Problem #1 when it comes to meditation? Laziness. Luckily, there are 4 antidotesMarch 5, 2012 | 6 Comments | Add to favorites
We all have difficulty with committing to the meditation cushion. I totally understand. When you sit on the cushion, you’re agreeing to sit down with the unknown. Sometimes this feels terrifying, sometimes exciting but, mostly, it’s just kind of ordinary–and it’s this ordinariness that might make us think “nothing is happening” or “I must be doing this wrong.” And then we give up. However, it’s actually considered a good sign when the practice becomes a bit boring–you’ve stopped trying to entertain yourself. So hang in there with all the ups and downs and lack of ups and downs.
Buddhists have written a lot on overcoming the obstacles to a meditation practice, because people have been encountering these obstacles for like 2500 years.
Laziness (of which there are 3 kinds: regular; becoming disheartened; being too busy)
Forgetting the Instructions (spacing them out, basically)
Laxity/Elation (being too sleepy and dull or getting carried away by some exciting experience while meditating—both are distractions).
If my experience is any illustration, the biggest obstacle by far is laziness. Luckily, the dharma also describes antidotes. For laziness, there are four.
1. Trust. This is the kind of trust that arises from experience–you recall that when you do “the right thing” you actually do feel better. So this activity (in our case, meditation) really works and when you remember that, it can help.
2. Aspiration. What arises when you remember what brought you to meditation in the first place.You can trust that insight.
3. Effort.The truth is, there are no tricks. At a certain point, you just have to get yourself to sit on the cushion and begin. At first, this is difficult. But as the practice takes root in your life, stamina increases and the ability to put in effort is natural.
4. Pliancy. If you practice for a few minutes every day, this is way better than a lot of minutes on a few days. Routine is the key. Continuity is more important than duration. Then at some point your practice reaches the kind of critical mass that brushing your teeth has. It’s just something you do and it feels icky if you don’t do it.
Last, remember that If you take your seat, rouse the intention and aspiration to meditate, the practice will do the rest. All you have to do is walk through the gate.
Let me support you! Please sign up for The Open Heart Project to receive meditation instruction and insights via email 2x week.