Awareness . . .
What Does It Really Mean to Be Aware?
By Suleka Puswella
Does it mean being aware of the vibrations of the universe? Being aware of every planetary position in your astrological chart? On a more mundane level, what about your breath?
The breath, which constantly flows in and out of your nostrils, effortlessly and naturally. Yet performing a task of the utmost significance. Are you constantly aware of this life and death occurrence? Or what about your heart beat, another very significant bodily function, or your blood flow?
In short, are you aware of every single sensation in your body? Is it even humanly possible to reach such a heightened awareness that you can catch yourself at the bio-chemical level, much before they even become emotions of anger, joy, sadness, depression, etc.? Much before you start reacting to them.
The Answer is “yes”.
Vipassana, which means, “to see things as they really are” in the ancient Inidian language, Pali, has the answer. Vipassana is a meditation technique of self-introspection, of learning to objectively observe the phenomenon of mind and matter, a process that gradually leads to self-transformation and real peace. It is a logical step-by step process of mental refinement through self-observation. Once learned, it becomes a valuable tool that requires no dependency on a teacher, making one fully self-dependent.
Vipassana is not a religion and involves no dogma, rites or rituals. Instead of a system of belief, it is a system of experience — a way to discover the reality of the world and oneself, in order to live a happy and productive life. The essential message is that real suffering does not arise from the experiences we have, but from our reaction to them. Vipassana offers results here and now, that are good, concrete, vivid, personal and immediate.
Mr. S.N. Goenka, a leading industrialist in Myanmar (Burma) in the post-war years, has gone on to become the foremost living lay teacher of Vipassana. By his own example he has proven that meditation can be the foundation for a wholesome and socially beneficial life. He started teaching Vipassana meditation in 1969 to a few individuals in India. In the 33 years since then, Vipassana has grown internationally. There are over 100 meditation centers in over 80 countries. Men and women of all walks of life practice Vipassana. They include the highly educated and the illiterate, the wealthy and the impoverished, aristocrats and slum-dwellers, devout followers of every religion and followers of none, the powerful and the powerless, the aged and the young. All have discovered its benefits.
Confirming that the only true reform is self-reform, Vipassana has successfully been taught to prison inmates and staff in many parts of India as well as the United States, Britain, New Zealand, Taiwan and Nepal.
Goenka will be in Los Angeles and San Diego May 30-June 2, 2002, giving two public talks on “Meditation Now: Inner Peace through Inner Wisdom”. The talks, as well as 10-day meditation courses, are free-of charge. Please visit www.dhamma.org for more details on Vipassana.
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