Oakville Zen Meditation

#205: Meditation: its 2 most common obstacles

                                                Meditation: its 2 most common obstacles


 As long you have been meditating, for 80 years or 2 weeks, all of us are encountering the extremes of drowsiness and agitation during the practice. Drowsy or agitated mind are the 2 most frequent obstacles in meditation.

From time to time, it is impossible to escape from them.

It does not mean that you cannot meditate.

Drowsiness and agitation are not surprising, since, in our daily lives we go through cycles of high and low energy. So why not when we are meditating?

Don’t blame yourself and don’t judge. Just be aware, acknowledge and accept them.

Here are few antidotes you should try when they occur:

1) When your mind is drowsy and dull:

Notice that you are daydreaming or snoozing.

Don’t get upset or frustrated.

Notice your posture especially your back slouching and your chin against your chest.

Reboot your posture that is straight back/neck.

Look around to open up to the space around you and look at the lights.

Try to keep your eyes open for few min.

Take few deep breaths.


2) When your mind is agitated and jumping around endlessly:

Notice that your monkey mind is jumping around.

Don’t get upset, frustrated or too hard with yourself.

Deal with this agitated mind exactly the same way as you do with a dull one.

Whatever drowsiness or agitation:

Do not blame yourself. Acknowledge and accept them.

Don’t fight and don’t look at your watch.

Perhaps you just did hot have enough rest or sleep. Perhaps you have too much stress.

Maybe you are facing a crisis that you are not acknowledging consciously.

Use your drowsiness or agitation as gentle reminders to return to your breath, a proper posture

and your surrounding.

As you keep returning to your breathing and posture, these obstacles simply become gentle

reminders of why you sat down to meditate in the first place that is : to be fully aware of whatever is going on in the current moment including in your mind.

Drowsiness and agitation are here to teach us how to be mindful to them or to anything else.

Maybe we should see them as tools rather than obstacles.