Losing commitment once things start going well

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Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby vajrahorizon » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:14 am

Does anyone else have this particular habit? I'm sure I can't be the only one.

You develop a diligent and consistent practice when you are experiencing existential pain of some type, a divorce, loss of job or the equivalent and then life starts to get OK again and you fall back into old habits, forget about meditation and the Dharma and then some other crisis happens and then the process repeats. This is why I really need a teacher or community of Buddhists to keep my practice up no matter how good life appears to be.

VH
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby Jyoti » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:42 pm

vajrahorizon wrote:Does anyone else have this particular habit? I'm sure I can't be the only one.

You develop a diligent and consistent practice when you are experiencing existential pain of some type, a divorce, loss of job or the equivalent and then life starts to get OK again and you fall back into old habits, forget about meditation and the Dharma and then some other crisis happens and then the process repeats. This is why I really need a teacher or community of Buddhists to keep my practice up no matter how good life appears to be.

VH


Seems like you are utilizing dharma practice as a mean to escape from the suffering of life, the motivation is wrong, that why there is no persistent in practice when the suffering of life seems to disappear. Practice is a personal thing, in the company of many people of similar minded practitioner may help in talking about dharma, but they don't contribute to practice that required privacy. Learn to be self-motivated, because not even the buddha can help oneself, if one does not put down the effort oneself but always need to be pushed by someone else, because that person cannot help you when the time come where you need to depend on yourself.
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby plwk » Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:52 pm

If these are of any help...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Even I myself, before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, thought: 'Renunciation is good. Seclusion is good.'
But my heart didn't leap up at renunciation, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.

The thought occurred to me:
'What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?'

Then the thought occurred to me:
'I haven't seen the drawback of sensual pleasures; I haven't pursued [that theme]. I haven't understood the reward of renunciation; I haven't familiarized myself with it. That's why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.'

"Then the thought occurred to me: 'If, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of renunciation, I were to familiarize myself with it, there's the possibility that my heart would leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.'

"So at a later time, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of renunciation, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at renunciation, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.

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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby KeithBC » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:28 pm

I think you need to think about your motivation. When you feel bad, you practise to feel good. You think that practising with a group will help, because (I am guessing) it can provide a source of criticism (feeling bad) if you don't show up, that motivates you to practise in order to feel good again.. It sounds to me like your committment may not be to practice but to feeling good. Once you feel good, there is no motivation to do anything further. Wanting to feel good is not a committment; it is just more desire.

You may want to study the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind to the Dharma:
1. appreciating the precious human life,
2. death and impermanence, that the opportunities that we have now with this precious existence are not going to last,
3. the laws of karma and cause and effect, in other words how our behavior affects what we experience,
4. the disadvantages of samsara, of uncontrollably recurring rebirth.

Committment is stronger than desire; it is something you don't lose.

Om mani padme hum
Keith
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby vajrahorizon » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:44 am

KeithBC wrote:I think you need to think about your motivation. When you feel bad, you practise to feel good. You think that practising with a group will help, because (I am guessing) it can provide a source of criticism (feeling bad) if you don't show up, that motivates you to practise in order to feel good again.. It sounds to me like your committment may not be to practice but to feeling good. Once you feel good, there is no motivation to do anything further. Wanting to feel good is not a committment; it is just more desire.

You may want to study the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind to the Dharma:
1. appreciating the precious human life,
2. death and impermanence, that the opportunities that we have now with this precious existence are not going to last,
3. the laws of karma and cause and effect, in other words how our behavior affects what we experience,
4. the disadvantages of samsara, of uncontrollably recurring rebirth.

Committment is stronger than desire; it is something you don't lose.

Om mani padme hum
Keith


Thanks Keith, there's a lot of truth in what you say. I don't have commitment as such but rather use it as a form of medicine in life's inevitable tough times and then forget about practice when things seem to be starting to go well. I will contemplate those 4 truths and look for some deep inspiration.

Maybe you can also advise me on this issue. I'm really looking to find the right school to practice in and truth be told there's stuff I love about all of them.

My feeling is that I should simply practice shamata for a couple of years and get back in the habit with a good foundation practice like breath counting and the move onto more advanced practices down the track.

I have a strong attraction to the Kagyu and Nyingma but there are no adherents where I live.
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby Indrajala » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:42 am

vajrahorizon wrote:My feeling is that I should simply practice shamata for a couple of years and get back in the habit with a good foundation practice like breath counting and the move onto more advanced practices down the track.


