At today’s retreat, a friend offered this question as a writing prompt for the group. After some time of reflection and journaling, everyone came together for sharing. Several people mentioned that they needed discipline. Sticking with a regular meditation practice can be hard! They admitted that they struggle with overcoming laziness in order to establish a habit.
This triggered something in me – laziness. Laziness is not a chronic problem for me. In fact, burning out from too much activity is my problem. I have this unconscious mantra propelling me through life, “Work before play, or rest.” I feel like I have to wrap things up before I can stop, whether that’s in something as simple as doing housework before going out or in something as big as saving the world before I can event think about taking a vacation! Or, at least, I’ll bring work along to finish while I have loads of free time.
When this work-before-play attitude gets out-of-hand, it should comes as no surprise that my spiritual practice weakens, not only because I feel like I can’t stop to engage in practice, but also because I begin to view my practice as something merely functional, like something that simply gives me a breather before I return to doing-doing-doing – instead of a deep well of meaning that actually gives birth to everything else. I get caught in a cycle of knowing I need to meditate but not doing it because I feel too busy to give it the time and intention that it’s actually worthy of, and not because it should be a habit like brushing my teeth, but because I hear my calling when I’m silent. I’d like everything in my life to emerge out of that space.