Search
Search
Generic filters
Filter by Custom Post Type

Ready to change your life?Start Now! Contact Us

The Five Hindrances

May 2, 2018

By Jeffrey Brantley, MD

There are many factors that interfere with progress toward feeling less stressed, and the pursuit of greater peace, ease, and clarity in each moment of our lives.  Of course, external challenges and conditions are always at play as long as we are in our bodies and living in this life.  And, in most cases, although wishing to feel less stressed and more at ease, there is little we can do to control others or the larger events and conditions of the world around us.  We do what we can, of course, but so many other factors are present in others’ decisions and in the events of the world, that our ability to change them all is limited.

Where we do have some influence, and considerable power, is changing our own reactions and choices regarding outer events, and the experiences flowing through our inner life.  This is the heart of the work of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, of course.  By cultivating mindfulness in each moment, our own reactions to any expression of life’s unfolding experience– in the form of thoughts, mental states, moods, and bodily sensations–become vividly apparent, and more available for understanding and transformation.

In the midst of this changing flow of inner life conditions, there are a particular set of distorting energies that arise–whether you are practicing meditation or not– that are so common, that so impact our relationships with others and the world around us, and interfere so greatly with growing mindful insight and awareness that they are worthy of specific consideration and careful attention.  Teachers and students of mindfulness have long referred to these energies as “the five hindrances.”  The five hindrances are:  sense desire, ill will, sloth (dullness of mind) and torpor(drowsiness), restlessness and worry, and doubt.

It can be helpful to think of each of the five as a kind of filter capable of distorting perceptions, driving reactions, activating certain thoughts, memories, moods, and even bodily sensations, and thereby clouding awareness, taking your attention away from the present moment, and literally blocking or hindering your capacity to be aware and responsive.  This hijacking by the five hindrances can occur in moments of meditation or at any time in the activities of daily life.

In meditation, it can happen as you are mindfully watchful of the changing breath sensations and suddenly your attention leaves the breath and your mind fills with irritated thoughts about how bored you feel, or lustful romantic fantasies.  In the busy activity of daily living, as you have probably noticed, any of the five hindrances can also quickly arise and interfere– as when you lose the thread of another person’s comments because your attention has suddenly descended into sleepiness and dullness.

In either case, recognizing the presence of a hindrance and knowing how to work mindfully and wisely with it is critical if you wish to live with less stress and more happiness.

Interested in Attending an Upcoming Mindfulness Program?

Join us for the Urban Retreat – Finding Peace: The Power of Mindfulness in Daily Life. Register early by May 23, 2018 to receive a 10% discount. Click here to register now!

Join us at Duke Integrative Medicine for Introduction to the Hakomi Method: Mindfulness, Loving Presence, and Embodiment. Register early by June 1, 2018 to receive a 10% discount. Click here to register now!

Join us for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Register early by June 21, 2018 to receive a 10% discount. Click here to register now!

Join us for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction – Distance Learning. Register early by June 28, 2018 to receive a 10% discount. Click here to register now!

SUGGESTED POSTS

How to Leverage Social Media as a Health Coach? 2019 Trends

By Sonja Likness What should you be looking out for in social media for 2019? Sonja Likness, Director of social media and content strategy for Duke University who be leading our upcoming Social Media Presence and Marketing for Coaches course shares her thoughts on trends coming up.   Video

...

READ MORE

How to Help Patients Discover Ease Through Their Cancer Journey

By Kimberly Carson, MPH, C-IAYT Mindful Yoga is a well-defined program that focuses strongly on cultivating a mindful perspective during asana practice, in conjunction with substantial time engaged in the practice of meditation (dhyana), breathing exercises (pranayama), self-study (swadhyaya), and practitioner meetings and interchange (satsanga). This program ...

READ MORE

Wheeling into Spring

By Gretchen Hofing We’re rounding the corner on spring sticking around for good. Many people use spring as a time to renew and refresh – that might be cleaning your garage or maybe it’s taking inventory of how those New Year’s resolutions are going. At this seasonal change and possible time ...

READ MORE
BACK TO POSTS

For more information about

Duke Integrative Medicine and our various services and programs, please join our mailing list.


error: Content is protected !!