Life Planning, Part 3, Persistance and Push

Planning ahead in the various departments of life. Lack of persistence happens all the time. Changeableness is reconsidering the plan without any new information. The larger a project the more obstacles you should expect. Smile, don't be discouraged. Push means willpower; the power to accomplish the resolve. Challenge and use your willpower to strengthen it.

Unedited Transcript:

This morning we have our Part 3, our third talk on planning.

Everyone here knows but I'll just mention it cause it's going on the video; it's a separate part. That, in our calendar this is Nartana ritau, mid April through mid August. The best time of year for planning, planning ahead. And Gurudeva encouraged everyone to have a plan to cover the major aspects of their life. And to plan ahead six years. So, where are you going on pilgrimage in 2018? Should be in your six year plan.

So, planning ahead in the various major departments of life: spiritual, social, cultural, economic, educational and health and physical. Six divisions of an individual's or a family's life to plan ahead in.

We're looking at a sutra that he wrote in the Nandinatha Sutras on planning:

"Siva's devotees approach each enterprise with deliberate thoughtfulness, and act only after careful consideration. They succeed in every undertaking by having a clear purpose, a wise plan, persistence and push."

So Part 1 was Clear Purpose. Part 2 was Wise Plan. So obviously, Part 3 is Persistence and Push. We're going to combine them cause push is very simple.

We have two examples here of lack of persistence. The problem is: Someone has chronic back pain. They have a clear purpose: Let's get rid of or at least significantly reduce the back pain. Okay. So, we have a clear purpose.

They have a plan. They go to a physical therapist and he gives some exercises to do. The person does the exercises for a month and stops. Exercises are a lot of work, right? Then he goes to an Ayurvedic doctor, same problem. The doctor suggests some herbs. So he manages to take the herbs. That's easier than exercise; he manages to take the herbs for two months. And then he kind of dwindles off on that.

Six months later he still has the problem and he goes to another doctor and gets a still, a different remedy. So, that's human nature. We tend to have a solution in front of us but we don't stick to it; we don't implement it. We kind of lose interest and want to try another approach.

But, of course, we don't get the clear purpose; we don't get freedom from back pain if we follow that kind of jumping around.

Another one is the -- in Hinduism it happens -- we get different major teachers, swamis, yogis coming to town. It doesn't happen much in quiet Kapaa but take any big city. And these days there's a steady stream of teachers coming. So in our example: This sincere aspirant has the goal of making greater spiritual progress. That's the goal. That's the clear purpose.

So what does he or she do? Goes to the swami, gets a mantram. Starts repeating it and manages to stick to it for about two or three months and stops.

A year later a new teacher comes to town. This is exciting again and teaches meditation, meditating on the inner light. So, person learns how to do that, practices it again for about two or three months and then stops.

So that happens all the time. Lack of persistence. We have a clear purpose; we have a wise plan but we don't have persistence. We don't stick to the plan. We jump and want a new plan.

Human nature hasn't changed much since the Tirukural was written some two thousand years ago. So we can find all of these qualities described right in the Tirukural. Chapter 62: Perseverance. One of the verses gives us an important perspective on perseverance:

"Beware of leaving any work undone, remembering that the world abandons those who abandon their work unfinished."

The Kural chapter and all it's verses put together states that perseverance creates prosperity, the ability to overcome misfortune and to be generous and charitable. It also states: Lack of perseverance brings shame, abandonment and misfortune.

There's a short phrase or mahavakya from Gurudeva that addresses this, he says:

"Consistency is the key to the conquest of karma."

So that's another way of saying that perseverance, we're consistent. We stick to our plan. We stick to our practice. We persevere.

In Living with Siva Gurudeva talks about persistence and the challenge of overcoming changeableness. This is what he says:

"Changeableness means indecision, not being decisive. How can we discriminate between this and the strength of a person who changes his or her mind in wisdom because of changes of circumstance? A person who is changeable is fickle and unsure of himself, changing without purpose or reason. Persistence describes the mind that is willing to change for mature reasons based on new information but holds steady to its determinations through thick and thin in the absence of such good reasons. Its decision are based on wise discrimination. Having made a solid decision in the first place, only reconsider it in light of new information."

That's a good distinction there. Changeableness is reconsidering it without any new information. Sometimes just for the novelty of coming up with a new plan. We've had this plan two or three months; let's find a new one. But, there's no reason to if it's a good plan. But, if new information comes, circumstances change, then the plan could change. And that's still perseverance.

Maybe you've run into this one. In the Hindu world sometimes it's thought: We have a great plan, clear purpose, we're moving forward and we hit some major obstacles. And it's interpreted: Oh, Lord Ganesha's blocking the plan; we're not supposed to do it. So, we stop just because we hit an obstacle. That just because we hit an obstacle doesn't mean, necessarily, that we should abandon the plan. We have to analyze it more carefully. We keep going. And if we hit another obstacle and then we keep going we hit a third obstacle; if we hit three obstacles maybe that's good reason to abandon it. But we have to be careful.

And, one of the points I like to make because Gurudeva brought it out in regards to Iraivan Temple is: The larger a project the more obstacles you should expect. So, sometimes the problem is we're being unrealistic. How many obstacles have we encountered with Iraivan Temple? Lots!

At one point they changed the visa laws. They're actually rules they're not laws. But they changed the visa rules and we couldn't get any silpis. Did we give up? No, we got the best visa attorneys in the U.S., in Washington, D.C. to advise us and worked around it in a very nice way. So we didn't give up. Likewise, certain items didn't fit in putting them together. To joint them and they don't fit. Yoginathaswami didn't give up. He found creative ways to solve the problem. Because, they're not used to carving in one country, shipping half way around the world and assembling in another. Used to carving and assembling it right in the same place so you don't have these kinds of problems. Stones don't sit around for five, ten years after having been carved before they're joint.

Therefore, when you create a clear purpose and a wise plan make sure you're realistic in terms of the number of obstacles you think such a plan may encounter. Before you start. And then when they come up you smile instead of getting discouraged. You say: Oh, obstacle number one, here you are. It's been about three or four months since we started; that's about right. You're not surprised.

One more point, short one. Push! Push in this context means willpower. Persistence and push: The ability to push something through, to accomplish it. And as you know, many of you've heard my usual lack of push one. It's the student who wants to do well in school, has great resolve and is going to get up early in the morning and study hard and sleeps right in, regularly. The resolve is there but the power to accomplish the resolve isn't there. Will power. The power to accomplish what you want, what you will, isn't there.

Fortunately, willpower can be compared to a muscle. Muscles are very interesting. The more you use a muscle the stronger it gets, right? Some things, when you use them they go away. Like a jar of rice. You use it; you end up with an empty jar. Money: Got money in a bank account, you use it, the bank account ends up empty. But willpower is the opposite. The more you use it the more you have. Just like the muscles. The more you exercise a muscle the stronger it is, the more it can do.

Therefore, you need to make sure we're adequately exercising our willpower. And fortunately we have many opportunities throughout the day. As Gurudeva gives a very clear guideline.

He says: To strengthen willpower you need to do two things. Finish every job you start and do it to the best of your ability and even a little better. That's challenging your willpower. You don't start something and drop it in the middle. Make sure you finish it and you do a good job. Little better than you have to you know. Cause that encourages you to do a little more. Use that willpower; it's like one more push-up. Use that willpower just a little more than you have to and it strengthens it.

So, that's the last item for success. So we'll read our sutra one more time in conclusion.

"Siva's devotees approach each enterprise with deliberate thoughtfulness, and act only after careful consideration. They succeed in every undertaking by having a clear purpose, a wise plan, persistence and push."

Thank you very much. Have a great day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
In a relaxed state, happiness is found, and the qualities of the soul shine forth. Selfish, greedy people are tense, concerned, often inhibited. Tension breeds negative thinking.