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Discipline

«That weekend there was a seminar on superconscious meditation, and the title of Swamiji’s lecture was “Preparation for Meditation”. Swamiji started his lecture in his typical style: “I pray to the Divinity in you. How are you today? Are you comfortable? Do you like the food? . . .The topic given to me this morning is ‘Preparation for Meditation’ “. But within a few minutes he dropped the topic and started talking about discipline.

He said, “Discipline means cultivating qualities and qualifications that enable you to become a disciple. Let me tell you the difference between a student and a disciple. A student comes, takes some classes, and goes away. He may practice a part of what he has learned and ignore the rest. He still has doubts and fears regarding the teacher, the teachings, and his own ability to practice the teachings. A disciple is he who has an organized mind and knows the value of his time as well as the value of his teacher’s time. He is determined to undertake a practice, for he knows it is the practice that makes one perfect. There is a silent understanding between teacher and disciple: ‘I will teach provided that you practice’ – ‘I will practice no matter what.’

In this circumstance both teacher and disciple follow certain disciplines. At a spiritual level the teacher makes himself available whenever the disciple needs his help. The only thing the teacher asks from the disciple is ‘Be disciplined’. The first step in disciplining yourself is to overcome your carelessness. To start and complete your practice, first you have to organize your external and internal life. And you can do so only when you are not careless. A vigilant person alone can make the best use of his time and learn the art of how to be creative and productive. According to the sages, carelessness is the mother of all sins. So many times you do now want to make a mistake but due to carelessness, you commit mistakes. Carelessness is a negative trait that resides in the dark and dull corners of the mind. Unless you throw away this trait you cannot discipline yourself, and unless you discipline yourself, you cannot deserve to be a disciple. True wisdom is imparted only to the disciples, whereas information is disseminated to all students and followers.” »

“The Official Biography of Swami Rama of the Himalayas”
Pandit Rajmani Tigunati

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Do we need rules in spiritual practice?

Over the years I’ve seen many people running away from spiritual paths (especially my own) due to inherent need to follow certain rules and regulations, do’s and dont’s.
Anyone who might have studied or read spiritual biographies or stories will understand the need for these things, especially when this instructions are coming from the spiritual aspirant’s master himself. Sometimes they are easy and understandable, other times they are void of any logic or reasoning, but still, it is in the disciple’s best interest to follow those instructions.

I guess this allergy to rules is just one of those things of these modern times, a side effect of this so called “new age” mentality, that wants you to be “free”. And, as such, working for this “freedom” seems to imply that you only do whatever you want to do. “Listen to your heart”, they say. That’s nice and sweet talk, but that won’t get you far.

Let me use a simple analogy here. If you have Continue reading Do we need rules in spiritual practice?