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I find it very difficult. I get bored sometimes and other times simply struggle to stay focused on the breath and the body. Does my attention span improve over time? I'm ADHD so it's very difficult to keep thinking out. Is it ok to think?

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Thoughts are generally wholesome and unwholesome, so yes, everything might be a tool for achieving your happiness. Just be mindful that this is a wholesome thought when it arises.

In the same way, achieving bliss cannot be done without utilising Self in the "desirous" (but not thrisna here) way to let go of Selfishness. In a way that confidence should trump doubt. Such is the way.

Also, what does it actually mean right mindfulness:

"One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness...

"One is mindful to abandon wrong resolve & to enter & remain in right resolve: This is one's right mindfulness...

"One is mindful to abandon wrong speech & to enter & remain in right speech: This is one's right mindfulness...

"One is mindful to abandon wrong action & to enter & remain in right action: This is one's right mindfulness...

"One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter & remain in right livelihood: This is one's right mindfulness..."

From Right Mindfulness: samma sati

You are simply aware of the body and breath in order to recollect you to keep the right view and refrain from cultivating the wrong view. It is a "reminder" that is always available at hand (breath). It also calms the mind giving clarity.

You also probably try too hard since Middle way should mean Right effort as described above. It should bring joy and peace. I agree, it is not easy to keep balance but you know when you find it.

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  • 'I' do not get bored. Boredom arises. Note it as it arises.
  • 'I' do not get unfocused. Unfocusedness(Uddhacca) arises. Note it as it arises.
  • It is not very difficult. Worry and aversion arise in the mind. Note them as they arise.
  • 'You' are not thinking. Thoughts arise in the mind. Note them as they arise.
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Once you feel joy, you are not distracted, you are mindful and vice versa.

The way to feel joy is mentioned here :

Bhikkhus, for a virtuous person, one whose behavior is virtuous, no volition need be exerted: ‘Let non-regret arise in me.’ It is natural that non-regret arises in a virtuous person, one whose behavior is virtuous.

“For one without regret no volition need be exerted: ‘Let joy arise in me.’ It is natural that joy arises in one without regret.

“For one who is joyful no volition need be exerted: ‘Let rapture arise in me.’ It is natural that rapture arises in one who is joyful.

“For one with a rapturous mind no volition need be exerted: ‘Let my body be tranquil.’ It is natural that the body of one with a rapturous mind is tranquil.

“For one tranquil in body no volition need be exerted: ‘Let me feel pleasure.’ It is natural that one tranquil in body feels pleasure.

“For one feeling pleasure no volition need be exerted: ‘Let my mind be concentrated.’ It is natural that the mind of one feeling pleasure is concentrated.

“For one who is concentrated no volition need be exerted: ‘Let me know and see things as they really are.’ It is natural that one who is concentrated knows and sees things as they really are.

“For one who knows and sees things as they really are no volition need be exerted: ‘Let me be disenchanted and dispassionate.’ It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate.

“For one who is disenchanted and dispassionate no volition need be exerted: ‘Let me realize the knowledge and vision of liberation.’ It is natural that one who is disenchanted and dispassionate realizes the knowledge and vision of liberation.

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Meditation is not easy, for most. Therefore, do not place great expectations upon meditation.

Instead, examine the benefits of the five precepts & non-harming, and adhere to them.

Practise loving-kindness towards yourself & others.

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I think you're doing great. You see that you can't control what's going on. "Shoot, there is boredom. And I can't stay with the breath and the body. Darn...." That's the nature of the mind. It has nothing at all to do with 'your' ADHD. :)

Don't think things out. Just notice that you're thinking (thinking, thinking, thinking). That's enough. Don't get involved in what you're seeing/experiencing. Don't try to gain anything (attention span). Just keep noticing and noting. That's all you have to do. Objectively observing is your only task. Things will become clear by themselves.

Good luck. :)

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For the beginners, effort is absolutely necessary. It may take time to get used to the new way of living. So don't judge yourself negatively, but keep the effort in your practice. Later on mindfulness will be totally natural for you.

Mahasi Sayadaw's noting technique is very effective for the people who want to learn to live mindfully in their daily lifes.

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