While engaging in meditation, one needs to discard the six faults. They are: Forgetting the object of concentration, laziness, drowsiness, agitation, applying efforts, and not applying efforts.
While in meditation, the mind doesn’t want to meditate. This is called laziness. The mind is not stable and forgets the object of concentration, even though it delights in meditation. This is called forgetting.
Laziness and forgetting are the primary hindrances to calm abiding, as they inhibit pure concentration.
That the mind is focused on the object, but in the immediate perception of sense objects, it goes astray. This is called agitation. Because of that, focusing stability decreases and the mind doesn’t abide in the essence. As for drowsiness, it occurs when the clarity of cognition declines. This is up to each individual’s elemental type and behavior. Hence, the grasping ability to focus is destroyed and clarity is not achieved.
Both agitation and drowsiness are the main obstacles in meditation.
As for applying efforts, although the focus of concentration is clear and the mind is neither agitated nor sleepy, one makes efforts by changing the way one meditates, despite the fact that the focus is stable and there is no need to do so. This is called applying efforts, causing meditation not to last for a long time. When one is drowsy or distracts, and that is the time to do something about it. Instead one doesn’t change the way one meditates. This is called not applying efforts, causing the focused mind to fall under drowsiness and agitation.
Applying efforts and not applying efforts are hindrances that prevent concentration to develop further.
Lamrim, the Clear Lamp of Teachings by Maha Pandita Tsultrim Tempai Gyaltsen Rinpoche, translated from Tibetan by Kalsang Dawa.
Feature image courtesy: blackmores.com