I’m struggling with motivation to be consistent in practice quite a bit now. It’s odd considering that we’re entering the season of Advent…a time to reflect, prepare the way, listen, wait in hope. Maybe it’s the waiting part that is kicking up my struggle. I find I am visited more and more with this old feeling of acedia.
I truly wish the “noonday demon” would contain itself to appearing at noon. As it is, the demon appears to have taken up a room here in my spiritual house. It’s difficult to shake that deep emotional apathy when acedia is sprawled out on my couch, eating my snacks and dropping crumbs all over the rug.
Can you imagine how frustrating it is to clean up not only after the chaos inherent in the quotidian but ALSO that which is a result of Acedia?
The “modern” understand of Acedia is “sloth” and although it does carry those characteristics it’s a limiting description at best. The thing about Acedia for me is that it’s hard to clean up after the results of the “sloth” bit, it’s impossible to WANT to clean up after it. I can’t make myself WANT to do it. You see, this is where that demon takes hold for me. It eats away at my resolve, it tears me down at the foundations of my motivation. I look around the room where the mess resides and perhaps I would moan about it in the past…now, I cannot even see the point of engaging the struggle. I won’t fight, I won’t cajole. I just want to give up, lay in the middle of the din and leave it all to chance. What’s the point?
It sounds like depression I suppose…but it’s not quite depression…because there is another element at work here. It’s not only “what’s the point?” and “I give up.” It’s also mixed in with a dash of “I am still not satisfied” and also “Even that won’t help.”
What keeps me from falling over the edge in this whole thing is this strange feeling that there is in fact, something more. If i just hold on. If I just enlist patience in this whole thing then there is something more. I believe it may be “hope” gnawing at the edges of the endless black hole of acedia. When I recognize that, when I name it “hope” I find that it becomes hope. It’s enough of a hand or foothold to keep me on solid ground.