I have been practicing Vipassana under the tradition of S.N Goenka for the last 2 and half year. When I scan my body and observe different sensations, I find that my mind is not clear and It's not like I'm sleeping but there is dullness of awareness. Some part of my mind is aware of the sensations but it's not clear and there is a thin layer of thoughts in between. It's like trying to see the sun(sensation) when there is thin layer of clouds(thoughts) in the sky. In other words the mind is scattered while doing Vipassana. I believe it's the sloth and torpor that is causing all this and Vitarka-Vicara faculty is not that much strong. I have read some suggestions for this like having the perception of light, walking meditation etc. but none of these are helping me out. I would be very grateful if someone could point out my mistakes and give some advise to overcome this.

  • Could try some troubleshooting first. Like, instead of the body scanning, try the technique of anchoring your awareness at a single point (tip of nose or upper lip) while watching the in-out breaths brushing the point of contact, then see if you get the same issue?
    – santa100
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 17:48

5 Answers 5


I have read some suggestions for this like having the perception of light, walking meditation etc. but none of these are helping me out. I would be very grateful if someone could point out my mistakes and give some advise to overcome this.

Interesting, because I was just about to suggest the same when I read your post saying it doesn't work for you.

When I walk meditation, I have the same problem as you and I deal with it by simply noting the length of the distraction. I don't fight it. I simply say, "oh I was distracted for a block." Or I say, "I was distracted for a mile."

This sounds so simple and so silly, right?

But it works because what happens is that you will find that the distractions decrease in length over days and weeks. This is exactly the same approach taken for noting the length of breathing: "this is a long breath" and "this is a short breath". The breath becomes longer on its own without any struggle or grasping.

Similarly, notice that you are "scanning the body" or that you are "distracted from scanning the body". Just be aware. I counted my breath for decades. That is only the first step! Just be mindful and aware of what is happening. It is not a race. Be gentle and mindful.


You could try to balance the Energy (viriya) faculty, i.e. to arouse energy. There are several ways to do that:

  • Splash cold water in the face before a meditation session
  • One can do walking meditation in a brisk pace before sitting meditation
  • One can go to a high place, e.g. a mountain or building and practice meditation
  • One can make a firm determination/resolution (Adhiṭṭhāna pāramī) to practice effortly and sincerely
  • One can do contemplation on Death (Maraṇasati) as that will induce a feeling of Urgency (Saṃvega)
  • One can reflect on the 5 Daily Recollections, i.e. That one will grow old, become sick and ill, die, loose everything that one holds dear and that one is the sole heir of one's actions

The citta is clear when it is in samadhi, not before, so it is normal to be in your situation. Samadhi means exactly non-scattered. ANd you do vipassana when the citta is in samadhi, like here

‘The first absorption is a basis for ending the defilements.’ That’s what I said, but why did I say it? Take a mendicant who, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption. They contemplate the phenomena there—included in form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness—as impermanent, as suffering, as diseased, as an abscess, as a dart, as misery, as an affliction, as alien, as falling apart, as empty, as not-self. They turn their mind away from those things, and apply it to the deathless: ‘This is peaceful; this is sublime—that is, the stilling of all activities, the letting go of all attachments, the ending of craving, fading away, cessation, extinguishment.’ Abiding in that they attain the ending of defilements. If they don’t attain the ending of defilements, with the ending of the five lower fetters they’re reborn spontaneously, because of their passion and love for that meditation. They are extinguished there, and are not liable to return from that world.



If the mind is scattering concentrate on breathing. If your mind feels dull and you cannot feel the breath increase the area. As the dullness subsidies to gradually decrease the area to what one can manage. When one feels one has sufficient concentration then return to body scanning.


You want to adjust to the state of mind by picking the appropriate theme to be developed. Some notes on this here; https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hRy-g6o8yKsDQnR6_sbBbY5ZVpDbQ5-_LURXqwxS7YU/edit

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