Oakville Zen Meditation

#25.Why can meditation be boring?18feb15.

Is meditation supposed to be boring? May be so.

Think about it. During several minutes we sit still like a statue and focus on our body, on our mind anchor and incoming thoughts like a drill digging into the mystery of our inner self. This daily meditative exercise is just the opposite of what is happening during the day since during the day, continuously and without our knowledge our mind jumps from one thought to another and our body is moving all the time. We are in constant motion physically and mentally without being totally mindful to our thoughts. Therefore as we settle into sitting meditation, our drill bit can be perceived as very dull, frozen and totally useless. When our drill bit is dull, meditation becomes dull and boring. Meditation is simply perceived to be boring but in fact meditation is neither boring nor exiting or anything, meditation is just what it is. Only the meditator is bored.

Boredom seems to be part of meditation because our mind makes it boring. It makes meditation boring (judgment) because it wants us to quit. Our mind hates meditation above everything else because we are forcing it to be under our control as opposed to us being under its grasp. This is its trick and it works very well for many beginners. That’s why there are so many instructions, gadgets and gimmicks to help you stay seated still and focused even in our Zen literature. You are advised to be mindful to your still posture, your breath and your incoming thoughts. You can count your breaths. You can breath deeply or you can breathe normally. You can focus on a koan such as “Who am I?” In fact anyone who has meditated for several weeks can pick any focusing point to anchor her/his mind such as forehead, eyes, below your navel, visualization, mantra etc. If you arise your focusing curiosity and try different focusing points you will not be bored. If you remain mindful to your anchor all the time you will not be bored and you will be able to master more efficiently your incoming thoughts that is your mind. When your attention becomes sharp you go from dull boring to drill boring.

As you sit and bore intensively into your mind, there is a certain excitement in knowing that you are likely to strike gold… one day. Effectively, at any moment, you may discover that your mind/body is an integral part of the Universe that is you will identify your True Nature or True Self which is common to all living beings and where the ego has almost evaporated.

Any emotions can and will come while meditating. They are affecting anyone including those who have been meditating for years. Boredom is one emotion but we may also be victim of impatience, frustration, anger, doubt, resentment, feeling of hopelessness and even despair.

When you feel bored, frustrated, doubtful and impatient you must see these feelings as another incoming thoughts. Be mindful to them, let them go and refocus on your posture, anchor and ...bore on.


Ven. Ji Gong Sunim.