Begin Right Away, Use Your Willpower
So frequently in life we think, ‘Just one more year’, and then I will simplify my life, minimising luxuries. ‘Just one more year, ’ and I will dedicate more time to meditation, seva and sadhana. ‘Just one more year, ’ and I will delve into the divine depths of spirituality…. We continue to put off valuable life-changes until ‘tomorrow, ’and unfortunately, ‘tomorrow’never comes. … We are deluded, deceived and blinded by the power of maya. Thus, we continue to find excuses for why we must work fifty or sixty-hour workweeks, why we still have no time for meditation…. Then, we feel guilty for our lack of willpower, and we again vow that ‘from tomorrow I will start. ’
This lack of willpower is frequently misconstrued as a lack of strength. It is not that. Rather the lack of willpower to implement the changes we know we should undertake is due to the gripping, seiz ing, clutching power of maya who wraps us so tightly in her soft, sweet-smelling, hypnotising veil that we cannot see to the Truth that lies beyond. The veil of maya intoxicates us in the allure of more and more — more wealth, more possessions, and more sensual enjoyments. … When we read spiritual literature, when we listen to the holy ones, when we spend a few moments in meditation and prayer that veil is temporarily lifted and we can see where we need to go…. Yet, the changes rarely come, for we continually get carried away on the waves of maya, back into the tossing, turning, cresting, falling, tumultuous ocean of samsara…. Are we to be forever imprisoned by her blinding and suffocating grip? No. We can break free. We can live in truth.
In fact, the very nature of our existence is to realise our ultimate divinity, to reunite with that which is Divine, to break the chains of maya. Anything less is a disservice to He who brought us into existence. But how? The only way to break free from the blinding veil of maya is a twofold practice. First, we must surrender to God and ardently pray for Him to take our lives in His hands, guiding us and giving us strength. Second, we must make and stick to concrete vows of how we are going to be better people.
Rather than saying, ‘I will find time to meditate, ’ we must say, ‘I will not leave for work without sitting in meditation and I will not sleep at night without doing my nightly introspection…. ’ Rather than saying, ‘I will try to cut back on my expenses so that my financial needs are less, ’we must say, ‘I will not buy another jacket or pair of shoes or anything until the ones that I have are broken, torn or no longer fit me. ’ Rather than saying, ‘I will try to overcome my anger, lust and greed, ’ we must commit to having daily appointments with God in which we introspect on all the times we allowed ourselves to be overpowered by these emotions, and we must pray for strength daily to remain calm, peaceful and saatvik in our lives. If we wait for the right time, that time will never come. The time for a spiritual life is now. ■