Discomfort, Drowsiness, & Frustration
“Until you have at least a moderate degree of stability, ‘mindfulness practice’ will consist mostly of mind-wandering, physical discomfort, drowsiness, and frustration.”
Culadasa (John Yates PhD), Matthew Immergut PhD, Jeremy Graves. “The Mind Illuminated. A Complete Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science.” Dharma Treasure Press, Pearce, AZ, 2015.
Sound inviting? Yikes! Yet I suspect many people who take introductory meditation classes or even 8-week Mindfulness workshops experience little more than these preliminary forms of resistance. Resistance like this is common when starting ANY new discipline or practice, be it meditation, sports, arts eg piano playing, study subjects, etc.
Even if we're completely buzzed-out with the hustle & noise of our current life, we may still be OK with it. In which case, we may lack motivation for meaningful change. So now may not be the right time to add meditation to this (mess). Many are in this situation.
But at some point, we may become fed up with being trapped in the shallow noise of life. We start wondering: 'Who am I really?' 'What is this life about?' We step back a bit from busyness & grinding noise, and experience a moment of peace, clarity & sanity. And we hope that it's possible to experience MUCH MORE peace, clarity & sanity, and MUCH LESS frantic activity & noise.
How do we get beyond initial resistance? First of all, our intent, our motivation to engage deeply with this new endeavor needs to have some depth & sincerity. We need to clarify for ourselves: Why am I doing this? Why now? & Am I willing to open up, not just allowing, but actively inviting my life to transform?
Hopefully you can find a good teacher and compatible group with whom to meditate. There, you will learn concentration techniques to help stabilize your attention, as well as gentle, patient acceptance of your monkey mind along with the rest of your perfectly imperfect life, from a much larger, much more spacious space of awareness deep within.