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Lulls in practice

eggsavioreggsavior Illinois, USA Veteran

Hey guys. Writing on my phone so this will be short.

I'm still just a young adult and I've only been practicing for a couple years, but I've noticed for the past 2 months I've felt a lull in my motivation and practice. I also have seasonal effective disorder.

I still keep the dharma in mind but I don't "act on it." I don't meditate much, I don't practice self compassion, I am not mindful. I know it's important, but I am "forgetting" why. What's the point? Etc etc. I am also more inclined to bad habits (started smoking cigarettes :/).

Then I will feel guilty, berate myself, and the cycle repeats. Any tips on getting out of a slump like this? Thank you

Comments

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    If you practice Lamrim meditations as taught by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in The New Meditation Handbook, then you'll generate bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment and motivation to help all beings, which, in turn, creates motivation to meditate for the good of all.

    (I don't know what happened there. I guess I turned into Faulkner for a moment).

    silver
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited January 8

    Try to fit in listening to Dharma talks while doing housework or on a walk (with your phone or iPod) or even instead of watching TV. It doesn't require much mental effort on your part and I find that the more you can engage with the Dharma the more it will become more natural action for you.

    Bunks
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    In 2 words?

    Practice and Discipline.
    They don't call Buddhism that, for nothing..... ;)

    Bunksdhammachick
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @eggsavior said:
    Hey guys. Writing on my phone so this will be short.

    I'm still just a young adult and I've only been practicing for a couple years, but I've noticed for the past 2 months I've felt a lull in my motivation and practice. I also have seasonal effective disorder.

    I still keep the dharma in mind but I don't "act on it." I don't meditate much, I don't practice self compassion, I am not mindful. I know it's important, but I am "forgetting" why. What's the point? Etc etc. I am also more inclined to bad habits (started smoking cigarettes :/).

    Then I will feel guilty, berate myself, and the cycle repeats. Any tips on getting out of a slump like this? Thank you

    Hey @eggsavior - I am always impressed to hear about young adults who have any interest in the dharma!

    When I was a young adult my main interests were beer, marijuana and generally having a good time.

    Be kind to yourself.

    Don't beat yourself up about falling off the wagon.

    Change on this path can be very slow and is often only noticeable in terms of years.

    @Shoshin posted a video a while ago about just focusing on a ten percent change. I can't find it right now but maybe she could post it again. I found it useful.

    personShoshin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    I must admit, on a lighter note, when I first caught sight of the thread title, I thought you meant that you were doing it for the lulz...

    personkarasti
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited January 8

    @federica said:
    I must admit, on a lighter note, when I first caught sight of the thread title, I thought you meant that you were doing it for the lulz...

    Same, I was half expecting to find some kind of humor thread.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @eggsavior
    This was the video @Bunks was on about...

    The 10% Advantage
    ~Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche~

    Bunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @eggsavior said:
    Any tips on getting out of a slump like this? Thank you

    You could wait till you grow up. By then it might be too late. o:)

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    I'll let you in on a little secret..... we all have lulls. Welcome to the club
    _ /\ _

    lobsterTiggerSteve_B
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @dhammachick said:
    I'll let you in on a little secret..... we all have lulls. Welcome to the club
    _ /\ _

    Ay caramba! I thought it was just me! :open_mouth:
    Do we get a refund? o:)

    There is sadly only one solution. Keep trying. <3

    dhammachickTigger
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I usually respond to lulls in motivation by either shifting the focus of what I'm doing - if I've been spending a lot of time online I may read a bit more, or I may swap one meditation for another - or just taking a short break altogether, and focusing more on nature walks, photography, work. And then you come back refreshed after a week or two.

    lobster
  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran

    @eggsavior said:

    I'm still just a young adult and I've only been practicing for a couple years, but I've noticed for the past 2 months I've felt a lull in my motivation and practice. I also have seasonal effective disorder.

    I still keep the dharma in mind but I don't "act on it." I don't meditate much, I don't practice self compassion, I am not mindful. I know it's important, but I am "forgetting" why. What's the point? Etc etc. I am also more inclined to bad habits (started smoking cigarettes :/).

    Then I will feel guilty, berate myself, and the cycle repeats. Any tips on getting out of a slump like this? Thank you

    I am new myself and I look at it as a wonderful journey without any pressure to be somewhere in my journey at some arbitrary point. I would recommend taking it one step at a time and before you know it, you'll be where you want to be. I think meditating will really ground you and get you back on track.

    Practice & Discipline isn't aways easy so take your time and don't beat yourself up

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    lulls, lulz, and slumps are all part of the deal :) I find that every year, in the summer, my practice wanes. It used to trouble me, but now I just let it be part of my practice. We spend a lot of time out enjoying the nice weather, since we get so little of it, so I just focus on enjoying that. That alone adds mindfulness and gratitude to life. The rest of my practice picks up easily in the fall which is a more contemplative time for me. For others it might be opposite, because summer is so hot, perhaps they do better with extra practice time then and less in the winter when they can enjoy being out more.

    One of the biggest lessons for me has been in learning what it means to truly accept what is. We are usually brought up to believe we should push away less pleasant things and find ways to replace them with happier things. But that just doesn't really work. They work themselves out, and just allowing yourself to be with them (not pushing it away but not wallowing in it) actually helps. "Ugh, what am I feeling right now? I'm feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. But that's ok, because it won't last, what is causing them will be resolved one way or the other." Deep breathing helps immensely to calm the reactions of the nervous system that cause shallow, fast breathing, a quicker heart rate, and the brain to go crazy with the worst possible thoughts for the moment. But we can control that response. Simply doing that helps a lot. It's all just part of life. Being stressed, upset, afraid, angry, sad, bored, unmotivated, it's all as much a valid part of our life experience as joy, clarity, love, etc.

    Tiggerlobster
  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran

    The 2 things that have personally helped me is

    1. Meditating. Even a couple minutes makes a huge positive difference and that positive difference snow balls throughout the day, as do negative thoughts.

    2. Living in the moment. Everything seems less stressful to me when I deal with the now instead of creating this big issue in my mind

    lobster
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