The insight training is about to start again in September. This will be the third year that I have led the training online in the evenings and I have found it an excellent format for supporting participants through the path of insight meditation over six months or so. I see the group bonding and I get to know the participants well. I really look forward to teaching the sessions each week.
The insight training, based on the teachings of Rob Nairn, draws on Buddhist vipassana methods to cultivate deep insight into the workings of the mind. It develops our mindfulness practice by directing attention towards that part of us which observes the contents which arise in the mind. In this way we uncover the hidden attitudes, assumptions and expectations towards that content and train to observe the content impartially. We use techniques of reflection to uncover the underlying habits and reflexes that condition the arising content. We gradually recognise the fabricated, conditioned and impermanent nature of the content and our compulsion to engage with the content. This increases our free will in relation to the content that arises within the mind.
Along the way we look at the painful emotions of anger, desire, jealousy and pride which, separate us from others, and which are the root of much of our personal and interpersonal suffering. We learn to soften these emotions with their opposites, by cultivating kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. This creates the conditions for insights to arise in relation to our individual emotional make up to gradually free us from emotional reactivity. This makes space for responses drawn from a wider perspective of wise discernment to emerge, lightening our lives and the lives of those around us.
Using a progressive process of contemplative inquiry we explore fundamental questions relating to the nature of suffering, the nature of the self and the ignorance which veils the truth of who and what we really are.
Gradually, over the training, using techniques such as on-duty/off-duty, resting in the midst and resting in awareness, we will learn to be more and do less as we meditate. Letting go of having to make anything happen or figure anything out. Instead, we cultivate the confidence to be ok with not knowing, trusting that anything we need to know will be known in its own time and in its own way.
This training of sensitising ourselves to the subtle workings of the mind, together with doing less and being more, creates the conditions for transformation through a process of ‘the seeing is the doing’. The snakes become ropes, our perspective transforms and our inherent potential for peace, happiness and love is freed up.
In accordance with the usual Mindfulness Association approach we offer progressive teachings, followed by practices, that allow the teachings to be integrated experientially. Practices will be followed by opportunities for participants to share their experiences, ask questions and receive guidance. In this way we support each other in our mutual learning and deepen our understanding.