My mom kept urging me to try out a meditation tape, in hopes that it would help ease my anxiety, but I had a preconceived fear that it was going to fail—just like the rest of the coping skills I had tried. I eventually did try it, however, and I still remember the moment I decided. In my quiet bedroom, I turned the meditation DVD on and just listened to the directions while I closed my eyes. The next thing I knew, the man’s voice guided me to open my eyes.
I couldn’t believe the results: I felt calmer and more peaceful than I had in a very long time.
Many people can find a comfortable—if not "traditional"—meditation place that works perfectly for them, whether it be their home, car, or work. Meditation is not governed by a set of rules, but more specifically, a set of beliefs. And no, you do not have to be a pretzel-bending yogi to have a successful and empowering meditation practice.
To keep it realistic, not everyone will have these results immediately. Some people may not even believe that meditation can help you find a peaceful place. From my personal experience, however, I will say that it requires making the practice a habit—not just a one-time thing. Taking up a meditation practice can be daunting, so here are four practical recommendations to help make your meditation practice a successful habit.
1. Start Early
Put on a five minute YouTube video or other recording as soon as you wake up. Your phone is probably sitting right there, so instead of checking Instagram, grab some earbuds and make your way to meditation land. This will help start your day out from a peaceful and grounded place.
2. Set the Mood
Light a candle or some incense. Put on some soothing music. These simple actions will makes you feel somewhat peaceful, and it can certainly set the mood for a meditative state.
3. Let It Flow
Do not worry about having other thoughts, and don't try to empty your mind. It is entirely normal to have many thoughts while you are meditating—that is fine! Do not have a mindset that you are taking nothing from it if you can't slow your thought stream—just allow the thoughts to come in and go as they please. Eventually, with practice, they will settle.
When you've finished meditating, take a long stretch at the end. Stretching your muscles allows you to loosen up and get the blood and breath flowing again. Stretching is a great way to end the practice and start your day. While stretching, bring to mind something that you are grateful for and keep in the back of your mind for the day. Let that thought be your anchor to your meditation, and to your peace.
If your mind is overly active or if you have a hard time focusing and concentrating, you can experiment with chanting a Sanskrit mantra. Mantras are sacred sounds that captivate the mind and make meditation easeful. Mantras also are a great way to set and link your intentions and goals with your meditation practice. You can use a set of meditation mala beads to help you count the mantras in sets of 108.
This is an excellent meditation to follow if you’re stuck in an awareness that’s too overly focused on yourself and your thoughts. You might be feeling stressed, frustrated, confused, or just downright agitated because your state of consciousness is narrow and restricted. Typically, when we’re in a less than a blissful state of being, we’re overly focused on ourselves. Perhaps we’re wholly fixated on a particular drama that’s going on in our lives and going round and round in circles trying to fix it or make it somehow better. If you’re caught up in this kind of mental state, it’s always a good idea to get out of it—remember, you can’t fix a problem from the same level of awareness from which it came.
That said, take a moment to get comfortable and find a meditation seat. Close your eyes and begin to focus your attention solely on the breath. As you breathe deeply, become very still, drawing your focus inward. Now, take a moment to consider what it feels like to be you, experiencing the particular drama or life situation that’s got you “hooked,” as Pema Chodron would say. Whatever it is you’re experiencing in this moment, bring it into your body and into your awareness. How does it feel? You might even want to exaggerate these feelings a bit, to make them big and clear within your state of consciousness. Even if it feels icky and sticky, take a moment to feel into it, with all your senses. Allow yourself to feel totally and entirely constricted by your mind stuff.
Now, bring your attention back to your breath and use your inhalations and exhalations to begin to release all that constricted tension gradually. Just begin to let it all go. As you do this, notice how your body starts to relax. Perhaps your shoulders fall down from your ears, and your face begins to soften. Just allow your body to continue relaxing and releasing the stress and tension that’s there. As you do this, start to notice the environment around you. Notice the space that surrounds your being. In other words, slowly begin to move your awareness outward.
Connect yourself to the room or space in which you’re meditating. Allow your exhalations to lengthen a bit, as you continue to expand your awareness outward, bringing it to the space outside—to the elements of nature around you. Think about the entire continent upon which you’re sitting. Can you bring into your mind’s eye all the living beings going about their daily business, with all their struggles and all their happiness and everything in between?
Continue to expand your awareness outward to the many continents beyond this one. Think about the planet and all its sentient beings. Imagine what it might be like to walk in their shoes for a moment – rather than your own. See if you can connect to all of them, as you continue to breathe deeply. Offer everyone and everything inner peace and unconditional love. Breathe deeply as you offer this love and feel it is given back to you.
I was first attracted to mala beads because I thought they were beautiful and super adorable! After using and wearing mala beads for a while, I found out that they can enable me to adapt to the pressures and stress I had in my everyday life. Seeing how powerful mala beads are, I don't understand how these beads aren't better known. They have the ability to help with prayer, meditation, mindfulness, as well as stress and anxiety relief. From my research and explorations into mala beads I've put together a little guide for where mala beads originated from, how they were initially used and how you can use them into your everyday life today.
What are mala beads?
A Japa mala (also known as mala beads, prayer beads, Buddha beads, Buddhist rosary, mantra beads or yoga beads) alludes to chanting beads utilized in the meditation practices of both Buddhism and Hinduism. Recitations of prayers, mantras and affirmations are tallied bead by bead on a Mala. Buddhist and Hindu malas usually have 108 counting beads, but a mala bracelet will only have 18 or 27 counting beads.
The use of mala beads began over a thousand years prior and was first utilized by Buddhist priests amid their prayer and meditation time. Each series of beads comprises of 108 beads that are separated in 4 areas of 27 beads. You can see that each area of 27 beads is isolated by a bead of an alternate color or type of material. Best of all, you can likewise purchase littler mala beads with just 27 beads on them! These are an awesome thought on the off chance that you are next beginning with meditation or in the event that you need to enable your more youthful kids to start some simple meditation methods. For priests, each bead was utilized to invoke a prayer or to chant a sacred Sanskrit mantra. Today malas can be utilized in the same way using common meditation mantras.
Some of the most common intentions for mala beads are as follows:
Mala beads can be made of any material, however, they are customarily made from Rudraksha, lotus seeds, yak bone, Bodhi seeds, or wood. Semi-precious gemstones are also used in malas, which come with their own healing properties.
Where you can find mala beads?
You can find a wide assortment of mala beads in many different places. Locally, a new age shop or yoga studio might carry them. For online shopping, Amazon is my go-to source for malas. Unfortunately these malas are often cheaply made and break easily.
You can also find an enormous assortment of mala bead creators on Etsy. These are very small shops that have a limited number of designs so it may be frustrating to find what you want.
On the off chance that you yourself are helpful with making, at that point gathering some of these beads and modifying them to your loving is effortlessly done too. Me, I lean toward mine to remain in one piece and maintain a strategic distance from the cussing that joins making when I attempt.
Here is a video on how to make your own mala beads:
Meditation is quickly becoming a very popular activity and hobby for many people because the potential behind it is now being realized- the potential of it to transform the way you live your life. As such, people look to adopt various tools and methodologies using which they can further make their meditation experience immersive and amazing. Mala meditation mantras are one of them.
WHAT IS A MANTRA?
Mantras are a piece of text- a simple syllable, a single word, or a very short phrase that is repeated again and again in order to meditate. It doesn't matter whether you consider yourself a Hindu or belonging to any other religion, or even if you consider yourself to either be a religious or a non religious person- mantra meditation has been used by anyone and everyone since the past 5000 years and continues be used even today. When chanting a mantra it is recommended to use a mala for meditation to help you count the number of mantras you count as well as to help keep your mind focused.
ORIGIN OF MANTRAS
As mentioned above, mantras have been used for thousands of years and their popularity only continues to grow even more. It is believed that mantra meditation arises from the Vedas, yogic scriptures that are written in Sanskrit. Buddhists used to use mantra meditation as a way to resound the attributes of their Buddha. This practice later transformed into Tantras, a way to communicate with and influence gods. Mantra meditation is not, however, only limited to the eastern part of the world. Mantras were kept a highly guarded secret for thousands of years because of the incredible potency and powers of the mantra meditations.
WHY DO MANTRAS WORK?
It is very commonly known that sound is not just a concept- it is an energy, a wave, a form that has actual, physical existence in our world. The idea that goes behind the concept of mantras is that words and sound hold power that has the ability to affect and modify the way we think, behave, and feel. That we can use sound as a means and tool to open and manipulate our chakras to achieve the optimum energy flow and become the best being we can possibly be.
THE BENEFITS OF MANTRA MEDITATION
Compassion and Intuition
Not only do the vibrations from the sound of the mantra cleanse you from all of your pent up stress, but they also instill in you a sense of spirituality and a force of compassion. As your mind frees up and your chakras begin to flow in alignment, your intuition becomes tenfold as well.
You nervous and chemical systems work in pristine coordination to help you retain and maintain the ideal body conditions and mechanisms for optimum functioning. By regulating your breathing and rhythm through mantra meditation, you set a rhythm for your body and its systems as well, encouraging the body’s immunity.
Achieve Self Awareness
The previous saints and great individuals have mastered the art of meditation through mantras and by practicing the same thing, you will be able to enter a similar trance that can give you the key to opening the door of higher self awareness and greater existence.
Last, but not the least, it is extremely soothing and helps you to feel as relaxed as you can by allowing you to let go of what bothers you and focusing your energy on the soothing word that you are chanting from your lips.
Consciousness arises dependent upon an object and sense organ, or mind and mind objects (feeling, perception, mental formation, volition). It cannot exist independently. Consciousness too is impermanent and constantly changing. Movement of mind or body creates oscillation of duality, and therefore the arising of consciousness. Hindrances ( desire, aversion, restlessness, sloth and doubts ) are various disturbance in the body and mind which causes their movement. Examples of some very subtle hindrances are: trying to understand things, inner chatter, getting sleepy and getting upset, doing, desire and craving.
According to the Buddha- in essence- meditation is all about overcoming the five hindrances- suppressing them, smashing them- to get to the jhanas, so that you can see the way things truly are. Meditation is suppressing the five hindrances, but what has mindfulness to do with the five hindrances? Another important thing is where you focus that mindfulness, where you direct it. Some people say you can be mindful of anything. you can be aware of sweeping, you can be aware of laying a brick, you can be aware of putting food into your mouth, but that is not where mindfulness should really be put.
Where do the five hindrances live? Do they live in your body? Do they live in the food you eat? Do they live in the bricks you lay or in the broom or the leaves that you are sweeping? This is an important point not only to your success as a monastic and to your harmony with friends and other monks, but also to your progress in meditation. Those hindrances do not live in the broom, nor do they live in your citta. If you think the way to liberation is to put mindfulness on the objects of your senses or to put it on who's watching or what's watching, that will never get you anywhere. They don't look at the middle- in between them- at the hindrances themselves, at ' the doing', the ' controlling', ' the ill will', and the ' aversion'. For example, when Ajahn Sumedho was first in Wat Pah Pong he was having a hard time, and Ajahn Chah asked him, : Is Wat Pah Pong suffering? Is Wat Pah Pong dukkha, Sumedho?" If Wat Pah Pong is not suffering, so what is the suffering? Is the citta suffering? The suffering was at the point where Ajahn Sumedho was adding onto the experience ( the aggregate of feeling, metal formation and volition ). And if we don't put mindfulness in its right place then we miss that. We think it's Wat Pah Pong's fault, so we want to leave that monastery. Or we think it's our fault so we watn to destroy ourselves or get into a guilt trip. This is wrong mindfulness; we're putting it in the wrong place. It's not the monastery's fault, and it's not the fault of that monk who is upsetting you. You are putting mindfulness in the wrong place if you put all of your focus on the object and think that is the cause of suffering. We have to put the focus of our mindfulness on the space between the observer and the observed. That's where you find the play of greed and hatred, desires and aversions, wanting and disliking, and that's where you start to make something of this world which is no inherent in it.
