What are 5 Hindrances – Meditation,Self-mastery | Complete Guide

Mental factors which stop our progress in daily life, Meditation or self-mastery are hindrances.

Here is a list of 5 hindrances 

  • Sensory Desire/Craving 

Craving is a very big hindrance it makes us lose control over ourself.

Craving can completely overpower you and acts as a thick curtain which restricts you from seeing things clearly.

In daily life, you may have experienced you wanted something very badly and had a very strong desire to get that thing maybe a car or house or something else.

You may have imagined if you get that thing how happy you will be and how much joy that thing will bring to you.

But as soon as you got that thing the joy and happiness that you expected disappeared even if you experienced some joy it didn’t last for a long time.

And now you started craving something else some new object you want that thing as bad or even more than the previous object.

And this cycle continues…

When craving overpowers you in daily life it makes you do things which may extract mental peace out of you which are not good for your health or sometimes things which are not ethical(Like stealing).

Or Working to just get extra money to fulfil your craving even if the job drains you mentally and physically.

If you are practising meditation you will start to observe your craving towards things, people etc.

But as you become more equanimous and go deeper you will start to understand with your own experience that you don’t crave for the object, person or some fancy car.

You carve the sensation that comes from it. And these sensations keep changing. They do get changed when you get what you desire.

But as you are craving for the sensation you still need the sensation so you start desiring the other object to produce sensation you are craving for.

Every time the object you want or the desire gets fulfilled you start craving for another object to keep getting the sensation and every time you need stronger sensation than the previous one.

And this cycle continues. While meditating you need to be very careful.

As the habit pattern of craving may come in your way as a roadblock and stop your progress.

Don’t crave for any sensations or a state of Bliss while meditating 

Even if you get some very pleasant sensations or state you bliss don’t get attached to it. As it’s temporary will arise and pass away.

If you keep on craving as per your old habit pattern while meditating you will be multiplying your misery.

Make sure you don’t get overpowered by the craving. And overcome this hindrance by remaining equanimous and seeing things as they are.

  • Ill will/Aversion 

Aversion arises when things don’t happen the way you want them to happen or your desires don’t get fulfilled.

In daily life, if you had some desire and it didn’t get fulfilled you may generate aversion.

Sometimes you wanted someone to work according to your wish but they did the opposite thing then you may generate aversion and hatred towards that person.

Aversion is as bad as craving it also has a similar cycle.

You can’t control people you can control yourself, you can’t control situations you can only control your reaction to them.

Many times in our life there will be situations which are not in our control if we keep on generating aversion/Illwill towards these situations we are trapped by this hindrance.

While you are meditating you may experience very unpleasant sensations you may feel pain or very feeling of heaviness in some part of your body or complete body.

If you create aversion towards this sensation you are again overpowered by this hindrance.

The best way is to understand is no matter how unpleasant this sensation may feel this is also temporary and will pass away.

There is no point in generating aversion towards something which is temporary.

Don’t let this hindrance overpower you make sure you see the reality as it is without generating aversion.

  • Dulness, heaviness and sleepiness 

Dulness is one of the biggest hindrances. It makes you feel drowsy, lazy and overpowers you to make sure you don’t work or walk on the path to mastery.

You may feel like not doing something as it makes you feel sleepy and induces thoughts to take rest or do something else even if you had a good full night sleep.

While meditating as well you make feel very drowsy and thoughts to take rest or go to sleep will start rising in your mind. Even when you are not sleep-deprived.

To fight this hindrance while meditating you can try changing your posture, You can try meditating in standing posture.

Or you can try walking mediation for some time.

Even then if you feel drowsy you try taking a few intentional hard breaths.

You need to fight this hindrance to achieve your way towards mastery make sure you put in all the effort you can to fight dullness.

  • Restlessness and worry 

We in our daily life many times worry about things which don’t exist in reality.

They are just the creation of our mind we get some thought and without any control, a chain of thoughts start.

The situation, in reality, is not as bad as it is in our mind

So once these thoughts overpower us we go into an endless spree of worrying about a thing that either doesn’t matter at all or don’t exist in the present moment.

Best way to fight this hindrance is to be mindful and be in the present moment.

If you are meditating and get overpowered by thoughts and even start worrying about them.

The best way is to accept the reality if the moment as it is that is you are overpowered by the thoughts.

The moment you accept that the thoughts lose their power and now you can start to be mindful of your thoughts. This way you should keep on fighting worry and remove this roadblock from your way to self-mastery.

  • Doubt 

Doubt is another big hindrance. In day to day life also you may have experienced doubt in some process or something you wanted to achieve and the way leading to it.

When Doubt arises it brings a string of thoughts along with it and makes you think if you are going in the right direction or not.

That can be helpful sometimes but if you have already figured out a path and you have experience and knowledge about it.

Doubt simply stalls your progress and acts like a big roadblock in your way.

If you are meditating the simple way to eradicate doubt is to be mindful of your doubt be mindful of you doubting and accept it as it is.

In general, doubt diminishes with more experience and knowledge.

So you simply need to work more, be more mindful of your doubt and give a trial. It’s just a matter of more time and experience.


It’s not difficult to progress on the math of meditation or self-mastery or life in general.

You simply need to be mindful of the hindrances accept them and fight with full effort. Eventually, you will master over these hindrances and all the effort will be worth it. Be happy! Be Peaceful!




About the author

Ashish Rattan

Software Developer. Meditating for past 377 days 1 hour a day.

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