Insight Meditation Buddhist meditation practices often emphasize mainly concentration, particularly on a certain person, place or thing. They teach the mind to focus on one point or object, which achieves strength of concentration. The results are peaceful states, and in some very rare cases are said to create supernormal powers. That is no wonder why many people steer in that direction, in hopes of achieving superpowers. Insight meditation is quite different however, and although some degree of concentration is needed, the meditator focuses more on mindfulness of the situation. Insight is defined in the dictionary as the capacity to discern the true nature of a situation.
The basis of insight meditation is the four foundations of mindfulness. They include contemplation of the body, contemplation of feelings, contemplation of the mind-state and contemplation of mind-objects. To achieve mindfulness one must try to be aware of these foundations as they exist in their bodies. For example to be mindful of the body, it is necessary to be aware of breathing in, breathing out, posture, bodily movements inwardly and outwardly etc. One must be conscious of mind-objects such as desire, and understand hoe feelings like that come about and how they are eliminated.
To understand mindfulness as simply as possible, one can look at the difference between an unmindful person and the opposite. Everyday we see people who are unmindful of their actions, unmindful of their movements. Someone on the street who steps into a large puddle is unmindful of walking, such as someone who slips and falls. The state of mind of this person is unclear and possibly confused. We can compare this to ourselves in everyday life. Almost everybody has moments of calmness and moments of panic in their lives.
When we are calm and composed, our minds are bright and clear, and our actions involve more thought. If we were to take a long walk on a desolate beach, with not a single soul around, we would have a higher degree of mindfulness than say, a walk to the subway station. A walk along the beach is much more peaceful, thus easier for us to achieve that mindfulness. On the other hand most of us have experienced a time in our lives when we have been panic-stricken, for whatever reason. In those cases, are mind is cluttered, we cannot think clearly and make rational decisions.
In a way we are separate from our mind for the time being, and make decisions that are not precise or careful. Insight meditation is defined as the realization of the real nature of the world as it is, freed from concepts. In simple words, all mental and material processes that make up this world are really non-lasting, unsatisfactory and non-self. Because of this the meditator turns away from the conditioned reality that they are so used to and finds an unconditioned, absolute reality. It’s almost like the meditator frees their mind from its usual state. Although insight meditation is not the most commonplace of all the types of meditation, it is a useful tool to become more aware of one’s own body and mind. With a better understanding of one’s mind, or a state of mindfulness, which focuses on internal and external feelings, the mind can be less cluttered, less confused and more the way it should be, bright and clear.