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Pleasant but boring

nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

I've noticed a particularly persistent problem I'm having with my practice. While I find meditation calming and pleasant, it's also...boring. I can go for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour in a meditation session before I start getting twitchy and tense, craving external stimulation. Should I try a different style of meditation (more interesting perhaps?), or just let it be and hope it gradually improves?

Comments

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Boredom is wishing you were doing anything other than what you are doing right then. It is a symptom of monkey mind to think we need to be pleasantly entertained and distracted all the time. Meditation isn't supposed to be interesting. To make it interesting is to take away from what it is, which is sitting with all that you experience, including boredom, itches, twitches, cravings and discomfort. Sitting through it is much of the point. If you stop when you get uncomfortable then you never get the gift of sitting through the discomfort.

    That said, you don't have to meditate for an hour every time or an hour a day, or whatever. It's not like our goal is to continue to add time so that we are eventually meditating 24/7. I have been meditating daily for 5 or so years now and rarely do more than a half hour. Sometimes I intend 20 minutes and it goes much longer. I leave it open ended so at least one thing in my life is not run by a clock all the time.

    namarupaShoshinRuddyDuck9Lee82
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @nakazcid said:> I've noticed a particularly persistent problem I'm having with my practice. While I find meditation calming and pleasant, it's also...boring. I can go for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour in a meditation session before I start getting twitchy and tense, craving external stimulation. Should I try a different style of meditation (more interesting perhaps?), or just let it be and hope it gradually improves?

    I think this is pretty common. Have you tried looking more closely at that restless feeling?

    Shoshin
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    @karasti What I've been trying to avoid with the boredom is gritting my teeth and forcing myself through it. If I do that, I'm afraid I'll develop an aversion to meditation. In fact I know I will, because it's happened before with the result that I "forgot" to meditate for months. It would seem better for me to "accept" the boredom, yet somehow still move forward through it. I'm just not quite sure what that would look like.

    @SpinyNorman I haven't looked at it in great detail. It'll just be a desire to do something more engaging, like listening to music or playing a video game.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    maybe you need to back off the ideas in your mind about how long you have to meditate. do it for 10 minutes consistently until you are confident in moving on. Then do it for 15 mins consistently until it is comfortable. Then 20. Then 25. Then 30. Trying to force meditation is not exactly what one should be doing in meditation.

    BunksRuddyDuck9
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    Sit with it or change things up, either way I think is fine.

    In the morning I've been starting with some prayers, then some basic mindfulness meditation, do some walking meditation then finish with some compassion or metta.

    At the end of the day, when my mind is busier, I like mantra recitation.

    RuddyDuck9
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @nakazcid said:> @SpinyNorman I haven't looked at it in great detail. It'll just be a desire to do something more engaging, like listening to music or playing a video game.

    Try looking at that feeling more closely. Does it have a bodily component? What is it really like? You might find that when you look closely at it, it disappears. ;)

    Another option is to do a period of walking meditation in between two shorter sits, this is known as sit-walk-sit.

    Another option is to change your approach to meditation - what are you currently doing?

    lobsterDavidnakazcid
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    @SpinyNorman I'll give that a try. A feeling of twitchiness and nervousness is very common for me. I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder when I was younger. While the worst of the symptoms have vanished with age, I still remain easily distracted. Meditation has helped quite a bit, but it's an ongoing process.

    RuddyDuck9
  • I feel the same as you do sometimes. What I would do is when I find myself in contemplation when having tea, quiet time, reading time, or just plain boredom during the day, just close your eyes, and think of the breath in whatever posture you are in or whatever you are doing at that time. If something comes up and you need to break away from it, then it was still worth it. If you find yourself having gone through it longer than expected and feeling calmer, then even better. This is what we should do when not meditating anyways. Its better to do with what you can than nothing at all.

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

    o:) It's not good to second-guess yourself. If you don't feel you need to do it on a particular day, then skip it. It's not like you're going to Hell.

    RuddyDuck9
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @karasti said:
    maybe you need to back off the ideas in your mind about how long you have to meditate. do it for 10 minutes consistently until you are confident in moving on. Then do it for 15 mins consistently until it is comfortable. Then 20. Then 25. Then 30. Trying to force meditation is not exactly what one should be doing in meditation.

    @nakazcid - karasti is right as usual. You are possibly better off doing more short sessions in a day. I try and do 2 or 3 sessions of 5 to 10 minutes.

    Quality beats quantity!

  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @SpinyNorman This is what I'm doing for practice:
    Ajahn Brahm calls it "relaxing the mind."

    The thing about a long meditation is that in spite of the growing boredom, my sense of peace and pleasure increases with a long session (not that I'm meditating an hour every day.) That's why I'd like to practice for longer periods, if possible.

    lobsterSpinyNormanBunks
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @nakazcid Just sit and observe whatever pops up...Or you could always ask the self "Who is it that feels bored ?" This will give the monkey mind a challenge...and monkeys really like challenges..

    Bunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @nakazcid said:
    @karasti What I've been trying to avoid with the boredom is gritting my teeth and forcing myself through it. If I do that, I'm afraid I'll develop an aversion to meditation. In fact I know I will, because it's happened before with the result that I "forgot" to meditate for months. It would seem better for me to "accept" the boredom, yet somehow still move forward through it. I'm just not quite sure what that would look like.

    We can not always avoid boredom, teeth gritting, sloth, dreams or the myraid arisings, including calming, pleasant and other perceived problems/preferences ...