It is the foundational practice that the Buddha himself taught his disciples. It is also useful as a means of maintaining mental hygiene and cultivating mental stamina, which makes turning away from unwholesome thoughts, deeds and speech a lot easier. With such mental stamina living an ethical life becomes much easier and natural. Living ethically and having a stable mind a lot of real life has less problems. People might lie, backstab and antagonize, but it becomes like water on a duck's back. From there patience and tolerance only becomes natural and not forced.
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby DarwidHalim » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:56 am

I think it happens many times.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby seeker242 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:39 pm

vajrahorizon wrote:Does anyone else have this particular habit? I'm sure I can't be the only one.

You develop a diligent and consistent practice when you are experiencing existential pain of some type, a divorce, loss of job or the equivalent and then life starts to get OK again and you fall back into old habits, forget about meditation and the Dharma and then some other crisis happens and then the process repeats. This is why I really need a teacher or community of Buddhists to keep my practice up no matter how good life appears to be.

VH


Yes, I went through that pattern for many years. Yes, a group is extremely helpful! This is one of the reasons why sangha is considered one of the 3 jewels, imo. Taking refuge in it, is extremely helpful!
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby dharmagoat » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:50 pm

vajrahorizon wrote:Does anyone else have this particular habit? I'm sure I can't be the only one.

You develop a diligent and consistent practice when you are experiencing existential pain of some type, a divorce, loss of job or the equivalent and then life starts to get OK again and you fall back into old habits, forget about meditation and the Dharma and then some other crisis happens and then the process repeats. This is why I really need a teacher or community of Buddhists to keep my practice up no matter how good life appears to be.

Interestingly, for me the problem is the other way around. I find it easier to practice when things are going well, but struggle when I encounter difficulty in my life. The difference might lie in the fact that meditation can be restful for some but a struggle for others. My understanding has been that if meditation is not a challenge, then one is not practising properly.

With regard to maintaining a regular practice, I would suggest that motivation is not the issue. Once a routine is in place, we simply follow it and disregard any thoughts that lead us away from practice. Regular practice is maintained by less distraction rather than more motivation. Motivation is a fickle thing that may help us to start regular practice, but once established can't be relied on to maintain it.

And sharing one's meditation with a group can make a world of difference.
May all beings be happy
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby KeithBC » Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:45 pm

vajrahorizon wrote:Thanks Keith, there's a lot of truth in what you say. I don't have commitment as such but rather use it as a form of medicine in life's inevitable tough times and then forget about practice when things seem to be starting to go well. I will contemplate those 4 truths and look for some deep inspiration.

Maybe you can also advise me on this issue. I'm really looking to find the right school to practice in and truth be told there's stuff I love about all of them.

My feeling is that I should simply practice shamata for a couple of years and get back in the habit with a good foundation practice like breath counting and the move onto more advanced practices down the track.

I have a strong attraction to the Kagyu and Nyingma but there are no adherents where I live.

I wouldn't worry too much about which school to follow. In my younger days, I wanted to do Zen, but there was no Zen group nearby, so I ended up in a Kagyu group. It's all the Dharma. The availability of a group and the quality of its teacher and members are more important than which sect it follows.

I agree with Dharmagoat that the way to approach meditation, or practice in general, is to make it part of one's routine. It is not medicine; it is just something that you do every day.

I don't meditate every day in order to fix something. In an intellectual way, I do it because I know I need to do it every day in order to make progress. But at the practical level of getting out of bed each morning, I do it every day because it is what I do every day. Some mornings I feel like doing it and some mornings I don't. Some mornings it goes well and some mornings it doesn't. I do it every day because doing it every day is more important than whether I feel like it or whether it goes well.

Google "Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind to Dharma". It's the actual title of the teaching, and you'll find much better discussions of it than my feeble summary.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby dakini_boi » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:11 pm

vajrahorizon wrote:You develop a diligent and consistent practice when you are experiencing existential pain of some type, a divorce, loss of job or the equivalent and then life starts to get OK again and you fall back into old habits, forget about meditation and the Dharma and then some other crisis happens and then the process repeats.
VH


It is excellent that you consider this a problem.

vajrahorizon wrote:This is why I really need a teacher or community of Buddhists to keep my practice up no matter how good life appears to be.


Make aspirations for this every day. And when you notice things are good, your mind is calm, and you don't feel like practicing anymore - recognize that as an obstacle. If you recognize it as an obstacle in that moment, you can develop the stamina to overcome it. Sit anyway, even if for 5 minutes. Notice how the practice is different from when practicing during a crisis. make that your practice, and accept that it may not be as comfortable, and your "refuge" might not even seem sincere. Good work. :anjali:
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby cesar » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:40 pm

vajrahorizon wrote:Does anyone else have this particular habit? I'm sure I can't be the only one.

