Chodron’s third kind of harmful laziness is the “Couldn’t Care Less” form. This is a harder, tougher version of “Loss of Heart.” For in this type of apathy, we are hardened and angry at the world. We are “aggressive and defiant.” If someone tries to cheer us up, we lash out at them. We use “laziness as a way of getting revenge.” But really, we hurt ourselves the most.
Until we decide to investigate and objectively look at our intentions, we will continue this destructive pattern. We will continue to have our “problems”: health, relationships and career.
It’s simple, but not necessarily easy. Sometimes, we don’t want to “get real.” We are comfortable in our habitual patterns of laziness. But the benefits of doing the work will greatly outweigh any temporary comfort.
Yesterday’s post was a review of Pema Chodron’s take on laziness (part one) from her book The Places That Scare You. Chodron asserts that there are three “debilitating habitual patterns” that we often partake in.
The second type she identifies is “loss of heart.” One symptom of this form is when we tell ourselves something like, “I’m the worst. There’s no hope for me. I’ll never get it right.” (Chodron, 90).
When we become lazy with loss of heart, we avoid interacting with the world. We retreat and we watch lots of TV (or surf the net). We eat, drink, smoke and watch the screen mindlessly. We have forgotten how to help ourselves.
The remedy for Lazy Type 2 is the same for Lazy Type 1. Get curious. Ask the right questions (hint: one wrong question would be, “why me?”). Notice that you don’t have to subscribe to negative thought or belief patterns. You can choose differently.
We often condone our behavior. We say we are “happy” and deserve to relax. But in reality, we are “haunted by self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy.”
Why concern ourselves with these notions of laziness? As Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor, 161 – 180 AD) reminds us in The Meditations, our lives are short. There is no time to waste.
An oft-overlooked enemy of our confidence and strength is laziness. Pema Chodron identifies three different types of laziness. Today, I will address the first: Comfort Orientation. People (we) “tend to avoid inconvenience.”
Chodron accurately describes our tendency to want to be comfortable immediately in her book The Places That Scare You. At the first sign of cold, we seek heat. When it gets warm, we seek the cool. We will drive rather than walk a block in the rain.
This habit leads us to be aggressive. We get outraged at inconvenience. As soon as we lose internet connection, we feel personally attacked! Acting this way, developing the habit of seeking comfort in an urgent manner, also robs us of full appreciation through our senses: sights, sounds, and smells (Chodron, p. 90).
True joy eludes us when we are perpetually being at the mercy of constant comfort. When we act this way, the locus of control is outside of us.
How then, do we rectify this? Get curious! Ask yourself, “Why am I suffering? Why does nothing lighten up? Why do my dissatisfaction and boredom get stronger year by year?” (Chodron, 91).
Stories might arise. And we might realize that we do not have to believe these stories anymore. Do not resist laziness. (What we resist only grows stronger). Instead, be curious.
Today was the first day of Tetra Quartet Summer Camp for my daughters, 14 and 15. They both play violin.
The 15-year-old is a night owl. But for camp, she needs to wake up by 7:30 am, not her preferred hour of noon.
She was a sleeping angel – so cute! – who was about to become a demon. I dreaded it. I gave her a hug and kiss. Nothing.
I nudged her a little later. Nothing.
I yelled out from the hallway, “Got to get up soon!” Nothing.
My mind flashed past articles I read about not waking your children. Something about being a helicopter parent. I’m not a helicopter parent! Still…she needed to get up. My BP was rising.
At last, she woke. Grumpy. She slammed things. She packed her music stand roughly. I held my tongue. I asked her to do that last night! How dare she get angry because she didn’t prepare! But I remained quiet.
We were in the car. She wanted me to hurry, because tardy musicians must do a little song and dance for the (on time) group.
As calmly as I could manage, I said, “You weren’t prepared for this morning. Your oversight is not my emergency. I’m not going to rush and risk an accident. You have a cell phone with an alarm clock. I will not wake you up anymore. If you can’t get up, you’ll be late. Your song and dance consequence is not my concern.” Sitting in the backseat, the 14-year-old’s silence was deafening. Good – a bit of peer pressure for the older sibling.
We sat in peace for the rest of the ride.
I realized that had I said something earlier, when she was huffing and puffing, and slamming things, we would have had a “blow out.” Instead, I waited until I was calm (and she was calmer) and stated in a factual matter what was what.
“Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment.”
– Pema Chodron
I stepped up my workout yesterday and this morning (in pain) I asked, why did I do that to myself? The answer: I want to be strong and flexible and … I want to look good in my swimsuit. 😉 Completing an “easy” workout would not have the same effect. Sure, I’d burn a few calories, but without the extra burn and stress on my muscles, I would see little benefit.
It’s this way with our mental muscles, too. Pema Chodron, a world reknown Buddhist nun and author of several books, (including The Places That Scare You), informs readers that it takes effort to experience peace and happiness. One must be attentive and aware of one’s thoughts. “Our training encourages us to open the bags and look closely at what we are carrying…much of it isn’t needed anymore.”
We’re so used to blaming others for our emotions. The first step to everlasting happiness is to take responsibility for our own thoughts and actions. Self-deception is a workable habit of the mind, we only need to decide to change and do the “heavy” lifting.