Actually following the instructions vs sort of following them

I have noticed several times the difference between actually following instructions vs half-heartedly following them. It’s been especially clear with guided meditations and inquiry, and also in other areas of life.

Sometimes, I sort of follow the instructions for a while, then notice what I am doing and that it’s unsatisfactory in the long run, and find the intention to actually follow them. There may also be a curiosity about how it would be to do it more wholeheartedly.

Other times, I may start out following the instructions wholeheartedly, then shift to doing it half heartedly, and then notice and return to doing more wholeheartedly.

It seems to be a natural cycle. And it’s self-correcting to some extent. There is grace in noticing, and finding the intention to do it wholeheartedly.

It can also be helpful to look for the threat in doing it wholeheartedly. What comes up in me when I consider doing it wholeheartedly? What sensations are here? What images? Words? What do I fear will happen? What’s the worst that can happen? (Some answers that come up now: It’s too much effort. It will take too much energy. It will be uncomfortable.) What would I have to feel if I am doing it wholeheartedly? (Is it OK to feel it?)

I was also reminded of this in listening to an interview with a documentary film maker. He is making very high quality documentaries without much training or background. On being asked about his secret, he said I never take shortcuts. I am meticulous in every aspect of making these films. 

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