Take on the three causes is about increasing the possibility of awakening by embracing ideas and practices that support you. The original lojong slogan is: Take on the three principal causes, and they are to find a teacher, to recognise the importance of the teachings, and to change your lifestyle so it supports your desire to awaken.
Taking on these causes will help you overcome the bad habits mentioned in slogan 44 because they support your desire to change and be free of negativity.
The first cause is to find a teacher because you won’t practice meditation and learn how to awaken if you don’t know that you can practice or how to do it. The teacher could be an individual or a community of like-minded friends, or a book, an article online, or just something you stumble across that inspires you to find out more.
The second cause is recognising the importance of the teachings and the need to train your mind. Once you’ve been inspired you have to put the teachings into practice and actually do it.
The third cause is to change your lifestyle so it supports your desire to practice and awaken. This means you need to ensure you have enough stability in your life so you can dedicate time and energy to meditation and any of the other practices that you want to do.
Apply this slogan to your writing practice by embracing ideas and practices that support your writing. The three causes for writers are: find good teachers, learn and practice your craft, and organise your life so you can write.
Good teachers can come in the form of writing tutors and fellow writers, but also in the form of inspiration from books or online. Once you’ve found good teachers, you need to embrace the second cause and put all this inspiration into practice. You must learn and practice your craft. Good writers do a lot of writing. Not just writing, but rewriting.
All this inspiration and support and advice will be of no use to you if you don’t embrace the third cause. You must organise your life so you can write. If you really want to write you’ll find the time – or make the time – to write. If your lifestyle doesn’t support your need to write on a regular basis, you’ll need to make some changes.
Exercise: In your slogan journal, list your writing teachers and explore what inspired you to become a writer.
More in the book – available here: Free Your Pen: Mind Training for Writers