Question: How is it possible to take that first step towards building discipline in your meditation practice?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us take discipline as a muscle. Overnight we cannot develop a most powerful muscle. Slowly and steadily we develop our muscles. First you have to know how many minutes you can meditate. If you can meditate for five minutes, it means that for these five minutes you have disciplined yourself. Early in the morning, while your friends and dear ones are still in the world of sleep, you get up to pray and meditate. For five minutes you are able to pray and meditate, because you have disciplined yourself.

How do you discipline yourself? The most important thing is to develop a true thirst, an inner cry, for the fruits of discipline. You can do this by seeing what happens when you do not lead a disciplined life and what happens when you do lead a disciplined life. You yourself have to be the judge. When you get up at five o’clock and meditate for fifteen minutes or half an hour, you feel extremely good. You feel that the whole world is beautiful. You love everybody and everybody loves you. God’s creation is all love for you, and you are all love for God’s creation. Because you got up and meditated for a few minutes, you are inundated with good thoughts. Each thought is a world in itself. This earth is not the only world. There are so many worlds, and you are running, jumping and flying in the good-thought worlds of beauty, joy, peace and light.

But the day that you don’t get up early to meditate, you hate the world and you hate yourself, and you feel that everybody in the world hates you. So you provide your own answer. It is not that you have never meditated early in the morning. The results you have had many, many times. Hundreds or thousands of times you have meditated, and again, hundreds of times you have not meditated. So you know the result of each. If you are clever, if you are wise, the good things you will always repeat, and the bad things you will shun.

So if you are finding it difficult to discipline yourself to do something, look for the result. If you climb up the tree, then you will get the most delicious fruit. If you don’t climb up, you will get no fruits. You know that if someone is disciplined, he can climb up and pluck the most delicious mango and eat to his heart’s content. You also can do the same. When you climb up and take the fruit, you get tremendous satisfaction. So by thinking of the satisfaction, you can easily discipline yourself. There is no other way.

You are seeing people all around who are wallowing in the pleasures of idleness. There are many in the idleness-boat. But you can say, “No, I don’t want to be in that boat. I want to have a new boat, the boat that will sail towards the Golden Shore, towards the Goal.” It is up to you. But by reminding yourself of the joy that you get when you discipline yourself and of the unhappiness you get when you don’t, you can easily discipline yourself.