What is Focus? What is Discipline? -

What is Focus? What is Discipline?

What is Focus? What is Discipline?

Our course, Living the Gita, is an experiment. The narrative of Bhagavad Gita tends to be from the perspective of Lord Krishna but we are taking a different approach by studying from Prince Arjuna’s perspective. Typically when we study Vedanta, the teacher shares first and then the students share. However, in this course, the students share first through the group discussions and individual reflections. Then, the teacher shares and provides clarity. Our class consists of diverse students. Some are studying to attain moksha and some for dharma.

A quote from Jim Rohn “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” Before the Gita, Prince Arjuna wanted Bhagavan Krishna because he was comfortable with Him. At the end of Bhagavad Gita, Prince Arjuna wanted Bhagavan Krishna because He is independent joy. We, too, want Bhagavan Krishna because we deeply feel the need to be independently joyous.


Question 8

Philosophical Question: How does one who is Enlightened think?

Answer: They are content

Practical Question: What is independence?

Answer: Understanding. Understanding that articles, beings and circumstances are undependable. Through understanding that one’s own nature is dependable, one becomes independent. We can live this by being an active observer of all that is changing and undependable around us and move towards being more independent.

Reflection: What are some inner adjustments you can make to become more independent of the articles, beings, and circumstances in your life? Be a giver; by giving, there is no time and effort to think about getting from that which is undependable.

Question 9

Philosophical Question: How does one who is Enlightened speak?

Answer: They speak with contentment

Practical Question: What is silence?

Answer: Evolving. Becoming more quiet. Such a person feels secure so does not resort to talking so much and does not use social media as their default. We can start by speaking less about worldly matters such as position, possessions and pleasures.

Reflection: What are tangible measures you can take to think before you speak? By realizing that every word that is spoken may harm someone and leave a scar forever. This makes one so much more careful before speaking.


Question 10

Prince Arjuna’s Question: Chapter 2, Verse 54:

“What, O Keshava, is the description of him who has steady Wisdom and who is merged in the Superconscious state? How does one of steady Wisdom speak, how does he sit, how does he walk?”

Prince Arjuna’s Philosophical Question: How does one who is Enlightened sit?

Lord Krishna’s Philosophical Answer: Chapter 2, Verse 61:

“Having restrained them all, He should sit steadfast, intent on Me; His Wisdom is steady, whose senses are under control.”

One who is Enlightened sits in contentment. This person’s senses/body are well-controlled and well-directed by the intellect. The thoughts, words, and actions are controlled because they are all aligned to an ideal and one is integrated. Such a person sits with only the Creator or joy on their mind. For us, we can start our day with loving the Creator with a plan to be more cheerful and content. We need to follow vashitvam (lead/control [our senses/body and mind] with love). We have to love what we are being trained in. The framework below describes what we are being trained in and what we should love during different phases of life based on age:

  • Between 0 and 23 years old, training one to be committed (vrata),
  • Between 24 and 47 years old, training one to be responsible (kriya)
  • Between 48 and 59 years old, training one to serve selflessly (seva)
  • Between 60 and 72 years old, training one to control senses, body, and mind (indriyani)

If trained in all of these, one will be Enlightened!

Practical Question and Answer: What is focus? Efficiency. When one appreciates their responsibility, the most efficient way to fulfill them is by unitasking. Happiness lies in absorption of the work, so you can do anything and be happy.

Reflection: In what ways do you allow yourself to be distracted? Vivekji shared by rewarding sattvic efforts. We lose our guard when we reward ourselves after doing good work and are susceptible to devolving. When we reward ourselves, we lose focus.

Question 11

Prince Arjuna’s Question: Chapter 2, Verse 54:

“What, O Keshava, is the description of him who has steady Wisdom and who is merged in the Superconscious state? How does one of steady Wisdom speak, how does he sit, how does he walk?”

Prince Arjuna’s Philosophical Question: How does one who is Enlightened walk?

