How to Improve Self Control


Reminded of a man who lived a normal life of habits, of addictions and eventually took up to a spiritual life became a monk, developed certain spiritual powers, and had this habit that every morning when he comes out of his meditation, his seekers could ask him any question. But before he answers this question, he will always ask for something to eat or drink. And if it’s only after he eats and drink, he’ll start answering those questions.

So, it was a practice for several years. Their seekers will wait for him to come out of meditation and then he would say that I want to eat this, I want to drink this. They would bring it to him. He would have it and then continue. It seems one of those days he opened his eyes and asked for Napoleon Brandy. I think true to this place, let’s have some loyalty, we’ll change it to Teachers whiskey. Okay, some loyalty should, some Dharma should be there Teachers whiskey.

You don’t have to look so sophisticated. I know, when I look at some of you what’s your taste? Some of you belong to that monk category, Old Monk. Now they didn’t know why would a monk ask for Teachers whiskey, but anyhow they were not interested in what he drinks and what he eats. They were interested, my question should be answered. So, they immediately brought the Teachers whiskey. The bottle, the glass, everything was kept in front of him. It seems he gently folded his hands. Looked at his seekers and said, do you all know one thing?

I haven’t reached that stage yet, where I’ve transcended my temptations. I haven’t reached that stage where I’ve transcended my desires. I still get tempted. I still have desires. My heart is still asking for liquor. But gentlemen, I have reached one stage. I know that, I can take control over my actions. And I know without the cooperation of my hand, that whiskey cannot get inside my throat. And I will restrain my actions and thereby ensure that for the time being through my actions, I don’t yield to temptations.

I know eventually, I’ll reach the stage where I’ll transcend those temptations. So, in fact, in the class, we always tell people whenever you really feel provoked to yield to a temptation which you have always strived to transcend.  Somehow   visualize a “Swami Vivekananda” with hands folded, and remember, if the hands do not yield there are a lot of things, I’m not saying you could have overcome your temptation to smoke.

Maybe, your mind and body still craves for it. But if this hand does not cooperate, it’s not possible to hold that cigarette and smoke the next cigarette. Before I reach that stage where I can transcend the feeling domain, it’s quite possible to bring about that control over actions.

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