The Technique of the Buddahs
Our aim at YogiLab is to use ourselves as guinea pigs to test all the different practices and modalities that we can find, integrate the best of them into our lives, and to provide the tools for as many people to benefit as possible! This is our guide to testing out the practice of Vipassana Meditation. Follow the steps outlined below to go through the same process that we did.
Good luck, it can get emotional.
Vipassana Meditation is the primary technique that the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama taught 2600 years ago in Northern India. He himself said that it was the technique of all "the buddhas" and that he had rediscovered it. Millions (if not hundreds of millions) of people have practiced and benefitted from this technique over the last 2600 years. From emperors, kings, and queens, to paupers, prisoners, scientists, and celebrities - this technique has touched every level of society. It has influenced the creation of Chan, Zen, and Tibetan Buddhism, as well as the Modern Mindfulness movement and CBT. Want to know what all the fuss is about? So did we.
WHAT THE ANCIENTS SAY
"The dhamma has one taste... the taste of freedom." - The Buddha
“The truth will set you free.” - Jesus
Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied, “Nothing, but let me tell you what I have lost: Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insecurity, fear of old age, and death.” - The Buddha
This technique was taught by the Buddha as the direct application of his philosophy - the practical steps towards liberation and possibly enlightenment.
WHAT THE MODERN WORLD SAYS
An article in Psychology Today Psychology Today - Scientific Reasons to Meditate lists 20 of the benefits that meditation has been found to produce in modern studies. Amongst those benefits are:
Increasing immune function, whilst decreasing pain and inflammation at the cellular level
Increasing positive emotion, whilst decreasing depression, anxiety, and stress
Increasing social connection and emotional intelligence, making you more compassionate, and less lonely
...and, it has even been shown to change your brain; increasing grey matter, volume in areas related to emotion regulation and cortical thickness in areas related to paying attention.
HOW TO PRACTICE
Focus your AWARENESS on the triangular area from the top of your nose, down to the corners of your mouth.
Feel the breath coming in and out of your nostrils. Allow yourself to breathe naturally. Do not control or regulate the breath.
Narrow your focus down to the smaller triangle from the tips of your nostrils, to the top of your upper lip (pic 2). The smaller the area of awareness, the sharper the awareness becomes.
If anything but the feeling of the breath enters your awareness, let it come and go - neither pushing it away, nor fixating on it. If your awareness does move away from the breath, simply become aware of this, and then move it back to the breath - doing your best to remain fixed on this for the duration of the practice.
See if you can maintain a fixed awareness on your breath for at least 5 minutes without interruption.
If you can do this, and you have started to feel other minute sensations in the area around your nostrils, then you are ready to move to the practice of Vipassana.
Shift your awareness from the breath, to the sensations in general. Feel any sensation that is occurring in the smaller triangular area. ANY SENSATION counts. Simply feel what is naturally occurring in this area. When you can consistently feel sensations in this area, it is okay to move to the next step.
Move your awareness to the top of your head - to your crown. Keep awareness fixed here and feel which sensations are occurring in this area. Sensations can be anything, not limited to; vibration, pulsating, itching, irritation, tingling, tension, pain, etc.
Start moving your awareness in sequence over your body - seeing which sensations you feel in each of these areas:
Top of the head - Face - Back of the head - Neck - Shoulders - Arms and hands - Chest - Abdomen/Stomach - Genitals - Back (upper to lower) - Bum - Upper legs - Lower legs - Feet...
Then back up again, using the same sequence in reverse. Move your awareness at a comfortable pace, that allows you to feel sensations in every area of the body.
Feel every sensation that occurs, but do not react to any of them. Handle all sensations with EQUANIMITY.