Yoga and Vipassana

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Comparison of Vipassana Meditation Techniques

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Vipassana meditation, which is also known as insight meditation or mindfulness meditation is a method for purifying the mind. Mainly it includes nonjudgmental attention to body, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations of touch, pain or pleasant feeling, thoughts, etc. The objective is to achieve maximum well-being as an individual and as a social being.

I am giving here, a comparison of Vipassana meditation techniques based on my personal experience. I am considering here, the meditation techniques that I have attended. I am trying my best to keep away the organizational and traditional biasness.  I am thankful to all the masters for their help.

A significant number of studies have been published examining the mind-body effects of vipassana meditation and its clinical efficacy. There are very few studies, however, which directly compare different vipassana meditation methods with each other to explore potentially distinct mechanisms and effects, and no studies comparing well-being as an individual and as a social being for different methods.

The purpose of this analysis is to investigate how subjective measures of well-being in meditation is related to different Vipassana meditation techniques. Normally, scientific research on meditation is focused on the measurement of the activities in the brain through ECG and fMRI analysis. But here, I focused more on the subjective achievement of meditation – that is more about the value addition to life.  In this study, personal opinions, assumptions, interpretations and beliefs are used as minimum as possible. In this comparison, I have used four subjective parameters namely; “Feeling of Blissfulness”, “Ego Satisfaction”, “Effectiveness in Daily Life” and “Addiction to meditation”.  The parameter  “Feeling of Blissfulness” and “Effectiveness in Daily Life” are self explained and the other two parameters I explained below.

The table below shown the summary and the result of the research work.

Name

Main Technique

Feeling of Blissfulness

Ego Satisfaction

Effectiveness in Daily Life

Addiction to meditation

Vipassana Meditation
by S. N. Goenka  Tradition

Phase – I : Breathing awareness

Phase –II: Head-To-Toe and Toe-To-Head Body-Scanning.

Phase –III: Metta Meditation

Medium

High

Low

High

Vipassana
Meditation by Mahasi Sayadaw

Tradition

Phase I: Breathing awareness by observing the rising-falling motions of abdomen.Phase: II Observing impermanent, unsatisfactory, and impersonal nature in everything.Phase III: Mental noting, mindfulness of everything

Medium

Medium

Medium

Medium

Integrated
Yoga and Vipassana

by

Sri
Amit Ray, Himalayan Vipassana  Yoga Tradition.

Phase-I: Preparation of body and mind by selective yoga and breathing awareness exercises.

Phase-II: Mindfulness practice observing sensations and thoughts.

Phase –III: Breaking the repetitive patterns of mind by using subtle delayed change in breathing pattern.

+Deep Bliss of Silence

+Deep Bliss of Oneness

Medium

Medium

High

Low

Mindfulness
Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) by Jon Kabat-Zinn Tradition

Phase –I:  Simple Yoga Exercises

Phase-II: Body-Scanning (Yoga Nidra)

Phase-III: Moment to moment feeling awareness.

Low

Medium

Medium

Low

Numerous scientific confirmed the benefits of Vipassana Meditation. However, that I will discuss that later.

In the above table, I have used two parameters “Ego Satisfaction” and “Addiction to meditation”. Normally, it is believed that those with low-ego or no-ego are much happier and meditation is a way of satisfying the ego optimally. According to Freud, we are not born with an ego; our sense of “having a self” evolves during infancy and early childhood. Our ego is naturally designed to protect us. Moreover, the ego is never satisfied. It always wants more and more and more .. Meditation is releasing the burden of ego. On the other-hand, there is another part in human consciousness which is parallel to ego. It is known as soul or spirit. Our soul is content “being”. However, our ego is often caught up in “doing”.  Meditation is getting the optimal achievement in the evolutionary process. It requires development of  both heart and the head.

Normally, Vipassana Meditation is a tool for treating addiction and Vipassana Meditation has shown significant reductions in alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine consumption for addicted people. But here we focused on the addiction to meditation. Because in certain cases too much meditation itself become a problem – particularly in long retreats. Where meditation is continued for more than seven days. We are social being – meditation is for preparing us better equipped for solving life problems. It should not be a way to escape life. It is correct, meditation increases endorphins and manufacture happiness. Like drugs and extreme sports meditation generates the the happy chemical – endorphins and endorphins deliver the feelings of contentment and euphoria. It also numbs the pain in times of physical or emotional stress. To be happy, we need to release endorphins. But unfortunately,  we are not happy with moderate bliss, we seek bigger rushes of endorphin and that’s where the problem begins.

It is observed that sometimes people are so busy with meditation that they lost interest in family, friends, and social activities. Those who experience bliss when they meditate, want to recreate that experience again and again and they become addicted to meditation. Unconsciously sometimes people addicted to pain and that become also a problem. If you are meditating 2 to 3 hours per day, that is fine. But meditation for more than 3 hours per day is a problem.

Vipassana meditation have several benefits.  However, vipassana have some harmful effect. Pain addiction is one of the most important draw back of vipassana meditation. Habits and patterns associated with addiction are typically characterized by immediate gratification (short-term reward), coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs). In the above analysis, I have considered only few parameters. Parameters like side effect etc. are not considered here.  Vipassana meditation is not limited by “moment to moment awareness of present events,” but also preparing ourselves fit, successful  and healthy as an individual and as a social being.

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Author: Simon Wan

I enjoy every moment of my life. I like yoga and meditation.

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