Have you felt bored with your spiritual practices? Spending time on the meditation cushion or chanting the precious hours away and one day, you asked yourself, “Why am I doing this?” “What is the meaning of all these practices?”
If we have such thoughts, then it means we were never serious about gaining enlightenment or we did not know the various spiritual milestones in Buddhism.
We confuse knowledge with realizations. We think we know everything and we became jaded by our knowledge. Thus, we developed a “Oh, I know that! so what is next?” mentality.
It is a typical mistake for Buddhist students. Practical Buddhism involves working with our mind or spirituality. We turn our mental focus inward and explore the intricacy of our state of beings.
For example, some people may deal with anger, while others may have to deal with craving or ego. That is already quite challenging. Foremost, we need to know our problem. That self examination is already a roller-coaster ride because we may need to peel away the layers of self-denial to see our true persona.
After discovering our weaknesses, we have to work with ourselves to change for the better. That requires determination and grit. It is never just about sitting on the cushion but living our life fully.
For example, if we hate someone in the office. Buddhist practice means overcoming our aversion and one day being able to love that person. Practically, we do metta meditation and hopefully one day, we can sit down together for a cup of coffee without catching ourselves rolling our eyes at everything they say!
In addition to changing ourselves to a better person, we read and study Dharma. Then we have to contemplate the Dharma against our daily experience.
When the Buddha taught that life is impermanent and it is suffering, how do we see that Truth in our daily experience?
While we are contemplating this Truth, do we become a happier person with that Truth in our mind or do we become depressed? Or do we develop tranquility? Yes, these experiences can be pretty intense because it influence the way we perceive and interact with the world. As you can see, it is anything but boring.
When we practice meditation, we aim to attain jhana and that is like setting a goal to run that extra mile or carry an additional 10kg in the gym. For chanters, we are not without goals because we have various samadhi to develop too. At each session or “workout”, we look forward to that breakthrough. As you can see, it is anything but boring.
Finally, there are various stages of awakening. Starting with the realization of non-self. Again, this is not something that we muddle through. It is a practical attainment that we need to cultivate and attain. Something that we have to experience for ourselves.
In summary, Buddhism is something practical and we have various milestones to attain. Practical Buddhism is never boring. Remember to set your goal and just do it. Have fun always.
May all be well and happy.