i find vajrayana practices fruitless at the moment since i dont have the accomplishment of shamatha. and even though it was discussed on this forum that vajrayana meditations are shamatha practice i see it impossible to actually achieve shamatha with vajrayana practices, i think that is preliminary work you need to do before seriously hoping to get a pleasant and fast fruits from vajrayana practice.
and it is said in the 37 practices of bodihsattva that transcending the four formless jhanas is the practice of a bodhisattva
Do you need to change what you're doing or just work on the basics?
I have yet to achieve shamatha as well, at least I think. Something else to remember is it's really hard to gauge yourself. Things like developing concentration are subtle, with distractions or hindrances coming less and less often, not stopping all at once. Self-criticism tends to be a fixed view, that is it doesn't change with circumstances.
Why not try a month of two hours of anapanasati or vipassana a day? One as soon as you wake up, one in the evening.
I actually find the mind calms down greatly when I practice mindfulness of form with a body-scanning approach.
After this experiment, you might not feel you've "arrived" at a sustained shamatha, or any form of jhana, but you'll at least have a far better understanding of what your mind is up to that hinders this.
After all, your suffering must be understood before it can be meaningfully helped.
For instance, try these instructions: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... thmed.html
If you hope attaining a jhana will be easier than shamatha, you may be disappointed.
Depending on your mindset, it can be easy to make jhanas another way not to measure up: "There are eight of them and I can't even attain the FIRST one??"
Be gentle with yourself.
I can give more details on my personal struggles with shamatha if they'd be helpful.