“Effortless Effort and the State of Flow ” Discussion

October 10, 2017 Group Meditation Part 2 of 2

This discussion happened October 10, 2017 at the Boundless Love Project’s Group Meditation. Before listening to the discussion, we suggest you listen to this guided bare awareness mindfulness meditation, which preceded the discussion. This audio file has been edited to improve its clarity, content, and for length.

Topics covered during the Effortless Effort discussion:

• Mindfully doing the dishes, folding the clothes, and mowing the lawn with ease and joy.

• How aversion and greed prevents the arising of joy.

• Noticing the felt emotional difference between saying, “I want to do the dishes" rather than “I have to do the dishes.” Be mindful of the words you use and their ability to generate unnecessary suffering. 

• Being intention-focused rather than goal-focused.

• Doing whatever you are doing with great care and quality.

• Be mindful of when effortlessness is present and when effortlessness is not. When it is not, be mindful of what delusion is present that prevents the task from being effortless.

• Effortless activities that benefit all life, lead to your own peace, wellbeing, and joy.

• When unskillful intentions, thoughts, or behavior arises, if we resist them through judgment or indulge them by acting them out, we energize those unskillful habit patterns and keep them coming back. If we mindfully watch what is unskillful, without resistance or indulgence, those unskillful habit patterns atrophy and fade away on their own.

• One way to summarize the mindfulness path is this: try to be skillful at all times.

Renunciation contains a lot of peace and freedom.

• It is easier to mindfully feel and experience greed, aversion, self-view, and states free of these delusions when we are doing tasks in isolation. This is why this discussion has focused on tasks like folding the laundry, washing dishes, and mowing the lawn. These are good training-ground tasks, where we can see are inner workings more clearly and easily. Still, we intend to be mindful at all times, even in more challenging situations such as when we interact with others, or need to use our conceptual mind.

Be here now: How to work with our slogan this week.

1. Are my intentions skillful? Do my words and deeds seek to serve life from a place of love, generosity, patience, and compassion? 

2. Am I whole-heartedly and mindfully focused on doing the task with care and quality? Does my body feel the pleasant sensations of peace, ease, and joy?  Is my mindful work so whole-hearted that the conceptual mind is relatively quiet?

Journal Activity: Learning to Love What You Do

1. List all of the common tasks that you do.

2. Write your thoughts about each of the tasks listed.

3. Look at what you have written about each task. Do you relate to these tasks with a sense of greed, aversion, or self-view? Delusional thoughts, when believed, will prevent you from enjoying these activities.

4. For each task, explain how it is an act of love and service to life (yours or others). By being clear about how each task is an act of love, you then honor, respect, and appreciate the task, and can see it as an end in itself. This will help you to be mindful and whole-hearted while doing the task and help you find joy in doing the task.