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.