Mindful Laziness

Last summer I attended a retreat with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche at the Garrison Institute, in New York.  I had attended a similar retreat the summer before with a friend, but this year I was on my own, which, frankly was not as much fun.  Furthermore it was the Forth of July weekend, and my birthday.  It was a very hot five days and although the retreat center sits on the banks of the Hudson River, we had no access to swimming.  It didn’t take very long for me to start missing my absent friend and my family.  What was I thinking going on a retreat by myself in the height of summer?  I wanted to leave.  The heat was oppressive and I felt spacey and lethargic – not a good combination for meditation.

I realized that if I’m in any state other than pushing through alert productivity (which is about… hmmm…. 99 percent of the time) I am chastising myself for being spacey, unmotivated and unproductive. 

However, somewhere over the weekend one of Rinpoche’s teachings got through.  I don’t remember what the talk was, but I started letting myself be spacey and lethargic. That weekend I had an epiphany.  I learned that my inner critic demands a constant state of clarity and calm.  There’s a voice in my head that tells me if I’m not doing, creating, or planning, then I’m not worthy of the air I’m breathing.  I realized that if I’m in any state other than pushing through alert productivity (which is about… hmmm…. 99 percent of the time) I am chastising myself for being spacey, unmotivated and unproductive.  I had three more days of retreat ahead of me and a long drive home.  I needed to shift gears to salvage the weekend.  So I just let go.  Let go and gave into the spaciness, and the lack of motivation, the I-don’t-want-to-be-here tape in my head turned into the I-don’t-want-to-be-here….. but it’s okay tape.  I made it through, and drove home with a great new support for my practice…. laziness.

Have you tried being mindfully lazy?  We highly recommend it.  Give it a try, let us know how it works.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

Check out this video clip of yonguey Mingyur Rinpoche talking about being a “lazy boy”

 

2 thoughts on “Mindful Laziness

  1. Bayside Psychotherapy says:

    Donna I couldn’t resist commenting on this one. “Mindful Laziness” spoke to me. I’m the laziest meditator I know 🙂 It’s curious too how different Buddhist traditions emphasize different aspects of practice. Some seem very anti laziness where other cultures perhaps welcome it? An image of the Japanese Zen master with a cane doesn’t speak lazy or comfort… The Tibetan monk who brings extra cushions to those struggling perhaps holds a different view. Some seem averse to anything lazy, as though it impedes progress and concentration. But an argument could be that by de-emphasizing concentration and performance pressure, concentration develops naturally anyway with mindfulness training. Or am I rationalizing.
    Adam

    1. mindfulhub says:

      Hi Adam:

      I guess I put laziness in the loving kindness category – in moderation of course!

      Thanks for your thoughts

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