Q. What do you mean by Self-Discipline? How to improve our Willpower? How to get rid of our Fickle-mindedness?

Ans. If we look at the Yoga-Sutras, then in its very first Sutra, Patanjali writes : 

अथ योगानुशासनम् ।

Herewith an exposition of the principle and practice of Yoga.

“अथ” means “from now on”. A person doesn’t want to live in the present. He/She either lives in the past, or he/she lives in the future. Either they will be dreaming of their future, or will be worrying about their past. 

So, Maharshi Patanjali was very very scholarly. He was Self-Realised. And hence, He picked up the very first word as “अथ”. That it all begins from “अथ”, and we must know how to live in the present moment. And only He/She who can live in the present moment, can inculcate Yoga or Discipline. And Yoga in itself is Discipline. 

So, the literal meaning of “अथ योगानुशासनम्” is : Now, I shall tell you about Yoga and Discipline. 

So, the person who doesn’t have discipline in themselves, one who lacks Self-Discipline, He/She cannot rule over anyone, neither on himself/herself, nor on others. 

If you want to control your mind, then “You have to inculcate Discipline in your everyday life”. “If you take a vow of something, then no matter what happens, don’t let that vow break”. Whenever you take a Pratigya (Resolution), then make sure it is not less than Bheeshma-Pratigya (Bheeshma’ Resolution). Your Resolution should be like that of Bheeshma, that the name itself became “Bheeshma-Pratigya”. 

So, let’s assume that you have taken an ordinary vow, like : In the coming year, for 4-5 days a week, I will exercise, or, In the coming year, everyday I will meditate for 5 mins before sleeping, then “No matter what happens, don’t deviate from it!”. 

When I was in the Himalayas, then different kinds of storms would come. The higher you go in the Himalayas, the greater number of storms you will encounter. This is the tendency of the Himalayas. So, I used to tell myself, “Only this much? Maa, do you have only this much to show?”. “If there is any power in the three worlds, or any power in the fourteen planes of existence, then try to shake me from here!”. And (with such determination), the entire creation bows down before you. Then, you become so powerful, that the entire Universe bows down before you! Just “You have to take a resolution that I have to do this and this, or, I don’t have to do this, or, I have to live my life like this”. Such is the power of Resolve.

  1. If you take a Resolution, and follow it with Discipline, then your Willpower increases. 
  2. When Willpower increases, then fickle-mindedness disappears.

Fickle-mindedness means that your mind keeps wandering here and there. It does not stay at one place – “I should do this, no, that one is better!”, “I am visiting this Guru, but that Guru would have been better”, “I am in this temple, but that God was better” and so on. 

If you want to conquer the Fickle-mindedness of the mind, then :

  1. First, you must have Compassion, as that will make you soft. The softer the soil, the better its formability. 
  2. You must have some Discipline in yourself. If you have Discipline, then you have everything.

So, when you take a Resolution, then only the starting few days are difficult. I remember, when I left having tea, then in the initial days, I had headaches. When I left having coffee, then in the beginning, some void was there as I was used to holding cup. And in such cold atmosphere, not drinking anything warm, even during Sadhana days, I didn’t drink any hot drink! Not even once! Just one meal in 24 hours, and that’s it! And a lot of times, I used to eat some snow from the roof. 

So, when you take up a Resolution and stick to it, then your Willpower becomes very strong. And, “If you want to be Self-Realised, then the biggest requirement is Willpower”. Take it as a given that “Many obstacles would come in my way, but I WILL NOT quit!”. Then you can take any step in your life. Vairagya (Detachment), Tyaag (Sacrifice), all will come to you even as a Householder, if you have Discipline, if you have that Strength and that Willpower.

 

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