Someone once asked me what motivates me to spiritual practice. My answer: It is the practice itself that motivates me. I find that as I dedicate myself to spiritual practice, I experience an increase in my desire for spiritual practice.
There may be some bio-chemical thing happening in the body to explain this. Just as the cells in our body can learn to crave certain emotions or specific types of food based on what we’ve given it, the body-mind can begin to crave spiritual practice and devotional time with God. This could be called “the positive use of craving.”
What we need to notice about this is that the body-mind learns to crave what we give it, so we have to GIVE IT in order for the body-mind to begin to crave it.
That could mean that in the beginning there isn’t much motivation to practice. However, in order to create the motivation to practice, we need to practice anyway. It reminds me of an Awakening Together Daily Quote from last week:
“Each step may seem to take forever, but no matter how uninspired you feel, continue to follow your practice schedule precisely and consistently. This is how we can use our greatest enemy, habit, against itself.”
~ Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
Buddha taught that when we see the cause of suffering we also see the path to ending suffering. The cause of suffering is the ego thought system. The path to ending suffering is the spiritual practice that leads to the end of the ego thought system. That understanding is our motivation to begin spiritual practice even though we may not yet crave spiritual practice. If we will do that, the motivation to spiritual practice will increase as the body-mind learns to crave it.
In other words, through spiritual practice we become a soul on fire.