Question: How can we enter into the life of self-discipline?

Sri Chinmoy: Now we have to know that self-discipline is not just a word that we come across in the dictionary. If I have to choose which quality is most important and fulfilling at the beginning of the spiritual life, then I must say that it is self-discipline. Now, what we need is a disciplined life. If we don’t have a disciplined life, we are in no way better than an animal. We are no better than a monkey who is always pinching and biting.

Now, the mind. Our mind is a victim to doubt, worries, anxieties and so forth. A disciplined life will not have the same fate. It will have joy and peace. A disciplined life comes from constant practice. Nobody can be a world champion overnight. What does practice mean? Practice means patience, patience-light. Patience is not something weak. It is something dynamic; it is something illumining. We want it in order to have a disciplined life. Today, if we want to discipline our life altogether, it may be impossible. But tomorrow it will be possible. Slowly, steadily, we have to discipline our life. If we are in a hurry, we can never discipline our life. Suppose we do a few things wrong. Suppose somebody drinks a lot, yet he feels that in the spiritual life he is not supposed to drink at all. What will he do? He has to discipline his life. If he drinks, say six or seven times a day, let him come to realise the fact that it is something harmful, it is damaging to his God-realisation. Then, let him try to drink less. If he drinks six times, let him reduce it to five times a day. Then, after a few days, let him drink four times. Then, after a month or two, or four or six months, let him drink three times a day. Gradually, slowly, let him diminish it.

In our ordinary human life, we know that we are doing many things wrong. If we want to conquer them all at once, we shall simply break. We shall be torn into pieces. No, we have to have a real inner will, willpower, soul’s will, to conquer them slowly and steadily so that we will not break. Otherwise, the body will revolt and the body will break.

Now, this disciplined life that you are speaking of can come from only one thing, and that is aspiration, our inner cry. When you cry for outer things, sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. But if your inner cry is sincere, you will see that the fulfilment dawns. A child cries for milk. He is crying in his cradle in the living room. The mother may be in the kitchen. Wherever she is, when she hears his cry, the mother comes running to feed the child with milk. Now why? The mother feels the cry of the child is genuine and sincere. Similarly, in the spiritual life we have an inner cry. If you have that inner cry, then it does not matter when you cry. It may be at one o’clock or at three o’clock or at noon, in the morning or in the evening. At any hour, that inner cry reaches God, and God is bound to fulfil that inner cry. If one wants to discipline himself, if one is dissatisfied with his loose life, and if he feels that from a disciplined life he can have realisation, he can have real fulfilment, perfection and satisfaction, then God is bound to help that particular sincere seeker. If there is an inner cry, then nothing on earth can be denied. No fulfilment can be denied to an individual who has an inner cry. We cry as human beings for name and fame, for many things. But we do not cry for the one thing which is of paramount importance, and that is God’s inner Wealth. What is that inner Wealth? His inner Wealth is Divine Fulfilment, Divine Perfection. We are all imperfect. No human being is perfect. No. But again, our aim is to be perfectly perfect. This perfect perfection can only come from self-discipline. God is all ready. He is more than eager to offer His perfect Perfection. But for that perfect Perfection, we have to grow into a mounting cry which we call aspiration, constant aspiration. When this flame of aspiration rises towards the Highest, it illumines everything around it which is dark. Then, the higher it goes, the greater and more fulfilling is our manifestation. You want me to tell you how you can, or how we can, have a disciplined life, a really disciplined life. I wish to say that the answer lies only in our inner cry, our aspiration. With our inner cry we can have a self-disciplined life. With self-discipline we can get the inner wealth of self-discovery. Self-discipline is the precursor of self-discovery. Self-discovery is the harbinger of God-Manifestation.