amritayoga.com_Yoga Talks_DisciplineIf we are considering a spiritual discipline, we want to know why. What is the purpose of my life? Why would I do these things? This is one advantage to being human; we have the ability to ask questions. And the answers are bound to reveal themselves. It’s inevitable.

This is how many people, including myself, end up on the spiritual path. I considered myself an average guy without any inclination towards the higher goals of life. For some unknown reason, though, I started questioning.

I used to be an Olympic athlete. I achieved a lot in my life, but I never got the satisfaction from my achievements that I expected. The more I achieved, the more miserable and stressed-out I became. Thus I had to ask, “Why?”

Since I didn’t have a religious background, and I didn’t see anybody else living by spiritual values, I thought there was no need for these in my own life. But when I met Amma, I saw somebody authentically following such principles. Then I understood that there is a higher purpose in life, and there is something we can all strive for to gain happiness and success.

It’s actually about their love for the goal, and discipline is only the byproduct.

Most people think athletes are highly disciplined. Not just athletes, but most people who are trying to succeed in any field appear to be highly disciplined. If you ask me, though, what makes these people successful is their single-minded pursuit of the goal. It’s actually about their love for the goal, and discipline is only the byproduct. It’s what they have to do. So for people who have a goal and love for that goal, it isn’t really about acquiring discipline. It just comes naturally.

When I used to train, I suffered a lot physically. For an outsider it might have looked absurd. “Why is he doing this to himself?” But for me, the physical suffering was just part of the deal. In that sense, the suffering was not even there. Giving up was not an option. In the same way, once we understand the goal of spiritual life, we’ll do what it takes to get there, and the suffering is irrelevant. Getting up for archana at four in the morning might sound terrifying, but when we have a goal, when we have inspiration and love for the goal, the apparent suffering just disappears.

We need to stay inspired. That’s why whatever goal we have in life, inspiration and love must be the driving force. Live in the company of like-minded people. Saturate yourself with the knowledge of your study and then put all your effort into your chosen goal.

Amma always encourages us to be in satsang, to remember our goal and to understand the effort needed to achieve it. Amma also says that discipline in the beginning stages of the spiritual life is like a fence to protect a small sapling. When the sapling is a full-grown tree, it won’t need the fence.

If what we most want begins with a question, where does questioning end? Our duty is to find out. Inspiration requires discipline, and our honest questions will lead us to enlightenment.

May Amma’s grace take us to the ultimate goal of life!

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Akhilesh, a former Olympic swimmer, shares his insights on discipline. From his experience, discipline is the result of focus and love for the goal. The love and the focus to reach any of our goals brings forth a spontaneous discipline. Thus, waking up early morning at 4 AM for the sadhana seemed a joy and no more a challenge for Akhilesh.