Heart of Buddhism

Discovering the Heart of Buddhism
(C) Lama Shenpen Hookham 2006



23 May 2006

How we can galvanise our practice when our motivation is low?

A student writes:
"Motivation can be a problem for someone like me, who hasn't had close links with teacher and Sangha. Although I feel I do often get adhistana from such things as considering the Truth of my experience, sometimes it all just feels like words to me - words that create no emotion and have no effect on my volition.
This is strange as recently I have consistently thought that all this is the most important thing I could ever do with my life - it just doesn't always touch my heart for some reason."

Lama Shenpen:
That is normal really, that is why it’s so difficult for us to reach enlightenment. Somehow we are just so asleep that even though we hear the alarm clock ringing we still don’t wake up. Even if someone shakes us we still find it hard to wake up - so we need all the help we can get.

"Anyway, what I wanted to ask was how do I practise with low motivation? If I just can't inspire myself to have my heart in the practice."

Lama Shenpen:
We all have to try to help each other - now you are part of a local group that is a good way to start helping others and being helped yourself. We all have to keep working on it, just keep on reflecting again and again on why we need to practise and gradually the penny drops and we start to feel really galvanised and eager to practise all the time.

"I realise ideally I would just always rest in the nature of my experience whatever it is."

Lama Shenpen:
It is good to make lots of pranidhanas to galvanise oneself and to think a lot about death and impermanence - that we don’t know how much time we have left to practice anyway. That helps a lot.
Death is good to reflect on because if you really think about it you realise you know nothing about death except that all that we are familiar with now won’t be there. And if you think about impermanence you realise it’s all gone already and what is to come will be gone as soon as it’s been.
So life and death are the same and there is absolutely nothing to hold on to - and that is the space that is us. That is our awareness - that great space - and if we are remembering that then we are remembering the Dharma. That is our practice - that is it!

--- By Lama Shenpen Hookham

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