We can control others but till we learn to control ourselves, nothing is of any use in the journey of our lives. Let us seek to work on this.
As a young girl, I was a good student. However, like most people, I had weaknesses too. I loved reading books and comics excessively. Though this was considered a good habit, I would never play outside. So my grandparents who brought me up would keep asking me to include playtime too in my routine by minimising my time with books. This was very difficult for me so the I started lying by telling them that I was going out to play but would go with a book and be reading somewhere quietly. I got caught by my late grandfather reading under a tree. He took me aside and told me that more than the book, it was the lie and lack of self-control that bothered him. He told me that without self-control we cannot be trusted by anyone so the sooner I worked on it, the better it would be for me. He spent a lot of time explaining to me a famous Tamil proverb that anything in excess is bad. I will never forget this episode.
This definitely hit home and since then, I have never overdone anything. After all, good or bad, lack of self-control is the first step towards addictions of all kinds.
Working on ourselves
Self-control is the first step towards personal growth. As in all areas, it would work only with a strong intent. I managed it by making a timetable for reading and then locking all the books inside a cupboard so that I would not see them and be tempted. I would also chant my favourite chant, Hanuman Chalisa, to keep my mind strong.
Everyone’s method is different but I feel it is better to go slowly, one step at a time. We must know this is a play of the mind which is why if we have control over our mind, we can quickly act out in self-control. With mental health raised as a concern even by the World Health Organisation, we need to know how self -control, a key component here, can be handled.
To have control over our mind and impulses, spiritual practice of some kind definitely helps as personal and spiritual growth are always linked.
A similar thing happened to my son who was also addicted to books. Before he did anything similar to me, I gently told him to follow a time-table system gently he did it right from the beginning. As I could relate to his addiction, it was easier to convince him. For in all areas, understanding always helps in making the other understand.
I also feel that it would be better if we surrendered to the divine to help us stay in control always. The mind always drives us in all areas so surrendering it to God is the best thing we could do for ourselves. As it is said, working on ourselves is the best gift we can give ourselves.
By Jamuna Rangachari