Regularity and Punctuality
Q. In the books, it is often said that we should adjust our life to attend to our meditation regularly and punctually. Could you please speak about the benefits of regularity and punctuality?
A. Well brother, there is hardly anything to say. You know the advantage of regularity and punctuality. Now when lunch time comes, whether we are hungry or not we quietly go to the dining table, because we have formed the habit of eating at that particular time.
Similarly, we have formed a habit of meditation. If you say, “When I feel the urge I will meditate,” you will perhaps never meditate. If you think, “When I feel the right atmosphere, then I will meditate. I will sit in the morning, I will sit at noon, I will sit in the evening,” you will always go on giving excuses to yourself; you will never attend to meditation.
Just as you have made a habit of going to the office at a particular time, of going for a walk at a particular time, of going to the dining table at a particular time, similarly you should make a habit of going at a particular time for meditation. Then your mind slowly and slowly is disciplined to attend to meditation. That is why so much emphasis is laid on regularity and punctuality.
If you say, “All right, today I don’t feel like meditating; I’ll sit tomorrow,” then tomorrow again you’ll have some other excuse, and the day after tomorrow again you’ll have another excuse. Then there will be gaps and gaps and gaps of time, and you’ll think, “Oh, I have absolutely forgotten for months and months to sit in meditation.” But if you force your mind to meditate and say, “Even if I can’t give the proper time to meditation, let me give at least half the time, even if I’m busy,” then you’ll get regularity.
And punctuality is also important because we have associations with timing. If you have selected a particular time for meditation – for example, 3.30 or 4.30 a.m. – you know that you have to get up punctually in the morning, and you will also be punctual in going to sleep at night. You will adjust your time in such a way that you get six or seven hours of sleep so that you can get up in the morning. Otherwise you know that you will miss your morning meditation. To this extent punctuality is essential. It should become a habit with us.
Unless we discipline our mind this much, our mind will always find excuses not to sit in meditation. We are regular in our other daily activities – “I have a time to go to the office; I have a time to go to lunch; I have a time to have a cup of coffee; I have a time to walk in the evening, I have a time to go to sleep” – then why not also have a time for meditation? It should become part of our life, a part of our daily routine.
If you discipline your mind every day by attending to meditation punctually, then you won’t miss meditation, and if you do miss it, then you’ll feel miserable that day. You’ll feel that something is lacking, and you will try to find some other time for meditation to make up for the lost morning time. Thus regularity and punctuality are both essential, if we can manage it.
Even having a particular place to sit makes a lot of difference in our meditation. Now, a bed is associated with sleep. If you want to read in bed, the moment you are in bed you will fall asleep, because you have an association of the bed with sleep. If you sit at a writing table, you automatically feel like writing a letter to somebody, because you associate that table with writing letters. If you sit on a comfortable chair, you will feel like relaxing; you associate relaxation with that chair. So also, if you find a particular place for meditation, then you will have an association with that place for meditation, and that place will remind you to attend to meditation.
These things are just to induce us to attend to meditation – nothing else. Otherwise, even if you keep to meditation without regularity, it is all right. If you can keep to meditation without having a particular place for meditation, it is all right. These are just inducements to the mind not to run away from meditation.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Die to Live
When a person escapes from the path of the mind, what is his condition? Like a child in his mother’s lap – she’s the one who has all the cares: loving him, bathing him, playing with him. In the same way, when we come to the path of Nam, then Nam takes over all our cares and we are left carefree.
Maharaj Jagat Singh, Discourses on Sant Mat, Vol. II