Hello and welcome to episode 109 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk about change. Why does it take so much time? We’ll talk about Krishna’s strategy for faster change.
Today’s question comes from Macroonie and Macroonie says “I am very slow to from new habits. If I start something new I am very motivated at the start but then it starts to fall away. Why does it take so much time?”
Thanks, that’s a really great question. We have answered a few different variations of this question so I’ll leave some links to the other episodes that you might find helpful.
Ram Krishna shared a beautiful story about fish baskets. There were two women who worked in the market who were great friends. One was a florist who sold beautiful fragrant flowers like jasmine. The other women was a fish seller.
The fish seller
One late evening it started to rain and the florist invited to fish seller to her house because the rain was so heavy she would be soaked by the time she reached her house. She offered her a bed for the night so she could stay warm and dry for the market the next day.
The florist’s house was full of baskets of beautiful flowers. The whole house smelt amazing. The both went to bed but the fish seller could not sleep no matter how hard she tried. She was not used to being surrounded by all of these fragrances. She was used to sleeping in the midst of a fishy smell. She was restless and nothing could bring her sleep. She then had an idea. She took her fish basket and placed it on her face so she could smell it. In 5 minutes she was snoring.
Each of us has this fish basket. It represents our gunas, our emotions. The things that hold us back and that we cannot live without. In this case the flowers represent her consciousness. She was given a chance to get in touch with the consciousness but she wanted a fish basket. It was like a habit. We all have habits that we cannot give up even though they are not of any use to use. It can be any habit like drinking or seeking pleasure. They are all fish baskets.
Ramakrishna says that whenever we have trouble forming a new habit then you just need to remember this story. You need to stop worrying about the fish basket and how to get rid of it. Self-effort and willpower will not get rid of it. Remembering this story will help to give you a different perspective.
The problem is not the fish basket. We just need to know that it’s there. The problem is that you don’t have enough sattvic gunas to appreciate the fragrance of the beautiful flowers which represent the consciousness or in your case, a new habit. Remember a new habit is nothing but an upgrade of your existing level of thinking and results. So remember the problem is never the basket. It is always the lack of sattvic gunas.
Ramakrishna says that there is no easy or hard in this world, there is only bhavna. I would like you to write that word down. It is a Sanskrit word that means spiritual strength. Any task, whether it’s to climb Mount Everest, go to work or to sit down and pray will require strength. If you have bhavna you can do anything on earth. No task will be too big or too small.
So what is bhavna? Take any work that needs to be done. It requires persistence, doing a certain activity again and again. It needs perseverance, knowing that it will take time. You also need a sound strategy, learning the best methods from the best people. You may need more time. If four hours is not enough then put in six or ten hours. You must also use best practice.
People think that if they can master these points of persistence, perseverance and strategy that they can get the work done but the problem is that these five tasks look easy on the outside but they are not. To do these things continuously you need to have bhavna It is spiritual strength that comes from the gunas. You can really only complete these tasks if you have sattvic gunas. If you don’t achieve your goal it’s not because it was too hard. It is because of a lack of bhavna and sattvic gunas. Think of bhavna as a fuel that moves you towards your goals.
If you think you can just jump into things just because you want to then you will not succeed. Just wanting it is not enough. Like in your case you may be very motivated at the start but that will wear off because effort is just not enough. You must have that bhavna fuel, that spiritual strength that will push you on when things are hard.
So if we need sattvic gunas then how do we get it? That is the real question. The truth is you cannot create sattvic gunas. You come with your baggage, you don’t make it. Krishna says there is one entity that can supply you with an abundance of sattvic gunas. That is your jiva, your consciousness. This should be your only supplier.
Forget about fish baskets and habits and spend time connecting with your consciousness. This will give you a fresh supply of sattvic gunas. This in turn will help you to have persistence, perseverance and strategy because you will be fuelled by bhavna, your spiritual strength. Your result will be in reach and you’ll find you have the power and energy to be able to do anything you want to do.
We have spoken about how to do this before. You from a new channel in your mind and you take the energy from only this channel. You can watch earlier episodes to find out more information.
The above method can be a bit complicated so start simple. Every day I want you to meditate on this verse: “Him the weapons cannot cut, fire cannot burn, water cannot wet, wind cannot dry. The self cannot be cut, dried, burned or wetted…Eternal, all pervasive, stable, immovable, everlasting the Self Reigns”
Meditate on this verse for thirty days and this will help to form a new channel that you can fill with sattvic gunas. When you have this channel your motivation will not drop.
I wish you the best of luck. I hope I answered your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.