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The Benefits of Vipassana Meditation Told From Within

Let’s talk about the benefits of vipassana meditation. People often talk about the benefits abstractly and don’t relate them to their life, happiness and difficulties. I’m going to buck that trend – we’ll talk about them from my direct experience, with plenty of practical examples.

Here we talk specifically about the benefits of vipassana meditation. Other than a couple of years when I wasn’t so consistent or committed, I’ve maintained a solid meditation habit since 2016 and have mostly practiced vipassana meditation. I’m currently on a streak of nearly 200 days.

In Context: My Practice

Before we begin, I want to be clear that I’ve not done that much meditation in the grand scheme of things. To the average person, I’m a yogi; to a yogi, I’m remarkably average!

As of January 2024, I’ve done 1600 hours of sitting meditation, along with an unquantifiable amount of meditation in daily life. As such, I feel I’m only beginning to move into long-term meditator territory. That said, I have successfully taught meditation to dozens of people, read a lot about it, and gone through multiple teacher training courses.

And I know enough about meditation to realise that it has brought profound change to my life that I haven’t fabricated or exaggerated.

With that said, let’s turn our focus to the benefits of vipassana meditation.

The Benefits of Vipassana Meditation

#1: Presence and Fulfilment

First, I experience extraordinary presence during the day. Sure, I’m often lost in monkey mind. But my overall level of presence is higher than ever. I often have moments where life suddenly switches to 4K HD resolution.

Everything becomes wonderfully clear and vivid, my sense of time changes, and I feel so deeply here. And in moments when that involuntary presence is lacking, I can voluntarily turn up the dial as I please.

This presence helps me get more out of my experiences. The conventional wisdom tells us that we need to seek happiness, to create it, to manufacture it. But now it’s clear to me that my moment-to-moment happiness is often more about what I bring to life than what life brings to me.

When I’m eating food, I ask how I can get more out of the experience. Same with walking, music, scenery, and the other pleasures of life. It’s obvious that my level of satisfaction is greatly determined by how deeply I pay attention to the experience. In fact, I’d say that there’s beauty to discover in every moment. It’s up to each of us to connect with it.

Closely tied to this, I feel happier with less. In my wiser moments, I see there is already more beauty and fullness in the world than I could ever possibly exhaust. Stimulants, fancy cars, and the Good Life all seem like unnecessary additions.

Benefits of Vipassana Meditation #2: Behaviour Change

Many old habits have fallen away too. I can’t put all of this down to meditation, but I can see how meditation shines a light on all our nasty habits.

The common denominator with all bad habits is that we maintain them to seek joy and mask our pain. Though this is understandable and sad, it’s also fruitless in the end. Excessive phone use, alcohol abuse, pornography, overeating, and our other favourite vices promise on-demand joy, and they all fall short.

In my case, I now no longer drink alcohol, even though I’d done so since a young age. I won’t claim that meditation was the primary cause of this, but my mindfulness skills have definitely helped me overcome my prior need for alcohol. I won’t go into depth as to how you might use meditative awareness to work through your need for alcohol, but let me give one example of how this works.

For example, in social situations, I’d often drink to lubricate my conversation skills and feel more at ease. Now I bring exquisite attention to the sense of feeling awkward, self-conscious and stiff, the self-conscious thoughts, the worry, the social anxiety. I untangle it and let them flow through me in the moment. I feel free just to act spontaneously in the moment without preoccupations and contact the beauty of the present.

And yes, I do still have bad habits. But more and more I see why they’re bad: they do nothing for me long-term, they negatively alter my state of mind, and they’re usually motivated by fear and lack.

Learn more about meditation with the Deep Psychology podcast.

Benefits of Vipassana Meditation #3: Self-Awareness

I add supercharged self-awareness to the list of benefits of vipassana meditation. I’m much more attuned to my behaviour patterns, emotional states and habits of mind than ever before.

My ability to bring meditative awareness to my internal states is growing all the time and is close to becoming my automatic reaction to them. I can see my emotions and thoughts, rather than be them. This helps me to stop engaging in self-sabotaging patterns, to stop inflaming my pain and discomfort, and to deeply feel what’s happening inside me with a radical openness.

And ultimately, it’s helping me see beyond the veil of my habitual self-sense. More and more, I see that I am not these thoughts, or this body, or this drivenness. I see that my body and my senses aren’t separate after all, and that my sense of being walled off from the rest of the world is illusory.

It has become clear that this practice will eventually turn me into a Colossus – a human being with remarkable levels of presence, a radical ability to process my experiences, a transformation of my body, and a profound spiritual connection.

Yet I also realise that the work is always present to present to present, and that these visions can be damaging. So I gently let that vision dissolve and get my hands dirty once more.

Benefits of Vipassana Meditation #4: It Humbles You

Meditation has been a deeply humbling pursuit for me.

My sticking points and habits have been dramatically revealed by my increasing awareness of them. I realise now that I cause many of my problems through sub-optimal mental habits. I’ve become dramatically aware of how addictive thinking is, and how it dumbs down my awareness of life.

It has also shown me fleeting glimpses of our highest potential and how often I fall short of it! We have remarkable capacities for presence, emotional processing, poise, acting from Spirit, and sheer contentment. And I’m only beginning to tap into them.

Besides, meditation has shown me “beyond” – beyond mind, self, the physical world. There’s no going back from that. This has brought into question all my knowledge about life, its origins, its purpose, and what drives it all. Most importantly, it has made me question my obsession with me.

To sign off, I’ll say that the key is to find the middle way between growth to a new self and deep acceptance of the current self. We diagnose improvements and identify solutions, yet continue practicing meditation for its own sake, allowing its power to work underground.

If this has stirred your curiosity, come and learn more about meditation with my Learn to Meditate Series.

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