vipassana = insight

The only conversion involved in Vipassana is from misery to happiness, from bondage to liberation. ~S.N. Goenka

Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2,500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills.

Change is inevitable. It’s happening all the time whether we like it or not. One of the Buddha’s main teachings was of impermanence (the Pali word is “anicca,” pronounced a-nee-cha) –the fact that every single thing, from a bodily sensation to an emotion to a mood or feeling or relationship– is impermanent. Everything ends. But instead of getting down about this fact of nature, we can view it as a blessing. It gives us a plethora of opportunities to appreciate each fleeting moment.

Human nature tends to get in the way though. We want things to stay the same when they’re good. We cling to whatever feelings of happiness and pleasure we feel “lucky” enough to have from time to time. We push away bad things, the ugly and unpleasant, the dreadful and disturbing. We strive and struggle to retain our semblance of control.

But in truth, control is an illusion. We can intend, achieve and dream, sure. And well we should. At the same time, we must let go of attachment to the idea that things need to be a certain way. Dropping the incessant identification with ego, the ego that loves to judge ourselves and others with negativity.

Attachment and aversion to circumstances, people, and material things IS the cause of suffering. Simply notice. Forget to notice, and then remember to notice. Again and again. It’s not so much about what happens as much as our reaction to this moment.

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