Almost 2 months ago, I got back from a 7-month stay at a monastery and since then I have noticed my practice declining, steadily and slowly. To sum it up, the integrity is fading. I keep finding myself thinking: I can't wait to be back at the monastery... in the future... it'll be so much better
My resolve is still there, but I'm particularly finding myself acting on my desires more and more often, getting wrapped up in thoughts, and losing composure (i.e. acting inappropriately for somebody intent on practice). That can mean grabbing a quick bite out of the fridge, putting myself before others, not cleaning up after myself promptly, etc. These things might seem minor but definitely contrast with life at the monastery (and also with the habits of those I perceive to have integrity in their lives) and arise concurrently with unskillful states of mind, such as restlessness, anger, and sensual desire. My morning and evening meditations have also been declining in terms of their quality.
And also, and perhaps most importantly, my small circle friends isn't very skillful. They aren't criminals, but to put it simply, they're unrestrained in their behavior, and a couple of them do smoke pot and/or drink openly, illegally. Thankfully, I don't partake in those things (and that's a small to non-existent portion of what they do when I'm hanging out with them) but it's easy to suspect that they are influencing me. My immediate family who I live with is also not very inspiring (which I hate to say).
Obviously some things to do would be to find better friends, but my social skills aren't quite developed to that point (for now of course), and also another thing would be to just restrain myself more (easier said than done) - but the thing is, that's getting harder; it's getting easier to say "yes" to desire instead of "no".
Another thing would be to meet with a Sangha, and this is possible, but difficult to access at this point given my financial situation.
Would anyone mind sharing their tips and insights into building their practice in the world? What helps for you?
All of us are bound by birth, aging, and death. - Chanting book