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Practicing while uninspired - Dhamma Wheel

Practicing while uninspired

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
jackson
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:40 am

Practicing while uninspired

Postby jackson » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:08 pm

Hey everyone, :smile:
I was wondering if anyone has any advice for keeping the intensity of the practice going in those times when there's no inspiration; I've found that every time my practice reaches a rough patch I begin to meditate less and less and indulge the senses more and more and I lose a good portion of the momentum I've gained. Anyway if anyone has any useful tips for staying the course I'd appreciate hearing them.
Thanks!
Jackson
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah

Hoo
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Location: Missouri, USA

Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Hoo » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:20 pm

Hi Jackson,

I have the same problem and look forward to how others have dealt with this. Being relatively new to Buddhism, I've found that being persistent in practice, inspired or not, sometimes gets me over the hump. But I"m far away from having licked this problem.

With Metta,

Hoo

Sanghamitta
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:23 pm

If I can make a suggestion Jackson I would not rely on momentum or inspiration too much. Attending retreats or hearing meditation teachers can be inspiring, as can books and Cd's to a lesser degree. However i think we should cultivate an attitude more like athletes or concert pianists and just do it whether we feel like it or not. In fact aversion to practice can be a very useful and productive object of awareness. Just note" aversion" and "restlessness" and return...
Something I find inspiring are some words by Artur Rubinstein the pianist, He said " if I miss a days practice I notice the difference, if I miss two days my family notices the difference. If I miss three days the public notices the difference. "
We are in this for the long haul...one day at a time what ever the weather...

:anjali:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:38 pm

Sadhu! :goodpost:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:
My Practice Blog:

chownah
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby chownah » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:44 pm

Something to consder,
EVEYONE practices when they are inspired....the people who eventually quit practice when they are inspired as do the people who eventually do not quit.
THE most important time to practice is when uninspired as this is EXACTLY what seperates the "winners" from the "also ran's".
chownah

Individual
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Individual » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:08 pm

There will always be cyclical periods of mental prosperity and decline.

You can't, "Do what you don't want to do," at least not as I understand it. Want could mean tanha or intention. You can avoid tanha, but intention is always the basis for action. So, when you meditate, it is because you want to; it's your intention. When you don't meditate, you don't want to. You should ask yourself, "In that moment, WHY don't I want to meditate?" Maybe you have a good reason. If you aren't mindful and relaxed, meditation is a waste of time; your mind is trying to use the activity as a means of self-gratification, yet is unsatisfied and therefore seeks something else. For people who are asleep, they do not benefit from sitting down asleep instead of standing asleep. In the short-term, you get bored. In the long-term, you give the practice up. In the really, really long-term you might not even be a Buddhist anymore and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

If you have good intentions deep-down, though, it really doesn't matter what we say because in the long-term, things will work out. The periods of prosperity will become greater and the periods of decline will become less and less, until you don't need inspiration anymore.
The best things in life aren't things.


Shonin
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Shonin » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:31 pm

What Sanghamitta said.

Don't practice because you really feel like it and not practice because you're not in the mood. Practice because it's 6am (or whatever). Make it part of your routine, like brushing your teeth.

Sanghamitta
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:35 pm

That certainly what I have found Shonin....like the Nike ad says...just do it. And dont worry about how great it is or isnt. Or how you feel. just do it. One day it will take on its own momentum. Until then...just do it.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Ytrog
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Ytrog » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:01 pm


Shonin
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Shonin » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:20 pm


Individual
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Individual » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:11 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


Sanghamitta
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Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:52 pm

What would constitute success or failure in this venture ? For a long time all we really need to do is turn up regularly. The model for practice we have been given actually realises itself... with effort and self discipline. Looking back there have been periods of my practice life when it has simply felt like an empty slog, but I can see that often those periods have actually been very fruitful .
A teacher can help. Someone able to be more objective than we can. The main thing thing is to start and continue. Every day.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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bodom
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby bodom » Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:44 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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cooran
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby cooran » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:32 pm

Hello Jackson,

I was at a Retreat with Patrick Kearney recently and the question of how to keep the practice going when we went home was raised.

Patrick mentioned a friend of his who had a Three Minute Practice Rule.

No matter what she felt like - when the I'll just miss it tonight, I'm so-o-o tired OR I'll really get back into sitting after the weekend break excuses arose, she told herself No ... I'll just sit for three minutes right now and then get up and go to bed (or whatever).
It worked everytime - because once you are sitting it just naturally gets longer.

And I've used it myself just this week, and it does work. :tongue:

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Ytrog
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Ytrog » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:58 pm

That's an idea cooran. :twothumbsup:

dharmagoat
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:15 pm

I spent many years meditating only when I felt inspired to and made little progress. I encourage others to not make the same mistake. To learn to meditate regardless of one's present mood requires one to do exactly that. Once I began to view all meditation sessions as productive, especially those that were difficult, I eventually found the motivation to maintain regular practice. (Setting a schedule and stubbornly sticking to it also helps.)

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:32 am


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Claes
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Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby Claes » Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:13 pm

" Through effort, attention, restraint and self-control,
the wise person can become and island no flood will overwhelm -Dhammapada

jackson
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:40 am

Re: Practicing while uninspired

Postby jackson » Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:10 pm

Thanks for your replies everyone, :smile:
I think that my post may have been somewhat misunderstood, I do meditate everyday and have missed very few days in the past few years, the reason I asked the question was because I went through a period this summer where things seemed very bleak, and although I was meditating an hour pretty much every day I'd often be opening my eyes and didn't make very much (if any) effort to calm the mind. My practice didn't backslide too much, but in hindsight it seems that had I made more effort I could have learned quite a bit more from my suffering at that time. So I guess my question is more like how do you make effort when uninspired, but I guess the answer's probably still the same as the ones you all provided.
Thanks again! :smile:
With metta,
Jackson
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah


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