“Self-control means wanting to be effective at some random point in the infinite radiations of my spiritual existence.”
– Franz Kafka
A human being is hardwired to certain conditions what we call “natural” such as passion, anger, greed, self-delusion, pride and egotism. But if we see the evolution of man, we will find that the development what a man achieved is against nature. People who manifest self-control in the character always dictate the senses rather obey the rule of it. We see that the human who can control himself, or check the mad rush of the mind toward sense objects, and who cease to obey the animal impulses, which are standing like fierce enemies in the path of inner development, enjoy undisturbed peace as long as they live. Others may be in a cauldron of pleasure but always fickle in midst of lovable companions, and always feel lonely and depressed and always hungry for some more. How can a slave be happy? Happiness comes in freedom, and not in slavery.
The first step to self-control is to study our own minds. First, forget the word ‘nature’ – the weak who put their hands before his eyes and cry I am weak! This is natural! If we can pave way our energy to the spiritual path, the natural wickedness burns in a fraction of second. That man is a perfect son(daughter), perfect husband(wife), perfect friend and a perfect human being.
The natural tendency of the mind is to attach to those subjects, which give pleasure, both sensuous and mental. We are attracted to a beautiful face, our ears want to listen to sweet words, melodious notes. We like to smell a sweet fragrance and to taste the things pleasing to the palate. Yet that which is pleasing to the senses of one man may give pain to another. For example, rock music seems like howling and screaming too many Oriental ears, which are not trained to it. Indians savor food with pepper and chili and like the burning sensation in the tongue and throat, but Western people feel pain from it and shun it.
The natural tendency of the mind is to seek pleasure in external subjects. But we must understand that feeling of pleasure depends on the feeling of pain. Pleasure is a pleasure only when it stands in relation to the feeling of pain. The tendency of our mind is to seek objects that are more pleasing than those, which is already possessed, and the moment we find a thing, which we think would produce a more agreeable sensation than the things we now have, we crave to possess it. Having satisfied the craving, if after comparison we find the latter is not better than the former, we remain unsatisfied as before and may even wish to go back to the former condition.
Mind substance is like a vast ocean. The surface is the conscious plane and all dormant impressions lie deep below the surface. We all know that anything that remains in a dormant state is bound to manifest when the conditions become favorable. Forced by their inward nature, when the dormant impressions begin to manifest, they may be said to slowly rise up from the bottom of the sea of mind in the form of minute bubbles. We may call this bubble the subtle state of desire, or the awakened desire. Then it gradually appears larger and larger in size in the surface and then after this bubbles of desire playing on the surface of the mental ocean for some time, bursts there and takes the form of a wave and agitates the whole ocean of mind, transforming it into one mass of impulse. The result is, peace is disturbed, power of discrimination becomes dull, we do not know whether good or bad results will follow should we yield to the impelling impulse; we are forcibly driven headlong toward the object of desire, whatever it be, mental or merely sensuous.
It temporarily takes the form of a ruling passion. Our nerves are strained; we lose our control and continue to struggle to gratify this longing and attain the pleasure but the satisfaction is but brief. As a result of all these struggles we again give birth to another impression in our mind. In the meanwhile, another dormant impression gets ready to appear in the form of a bubble and the process is again the same. We all see this ever-recurring series of desires and their temporary gratification in our daily life. This stored-up impressions build our personality and eventually our character and our character drives us to our destiny.
A poor man desires to be rich, a rich man desires to be a millionaire, and a millionaire wants to be a billionaire and so on. When we crave for the sexual need we go for it but the more we attain orgasm, we feel it’s over. But the impression is there and next time it again rises and we want more or in a different person or in different ways and when we keep loose the rein of that desire we have become a pervert. When will this thirst for possessions or enjoyment cease? Will uncontrolled man ever acquire control over his mind? Perhaps not in this life.
Some methods to obtain self control
1. Study your own mind always. Be analytical and whenever one thought makes your mind agitate, a force that thought out from your mind through tremendous will power.
2. Always speak gentle and avoid people who talk gibberish. We can’t understand but even small nonsense creates impressions in our mind.
3. At least stay for hours or so in aloneness daily. Meditation is a practice, a proven science. Apply it in your life.
4. A little ritual is important. We feel pious when we enter church or temple because it is inherited in us. Take your time from the busy schedule and pray. It has tremendous power. Pray for discrimination, renunciation and unselfishness.
5. Good books and music help a lot. Involve in reading.
6. Be faithful in your relationships. Don’t involve too much in sensuous pleasure. Celibacy or even the matter of fact abstinence is not for everyone. It demands a great amount of will power.
7. Don’t involve in too much merriment. The more “fun” you have in your life, the more misery grips you. The mind is always fickle in that state. Be blissful, cheerful and humble.
8. Finally, live a simple life. Simple life never allows complication. Consumerism or materialism is an illusion.