The Calming of Oscillation Through Awareness of Feeling/ Sensation, Perception, Mental Formation and Volition
Physical and mental factors of experience worked together to produce personal experience ( that gives the illusion of a self) and personal choice) . For example:
1. Form -As you walk in the garden, your eyes come into contact with a visible object.
2. Consciousness - As your attention focuses on that visible object, your consciousness becomes aware of visible object as yet indeterminate
(Note: Stopping the intake of sensory enjoyment through the five-senses, to give Citta a rest. Renounciation/ Withdrawal)
3. Perception( labeling, association,judgement, pre-conceived notions)
- the mind figures out what the object is.
Your aggregate of perception will identify that visible object as, let us say, a snake
(Note: Centering on one object only to gives this aggregate a rest)
4.Sensation/ Emotion ( Pleasant, Unpleasant, Neutral) .
Once that happens, you will respond to that visible object with the aggregate sensation/ feeling of displeasure, or more specifically that of fear.
5. Samskara- (Volition & Mental Formation)
* Mental Formation is a collection of impressions created by previous actions and the habit energy stored up from countless former lives, engraved conditioned response or tendencies. It is the subconscious layer of your mind.
* Volition is the action/ reaction . When VOLITION is mixed with MENTAL FORMATION, and influenced by FEELING, what you usually get is a conditioned response or a habitual action. As we know, habitual actions can sometimes be good for you, sometimes bad for you.
- Finally, you will react to that visible object with the aggregate of mental formation or volition, with the intentional action of perhaps running away or perhaps picking up a stone.
Note: The khandhas of perception, feeling (pleasant, unpleasant, neutral) and samskaras (conditioned response, habitual action) is the space in which we must watch, according to Ajahn Brahm. Because these are the places where it becomes a personal experience that creates desire, aversion, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness, doubts ( From form to conscious awareness of the object it has not becomes a personal experience yet) . Being witness or infusing mindfulness into this unconscious zone then this unconscious zone also rests.
In all our daily activities, we can see how all the five aggregates work together to produce personal experience.When the aggregates of consciousness, perception, Feeling, and Samsakara rest, all your samskaras disappear. They are burnt away, and you start witnessing , your awareness happen, and you realize everything is a dream, and you are unaffected by the dream.
Sloth and torpor always come because you have been controlling so much. You've been doing so much your mind is actually tired, and worn out. It wants to rest; it wants to turn off because it has no energy left. So if sloth and torpor is in front of me I just put peace between myself and the sloth and torpor. I do not put one of the first two hindrances between me and the sloth and torpor, I don't put desire, ill will, or fear there, and I have no sense of shame because I'm tired. It's just the body that's all. It's just the mind that's all. It's the five aggregates doing their thing, nothing to do with me. So I never feel any sense of self with the sloth and torpor that comes up from time to time.
Make peace with it, allow it to be, and let it go. Don't fight it, and by not fighting it, you're not cultivating the first two hindrances. Because Im not cultivating the first two hindrances, mindfulness starts to grow in intensity. And because I am not feeding this doer, the mindfulness gets all the energy, the knower gets all the energy. The knower is mindfulness, and Im energizing mindfulness.
Do your best to practice your meditation without any goal or destination to be fully in the present moment. A mindful breathing practice can also be an easy way to make peace with and overcome feelings of sloth and torpor.
