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Is Ram Dass right about procrastination?

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Is Ram Dass right about procrastination?
ram dass procrastination
Answer
5/11/15 7:03 PM
I found this quote from Ram Dass to be very motivating. I'd love hear everyone's reaction to it! Has meditation made you procrastinate less? Has it made you less "passively resistant against life" or more life-affirming? Any details would be nice (how big was the change, at what stage(s) did it happen, did any specific practice seem to help with this, etc). 

"After meditating for some years, I began to see the patterns of my own behavior. As you quiet your mind, you begin to see the nature of your own resistance more clearly, struggles, inner dialogues, the way in which you procrastinate and develop passive resistance against life. As you cultivate the witness, things change. You don't have to change them. Things just change." ~Ram Dass

RE: Is Ram Dass right about procrastination?
Answer
5/12/15 7:47 PM as a reply to Matt Lorean.
I think there is truth to it. I've seen this happen to a small degree in my own practice. I don't "know" the exact mechanism, though I'm willing to guess in my case there are 2 key influences:

1. Noting practice: as I've implemented noting practice in meditation, I've revived my GTD practice in my work life. A pillar of the GTD discipline is, basically, noting. As tasks, projects or things occur to you, you capture them/document them in a simple way. The theory is that by getting them out of your head and onto paper, the tasks lose their power to cycle in your imagination and become bigger than they really are (sound familiar?)
A second function of noting is deciding if the thing is actionable and can be done in two minutes, so little tasks do not pile up.

2. the notion of impermanence: in meditation you see thoughts come and go, you know that the urge to check your watch comes and goes, the urge to get more coffee comes and goes (can you tell I usually meditate in the morning? :-) )  So, off the cushion, you know that procrastination is also just an urge (this time to not do something) that will come and go. 

You start getting out of your own way, and live volitionally (is that a real word?)

My USD.02

RE: Is Ram Dass right about procrastination?
Answer
5/13/15 12:32 AM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
Thanks for the response! I've also noticed how much GTD (for those who don't know: the productivity program called Getting Things Done) has in common with Buddhism. 

RE: Is Ram Dass right about procrastination?
Answer
5/13/15 12:13 PM as a reply to Matt Lorean.
it's been over a decade since i read the first chapter of GTD.  i remember the system encouraging the student to have a Zenesque "mind like water".  

I should pick the book back up.  I was originally put off by what seemed like unecessary lists and folders, but could certainly benefit from higher productivity.

RE: Is Ram Dass right about procrastination?
Answer
5/13/15 1:13 PM as a reply to Rednaxela.
[quote=Alex L
....  I was originally put off by what seemed like unecessary lists and folders, but could certainly benefit from higher productivity.]
Well, there's very flossy "orthodox" GTD, and there are other sects, as it were...

RE: Is Ram Dass right about procrastination?
Answer
5/13/15 2:02 PM as a reply to Matt Lorean.
Meditation has certainly helped me procrastinate less to the extent that even some people find it amazing as to how I have done some of the things that they would not even consider doing by themselves. It sometimes surprises me also!

RE: Is Ram Dass right about procrastination?
Answer
5/13/15 3:31 PM as a reply to Change A..
Meditation has not helped with my procrastination and might even have made it worse. If I have to do X which an internal action block seems to prevent, I feel a pressure not to do that task and, instead, a pressure to do Y which is much easier.. Meditation seems to want me to swim downstream with the current  and do Y and not fight against the current to do X even though X has to be done.. I don't usually procrastinate but only when there is an internal action block of some sort.

RE: Is Ram Dass right about procrastination?
Answer
5/13/15 4:03 PM as a reply to Jack Hatfield.
Yeah, I think I know what you mean. I suspect it matters what you're "supposed" to be doing. Maybe meditation makes you more naturally see when an obligation is not right for you, feels forced, isn't something you "really" want, etc, and so justifies or does not stop procrastinating on that obligation. I'm hoping that meditation will do the opposite with obligations that I truely want to work on, though. I'm hoping it will help me recognzise when I'm being distracted by some meaningless task or train of thought that is unnecesary and won't satisfy me. Of course, most obligations are somewhere in between: Things we don't "want" to do, but know that we should/need to. I'm still hoping meditation will help me keep a more reasonable perspective on how I'm using my time at each moment. 

