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Lacking Motivation to Meditate

I've been doing meditation for a year now twice a day for 20 mins each without fail and most of the time this hasn't been a struggle as most if the time I've looked forward to it but lately I'm feeling resistance. It's becoming a chore and while I'm sitting I find myself facing the urge to look at the time to see how long I have left. I will always make myself do it though because if I start missing sessions cause I don't feel like doing it I'll find myself giving it up all together.

Comments

  • SpoogleSpoogle Explorer
    edited June 2015

    Hi Mingle. I think this is something most go through at some time or another. I guess you are meditating alone.... Is there a chance for you to meditate with a friend or a Sangha? The collective energy is truly wonderful and can really move you further along the path.

    There is also walking meditation to try for something different if you have not tried this already.

    Thich Nhat Hanh is a great teacher of different types of meditation and offers various opportunities to practice throughout each day. He wrote a beautiful book titled Peace Is Every Step, detailing lots of these. Maybe you would enjoy it.

    Namaste :)

    Vastmind
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 2015

    Understood. <3

    If you have an ipad or tablet or a watch/clock that can become a temporary shrine. Thus rather than watching the breath, arisings or [what is your choosen method?] you can watch the watch.

    The chances are if you do this something else will arise. I admire your tenacity but it may be beneficial to change your practice a little. Have you considered that? What interests you? Maybe being restless, walking meditation as @Spoogle suggests?

    Be intrigued how others answer B)

  • 0student00student0 Explorer

    Well, this is probably a long shot but anyways - it could be that you're going deeper within and that can be (from what I've heard) uncomfortable since you're faced with problems that you'd usually try to avoid. In that case you should definitely continue.
    But as I said, it's probably not that.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Mingle said: It's becoming a chore and while I'm sitting I find myself facing the urge to look at the time to see how long I have left. I will always make myself do it though because if I start missing sessions cause I don't feel like doing it I'll find myself giving it up all together.

    That suggests you're not enjoying it and/or not feeling much benefit? What kind of meditation are you doing, and have you had any instruction?
    It might be simply that you need a different approach.

    lobster
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    @mingle -- OK, it seems that the honeymoon is over. It's probably time to begin again -- from the very beginning and without precondition. Why do you imagine meditation is a reasonable activity in your life? What does it add? What does it subtract? What inspiration do you find in it ... if any?

    Go all the way back and start over. Maybe it will turn out to be a fool's errand. Maybe not. Just find out on your own terms. Sometimes divorce is the only sensible answer. Sometimes there is something worth preserving.

    EarthninjaVastmindlobster
  • Finding resistance is always a good indicator to me that I really NEED to sit. But I don't always listen. In the five-ish years I've been meditating regularly, there have been months that go by where I don't sit. But the insight gained since the beginning of my practice still affects the truths that I live daily. The knowledge about meditation and its benefits does not leave as easily as the desire to meditate and grant those benefits.

    Those sitless months go by but I always return to the mat. And each time it becomes more clear that when I'm not making the time to meditate, life does not go as well in general. My compassion wanes, my reactivity rises, and I just don't feel good physically. This is what keeps me coming back to the cushion even after I take some time away.

    The tricky part is realizing when I need to listen to that resistant voice and give myself a break (because otherwise I'm just trying, grasping, attaching, DOING) and when I need to listen to the voice, welcome it but remind it it's incorrect, and sit my booty on the cushion, even if only for five minutes.

    lobster0student0
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    I've been doing meditation for a year now twice a day for 20 mins each without fail and most of the time this hasn't been a struggle as most if the time I've looked forward to it but lately I'm feeling resistance. It's becoming a chore and while I'm sitting I find myself facing the urge to look at the time to see how long I have left. I will always make myself do it though because if I start missing sessions cause I don't feel like doing it I'll find myself giving it up all together.

    Vary it up! :) do a guided meditation or listen to sounds!
    Don't be so hard on yourself, we are all trying to be at peace with life as it is. If there is resistance to meditation, that is what is happening. Maybe just sit without a timer for as long as you feel like. Some days longer, some days shorter.

    I mix up my meditations. Some guided, some walking, some sitting.

    lobsterVastmind
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    I will always make myself do it though because if I start missing sessions cause I don't feel like doing it I'll find myself giving it up all together.

    Good choice. I found this to be true the hard way! More than once!

