We all admit at times that we are lazy. This is easy with a terrestrial body because physical matter naturally tends towards inertia (equilibrium). The term “couch-potato” explains this phenomenon quite adequately.
The only challenge to this situation comes from the human mind (which is our spirit). And, the human mind will only get individuals off their butts to the degree that each person acknowledges some responsibility. In other words, a person will not act beyond the quality of his or her conscience. So, the more responsibilities a person takes on, the more one can overcome laziness. We all know that some people simply work harder than others. Then, there some people who take their responsibility beyond mere physical work. These exceptional individuals extend their responsibility into spiritual realms.
One of my favorite spiritual leaders is George Gurdjieff. He once told one of his pupils that it was important to find the source of one’s laziness. This spurred me into taking on the same challenge for myself. It is harder than one would suspect.
This effort requires sincere and brutal self-examination. What I uncovered from long and careful observation of my behavior was that my laziness was learned from life circumstances—in order to protect my inner calm and the false ideas that supported my flawed self-image (proprium). I used laziness to anesthetize myself from noticing anything alarming about my behavior, keeping myself trapped in my comfort zone. My laziness was more like a state of sleep or trance than an outright unwillingness to work.
This state of sleep was my security blanket. I became noticeably agitated when this protection was temporarily removed and I got a small glimpse of myself as I really am! Crap!
Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg made the same point when he suggested that the Sacred Scriptures often warned us to “awaken” and to “sleep not.” Swedenborg was talking about inner or spiritual napping which keeps us blind about our greatest responsibility—to become angels.
God’s intention (in all true religion) is to snap us out of this type of worldly slumber by challenging us to make uncomfortable and unflattering self-discoveries. Such eye-opening results are the only legitimate means by which we can become convinced of our need to change from what we are.
If the process doesn’t sting, you don’t fully grasp what spiritual transformation really is.