Lacking Samvega/motivation

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Ryan95227
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Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by Ryan95227 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:03 pm

Hi, Im back from college and currently in house. Staying at home and playing games with friends is really making me guilty. Ever since i got home, i've gotten so lazy and have been just playing games and doing nothing. I stopped meditating and practicing mindfulness. I've stopped reading books. Sigh. So I've been purposely watching corpses rot and people dying brutually. Idk if this is the correct method for me but I'm just trying to ask you guys on what i can do to be motivated again. Also is watching those gore videos potentially bad for one? I've been pretty depressed after watching them a lot. It makes me question why life gotta be this way and just makes me hopeless. Well it does also make me rather motivated to stop doing pleasure inducing activites and focusing on practices thast put an end to this debilitating thought

befriend
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by befriend » Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:17 pm

you could contemplate the extreme rarity of being reborn as a human. be grateful you have this body that can allow you to do good deeds you never know when you will be human again. and also contemplate the 5 remembrances I am of the nature to grow old, there is no way to escape growing old, i am of the nature to have ill health there is no way to escape having ill health. i am of the nature to die there is no way to escape death. all that is dear to me and everyone i love are of the nature to change there is no way to escape being separated from them, my actions are my only true belongings, i cannot escape the consequences of my actions. my actions are the ground on which i stand.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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ihrjordan
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by ihrjordan » Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:37 am

Samvegga arises in me every time I have the unpleasant occasion of arguing with family or when the elements go according to their nature and not according to what I might have them, it makes me think "Wow you are really an idiot to think that that which is outside of you can be relied upon..." And then I usually get back to my practice.

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Ben
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by Ben » Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:19 am

Ryan95227 wrote:Hi, Im back from college and currently in house. Staying at home and playing games with friends is really making me guilty. Ever since i got home, i've gotten so lazy and have been just playing games and doing nothing. I stopped meditating and practicing mindfulness. I've stopped reading books. Sigh. So I've been purposely watching corpses rot and people dying brutually. Idk if this is the correct method for me but I'm just trying to ask you guys on what i can do to be motivated again. Also is watching those gore videos potentially bad for one? I've been pretty depressed after watching them a lot. It makes me question why life gotta be this way and just makes me hopeless. Well it does also make me rather motivated to stop doing pleasure inducing activites and focusing on practices thast put an end to this debilitating thought
There have been some studies that looked at the connection between video game consumption and inattention, anti-social behaviour and violence. My wife's an educational psychologist and a bit of an authority in the area.
But as for motivation, you just need to bite the bullet, my friend. Put your games away and make time for your practice. Perhaps even change your lifestyle or schedule time for more wholesome activities.
Something that you might find useful is a meditation app like insight timer. It has some neat features that help you stay motivated to develop a continuity (daily) effort.
Kind regards,
Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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LXNDR
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by LXNDR » Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:09 am

the natural course of life in due time will give an answer which revives the motivation

sometimes psyche just needs a break

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Sam Vara
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:50 am

Ryan95227 wrote: I've been purposely watching corpses rot and people dying brutually. Idk if this is the correct method for me but I'm just trying to ask you guys on what i can do to be motivated again. Also is watching those gore videos potentially bad for one? I've been pretty depressed after watching them a lot. It makes me question why life gotta be this way and just makes me hopeless. Well it does also make me rather motivated to stop doing pleasure inducing activites and focusing on practices thast put an end to this debilitating thought
If it is making you feel bad, then stop doing it. It might be that you are grasping these practices in the wrong way, so try a different approach. You can develop motivation from positive mind-states and contemplating the good that people do. Sometimes carrots work better than sticks. Have a look at positive sites like this one:
http://kindnessblog.com/

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seeker242
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by seeker242 » Sun Jul 05, 2015 11:25 am

Going to a temple and connecting with other Buddhists, especially Buddhist monks, I find is VERY motivating! :smile:

Going on a meditation retreat is also very motivating. :meditate:

ieee23
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by ieee23 » Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:00 pm

Ryan95227 wrote:Hi, Im back from college and currently in house. Staying at home and playing games with friends is really making me guilty. Ever since i got home, i've gotten so lazy and have been just playing games and doing nothing. I stopped meditating and practicing mindfulness. I've stopped reading books. Sigh. So I've been purposely watching corpses rot and people dying brutually. Idk if this is the correct method for me but I'm just trying to ask you guys on what i can do to be motivated again. Also is watching those gore videos potentially bad for one? I've been pretty depressed after watching them a lot. It makes me question why life gotta be this way and just makes me hopeless. Well it does also make me rather motivated to stop doing pleasure inducing activites and focusing on practices thast put an end to this debilitating thought
It is normal to want a vacation after a long stint of hard work. Vacations and play time actually increase productivity. Think of the word "recreation" re-creation. Put away the dhamma books for a while, but sit once a day. Plenty of time in the day to do that before playing games and goofing off.

Make a promise to yourself to meditate once a day, no matter what, even if you have to stay up late( hey, you are on vacation and can sleep in late ). Make an amount you can't balk at, 30 minutes first thing after breakfast, 15 minute, 10 minutes, or even just sitting on your cushion and getting up. Attach it to a fixed point in your day to take advantage of momentum and structure. Right after you eat breakfast, for instance.

