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PRACTICE OF SAMATHA AND VIPASSANA MEDITATIONS

Now that we know what meditation is and how we can increase its effectiveness, it's time to move on to practice. In the following study, I will focus on two types of meditation - Samatha and Vipassana meditation, while other types of meditations will be mentioned in the next study.


1. SAMATHA MEDITATION (MINDFULNESS, CALMNESS)

Samatha is a technique that helps us to keep mindfulness constantly, focus on some imaginary or real object, which leads to calming the mind and eradicating desire. Samatha according to Sanskrit is "calm, calm down" + "stay". Calming the mind makes it easier to achieve happiness in life, rebirth and release from mental blemishes and the sheer volume of thoughts - and these are the necessary conditions for gaining insight (Vipassana), and thus communication with the Higher Cosmic Intelligence, Angels, Akasha Chronicles, God. In my opinion, this is the type of meditation that you should begin with the adventure with this wonderful tool. Why? Because one of the most common challenges people face at the beginning of their spiritual path is identifying with their thoughts, acting in response to them, and excessive mental activity. Samatha meditation is what is needed to learn to calm the rough mental sea. Remember that the mind exercises are quite like muscles - it becomes stronger progressively and effortlessly. There are days when meditation is very simple, but there are also times when staying calm for many minutes is not so easy to achieve. Try to change your point of focus from sensual consciousness to mental consciousness, so give up focusing on your senses when you meditate. Allow yourself to focus on one imaginary object - e.g. a flame. Buddhism distinguishes objects on which we can focus during this meditation - I most often choose (from among of them) elements, crystals of infinite space or consciousness, breath, space.


Typical SAMATHA meditation looks like this:

1. Sit comfortably on the ground in the lotus position or lean back if the first position is too difficult or uncomfortable for you.

2. Relax your body, relax your muscles and take a breath of relief. Let the tongue touch the palate and the eyes look at the point just above the eyebrows.

3. Close your eyes and start a deep, conscious breathing (8/2/8/2 or 6/6).

4. Focus your attention on the breath – you can start by focusing on its sound, but over the course of meditation, try to give up this type of focus and turn your attention only to the experience itself. Don't think about breath, don't feel the breath - be breath. This way you are able to move from sensual awareness to mental awareness.

5. Every time your mind begins to chatter and send you some thoughts, try to calmly return to the state of focus on being a breath. Focus your attention on the breath. Do not get involved, do not frustrate or judge disturbing thoughts. Just go back into your meditation.

6. Meditate like this for an appropriate, attuned to your needs time. You can start with 5 minutes and increase this length gradually, achieving better and better results, until one day you will be able to meditate much longer. A significant increase in the effectiveness of using a meditation and having influence on our physiology is proved with minimum 20 minutes a day.



2. VIPASSANA MEDITATION (INSIGHT, WISDOM)

Vipassana is a technique of keeping your attention focused on natural sensations within the body ("see things as they are"). It is a tool for receiving insights and cleansing the mind, freeing oneself from suffering. This type of meditation consists on observation. We can observe the beginning, middle and end of each breath without judging. Unlike Samatha meditation, Vipassana focuses on the physical manifestation of the phenomenon - such as the rising diaphragm, mouth movements, whistling of the air, but also on the energies that appear within the body. Vipassana helps us observe our thoughts, our sensations, our feelings and learn to distance ourselves from them. It expands our consciousness and helps us to distance ourselves from automatic, subconscious responding to emotions and thoughts. Vipassana may seem a bit like Samatha, because it also can calm the mind, clear it from excessive mental activity. The main difference, however, is the purpose of meditation - in the case of Samatha meditation, it is calming down a disturbed mind, while the goal of Vipassana meditation is to gain insight into your own interior by eradicating ignorance and learning conscious reactions - directing the energy of thoughts and emotions in our chosen direction. It is observation of all bodily sensations, emotions, thoughts and letting them be without reacting to them. In my opinion, this is the perfect step after reaching Samatha, which helps us to not identify with our emotions and understand reactions that occur in our body. Samatha and Vipassana meditations are two complementary qualities of the mind. Do not practice only one of them because they both will help you to achieve other, equally important goals. Samatha will help you to get rid of attachment, free yourself from the evaluating mind, stop identifying with your thoughts and achieve peace, while the second will help you to get rid of ignorance and open yourself to the full experience of the here and now, to look inside.


Typical VIPASSANA meditation looks like this:

1. Sit comfortably on the ground in the lotus position or lean on if the first position is too difficult or uncomfortable for you.

2. Relax your body, relax your muscles and take a breath of relief. Let the tongue touch the palate and the eyes look at the point just above the eyebrows.

3. Close your eyes and start a deep, conscious breath (8/2/8/2 or 6/6).

4. Start moving your consciousness from head to toe and toe to head. Observe each body part in turn. Scan your physical body consciously and check what kind of sensations appear in it. Observe objectively - stay in tune with all feelings and sensations - both pleasant, unpleasant and neutral, appreciating their impermanence.

5. Keep your attention in motion, do not let consciousness stay in one place for a long time and try to constantly change the scanning methods or its direction, so that the practice does not become automated.

6. Meditate like this for an appropriate time. You can start with 30 minutes and increase this length gradually, achieving better and better results, until one day you will be able to meditate much longer - many hours. It is assumed that the effectiveness of Vipassana meditation increases significantly from 2 hours a day spread over two sessions.

7. At the end of meditation session, relax and let any physical or mental stimulation subside. Then fill your body and mind with kind thoughts for yourself and for the whole world.


Remember that any meditation, no matter how effective it was or how long it lasted, is a success. It's like exercising your mental muscles - the effects come gradually. Do not give up and meditate daily at least once. Once you feel that you can keep your mind in a state of mental (extrasensory) awareness for a long time, this is the perfect moment to start training and meditating Vipassana.

NEXT ARTICLE TEASER: ANOTHER TYPES OF MEDITATIONS

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