I thought it might be worthwhile to share our experiences of what makes certain meditation sessions successful, whereas others might be so beneficial. Perhaps we can benefit from each other's experiences.
I'll go first, shall I?...
My experience has been that if I do some meritorious deeds beforehand, or deliberately cultivate metta-bhavana earlier in the day, I find it easier to arouse the joy that provides the platform for better concentration. If I approach a meditation session "too dry", I will struggle to subdue craving and whilst I would still be able to observe the meditation subject, it wouldn't be with the same clarity or depth. Calm and joy helps to make the mind content to sit with the meditation subject. If once I hit a meditation session and realise that I've approached it "too dry" I will attempt to cultivate calm and joy through anapanasati.
What's your secret to a successful meditation session?
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)
"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine