Home » Paramhansa Yogananda, Spiritual Development

Resurrect Your Mind from Mental Laziness

by Paramhansa Yogananda
Winter 2013 2 Comments

Most people spend all their lives desiring to do something perfectly, such as playing the piano or painting, but are too lazy to put forth the effort required to reach perfection in the chosen activity. They go on for years performing inefficiently and excusing themselves by saying, “I had no time to practice or to find a good teacher, and anyway, I am not a genius.” They fail to realize that extraordinary talent is not as necessary as unswerving purpose and unfailing effort.

The key to happiness, power, and health lies within your mind. Mental laziness and lack of initiative and perseverance are the greatest enemies of success in any field of activity. A mentally lazy person grunts and moans, and considers it a terrible expenditure of energy if he must take time to think, plan, or create. He is unwilling to initiate creative or self-emancipating thinking. We can understand physical idleness, when it is sometimes necessary for relaxation from overwork, but we cannot excuse the mentally lazy person.

I’ve often said: the whole universe is sitting on a little piece of God’s thought. Everything in the universe is the result of thought. God’s mind underlies and guides every aspect of creation. The image of God within you includes that same potential of unlimited mental power, but you must learn to develop that power by making greater use of your mind. Most of your troubles in life can be traced to the failure to develop the power of your mind.

Refuse to harbor the consciousness of defeat
To pass life’s tests, you will need to develop elasticity of the mind. Tests are not meant to crush you. They come through the natural law of progress, to help you develop your mental powers, and to advance from lower to higher levels of willingness, effort, and creativity. Most people give up and fail, but in order to succeed you must learn to persevere in your effort toward your goal.

If you are suffering materially, do not add more injury to yourself by mentally accepting defeat. Even if you have no job, for your own good, you have no right to be depressed. If you sit in your home moaning and sobbing, you are paralyzing your mind with sorrow instead of keeping it busy with the kind of creative thinking which alone can show you a way out of your difficulties.

I can forgive the physically lazy man if his body is weak or if it needs rest, but I cannot so easily forgive the mentally lazy man, for he is too lazy to think. Do you need a job? Instead of sobbing and complaining, you must keep your mind busy with continuous thinking as to how you can secure work for yourself. Always remember: you are stronger than your tests.

Never allow your mind to entertain human thoughts of limitation and you will see your life change for the better. If you allow such thoughts to take hold you have already lost half the battle. Throw all such thoughts out of your mind and affirm with deep conviction that whatever has been done, and is currently posing challenges in your life, can be undone. Every new effort after a failure must be well planned and charged with increasing intensity of attention.

Remember, if you make up your mind that you are going to control your circumstances, your circumstances will adjust themselves accordingly. Friendly success tendencies are ready to help you, depending on your unflinching efforts. These are your invisible friends. Rouse your will by repeated judicious efforts, and ultimately you are certain to awaken the success tendencies sleeping in the dark chamber of your subconsciousness.

Depend more on mind and will power
You must believe more in the power of the mind and will. The more you depend on mind and will power, the more they will do for you. Will is concentrated mental energy directed toward a goal. There is no more effective force than energy applied by will power. This will power lies buried in you and if you use it, there is nothing you cannot accomplish.

How can you develop it? Before you do anything, think carefully about what you should do. Make sure you are using your will to accomplish something good and helpful to you. Will derives its strength from an honest purpose, lofty motives, and noble solicitude to do good in the world at large.

Take up one little thing you think you cannot do. Try with all your might to accomplish that one thing. Then, when you have accomplished that, go on to something bigger. If your difficulty is great, pray, “Lord, give me the power to conquer all my difficulties.”  Most people give up and fail. Not to give up is to develop will power, and to win in everything you undertake. The successful person may have had more difficulties than the one who has failed, but he doesn’t mention them. He rejects the thought of failure at all times. To succeed you must learn to persevere in your effort toward your goal.

Everything you see in this world is the result of will power, but it is not always used consciously. A strong will, by its own dynamic force, creates a way for its fulfillment. By its very strength, the will sets in motion certain vibrations in the atmosphere, and Nature, with its laws of order, system, and efficiency, thereupon creates circumstances favorable to the individual who exercises that kind of will power.

Your will must be guided by wisdom
When Jesus said, “Let Thy will be done,” what did he mean? Many people misinterpret the real meaning of Jesus’ statement and preach a dangerous doctrine of not using the will.

Jesus meant that when you attune your will with God’s will, which is guided by wisdom, you are then using divine will. But you can not know what divine will is until you have developed your own will to its fullest potential. Only by using your own will power rightly can you contact God’s will. By deep concentration and receptivity in meditation, you can establish that divine contact.

The power of a strong will, guided by divine wisdom, is unlimited. To its possessor nothing is impossible. The will is the weapon by which you can vanquish all failure. You must, however, make constant use of it; then it will serve you faithfully and always be sharp and keen edged. Do not will and act first, but contact God first and harness your will and activity to the right goal.

Ways to vitalize and nourish your mind
You must not lead a stagnant existence. Vitalize and nourish your mind by contact with strong spiritually progressive minds. Begin from today to try to do, one at a time, the things you thought impossible for you to do. Systematize your life and schedule your engagements.

Every morning, make up your mind that you are going to be better. Analyze yourself and find out whether you have been progressing or not. In life there is no standing still; you are either going forward or backwards. Every day spur yourself on to greater achievements.

Unless you are meditating, keep your mind busy during most of your leisure time with good books. Read, mark, and inwardly digest selected passages from great books. Do not read half-heartedly or with only partial attention. You should never read without assimilation; if you can assimilate, you will know much with little reading. When thinking, keep your eyes closed and your mind wholly concentrated on the object of your study. Thinking logically over a given idea is the best way to develop originality in your ideas.

Perform all activities with full concentration. Some people assume that an activity must be done slowly; otherwise they will become restless. That is not so. With calmness and intense concentration, you can perform all actions very quickly. The art of true action is to be able to act quickly or slowly, depending on circumstances, without losing your inner peace.

Every night try to remember in detail all that happened during the day. Just before going to sleep and upon awakening, command your subconscious mind to be attentive to all life’s activities and to retain all valuable experiences. These two periods are the best for impressing affirmations on the mind.

“What can I do for God today?”
God has given you the power to control your mind and to be free from pain and sorrow. Laziness in body and mind must be driven away before you can enter the kingdom of God. It is better to be a success in the eyes of the world than to be a lazy, but you will never attain true happiness unless you combine worldly success with spiritual success through daily inner communion with the Lord.

Consciousness of spiritual and moral duty should reign predominantly in your mind, above all other duties. Don’t be so busy that you find no time for meditation and spiritual service. Experience the superior joys of the inner life, and you will prefer them to the fleeting pleasures of the outer world.

From articles and lessons.

Related reading: How to Be Happy All the Time
The Wisdom of Paramhansa Yogananda, Volume 1

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2 Comments »

  • Srinivasan says:

    Wonderful article. The energy of Guruji and the conviction with which he conveys his message is just breath-taking. We should re-read this article daily and get the message into our blood and remove all negative ideas and live a worthy life. It is difficult to believe just a human being lived just years ago on this planet. Pranams Guruji. Please bless us.

  • Ram says:

    Hello everyone !

    Thank you for the nice article. It was a good feeling after i completed reading the article as it was a sort of revisit to most ideas contained in the article.

    I am sure the day today of mine will be certainly better.

    God bless.

    Regards.

    Ram

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