On a recent family holiday, I found myself stuffed into the middle back seat of a minivan for countless hours in the baking sun. Getting a breeze to flow through the stench of feet was almost as impossible as making a single decision without every woman in my family line having to chime in with her opinion. While the company was actually fantastic, the drive itself was just plain unpleasant and I began reflecting upon how quickly irritation can bubble up in the face of being even slightly inconvenienced, even if that inconvenience is in a picturesque setting on a lovely holiday with a group of awesome folk. And so it is that I am bringing you an excerpt from The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron (who I also quoted in last week’s SS on fear.) Sacred Sundays brings you the first of The Three Kinds of Laziness:
“Laziness is a common human trait. Unfortunately, it inhibits wakeful energy and undermines our confidence and strength. There are three kinds of laziness- comfort orientation, loss of heart and “couldn’t care less”. These are three ways that we become stuck in debilitating habitual patterns. Exploring then with curiosity, however, dissolves their power.
The first kind of laziness, comfort orientation, is based on our tendency to avoid inconvenience. We want to take a rest, to give ourselves a break. But soothing ourselves, lulling ourselves, becomes a habit and we become jaded and lazy. If it’s raining, we drive half a block rather than get wet. At the first hint of heat, we turn on the air conditioner. At the first threat of cold, we turn up the heat. In this way, we lose touch with the texture of life. We trust the quick “upper” and become accustomed to automatic results.”
-The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron
Last fall, I was riding my bike and it began to rain, I felt the panic of needing to get home quickly, then recognized this form of laziness. So I pulled off the road, sat on the ground and spent the next half hour getting really really wet. I can feel in myself this laziness of comfort-orientation, how I really want to move towards that which is pleasant, secure, comfortable and known. But what feels very important about practicing with discomfort is that it deepens our ability to really be in life. As we are able to expand our ability to be with that which causes discomfort, physically or otherwise, we won’t need to run for shelter in a storm. We can be more awake, full and present in the moments when life gets really uncomfortable…which is often, as it turns out.