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Difficulty Meditating


I'd like some feedback on some trouble I'm having during meditation.

I simply can't seem to concentrate on my breath. I can notice it but I can't go "deeper" into the sensation. I've been having this problem on and off for about a month. I've been meditating daily (usually 1-2 hours) for about 5 months. In the past I've been able to really let go into the breath and find some peace and quiet. That hasn't been the case recently.

I'm getting frustrated because I feel like I'm wasting my time or doing something wrong. I'll cut my sessions short because it feels like nothing is happening. My mind wanders, I can bring it back to the breath but I have trouble "getting into it" and really focusing.

I also have ADD, I'm not sure if that plays a part. Sometimes the medication helps me concentrate but I'd rather not use that as a crutch.

Do I just accept this as part of my practice and continue to persevere? Or do I need to revise my technique?

Thank you.


  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Wow - I'm impressed that you have the commitment to try and meditate every day for 1 - 2 hours after only 5 months in the dharma.

    I've been practicing for 7 years and I'm lucky to sit for 30 mins a day.

    Shorter more focused sessions may be more beneficial. 15 minutes max. Try it and see.

    Play with the breath. Play with your meditation techniques, don't be too rigid and don't beat yourself up about changing or even stopping meditating for a bit.



  • Can you 'concentrate' on the wandering mind but not tightly?
    What part of the breath have you held in mind lightly?

    The technique has been changed for you. Now where else can you focus?


    • Bringing the attention to a different part of the sensation for example the movement of the stomach
    • Bring the attention to a spot ahead of one on the floor
    • Repeat a 'mantra' internally such as 'attention' or 'peace'
    • Practice the attention whilst doing walking meditation

    Start again:

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Good point @lobster - have you tried meditating lying down? Walking meditation?

    Try fifteen minutes walking, 15 minutes sitting then 15 minutes lying down perhaps.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I've also had a period of very easy entry into meditation, an now suddenly things have gotten more difficult.

    I think the subtle body sometimes needs time to adjust, and that it's unwise to try and force the issue. Give the body and mind their time in meditation, and if nothing happens, then just try and be mindful that day.

    Personally I'd say that 1-2 hours of sitting meditation is overdoing it a bit. An hour maximum sounds better, with an effort to extend mindfulness into the rest of the day. Even half an hour of sitting might be enough. It depends on the rest of your life, and how much time you can dedicate to your Buddhist practice.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited April 2017

    @dctufts said:
    Do I just accept this as part of my practice and continue to persevere? Or do I need to revise my technique?

    I suspect you are doing better than you think. Shorter sessions might be more productive, at least for a while. Could you say what technique you are using? IMO the correct approach to meditation is alert yet relaxed, though this can be a tricky balance to get right.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 2017

    Or do I need to revise my technique?

    Can you return to the breath awareness when lying down as @Bunks suggested? When not practicing formally?

    Have you learned meditation from a Theravada perspective? We have an ordained monk (is it "Jayasara now?) who can advise or if wanting to explore 'just sitting' can recommend @Jundo who is also a member and runs Treeleaf.org

    Techniques may be the same but Mind - ah that is a different kettle of fish . . . B)

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    switch it up. meditation is like exercise for the mind and spirit. You wouldn't run the same 3 mile course for 6 months and expect not to get bored, would you? Of course not. You'd run a slower course, a faster course, a trail instead of a sidewalk etc. Also, many teachers will tell you that multiple shorter sessions a day are more beneficial than one lengthy session. I have been meditating for 6 or 7 years now, and I rarely do more than 30 minutes. My practice is about much more than sitting, so I sit to ground myself, and then I carry it into the rest of my life. Occasionally I need more so I do more. Sometimes, I cannot manage even 10 mins, so I end early and carry on. Meditation isn't something we punish ourselves with. Also, what you get of out meditation is much more about what happens the other 23 hours a day as a result of it, than what happens while you are sitting.

  • Thanks for the replies.

    I rarely meditate for an hour or more at a time, I sit for 30 minute sessions throughout the day. I'm not sure what technique I'm using, I've just learned from books. Samatha is what I aim for.

    I think I may be overdoing it a bit. I'm very eager to realize the benefits of meditation in the rest of my life so I've assumed that more is better.

    I've also think that "success" can be somewhat of an obstacle in meditation. Subsequent sessions can be mistakenly devoted to trying to replicate that success rather than truly being mindful. Something that helped last night was just telling myself that it was OK nothing was happening and there's nothing wrong with that. Meditation doesn't need to be another realm of achievement.

    I'm going to try to dial it back a bit and not stress out about it.

  • @dctufts. Sounds like you have made some insightful discoveries. Try to keep with them. Take all advice with a grain of salt.

  • The mind is used to being rash, possessive, and controlling. The difficulty is going from that, to a more peaceful, aware, and noticing mind.

    Noticing that the body functions in unison with nature and the environment helps calm the un-meditative mind a bit. An example would be the fact that oxygen does not just go in and out of the lungs, but actually permeates through the body.

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