When talking about discipline, everything starts from a question. Why? What’s the purpose of my life? Why am I doing the things I am doing? This is the uniqueness of human beings; we have the capacity to ask questions. And when we start asking them, the answers are bound to reveal themselves. They are inevitable.
This is how many people, including myself, end up coming to spiritual life, I considered myself as a very average man, without any inclination towards any higher goals in life. For some ‘unknown’ reason though, I started questioning my life.
I used to be a professional athlete and even went to Olympics. I achieved a lot in my life, but one thing I realized was that I never got the satisfaction from my achievements like I had I hoped. The more I achieved the more miserable and stressed-out I became. Then, obviously, I was forced to ask myself,”Why?”
I don’t have a religious background, and so because I didn’t see anybody striving to live by spiritual values, I thought that there was no need for this in my life. When I met Amma, I saw somebody authentically following these principles. I understood that there is a higher purpose in life, and there is something we can all strive for to gain happiness and success in life.
Most people think that athletes are endowed with the quality of discipline. Not only athletes, but many people who are trying to gain success in any field appear to live with discipline. If you ask me though, what makes people successful is their goal-consciousness. This quality is actually a love for the goal, and discipline is only the side-product. It is the action towards that Goal. So, for people who have a goal, and have love for that goal, there is no such thing as discipline. It is a natural way of behaving. Action is flowing out of them.
When I used to train, I suffered a lot physically. For an outsider it might have looked absurd, like “Why is he doing this to himself?” But, for me, the physical suffering is just part of the deal. In that sense, the suffering was not even there. Giving up was not even an option. In the same way, if we understand the goal of spiritual life, or any of our actions, the suffering disappears. Even though waking up for archana at four in the morning might sound terrifying, when we have a goal, when we have inspiration, and especially 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 is the driving force. Live in the company of like-minded people. Saturate yourself with the knowledge of your study and then put efforts towards your chosen goal.
Amma always encourages us to be in satsanga, to remember our goal and to understand the efforts needed to achieve that goal. Amma also says that discipline in the beginning stages of spiritual life is like a fence around a small sapling. It protects the sapling from rats and other creatures. When the saplings become a full-grown tree, you can even tie an elephant on it and the tree will stand strong.
If everything starts from a question, where does it end? That is our duty to find out. Inspiration and discipline walk hand in hand. Inspiration without action is just an emotion, and an act of discipline without inspiration and love becomes mechanical.
May Grace help everybody in their Goal of life!
Author: Akhilesh Matti Rajakylä