I have noticed during formal meditation and also off the cushion that everything can be broken down into what seems like an infinite amount of moments.

For example when swallowing I can notice so many things such as the saliva build up, the intention to swallow, the sucking motion drawing the saliva back, the swallowing motion etc. The same for walking. I'm not sure if this is insight or if/how it's helpful to see things this way. At the very least it's interesting to notice how much is going on that we don't usually notice or even need to think about. It all just happens automatically. If anything it helps me to appreciate the amazing miracle of life that we can just either blindly go through or notice what is actually happening and how miraculous it is.

Is this what is meant by "Insight"?

5 Answers 5


I'm not sure if this is insight

Insight has many levels. This is very good for starters. As you progress you should be able to see this even to more finer granularity as kalapa.

If anything it helps me to appreciate the amazing miracle of life that we can just either blindly go through or notice what is actually happening and how miraculous it is.

Any experience should be taken neutrally. You should try to be equanimous. This excitement may prevent you seeing the finer things.

What you are experiencing is transition from gross (olārika) to subtle (sukhuma). More on totality of awareness see this answer.

  • I honestly don't understand why I must see it neutrally? Excitement and joy are part of life why can't we appreciate them?
    – Arturia
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 4:01
  • 1
    Appreciate them without getting attached. Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 12:48

Insight such as this will come and go. The advice I am given over and over is: stick to the practice, and don't attach to experience.

Insight will refine and change with time.

It can be a trap since eventually one might experience something which will be interpreted as "loss of insight" and that can cause much unnecessary personal pain.

Detachment here is key.

  • But from what I've read about Buddhism part of the aim is to cultivate positive emotions and to eradicate negative emotions. I don't see the point of doing this if we then have to be like detached zombies
    – Arturia
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 20:02
  • If at all something is to be cultivated then let it be positive emotions, however it is repeatedly stated that all emotions are pain. what is positive to me might he harmful to another, definitions being relative. We strive to go beyond the positive and the negative. Most importantly, no one who has met a living realized being such as the Dalai Lama or Thay would by any means describe then as detached zombies, so something else must be going on here, no? :) lionsroar.com/buddhism-nutshell-four-seals-dharma
    – drolmal
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 5:30
  • That's right, the Dalai Lama is not an attached zombie, he is full of joy and appreciation of life which is not what I'm being told to cultivate in the comments here.
    – Arturia
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 19:28
  • Well following his teaching and way of being would certainly lead you to the kind of joy we appreciate in him. :)
    – drolmal
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 19:53

It is insight, but need to be polished with Sammä Ditti. That is, always maintain that what you observe as such is, anicca (impermanent), dukkha (sorrowful, suffering) and anatta (cannot thus be considered "me", "mine" or "my soul"). Then extend that wisdom to contemplating thus, that they are all reflect The Four Noble Truths (first three) and can be overcome using the fourth noble truth.


If your target is nirvana, picking up everything on your way delay your journey. Just like passing through the path on fast going train, you will see the things left by easily while walking through , you will see the things more and more. What I suggest is focus more attentively on meditation without embracing anything just noting "know it." Actually you are definitely on the right path. Keep going paying respect to Dhamma and your meditation master.


You have gained insight into the fact that your body is swallowing and doing other things human, such as, experiencing positive and negative emotions and trying to study Buddhism. For some reason you have arrived at this moment as a human. I would advise you to contemplate just “who” it is that is gaining the insight? Or having the experience.

To me, Buddha was trying to explain the nearly-impossible-to-understand concept that all is transient. That nothing made of atoms will endure. No thoughts remain, no concept will remain, in the end all we cling to will be nothingness. Even the Buddha’s teaching will disintegrate over time as “the wave goes back into the sea.”

The awaking that Buddha had was to another reality so unlike our own, that his first impression was that it was untranslatable and non-teachable. But the source urged him on. A few would be able to connect.

So he decided to teach, first the 4 Noble Truths, followed by a lifetime of teaching and instruction on how to grasp this awaking as he had. It was like trying to teach a dog the concept of algebra. Only humans are different, some will respond to the teachings, without getting caught up in their “humanness” and can have this “realization” that is already here. All that is necessary is to live as if you are at your core, consciousness, rather that a human. To live as the “sea” coming up into this human world, “as a wave,” to have a look around, to live a life or two, and then going back. It's the Dharma.

You are here now, trying to find answers in the teaching and from others. The reality is so complex that it is hidden in plain sight. Few can realize that it is not a “you can’t get there from here,” or that it is “very difficult to attain,” because you are already “here.” Trust and relax. Know you are now a human in a human world, swallowing, walking, interacting, but keep asking your self, as meaningfully as you can, “Who am I?” Who is it that is receiving all these experiences as a human? Hopefully, you will gather true insight into that essense the Buddha was talking about. Fear not.

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