Sloth and torpor don't last very long these days, I work so hard and sometimes can't find time to sleep. I should be the monk nodding most in this monastery due to the amount of work I do, but I find I can go on retreats and sit in front of hundreds of people meditating and I feel awake. The reason I can do that is because I don't feed the defilements. Mindfulness is right there, not on the sloth and torpor, not on the knower, but on what I am doing with the sloth and torpor. Am I reacting with controlling? Am I just being one of the allies of Mara, the great controller? I don't do that; I put my mindfulness between the sloth and torpor and the observer, making sure I m being kind to the sloth and torpor. Kindness overcomes the ill will. Too often when you have sloth and torpor it is aversion that feeds it. It is the thought , "I don't want it", that actually feed sloth and torpor and makes it last longer, because it is taking the energy away from knowing.
Check out the below video on a dharma talk on on how to deal with listlessness and drowsiness when they arise during meditation.
Someone who is graceful has a flowing quality about them, as though they had harmonized with the environment around them by embodying and amplifying its special qualities. There is grace in the flutter of the butterfly, just as there is in a swan on a lake. A state of grace is one step beyond, wherein the individual will (and thus identity) is merged seamlessly with a Higher one.
In the tradition of Kashmiri Shaivism, the higher consciousness is embodied in the storehouse of spiritual energy called the Kundalini. The Kundalini energy is present, but dormant in each and every one of us. There is a subtle and gentle process by which the teachers in this tradition awaken the Kundalini energy in the aspirant. The resulting meditation achieved is completely dependant on the degree to which we are surrendered to this selfless flow of the teacher's grace.
We have evolved ancient Kundalini meditation practices so they can be applied in both a formal class setting and our everyday lives. The classes offer personalized and in-depth instruction designed to give the student a real experience of the subtle Kundalini energy. Kundalini meditation transforms us and fills us with peace, energy and an increased awareness of and joy in the very act of living.
The potency of active meditation on the divine Power-Mantra, even in it’s minutest expression, completely destroys the intense heat of passion in the scorched hearts of all living entities by universally granting the rains of bliss to all.
The supreme religion, the essence of all religions or God-inspired methods of self-realization, of enlightenment for mankind, is dedication or love of God, which is quickly and safely attainable through the chanting or active meditation on the Power-Mantra. Only the descent of this powerful vibration can completely satisfy all the hankerings of the soul. Active meditation on the power- song of your life will easily and rapidly awaken devotion, dedication and ultimately a state of eternal loving emotion.
The potency that comes from chanting the Power-Mantra does not belong to the illusory class of energy–it is reality. It belongs to the essential energy of God in the form of transcendental sound vibration. Increase the energy and power of the vibration by using mediation beads while chanting the mantra.
It is the embodiment of the Lord Himself. It appears undefined and incomprehensible to the general population because they lack experience of it—as it was, is and will be a highly guarded secret—but that does not make it life negating, unqualified or non existent.
On the contrary, the Personal Power-Mantra has enlightened and given deeper understanding of love for God to more saints and sinners than the world can ever imagine. The greatest pioneers of time, who have explored the uncharted depths of the human psyche, could have been successfully perfect if they only knew the potency of this Divine Power-Mantra.
"Bhikkhus, and how is mindfulness related to the body developed, how is it pursued, so as to be of great fruit & brings great benefit?
The bhikkhu, gone to the forest, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty house, sits legs crossed, the body straight, and mindfulness established in front. Mindfully he breathes in or breathes out. Breathing in long knows, I breathe in long. Breathing out long knows, I breathe out long. Breathing in short knows, I breathe in short. Breathing out short knows, I breathe out short. Trains, calming the bodily determination I breathe in. Trains, calming the bodily determination I breathe out. When he abides diligent to dispel, worldly thoughts and recollections fade and his mind gets established in a single point concentrated. Bhikkhus, in this manner too mindfulness of the body in the body is developed.
Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu having gone into the forest, or to the foot of a tree, or to an empty place, sits legs crossed, holding the body straight, securely maintaining mindfulness. Ever mindful, that bhikkhu breathes in; ever mindful, he breathes out."