I think watching the gore videos on your part is a form of self punishment born out of misguided thinking about the dhamma. It isn't a SHOULD. It is something you do to enhance your life, something you go to for refreshment, like playing your video games. Change the way you think about it. Ask yourself how you feel before you meditate, then ask yourself again immediately afterwards. Build up a REAL and positive association with it that way. If you don't feel like doing it, tell yourself all you have to do is sit on your cushion and close your eyes before you get up. Make the promise honest. Surely you can do even that and doing even that will build up motivational momentum or at the very least preserve the hooks of a habit.

You are never going to have time again like you do as a college student. You can take a month long, or longer retreat on your breaks. That becomes much more difficult today when you enter the work world, get married, start a family and get involved in other things. See if you can still make it to a retreat over this break whether it is a scheduled one or a few days at a monestary. Start planning a big retreat ( longer than a week ) for your next long break. Again, it is never going to be as easy for you as it is now in this phase of your life.

Take advantage of what you have, while you have it.

At the very least, promise yourself you will do NOTHING all day during your vacation, honestly mean that promise, that you are free to WASTE your WHOLE day, your WHOLE vacation , but you only have to sit down on your cushion first thing after breakfast, before getting up and going about the rest of your day. Thats it. No guilt. Just do that one tiny thing.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

ieee23
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by ieee23 » Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:23 pm

Another quick thought.

I believe that "samvega" means a sense of "urgency". That is not the same thing as motivation. Many people shut down under pressure. A lot of research has shown that the carrot, rather than the stick creates much more motivation. Rewards rather than punishment. Moving towards happiness, instead of away from pain. Get in touch with how you feel after you meditate. Think of the things that meditation does for you. Use those thoughts to generate happy motivation.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

Alexander____
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by Alexander____ » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:15 am

Good blog post over on Tricycle by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on samvega and pasada:

http://www.tricycle.com/blog/lost-capitulation" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Subharo
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by Subharo » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:46 pm

Alexander____ wrote:Good blog post over on Tricycle by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on samvega and pasada:
http://www.tricycle.com/blog/lost-capitulation
:goodpost:

That article was awesome, thanks! I laughed hard when I read:
If the [Buddha's] father were really up on current trends, he might find a dharma teacher who would counsel the prince [Siddhartha, before he fled the palace] to find happiness in life's little miraculous pleasures—a cup of tea, a walk in the woods, social activism, easing another person's pain. Never mind that these forms of happiness would still be cut short by aging, illness, and death, he would be told. The present moment is all we have, so we should try to appreciate the bittersweet opportunity of relishing but not holding on to brief joys as they pass.
:rofl:

I must admit I love Ajahn Thanissaro's scathing sense of humor.
Last edited by Subharo on Sat Oct 03, 2015 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

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Subharo
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Two books: "Data and Goliath", and "The Road"

Post by Subharo » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:59 pm

For the samvega-challenged, here are the two most intensely spiritually-motivating books, IMHO.

Both will give you a deep sense of hopelessness and futility. They make me feel like there's nothing else to do except meditate like my head was on fire.
  • * "Data and Goliath" by Bruce Schneier, ISBN-13: 978-0393244816
    * "The Road", by Cormac McCarthy, ISBN-13: 978-0307387899
Watch out, this is potent medicine. :jawdrop:

If you just read these, then don't meditate sincerely (and find some equanimity to speak of), you could get really depressed. These are HEAVY books. :shock:

You've been warned!
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

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Dhammanando
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Oct 03, 2015 12:01 am

Jasper Carrott on "How much time have I got left?"



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Subharo
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by Subharo » Sat Oct 03, 2015 11:20 am

Alexander____ wrote:Good blog post over on Tricycle by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on samvega and pasada:
http://www.tricycle.com/blog/lost-capitulation
That article also contained the best definition of samvega that I have ever seen:
the oppressive sense of shock, dismay, and alienation that come with realizing the futility and meaninglessness of life as it's normally lived; a chastening sense of our own complacency and foolishness in having let ourselves live so blindly; and an anxious sense of urgency in trying to find a way out of the meaningless cycle.
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:

Digity
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Re: Lacking Samvega/motivation

Post by Digity » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:14 am

Here are the things I'd reflect on.

1) Precious human birth. You've gained an exceedingly rare birth as a human with knowledge of the Dhamma. This opportunity is not to be taken lightly. It's greater than winning the lottery, but you can easily waste this opportunity. You need to cease the opportunity and fully establish yourself on the path. Your primary focus should be this. If you miss this chance then you'll greatly regret it.

2) Reflect on the effort the Buddha put into his awakening. The Buddha was unrelenting in his quest for awakening. There was nothing that was going to stop him. His effort was superb. When I would think about this and reflect on the Buddha's effort it motivated me to sit everyday. Before, I would struggle with sitting daily and felt lazy about it, but when I thought about the effort the Buddha put in then I would often feel embarrassed by my laziness and it pushed me to practice. So, just reflect on the Buddha and his qualities and see if that helps your motivation.

3) Finally, just the uncertainty of samsara. If you strive for stream-entry then you'll be safe, but otherwise you're leaving things to chance and you don't know what around the next corner. No amount of worldly pleasures comes even close to gaining stream-entry. That doesn't mean you have to cut out all the enjoyment in your life and just practice 24/7, but you certainly need to put some serious effort into it. You have enough sense to be interested in the Dhamma...now don't go half way and then turn around....reach the end of the path.

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