Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/08/2013

Nivarana Meditation

Last night was the penultimate class in a series on breath meditation I have been taking with my teacher and it gave me much to ponder and to experiment with. For whatever reason, after the period of guided meditation (during which I was repeatedly overcome by sleep) most of the questions and observations that were shared had to do with the hindrance of dullness. In many respects the discussion resembled many I have heard before but, for some reason, the idea that we could try and be aware of the quality of the sleepiness struck me in a way it hadn’t before and it almost seemed to me that I should take the inevitable arising of the hindrances as a challenge and a spur to practice.

So it was that the idea quickly formed and coagulated in my mind that I should make a point of meditating in situations that would actually increase the likelihood of the hindrances to arise so I could learn to deal with them and, in the case of sleepiness, actually increase my time spent on the cushion each day. 

By the end of the class I was fully charged and ready to give it a go but wanted to run my idea by my teacher first and, when I did so, I got an answer that is consistent with his style. In essence he, quite rightfully, noted that there are hindrances enough so why go looking for them? He said he would rather I spend time trying to cultivate good concentration and, if I wanted to meditate during such times perhaps walking meditation would be a better choice. All very good and sensible advice which I very well may follow but I am nothing if not stubborn and I just don’t see any harm in my idea. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if my teacher wins out in the end.

So, a brief run-down of my pig-headed plan is this: every night from 10 to 10:35 I will practice anapanasati with an understanding that I will most likely be working with thina-middha. Last night was my first attemtp and it went well although, after waking up at 4:15am I am a little tired and had to do the last 45 minutes of my morning anapanasati walking. Still, how better to practice with sloth and torpor and cultivate viriya parami?

May all beings awaken from the sleep of ignorance!


  1. Who is meditating? with Metta

    • Thank you for the reminder Ayya.

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