Insight Meditation (Vipassana)

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Vipassana (Insight) Meditation is the oldest form of Buddhist meditation. The technique was written down by Buddha approximately 2,500 years ago in the Satipatthana Sutta.

The Insight Meditation Society was founded in Barre, Massachusetts, USA in 1975 by
Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, and Jack Kornfield. It is a non-profit center created for teaching and practicing Vipassana Meditation.

Description of Process

The person practicing meditation sits comfortablely on the floor, pillows, or in a chair with an erect spine (if possible). For a period of time, the person begins a moment-to-moment observation of the mind and body with a focused mind and non-judgemental attitude. This process is continued for anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more depending upon the amount of time set aside for meditation and the experience of the student.

When I took beginner's classes, it was common to start by focusing on and observing the breath -- not trying to change it or judge it, but to calmly observe it. Invariably, my attention wandered to things like past or future events. No matter how long or how frequently my attention wandered, the instruction was to calmly bring my attention back to the breath (without judging myself for the wandering attention). With practice, I developed the ability to string together slightly longer periods of time of observation/awareness.

At first glance, it may seem impossible that such a simple process can contribute to significant changes in well-being. Scientific research and observations by myself and others of peoples' experiences has shown, however, that with continued practice, many
significant mental and physical benefits are possible. The deeping of one's chosen spiritual practices is another potential benefit of meditation practice.

It should be noted that while some people find Vipassana Meditation to be the style which suits them the best, there are other styles such as Transcendental, Native American, Yogic which may be better-suited to other personalities. Please see the WWW Meditation Resources for other resources.


Persons with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) sometimes find meditation practice more difficult. However, I have met several persons online with ADD and who have benefited significantly from meditation practice (including one meditation teacher). Meditation, by itself will not usually reverse ADD. (Other ADD Resources can be very helpful.)

Persons with a debilitating mental illness may be better off by first working with an experienced Psychologist or Psychotherapist who is familar with Holistic Medicine. See WWW Psychology Resources for further resources/practitioner listings. In addition, Integrated Awareness Table Sessions may prove very helpful as well.