“Silence, Spaciousness, and Vipassana” this Sunday with Benjamin Hohl

January 26, 2024

“Silence, Spaciousness, and Vipassana” this Sunday with Benjamin Hohl

Dear Community,

Sunday 10am Community Practice & Discussion

This Sunday, Benjamin Hohl will lead an exploration of “Silence, Spaciousness, and Vipassana.” This will carry on from our earlier explorations of cultivating spaciousness, with the Sound of Silence being one skillful means to do so. (Optionally, you can review some of that context in former newsletters here and here.) This week, we’ll explore how this sense of spaciousness can prove very useful in our vipassana practice.

Here is an excerpt from Ajahn Amaro’s book Finding the Missing Peace (freely available here) on the nature of vipassana practice:

As a result of this [meditative] training, there is an open-hearted awareness of whatever is arising in the present moment. This includes the feelings of the body, sounds, thoughts, and emotions that might arise. The training is to let them come, let them take their shape, perform their function, and then dissolve and fade away.

This dimension of meditation is vipassanā or “insight meditation.” With insight meditation, one begins to train the mind and heart to be aware and to have insight into the fundamental nature of all experience. One begins to see that in every moment there is an arising, an appearance, an abiding and a disappearance of sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, thought, feeling, emotion. It appears that there is an ongoing flow of all these different dimensions of life. These sensations arise, we experience them, and then they change. But within all of that, and around all of that, there can be a quality of all-embracing awareness, a quality of knowing that is attentive to that, attuned to what is going on, but not reactive to it.

This awareness is not caught up in the flow of experience. One is able to see clearly what is going on. One can understand more and more fully how the heart gets entangled in the liked, the disliked, the wanted, the unwanted, the pleasant, the painful, the beautiful, the ugly, in ideas of past and future, self and other. One begins to see how solid one has made all of these concepts. And one trains the heart to start to let go, to not get entangled and identified with those qualities in the same habitual way. This is called “insight.” One sees that we’re continually and habitually fooled by aspects of the world around us, or the feelings within us, or the way we perceive ourselves and others to be. But when one looks closely and uses the meditation to be very still and attend very clearly and closely to what experience is, one begins to see that experience is constantly changing and fluid. It also becomes clear that any single experience cannot really satisfy (pp. 26 - 27)

Please join us for this exploration! All meditation experience levels and welcome. Registration and Zoom information available here.

With metta,

Minneapolis Insight