How To Do The Things You Hate To Do?

by Anup Adhikari
(Sikkim, India)

Question:

Hi Adam, your books and website have helped me a lot. I am calmer and more peaceful than before. Now I would like to solve a few works wherein I struggle doing/carrying out as they are some of the basic things of life. I find cooking, studying and falling asleep arduous. I dread to carry out those acts and usually procrastinate when I have to. 

While cooking, I feel like I'd rather not be doing it throughout the course. While studying, my mind wanders around a lot. I try to bring it back and concentrate but in vain. I feel terrible afterwards for having not learned anything after a good duration of studying. And while sleeping, I have to either wait a lot or put up some form of stuff on (like music) that helps me in falling asleep. I mostly feel bad afterwards for the fact that I could not achieve my objectives (in studies), and that I wasn't feeling happy at all throughout (in cooking and sleeping) − probably because of difficult thoughts throughout the latter two activities.

Next thing when the need to perform them arises again I feel dreadful about them and rather feel like not carrying out. So my question for you is how to carry out these things efficiently (studying) and not dread (cooking & sleeping)?


Response:

Hi Anup. I don’t think there is any absolute answer to anything you have asked about, so I will probably give a bunch of different answers, and you can just go with what sounds true for you.

Procrastination is usually when we see a task as somehow painful, and we wish to avoid it. It is not unnatural to wish to avoid pain, so the first thing you can do is let yourself. Let yourself procrastinate if that’s what is happening. In a total allowance of it, without condemning it or wishing it be different, you may naturally gain some insights about it. Whenever you fight with it or judge it as anything, then the true nature of it is masked, and it instead feels as if it is something you have control over or should be responsible for, and conflict ensues. Let yourself procrastinate, and the tendency may burn itself out far quicker. You may see that it is quite futile, or may indeed see that it is an avoidance of something else that is deemed painful.

So what is so painful about these other tasks? You have eluded to it already, but talking about it conceptually is different from the living experience.

Let's take sleep − is it the lying on the bed that is physically uncomfortable? With cooking, are the hand movements painful for you? Probably not. So it would seem the physical acts themselves, the actual movements are not what hurts − it is the mental strain, or the uncomfortable sensations that arise when the mind is no longer distracted by some form of pleasure. See that the thoughts about the tasks are not the tasks themselves. They are not actually related to each other, but the thoughts pretend that they are inseparable from the tasks being carried out. See that the discomfort is self-created, or mind-created, rather than the task inflicting anything on to you.

Don’t take any of it personally, at a certain point there can arise in someone an absolute tiredness, a sickness of doing anything at all. It can feel as if the burden is just too much to bear. This can be helpful, as it allows the responsibility to fall back into Life itself, rather than the imaginary person believing they are responsible for all of it.

Are you actually doing it? Sometimes doing basic things can begin to feel painful so that you question your role as the doer of it all. When cutting food, is it really you doing it, or is it happening by itself? Reading these words, is there someone doing it or is it just happening by itself? Are you breathing, are you beating the heart, do you digest food, do you decide when to fall asleep? The idea of doership is engrained from birth, and so inside the body an energy rises up that says "I am doing this, I did this, I will do that", but is this really true?

Take the movements of Life as an impersonal energy movement, rather than something that anyone is doing.

Often the mind can use tasks such as these to maintain resistance, and therefore an identity for itself. Notice how rather than simply moving in Life, the mind will try to tell a story of a whole task that needs to be accomplished, all that needs to be studied, a whole meal to cook, or a certain period of time spent waiting for sleep. These are all illusions. The reality is always very simple. See the simplicity of everything as it happens. Picking up a plate, lying on a bed, reading a word, or writing a word. Let everything be, including the discomfort or avoidance. If you, whilst waiting for sleep, forget all about sleep and instead let the entirety of the moment be as it is, then you may notice a difference.

Don’t give so much importance to your goals or outcomes, because they can dwarf and hinder present action. For example, if you study, don't be so attached to doing a certain amount. Just sit, see what happens, forget about time. Alternatively you can break it down, so you just study for 10 minutes. You could try 10 minute periods, which sounds like nothing, but will gradually build up and may make it all seem easier.

Are these things you have to do? Do you have to cook? Do you have to sleep? Do you have to study? If you really consider these things, rather than just taking someone else's word for it, then it may make everything easier. If you absolutely have to do something, then you will see the futility of complaining about it, or rather see the futility of the thoughts that wish the situation were otherwise. If it is something you don’t have to do, then relax from putting any pressure on yourself. It is true that sometimes self-created pressure can sustain action for someone, but for others, it just creates a useless burden and more conflict.

You can also notice that something inside enjoys complaining, enjoys avoidance, and then enjoys feeling bad about it afterwards. You do not have to get rid of anything, but notice that there seems to be some strange enjoyment going on, or at least the belief that things such as complaining, feeling bad, procrastinating − are helpful for your life or for doing things.

That's all I have for now, thanks for your question, and I'm glad the material has been useful for you.

If you wish to ask anything more, feel free,

Adam

Comments for How To Do The Things You Hate To Do?

(from previous website)

Feb 07, 2015
Thanks 
by: Anup

Thanks, it is sufficient and helpful.