When: Wednesdays at noon
Facilitator: Reverend Janie Kelley
Where: The Harvest Room at Unity Spiritual Center
There are no dress requirements; however, we encourage participants to wear comfortable clothing
To respect of those with sensitivities and allergies, we request that you not wear scented products while at Insight Meditation.
If you like to meditate in groups, this session is definitely for you!
Briefly defined - Insight Meditation is a form of Buddhist mediation that employs concentration sharply focused on bodily sensations and mental events, practiced with the intention of gaining insight into reality.
Most meditation methods emphasize concentration. They bring the mind to focus on one point or object, thereby achieving strength of concentration. The results are very peaceful states, and in extreme cases give rise to supernormal powers. Isn’t this what people are hoping to achieve? No wonder most head towards that direction!
For Buddhists, that way does not lead completely away from all our sufferings, although it can lighten them considerably for a period of time. The answer to the predicament is Insight, which is the realization of the real Nature of the world as it is, freed from concepts. In simple words, all mental and material processes that make up this world are really impermanent, unsatisfactory and non-self. Seeing thus, one turns away from them and finds refuge in the unconditioned state, the everlasting peace of the absolute reality, Nibbana. Without realizing the unsatisfactory state of conditioned existence, one is greatly attached to it and, therefore, emancipation is impossible.
To develop this Insight, mindfulness is emphasized as the main feature, and concentration steps down to second place as another necessary factor.
To differentiate between mindfulness and concentration we can quote their characteristics:
- Concentration holds on to and fixes the mind to the object. It is like when you are holding tightly to something and not letting go. It is also like when you are staring at the television screen, unable to tear yourself away from it.
- Mindfulness, however, is like making a careful observation of what is happening on the television screen.
In other words, concentration pins the mind to its object, while it is mindfulness that carefully and thoroughly gets a good look at it. When you have found out what that thing really is, then you have developed insight wisdom.
From here we can conclude that concentration can come without mindfulness, but when mindfulness is present, to some degree, there is concentration.
Normally in tranquillity practice, although concentration is the main objective, there must also be mindfulness to bring it about. But that mindfulness is not as thorough as you would achieve in Insight meditation. Besides, its objects differ, i.e. a conceptual one with tranquility practice.
If one’s aim is to really look within, to discover who and what one really is, then mindful observation must be borne in mind as the main factor. Then one is like a scientist, making a close and thorough observation of his subject. Once there is enough, one gets the full picture with all its details. That is when mindfulness is transformed into insight. So in insight meditation, one observes with concentrated awareness on the objects, eg. rising/falling of the abdomen, sitting/touching, pain, thinking, right foot/left foot, etc., and will soon discover that all these (including the observing mind) are just processes that arise and pass away so rapidly. The meditator then realises that all these processes are changing (impermanent), beyond individual control, and unsatisfactory. In insight meditation this also means an abandoning of clinging to the false self, and there is a return to original nature.