4 ego hindrances to meditation

I hope you had a spectacular weekend.

Twice a year I take the time to unplug from the "matrix"...the hustle and bustle of my life, and plug into silence, stillness and Spirit.
I do this by going on silent meditation retreats.
Quite simply, at this point, the experiences are truly beyond words.
But truth be known, as it often happens when I decide to do something like this, my ego rises up and does almost anything it can to get me not to commit to sit. Sometimes it comes as thoughts, sometimes it comes as emotions, sometimes it comes as sensations.
The first time I went on one of these retreats it came on physically. On the first morning of the retreat, as I was headed off to a yoga session, I tweaked something in my back, to the point where it really hurt. At that moment, I was saying to myself, "You can just drive back to LA and have your massage therapist work out the issue and no one would even no you're gone." I actually really was considering doing this.
But cooler heads and hearts prevailed. Something deep inside me said YES to the experience of just sitting with this discomfort and allow it to be without running to "fix it". So instead of driving home, I decided to skip yoga and walk out into the desert to be with nature and just be. Long story short, I stayed the entire retreat and was beyond grateful I did!
Skip forward to my most recent retreat. This time the ego rose up in the form of thoughts. My mind was racing with all the reasons I should be back in Los Angeles and some of them were very compelling (like a serious family crisis that is going on). I was once again seriously considering leaving on the morning of day 2 to head back home.
But again, I knew deep down that I was right where I needed to be, doing what I was meant to be doing, so I stuck it out. I realized, sometimes your job is simply to pray and meditate.  And man oh man, I'm glad I did. The experience blew me away.
The picture you see below from the retreat was taken unbeknowst to me by a fellow retreatant as I sat in meditation and practiced some Affirmative Prayer in an area of the retreat center called the Cave of Forgiveness.
The point of all this rambling is that if you find yourself bumping up against any manner of resistance from your body or mind as to why you should skip your meditation (whether it's your daily practice or going on a retreat), don't listen to it!!!
What I've learned over the years of meditating, is that these waves of emotionality/energy are a part of the game. Stuff is going to come up no matter how long you've been at it.
What will change however, is your response to it. In the beginning, it's easy to let the moments of "this is a waste of time" rule your world and allow them to knock you off your horse. Sometimes stopping you from meditating at all.
But the trick is, you don't stop...you keep sitting day after day.
In time, you learn that these "hindrances" are simply the ego's way of trying to stop you from evolving...of "breaking free" from limiting ways of living/being. It's as if they ego wants you to "stay small" to some degree, maintaining your present paradigms about life.
In fact, it is said that there are about 4 Ego Hindrances which will arise when we first begin to sit (and will still continue to rear their head even after years of practice). Please understand that there certainly are more but these are at the top:
1. Doubt. This one is pretty simple. You will question what you're doing. Wondering..."How can this sitting still really have any positive affect on my life?". In general your thoughts will lead you to believe that this is a waste of time.
2. Boredom. You'll begin to think that this is ridiculously dull and tedious. You will imagine that there are so many other things you could be doing that would be "fun" and you'll probably get very restless due to lack of interest.
3. Drowsiness. When you sit to meditate, even if you're not that tired, you'll get very sleepy and lethargic and perhaps even fall asleep.
4. Forgetfulness. You can look at this one in 2 ways. First, In the midst of meditating, your mind will lead you on a "Oh yeah, I almost forgot, but I need to call Betty today" and you'll feel like if you don't get up and write it down immediately, you'll forget to do it. Second, you can be forgetful in the way of planning to meditate later in the day, and then you get so busy, you "forget" to sit that day. 
What I want you to understand is that this is very normal. Often this happens when you're about to make a breakthrough.
So rather than giving in to these "hindrances", just sit with them. Say..."I see you "boredom" for what you are...my ego trying to get me off my butt, but I am sitting instead.
Don't beat yourself up when they happen.
They are a part of the process of the practice of meditation. Expect them to being playing right along side you. And please know that you're not alone if you experience this...this is very typical and experienced by most meditators.
You're job is to sit anyway. Even if it feels completely fitful. Simply by taking the action to sit, you're making progress toward breaking free from your fears and your ego.
In time, when they appear, you'll see them as they are and gently come back to your breath and begin again.
That's what I had to do on the 2nd day of my meditation retreat. And sure enough, the very next morning, I had a deeply profound meditation filled with insights that rocked my world.
Remember, we learn to become a real "Captain" of our minds in rough waters, not calm seas.
Thanks for being a loyal email subscriber. I hope you found these thoughts helpful and I appreciate hearing from you. Let me know if you ever have any questions.
Let there be peace in my mind, let there peace in the Earth...
Adam Brewer

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