Vipassana Meditation

Recently I attended a 10 day retreat of Vipassana Meditation. My interest in meditation has developed over past 3 years. Last year I started practicing Mindfulness Meditation and found it ver helpful. This year I decided to take next step and explore the Meditation technique deeper by committing to a 10-day course.

The experience was intense, mentally. A retreat like this is a brief taste of what a prison life could be. But I did come out of it with better understanding of my mind and the excercise of Meditation. I have since had lot of thoughts on the matter, but here I’m going to only list the steps in the technique.

These are the essential steps of the Vipassana meditation

  1. Start with focusing your mind on the breath. Find a comfortable posture and keep your eyes closed. Observe the breath coming in and going out of your nostrils. Keep your mind clear of any other thoughts. Do not control the breath. Only observe it. If you find that your mind is wandering too much, take few hard breaths so that your focus comes back to the breath. Then gradually return to normal breathing. One can do this as long as they want. At certain point you may feel a deep calmness. It may take few days of practicing this to reach that point, depending upon how occupied your mind is. The feeling of calm is very comforting, how do not set it as a goal. Keep your mind focused on the breath all along, even when you feel calm. This step is also called Anapana meditation.

  2. Once you have learnt to calm your mind by focusing on the breath. Focus on the small triangular area around your nostrils. Try to feel any sensations that you can detect on the area just below the nostrils and above your upper lip. The idea is to teach you to observe a specific part of your body for sensations. Initially you will only detect gross sensations, but gradually you will find subtle ones in the same area. This is the first step of Vipassana meditation.The sensation you may feel can be anything - warmth, cold, itch, etc. Focus your mind on that part of the body (here the area around nostrils) and observe if you can sense any of these sensations. If you do not sense anything, do NOT get frustrated (This is important). Keep looking for them, without losing your focus.

  3. The next step is to scan your entire body from head-to-tow and back from tow-to-head continuously, observing small area on your body one after another, looking for any sensations you may feel on them. Again, these might be obvious gross sensations like sweat, cold, feeling of touch from your clothes, breeze, pain, etc. After a while you may observe very fine sensations too. It will take long time and lot of practice and patience to feel such sensations throughout your body. (In a first time 10-day course one is not supposed to reach that stage) But the goal of the excercise is to keep your mind focused on observing those sensations and not get frustrated if you don’t find them. Note that, while you are observing sensations on one part of your body, say your right shoulder; you should not switch your focus if your right foot starts hurting at the same time. Your mind should not react to the sensations in your body, but should only observe what it has chosen to observe at a given moment. Once you feel all the sensations on your body, you can then also start focusing on the inside of your body. Years of practice of this technique leads to the practitioner feeling all the sensations throughout their body as a continuous flow. This ultimate feeling is - purportedly - a knowledge of Bhanga - The dissolution of ego.

There is healthy amount of theory built on top of this practice. It’s the basic teaching of Buddhism and guides the practitioner of the technique into living a life free of misery.

The Vipassana meditation, as I found out, is slightly different from Mindfulness meditation. The former is developed in Buddhism centuries ago and has been passed along through generations. The later is a more accessible, light-weight, suited-for-modern-life version of the former. Both start with focusing your mind on the breath. In mindfulness meditation, there is also a step on focusing what’s going on in your body. However it’s not as strict. But the most important difference in two techniques is the observation of thoughts. In mindfulness meditation, once you have calmed your mind, you are instructed to bring some thoughts in your mind one by one. And observe them as they continue to unroll in your mind. This is a very essential and useful technique. Eventually it allows you to observe your mind even in everyday life when you are in distress.


Home


Archive

2018

Violet end of spectrum

Vipassana Meditation

Why gamers like pixelated games

2017

Collecting Vs Hoarding Netflix

Game Design tip for Programmers - Less Automation

Review Ghost In The Shell - The blinds scene

Why Electron is the best development platform?

Project Dialog

2016

Don't Panic

The Entanglement Pattern

The flying cars analogy

Road Trip of Atlantic Canada

Having done attitude

2015

Before fixing performance issues

No Exams, Yes Video games

Podcasts Français

2014

Quotable Quotes

Conned?!

2013

Uruguay's President

New rules for Formula 1

Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice

Something's missing

2012

Coffeescript: To switch or not to switch

Water from air

The single most reason that keeps me using Vim

Time travel fiction

When your git branch diverges from your remote

Something like Olivia - John Mayer

Online courses - New technology, Old rules

Kelsey Grammer is spectacular

Why Patriotism doesn't make sense

Why sea steading is important to pursue?

Prometheus

Rolling back latest git commit

Google Lunar X Prize

iTunes Download stopped (err =9006)

Good essay on user centric software design

Why we need to explore Seasteading?

2011

Master pieces from screen

How to write interactive CLI utility in node.js

The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov

Why OpenGL ES is so hard?

How to print stack trace anywhere in Javascript

It's not fair to compare Android with Internet Explorer

How to debug WebWorker threads?

Why can't I criticize Government if I don't vote? I sure can.

Elon Musk quote

Don't label yourself

Why the hi-tech minds are writing Social apps?

Truce with exercise

JavaScript is the next C

Ever growing todo list is a good sign for creative projects

Lesser women in tech... So what?

HTML5 offline cache - use swapCache carefully

How Wikipedia and Flattr can together change the World

2010

Discovering LastPass

Functional programming in Javascipt using Underscore.js

Youtube ETA - Chrome extension

Why secure airports when it's planes that fly?

Mac book red light audio jack problem on Linux

How to save HTML5 canvas image to Google App Engine

Why don't they publish eBooks for free but with embedded ads?

