In the Midwest, when the sun punches through months-long grey skies and warms the earth to a tepid 48 degrees Fahrenheit, thousands of previously hibernating humans crawl out from their shelters and brave the outdoors to embrace it. We roll our car windows down, don light jackets, and ignore our bright pink faces protesting against … Continue reading One Year After My Silent Meditation Retreat
For my American readers, this week is home to my favorite holiday of them all: Thanksgiving. If you were unaware, my religious affiliation is vaguely Buddhist with a side of "I don't really care, God probably isn't real, but if that makes you happy that's cool". This is one of the major reasons Christmas isn't … Continue reading Gratitude should come more than once a year
In February, I boarded a plane to Massachusetts and began a nearly week long silent retreat at the Insight Meditation Society. I was at the peak of my meditative practice at this point, sitting every day for usually thirty minutes. Of course, this was nowhere near the minimum eight hours a day I would spend … Continue reading Six Months After My Silent Meditation Retreat
Sometime in 2018, when my meditation practice was becoming more regular, my sister recommended trying a retreat. Through what I read, as well as from her expert suggestion, the Insight Meditation Society (IMS), was basically *the* place to go in the US. On an absolute whim, one random summer night around 3 am, I signed up for one.
Today we’re going to talk about the Big Gun of meditation - vipassana. Vipassanā is Pali for “Insight,” and it’s what we work to develop if we hope to one day obtain enlightenment. This sounds like an absurdly lofty goal but it is absolutely obtainable. And truth be told, even if you don’t make it all the way, you will gain many other “mundane” insights and fruits that make sitting worthwhile.
If you take one and only one thing away from this post, let it be this:
The most important thing is that you meditate.
How you do it, what words you use to describe it, your posture, all of that is secondary. Yeah, some styles have different focuses and once you make a habit out of “sitting” (by the way, I’ll use this term a lot but you can meditate while walking, laying down, standing - I’ve literally meditated while pumping gas before, so keep that in mind), then you can start to sift through the centuries worth of information. In the beginning, though, it’s all about getting your ass to the cushion (again, metaphor!).