The following is the introduction to an eleven part series titled "How To Meditate: Instructions to Free the Mind and the Heart" by Peter Williams, a Buddhist Meditation and Dharma Leader based in Boulder, CO.

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Vipassana, also called insight or mindfulness meditation, is a common sense technique that helps you live a happier and fuller life by paying attention to the present moment. The technique, although based in Buddhist teachings, does not require you to become a Buddhist to practice it. In fact, Buddhism is ultimately compatible with any faith you may already have. Buddhism does not require you to adopt a new set of beliefs. It just asks you to check out the teachings and see if they work in your life.

What is Buddhism? At its core, Buddhism is a teaching on realizing the deepest possible happiness. We all want to be happy, it is our birthright. But, says Buddhism, we look in the wrong places; we look for it in experiences and events and relationships that are all subject to change. All these things can provide us with much happiness, but a happiness dependent on conditions is ultimately unreliable because all conditions change. What is most amazing to me about the discoveries of the Buddha is that he discovered a happiness that is free of conditions, that does not depend on anything. The Buddha called his discovery nibbana (nirvana), a happiness so profound that it transcends, while still including, all the ordinary ups and downs in our lives

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The mind is very wild. The human experience is full of unpredictability and paradox, joys and sorrows, successes and failures. We can’t escape any of these experiences in the vast terrain of our existence. It is part of what makes life grand—and it is also why our minds take us on such a crazy ride. If we can train ourselves through meditation to be more open and more accepting toward the wild arc of our experience, if we can lean into the difficulties of life and ride of our minds, we can become more settled and relaxed amid whatever life brings us.
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