Obstacles to Mindfulness Meditation

painting obstacles to mindfulness

There are many articles and audios on the internet that describe obstacles/hindrances to mindfulness meditation. The painting above shows these obstacles as images of bowls of water in various states. These bowls of water are intended to be akin to states of mind-body-heart that we may experience while practicing mindfulness meditation.

A way to work with the obstacles is to see them as part of the practice. As soon as we notice that we’re caught in hindrance (a moment of mindfulness), we can direct our attention into the body and feel the hindrance as part of the practice. For example, doubt may feel like a collapsing, a withering, a denseness and contraction, and like being caught in thinking. When we feel the hindrance as a part of the practice, it’s no longer a hindrance. This is because we have brought the obstacle(s)/hindrance(s) to awareness. We can experience “obstacles” in the present moment with kindness, curiosity, and non-judgment.

When we bring the obstacles/hindrances that may be here now to awareness, we can see that they are no longer obstacles. Awareness of doubt is not doubting. Awareness of sleepiness is not sleepy.

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