Inward: Vipassana Meditation and the Embodiment of the Self

Jack Petranker interviews Michal Pagis. There is a strong interest today in turning inward to explore the mind and body. Mindfulness meditation exemplifies this trend, and has become increasingly well-known and widely practiced. In Inward: Vipassana Meditation and the Embodiment of the Self (University of Chicago Press, 2019), Michal Pagis, who lectures in sociology at Bar-Ilan university explores in depth one school of mindfulness, or vipassana, founded by the Indian teacher S.N. Goenka and now established in countries around the world. Pagis draws on her own meditation experience and on in-depth interviews with vipassana meditators in both Israel and the United States. She explores the communities that form when people go on silent meditation retreats, the impact of focusing on bodily sensations over the course of an intensive retreat, and the ways that retreat practice affect practitioners and those close to them.