How to overcome feeling bored while doing anapanasati meditation ? I get this feeling after setting sati at the end of the nose and body is calmed .

3 Answers 3


Boredom is a sign of restlessness. If you're bored, you want to try to do something else. You're not contented with the present moment. Please read this essay on the five hindrances to meditation by Ajahn Brahmavamso.

However, if you're falling asleep or cannot focus, then that's sloth and torpor (quoted below from essay). Since you have already commented that sloth and torpor is the likely cause, we will focus on that.

Sloth and torpor refers to that heaviness of body and dullness of mind which drag one down into disabling inertia and thick depression. The Lord Buddha compared it to being imprisoned in a cramped, dark cell, unable to move freely in the bright sunshine outside. In meditation, it causes weak and intermittent mindfulness which can even lead to falling asleep in meditation without even realising it!

Sloth and torpor is overcome by rousing energy. Energy is always available but few know how to turn on the switch, as it were. Setting a goal, a reasonable goal, is a wise and effective way to generate energy, as is deliberately developing interest in the task at hand. A young child has a natural interest, and consequent energy, because its world is so new. Thus, if one can learn to look at one's life, or one's meditation, with a 'beginner's mind' one can see ever new angles and fresh possibilities which keep one distant from sloth and torpor, alive and energetic.

You can use another essay entitled A Guided Meditation (quoted below) by Thanissaro Bhikkhu to help you with this problem.

From the above essay, you know that you must set a goal to generate energy that is, by generating interest. In the following quote, the author suggests to explore sensations in other parts of the body (otherwise you will doze off). Please read the whole essay to get the whole picture.

If your mind wanders off, gently bring it right back. If it wanders off ten times, a hundred times, bring it back ten times, a hundred times. Don't give in. This quality is called ardency. In other words, as soon as you realize that the mind has slipped away, you bring it right back. You don't spend time aimlessly sniffing at the flowers, looking at the sky, or listening to the birds. You've got work to do: work in learning how to breathe comfortably, how to let the mind settle down in a good space here in the present moment.

When the breath starts feeling comfortable, you can start exploring it in other areas of the body. If you simply stay with the comfortable breath in a narrow range, you'll tend to doze off. So consciously expand your awareness. A good place to focus first is right around the navel. Locate that part of the body in your awareness: where is it right now? Then notice: how does it feel there as you breathe in? How does it feel when you breathe out? Watch it for a couple of breaths, and notice if there's any sense of tension or tightness in that part of the body, either with the in-breath or with the out-breath. Is it tensing up as you breathe in? Are you holding onto the tension as you breathe out? Are you putting too much force on the out-breath? If you catch yourself doing any of these things, just relax. Think of that tension dissolving away in the sensation of the in-breath, the sensation of the out-breath. If you want, you can think of the breath energy coming into the body right there at the navel, working through any tension or tightness that you might feel there ...

  • My experience sounds like "sloth and Toper" . I found clear understanding about cause of that in the article you have mentioned . But are there any practical tricks to overcome that ? How to generate energy to keep "knowing"
    – nish1013
    May 10, 2015 at 7:56
  • I'll modify my answer shortly. The answer is in this essay
    – ruben2020
    May 10, 2015 at 10:23
  • Answer updated.
    – ruben2020
    May 10, 2015 at 11:14

When meditating you have to balance Seven Factors of Enlightenment

  • Joy or rapture (pīti)
  • Investigation (dhamma vicaya)
  • Energy (viriya)

  • Mindfulness (sati)

  • Relaxation (passaddhi)
  • Concentration (samādhi)
  • Equanimity (upekkha)

... and also 5 Indriya

  • faith or conviction or belief (saddhā)
  • energy or persistence or perseverance (viriya)
  • mindfulness or memory (sati)
  • concentration or focus (samādhi)
  • wisdom or understanding or comprehension (pañña).

In some cases where you get concentration unbalanced with efforts. The strategy to over come this is:

  • 1st is realise it
  • if you body is not sensitive then you investigate about the Dhamma by taking large parts, dividing and into smaller areas and looking to see arising and passing in the area. If your insight is not deep enough to see arising and passing look for a sensation or qualities of the elements
  • if your body is sensitive sweep the body from head to foot and foot to head as this will stir up Piti. Also there are places like the upper lip which are very sensitive and concentration of arising and passing in this spot will stir up Piti. Also you mind is directed from one object to another when you scan.
  • Like wise you can do mental chanting or contemplative meditation as this tend to also stir up Piti
  • Take extra efforts to be equanimous and devoid of craving and clinging

More details can be found in the Wikipedia entry on five hindrances.

  • Just to ensure my understanding, to overcome my hindering experience more "energy" is required , and using a strategy that bring Piti would be the remedy ? Can I move back to "chasing" breath to achieve this ?
    – nish1013
    May 10, 2015 at 11:36
  • 1
    Look at the sensation at you chosen spot (ideally upper lip and below the nose) than giving importance to the breath dividing and dissecting the are to see the Arising and Passing or the Elements. This kind of investigation generally stirs up Piti and also you are making an active effort to investigate the Dhamma as well as maintain your mind at this task in sustained manner brining it back if it wonders away. Coupled with equanimity or effort to equanimous this also will stir energy. May 10, 2015 at 11:45
  • Thank you .if you have a book recommendation that address five hindrances and enlightenment factors relation to meditation practice , could you please add to the answer to help beginners like me
    – nish1013
    May 10, 2015 at 12:22
  • Also see: dhammatalks.net, dhammatalks.org, dharmafarer.org, dhammasukha.org, buddhanet.net, etc, for free books. May 10, 2015 at 12:36

Anapanasati meditation is not for everyone. This meditation needs to be developed and pursued ardently with thorough understanding and awareness. One should realize how strong and enormous the mental effort and patience need to be, in order to bring about mental purity and perfection. You can take something from Supreme Buddha's advice to his son, Rahula, on this.

Not everyone can develop anapanasati bhavana immediately. Once, Venerable Rahula, as a young novice, approached Arahant Sariputta, and was advised to develop and pursue anapanasati. At the time, Venerable Rahula did not know the way to develop anapanasati, and so, he went to the Blessed One and asked, “Would the Blessed One teach me about anapanasati?”

The Blessed One, when exhorting the novice Venerable Rahula, first gave detailed instructions on vipassana – a method to investigate with insight, by analyzing aggregates, material elements, sense spheres, etc…, and then finally instructed him on the practice of anapanasati meditation. The reason is that the Blessed One recognized Venerable Rahula’s temperament and what would be most suitable for him. Could we all be cured from our various illnesses by using one type of medicine? No, we could not. Different medicines are being prescribed for different types of ailments, depending on each individual’s physical condition. Likewise, as temperaments differ, so do the objects of meditation.

Supreme Buddha taught many ways to meditate. The Blessed One taught anapanasati to those with the ability to keep mindfulness well. The Supreme Buddha was emphatic on the importance of practicing anapanasati, and described it as peaceful, sublime, and perfects the four foundations of mindfulness. However, if one continually tries but cannot establish mindfulness on breathing, then he can practice other kinds of meditation for the time being.


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