Body Sensations and Vipassana Meditation

Eilona Ariel is a film maker and a vipassana meditator.  She to the ten day vipassana training offered by Goenka in Nepal more than 26 years ago. She decided to make a film about body sensations and vipassana meditation with Ayelet Menahemi.

In this Ted Talk held in Jaffa, Israel in 2013, she explains about a scientist that lived 2,600 years ago in India. This researcher spent six years investigating the nature of body sensations. This researcher, according to Eilona Ariel, discovered that

Every data, every input that the mind receives through the sense doors, the sense bases, every vision, sound, taste, smell, or touch evokes a sensation on the body and we are blindly reacting to it. The mind also brings some dramas, memories, thoughts, emotions, anger, fear. It always comes with a sensation in the body.

The remarkable thing was that he found that actually, we react to the sensation and not to the outside object.

Like the mind receives and image, a form, a shape, immediately it will recognize it…

He realized that if we react with craving constantly… your subconscious mind keeps producing reactions.

Sensations come in three varieties: pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral. We crave the pleasant sensations and we want more of them. We experience aversion from the unpleasant sensations and we want to eliminate them.

Eilona talked about the movie she made with Ayelet Menahemi called, “Doing Time, Doing Vipassana.” I watched this movie about how vipassana meditation was taken inside Tihar Central Prison in New Delhi and Baroda Jail in the Indian state of Gujarat and inspired deep changes in the hearts and minds of the prisoners. It was very touching and gives us hope that some of our most severe problem are subject to being helped along by vipassana meditation.

She mentioned another documentary film that I saw, “Dhamma Brothers.” This one was also about bringing vipassana meditation into a maximum security prison in Alabama. Naturally, this type of healing experience is beyond the capability of our prison system to accept because of the financial impact of prisoners getting better, even though there are many dharma prison project going on in several California prisons on a small scale.

As revealing as the movies are, the real issue is how are you going to capitalize on this 2,600 year old proven method of recognizing sensations at their base and begin a daily meditation practice to learn how to meet them with equanimity instead of reacting? Any comments?

Books about the Dhamma Brothers

Dhamma Brothers

The Dhamma Brothers: An overcrowded, violent maximum-security prison, the end of the line in Alabama s prison system, is dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program. Behind high security towers and a double row of barbed wire and electrical fence live over 1,500 prisoners,… [Read More…]

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