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Mingle

    A meditation (or two) a day helps keep the defilements away

    "Prevention is better than cure !" and that's all the motivation one needs...

    TravellerWalker
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    Hi, @Mingle!
    Many of us here have downloaded the Insight Timer meditation app.
    I personally find it has helped me stick more seriously to my meditation routine.

    Some days I have had to drag myself onto the zafu for my daily meditation.
    But the same way I don't need any motivation to brush my teeth, I reason that I simply have to show up on the cushion.
    Anyone can afford twenty to thirty minutes in the busiest of days, for something as wholesome as meditation.

    Travellermmo
  • And if I might make a slightly scandalous suggestion, in the end, if meditation remains a chore for you and something you dread doing, then give yourself permission to take a break from it. I'm not saying stop your Buddhist practice. Meditation is only one of the 8-fold path list of areas a Buddhist should work on. Instead of meditation, you might try devoting that time to helping others perhaps. Even do a hobby. I predict that eventually you will begin to miss a few quiet moments doing nothing. Then you'll find meditating is something you enjoy again.

    federicaVastmindTreeLuvr87sova
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    As I always say,

    "If it feels good, do it.
    When in doubt - don't."

    bookwormCinorjer
  • inyoinyo Explorer

    When I find it difficult to meditate or when I realize I'm lost and I'd like to get back on track...I usually ask myself intense questions to jolt me out of my stupor. Imagine you are going to die in a few hours, now you may want to meditate? I think death is a huge tool in boosting my meditation/spiritual practice. Don't get into a silly lazy habit when you have this awesome powerful mind. Go discover something! Anything! or Nothing! :)

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited July 2015

    @Mingle said:
    I've been doing meditation for a year now twice a day for 20 mins each without fail and most of the time this hasn't been a struggle as most if the time I've looked forward to it but lately I'm feeling resistance. It's becoming a chore and while I'm sitting I find myself facing the urge to look at the time to see how long I have left. I will always make myself do it though because if I start missing sessions cause I don't feel like doing it I'll find myself giving it up all together.

    Meditation is not suppose to become a chore. You are suppose to do nothing but sit back and watch whatever arises including that urge to look at the time, boredom, aversion etc. Every time you have nothing to do, take a deep breath and observe anything that can be observed.

    If you do that you would most likely end up with more than 20 mins in "meditation" a day by adding the few minutes here and there.

    mmoDhammaDragon
  • MingleMingle Veteran

    I think its cause I'm stressing out about it. I have put too much weight on meditation like I think its going to answer all my problems and I MUST feel like I am moving forward at all times and I don't feel like anything is happening. I read about people bringing up long gone buried feelings and crying from only a few weeks of practicing. For me though nothing, nothing wants to show its face. So I tell myself I'm doing it wrong, I'm supposed to notice this more, Oh know I wasn't mindful, I must be going backwards not forward. So much condemnation in my mind at the moment. I have been meditating a year and I HAVE to feel like I have got somewhere. I'm lost with it really I just don't know what to expect anymore. I meditate because ..... That's it I cant answer that question. I just sit and watch whatever is going on in my head which is mainly judgment and condemnation it seems. Its ironic really the very thing that is supposed to aid inner peace is the very thing causing me the most turmoil right now. Maybe I do still have faith in it though because the thought of intentionally missing a session is just making me stir. I cant do that, I feel like I am quitting what my ego believes is the way forward.

    lobster
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    I just sit and watch whatever is going on in my head which is mainly judgment and condemnation it seems. Its ironic really the very thing that is supposed to aid inner peace is the very thing causing me the most turmoil right now. Maybe I do still have faith in it though because the thought of intentionally missing a session is just making me stir. I cant do that, I feel like I am quitting what my ego believes is the way forward.

    Samadhi is the way forward. Perhaps you are not allowing your mind to go into samadhi because your focus of attention is on "whatever is going on in my head which is mainly judgment and condemnation" rather than on something neutral and calming like the breath.

