Enthusiasm and Laziness
To get enthusiasm we have to drop laziness. I even have to say it slowly: laaazzineeeess. When we think about laziness what comes to mind? A turtle or a sloth, an animal that moves slowly. But laziness is not about whether you move slowly or quickly. There are three kinds of laziness.
The first laziness is being distracted by meaningless stuff that is everywhere.
You are not doing what you are supposed to do. You are doing something you don’t have to do. It will not make you slow. It can make you do everything fast. Even eating. When kids watch their TV shows and the parents call them for dinner, they come and eat everything in two minutes. Then, back to the show. With that kind of laziness, we are not doing what we are supposed to do properly. We are distracted by something else, maybe something wrong or meaningless. That is laziness.
Sometimes we are spending too much time on social media, being busy watching episode shows. We laugh at kittens running after laser lights but, sometimes we do the same, if you think carefully. If the cats look at us, they must be thinking, “What is my idiot owner watching on that screen all the time?”. If you are watching something and learning something, then the cat is wrong. If you are not learning anything, you are just letting your mind drag you around. If it’s for one hour, I can count that as resting. Two hours, okay, entertainment for fun. But if you are spending five, six hours, the cat is right!
Sometimes that is part of laziness. Then some do worse. They spend a lot of time running after harmful deeds, like hunting, cheating people, torturing others, having arguments. Some arguments can be meaningful, but many are meaningless and can never be solved. Some arguments you do your whole life. If you understand you cannot solve it, stop arguing right there. That arguing is also part of laziness: you are wasting your time.
The second laziness makes you feel tired all the time.
The laziness that is melting yourself like a candle – on the couch. I am not talking about a couch potato. The candle always melts on the same spot. Instead of moving up or down, you are melting on the couch. You are sitting there, always feeling tired, and it is getting worse and worse. You are sitting or laying on the couch, feeling tired, energy-less, saying, “Oh, I am so tired.” The only time you get up is to grab something from the refrigerator and you don’t even want to heat it up and eat it directly. That kind of laziness. You always feel sick even though you are not sick. You feel your arms, your back, your knees hurt. If you sit on the couch and just focus on your body, you will find something that hurts. Even if there is nothing there, you compare with everything. Nothing is perfect. There is always something. That’s also part of laziness and it’s a bad one.
At that moment, you have to move forward. It is what it is. Instead of sitting on the couch and melting like a candle, get up, move forward. If you have a little pain in your neck, that’s just pain. Deal with it. That is very important, a motivation like that.
Everybody can have a bad event in their life. Sometimes the grandmother dies, sometimes the dog dies. Most successful and strong people, feel bad for a few days and then say, “Okay, I cannot live like that. I have to move forward. If I live like that it will not help at all.”
If you compare yesterday to today, it is always different. Even though you may eat the same food, wake up at the same time, wear the same clothes, still it is different. So, every day is not the same. It is different. It keeps changing. If something bad happens in your life don’t get stuck there. You have to move forward. Even if you feel grief, go out. Do what you are doing, do your work; learn how to work with grief. If you have plans to hang around, go hang around. Don’t torture yourself. Then you become strong.
There is a story from Buddha’s life. A mother lost her baby, like a 6 month old. Very painful. She went to see Buddha and said, “I want you to revive my baby, I feel so sad, so bad.” Buddha said, “Okay, but first bring me some rice.” She said, “Oh yes, I will bring some.” Buddha said, “Not ordinary rice, but rice from a family where nobody has died, because those people don’t have grief.” So, she went to get rice and asked, “Did you have any feelings of grief?” and everybody had something. They all lost somebody. Then she realized, “I am not the only one feeling grief. There are a lot of people who have sadness; they all lost somebody.” Then she came to see Buddha, feeling better. If some bad things happened to you, it is not only you. You have to learn how to live with that.
So here, the point is laziness. If you feel sick or tired, don’t get stuck there. If you are the person who is always tired, that will not count as tired. You’ve got to do something. So, what do you want to do? That’s very important. According to Buddhism, it is described as the laziness that makes you feel tired. Actually, you are not tired, but you feel you are tired. If you were simply tired, after a few hours you should be okay. But that feeling is always there.
The third laziness makes you weak and discouraged.
That is the laziness of fearing to fail, being pessimistic. For example, if someone says “Go out and get a cup of coffee”, you think, “Oh, I don’t think the coffee store is open.” “Maybe they already sold out.” Or, “They might give me an old one”, or “Oh, maybe there is a long line”. You always bring something up, trying to convince yourself that you cannot do it. What’s the big deal? Honestly. Just go and get it. If it’s not there, it’s not there. That’s very simple, but your mind is creating [obstacles]. The thing is that you don’t want to go, and you are just creating things here and there. That’s part of laziness.
Mainly, you are always seeing the situation in a failure way, even if it is not there. Then sometimes you look down on yourself, “I don’t think I can do it.” You are discouraging yourself, “I cannot do it.” To be honest, if you have two arms, two legs and can cross the road and come back, then you can do a lot of things. What is there that you cannot do – physically?
Then, mentally, think about it. I am not saying that you can do everything, but I am saying that you can do a lot of things. If someone tells you to go and knock down Mike Tyson, you cannot, right? Even if you practice, you cannot, unless you want to wait 30 years or something. But if someone tells you to bring a suitcase inside, you can, right? Like that. But sometimes we look down on ourselves and always say, “I cannot, I cannot, I cannot.” That is part of laziness.
When I looked at people who play piano, I was so surprised. “How can they use two hands and ten fingers in different directions like that?” For me, when I move my right hand, I forget to move my left hand. I do not know how to coordinate them. How can they do it? I feel it’s impossible. Then I started playing on a keyboard a little bit and after a few days I had some confidence. “If I train, I can do it.” I am not saying I play piano very well, no. But I have the confidence to use both hands. I can coordinate. So if you try something, you will know if you can do it.
Always look at the light, don’t look at the dark. If you are in a cave and look at the dark, then it is 90% dark. If you see a crack, okay, that’s where you focus. Then you get out from the cave. When there is a little crack, you can do it – why not? Therefore, don’t be discouraged. Don’t look down on yourself. That is also part of laziness.
That doesn’t mean be arrogant. That’s very different. Some people make mistakes between self-confidence and arrogance. Be courageous, be trusting in yourself, think “I can do it”; but don’t be arrogant. If I can do it that doesn’t mean others cannot. If you think that others cannot, that is arrogance. “Ah, you cannot learn it, you are too weak to do it”, “You are not qualified”, “You are not smart like me”. That is arrogance, looking down on others. But you can still think, “I can do it”. So, it is very important to be courageous and have self-confidence.
When these three lazinesses are there, they are a big problem in our life, and make everything hard. With the first, we are distracted and doing something we don’t need to do and not doing what we should do. That makes failure in our life. The second deludes us into feeling tired and weak, even though we are not. Even just walking is really good to kill laziness. The third is not about being busy doing wrong things or melting on the couch, but that you have no self-confidence. You are always feeling “I cannot do it. I cannot do it.” That, I think, causes many people problems in their lives. If you don’t want to do it, that’s a different story.
Therefore, without enthusiasm we cannot get anything. If you want to do something, and want something to happen, you always need enthusiasm. With enthusiasm, the work becomes easy and then you know your achievement is always coming towards you day by day, minute by minute. With enthusiasm you can have good family relationships. You can turn into a good person – or a better person if you are a good person already. With enthusiasm you can be healthy physically. Enthusiasm is very important in our life.
Demo Rinpoche – Ancient Wisdom. Modern Times. #149 – December 4, 2022
Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2023