Today, we’re going to talk a little bit more about consistency. This is one of the most important factors for material success and the crucial factor for spiritual success. As a general rule, one develops consistency when keeping to a personalized daily, weekly, yearly routine, created in accordance with the guidelines for goodness, purity, knowledge and responsibility. All this makes a person consistent and thus, successful. This is the absolutely correct approach, although there can be some peculiarities related to personality traits of some people.
The point is that by no means all have the same perception of consistent routine and its link to success. For the majority of people, the strong interconnection is obvious, while for others it’s not. The latter group of people makes up about 20% of population and is outwardly no different from others. There people are not some much dependent on a strict daily schedule. It isn’t that they don’t need it. It is that they are far less dependent on it than many others. They can easily make changes to their daily routine and schedule, and it won’t exasperate them and throw off balance.
In this case, changes are seen as pleasing and inspiring, rather than scaring and annoying. Let’s look at the example with some unexpected bus route changes. If a bus takes a different route around the city than normal, the majority of the passengers would anxiously look out of the window, feel uncomfortable and scream, “Where are we going to?” It would be a frightening experience for them, while for some of the passengers it would seem nowhere near as bad! They would love the idea of following a different route. It would seem fascinating. They know that, one way or another, the bus will drop them off at the subway station. It just takes a new route to avoid congestion. They would feel like supporting the driver, inspiring him to follow a different route. (”Go it!”)
Now we can understand the psychology of these peculiar 20% of population. If they manage to act effectively, quickly and dexterously; follow things through to completion with the least possible trouble – this can be called their scheduling technique, their own level of consistency and the way they handle daily routines. How can they make the most of their personality type? They should still try their best to set a daily schedule and stick to it. Then their “out-of-the-box thinking” won’t go beyond what is reasonable. Such individuals are sometimes called “intuitives”. The main challenge is not to engage in self-justification. Otherwise, relying too much on the gut feelings may lead to egregious blunders, deviations and even tragedy. One should keep away from too intuitive thinking, e.g. presented in the following joke:
“Doctor, I have pain somewhere in my body.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll give you some kind of pills.”
Curiously enough, intuitive approach makes a certain amount of philosophical sense. Such a person can come very close to spiritual understanding of activity, or rather, the understanding that not everything rests with us, not all depends solely on our plan. Hence, a bit of intuitive, spiritual approach to action would be nice to have for any person. If one doesn’t use it at all, one is in for a big disappointment in planning as such. As they are fond of saying in the business world, “to sell the bear’s skin before one has caught the bear” is scientifically called “business planning”. If planning or using a daily schedule doesn’t involve understanding the laws of fate, this is a very rough, selfish, materialistic approach.
Therefore, every act of planning must leave room for hunches, which means understanding the laws of fate. And any intuitive approach must involve some planning, or acknowledging the power of goodness. This power enables to go through with the task, despite the obstacles and problems that emerge. As always, any extremity or excesses will cause departure from balanced development. For example, transcendentalists become so utterly absorbed in spirituality that they forget to plan the practical side of it. As a result, their activity stops after a while due to the lack of funds. On the other hand, materialists are so self-reliant that they forget about moral issues and sooner or later, offend against the law and go to jail.
By the way, here is a funny story about the intuitive approach.
A businessman once came to the wisewoman and asked,
“Last night I dreamt of potato. What does a dream of potatoes mean?”
“It’s quite simple,” she said. “It would either be planted in spring or harvested in the fall.”
Now I’d like to talk a little bit about Vedic techniques as such. These include Ayurveda, Vastu, astrology, and daily practice, as well. Yes, Vedic techniques have tremendous benefits. If their authenticity was preserved by true specialists and adjusted to the realities of the modern world, their application can be very effective. On the other hand, their authenticity could be lost or partially preserved. They might have been distorted and as a consequence of this, could lose their power. They might have not been adapted to the present-day reality, after all. So I wouldn’t idealize the situation. I’d like to say that we are interested in one and only Vedic technique that hasn’t lost its power and remains relevant to this day. This is the technique of spiritual elevation, purification of heart of all dirt.
