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Copyright 2001 Realization.org.



Beginning Meditation Practice:
Introduction to Insight Meditation





The following article is reproduced with permission from the website of Abhidhyan Yoga Institute, Inc.

THERE ARE MANY methods of meditation: complicated and simple, effective and useless, requiring much time and requiring little. The following method is simple, effective, and not too time consuming. It is ideal for beginners. Many teachers, especially Buddhists, limit themselves to it because it is sufficient for attaining enlightenment. This method will provide the "optimum dose" of contemplative activity without which the attainment of the Spiritual Goal is impossible. It will also help in coping with stress, learning how to relax, and seeing reality as it is.

Without daily contemplative activity, i.e. meditation, the spiritual path is IMPOSSIBLE! Don't wait for a more convenient time to start doing meditation. It is not going to come. Do not wait for tomorrow to begin your practice. Do not imagine that reading about meditation can replace practicing meditation. Start doing it today! (You must demand, with all due respect, and receive from your teacher as soon as possible all the necessary instructions regarding the spiritual path and meditation practice.)

Familiarize yourself with the following directions on how to meditate, so that you will not be distracted during your practice. Don't worry about how your meditation will go. Meditation is a process the results of which will reveal themselves regardless of how you are doing meditation; only regularity and patience are necessary. Thinking about possible results and worrying about whether you are meditating properly or not will only hinder the practice. Through contemplative activity we are trying not to complicate our condition with additional mental activity but to see it as it is. The best way to begin meditation is simply to start, throwing all preconceived ideas out the window. Do not judge yourself or worry about results. Shall we start?

Find a quiet, pleasant place and turn off the telephone. Inform your friends that this is the time you devote to yourself and that you do not wish to be disturbed. If you do not have a quiet, convenient place, then adjust the best you can. One can meditate under any conditions.

Sit comfortably on a chair, arm-chair, floor, mat, or a blanket; straighten your back; put your hands on your lap one on top of the other (palms facing up); and close your eyes. Deeply, slowly breathe in and out 3-4 times to relax a bit.

Then examine your body from inside. How does it look? How do you perceive the inside? Where are the organs? What is their color? What is their condition -- healthy, sick, tired, full of life? Slowly, step by step, direct your attention to all the major parts of the body; start down, finish up. After this, with an imaginary broom, sweep out the tension and fatigue starting at the bottom with your feet and finishing on top with your head and then gradually, gradually let a feeling of pleasant relaxation enter the body, as if a vast seascape has opened up before you.

Now let into this inner seascape all of the inner and outer happenings -- allow all the sounds, thoughts, perceptions and emotions to enter. DO NOT JUDGE OR ANALYZE THEM. Let these inner and outer happenings have a place inside you but do not dwell on them. Let them begin and end of their own accord without your participation.

Register the incessant chatter, fears and hopes that continually surface in your consciousness. Note how you ceaselessly scheme about the future, projects which like the Soviet five-year plan will never come to be. Feel the eternal itch of worry that something bad will happen. Listen to the quiet, aching guilt about past mistakes best left behind.

Sit this way in contemplation not judging and not lingering on anything for about 15 minutes. After your meditation practice it is beneficial to read an inspiring book, to be alone, or to go for a walk.

Article, photograph, and trademark copyright 1991-2000 Abhidhyan Yoga Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

Shri Acharya Abhidhyanananda Avadhuta (also known as Rev. Fr. Anatole Ruslanov) completed full monastic training in India under the direction of one of the great spiritual masters of this century, Shri Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar (Shri Shri Anandamurti), and is a lineage holder of a Tantric Yoga tradition. In 1991 he founded Abhidhyan Yoga Institute, Inc. For a longer biography of him, see this page.



Advice For Beginners
Our main reference page for beginners. Contains links to more articles like this one that are especially useful to people who are starting out.

Our main reference page on meditation techniques. Book recommendations, links to articles, etc.





  Abhidhyan Yoga Institute, Inc.
A non-profit American organization offering training in Tantric Yoga founded in 1991 by Shri Acharya Abhidhyanananda Avadhuta (Rev. Fr. Anatole Ruslanov). The site has some excellent articles including practical advice for beginners. There's a nice how-to article on insight meditation.

Vipassana Support Institute
Vipassana is another name for Insight Meditation. This site contains many suberb articles on the subject by Shinzen Young.




Abhidhyan Yoga Institute, Inc.




THE ART OF LIVING: Vipassana Meditation As Taught By S. N. Goenka
by William Hart
An excellent introduction to Theravada Buddhism with emphasis on methods as well as philosophy. It focuses especially on the technique of insight meditation, in which the mind is trained to be a witness without the attention wandering. Goenka, who assisted the author in writing the book, is famous for founding a free nonprofit network of meditation schools. Read more about the book here on Amazon.com; about Goenka's schools here.

by Henepola Gunaratana
Many people say that this nuts-and-bolts manual on Theravada meditation is the best book on meditation in English. It's on the web here; read more about it here on Amazon.com.


This page was published on Realization.org on March 10, 2000 and last revised on May 9, 2000.

Copyright 2001 Realization.org. All rights reserved.