Laziness and its companions, lethargy and sloth are such paralyzing habits that they can make a highly intelligent, a very rich, or even a very religious person completely destroy their life and fortune. Laziness can take many forms, such as idleness, apathy, procrastination and inertia amongst others. It may stem from boredom, tiredness or world-weariness, but underlying all of this is fear. Paradoxically, laziness can be a form of inner restlessness and peacelessness, a lack of purpose, direction and meaning. Thus, conquering this merciless habit is the key to happiness and inner contentment.
Laziness as explained in Wikipedia is 'a disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to do so'. Retired people who sit in an armchair on the beach all day would not necessarily be deemed lazy, they are reaping the reward of a lifetime of activity and their old age somehow gives them permission to sit back and enjoy the sea and sun! Yet if a young person were to be sitting in his place, most would question why he was a lazy bum!
Yes, it is interesting how we all seem to want a carrot every morning to wake us up. Not a carrot as in your morning juice, but a carrot of enticement as in some kind of motivation that pushes us out of bed and out of our homes. Perhaps it is that hefty pay packet, or perhaps it is the sheer joy of fulfilling your passion and dream. Yet just think: if that were not there, would you still be motivated to jump out of bed so early in the morning?
Laziness is not simply inactivity. The spiritual aspirant may not appear to do a lot sometimes, but please do not confuse sitting for hours in meditation on some holy mountain as a form of laziness. Those who have found their calling, and can sit still with a purpose are not lazy, but instead they realize that being' is a most important precursor to 'doing', if your 'doing' is to be of significance in the world. However, just as outer laziness can ruin a life, so spiritual laziness can be an even greater downfall.
In religions, laziness is considered to be one of the major vices. Christianity tells us that sloth is one of the seven deadly sins as it can breed poverty as well as wickedness, for we all know an empty mind is a devils workshop.
In the Quran the Arabic term كَسَل (kasal) meaning laziness and inactivity is the opposite of 'jihad-al-nafs', the struggle against the self. In other words, against ones ego.
In Buddhism, the term Kausidya is commonly translated as 'laziness' or 'spiritual sloth', meaning that even though one may be a workaholic and spending 16 hours a day at work, yet, if that one gives little or no time to cultivating virtue or purification of mind, then he is said to be lazy.
So let us take a reality check on our spiritual journey: Are we not doing certain things despite knowing, and despite being able to at this point? How enthusiastic are we about cleaning up our soul? Are we procrastinating in this very important activity? And if so why? Is it due to some fear or pain?
Take time in meditation to have a look at the dark side, ask some deep questions of yourself, and shift your focus to something meaningful and exciting that will stir you out of your stupor and sluggishness.
Its time... to get 'busy' in overcoming laziness!
'It's Time...' by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK