+1 vote
by (130 points)
After 7 years of daily meditation I started skipping my daily sessions. The main cause is restlessness, impatience, discomfort, boredom, lack of energy and any positive results. Zen master Katagiri Roshi once said that meditation is useless and I've come to a point where I agree with him. There's just nothing to get and my life is still the same or even worse. I have become disenchanted with probably everything in this world: holidays, people, women, cars, enlightenment etc. I don't have much to say and lately the only thing that I look forward to is being on my own and having a drink. Any advice, what next?



3 Answers

+4 votes
by (18.8k points)
edited by

There are many meditation techniques taught by different religious teachers all over the world. Some of those techniques may not even qualify as useful meditation techniques according to Buddhism. In Buddhism, there are 2 types of meditations. 

  1. Samatha - Concentration meditation that leads to absorptions and laying a conducive base for the development of Vipassana.
  2. Vipassana - Insight meditation that leads to wisdom and freedom from suffering

There could be several reasons why a person would not get considerable results from meditation:

  • Not keeping to the precepts(five precepts, eight precepts etc.).
  • Practicing the wrong meditation technique.
  • Ignoring the instructions of the teacher and trying to do what you like.
  • Not practicing daily and not spending enough time. 
  • Having an unqualified teacher.
  • Clinging to wrong views that hinder progress in the type of meditation being practiced.
  • Having extremely painful sicknesses.
  • Having certain extreme mental sicknesses.
  • Not having a triple rooted birth. 
  • Disrespecting enlightened beings.
  • Committing one of the five heinous crimes.
The teachings in the entire Tipitaka that we call Buddhism/Dhamma came from a being who meditated under a tree. He did not sleep under the Bodhi tree to become the Buddha. That should give you a good idea of what meditation can lead to if practiced properly.
by (2.1k points)
What is a "triple rooted birth"?
I have never heard this term before.
by (18.8k points)
A birth that is a result of a wholesome kamma involving all 3 wholesome roots: non-greed, non-aversion, wisdom.
by (2.1k points)
Can you explain more and/or lead me to some sources of this concept please?

Is this a way of saying some people are unable to make progress towards liberation in this life or understand the dharma because one or more of the root causes of dukkha is too strong in their consciousness?
by (18.8k points)
You should ask this as a separate question
+1 vote
by (520 points)
It sounds like there is a lot of disenchantment and feeling low happening in your practice. I think it is normal and a good sign that these come because the practice has highs and lows but ultimately it seems like you have been able to overcome all of this in the past, but now are losing motivation to continue with it.

I think that is totally understandable, especially if you are doing the practice alone and do not have a teacher to help you through these rougher patches. Perhaps a meditation retreat or guidance of Bhante Yuttadhammo may help you get back on track

Other than that, I would say that, for me, it has always helped when I try to focus on uplifting my mind or generating wholesome states of mind. Going about this may be different for everyone, but for me it can help to practice metta or loving-kindness / karuna practices to help have kindness and/or compassion for yourself first off that you are going through such a difficult time. Any practice that can help to stabilize the mind and bring some peace or space into your life to see the restlessness, impatience, discomfort, boredom, lack of energy and any positive results with a balanced and detached awareness. These states can overcome the mind at times, but if you can stabilize the mind or find balance in your practice then you may be able to slowly get to the point where they arise and pass away. The cessation of any of these difficult states / defilements brings peace in the mind.

However that being said, that is a very difficult task and even harder without a teacher or a sangha member / kalyanamittata who you trust that has been through these difficulties before and can support you through that

In summary: I would say that talking to a teacher or doing a meditation retreat and having some time to process all of this in that wholesome setting could help a lot. If not possible, generating wholesome and uplifting states through stabilizing practices such as metta loving-kindness, karuma compassion practices, or reflecting on your good qualities (thinking about how much goodness is within you and that you have generated during your past 7 years of meditating and keeping the 5 precepts, reflecting on your past generosity or any good deeds you may have done, bringing up people who you love or are inspiring to you, etc)

Best of luck to you on your path
by (130 points)
Thank you for your post. I will try to talk to a teacher. I have never done this due to trust issues but will try.
+1 vote
by (160 points)
Hi Simon,

I am not answering this from any position of knowledge, just from my own experience. I started intensive practice in the Mahasi system back in 1980, and have had many ups and downs. The downs have been like you described, even going into periods of binge drinking. One of my teachers here in the USA said something that helped me the most. It's not going to sound profound, but it hit me as the most profound insight, and helped me be OK with the downs. He said it was all part of the process of purification, nothing more, and nothing to get bummed about.

So I just placed my rear on the cushion, even though it was the LAST thing I wanted to do. And then started the walking. I am not going to say anything profound happened. Let's say I got OK with not feeling OK. But since that comment from this teacher, I have just done my level best to keep practicing.

I still have down periods, and I still have a drink now and then, but I just re-take the precepts and start again. For me, that's the magic, you can always start again..until you can't that is. But I have developed a taste for sitting with existential malaise, and it's quite favorable, paraphrasing Churchill. But it is definitely and acquired taste! But I will say this, meditation has been such a relief when I stick out the down times and just be mindful of disgust, boredom, etc.

Best to you my friend.

by (130 points)
Thank you very much, I appreciate it. I'll think it over.
by (280 points)
That is some superb input, Tom. You've given me something to think about!

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