All other techniques, even if they are called “Vedic”, require a careful practical approach. Do not be allured by the word “Vedic”. If some technology facilitates spiritual growth, it ought to be accepted, even if it doesn’t look too “Vedic”. I was preparing this lecture using a non-Vedic computer. I was sitting on the non-Vedic sofa, in the non-Vedic apartment of the non-Vedic house. The house was located in the non-Vedic district of the non-Vedic city. And the country was non-Vedic… But if something is called “Vedic” and you really can see that it doesn’t aid spiritual growth, it should be rejected, without any pangs of remorse…
For example, an acquaintance of mine recently told me about his visit to the professional Ayurvedic doctor. That doctor insisted that he start eating meat. And my acquaintance had to explain this Ayurvedic doctor the Vedic principles of healthy lifestyle.
Our safe lifestyle is a sensible lifestyle. In yoga, it is called yama&niyama. We accept everything favorable and reject everything which is unfavorable. This is the approach from the standpoint of reason. Hence, it’s the safest and the most serious approach.
By the way, we become serious when taking real responsibility for others – their lives, development, and future. You’d think one becomes responsible while thinking about oneself. Not so, but far otherwise. In fact, we don’t know how to wish ourselves well, how to wish ourselves happiness. We haven’t learned this despite many billions of years of material life. Hence, to become serious while thinking only about one’s own spiritual development is a tough thing to do.
When we start thinking about others, we make a more realistic assessment of our help. It awakens our responsibility. For example, if I need to get up early, and it’s only me who needs it, I can oversleep quite easily without feeling remorse. But if I have an appointment in the morning, I’ll not only get up on time – I’ll toss in my sleep, feel very restless, wake up over and over again to look at the clock.
Therefore, the secret is plainly simple: help someone to go back to the spiritual world, and you’ll find yourself there. However, one needs to know how to help and this is also the Vedic technique. To understand it better, let’s hear a parable.
Once there was a very rich man who had lots of money. And he never refused anyone his help. Whoever came to him to ask for money — be it a shoemaker who needed to buy leather or a painter who needed money for paints – was never refused aid. The rich man never turned his back on anyone and never asked for anything in return. Sometimes he would visit poor writers and artists himself and help them free. His fame as a benefactor of the whole city resounded everywhere.
But one day it became repulsive to him. The rich man sold his house and distributed money among the poor. He dropped everything; bundle wrapped two shirts and a pair of pants and went wandering the world.
Years went by. One day an old man came into the city where the rich man once used to live. He was bearing heavily on his stick. In his torn and dirty clothes, he had come a long way. He walked with a hunched back; his grey beard was as dirty as himself.
He went through the whole city, rambled through the centre and sat by the fountain on the central square. He was so travel-weary he could hardly breathe. He was starving but had not a red cent in his pocket. He was almost dying.
Just then a gentleman walked by. He was modestly dressed yet was neat and tidy. He came up to the old man to give him alms. The old man lifted up his head slowly, looked up and said,
“All my life I depended on myself. And now that I’m on my deathbed and don’t have a bean to spend, I’m still not going to take any money from you.”
At these words, the gentleman gave him a long look. After a slight pause, he said,
“I remember you. There was a time when you were a rich man in this city. You used to give alms. I started my own barbershop with the money you gave me. Now I can live reasonably well on the income it brings. You thought then you were helping us. But we didn’t turn down your offer to help. We allowed you to do good deeds for us. You thought you were assisting us with money. But in fact, we were assisting you with our consent. Now, be so kind as to assist me in my desire to help, as well.”
Hence, remember: when performing acts of kindness we shouldn’t forget that those we do something good to actually do a lot more good to us by allowing us to make ourselves useful.