Someone asked me what’s the point of going long vipassana meditation retreats? What an excellent question! This question is primary for all of us in the field of meditation. Here, I’ll try to answer the question in a very informal way. Remember the words of Buddha, freely translated as: “Don’t blindly chase the words of any teacher or expert; instead, believe what is proven true in your own life and experience.” There are hundreds of scientific articles on the benefits of meditation. These benefits should be judged from your own experience.
The “body scan meditation,” which involves paying attention to physical sensations throughout the body is the repetitive process that changes our brain. Throughout the history of meditation different traditions are giving different names to this single practice. If you like intellectual satisfaction, then you may not like the terminology “body-scan”. We may call that something like .. Based Cognitive Therapy. I like the word cognitive as well as therapy. These words are also more secular in nature.
In reality, 15-20 minutes daily body-scanning is enough for meditation. Concentration increases ego and tension. 45 minutes concentration is a good achievement. After all meditation is for fun and relaxation, why should you increase your tension?
I was told ” then you can increase your compassion”. I told that is fine. I know all about that. I want more specific activity in meditation. The more I have the mental activities, the more I’ll be happy. No! No! I don’t enjoy pleasant memories or plan for future activities in meditation. I am looking for real insight.
Daily 45 minutes for 8 weeks is the current trend for research articles. That is fine! but I want something more! Something different from others! Something new!
Regarding vipassana meditation Lord Buddha instructed “When you stretch out the arms and legs you must be aware of it as it is. When you dress you must all be aware of it. When you take off clothes you must be aware of it; when you put on clothes you must be aware of it”
Buddha said when you eat food then note all the activities in the act of having the food. When you drink water or when you drink anything you must be aware of all the activities involved in these actions.
You can add more! Let your creative imagination generate more!
Some monks can sit twenty-four hours without changing position. The big question is: Is it required? How much to extend? Again the answer is it depends up to you.
Normally, ten to fifteen minutes daily vipassana meditation with ten minutes daily yoga exercise is good enough for a happy life.