You develop a diligent and consistent practice when you are experiencing existential pain of some type, a divorce, loss of job or the equivalent and then life starts to get OK again and you fall back into old habits, forget about meditation and the Dharma and then some other crisis happens and then the process repeats. This is why I really need a teacher or community of Buddhists to keep my practice up no matter how good life appears to be.

VH


connecting with a spiritual friend for guidance is essential for development, and to a community of practitioners for support.
this is not such an unusual habit, in regards to spiritual practice. it's really helpful that you've noticed. we take the medicine until we feel better, and then stop. pretty normal.
good advice by KeithBC to reflect on the Four Reminders. very good. but these instructions as well as all Dharma we receive must be integrated into our lives and not just read intellectually or taken like a prescription for 10 days.
we should decide whether we want temporary relief, or complete liberation.
a teacher once said, "We need to decide whether we want a little spirituality in our lives, or to live the spiritual life."
i thought this to be excellent advice.

it's all part of the journey. the path is the goal.

cheers,
césar
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby lobster » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:02 am

very honest, good points made by everyone

Do the dharma you can
you can not swim in an ocean you are not a part of (lobster lore)

surround yourself with 3 jewels or more
prostrate when you can in refuge

in short
"developers, developers, developers" (crazy wisdom from MS bodhi, s bulmer)
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby waimengwan » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:55 pm

Lobster probably good idea to surround ourself with people who have more experience in the dharma than you. If you can't find that, look for people who have the same goals to practice as you hence Rinpoche sometimes creates dharma houses for lay practitioners. You can get some support from the rest.

If ones teacher can convey the dharma we mustn't miss the boat to practice, we should reflect on the 8 freedoms and 10 endowments of a precious human rebirth when will you ever find it again. The only reason I can think of is that you feel that this life and the teachings are not precious enough for you to do practice. Or the dharma's benefits are not fully mixed with your mind. The example is for most people they know the benefit of money, hence they do their jobs well to keep their jobs.
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:22 am

vajrahorizon wrote:Does anyone else have this particular habit? I'm sure I can't be the only one.

You develop a diligent and consistent practice when you are experiencing existential pain of some type, a divorce, loss of job or the equivalent and then life starts to get OK again and you fall back into old habits, forget about meditation and the Dharma and then some other crisis happens and then the process repeats. This is why I really need a teacher or community of Buddhists to keep my practice up no matter how good life appears to be.

VH

You've received some good answers.

But let me just say that it's not all bad in the scenario you describe. At least, when you are suffering, you know where you need to take refuge. You turn to Dharma for help.

Now you just need to acknowledge that suffering is always around the corner and, moreover, that you are suffering even when you think life is going fine.

It is also important that you try to develop an altruistic motivation to practice. Even when your life goes well, countless beings are suffering in the extreme and many that aren't will be soon. For instance, everyone you love will meet sickness and death. Everyone you like will lose their happiness eventually. Those ignorant of the Dharma are powerless against samsara, the cycle of birth, death and suffering, caused by ignorance. Knowing that you can help if you attain the capability, and this means becoming a bodhisattva instead of a bodhisattva-to-be, you practice for the sake of all sentient beings.

When life goes well, you have a hair at the palm of your hand. When it goes wrong, it jumps to your eye. Better to get rid of that nasty hair. ;)
Much more could be said, but I think it is also important to point that at least turning to the Dharma when life gets tough is not a bad thing per se. Just doing it in those circumstances, however, won't bring much results, at least if your life is fairly easy.

Best wishes!
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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:34 pm

vajrahorizon wrote:Does anyone else have this particular habit? I'm sure I can't be the only one.

You develop a diligent and consistent practice when you are experiencing existential pain of some type, a divorce, loss of job or the equivalent and then life starts to get OK again and you fall back into old habits, forget about meditation and the Dharma and then some other crisis happens and then the process repeats. This is why I really need a teacher or community of Buddhists to keep my practice up no matter how good life appears to be.

VH
You're dying, you know. Every second you are one second closer to death and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

How this for a crisis?
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Losing commitment once things start going well

Postby lobster » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:49 am

waimengwan wrote:Lobster probably good idea to surround ourself with people who have more experience in the dharma than you.


:smile:
Indeed.
As I believe everyone on some level is awake, that is quite easy.
The issue is really good, kind, useful company. For that I prefer Sangha and Boddhisattvahs before breakfast . . . :sage:
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