Vipassana MeditationBesides being asked, “What’s an Indie Spiritualist?” the second most common question I’m typically asked is “What type of meditation do you practice?”
While I personally practice many different types of meditation—never feeling like I have to stay within the confines of only one tradition—I typically respond with vipassana, as I’ve found it to be the most universally applicable form of meditation around. Any form of meditation that resonates with you—whether guided, mantra, movement, and so forth—will definitely be of benefit.
I adore meditation because there are countless ways to meditate, with no particular style being any better than another. It’s all about what resonates with you. You can find many free guided meditations online by searching Google or YouTube, as well as by visiting your local library. Most meditation practices are to spirituality what Bob Ross was to painting—very laid back and go with the flow. And while your practice may not provide you with happy little trees, it will over time create a greater sense of peace, clarity, and serenity in your life, and that’s sorta like happy little trees, right?
Through years of drug addiction, I did considerable damage to myself, resulting in heavy bouts of depression and anxiety. For years, I relied on antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications to keep me in a somewhat balanced state, but after cultivating a dedicated meditation practice I eventually found myself at a place where, under doctor supervision, I was able to taper off the medication and no longer needed it.
Let me make it perfectly clear, however, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking prescribed medication for conditions like anxiety, depression, and so forth. I recognize that they were very necessary in my life at that time, as I was very chemically off-balance. There is nothing unspiritual about taking prescribed medication when needed, because our own mental and emotional well-being must come first before we can truly help others.
Whether we are on medication or not, meditation practices will certainly help us to not only cultivate more calm in our lives, but also to handle things like stress, anxiety, and depression in gentler ways. For the benefit of those who are new to meditation, I’m providing these simple guided instructions for the practice of vipassana.