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When I wake up in the morning I don't feel like meditating straight away. I usually feel heavy and drowsy. So I have some breakfast and coffee and then I will sit. This morning I tried to sit for an hour as soon as I woke up but it was really difficult. My mind was not clear at all. Not sure I was thinking about anything in particular but I felt cloudy and uncomfortable with strong cravings to go back to sleep. I was so uncomfortable that I decided to open my eyes at 45 minutes.

My meditation feels like a struggle a lot lately. I feel like I've kind of lost touch with why I'm doing it. It feels like a bit of a chore. Sitting there day in and day out watching the breath for years and years but failing to become any more concentrated unless on retreat has become kind of pointless. Does anyone else feel like this?

I was hoping that after all this time that maybe something would change in my life and I might see more clearly about how I cause myself suffering, that I would have "insights" but it seems to just be this endless watching the breath, thinking, watching the breath, thinking. I'm not sure if maybe I'm expecting too much but it doesn't feel like I'm gaining any benefit for the amount of time I put in to it so then I start thinking that I'm doing it wrong etc. I can't believe that after 6 years I'm still thinking/feeling this way. Feeling intense Dukkha today.

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I usually feel heavy and drowsy.

This is Slot and Toper. You should overcome this and other Hindrances. Many of the techniques are found in:

... Feeling intense Dukkha today.

When you do not achieve spiritual goals unsatisfactoriness may arise. [Sal,āyatana Vibhanga Sutta] Best is try to keep you mind and practice steady. Also see if you are putting too much effect leading to restless worry. Also do not measure progress too often. Just do what needs to be done, i.e., just practice!

  • Yes may be sloth and torpor or could just be tiredness and boredom – Arturia Apr 18 '17 at 3:10
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    Tiredness and boredom is a symptom of sloth and torpor – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Apr 18 '17 at 3:24
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I think an hour is too long. It's too long on your body, and it makes meditation a more daunting challenge. I also sit with my eyes open, which is standard in Zen. Having your eyes closed makes you more likely to fall asleep, and having them open brings you fully into the here and now (although you might find it difficult if you're not used to it).

Don't sit immediately after getting out of bed. Have a wash, get into loose clothing, spend 5 - 10 minutes having a tea or coffee. You can also do some yoga, which will stretch your body and wake you up a bit more.

Have a set time at which to sit so there isn't a debate or struggle going on in your mind. Then just sit.

Don't have expectations about what meditation should be. If you're sleepy or distracted, then that's just what is. Sit with it, don't judge it, don't comment on it, don't reproach yourself. As long as you maintain awareness, and correct thinking and sleepiness when you notice them, you're doing it right.

Everyone who has an established practice has gone through and continues to go through periods like this, and very often it feels like a chore. Don't have expectations! Just knuckle down and get on with it :)

I'd also strongly advise you to make contact with a temple/monastery/meditation group - having the support of fellow meditators who are going through the same things as you is an invaluable aid to your practice.

Edit: Don't have breakfast before meditation, food in the belly interferes with your posture and promotes sleepiness.

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As I inferred in my other post, for me, meditation must bring happiness, which comes from intensive development.

As you posted here: "failing to become any more concentrated unless on retreat has become kind of pointless". This shows why retreat is important.

As soon as the sun starts to rise in the morning, I leave my home & go for a long walk in nature.

It certainly sounds like your mind is feeling dukkha today. The Buddhist path does not come easy, unless practised a lot. This is why people become monks & nuns & live in a natural environment.

  • Hi dhammadhatu, thank you for your kind words on both my posts. I might start doing the same. Go for a walk and clear my head. I'm fortunate to live very close to the ocean so I went and swam some laps in the tidal pool. My head feels clearer and I feel a bit happier now. Sounds like the monastery was very helpful for you. Maybe I will go and live in a monastery for a while in the near future. I really don't feel like I can cope going through the motions here for much longer. – Arturia Apr 18 '17 at 1:16
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    Fortunate. I live near the ocean also. It sounds like you have had enough. This could be a signal for a change of lifestyle. I am hoping to return to the monastery soon. I have some physical injuries to repair first, which is doing well, but slowly. Are you in Australia (tidal pools)? With metta. – Dhammadhatu Apr 18 '17 at 1:19
  • Hi yes , I'm in Australia. Northern beaches of Sydney. Do you have any recommendations as far as monasteries go? Id like to go somewhere very quiet and peaceful. I've heard Burma is noisy and chaotic – Arturia Apr 18 '17 at 2:45
  • Locally, there is Wat Buddha Dhamma at Wisemans Ferry. I visited for 1 day recently to have a look (when visiting my mother in Sydney) but only walked around since it was pouring rain. I stayed there for 1 week 28 years ago. They are currently promoting Ajahn Sumedho's teachings. Newbury Buddhist Monastery is a new Ajahn Brahm place in Victoria, with Ajahn Jag as the leader, who is a very nice & friendly Aussie man. I have spoken to him before. I am thinking about one of the Ajahn Chah monasteries in New Zealand. In the past (1990s), I practised in Thailand. Regards – Dhammadhatu Apr 18 '17 at 7:40
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If you struggle with sitting and meditating then don't sit and meditate. That can come in time. There are more ways of meditating.

Myself, I like to go for a walk.

Walking meditation is an important practice, and is commonly interspersed between sitting meditation.

In walking meditation I like to stroll slowly. It may just be around the room, or around the garden, or even a longer distance walk - it's up to you, whatever you feel comfortable with. Focus on every action you perform while walking. The feel of the floor under your feet as you set them down. The movement of the muscles as you move your arms and legs. The feel of the air against your skin. The sound of the birds singing. Oh, and your breathing of course. The feel of the air passing your lips...

It's all calming the mind and bringing you thoughts back within yourself. You don't have to sit in the lotus position and go "Om".

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If you're experiencing physical and mental problems, it could very well be lack of nutrients, exercise and sleep. I suggest you do a quick check on these. You might find this book very helpful: Spark

Watching breath without knowing why you're doing is likely to do more harm than good. Anäpänä sathi meditation is supposed to be done with Sammä Ditti. Sammä Ditti is not a simple topic and becomes best understood once you become an arhat. I suggest reading material on Arya / Lokotthara Sammä Ditti before doing any Buddhist practice related to meditation.

Hope your problems are sorted out soon and may your realize the Four Noble Truths soon through the Noble Eightfold Path.

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Don't stress yourself trying to do those meditations uselessly. Just try out this: you just focus on your day to day activities with a good comprehension and awareness. In short be concious when doing things. That inhaling -exhaling meditation is just a basic and elememtry meditation which was taught for beginners. Just try iut what i explained.

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Renunciation! There must be renunciation from the bottom of your heart before you can be easy on your meditation.

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