Sunday, January 2, 2011
Mindfullness or Vipassana Meditation
I am reading the book "Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante Gunaratana, aka Bhante G. I couldn't put it off last night until 3.00 am, as it is so captivating and easy to read.
One idea that I would like to share with you today is about our addiction to classifying every experience we have. As a result, we have a handful of experiences that we classify as "good". We collect them in a special box in our mind and try to attract more of the same experiences. This is what Bhante G. calls "mental grasping". Then, we have a pile of experiences we perceive as "bad" and we want to push them away or "reject". Everything else we experience is neither good nor bad, so we don't care much about the majority of our life moments.
This is such a powerful discovery. Yes, I think it is good to cherish and appreciate precious moments, but not at the expense of everything else. About 90% of experiences that are not that emotionally colored will fall into this "neutral box" and just be forgotten or mechanically lived through without even noticing. This idea is similar to Eckhart Tolle's message about living in the now instead of reliving the past or waiting for the future. When I think that I can potentially miss most of my life if I don't become more mindful of the present moment, I feel very motivated to learn how to meditate and control my thoughts.
The book focuses on vipassana meditation, or insight meditation, practiced in Theravada Buddhist tradition. Insight meditation in Pali sounds like vipassana bhavana, which is translated as cultivating your mind to see the fundamental essence of everything. I see it as getting rid of dualistic limiting thoughts and perceiving every moment and every things as it really is, neither good or bad. I can see how this practice can make my life full with meaning that is real, or in other words, mindful.