Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. - Dhamma.org
While there are many types of meditation, the type I practice and teach, mindfulness meditation, comes from the Vipassana / Insight meditation tradition. Vipassana means to see clearly, to see things as they are. When we sit down to meditate, we bring a loving attention to the present moment, we calm the mind-heart-body, and even though it is not the goal, during this process, we often gather insights. We begin to see how the world really works, how the mind-heart-body really works, and how we often get caught up in stories. These stories, which we can also call beliefs or views, can push us into unwise intentions and actions, and can end up being the reason why we suffer. In other words, we might be suffering not because of the reality of the situation, but because we expect something other than its reality.
Recently, in Oren Jay Sofer’s book “Say What You Mean”, I came across a very clear explanation of this:
Based on our life experiences we form certain views. Those views engender certain intentions, which tend to reproduce the same experiences. Over time, our experiences and world views cocreate and reinforce each other. - Oren Jay Sofer. Say What You Mean (p. 63). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
In this series, I aim to highlight some of these limiting beliefs and views that push us into corners and that take away from our sense of flow and freedom. There are many of them, and I don’t intend this list to be comprehensive. I hope to highlight some of the limiting beliefs I personally observe in myself and others a lot.
Limiting beliefs and views can be very strong, sticky and painful, due to the deep cultural conditioning surrounding us. My intention in writing about them is to invite all of us to bring a caring, compassionate and curious regard to them.
I find the process of observing these beliefs to be repetitive, cyclical and spread across decades. I also find that a cognitive understanding of these views as “limiting” is not enough. The fact that we observe and understand them doesn’t mean that they stop influencing how we live our lives. I benefit from having a steady mindfulness and compassion practice that helps me hold myself in kindness and care as I observe how these views show up and shape my life. I go through many rounds of finding expansion and forgiving myself. I highly recommend you do the same. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you’d like me to help set up your home practice that can be a container for these gentle investigations.
Here are some of the views I might write about in this series:
- Either / Or Thinking (Coming next week)
- There is a problem to solve
- There is an action to take
- There is a plan to make
- Not knowing is a problem
- Conflict is a problem
- If there are unmet needs, someone is to blame
- Separate self
- Win / Lose
- Right / Wrong
- Good / Bad
- We will live forever
Let me know if you are particularly interested in any of these views, and I might focus my efforts on those! 😊
As I write about them, I will be sharing with you (1) how to recognize it, (2) how to allow it, (3) how to investigate it, (4) how to nurture yourself when you notice it.
I'll begin next week with Either / Or Thinking! Stay tuned.