Take a step back to see the steps to happiness

 

In the next few weeks, we will reflect on Dhamma talks held during the this year’s Gimhāna Retreat on ‘Steps to Happiness’.  These talks discuss the manifestations of the mind which obstruct our spiritual progress, and how we can take steps towards removing them.  We hope that this series are useful reminders and contemplations for you.

 

Overcome the lazy mind

One of the hindrances in our spiritual practice is the lazy mind.  It arises as mental lethargy or fatigue from a mind that is overwhelmed by delusion (moha).  More commonly, we experience it as idleness or inactivity where our sluggishness spirals into procrastination, and when we create excuses to discourage ourselves from wholesome activities including being overly occupied with worldly activities.

When we face chronic laziness, we need to bring about a sense of urgency by regularly contemplating on impermanence.  Not only are our mundane activities transient, so are our supporting conditions to walk the noble path.  If we consider properly our vulnerability, would we still prioritise the same things?

Secondly, we should reflect on the shortcomings of this ‘samsaric’ existence.  How many times will we chase after life in the hopes of being fulfilled or happy?  It is inevitable that each time, we end up frustrated, dissatisfied and heart-broken amidst fleeting moments of pleasure.

The Buddha explained in the Kusita-Arambhavattu Sutta (AN 8.80) that to overcome the excuses of laziness created by our mind, we should think like this – NOW is the right time to exert energy and effort to practice in accordance with Dhamma.  Because ‘NOW’ is what we have. Life, death and the future is uncertain.  The Buddha points out the path, but only we can undertake the effort to walk the path to liberation.