There are three ways of doing Vipassana. We shall discuss each one by one. You will see that in all the three methods explained below, the main focus is on breathing. What is different are the points on which we should focus our attention while breathing. Initially you will required to try this method in a separate, silent room. However, as you practice them regularly, you will be able to use them at any place , anytime !
Let us discuss these three methods of doing Vipassana
(1) Watching the belly:
Have you seen the pictures of laughing Buddha ? These pictures are the specialty of Japanese traditions. In contrast to the image of Buddha as a serene enlightened prince, this images depicted his as a jovial, corpulent person who has a significantly large belly. Though the picture seems funny, in reality it contains a very subtle message. The message that the belly has an important role to play in meditation.
The belly is considered as the location of the hara center. Just behind and below your navel (belly button) lies the hara, which is a point of consciousness that is considered as the center of your subtle body. By focusing our attention on the hara center, we can easily attain a meditative state of mind. As you meditate upon hara, your thinking process starts slowing down on its own. You achieve a state of choiceless awareness.
The ‘belly watching’ form of Vipassana meditation involves focusing our attention on the breathing process felt around the belly. Whenever we breath, our belly moves up and down. This movement of belly is a continuous process. Just like breathing, this movement (of belly) also goes on continuously. And we can use this movement to attain a meditative state. Let’s see how:
Sit quietly at a comfortable, peaceful place. Close your eyes and take few deep breath. Now focus your attention on the area around the belly. See how it goes up and down along with the breath. Just be watchful of the belly movement as it comes upward & downward during the breathing. Focus your whole attention on this belly movement.
Keep watching this belly movement. Within a span of few minutes, you will realize that your thoughts have gradually started disappearing from your mind. You will feel a state of increased awareness. Be a witness to the changes in your body during this meditation. After 15-20 minutes, stop this belly meditation stop watching the belly movement and come out of this meditation.
Practice the above meditation daily. As you practice daily, soon you’ll start recognizing the presence of a hara center – a sort of ball of consciousness around the belly. That will help you increase the awareness of your inner self which is the main thing in meditation.
(2) Watching the coolness in the nostril :
This is the second method of Vipassana. If you observe your breathing closely, then you will find that whenever the air enters inside our body through nostril, it produces a little soothing coolness in the nostrils. Experience it right now. As you breath, see that whenever you inhale the air, it produces a sensation of slight coolness in the nostril. Though it is a very little almost unnoticeable coolness, but it does exist.
The second method of Vipassana involves focusing the attention on this coolness during breathing. Our breathing is a continuous process. It just goes on. And along with the breathing, the soothing coolness in our nostrils also keep emanating itself as if it a by-product of inhalation. If we focus our attention on this coolness we can achieve a meditative state.
Find a comfortable, peaceful place. Sit their silently in a comfortable position. Now close your eyes and take some deep breath. Now start observing your breathing. Now concentrate on the easily felt and comforting sensation of slight coolness that you feels inside the nose whenever breath goes in. Repeatedly engaging the mind in feeling this coolness relaxes the mind. It works as if an air conditioner has been fitted in the the mind!
At least for a period of 15-20 minutes, continue experiencing this coolness in the nose. Just like the above method of ‘Belly watching’ this wonderful method will take you into a deep meditating state.
Slowly slowly as you practice this method, your meditation session will improve in quality and you will start achieving an enhanced state of awareness. This is a simple method but a very powerful one.
(3) Watching the Breathing like a river :
This is the third method of Vipassana. The main thing to focus upon in this meditation technique is the breath itself. This method is the most basic form of Vipassana. You have to watch your breath as it comes inside your body and then goes outside.
Just like the above two methods, find a comfortable, peaceful place. Sit their silently in a comfortable position. Now close your eyes and take some deep breath. Now start observing your breathing. Focus your entire attention on the breathing and follow it as it travels inside your body and comes out. Follow the breath in its entire route pf inhalation and exhalation. Watch the breath as if you are watching a river.
A river is flowing and you are sitting on its bank. You are watching the water as it flows in the river. However, you are just a watcher. You are not concerned with the speed of the flow. Neither your are concerned with the quality of water or whether it has ripple in it or not. You are just watching the river without involving yourself in the flow.
Similarly, just watch your breath as it moves in your body. Don’t be attached with it.
When it comes – watch it.
When it goes – Watch it.
Be a watcher, be a witness.
This is not easy. There will be distractions as you watch. .There will be floods of thoughts. You will be carry away by different kind of thoughts. But don’t get discouraged. If your attention is diverted 100 times, bring it back to breathing 100 times. Slowly all thoughts will start settling down. As you watch your breath, soon you will realize the witness in you. The one who is watching the watcher itself. Your true identity. You are not body, you are not mind, you are not breathing. You are -self. The knower who knows everything. Yet remains pure and unattached.
Watch your breathing. Keep watching and you will be in meditation.
In all the above three methods a little bit of perseverance is required. However, if you practice them sincerely, then these three methods may be your best friends in this highly demanding and stressful life. All the above three meditation can be done anywhere, anytime in any posture. Just give them a serious and genuine try at least for 15 days and watch the result.
If you are really interested in trying Vipassana, you must read this book which in my opinion is the best book on meditation : Best book on Vipassana Meditation
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