Obstacles in Meditation
by Atman Nityananda
Meditation and Samadhi are the higher steps in the spiritual process. We do meditation to overcome the sense of separation, restlessness, discontent, anxiety, distress and dissatisfaction created by the ego, and realize the fullness, peace and bliss of our essence or true Self (Atman).
According to the teachings of the great masters and sacred texts, in order to discover and realize our true nature we must direct our attention within ourselves. The spiritual masters have given us several ways to meditate and focus the mind in the inner silence. But due to the habit and the power of desire, the ego has a great ability to dominate our mind and direct the attention outwards to the world of objects.
Thus we want to direct our attention inwards to the source of our existence that is pure consciousness, peace and eternal bliss and the ego compulsively directs it outwards and thus prevents us concentrate and meditate deeply. We want to direct our mind and attention in the inner silence, our essence, but the ego wants to enjoy the pleasure of sense objects and thus by a mysterious way ´steals´ our attention and directs it outwards through the senses.
Therefore we need a rigorous, regular Sadhana to purify the mind of the selfish tendencies (desires, fear, anger, impatience, greed, jealousy etc.) and the Rajas and Tamas gunas. All spiritual practices aim to prepare our mind to be able to meditate and in this process there are many obstacles that we have to overcome in order to develop the ability to meditate deeply.
I present here a list of the various obstacles in relation to meditation:
· All egoic mental and emotional tendencies (desires, fear, anger, impatience, greed, jealousy etc.),
· The predominanance of Rajas and Tamas gunas in the mind
– Lack of knowledge about the practice of meditation or wrong knowledge
· Restless of Body, no mastering of maditative asana
· Inconsistency, negligence
· Weak Will
· Undisciplined and irregular life
– The extroversion of mind due to the predominance of Rajas Guna.
· The turmoil and distraction of mind due to desires, worries, anxiety, anger and fear and Rajas guna.
· Mental emotional restlessness and worries. Strong emotions or emotional frustration
· Drowsiness (cannot remain alert and vigilant) because of the predominance of Tamas guna.
· Planning and calculations
· Tiredness due to mental or physical exertion.
· Low Energy
· Talk a lot, argue a lot
· The imbalanced Vata dosha (this causes incessant movement of the mind, impatience, mental agitation, we cannot control the mind).
· Overuse of the senses. Many sensory stimuli
· Food (-tamásica inappropriate food / too much rajasic food) or bad digestion.
· Poor health or illness.
· Lack of motivation and interest due to not having concrete results in meditation (not experiencing peace and serenity).
· Resistance of the egoic mind which can take the form of: boredom, disgust, discomfort, discouragement, delay (using justifications as, first I have to do my homework, this or that, I’ll start when I have more free time, I’m tired, conditions are not favorable etc …), low self-confidense or weakness (I cannot meditate, I don’t know to meditate, I am not able, meditation is not for me etc.).
Expectations and impatience
The impulse of egoic mind of desiring to get or achieve something (in this case the concentration and meditation) that compels us to strive, to have expectations and to be impatient. These four aspects: I want to get it or achieve it, the striving, the impatience and the expectations that are forms or expressions of the mechanism of the ego-desire, cause mental stress that impede us relax and maintain the attention identified with the body and the ego. So we cannot enter in the inner silence since the attention remains on the surface, identified with the ego and body. Moreover impatience and striving make the ego vibrate and this vibration of the egoic energy like a fog covers the inner silence.
If we release the I want or desire to get something, any exertion and every expectation then inadvertently we will find ourselves in the meditative state.
Everyone has to find out one by one the various obstacles that prevent him meditate and find methods, techniques and appropriate means to overcome these obstacles.
Every time we overcome an obstacle we can calm and focus the mind more easy and thus gradually we can enjoy the peace and fullness that are always present in us behind the mental and emotional waves.
Peace, love and light