Over the centuries, many different meditation techniques have been developed in different cultures. At London Insight, we practise several approaches drawn from early Buddhism. Although they are firmly rooted in the Buddhist tradition, you do not have to be a Buddhist to practise them. We believe they are appropriate for people of any spiritual background – as well as people who do not consider themselves spiritual at all.
Full instructions are given at each event by a leading teacher.
Please see below for information about:
You may also want to visit our page about the options for learning insight meditation.
For information about the relationship between the meditation taught at London Insight and mindfulness-based therapies, please see this webpage from Gaia House.
This is the main practice at most London Insight events. Its techniques are simple, beginning usually with following the breath. However its benefits are rich and multi-faceted. At our retreats a teacher will offer clear and straightforward instructions for beginning and then deepening meditation.
The aim of insight meditation is “calming the mind, understanding ourselves and freeing the heart…developing a calm and mindful investigation into the nature of experience, leading to wisdom, compassion and the end of suffering” - from the Gaia House website.
Insight meditation derives directly from the teachings of the Buddha and is increasingly recognised as a valuable support for modern living. Evidence of its benefits comes from a growing body of scientific research.
Insight meditation includes a range of techniques. Each of our teachers brings a distinctive approach, developed on the basis of their personal interests and explorations, as well as the particular combination of teachers they themselves studied with.
Below is a short introductory meditation by Catherine McGee. It is best listened to somewhere quiet, sitting on a chair or cushion. This is a fully-guided meditation suitable for beginners.
More about Catherine
The following meditation on sound by Martine Batchelor is longer and has less guidance:
More about Martine
This meditation involves simple but effective techniques for developing our ability to be open, warm-hearted and positive to all the people (and other living creatures) we meet in our lives.
Many of our teachers will lead one session of loving-kindness meditation during a day retreat. Occasionally we offer an entire retreat dedicated to this practice, perhaps also embracing the related qualities of compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.
In June 2013 Martine Batchelor will offer a day on the theme of mindfulness and sympathetic joy.
Many techniques of meditation can be practised while walking or standing, as well as sitting. Walking meditation is an opportunity to move the body after sitting still. It also allows us to cultivate awareness and clarity of mind away from the seclusion of the meditation hall.
Walking meditation can be fast or slow. It can involve a specific focus, for instance on the sensations in our feet as we walk, or a much broader awareness. At each meditation retreat, a teacher will offer guidance on the style of walking meditation appropriate to the theme of the day.
You can listen to walking meditation instructions from Rob Burbea below:
More about Rob
Here are some instructions from Stephen Batchelor:
Standing offers another opportunity to practise meditation in a different posture. Our teachers may lead one or more short sessions of standing meditation during the day.
Please note: standing meditation can lead to dizziness if you have low blood pressure. Please feel free to sit instead when a teacher announces a standing session.
The insight tradition encourages us to bring the qualities of mind and heart we discover in the meditation hall into the rest of our lives. Even during a day retreat, there are many opportunities: while eating lunch, helping with the washing up, or walking from one part of the venue to another. We encourage participants to see the whole day as a time for cultivating mindfulness, and for this reason day retreats are held in silence.