There are five faults to developing a stable meditation practice.
3. Agitation and Dullness
Indolence prevents you from actually starting. You may want to start, you may have the idea of what you would like your practice to look like, but you don't actually follow through.
Forgetfulness happens when you actually take your seat, but don't remember what you are supposed to do. You forget the instructions. You aren't prepared, so you quit.
Agitation and Dullness occur when you are actually doing the practice. You are engaged, but now you are experiencing all of this inner turmoil. You either have all of these thoughts and emotions that are stirring like crazy, or you experience a heavy dullness and mental laxity. You swing between these two states throughout your practice.
Inaction occurs when you notice this resistance popping up in your practice and you do nothing about it. There is a thread of indifference in your practice. As that thread builds on itself it creates a web in which we are caught up in not caring enough to remedy the situation. We don't care to act and this continually drags on our practice.
Over-exertion occurs when we are doing the practice correctly, we are fully engaged, alert, responsive. But we can't stay there. We ask what's next? What else? We stray from the object of our practice into elaboration. Unable to maintain a state of equalness, we continue to stir up more and more waves.