The Warning Signs

14 April 2017 1:43 PM
A month ago I started meditation again for the nth time during the past 9 years. When I started I was in considerable suffering and now things had stabilized  remarkably. However I am feeling that my motivation for meditation is decreasing. It doesn't mean that I don't want to meditate anymore, no I pretty much want to meditate, but I have been here before and I should be careful otherwise I will stop again in a month.

I should be quite clear to myself about why I want to continue. I must recall my past negative experiences, I must recall the benefits of meditation, and I must connect them both to my core values. It is very easy to lose it all again.

I should also make a list of things that may get in my way and prevent me from going forward. Short list:
  1. Sleeping late
  2. Sexual fantasies
  3. News, Political news.
  4. Reacting to people around me. Thinking too much about how people think about me.
  5. Being too harsh on myself.
  6. Too much planning and fantasizing  about future, "When I get well I will..."

I should be aware of these traps and try to prevent them at all costs. 4 and 5 can disguise them selves into moral concerns that I should be aware. I have been here before, I don't want to take the wrong path again.

I will be grateful for any further suggestions.


As is the case with the cultivation of many positive habits, motivation often isn't there for you when you need it most. One may be able to temporarily concoct motivation in various ways, but the power of this is often fleeting and inconstant. Feelings of motivations can be ever-changing and so are an unreliable foundation for getting things done and cultivating those positive things one ultimately wishes to. Really, in a non-trivial way when we are at the whim of motivation we are enslaved by it.

As such the best I can suggest is to learn to utterly dispense with relying on motivation in this sense. Work to take it out of the equation so it no longer informs your behaviors and habits. Just engage in the intended positive activities without any thought towards feeling motivated and gradually this will become second nature. In the beginning you will be forcing yourself, but over time it will require less and less effort to initiative and sustain the intended behaviors.

Ironically, despite relying on motivation less and less, one of the typical benefits of consistently cultivating positive behaviors is a sort of feedback loop involving the arising of motivation to sustain positive routines. As long as one doesn't fall again for relying on said motivation as a foundation, initiating the routine on a daily basis becomes virtually effortless.

So, whenever it came time to work out or engage in a formal session of meditation and I would be feeling no motivation to do it, or even motivation to do anything but it, I conditioned myself to view that as a critical sign that I needed to forcefully engage in the activity I was avoiding then and there.

Best wishes to you, it really will get easier!
about 1 year ago
I'm afraid I'm not much use here being lucky enough to always feel motivated. But what Brendon says makes sense. Motivation can wax and wane, if it can become second nature it will always be there.

It doesn't need to be an all or nothing approach. Some people start full of enthusiasm with superlong sits only to burn out their enthusiasm very quickly. Maybe set a minimum that you will do everyday regardless - ideally first thing so life doesn't have a chance to provide excuses. You can always do more when there is an obvious burning need or a wealth of enthusiasm but at least it will avoid the dwindling to a stop pattern.
Kokai (Sarah)
about 1 year ago