over time, with negative consequences. There is an old zen saying that goes like this: "You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour." While this might sound absurd, it carries an important message. Humans are never too busy to neglect the basic needs of own health.
These are my two cents on meditatin for now, over to you, what are your thoughts on meditation?

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