Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vipassana Meditation? What is that?

It was the second lesson of the Vipassana Meditation Course. Arriving yogis were filling up the meditation hall as the clock indicated five minutes more before striking 8. Everyone sitting in the hall was eagerly waiting for Sister Gin, the instructor, to break out the noble silence session by delivering her lecture for the day. Most of them came to this meditation lesson to satisfy their curiosity on two major questions ‘What is Meditation’ and ‘Why do we meditate’ playing in their mind.

A few minutes later, the lady instructor in white blouse and longy (sarong) made her way mindfully across the centre of the meditation hall towards the instructor’s seat. Finally, Sister Gin was in position and ready to clear out the doubts and qualms about the purpose for meditating. Despite that she had given a brief introduction on Vipassana meditation in the first lesson last week, yet some of the yogis still hold vague views towards Vipassana meditation is intended to create miracles and psychic powers.

She started her talk with some facts on ‘what Vipassana is not’ so that people could understand that meditation is not for gaining supernatural power, for praising the Gods and deities, for the ability fortune telling, for whispering to unseen beings. It is also not a skill to have perfect control over one’s mind nor is it to run away from reality and problems in life.

The proper sitting meditation postures were also taught in the lesson as the most essential basic knowledge for meditation practice, that is to keep the back (spine) straight and leg crossed as it is a very stable and conducive way for the development of deep concentration. Sister Gin also mentioned that Yogis with special needs may sit on the chair instead (back pain, spinal problems, pregnancy etc).

After providing clear descriptions of different meditation postures, Sister Gin went around to provide guided supervisions to assist fellow yogis in correcting their postures individually. Surprisingly, most of the first-timer yogis got their posture correct in the 15 minutes self practice and look forward to attend the next session next week.

Sobhana Tan & Hong Bian