  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    edited July 2015

    @Mingle: i saw your posts and if you have read some of my threads, you would find that we are in very similar positions as far as this thing called meditation is concerned. i have been trying to sit for nearly 3.5 years on a daily basis, but still my focus of attention is so weak that i cannot have focussed attention on my breath for even 3 consecutive breaths even now, so there is no calm in my meditation and no feeling of pleasantness in my meditation, but still i try to just sit daily.

    as far as what i can suggest you - by making myself a hypocrite by trying to suggest you something, even though practically i am not able to do it myself, but still suggesting you as theoretically these things make sense to me - meditation is done not to get anything, but to let go of things. relax. do some loving-kindness (metta) meditation towards yourself and also towards others. we already have enough suffering in the outside world, so there is no need to add some extra suffering from an activity called meditation, which is theoretically supposed to generate some peace. i was dwindling between anapanasati and zazen for the last 2 years - first anapanasati, then i moved to zazen, then back to anapanasati, then again zazen - currently i try to sit in zazen posture and try to observe my breath. i get entangled in my thoughts many times and later when something inside says that i was trying to observe breath, then after that i again try to watch my breath and after some time again get entangled in my thoughts. but still i sit. don't expect anything to happen in meditation, but just sit and try to observe whatever arises. don't judge yourself - this is not a race. do your best whatever you can do in your situation and try to develop the qualities of patience, contentment and equanimity inside yourself, but use your common-sense, intuition and wisdom to decide when to apply which of these qualities.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    ... I MUST feel like I am moving forward at all times and I don't feel like anything is happening.

    My favourite way of doing walking meditation is slower than is considered possible. It can take a great deal of mindful attention to micro movement, balance and body awareness to move this way. Yoga can be done meditavely and Qi-ong is another option.

    All these options have 'progress' as does doing prostrations before sitting.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Mix it up a little. You don't have to take a break to make a change. It just depends what you think might work. Some people just need to push through the obstacle. I like to change things up in pretty much every area of my life. I do walking meditation, timed meditation, un-timed meditation, mantra meditation, tonglen meditation, metta meditation. I try to go by what I feel is most needed. Not always for myself. Sometimes the needs of friends, family and the world seem so huge that I could meditate forever and never finish. Other times, 5 minutes is enough.

    Maybe it is a good lesson in learning to let go of your expectations. Having an expectation of a particular outcome of meditation is just asking for the lesson to let go of expectations :)

    lobsternakazcid
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Outstanding advice from @karasti - time to change your mind about what needs to change ...

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    @mingle -- The only thing more difficult and annoying than meditating is not-meditating. Try it. You'll see what I mean.

    silverseeker242
  • Yeah, it's a bit like when you stop exercising, sooner or later it catches up with you. ;)

    silver
  • NamadaNamada Veteran

    Lots of Reasons for Ānāpānasati, breathing meditation

    (by Santikaro Bhikkhu)

    1) Because breathing is prāna, is life, is chi. Know how to breathe properly and you will have these healthy energies to draw on always. (Plus, you will know when they are low and need to be replenished.)

    2) Ānāpānasati doesn’t require any special paraphernalia, rituals, costume, initiations, or the like. Therefore, you don’t have to shell out any money to do it. The Buddha just sat under a tree on some freshly cut grass or a folded robe.

    3) Because the Lord Buddha practiced Ānāpānasati himself: before and after the Great Awakening. He was doing Ānāpānasati when the Awakening came. He practiced throughout his life, including for R & R.

    4) Ānāpānasati, in various forms, is common to spiritual traditions the world over, including those of many indigenous peoples.

    5) Because no other meditation system was explained as directly or in such detail by the Lord Buddha as this one.

    6) Because Ānāpānasati is both samatha (calming, stopping) and vipassanā (insight, seeing clearly) together. We can develop both without separating them or prejudicing one over the other.

    7) Because Ānāpānasati perfects the four applications of mindfulness, which are central to Buddhist practice.

    8) Because Ānāpānasati perfects the seven factors of awakening, without which there is not liberation.

    9) Because Ānāpānasati is the noble eightfold path.

    10) Because Ānāpānasati is fun.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Yeah, it's a bit like when you stop exercising, sooner or later it catches up with you. ;)


    D'oh!

    WalkerShoshin
  • Calling Ajahn Sumedho for a little insight on this matter:
    Awareness is aware of doubts about our ability to meditate, about being aware. Awareness is aware of wondering what stage we are at or ...what we have attained, or whether we are just hopeless cases. It's simply that thoughts are thoughts - they arise and cease.
    ~ Ajahn Sumedho

    Shoshin
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