How do we find contentment in the external world where everything is subject to impermanence and are ultimately out of our control? In this inspirational talk, Dharma Teachers Doug and Catherine Sensei share how Insight meditation (a.k.a. Vipassana) can help you address life’s struggles, including indecisiveness, anger and over-consumption.
They teach that in order to transform the world around you, you must first transform your internal world: “Change your view, to change your conduct.” By looking closely at the nature or pathology of struggle, clearly understanding the problem, we begin to understand the solution. It starts with ourselves.
This talk was hosted and recorded by the Dharma Hub in Calgary.
Watch the Video Now: Change Yourself to Change the World – Practicing Insight Meditation
Insight Meditation: Change Yourself to Change the World
What is the nature of struggle? Is it inside, or outside us?
Do you feel you have a troubled life? This “troubled world ” or struggle has not changed since the time of the Buddha. The Buddha’s core teaching was: “I teach but two things: struggle and the transcendence of struggle”. This is still applicable today.
Westerners tend to attribute suffering to external objects, people and circumstances. We might blame or project out onto politicians or the environment as the cause of our problems. Or, we may think that we should always be happy, and that we need certain things to stay happy, like particular relationships, a sunny day or a certain career. Alas, these objects are subject to change.
By basing our struggles and joys on external factors, we don’t have to look inside to see that the struggle is really within.
In truth, the degree of struggle in our lives is based on our reactions to hurt, manifesting as greed, hatred or delusion. And, hurt is based on a misunderstanding of what the “I” (or ego) is, or is not.
By practicing insight meditation, (and strengthening principles like the paramis) we begin to understand the problem of struggle at the root. We look deeply at the misunderstood sense of ‘self’, and see through the ego to the core of how it is built. This insight leads us towards eliminating unnecessary struggle.
Insight Meditation (Vipassana) means to look, or see again
Insight (vipassana) and bliss/tranquility (samatha) are two main categories of meditation.
Practicing insight meditation, we address our meditative effort towards ourselves. We work on ourselves first, and then radiate this change out to the world. (And by the way, the power of meditation goes way beyond mindfulness).
Once you understand the pattern of struggle, you can look at the factors that build it. Those factors become clear through meditation.
Change your view and your conduct in the world will change
It’s a “hard sell” to get you to want to wake up. The ego wants to stay asleep. If you want something different, you have to change something about what you are, to change your world in some way. (You could try the ‘challenges’ system we recommend to our students).
It is the habitual patterns that we carry day to day, the ones that we don’t look at, that cause the greatest unnecessary suffering.
We practice insight meditation in order to access a good state at will. This affects everything we do in the world and it makes it easier for us to see the patterns and change them. Through this process, we change ourselves to change the world.