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Lack of motivation

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Lack of motivation

Postby zenci on Thu May 11, 2017 9:45 pm

I have no motivation to sit these days. My days of strong momentum seem far away. And I just can't make myself sit. What should I do?
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Re: Lack of motivation

Postby jundo on Fri May 12, 2017 2:47 am

Hi Zenci,

As you know, I am the Shikantaza-vangelist, but I think my advice would apply to most flavors of Practice: Fake it until you make it. Pretend, like an actor paid $1 Million to play the role in a film, that you are the enthusiastic fellow. Then, just get your ass on the cushion for a few minutes and keep it there. If you start to feel less than enthusiastic again, act that part.

Chances are, when you get on that cushion, you will catch a good wind and suddenly the feeling of being "in the right place" will return. You will realize that the Zafu is a good place, where you were meant to be all along! :)

This approach in especially important in the style of Shikantaza I teach because I tell students stuff like this ...

Shikantaza Zazen must be sat, for the time it is sat, with the student profoundly trusting deep in her bones that sitting itself is a complete and sacred act, the one and only action that need be done in the whole universe in that instant of sitting. This truth should not be thought about or voiced in so many words, but must be silently and subtly felt deep down. The student must taste vibrantly that the mere act of sitting Zazen, in that moment, is whole and thoroughly complete, the total fruition of life’s goals, with nothing lacking and nothing to be added to the bare fact of sitting here and now. There must be a sense that the single performance of crossing the legs (or sitting in some other balanced posture) is the realization of all that was ever sought, that there is simply no other place to go in the world nor thing left to do besides sitting in such posture. ... Zazen is the one task and experience that brings meaning and fruition to that time, with nothing else to do. This fulfillment in “Just Sitting” must be felt with a tangible vibrancy and energy, trusting that one is sitting at the very pinnacle of life.

Of course, most of us ... maybe all of us some days ... don't feel like that at all. So, I tell students to "fake it until the make it", pretend they are "that guy", have "Great Faith" in the existence of the moon even when the moon is invisible, hidden behind the clouds. There are aspects of this Practice which I call a "non-self realizing proposition." If we change the thoughts to think some things, often they actually come to be.

Give it a try for a few days, report back.

Gassho, Jundo

SatToday (with moderate enthusiasm due to present case of pneumonia!) :)
Founder Treeleaf Zendo, Japan. Member SZBA. Treeleaf is an online Sangha for those unable to commute to a Sangha, w/ netcast Zazen, interaction with other practitioners and teachers & all activities of a Soto Sangha, fully online without charge (http://www.treeleaf.org) Nishijima/Niwa
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Re: Lack of motivation

Postby Judy Roitman on Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:05 am

Dear Zenci,

You write:
zenci wrote:I have no motivation to sit these days. My days of strong momentum seem far away. And I just can't make myself sit. What should I do?

My answer is very simple: sit.


Judy Roitman (Zen Master Bon Hae), Kansas Zen Center, Kwan Um School of Zen
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Judy Roitman
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