Insight (profoundness)

For some people, serenity acquired by meditation is a goal in itself and there is no doubt that this type of serenity brings important advantages, manifesting as a more calm, more productive, and more balanced approach to life. There is also a third phase of meditation, the one which carries the meditator into the heart of the meditative experience. This is the phase of insight where the individual begins to make discoveries that answer the question “Who am I?”. Occasionally as a miracle one can reach this phase spontaneously, but it usually requires effort and perseverence.

This effort is being aware of what is going on in your own mind, regardless of what it is about. Further, it requires some action, in contrast to the more passive state experienced during the second phase, though it is a form of action which can be approached only if serenity has been reached.

In the Concentration exercise which has as a starting point the observation of the breath, practising the action of insight means to direct the attention from breathing towards thought. During meditaion, thoughts remain in the background, breathing being placed in the centre of  consciousness. Now, your thoughts become this focus, but you should resist getting caught up in them, mentally or emotionally, or let them carry you on a fantastic journeys. Simply observe them with the same vigilence as you followed your breathing. Let them move, like the reflections of clouds on the surface of water, but concentrate upon the points where they appear and disappear, upon the space between those points, when the mind empties and remains inside itself.

Regarding the perception of insight, nothing can be said that has a comparable value to the real experience. Duirng this phase, meditation methods begin to differ from each other – as a technique, not as direction – because there are many other things the meditator can concentrate upon besides breathing or thought. As a conclusion, the phases of meditation are:

  • Concentration, or Focus your mind.

  • Serenity, or Let your mind stay calm.

  • Insight, or See what there is beyond the mind.

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