Restlessness and boredom may be a challenge in meditation – here is some advice that may help.

At times, something makes friction in your meditation. You sit down in order to relax, but it feels like you are only at the surface, and you feel like breaking off the meditation. When it seems meaningless to continue, and there are a thousand other things you should be doing, the question is: Is there any simple advice you can follow to get rid of the restlessness during meditation?

Actually, restlessness in Acem Meditation may be a result of correct meditation, where we allow the residues of psychological issues to emerge in the conscious part of our mind. Boredom may be a related feeling. Both phenomena represent opportunities in meditation. Your attention is a place to start if you want to get past your restlessness, or more precisely: become aware of the interaction between the meditation sound and the attention.

Restlessness in meditation tends to fill the entire field of your vision. It grasps your attention, and it becomes difficult to repeat the meditation sound in an effortless way. It may feel like there is no room for anything else in the mind in those moments. This isn’t true.

Other impulses are also present in the mind, but they are quieter than the restlessness. It is like standing by a highway trying to listen to the wind stroking the treetops beside you. Other impulses are there but are drowned by the noise of the restlessness. In the same way, boredom may dominate your experience while you sit there. You don’t hear the wind in the treetops then either.

When you repeat the meditation sound in Acem Meditation, the point is to use as little energy as possible in the repetition. This makes you more open to the subtle parts of the mind. You are more open to the areas of yourself that need a more sensitive presence. Acem Meditation enhances your introspective sensitivity.

A subtle meditation sound with less energy in its repetition facilitates openness to other parts that are alive in you. The parts that don’t scream and struggle and shout. At first, they appear only like a whisper.

Ask yourself: can I use less energy in the repetition of the sound now? Simultaneously, you may use your awareness.  Imagine that your attention has a periphery and a centre. Even though the centre is full of noise from the highway of restlessness, there are some trees with a whisper in the periphery. You may expand your attention to become aware of what exists there.

A lighter meditation sound and expanded awareness may be helpful in order to discover that your inner landscape isn’t only the noise of motors. Simply listen beyond the restlessness: what is present? What are the silent impulses within me along with the storms in the centre? What are those voices saying? A feeling of failing, and that you are captured in restlessness, is not uncommon. But try again. Go back to the exploration of sound and attention once more. Maybe you can let go of something?

Translated by Anne Grete Hersoug

Language editor: Alice Cameron