    @nakazcid said:
    I've noticed a particularly persistent problem I'm having with my practice. While I find meditation calming and pleasant, it's also...boring.

    ... how to make use of problems/arisings? Sit and walk that @SpinyNorman suggests is a good balance.

    I would also suggest softening or relaxing into boredom. Already you are tightening/gritting teeth to get through. I recently added fifteen extra minutes to my daily sit. Agitation and boredom comes during that 'extra time'. You can not compete/get through arisings but you can sit with/befriend/allow them ...

    Clue: mind does 'stuff'
    Don't mind the mind ...

    Edit: Ah just seen the technique you are using. The technique includes the solution ... relax the boredom ...

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

    As a useless footnote, I used to envy the hell out of people who could get bored during a meditation sitting. Angry, sad, confused, longing, vindictive, horny, laughing, begging, loving, threatening, conniving ... all that and a lot more like it, I could easily understand because it was frequently my main-course meditation menu.

    But BORED? I honestly couldn't misunderstand it and was forced to add yet another aspect to my meditation schedule: envy. I was dying to have someone point out the "bored" button to me not least because I suspected that boredom -- or anyway a less intense interest in what was currently so absorbing -- was part of the solution I was looking for.

    I was a fascinating realm to study ... :)

    lobster
  • @nakazcid said:
    Should I try a different style of meditation (more interesting perhaps?), or just let it be and hope it gradually improves?

    It improves and it is gradual.
    Mix and match is possible during the boring bits BUT boredom as @genkaku says is part of the study of iMonkey iMind ...

    If wanting to add some walking meditation 'excitement' that is a possibility or perhaps at the end a bit of mantra bling ...
    What do you fancy? Maybe some sexy sadhana?

  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    @pegembara @genkaku Sorry to be responding to such an old post, but I recently resumed Ajahn Brahm's technique. I find with meditation that I'm not grappling with a host of negative emotions, but "just" a hyperactive monkey on speed and PCP. Not that negative emotions don't come up, but they're usually not particularly intense. The negative emotion I have the most difficulty with is anger, but it almost never manifests during meditation. Just off the cushion. Is that a sign that I need to contemplate those situations that triggered the anger? Am I not angry enough while meditating? That seems unlikely...

    After practicing for an hour or so, my mind is calmer and more peaceful but still racing. Boredom hasn't been as much of a problem, but that may be because the technique is still fresh (having recently resumed it.)

  • @nakazcid said:
    I've noticed a particularly persistent problem I'm having with my practice. While I find meditation calming and pleasant, it's also...boring. I can go for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour in a meditation session before I start getting twitchy and tense, craving external stimulation. Should I try a different style of meditation (more interesting perhaps?), or just let it be and hope it gradually improves?

    Boredom is good. It's a sign that you're meeting the ego. Becoming bored of your storyline is fantastic (if that's what you're doing). Not sure that gritting your teeth is so good because that doesn't sound like there's metta towards yourself.

    Also, I've found a great book by John Makransky called Awakening through love. It says to start with focusing on the positive people around you and their influence on you either past or present to help internalise the warmth. Maybe spend 5 mins doing that to get into a 'loving toward oneself' spirit and then move into your usual practice. It's good to keep going with the same practice because it helps to see patterns and why one day it feels good and the next it's rubbish. Fundamentally, meditation is just sitting on a cushion and focusing the mind. I've recently built up to an hour a day and it does drag on a bit by the end but I'm always grateful for the time - I do feel better than when it's 30 mins but it's an entirely personal journey.

    Ven. Robina Courtin took 7 years before she sat on a cushion.

    Bunks
  • @nakazcid said:
    I find with meditation that I'm not grappling with a host of negative emotions, but "just" a hyperactive monkey on speed and PCP. Not that negative emotions don't come up, but they're usually not particularly intense. The negative emotion I have the most difficulty with is anger, but it almost never manifests during meditation. Just off the cushion. Is that a sign that I need to contemplate those situations that triggered the anger? Am I not angry enough while meditating? That seems unlikely...

    Yes. You need to know/see what triggered the anger. Not just watching anger arising and passing away. This you can do on or off the cushion.

    In my experience it is almost always due to (over)thinking and taking things personally.

    Not having anger while sitting is actually easy compared to being triggered off cushion.

    lobster
  • Boredom is a mask.It masks aversion.

    Cultivate the opposite which is interest or excitement.Energy.

    It counteracts boredom.

    For example,here is a list of things one can do to cultivate interest:

    1.Get up,wash your face.
    2.Read inspiring Dhamma book.
    3.Read benefits of meditation.
    4.Contemplate Death.

    This is an active approach.

    upekkalobsterShoshinDhammaDragon
  • I once did a 26 day silent retreat. At day 12 I got really really bored. Then I realised that the day was no different to day 11 so the only difference was me. I stayed with the feeling and it passed. Now I don't worry about being bored in meditation - it's just part of the resistance.

    upekkaShoshin
  • @Tiddlywinds said:

    • it's just part of the resistance.

    Resistence is futile. You will be enlightened.
    Buddha Borg

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Tiddlywinds said:
    I once did a 26 day silent retreat. At day 12 I got really really bored. Then I realised that the day was no different to day 11 so the only difference was me. I stayed with the feeling and it passed. Now I don't worry about being bored in meditation - it's just part of the resistance.

    I once did a 2-month solitary with only cows to talk to.

    Mu! :p

  • 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

    ....Pull the udder one....

    AkashaTraveller
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    Cows are great listeners, particularly when you scratch their head. :p

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