1. “Breathing in long, he knows, ‘I breathe in long’; or breathing out long, he knows, ‘I breathe out long’.
2. “Breathing in short, he knows, ‘I breathe in short’; or breathing out short, he knows, ‘I breathe out short’.
3. He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the whole body’( Sabba kaya) ; He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the whole body ( Sabba kaya)’;
4. “He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in calming the bodily-formation ( kaya sankhara ) ;’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out calming the bodily formations’ When he abides heedful, ardent, & resolute in this way, any rushing thoughts related to the household life fade, and with their abandoning the mind gathers & settles down, becomes one-pointed, and concentrated. Like this, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu develop mindfulness related to the body.
And as he remains thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, any memories & resolves related to the household life are abandoned, and with their abandoning his mind gathers & settles inwardly, grows unified & centered. This is how a monk develops mindfulness using mala meditation immersed in the body
PITI & SUKKHA and PERCEPTION & FEELING
5. ‘I shall breathe in experiencing piti (rapture) ’; trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out experiencing piti (rapture) ’;
6. trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in experiencing sukha’; trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out experiencing such’;
7. trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the mental formation’ ( perception and feeling) ; trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the mental formation’ ( perception and feeling) ;
8.trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in calming the mental formation’( perception and feeling) ; trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out calming the mental formation ( perception and feeling)’
Note: "perception and feeling are the mental formation ."(MN 44)
—on that occasion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu abides contemplating the feelings in the feelings, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having put away covetousness and grief regarding the world.
“I say that this, bhikkhus, is a certain feeling (experience) among feelings (experiencings), namely, the giving attention completely to in-breathing and out-breathing. That is why on that occasion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu abides contemplating the feelings in the feelings, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having put away covetousness and grief regarding the world.
AWARENESS OF MIND, GLADDENING, UNIFYING/ CONCENTRATING, AND LIBERATING THE MIND.
9. ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the mind’; trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the mind’;
10. trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in gladdening the mind’; trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out gladdening the mind’;
11. trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in concentrating the mind’; trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out concentrating the mind’;
12. trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in liberating the mind’; trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out liberating the mind’
—on that occasion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu abides contemplating the mind in the mind, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having put away covetousness and grief regarding the world.
“I do not say, bhikkhus, that there is development of respiration-mindfulness in one who is forgetful and does not clearly comprehend. That is why on that occasion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu abides contemplating the mind in the mind, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having put away covetousness and grief regarding the world. “That is how awareness of breathing, developed and repeatedly practice , is of great fruit, of great benefit."
CONTEMPLATION : Steps 13-16
13. ‘I shall breathe in contemplating impermanence’; trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out contemplating impermanence’;
14. trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in contemplating fading away’; trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out contemplating fading away’;
Note: Viraaga also has no satisfactory rendering. Raaga (originally meaning “colour,” “dye”;) is used for “greed” or “lust”; viraaga is the fading away of the colour, the disappearance of greed or lust. It occurs frequently in the suttas in the sequence nibbidaa, viraaga, nirodha, patinissagga, i.e. revulsion (or turning away from the round of rebirths), dispassion (or fading away of greed), cessation, relinquishment.
15. trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in contemplating cessation’ ( of craving ); trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out contemplating cessation’;
16. trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in contemplating letting go ’; trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out contemplating letting go ’
—on that occasion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu abides contemplating mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having put away covetousness and grief regarding the world.
“Having seen with understanding what is the abandoning of covetousness and grief, he becomes one who looks on with complete equanimity. That is why on that occasion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu abides contemplating mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having put away covetousness and grief regarding the world.
“That is how respiration-mindfulness, developed and repeatedly practiced, perfects the four focus of mindfulness.
