Actualize Your Potential
Happiness Challenge / September 24, 2019
Someone said, "We fear most what we want most." Are you at a point in your life where you feel you haven't reached your full potential? Think about what is holding you back: it could be the fear of trying new things, fear of taking on too much, self doubt and so on. The human mind is an expert at throwing excuses!
The only thing worse than doing something and failing is not doing it at all. You will never know your true potential if you don't explore it. Right now life feels comfortable, but there is a whole new world of possibilities for meaningful contributions to the world that you can step into - if you choose. It won't be easy and sometimes you may feel like it is too much for you to handle. You may wonder - is it really possible to take on more responsibility without added stress?
The answer is simple - make your mind stronger. Our negative reactions to challenges stem from the mind.
In this video, mind management expert Swami Mukundananda talks about how we can improve our productivity through a simple technique. By doing this daily, you can bravely take on bigger responsibilities with a positive frame of mind.
Podcast - Do You Spend Time to Sharpen Your Mind Every Day?
Video Transcript - Do You Spend Time to Sharpen Your Mind Every Day?
There was one woodcutter. He used to cut wood daily, slogging it out in the hot sun, sweating. The same company employed another woodcutter, as well. The second woodcutter used to cut more than the first. As a result of that, after one year the company increased his salary. The first woodcutter complained, “I have been working so long in this organization, and you have increased his salary more than mine?” They said, “Look, we are production oriented. He is cutting double the trees that you are cutting. You also increase your performance, we will increase your salary more than his.” So he tried harder and harder, but he was not able to increase his production. So he went to them and said, “How does he cut so many trees?” They said, “Why don’t you ask?” He went and asked the second lumberjack, “How do you do it?” That lumberjack said, “Every time I cut the tree, I take a five minute break in which I sharpen my saw. Do you sharpen your saw?” The other one said, “No. I just keep on hitting and hitting and hitting.” … (1:46) said, “That is the mistake. You need to sharpen your saw.” Similarly, you’re working in the world. You are running from morning till night. From crisis management to problem, to difficulty, to resolution of conflict at home and the office, amongst the relatives, with the people in India, over the phone and via Skype. But all these conflict resolutions, etc. that you keep doing, requires your own elevation of consciousness. The more sublime consciousness you bring to bear on your task, your work, your issues the more efficient you will be. So do you take time to sharpen your saw? Do you take time to improve your mind through sadhana? “No, Swamiji, we are so busy we don’t have time.” That is the problem. It is like that lumberjack. Our scriptures tell us that, look, you do need to do sadhana on a daily basis.
Just like you exercise; now in modern day occupations and professions, people are doing sedentary work through the day. You have to sit in your office all day long. So people realize, “If I continue this lifestyle, I will fall sick. I need to take out half an hour to one hour on a daily basis for exercise to maintain my health. The biggest cause for ill health is lack of exercise. And the biggest solution is the exercise. Whether you do the yogasanas, or walk, or run, or aerobics, a gym. Anything will help. But to maintain your physical health you do need exercise. Now you don’t exercise 24 hours a day. You exercise for a little portion; that helps you through the day.
What about the exercise for the mind? The mind is subject to wear and tear. Because you are handling the world, that is why the attachment, the hatred, the hankering, the aversion, the distraction, all this is going to happen, when you live in the world. Now for some time, you need to enhance the quality of your mind and thoughts. Otherwise then you will say, “Why are bad thoughts coming to me always?” Because you are not endeavoring to purify the mind, so simple. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, Sanskrit verse “Do sadhana in isolation.” Even the Bible says, “When thou pray, enter thy closet and lock thy door.” What is the idea of that? The world should not be able to distract you. That is isolation. Even if 50 people are sitting for sadhana and the world is not distracting, that is isolation. You have heard from me in the past the example of milk and water. If you take milk and pour it in water, it will mix in the water. The milk does not have the strength to remain, to maintain its undiluted entity, when it is in association with water. Now you do something to the milk. Keep it separate from the water. And in isolation, you transform it into yogurt. Now churn the yogurt and extract butter. This butter is now immiscible. It will sit on the water and float. It will challenge the water, “Mr. Water, you can do nothing to me now. As long as I was milk, you would dilute my concentration. People would throw me away. But now, Mr. Water, you can do nothing to me. Because separate from you, I transformed myself into butter.” How did that milk become butter? By staying separate from the water. Like the milk is our mind. Like the water is the world. When you live in the world, the mind becomes diluted by it. And if you wish to make it immiscible, for some time you keep the world away. This is the principle of sadhana in isolation.