Seeing hindrances clearly

The five hindrances are:
1. Sensory desire
2. Ill-will
3. Sloth-torpor
4. Restlessness-worry
5. Doubt

Working with the hindrances means noticing when they come up and attempting to form a new relationship with them. Rather than being pushed around by them, we can see that they only have the power that we grant them.

We have to take care not to judge ourselves when an aversive or selfish impulse arises. This only creates a new layer of judgment, usually negative.

Our minds are always reporting whether we find this present experience to our liking or not. I’ve noticed that hiking uphill at high elevations brings up a resistant and negative mind-state. And yet ten minutes later, when the vista opens up, it’s a perfect world. I notice my own tendency (perhaps you share this) to think in superlatives – “everything’s perfect” or “everything’s horrible.” But we don’t have to believe everything we think. When we see these thoughts appear in our minds, we can move them from the center of our consciousness into a less demanding position. We can catch our tendency to lean (or race) towards or away from what’s happening, and just rest in the full experience.

Our full experience can, and usually does, include a complex of physical sensations and mental phenomena, only a few of which we can be aware of at any given moment. But we can “drop down” to this most elementary level of experience and give our full attention to it. Inquiry is an important activity related to mindfulness. If we’re interested in discovering our experience more deeply, this can replace ordinary reactivity.

Working with the hindrances in ourselves is a direct path to equanimity. There are moments when we’re not leaning into or away from our experience. We can notice these and enjoy the subtle but powerful mental pleasure of equanimity.

About lynnjkelly

Australian/American. Practicing Buddhist.
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3 Responses to Seeing hindrances clearly

  1. Very true indeed, if we overcome our mind’s ability to choose between what is right and what is easy, then it would be easy for us to overcome these hindrances. Mostly, we regret on what we did while running over emotions. Controlling the emotions is the best way to be content over the desires.

  2. lynnjkelly says:

    Thanks for this comment, Vinnie. I looked at the link you recommend and add my encouragement to yours.

  3. Vinnie Tan says:

    This is very true, often we do things in life that would make us regret and constantly think back. Allowing it to be a burden for us, not letting it go would only hold us back. We should act before it is too late. These are some of things that people will regret on their death beds, many of them are true. I also do feel so for some of the points,

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