Four Powers to Develop Enthusiasm
1) Aspiration. Making up your mind. If you make a good choice on the basis of the karmic law, your diligence will develop.
2) Steadfastness. You don’t want to do all sorts of different things. Stick to one thing at the time carefully, rather than doing this and doing that. Atisha very often said:
I find a big difference between Tibetans and Indians.
The Indians have one deity, one commitment, one practice; they achieve.
Tibetans have hundred deities, hundred practices and get nothing.
The same goes for us. If you try to have many commitments, you are not going to get the result. Sometimes you have to leave some things. Can you sit for four hours to get everything done? And even so, what are you going to achieve? If I do all my commitments one by one nicely and detailed, it may take four hours. Then, if in addition to that you take a lot more commitments, it is not great. Not great at all. So the power of enthusiasm here is not to take so many varieties, but to channel all your energy into one direction. That is very important. So whatever you do, observe carefully before you go, and once you go, complete it.
3) Joy. You have to somehow make whatever you practice, interesting to yourself. Make it fun, like kids do. Tsongkhapa gives an example here: when kids are playing it is difficult to get them away from their play. That much interest we should generate. That builds power.
4) Relaxation. You have to be able to do it again. If you are tired, take a rest and then start again. That sort of enthusiasm you need.
One more thing about enthusiasm: When you are inspired, you make a big deal out of it, but then it goes away. That doesn’t work at all. Enthusiasm should be continuous like a good source of water. Not too big, like in the rainy season, and not too little, like in the dry season. It should be continuous, like a river running. When you are inspired and do a lot and then suddenly you get burned out, that won’t do any good; neither to yourself nor for others. It is not an example and it is not good for the community. So from the beginning one goes not too much but constantly. Constant effort pays. Like doing the food offering at every meal. If you do that constant effort day by day, it is filling your bucket. Don’t forget.
Real diligence is a constant effort. Particularly in the dharma practice that is very important. Practitioners do practice every day; that is very important. Even if you skip one day, make sure you do it the next day. Don’t say, “I skipped yesterday, I might as well skip it today.” Don’t! Daily work applied with enthusiasm is going to make the difference. When you put in constant efforts, you get constant achievements. When you cannot put constant efforts – a few days you do more, a few days you do less, a few days you don’t do it at all – it is not going to lead you anywhere; then the spiritual path is very very far away. Diligence is one of the definitely necessary things. As I mentioned to you: if there is no diligence, wisdom and all others things will become like a dead body.
~ Gelek Rimpoche, The Six Perfections, 2013, P.77