Is Meditation Boring?

At times I receive e-mail asking me about meditation or to explain some point of the Buddha's teachings. Here's one I often hear from people just starting (or just about to start) meditation - along with my answer.

I have a friend who's been asking me about meditation. She's interested, but she says it sounds really boring to her. I don't know how to answer that, because she's sort of right but it's also besides the point.

She's totally correct. Is IS boring. At least when you first start out it is. For the first 3 years, if anyone asked me about my meditation, I cheerfully said it was boring. But I was finding the benefits outweighing the boredom, so luckily I persisted.

Have people said that to you before? How do you answer that?

Yes, they have. I answer by agreeing that it is boring. I then point out that the benefits make it time so well spent that it is worth it to be bored. Then I point out, that after you get skilled enough in it, it can become actually quite exciting, even Very interesting. The retreats I teach have a stronger than usual focus on concentration in that I teach people to enter deep states of concentration that are best referred to as altered states of consciousness. The first 4 of these states are characterized by rapture, joy, contentment and a deeply calm, quiet stillness. But even these highly refined (and certainly non-boring!) states are not the point - the point is that with a mind so concentrated, you have a much better chance of see things as they really are - which I would characterize as the principle means of spiritual advancement.

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Leigh Brasington / / Revised 16 July 12