At Copenhagen Insight, we teach various meditation forms that originate in early Buddhism: Primarily we focus on Vipassana (insight) but we also include elements of Samatha (collectedness) and the Brahmaviharas (kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity).
Practicing meditation with us does not requires a belief in a particular philosophy or religion nor identifying as a Buddhist.
Meditation is neither a relaxation nor a concentration technique. Meditation is more a giving way to or immersing oneself in a state of mind that reflects a fine balance between relaxation and concentration.
In the earliest texts, the word for meditation is ‘bhavana’. ‘Bhavana’ means ‘to bring into being’ or ‘to cultivate’ which indicates that it is not a specific state of mind, but an on-going process or training where we cultivate conditions for the mind which over time can lead to a more wholesome and flourishing life.
So how do we do this?
First of all we need to cultivate a certain collectedness of mind (Samatha) as a basis and stability from which we can explore and be curious about what is going on in the present moment.
Vipassana – Insight Meditation – means just that: to investigate the phenomena occurring in our experience moment to moment with kindness and curiosity.
However, to openly and curiously examine all occurring phenomena, even the painful ones, we also need to cultivate kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity (the Brahmaviharas), as these are necessary resources which allow us to enter whole-heartedly into this investigative process with warmth and stability.
Over time this practice enables us to see that phenomena in our minds are unstable, constantly changing. They cannot be held on to nor be called me or mine.
This understanding – this wisdom – is one which brings greater acceptance, more spaciousness and inner peace.
Thus, Vipassana and the Brahmaviharas are the two wings of Wisdom and Love, which are supported and joined by the bird’s body, Samatha -collectedess.
Only the whole bird will be able to fly towards freedom.
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