How Can I Overcome Spiritual Laziness?


How does one overcome laziness? I mean, "chronic laziness". It reminds me of Lord Jesus’s statement to His disciples that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. It feels very discouraging when I think of how the little steps I take in the spiritual path will just delay my progress by a long time.

—Rukmani, India


Dear Rukmani,

Yours is a good reminder of how one answers questions about suffering. What I mean is this: we usually don’t put out the energy to change until we have to because we are suffering too much mentally or otherwise. In other words, we need a strong motivation to change! Wishing or knowing what is right is NOT enough. The mind may know what I WANT to do but, to quote your quote the “flesh is weak.”

The starting point for change is always knowing where you are right now. Like the store directory in a shopping mall you need to know not just where the store you are seeking is but also “YOU ARE HERE.”

An honest, calm self-assessment can establish some beginning steps to WHAT AM I WILLING AND ABLE TO DO RIGHT NOW?” It really doesn’t matter how long it will take because:

1. What else can you do but “do what you can?” “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” [Lao Tse]. AND

2. Time is an illusion because right now, right here, God is as much with you as God will ever BE. “Be still and know I AM.”

Therefore, RELAX the mind from its constant narrative and tendency to measure and judge your progress. Your spiritual awakening is in God’s hands PROVIDED you do WHAT YOU CAN RIGHT NOW! It’s not about dying and going to heaven by being a good person. Goodness is it’s own reward but God’s presence is far more than that and it is here right now. As Lahiri Mahasaya would say: Banat, banat, ban jai! (Doing, little, little, doing, soon done!)

Therefore, chart out the steps you feel you can commit to at the present time:

  1. Daily meditation?
  2. How much time can you set aside each day and know you can do? From a few minutes to more, it doesn’t matter as long as you do what you set out to do. And when you don’t succeed, get up and keep trying. God watches the heart, not the clock.
  3. One kind deed to someone each day?
  4. A chant; a mantra; each day.
  5. Serving the divine work of God and guru in someway each week? Each month?

It is not correct to say the little steps you take delay your enlightenment. Quite the opposite, the steps you take today, no matter how “little” in your view, are steps toward God. Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: “Even a leaf I accept if offered with devotion.” Also: “Even a little practice of this inward religion (of meditation, devotion and self-offering) will save you from dire fears and colossal sufferings.”

Are you in touch with an Ananda center nearest you? It will help you to be around other truthseekers and devotees. Not for the purposes of comparing yourself, but for satsang, for the vibrational exchange of magnetism. ok?

Blessings and peace be with you,
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle, WA USA /