RE: Is Ram Dass right about procrastination?
Answer
5/14/15 12:30 AM as a reply to Matt Lorean.
I definitely found that my meditation training enabled me to stay concentrated on tasks for much longer, to find them less onerous, to be more aware of needless associated things that made them harder (such as unnecessary bodily tension associated with them, holding my breath during them or breathing in some less than optimal way during them, with thoughts about those tasks that just didn't make any sense at all but which before I hardly noticed clearly, etc.).

There were some periods that were exceptions to these, brief cycles through various Dark Night phases, but overall the grand trajectory was one of clear improvement.

That said, I am always wary of advertising meditation in this way, fearing the corporate world will use meditation to produce nice, docile, industrious Capitalist Worker Bees, not that I have a problem with the nice part, or the docile part necessarily, or the industrious part, nor getting things done, but something in that combination clearly has something creepy about it, just sayin'.

That said, I am very happy I learned and practice meditation, and my bosses likely are too, even if they don't know it.

RE: Is Ram Dass right about procrastination?
Answer
9/13/15 8:03 AM as a reply to Matt Lorean.
From 2009 to 2013 (ages 21-25) I underwent a massive change and I think meditation played a very big role in it. It was my main practice and the thing I was most interested in during that period. Procrastination and "resistance to life" decreased very very dramatically, to a degree I had never before experienced, an openness to life that was completely new compared to the previous 5 years of my life. The biggest feature was in creativity and art-making, I went from being unable to draw for more than 15minutes at a time (usually in pain) to spending 8 or more hours a day immersed in painting and learning and feeling fascinated and inspired and determined. I had to work my way up deliberately and with a lot of effort and getting to know myself, and I don't think I would have managed that in the way I did without meditation and its powerful effects on building concentration, general "mindfulness" of my own state and its passing features, insight into things that were causing suffering, etc. During this time I often felt that meditation was the most amazing thing someone could possibly learn to do and cultivate and I felt immense gratitude to have been exposed to it and exposed to the notion and encouragement to practice it deeply and commit to it and get real benefits.

Also worth noting that from 2014-present I vastly decreased the time spent meditating and living mindfully and in many ways its as if I've gone back to living in hell. I felt constrained by the "requirement" to meditate everyday to be happy and somehow wanted to be happy regardless like some straw-man "other people" that I had imagined, and that experiment failed pretty miserably and had everything to do with foolishly almost completely abandoning the 8 fold path for some awful selfish reason (or lack of, hah)

In many ways I've experienced what he says about the automatic changes, in other ways it can feel quite deliberate because you are sustaining concentration and mindfulness and investigating actively during daily life etc; because of the momentum of your practice etc

RE: Is Ram Dass right about procrastination?
Answer
9/13/15 9:22 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I definitely found that my meditation training enabled me to stay concentrated on tasks for much longer, to find them less onerous, to be more aware of needless associated things that made them harder (such as unnecessary bodily tension associated with them, holding my breath during them or breathing in some less than optimal way during them, with thoughts about those tasks that just didn't make any sense at all but which before I hardly noticed clearly, etc.).

There were some periods that were exceptions to these, brief cycles through various Dark Night phases, but overall the grand trajectory was one of clear improvement.

That said, I am always wary of advertising meditation in this way, fearing the corporate world will use meditation to produce nice, docile, industrious Capitalist Worker Bees, not that I have a problem with the nice part, or the docile part necessarily, or the industrious part, nor getting things done, but something in that combination clearly has something creepy about it, just sayin'.

As for becoming a docile work bee, not sure how much of a danger that is.  There are plenty of enlightened types with huge personalities who are apparenty very much walking their own path.  Perhaps the docile ones already had that tendency to start with.  For myself, I did not have that tendency and still don't.  Although there is something in me that changed that might look a bit like being docile.  It's more that now I am less likely to do useless fighting, histrionics, arguing, etc. because I often see no point in it.  I will more quicklty decide either to do it or to say no.  I am less likely to agree to something and then be resentful too, instead I am more likely to just say no to start with.  So although I sling a lot less drama than before, I am not what I would call more docile.  

Kinda reminds me of a used car salesmen I once knew (he was no longer a car salesmen by that time).  He said that hardest people to deal with (on average) in his experience when selling a car were people from India.  He said it was because they would diligently and very politely and repeatedly just keep saying 'no' in various ways over and over no matter what he said so that they were very hard to bargain with.  Once they decided something, they would just very politely and even temperedly not budge no matter what.  And so they would tend to get better deals on cars.  ;-P  (caveat, I have no idea how true that holds across cultures and locations and peoples' experiences, I don't even know many from India, but I took it as a lesson on how one might handle oneself in such situations.) 
-Eva