When I feel dullness in meditation, I tend to move about on the chair, e.g. tilt forwards or backwards, change position to prod myself to wakefulness.

Would such a method be detrimental? Should one aspire to remain completely still during meditation?

3 Answers 3


If you experience dullness, it's because your thinking mind (little mind) has gotten bored and is trying to put itself to sleep. You can alleviate the dulness by movement, sure — there's nothing wrong with that, exactly — but it's a sideways transition. The more productive approach is to recognize that your thinking mind wants to go to sleep, and that you can detach from it and let it sleep while you remain alert and awake. The thinking mind is just confused: it thinks it's you, and that if it goes to sleep you should go to sleep with it. All you need to do is break that association.


I don't think it matters and you should even get up to do walking meditation if you notice the hindrance of drowsiness, it s not the go-to adjustment but it's definitely one of the things one can do to wake oneself up. See Capala Sutta

The question i would ask is whether adjusting posture is solving your issue because it's probably better to attend to a different theme.

In general i think one of the biggest mistakes is to sit observing the hindrances.

It's not an easy subject to advice on because what one at that time should do depends on what one can do and in that we are all limited by our general knowledge.

I generally counter hindrances by picking themes and making adjustments. Commentary even lists 'tiresome work' as a remedy for drowsiness, not something id recommend but i favor it over nodding aimlessly for half an hour.

If one just has one theme be it development of samadhi which leads to mindfulness & alertness, metta, maranasati, the practise of stilling the breath or the development of other perceptions; if one just does one thing then it is going to be a hit or miss most days and maybe by virtue of general development one might overcome the hindrances at some point but afaik it's not what the Buddha recommends as he taught directed and undirected development.


The mind and body are not different. When your body moves, your mind moves. Just as thinking prevents consciousness from settling, when you move your body you are creating just as much disruption. There's a reason why we sitting is the optimal way to meditate. We ground our minds in the stability of the body. An upright body is likewise an upright mind.

I'd also ask you to explore this notion of dullness. Is this the actual hindrance or are you mistaking dullness for an aversion to stillness? As our we settle into quiet, our small minds desperately try to regain control and will throw up all sorts of road blocks like boredom, restlessness, and doubt. Also remember, when we meditate, our minds can become dark and murky. A lack of crispness and clarity isn't dullness but rather a sign that we are entering a deeper level of awareness. It's not dullness; instead, it's the first indication that we are moving into something more profound.

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