The essence of discipline is to make our intelligence faster than our mind

Suppose we tend to waste too much time on Facebook. We can try to discipline ourselves, but fail. Why is becoming disciplined so difficult? 

To understand that, let’s analyze the inner factors that shape our actions. Broadly speaking, those factors can be called the mind and the intelligence. The mind impels us toward short-term gratification, whereas the intelligence inspires us toward long-term welfare. 

When we are habituated to doing something, our mind functions so rapidly that it impels us to do that thing before our intelligence can evaluate that action. For example, if we are hooked to Facebook, then whenever we feel bored, our mind starts impelling us to browse Facebook even before our intelligence notices what we are doing. 

To discipline ourselves, we need to make our intelligence faster than our mind. This means that as soon as our mind proposes that we go to Facebook, our intelligence cross-examines that proposition: “Do I need to do this right now?” Such intelligent scrutiny will ensure that we use social media only when it is necessary or important. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (06.25) urges us to use our intelligence to refocus our mind whenever it wanders. 

What if our intelligence is not fast enough? 

First, we can study the Gita regularly to sharpen our intelligence. Second, we can use our intelligence beforehand to boost our defenses, maybe by installing apps to help regulate our Facebook usage. Third, we can use our intelligence as soon as it becomes alert; regulating an impulse even partially is an improvement over giving in to it completely. 

Each time we use our intelligence to resist our mind, our mind becomes weaker and slower, whereas our intelligence becomes stronger and swifter. Eventually, our intelligence outraces our mind, making disciplining ourselves easier and our endeavors more fruitful. 


Think it over:

  • What inner factors shape our actions? How?
  • How can we make our intelligence faster than our mind?
  • If our intelligence is not fast enough, what can we do?



06.25 Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else.

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