Why Am I Not Making Progress In Meditation?

Here is a question that is as important as it is common. Of course it's discouraging to practice meditation for years without making any serious progress. Let's take a close look at the possible reasons for stalling in one's meditation practice.

You may have asked yourself, "What am I doing wrong? I've been practicing for years, I've joined several meditation retreats, yet I'm not making any noticeable progress."

It's good to know that it's easier for an experienced meditator to gauge progress in herself and others, than it is for a novice meditator. That's another reason to have a seasoned meditation teacher.

Meditation Retreats

Generally speaking meditation retreats make for rapid progress. You can look at it like a springboard by a swimming pool. Diving from the side of the pool may get you 1-2 meters out from the edge, while the springboard can push you more than twice as far.

Likewise, meditation retreats involve practice for many hours per day, which results in much speedier progress than daily meditation practice at home.

It's especially effective because of the mental energy generated communally by the meditators, which boosts motivation and concentration. Further, the participants are usually discouraged to talk to each other which makes for deepened focus. There is also a meditation teacher on site that can motivate and guide you skillfully through difficulties.

Common Challenges In Meditation

So how is it possible not to make progress even while in retreat?

Since I did my very first meditation retreat, I've observed many meditators or so called retreatants. Let me share my reflections with you.

Doubt is a common hindrance or distraction. You may have doubt in your abilities, your meditation practice, whether the meditation technique is effective or not and the teacher etc. Doubt, which always involves thinking, is a great obstacle for meditators at all levels.

Humans are lazy by nature and easily get bored. If you spend most of the retreat masturbating or talking to other meditators, you won't benefit that much. Moreover, endless thinking about your childhood or what you're going to do at the end of the retreat, is yet another distraction.

Other causes for not making significant progress include restlessness, clinging to the teacher, a lack of discipline, not understanding the meditation techniques and therefore practicing incorrectly, trying too hard which builds up physical and mental tension.

The above challenges make for little and unfocused meditation practice. I suggest you put everything aside while you meditate. Don't think about yesterday or plan ahead. Rather, focus on your meditation object.

By keeping the meditation sessions short, you will be more focused and alert.

Practice well and you're bound to make progress...

Best of luck!

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