Secrets of success 5 – discipline of the senses

Control over the senses is essential for meditation which is the second half of the 8-limbed or ashtanga path of yoga. Without that, one cannot progress towards deep meditation. 

We have added a transcript of the video below in case that helps. Then right at the end of this post is a Journal Activity. Enjoy!


Ten organs pulling us in so many directions. This is the fight of the spiritual aspirant to control these organs. It is a fierce fight. We were fighters and gatherers who go outside to look for fulfilment. But we need to go inside to look for real fulfilment. Success comes when we control our ego and access the inner infinite spiritual power. Our human power is very little. Through our intellect we can control the most powerful animal. We can shoot rocket missiles and turn everything upside down. With a little intellectual power. But we also need intuitional power.

More and more becomes revealed to you through intuition. Without intuition nothing happens. Can you really make music without intuition? A deeper source. So it is clear that for success it requires something more. Come in touch with spiritual power. It is power in the spirit. It is the life within. The spark which you cannot touch when your mind goes all outside seeking gratification through the senses. You connect with limited objects and your mind becomes restless. That restless mind cannot be at the same wavelength of the Supreme consciousness. To connect you have to be peaceful. You have to calm down the organs and the senses.

Many spiritual seekers find this principle most challenging. How to restrain the sensory organ? It is a big skill. By spiritual practices and code of morality and slowly the ability to restrain yourself will grow. It is embedded in your conduct rules. Of course, when you work hard to meditate you develop the ability to restrain. When you are developed in meditation you can sit in a train as if in a mountain cave. Another thing to understand is that sensory activity is useful when it is something elevating. Lord Shiva also created dance and music. He is known as the Nataraja who created classical Indian dance. Dance affects all your vital energies and it is a spiritual practice. One who sees the dance is also elevated. If it is really spiritually inspired music the music may bring your nervous system into resonance with the higher psycho-spiritual energies. This is ecstatic science.

It is the property of the mind to engage in object so we give it an object. We have art, music, mantra. Instead of engaging in crude object, engage the mind is something subtle. But then the mind is not accustomed to subtle ways and it is not interested. Just not interested or able to receive those vibrations. Just like a net too big and the small fish cannot be caught. The mind has to be trained. It is an art a culture when we slowly elevate our nervous system to feel the subtle waves.

Another thing the Buddha has said. All are spiritual sacred. Control your eye, tongue, mind, everything, all round self-restraint, you will be liberated from all suffering. The nervous system says you must have this stimulation but your mind says no, this crude thing is not good for you. It’s true. When you don’t control what you see, soon the hormones will be affected. Quick, turn away or engage the mind in another object. If you delay, you are gone because the glands will support that movement of the mind. Reject what is not good for you. The ones who have self-restraint are  the ones who will become very successful in life. Their mind is governed with rationality. By taking a conscious decision, I am not going there but somewhere else. There is a rule. No meditation, no food. So keep this rule. I will do something. I will earn it. I will only get it when I earn it.

Engaging the mind in singing mantra is the best of the best. If you can follow this principle we will not fall from the spiritual path. We become endowed with more insight and spiritual power. The ability to restrain the spiritual and sensory organs.

Next principle is diet and how it affects our biochemistry. How we eat, what we eat, what is conducive and counter-productive.


Journal Activity: How to avoid being under the control of your senses when you live in a world where there is a shopping mall around each corner. So much to see, to buy, to taste, to feel good owning it? Well, good news is yes, you can. You can with lots of self-control and motivation to stick to what is required for the spiritual path. You do it because each time you give up something delicious but not good for your body or mind, you do it because of the Divine. You do it because you want to achieve enlightenment and not have to come back again. Do you want to come back again? Or, like the Buddha, do you say I will not move from this cushion, I must achieve enlightenment no matter what happens?

~ ॐ ~