Adam guided our reflections this past Sunday on the Hindrance of Sloth and Torpor. Laziness is only one facet of this complex Hindrance to our lives, meditative and otherwise. A dharmic analysis of the causes and conditions of Sloth and Torpor can help us meet this hindrance with more skill and greater effectiveness.
I chose this Hindrance because I have had little practice observing this mindfully. Or so I had thought. Also — I tend toward action, and I thought it might be good for me to see how this Hindrance shows up.
Ajahn Brahmavamso states in the Five Hindrances:
“Sloth and torpor is overcome by rousing energy. Energy is always available but few know how to turn on the switch, as it were. Setting a goal, a reasonable goal, is a wise and effective way to generate energy, as is deliberately developing interest in the task at hand. A young child has a natural interest, and consequent energy, because its world is so new. Thus, if one can learn to look at one’s life, or one’s meditation, with a ‘beginner’s mind’ one can see ever new angles and fresh possibilities which keep one distant from sloth and torpor, alive and energetic. Similarly, one can develop delight in whatever one is doing by training one’s perception to see the beautiful in the ordinary, thereby generating the interest which avoids the half-death that is sloth and torpor. […] Sloth and torpor is a common problem which can creep up and smother one slowly. A skilful meditator keeps a sharp look-out for the first signs of sloth and torpor and is thus able to spot its approach and take evasive action before it’s too late. Like coming to a fork in a road, one can take that mental path leading away from sloth and torpor.”
Other remedies for S & T in addition to mindfulness: