Gyaltsen Tashi wrote:
How do you create an atmosphere of practice as Rinpoche says?
fake it 'til you make it. Initially the "atmosphere of practice" may have to be contrived. This is where numbers/accumulations are important, they get you to sit your ass down and practice. After a (long) while you feel an urge to practice. It becomes a type of addiction. You don't have to force it, it forces you. After a (longer) while the distinction between practice and post practice blurs. You do not feel obliged, yet your state of mind is a "practice" state anyway. Now you are really practicing!
To continue along the same lines using wisdom gleaned from 12 step programs; try the key of "willingness".
What is meant by that is the opposite of relying on "willfulness". If you have resistance and try to just plow through it by shear force of will, you are likely to make the matter worse. It is usually much more productive if you look to the practice, and sources of Refuge, for the resolution of your resistance. That is being "willing". It is hard to unlearn the habit of struggling with yourself, we've done it since birth. Doing practice with sincerity and a request for help decreasing your own craziness gets you barking up the right tree.
But Greg is right; on some level you've got to start with a practice that feels contrived, "fake it 'til you make it", as they say.That's ok. Your practice will change your mentality the way exercise changes your body. Using force of will to enact your practice is like trying to put on skinny jeans before you've lost the weight!
Or, to depart from 12 step wisdom for a moment, think of it like a vicious circle. The more you use force of will in your practice the more you reinforce the illusion of self. If that is so, you can see how suffering will be the predictable result. The opposite of a vicious circle is a virtuous circle. I am told that there is a positive feedback loop to practice. The gateway to this virtuous circle is, again, willingness. On the level of NgonDro practice and such, the positive feedback is a greater confidence and faith in the process of karma, the 3 Jewels, you teacher, and such. So it is a little silly to hold these as a prerequisite for practice, since they are a result of practice.
But like I said, just bullying your way through (usually) doesn't work. Within classic Buddha Dharma the way to accomplish a "willing" as opposed to "willful" attitude is found in the 4 thoughts that turn the mind.
Anyway, that's my 2 cents.