I have set the amount of time I meditate (focused attention/shamatha) at merely 15 minutes per day. Despite this, despite all my best efforts, I seem to still skip a day or two now and then.

Why is this? Would changing the type of meditation help?

I had read positive emotions help develop a habit. When I meditate mindfully on the breath, there are no such emotions; doing compassion meditation, positive affect arises. Would this affective benefit motivate a meditative practice?

4 Answers 4


There can be several reasons.

If you are only training concentration ie; tranquilizing the breath or observing thoughts, feelings and perceptions arising and ceasing, then it is possible that you would incline to laziness because you are not cultivating perceptions which would lead to aroused effort and willingness.

If the monk intent on heightened mind were to attend solely to the theme of concentration, it is possible that his mind would tend to laziness. http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/anguttara/03/an03-103.html

Bhikkhus, to the bhikkhu practicing the perception of unpleasantness in impermanence and abiding much in it, a keen perception of fear, for laziness, distraction, negligence and non-reflection gets established, like to a slayer with raised sword.http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/mnl/an/07_sevens/an07.046.upal.mnl.htm

You can try doing 15 minutes but cover more bases.

Perhaps experiment with something like this;

  • 5 minutes - Inconstancy, Unpleasantness, Unattractiveness of Worlds or Death Contemplation

  • 5 minutes - Uplifted Energy, Appreciation, Sympathetic Joy, Metta, Equanimity or Recollection; of The Buddha, The Dhamma, The Sangha, your own virtue or Devas

  • 5 minutes - Develop Concentration; if restless tranquilize breath formation and if sluggish train mindfulness observing feelings, thoughts and perceptions as they arise, persist and cease


Having spend a mindful day with dana, a day having begone with refuge, spend with Sila, one is able to rejoice:

Buddhanussati, 2 min remembering the Buddha Dhammanussati, 2 min remembering the Dhamma Sanghanusati...

Remember ones Generosity Remember ones Virtue Remember/reflect ones virturs equal the Devas

Having given causes, one gains concentration. Not having given causes, trying to concentrate by effort will always be just developing wrong concentration.

Useless to invest in a roof when foundation is not given.

Duties first: this is not a path for lazyness's fruits. Not the path of demanding and claims.


Observe the breath carefully - in/out - rising/falling - long/short breaths train in the breath this way, until mindfulness is achieved. Practice: mindfulness of the body (kaya); mindfulness of feelings or sensations (vedanā); mindfulness of mind or consciousness (citta); and. mindfulness of dhammās. As a result one should develop clarity of mind, alertness, clear thinking as a result. As the saying goes: "Cooler heads prevail" - we should develop a cooler head.

If you can't feel yourself breathing via body, sensations, mind, dhammas, then we come back to the mindfulness, regulating mindfulness to follow the breath in these four bases. Just feeling the in/out breath with body alone should be sufficient to feel the cooling effect. This is not insignificant, stay with it.

Study the suttas - Ānāpānasati - Satipaṭṭhāna

Check your practice against these texts - it should work.

Download Insight Timer for your smart phone Load the Presets with 15 minute, 20 minute, etc. sessions Use the unguided meditation method track your daily, weekly, monthly progress, aiming for stability and getting established.

Or get an actual timer and a meditation bell. It's good to have a zafu. All the props do actually help. Go to sangha meetings. Over time, increase your daily sessions, the more you give, the more you get.

  • really, it's worth the effort to cultivate the practice enough to overcome the frustration level Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 1:08

Why is this?

The goal of attention meditation is to increase the length of time you can successfully focus on your meditation object (the breath) without breaking that attention. The gauge you should use for success here is not how often you meditate, but how long you hold your attention during those sessions. There is nothing wrong with skipping a day or two, for the goal is not to sit consistently. The goal is to extend the length of time you can concentrate on an object of your focus.

Would changing the type of meditation help?

If you change the type of meditation you are doing, you will be no longer cultivating your skills in concentration. If your goal is to increase your concentration abilities in order to gain insights into the true nature of experience and therefore work towards becoming enlightened, I do not suggest you switch. If your goal is not enlightenment but something else, there is no problem with you switching the type of meditation you do.

Would this affective benefit motivate a meditative practice?

If your goal is to simply sit and meditate, no matter what the type, it would make sense to switch. A type of meditation you enjoy will most likely be one that you come back to more frequently. But if your goal is to become enlightened, the type of meditation you do is very important, and I do not suggest switching. Instead, I would suggest re-examining what the goal of your sessions are, and change how you measure a successful succession of sessions.

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