With these various questions that Prince Arjuna is asking, it shows that, at this point, his understanding of one who is Enlightened is intellectual and extrovert. He has not yet understood that anything this person does is out of fulfillment not for fulfillment.

Lord Krishna’s Philosophical Answer: Chapter 2, Verse 64:

“But the self-controlled man moving among objects, with his senses under restraint, and free from both attraction and repulsion, attains peace.”

One who is Enlightened is freed from likes and dislikes. With every experience, we judge and that deepens to putting labels of like or dislike on that experience. Labels then make us feel bad. Do not be so serious with your judgments; just as easily as they come, let them easily go also.

Our equipment is designed to be extrovert or outward looking. But, wherever one who is Enlightened goes, they are content because they are directed by the intellect and have full control. They direct themselves within; the body directs the mind which is directed by a strong intellect. One has to direct oneself by oneself.

Practical Question and Answer: What is discipline? Purpose. One who has purpose is naturally disciplined and does not get pushed around by context because of their strong content.

Reflection: In what ways do your likes and dislikes prevent you from being happy? Based on our judgments and labels, we anticipate similar future experiences as being negative and avoid them.

Q & A:

  1. Why does Arjuna have to fight if it is all unreal including dharma?
  • Technically, this is correct because names and forms are relative. We know this is “relative” at a belief level but not at a faith or trust level. Arjuna knows this at a belief level but not at a faith level because he would have just gone with the flow if he actually “lived” the knowledge he had.
  • For each of us, we have to think about why we act. If it is out of fulfillment, then this is all unreal but if actions are for fulfillment, then we need to evolve to faith and then trust.

2. Are silence and time antagonistic?

  • Yes but not in an adverse way. When one is deeply silent, conditions do not affect them. Contemplation is not measured by time.
  • One who is Enlightened is dynamic and is the best at managing time not because they need fulfillment, It is because they are fulfilled already.

3. How do we align our thoughts and actions?

  • Think less. Conserve your thoughts. With lots of thoughts, which should one act on? With directed thoughts, it becomes easier to decide which ones to act on. We can have less thoughts by having a more uniform/universal purpose. Establish this purpose every morning.
  • Pause multiple times a day (at sunrise, at noon, at sunset, etc) and check on what you are doing and whether it is aligned with your purpose.

4. Is it wrong to seek distraction when one has grief?

  • If there is no other choice, it is not wrong.
  • For those who have access to Vedanta, it is wrong. Distraction is highly short-term.
  • When one is experiencing grief, concentrate on what’s right in front of you like a rope tied between your head and hands. Collaborate or chant to ask for help from Hanumanji. Make your mind like a post office by being so alert that you know every single thought that comes to you. Reject the negative thoughts and only keep the positive thoughts.

5. How do you practice mauna?

  • Mauna means silence. Practice this by reducing input to the maximum. Not just keeping the mouth closed but also no phones, no looking at others, no reading, no writing, no rituals, no phones, no going anywhere, no napping, no heavy foods. There is nowhere to go but inside. This allows one to become inquisitive.
  • A full hour in the morning, there should be no input.

6. With respect to expressing emotions, is there any connection with modern psychology and Vedanta?

  • An emotion is a thought.. nothing more, nothing less. Psychology gives more reality to emotions.
  • Psychology/science do not measure inspiration like Vedanta because it cannot be measured.
  • With emotions, shift negative emotions to positive emotions. Then, evolve higher to understand that emotions are thoughts. Finally, recognize that thoughts are illumined by the Spirit.
  • However, if one is struggling with an emotion like grief, then you should express it. Do whatever you can to get it out and establish some balance, Then work on evolving as described above.

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The Chinmaya Mission Northwest Indiana Center was established in 2002. It has now evolved into an organization serving the entire Indian community in Northwest Indiana. Chinmaya Mission is an excellent opportunity for spiritual learning.

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