Question: I often feel lazy when it comes to studies and become easily involved in playing videogames or watching movies. I know I must study, but various forces or voices compel me to procrastinate. I keep procrastinating and the day passes away. Please help!
Answer: Asking “what shall I do about procrastinating?” is just another way of putting off what you need to see about yourself and the likely emptiness of your present pursuits in life. Where there is no love for what one does, there can be no wish to do that. No one loves a master who compels or coerces them — against their will — to do what they would rather not. That being said… if there is a householder duty of some kind to be performed, some true daily responsibility to care of — or otherwise provide for others — then be responsible to that task while remembering this liberating truth: it is what we love that determines our experience of whatever it is that we are given to do, regardless of its nature. Start where you are… and be grateful that love is helping you to see what doesn’t love you. Before any new relationship can begin, one must end. The day will come, if you persist with your wish to be free, when you will see that the beginning and ending of love are not in time.
Trying to dominate our destructive thoughts and feelings, or seeking to liberate our “better” parts through some form of self-discipline, is secretly at the expense of our freedom, and not in its cause. Freedom from the ties that bind, victory over our own nature, is not a conquest in the usual sense. Try to see the following as deeply as possible: anything that has to be kept in check must also keep its checker in chains. The person with this kind of control over him or herself is like an ignited rocket tethered to the ground. The opposing forces eventually cause an explosion. We need release from ourselves, not a better way to live in prison. Keeping these points in mind helps us to arrive at this totally new consideration: what we really need is distance from our own highly reactive thoughts and feelings.
To start stepping back from yourself, collect all the facts you can about your true inner condition. Support your findings with further personal investigation. These actions bring higher discoveries which will inspire you to reach higher on the next round of self-study. For a start, the following is an exercise in how to work successfully at stepping back from yourself.
You can wake yourself up just as many times as you’re willing to catch yourself in daydreams where you’re the star. This amazing discovery proves that the only power your present nature has to keep you slumbering is how much you enjoy feeling like you’re in the spotlight on center stage. But you can have something much higher than these bittersweet temporary sensations.
Each time you find yourself daydreaming, give yourself this healthy jolt: Cancel all remaining performances of that show. They’re probably just reruns anyway. Your choice to come wide-awake, and to live without your dream self is the same as choosing in favor of freedom — the permanent home of your Real Self. This conscious act places you directly in the healing spotlight of the present moment.
Sufi teachings speak of the “commanding self,” Christianity of deceitful interior “friends,” and virtually all other religions hold forth the idea that we have many “I’s” or divergent personalities within us, and also that some of these selves are for us and some against us. My term “Temporary Person in Charge” describes the appearance of various yet familiar “I’s” that appear within us to respond to the ever-changing flow of life. Key to grasp here is that each newly surfacing “I” we take as being our true self isn’t conscious to us until some problem presents itself. With our once shaky sense of “I” vested in this new and commanding “I” (that knows what needs to be done to put life aright), we again feel in control of our lives.
What remains unseen by us is that each of these false “I’s” is, in reality, a kind of shadow self — its actual nature little more than a temporary substructure of thought fashioned from the content of our own past experience. What this means is that this “self” — which seems to solve our problems — is, in fact, a part of the problems’ recurring appearance. Think about this deeply: The self that resists any other self is itself an extension of the self it is resisting. This is why we must stay awake and work to remain in the present moment. If we can remain observant to the appearance and running around of these vagrant “I’s” – as opposed to identifying with one of them – we can be free of their limiting influences.
Real Life is change itself, a ceaseless flow of creative forces expressed in ever-new forms. So, our inability to make a fresh start isn’t because Life refuses us what we need to succeed. The problem is this: before we can hope to make a real new beginning in life, we must deliberately release our old claims upon it; for it is only in letting go of whatever binds us to our past that we are free to realize the promise of who we may yet be.