Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Laziness As Our Personal Teacher

--by Pema Chodron (Nov 20, 2017)

The path of awakening is a process. It’s a process of gradually learning to become intimate with our so-called obstacles. So rather than feeling discouraged by laziness, we could look into our laziness, become curious about laziness. We could get to know laziness profoundly.

We can unite with laziness, be our laziness, know its smell and taste, feel it fully in our bodies. The spiritual path is a process of relaxing into this very moment of being. We touch in with this moment of lethargy or loss of heart, this moment of pain, of avoidance, of couldn’t care less. We touch in and then we go forward. This is the training. Whether in formal meditation or throughout our days and nights, we can train in letting go of our commentary and contacting the felt quality of our experience. We can touch our experience without getting hooked by the story line. We can touch this very moment of being and then move on.

We are sitting in meditation or going about our usual routine, and it occurs to us to listen to what we’re saying. What we hear is, Oy vey, oy vey! Woe is me. I’m a failure. There’s no hope. We look at what we do to ourselves, what we say to ourselves, how we lose heart or try to distract ourselves. Then we let those words go and touch the heart of this moment. We touch the very center of this moment of being and then we let go. This is how we train. Again and again, this is our practice.

We join our loss of heart with honesty and kindness. Instead of pulling back from the pain of laziness, we move closer. We lean into the wave. We swim into the wave.

Somewhere in the process of staying with the moment, it might occur to us that there are a lot of unhappy brothers and sisters out there, suffering as we are suffering. In becoming intimate with our own pain, with our own laziness, we are touching in with all of them, understanding them, knowing our kinship with all of them.

[...]Instead of continuing to zone out and shut down and close off, we lean in and relax. This is how we practice.

So maybe we open the window or go out for a walk, or maybe we sit silently, but whatever we do, it occurs to us to stay with ourselves, to go behind the words, behind the ignoring, and to feel the quality of this moment of being, in our hearts, in our stomachs, for ourselves, and for all of the millions of others in the same boat. We start to train in openness and compassion toward this very moment. This very moment of laziness becomes our personal teacher. This precious moment becomes our profound and healing practice.

Pema Chodron is a renowned Buddhist teacher. Excerpt above is from an online article.

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Previous Reflections:

On Nov 17, 2017 Liz Helgesen wrote:

 I've learned to allow and love my laziness!  After suffering for years with unnecessary panic and guilt, I now 'lean in' to my laziness because I know and trust myself.   As my personal history shows, my lethargy or exhaustion eventually passes and my engines rev back up and my work gets done.  I know this.  I trust this.  This trust helps me 'lean in' to the laziness and give my self, guilt-free the moment or hour or day to recharge and practice just being.

With my love and gratitude for our Readings,

On Nov 18, 2017 david doane wrote:

 To unite with laziness means to me to let it happen, accept it, be open to it, not fight it, and go with it.  It will occur and subside, like any other feeling or experience, and I can unite with it and find out where it takes me.  I've been lazy at times, not in the mood to do a task at hand, and at times I have united with the laziness and put the task aside, which felt good and freeing, and took a nap or did nothing or got into some activity that I did feel like doing.  What helps me lean into my laziness, which I do too seldom, is understanding that laziness is what I feel when I don't want to do something that I am supposed to do, as determined by someone else or myself, and my laziness has something to offer.  Laziness can open me to new possibilities and to finding what I do want to do.  It can be an opening to finding my excitement.  It can be my personal teacher.  After a period of uniting with laziness I may even have renewed energy with which to complete the task I didn't want to do.

On Nov 18, 2017 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 Everything that happens to me could  be me my teacher if I do not resist it, fight it, fear it or freeze by denying it and doing nothing about it. As a human being, I experience ups and downs, pleasure and pain. Since I like and want pleasure, I try to avoid, deny and try to runaway from my pain. By avoiding it or believing or hoping that it is gone, I am fooling myself. What I disown slips into the shadow zone. Since I do not want to face my shadow and work through it, it darkens my light zone and prevents me from me being and accepting my authentic or real self. I need to wake up and embrace my fullness with all its colors. I relax myself and lean into that dark zone which is me. In order to be a whole human being, I need to accept my humanness and compassionately work through it.

The body has its natural rhythms. When I am tired, my body wants and needs to rest and relax and go to sleep. If I do not listen to the feedback  that my body gives, I become my own enemy. I have been learning and practicing to befriend my tired body and provide that restful space. It is natural laziness. And the same way I relate to my bodily sensations, thoughts, feelings and emotions. Since I live in a relational world, I relate to my inter -personal experiences the same way. The other is me too.We need to go beyond the dualistic perspective and relate to each other as our brothers and sisters, the branches of the one tree of humanity.

This is my daily psycho-spiritual practice. Living this way makes me hopeful and optimistic as we are going through small and big storms in our life. Life is a gift and it is my intention to appreciate and use this gift for a higher propose, for greater good.


May we all awaken and walk on the Dharma path, the path of not harming us, other sentient beings, non-human beings and  Mother nature!

Jagdish P dave

On Nov 21, 2017 Gail Hamley wrote:

 I had learned to unite with bouts of depression which became a great teacher.  Then just a few days ago I found myself grieving that I was lazy aka a failure.  I accepted this laziness and let go of the judgments.  A new understanding of myself emerged.  I was striving, trying to run my own life and in the process I was losing the gifts offered to me in every moment.  I was striving to be what I thought was ‘great’—

On Nov 22, 2017 Pravin Shah wrote:
Until recently, the word Laziness had a negative meaning for me like 'Procrastination', 'Coward', 'Loser' etc! But now, it has become my best friend. It is like a deliberate 'pause' in otherwise mostly 'unconscious' living! It is like a brief unscheduled Meditation moment. I love it. When I come out of 'Laziness', I am energized. Thanks.

On Oct 22, 2018 Emma cooper wrote:

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