Silicon Valley and Hi-tech

Reality distortion field around

Indirect experiments

Music sharing

ReaderScope 2.0.6 - Find Comments

ReaderScope 2.0

predictably irrational

ReaderScope upcoming changes

Tuxmac

Why "Open" is not the first concern of user?

Mutt, Gmail, gdata, notify-send: A Perfect Email solution

Are you the Matt Damon of your game?

ReaderScope 1.9 - OAuth

New app "Find Comments"

@font-face-lift

ReaderScope 1.8.{2,3} - new authentication and global share

Portable apps for iPhone, Android, Pre, n900 - Can Processing.js help?

ReaderScope 1.8.1 - rethinking features

ReaderScope 1.8 - Random

Android fragmentation : How big a deal is it?

on Dropbox

iLikeIt

ReaderScope v1.7 - Widget, new Icons and .... Ads

on Git: tips for SVN users and Git in Dropbox cloud

How to do an online IDE for Android app development

Anti Asserts

Bono's top ten list

Make Android speak your Twits with "TwitSpeak"

2009

Reality of colors

Talking Twitter client

ReaderScope 1.5 - quicker, better, prettier

Preview android.R.drawable.* images

Is definition of "Evil" changing?

on Music: Battle Studies

ReaderScope 1.4 (with a Theme Pack)

On Chrome OS

Black on White

Android AsyncTask template

The AND-OR problem of laptop and mobile phone

ReaderScope v1.3.3 - offline podcasts

ReaderScope v1.3.2 - Social Channels

ReaderScope v1.3 - Beyond Google Reader

Frets on Fire for Maemo - Update

ReaderScope 1.2.7 - Podcasts, Expanded View

Sprint HTC Hero problems with ReaderScope

ReaderScope 1.2.3 - Search

ReaderScope 1.2.1 - Auto Login

ReaderScope v1.2

ReaderScope 1.1.3 - SDCard storage

Crash report for Android App

Wifi and Battery

ReaderScope 1.1.2

ReaderScope 1.1.1 quick-n-easy features

ReaderScope 1.1 - Social Beacons

ReaderScope 1.0.2 - making deep cache simple

ReaderScope 1.0.1

ReaderScope 1.0

Detecting HTC magic on Fedora

ReaderScope beta4 - offline fun

ReaderScope beta3 - Tweet the news

ReaderScope Beta2

ReaderScope beta1 is out

Intercepting Up/Down keys from bash script

Makeshift XML beautifier in python

HTC Magic (Indian version) - expectations and facts

using android AsyncTask

Android development with Vim + Eclim

Cutewit (preview)

Einstein's Dreams

Preprocessing the GUI

Evas + Inkface in v0.2.5

easy source

FoF - PyOpenGL = miniFoF (possibly for n810)

FoF update

Twitter client with inkface-pygame v0.2.2

Frets on Fire on Maemo 5 (Fremantle)

Static IP configuration on Fedora 10

Inkface+pygame v0.2.0

Smooth scrolling with Inkface+pygame

Inkface v0.2 update and automated GUI testing

Testing Android (Koolu Beta 3) on Openmoko Freerunner

Clutter animation paths with Inkscape+Inkface (v0.1.3)

Turning a page

Planning Inkface v0.2

Debian repository on Google App Engine

Inkface + Clutter

Inkface v0.1.2, Twitter-inkface client

2008

Inkface update

Debugging python reference counts

Paul Graham nails it again!

Fedora 10 on MacBook 2,1

A great essay

Thanksgiving at Crater Lake

Digital SLR buyer's guide

more fun with notify-send

(k)ubuntu 8.10 - not ready for my home yet

Migrating to Google App Engine

Android opened - first looks inside

Has it started?

Inkface v0.1

Musical discovery of the week

Die Berlin-Affäre

aus Berlin

Inkface - SVG based GUI design

Script fun

Visualizing source code

OpenMoko photo tour

New connection with the past

George Carlin - favorite clip

temperature

80-20 rule

Python fun

OSiM'08 Berlin, Germany

Of games

"Wine" tasting

Today's slashdot and open source

Cost of Open Source

Lions for Lambs

Ubuntu reviewed

Flickr uploads from n810

Cringely and Paul Graham

Accelerometer brainstorming

Clutter Webkit

OSiM USA 2008 - Day 2

OSiM USA 2008 - Day 1

Google code

Gr8 commercial

OSiM USA 2008, see you there

OpenMoko, Android and a great hacking post

two great videos

Blog from nokia tablets

2007

cool n770 hack

Picasso

Colbie Caillat

Firefox 3 is brilliant!!!

XML RPC server inside apache mod_python

best effort technologies

coding Monalisa

formula of a horror movie

next desktop jump

The "Screen"

Nice review article on virtualization technologies

Once again... a quote from 'Troy'

Story of a random number

quotes from George Carlin

"from time import sleep"

Sea surfing under the Golden Gate

Trip videos

2006

across two hours

What I read...

How do I backup to Amazon S3 storage service

Stranger than fiction

Gas prices... seems like big scam

Another nice quote

Hilarious nerd comment

Programming & Painting

Why do we like fiction?

Troy

If Harry Potter were a computer hacker ...

Gentoo, XGL, HGG

Henry Ford

VI - A capable IDE

New blog

Safari Bookshelf

2005

Back to the L4

Quotes

GCC 2.95 rpms

repeat (ps | grep) = filtered top

Halo fixed on ATI Mobility Radeon 9000

DirectX Installation Problem

Warning: const is a keyword in ANSI C

Not much on L4 front

Last two weeks

GRUBing

Stumbled on HURD

Installed HURD console

Make problem solved

2004

Handy way to create stack trace