I practice a form of meditation called Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are. A very ancient form of meditation, it is said to have been rediscovered by the Buddha over 2500 years ago and has been passed down by an unbroken chain of teachers to the present day.
Simply described on dhamma.org, “Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.”
While there are many illuminating suttas, or teachings, of the Buddha as well as contemporary talks that deepen our understanding of the dhamma, there’s nothing that replaces practice itself. It’s like reading nutritional studies; unless you eat healthy foods, they will do you no good.
The practice is simplicity itself. Sit quietly, relaxed and alert, following your breath, in and out. Open your awareness to include sounds if you wish. (Ah! Perhaps you hadn’t even heard the crescendo of cicadas until you paused and actually listened!) Feel the air on your face, the cloth on your arm, the sensations in your lips. Subtle, changing from moment to moment.
I can attest that doing this for 20 years helps cultivate awareness, compassion for self and others, equanimity, peace, and joy.
Gene Kijowski teaches on Tuesday mornings from 7:30 to 8:15am at the Center for Mindful Living on Wisconsin Avenue in Tenleytown. If you can make it, do. It will change your life. Gene is in some ways a regular guy, but after a 15 year commitment to unconditional kindness, his very presence is a gift. This week he shared a simple mantra that I have been meditating with, breathing in, and breathing out: calm mind / kind heart.
I love this! It’s so simple. Try it! Keeping it simple might be just what you need 🙂