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 most powerful muscles. Slowly and steadily we have to develop them. First you have to know how many minutes you can meditate. If you can meditate for five minutes, this means that for these five minutes you are disciplining yourself. Early in the morning, while your friends and dear ones are still in the world of sleep, if you get up to pray and meditate for five minutes, you are disciplining yourself.

How can you increase your discipline? The easiest way is to develop a true thirst, an inner cry, for the fruits of discipline. You can do this by seeing what happens when you lead a disciplined life and when you do not lead a disciplined life. You yourself have to be the judge. When you get up at five or six 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. The everyday reality that we see around us is not the only world; there are many worlds. Because you got up and meditated, 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, you hate yourself, and you feel that everybody in the world hates you. So you yourself can see the difference. It is not that you have never meditated early in the morning. The positive results you have had many, many times. Many times you have meditated, and again, many 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.

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

You are seeing people all around you 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 any more. I want to have a new boat, the boat that will sail towards the Golden Shore, towards the Goal.” It is up to you. You can easily discipline yourself by reminding yourself of the joy that you get when you discipline yourself and of the unhappiness you get when you do not.