Joseph Goldstein

The insights of insight meditation are intuitive, not conceptual.
Intuitive in this sense does not mean some kind of vague feeling about
something; rather, it means clearly, directly seeing and experiencing
how things really are.
For example, you are sitting in meditation, watching the breath.
All of a sudden your mind settles into a different space. Even if it is
just for a couple of moments, you feel a deeper kind of calm and
peace. Instead of struggling to be with the breath, you begin just to
rest with the breath in a very calm, effortless, way.
That is an insight through direct experience into the nature of
calm and tranquillity. You do not think about them or reflect on
them. You know that daffodils are yellow because you have seen
them. You know the nature of calm and tranquillity because you
have felt them in your heart.
There are many such experiences, and many levels of each one;
and each time we know them directly, it is as if we open to a new
way of seeing, of being. This is insight.
But often our mind becomes so excited by each new experience
that we start thinking. "Look at that. I'm so calm. This is great
Or we start reflecting discursively on impermanence or suffering or
whatever the particular insight-experience has been.
We need to take a lot of care. If we fail to note such reflections
and become caught up in them instead - and Dharma reflections
can become extremely compelling and interesting - they themselves
become a hindrance to deepening insight. Sometimes people become
obsessed with Dharma thoughts, with reflections about genuine insights
they have had.
So try to differentiate clearly between true intuitive insight and
thinking about it. Knowing the difference can save you trouble and
delay. You do not have to worry about later finding words to
communicate your insights. Our mind very rarely has a problem
coming up with the words. Simply staying present with each new arising
appearance allows the whole Dharma journey to unfold.