The Danger of Wilful Practice


How is it possibly to engage whole-heartedly with life’s activities and challenges without always having the end game of “I’m doing this in order to get that” ambition? This is the usual function of our everyday mind that would even resort to strong wilfulness in order to fulfil its desires. Our training is to discover the mind that doesn’t engage with wilfulness or pushy ambition, and yet still engages wholeheartedly with life and its never ending challenges.



rob grant

I am trying to apply the lessons of this talk to several aspects of my life–including my work as a teacher and writer. Rather than focus upon the end (with an obsession with lists and deadlines), I am committing to the tasks themselves. I find that my work is becoming more enjoyable and I feel that I am performing it better.

Karen Piggin 

I find this talk immensely helpful in applying the practice to my daily life. It is so easy to judge what I do in terms of what I achieve (or not) from it, and letting go of this mindset is very difficult. Additionally, coping with the frustration of putting all my efforts into something and not getting anything in return can be a demoralising experience. Āloka encourages us to find the place where we can give ourselves wholeheartedly to whatever we are doing, without any expectation for reward. If we do not attach to our expectations then we will be free from suffering. I very much relate to the ups and downs of life – these are easy to cope with – I can wallow in the positives,and in the negatives. But finding consistency, the middle way, is a challenge. It is an inspiring aspiration to be content with the way that things are, embracing good and bad with the same attitude, and expecting nothing in return for my contribution and commitment.

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