by Christopher Titmuss
Insight Meditation and associated spiritual teachings awaken one to the Truth of things and its presence in daily circumstances.
Insight Meditation belongs to a comprehensive body of teachings known as the Dharma. The Dharma embraces ethics, spiritual inquiry, contact with like-minded people, compassion, wisdom and an enlightened life.
Insight Meditation offers emotional and psychological insights, a depth of awareness, inner peace and a profound and liberating sense of the Here and Now.
The Four Postures
Sitting Meditation: Cross-legged, use of meditation stool or chair without back support (unless necessary). Sit with straight back and neck with chin slightly tucked in, eyes closed with feeling of expansion in chest and diaphragm area. Avoid use of will power to hold posture. Let the whole body settle into the posture with alert presence. Bring full awareness to the immediacy of things.
Walking Meditation: Meditative walking consists of slow, short steps. Heel of one foot hardly goes in front of the toes of the other. Be mindful of each foot touching the ground. Eyes used for seeing ahead and balance. One resting on the other at the abdomen. 5-15 metres to walk up and down with moment to moment awareness. Be respectful to each step on the Earth.
Standing Meditation: Stand with toes and heels close together. Hands together on the abdomen. Eyes closed or open. Experience the presence of whole body from soles of feet to tope of the head. Then experience stillness of posture, the vibration of life and sense of being.
Reclining Meditation: Lie flat on the back with heels together or bend knees so heels are drawn close to buttocks. Eyes closed. Head on small, firm pillow or two or three books. Arms at the side of the body, palms facing upwards. Be fully present to intimacy with immediate nature.
Eating Meditation: Vegetarian or vegan food. Initial reflection on world wide inter-dependency that makes a meal possible. Silence throughout meal with alert posture. Conscious and unhurried eating with mindfulness of tasting, chewing and swallowing of food. Concluding with a reflection as a thanksgiving.
INSIGHT MEDITATION ON MINDFULNESS OF BREATHING
In the sitting posture be mindful of the full breath experience. Experience the body expanding with the inhalation and contracting with the exhalation.
If tired, keep the eyes open. If restless, breathe long and deep and relax with the outbreath. Allow the breath to flow in and out of the body whether the breath is rough or smooth, shallow or deep.
Be aware of the moment(s) of stillness before the next in-breath. Be aware of change, of the impermanence of all experience. The breath comes and goes like all events, experiences and situations.
Experience the air element stimulating and opening cellular life as a contribution to stress reduction, healing and well-being.
Let the brain cells become quiet. Mindfulness of breathing contributes to harmony of body and mind and direct experience of organic life.
The air element confirms our intimacy and inter-dependence with the surrounding world. Allow this perception to run deep as a liberation from self-centered existence.
INSIGHT MEDITATION ON THE BODY
Awareness of subtle and gross body sensations cuts through much of the projection, if not obsession, around bodily appearance - size, age, weight, colour, gender and social values that interpret the body in a conditioned way.
Direct the attention to a full awareness of the direct body experience.
Moment to moment, slowly scan the attention from the head throughout the toes and from the toes to the top of the head. Experience directly the sensations and vibrations of the body.
Notice areas in the body where there is tension, pressure, aches and pains. In a relaxed way, direct mindfulness into these areas.
Be aware of the centre of the discomfort and also the outer edges. Observe changes and impermanence of these sensations. Direct mindfulness also to areas where there appears to be a lack of sensation.
Return attention to full awareness of the whole body. Experience the body as organic life, as various vibrations and sensations touching on consciousness.
Ground oneself in direct bodily experience. Be mindful of description and interpretations of the body through likes and dislikes, health and sickness so that one can respond with wisdom to bodily life.
Experience mindfulness of body as the inter-dependence of the five elements - earth, air, fire, water, space - i.e. firmness, lightness, warmth, fluidity or spaciousness.
Realise the body belongs to the nature of things rather than being "I" or "mine".
INSIGHT MEDITATION ON FEELINGS
Acknowledge feelings whether pleasant, unpleasant or in-between. Feelings give support to activities of body, speech and mind.
Experience what is felt Here and Now, and be aware of any descriptions or label of it. Be aware whether a feeling within is deep or shallow.
If the feeling intensifies and becomes emotion - ecstasy, sorrow, excitement, fear, bliss - let the experience unfold without struggle.
Neither detach oneself from feelings nor indulge in them. Neither fight difficult emotions nor flee from them.
Acknowledge feelings of love, friendship, compassion, gratitude and equanimity.
Be conscious of and receptive to their presence and expression.
Be mindful of interpreting past, present and future in the face of pleasant, painful or in-between feelings.
Be mindful of the inter-dependence of feelings and states of mind.
Clinging to pleasant feelings leads to desire and pursuit of self-interest. Clinging to unpleasant feelings leads to withdrawal, aggression or other forms of reactivity. Clinging to in-between feelings leads to ignorance and blindness to the way things are.
Recognise the difference between spiritual feelings that contribute to ethics and wisdom and worldly feelings where ego interests are paramount.
Realise That where perceptions and feelings have no foothold.
INSIGHT MEDITATION ON STATES OF MIND
Be mindful and conscious of the Here and Now.
Be aware of the state of mind, calm or restless, focussed or wandering, clear or cloudy, alert or dull, without desire or with desire, positive or negative, grounded or flighty.
Witness the state of mind rising, staying and passing in consciousness. Notice times of pure observation of the state of mind and times of being lost in the state of mind.
Regard any state of mind as the opportunity for "self" learning and insight into inner life.
Witness a thought, opinion or judgement just as that. Know the difference between thoughts supported with wisdom and unwholesome thoughts.
See the mind as belonging to a process. Observe the presence of the motivation and use of "I" and "my" in the unfolding states of mind.
Be aware that an experience forms through conditions, not through choices.
Be aware of the inter-dependence of events, feelings, perceptions and consciousness forming the state of the mind.
Learn to explore the depths of meditation and religious experiences. See such experiences as the opportunity for insight and realisation.
By not holding onto any experience the heart-mind does not become the centre of existence. Realise liberation and the free mind.
INSIGHT MEDITATION ON CHOICELESS AWARENESS
Know that contact with the world through sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.
Experience the senses without desire to fix or substantiate anything.
Abide with choiceless awareness though experiencing a deep sense of intimacy with all things.
Neither indulging in memories, nor pursing future dreams, nor looking for something to happen in the present.
Not choosing to focus on the personal or impersonal, unity or diversity, the static or evolution - since all positions refer to sentient and insentient objects.
Allow one's whole being to rest in this choiceless awareness.
Allow claims and possessiveness over existence to fade away.
Permit a palpably transforming silence and stillness to pervade one's being.
In this choiceless awareness, there is nowhere to go, to stay or to come from.
Embrace the three fields of time, past, present and future.
Realise the Emptiness of claims on things, experience or on relative or Ultimate Truth.
In this receptivity, regard any liberating insight into the Ultimate Truth as expressions of Truth rather than fruits of "self" effort.Visit the Christopher Titmuss website at www.insightmeditation.org