According to Ajahn Brahm in "Simply This Moment", when we investigate these states of stillness it becomes quite clear that every time we do something we are disturbing the mind. We are disturbing the process and making it tremble. We are making the mind wobble. We are doing exactly the thing that stops the attainment. That is why when we talk about these stages, the culmination of which is the stillness of the mind, it becomes quite evident and clear that the obstructions to the path and the obstacles to the jhanas arise because we are always getting involved, interfering, controlling, and managing, even by just having destinations or goals.
If people have no destination they feel lost. Why do they feel lost? Because at last they have nothing to do and they can't get into the doing business. They can't get a handle on something to aim for or to do, so it confounds the doer, it confounds the 'controller', and underneath all of that is the confounding of the sense of 'self''. This is why the meditation seems so hard.
'Have you come here to die?' That's what it feels like when you start meditating properly. There is something inside you that dies or comes close to death. That's the aspect of the 'self; called the 'doer', the 'maker', the active participant in life that always wants to manage, to work things out, so that you can describe it to yourself or tell your friends. Even the will to know , to understand, is part of this 'doer' business. That's why it gives rise to doubt. Each one of the hindrances keeps the mind active and stops it from being still enough to see that the five hindrances are all about doing something. Obviously the first hindrance of sensory desire, craving, wanting something, is all about going to some sort of destination, some place you want to get to. Aversion, the second hindrance is about not wanting to be here in the first place, and that creates ' doing'. It's being averse to this moment, to the wandering mind, being averse to anything. I don't want to be here, I want to be somewhere else. The third hindrance, sloth and torpor, is the result of doing too much. You've burnt out the mind. You're just too tired, and the mind has no energy because it's all been wasted in doing things. When people start 'doing', when they start struggling and striving to get out of sloth and torpor, it's just more doing and it stirs up the mind. I'm sure you think you've go to stir the mind up to become alert again. But you don't really stir up the mindfulness, instead you sir up more craving. Sure, that brightens up the mind and you don't have sloth and torpor, but you have restlessness instead.
Note: physical movements like yoga, or walking helps to reduce sloth and torpor without stiring up craving or restlessness in the mind.
At the last retreat I taught in Ipoh we had some incredible results. One lady , who was already sitting for four, five , or six hours at a time, sat for eight and a half hours on the last day. It was just so easy, she had so much stillness that she didn't want to move. That was because she had stopped ' doing things'. She had stopped making the mind move. Stillness was her goal, not seing nimmittas or holding on to the breath, not attaining jhanas or Enlightenment. She had a meditation that had no destination. The aim is not getting somewhere, it's being here. Being here and being still. The last of the hindrances is doubt, always 'wanting to know'. That is just another 'doing' . Knowledge is almost like control: measuring is how we find out where we are in life. And that 'doing', measuring, and 'wanting to know', makes the mind move. Be quiet! You'll know later on. Don't interrupt the lecture; just wait and don't do anything. This is the path of samadhi.
When you don't do anything you're not feeding the hindrances. This is where mindfulness should be used in your meditaiton. It doesn't matter what you are experiencing. You may even be thinking of sex. The point is to make sure you don't do anything. Don't get upset. Don't encourage it. Don't get into aversion. In fact don't get into anything at all. If you put peace into this letting go by putting stillness between you and whatever you are experiencing, things start to slow down and stop. It's the hindrances that are the problem,not what they have created. It's the creating power of these hindrances that causes more sufffering and a lack of stillness for you. So , if you put your mindin the right spot and watch the play of the hindrances, the doing, raving, wanting, the trying to get rid of things, the talking to yourself the trying to understand things, and then getting sleepy and upset aobut it, you can see where the five hindrances live. you find their playground, their home. Once you see where they are playing around, you can knock them to bits very easily.
Note: Even if you let go of desires for the whole world, but if the desire for results in meditation ( Jhana) or enlightenment is there, the mind doesn't settle. It is not content with the way the meditation is going in this moment. It always look forward to a certain experience. That means craving is there, and that itself is a hindrance. Stillness is present when you meditate just to be.