Meditation and boredom
Almost all of us experience boredom at some point of our meditation practice. Most of us get concerned thinking that it’s something we are not allowed to feel while meditating, so we try to stop it by ignoring it or not accepting it.
Having a negative attitude towards boredom will surely not do any good; oppositely, it will make it grow more, and along with it, more unpleasant feelings will come.
Meditation is not about ignoring, not accepting or stopping a feeling. It’s about observing your feelings and thoughts as they come and go to your mind, without judging them.
Why can’t we handle this feeling as we handle all the other feelings that occur while we’re meditating?
Because we think that boredom is something that we shouldn’t feel while meditating. It’s the “forbidden” feeling, because it makes us doubt ourselves: “Is meditation really something for me? If it is, then why am I bored?”
And just like that, many people gives up on meditating. Like we do with so many other stuff in our lives.
Well, I have good news for you. It’s ok to feel bored while meditating! 🙂
It’s just a feeling like all the others (pleasant or unpleasant) we may feel during meditation and we should treat it like we treat all the other feelings. Acknowledge it, accept it, not judge it and let it disappear by itself. Exactly the opposite of what we actually do when we feel boredom.
Why do we feel bored? After accepting your feeling you should try to think where it comes from. Be curious about it. What feelings comes up with it? Why? Don’t judge it, just observe it so that you can understand it.
This may be a difficult procedure but you have to remember that the most progress comes when we manage to overcome difficult situations like this one.
I have thought of two reasons why somebody can feel bored while meditating:
- One reason can be that we have expectations about the meditation. We create an impression in our heads of how it’s going to be while meditating; how we are going to feel, the benefits, the spiritual awakening and much much more that we hear and read from others’ experiences. That makes us think: “WOW that’s amazing! I want to feel like that. I want to experience that!”
First of all, each person experiences everything in life, such as meditation, in a different way. And anyway, nobody will ever be able to understand our feelings exactly how we experience them from our description. So, we have to stop listening to others and focus on ourselves.
Secondly, having expectations from the meditation makes you fail to be satisfied. Meditation is not a meal that you failed to cook. The benefits come gradually and you realize the changes in your everyday life little by little, day by day.
- Another reason that boredom may occur while meditating is that we are used to be thinking and doing something all the time -checking our phone, chatting, watching TV, reading an article etc- and if our mind is not occupied for a minute or less, we feel restless. So when we finally decide to start meditating we become bored. It’s like when we’re waiting at the bus stop. It’s impossible to stay still. We either have to walk back and forth or check our mobile.
This is a common problem that many people have. It’s a bad habit that we have acquired by the modern lifestyle. Be persistent and hang onto the meditation and you will slowly break this habit.
What to do
- Balancing asanas. Practicing a balancing asana before meditating will slow down your brain activity. You will have even better results if you do it a couple of times through the day randomly.
- Ask yourself the question: “What do I want to do instead? What could be more beneficial than meditating?”
- Have an intention before meditating. Make it very clear to yourself before meditating what your intention is. It may be reducing your stress, or finding your true self, or being more grateful… etc. By this way, you have a clearer purpose and it may help you not to get bored.
- Exhale the boredom. Take deep breaths while meditating. After inhaling, and while the air is still inside of you, focus on your boredom and imagine it flowing out with the exhale. You can even exhale from your mouth. When I do this exercise I imagine the air that I exhale being gray and the air that I inhale like a bright light.
- Keep a journal about your meditation. When I started meditating I bought a notebook where I wrote my meditation experience every day after my session.
Reviewing back in the journal every now and then makes you realize what works good for you and the progress you’re having. Pointing out your progress to yourself will keep you motivated, exactly what you need not to get bored.
- Keep a journal about your life in general. For example writing down all the sectors in your life that you want to improve and going back to it every 4-6 weeks checking how much you have improved.
- There are some very good guided visualization meditations out there that you can try.
I don’t suggest that you practice only guided meditations, though.
- Make small changes in your routine. For example: use a different method to relax before your session or start your session by chanting a mantra.
- The most important thing is to just hold onto the meditation! Stay there and be persistent! You will have few difficult moments but the boredom will gradually drop, and your mind will learn how to exist in a more peaceful and calm way. A few difficult moments for a life of peacefulness and harmony.
I wish you good luck with your meditation! If you have any thoughts or questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment.