I am new to Tibetan Buddhism and I am fascinated by it. One thing that bothers me in general is that I keep making the same mistakes. For example, every now and then I find myself procrastinating which has harmed me a lot. I came to know how cognitive psychology and neuroscience explain this behavior. It's the neural patterns that is hard wired in my brain because how I have been reacting to situations for a long time. Neurons that fire together wire together. But how Tibetan Buddhism addresses this issue? I heard from Khenpo Sherab Sangpo understanding a teaching intellectually and experiencing the teaching is two different things which made me think that there must be a spiritual aspect of this problem. I would really appreciate it if someone can help me see the spiritual side of this. Thanks!
In essence, this is about the self wanting control, or more precisely, the illusion of self and control. I think this is exactly what Khenpo Sherab Sangpo meant when saying that teaching and experiencing are different things: nobody can just tell you that self and the control the self wants are illusions, it's something you need to experience.
This sounds extremely esoteric, but if you think about it, it's really not. You can't really convey any human experience to anyone else who hasn't had that experience, even something extremely simple like what coffee tastes like. You can only use words to try to convey the experience, but words are limited and often have associations unrelated to the experience you're trying to convey.
The first step I would recommend you to take is to stop labeling the process as a mistake, as this gives cause to negative feelings. Try to observe the chain of mental causation that leads to procrastinating or "mistakes". Do not judge or try to analyze, just become aware of the process. After a while, you will see that there is "space" between the arising thoughts and the feelings they invoke. Again, this is something you need to learn to experience, not just be told. The first phase of meditation is, in essence, to become aware of this process and learn to observe it without judging or reacting to it from those spaces in arising thoughts. Only after you've become comfortable with this can you turn to the "why" behind this process.
Hope this helps.
I my self a procrastinator that is why I came to this question while searching something in stackoverflow.
Just like @Codosaur mentioned, you have to embrace this.
I have a cluttered mind and I know that. For me I have multiple goals, but in all of them I found one goal that would certainly makes me happy. That is, if I achieve that it would certainly make someone else happy for their rest of the life and that makes me happy. So in my cluttered mind that is the ultimate goal and I do work to achieve that. I always plan time to work for it.
I am not that much spiritual, but according to theravada buddhism(which I believe), Siddhartha Gautama(before becoming the Buddha) had a purpose, a goal for that he did lot of sacrifices. He went to lot of teachers, some of his believers left him, but had one goal. The eternal happiness.
You might have things to do that you don't like and it might be really necessary, but keep few hours a day to do what makes you happy and always plan it, no matter what other work you have. Because of that I think you would not have time to procrastinate.
I am sorry if I've gone over the topic or not covered what you asked, but this is my personal experience to stay in the track while procrastinating :)
Why I keep repeating the same mistakes?
As long as Ignorance (Avijja) is present in the mind, beings will keep wandering in Samsara, repeating the same mistakes over and over. It's due to the mind not being able to see clearly. It's like walking around in a dark room stumbling into furnitures. Once the light is turned on, one can see clearly where to walk.
Don't be too hard on yourself. It's not just you who repeats past mistakes, it's everyone who's not yet enlightened. We're all in the same boat so to say.
I think the best thing is to just keep practicing the path, do good, helps others and practice renunciation. The important thing is to set the mind in the right direction so that the (wholesome) momentum created will eventually break through to enlightenment, issuing liberation from the rounds of suffering.
Until that happens we should treat ourselves with love and kindness. It's important to be your own best friend - kind of like how you would treat a child that has made a mistake - by showing it comfort, love, compassion and acceptance.
Why not starting to follow the Buddha, starting to take his medicine as told, for placebos are a lot around? Maybe an access to the path of healing chronical dis-ease: The Healing Power of the Precepts
Liberation can not be gained by meditation without having got the good Dhamma, unmodified, and the work on the base, to be able to hear it, starts, once faith, with virtue and the rest comes by it's cause.
Not much glory in a wavin' flag...
[Note tgat this isn't given for stacks, exchange, keep on repeating and otger world-binding trades, but for release]