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What Is Insight Meditation?

A human being is part of a whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in it's beauty. - Albert Einstein

Insight meditation, or Vipassana, has been practiced since the time of the Buddha, 2500 years ago. It originates in one of the three great streams of Buddhism, called the Theravada tradition. Theravada is practiced primarily in Thailand, Burma, India, Sri Lanka, and other parts of Southeast Asia. The other two streams are Mahayana, practiced mainly in China, Japan and Korea, and Vajrayana, practiced mainly in Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a generation of young Americans discovered insight meditation and brought it home. As taught and practiced at PIMC, insight meditation has little cultural overlay and is accessible to people of all religions.

Insight meditation is a way to develop wisdom and compassion. The core of the practice is the cultivation of mindfulness. Mindfulness is like a mirror that reflects the mind and body from moment to moment, without judgments, projections or distortions. As we learn to live in the present moment, and see things as they are, the hold of negativity is weakened, and we begin to cultivate a peacefulness in the mind and an openness of heart.

From this perspective, our relationship to the stresses of contemporary life can shift. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the many physical and emotional benefits that derive from meditation practice.

The foundations of the practice include sitting meditation, in which we learn to acquire steadiness of the mind and the ability to see deeply into the truth of our experience; walking meditation, in which we develop a greater awareness of our bodies in the present moment; and mindfulness in daily life, the art of conscious living. Lovingkindness (Metta) meditation is a component of the practice that enables us to open our heart to others, and ourselves and to recognize our connection to all of life.

Ultimately the distinction between formal meditation practice and everyday life blurs and every moment and action of life become part of a conscious spiritual journey.

(This text is cited with gratitude from New York Insight's website


"How to Meditate:" Robert Interviewed on the STIMULUS Podcast, with Rob Orman, MD

Dr. Rob Orman, MD, in his Jan. 25, 2021 podcast, talks with Robert about the basics of meditative practice.

Robert walks through the basics of meditation, how to start a meditation practice, principles of mindfulness, understating the roots of suffering, how concentrating on the breath can lead to insight, and healthy vs unhealthy coping. Don't miss this lively and thoughtful podcast episode!

To hear the podcast, please click:            HERE

In addition to the audio interview, the podcast page also includes extensive notes with time stamps summarizing the material Robert covers.


"Mindfulness for a Happy Life," Robert's and Laura's Book, Available on Audible

Robert's book, Mindfulness for a Happy Life (published in 2020), is an honest, real and approachable book that gives you practical, actionable steps for lasting happiness for all of the complexities in life told through stories, simple explanations and exercises that Robert Beatty, an avant-garde leader in the westernization of Buddhism, has developed over four decades of teaching mindfulness and mindfulness-based psychotherapy.

You can have a happy life and Robert opens the door to Buddhism and mindfulness practice for your complex and sometimes challenging life. This is a no-nonsense, honest book that gives you a direct experience of mindfulness and lays out the path for awakening to true happiness in the midst of all of the complexities of life.
Mindfulness for a Happy Life is available on paperback and as an audio book on Audible.

For more information, please click:         HERE