The Strength of the Energetic

You’ll be seeing gradual improvements in the format of the page over the next few days. While Facebook was the ideal platform for quickly getting news out and piecing together a community, and no monastic looks forward to having to sink into learning website design, given enough time it was bound to happen. Such is the way for those who are energetic, mindful, and undistracted in their goals. Even big, difficult projects become possible.

Have you ever wanted to undertake a project, but when you sat down and started figuring out all the necessary steps you felt your energy and enthusiasm bleed away? Or found yourself darting from task to task restlessly, all too aware of how much help you’d prefer to have?

Whenever we want to apply ourselves to something, it’s good to stop and assess – are the five hindrances present? The five hindrances are five patterns of thought the Buddha pointed to as being unhelpful, distracting, and – hence the name – a hindrance to our happiness and success. When it comes to using energy, the hindrances of Sloth and Restlessness are especially relevant. They try to convince us it’s too hard or too much work, or they keep whipping us to do more, do it faster, do it better. Neither is the working of a productive, clear mind.

What is it like beyond the five hindrances? This is something that only one who puts energy into developing a meditation practice can experience. It’s a little paradox of the mind. It takes energy to make energy. Because it’s not really a question of having more energy or toning it down. When we apply ourselves wholeheartedly and undistractedly to a task, the idea of energy itself vanishes. We just do what we mean to do, nothing more or less.

This is the real strength of dhamma practitioners. They make incredible things possible, but not because they are necessarily more intelligent, or more resourceful, or more skilled. Often, the main factor of success is that they just stick with it until they are finished, or, if it’s an ongoing process, they know exactly when to work and when to exercise patience.

How does one journey a hundred miles on foot? Or sew a robe that’ll take 50 hours of work? Or build a dhamma center? One step at a time! How else? 😊

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