Meditating earnestly,
the wise realise Nibbana,
the highest happiness.
Dhammapada Verse : 23

During one of our annual retreats at the International Meditation Centre, Budh Gaya, India some years ago, a young man from Holland came to me and said, ‘everytime I begin my meditation I hear Beatles songs in my head, what should I do?’
I simply answered, 'let it be!'
Hearing the song isn't important - it's singing along that brings the difficulties.

Vipassana meditation is often a very much misunderstood practice. We may arrive with romantic and misguided ideas of an empty mind, golden light and a blissful, pain free sitting for forty five minutes or longer, only to meet a profound disappointment when it doesn’t happen.
But here is the secret we need to understand.
Please listen, because it’s important.
The mind that we meet in meditation is not some special mind, exclusive to sitting still and looking like the Buddha. It is our ordinary everyday mind, with it’s thoughts moods, feeling and emotions, it’s anxieties, fears, desires and aspirations. It is ourselves.
This is the beautiful gift of Vipassana practice – to see ourselves. To recognise our mental habits, the forces that direct us through our lives, and in seeing them, gently, lovingly and wisely, let go of our attachment to them as being who and what we are. This is how we take away their power. This is how we change our life from being a victim to our ignorance and our extremely limiting social, cultural and gender conditioning, to realising our own liberation.
With awareness see and know the reality of this being that we call ‘self’, and with love, we accept it, just as it is in this moment.
We experience directly the Buddha’s final teaching, that everything that arises, passes away and is not what we are. We recognise that each movement of mind is simply a cloud passing through a clear and infinite sky. Some pleasant, some unpleasant, but all having the same quality of impermanence.
This practice, often called ‘Bare attention’, or the ‘Way of Letting Go’, is the greatest gift we can offer ourselves. Not to try and escape our reality by cultivating special meditation techniques and other subtle diversions, but to see the mind directly as it is in every moment.
To everything we experience we can say the same thing, ‘this is not me, this is not mine, this is not what I am.’ Once we understand that, we are free. If the mind is not what we are, why the need to fight with it when it does not offer what we would like? Just be patient, look, it is already changing!
Everything is arising and passing away as it should. None of it is you, none of it is yours, none of it is what you are.
So, no need to worry, just be aware, surrender into the moment, and be happy.

May all beings be happy

Author's Bio: 

Michael Kewley is the former Buddhist monk, Paññadipa, and now an internationally acclaimed Master of Dhamma, presenting courses and meditation retreats throughout the world.
A disciple of the late Sayadaw Rewata Dhamma, he teaches solely on the instruction of his own Master, to share the Dhamma, in the spirit of the Buddha, so that all beings might benefit.
Full biography of Michael Kewley can be found at: