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Agitation

Misunderstanding the techniques of mindfulness in the early stages often leads to some agitation and the desire to distract ourselves, misinterpret the experience, become agitated and ultimately stop practising. Agitation can occur and be stimulated in many ways. For example, we can feel irritable because of external background noise, intrusive thoughts, uncomfortable room temperature, thinking that we lack time, or feeling rushed.

In addition, we often interpret these unpleasant experiences as feeling bored, forgetting that boredom is just another experience that can equally be accepted. The lack of stimulation of our senses, along with our personal expectation that we “should” be more skilled at this practice, can also create a sense of frustration, which we attribute to boredom. This is mainly because our levels of awareness and equanimity toward thoughts and associated body sensations are still not very well developed.

As a result, we react. Remember that we only react to the unpleasant body sensations we produce when we negatively judge situations. It is reassuring that our equanimity improves after a period of good practice, and agitation usually disappears. Issues such as background noise and temperature aren’t as disturbing, and intrusive thoughts and physical pain are understood as part of the present moment experience. We can use them as tools to develop qualities such as patience, tolerance and acceptance.

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