It should all be so easy. You just sit, do nothing for 20 minutes, thirty minutes, an hour. How hard can that be?
Sometimes it can be a shock that meditation is so hard. It is easy when that happens to assume that somehow you are a lousy meditator. Yet when we do this we are missing the point. Meditation is hard. We should expect it to be so. An athlete who sweats is getting a great workout. A meditator who struggles is doing real work.
The individual struggle with meditation is not new, and The Buddha spoke much about it. Remember, he was mostly speaking to monks who had devoted their whole lives to meditation - and they still had the same difficulties we do. He identified five key 'hindrances' to meditation, as described in the passage below:
There are five impediments and hindrances, overgrowths of the mind that stultify insight. What five?Sensual desire is an impediment and hindrance, an overgrowth of the mind that stultifies insight. Ill-will... Sloth and torpor... Restlessness and remorse... Sceptical doubt are impediments and hindrances, overgrowths of the mind that stultify insight.
In the audio below we have a short introduction to the traditional five hindrances to meditation, together with a fully guided 30 minute Mindfulness Meditation.
If the embedded audio player above doesn't work for you, please click here.
Quote from "The Five Mental Hindrances and Their Conquest: Selected Texts from the Pali Canon and the Commentaries", compiled and translated by Nyanaponika Thera. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013