The Key to Spiritual Practice in 150 Words.

“The practice of meditation could be described as relating with cool boredom, refreshing boredom, boredom like a mountain stream. It refreshes because we do not have to do anything or expect anything. But there must be some sense of discipline if we are to get beyond the frivolity of trying to replace boredom.”

~ Chogyam Trungpa

We invite, as Thomas Merton said, “useless trouble upon ourselves” when we expect ourselves to always be moved toward spiritual practice. The fact is that many days we will not want to sit. This is where discipline comes in.

Discipline makes practice very ordinary, very boring, so our spiritual path becomes a sort of internal struggle. But in the struggle is where we find the juice.

It is precisely because we don’t want to practice that practice is a practice. Engaging in a discipline is becoming a disciple.

We are learning to worship something other than our own finicky self-interest, which is hell. We are learning how to step beyond the limitations of our self-centered framework.

We are practicing and cultivating our capacity to do what we do not want to do, and not to do what we want to do.

We are exercising our inherent freedom.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise

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BBolder Oct 18, 2013 12:34pm

Very good – simple and to the point.

It just occurred to me I appreciate the contributions from male authors, which are distinct minority – please keep them coming.

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Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the author of Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West. He is also the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA and a teacher at Explore Yoga. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist and Christian spirituality on Elephant Journal, and his blog. Click here to listen to the Finding God in the Body Podcast. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter.