Is blaming oneself a good method of progressing?
Blaming oneself? No, not necessarily. It may be useful, it is indeed useful from time to time in order to get out of the illusion of one’s own perfection. But one wastes much energy in self-criticism. It is much better to use this same energy in making progress, a concrete progress, something more useful. For example, if you have thoughts which are unpleasant, ugly, vulgar and disturbing, and you say, “Ah, ah, how intolerable I am, I still have such thoughts, what a nuisance it is!”, it would be much better to use this very energy simply to do this (gesture) and drive away the thoughts.
And this is only the first step. The second is to try to have other thoughts, to take interest in something else: either read or reflect, but in any case try to fill your mind with something more interesting, to use your energy in constructing rather than in destroying.
It is of course necessary from time to time to recognise one’s faults; it is altogether indispensable. But to dwell too much upon them is not necessary. What is necessary is to use all one’s energy in order to build up the qualities one wants to have and do what one wants to do. This is much more important.
Guard against Despair
For some people events are always contrary to what they desire or aspire for or believe to be good for them. They often despair. Is this a necessity for their progress?
Despair is never a necessity for progress, it is always a sign of weakness and tamas; it often indicates the presence of an adverse force, that is to say, a force that is purposely acting against sadhana.
So, in all circumstances of life you must always be very careful to guard against despair. Besides, this habit of being somber, morose, of despairing, does not truly depend on events, but on a lack of faith in the nature. One who has faith, even if only in himself, can face all difficulties, all circumstances, even the most adverse, without discouragement or despair. He fights like a man to the end. Natures that lack faith also lack endurance and courage.
One Chooses to Be Weak
Mother, there are mistakes… one knows they are mistakes, but still it is as though one were pushed into making them. Then?
Pushed by what? Ah, this is exactly what happens! It is the lower nature, the instincts of the subconscient which govern you and make you do things you should not do. And so it is a choice between your will and accepting submission. There is always a moment when one can decide….
And it is a choice between weak submission and a controlling will. And if the will is clear, if it is based on truth, if truly it obeys the truth and is clear, it always has the power to refuse the wrong movement. It is an excuse you give yourself when you say, “I could not.” It is not true. It is that truly you have not wanted it in the right way. For there is always the choice between saying “yes” and saying “no”. But one chooses to be weak and later gives oneself this excuse, saying, “It is not my fault; it was stronger than I.” It is your fault if the thing was stronger than you. Because you are not these impulses, you are a conscious soul and an intelligent will, and your duty is to see that this is what governs you and not the impulses from below.
To Fall Back into Error
To fall back into an error which one knows to be an error, to make a mistake once again which one knows to be a mistake, this seems to me fantastic! It is a long time — well, at least relatively, by human reckoning — it is a long time I have been on earth, and I have yet not been able to understand that. It seems to me — it seems to me impossible. Wrong thoughts, wrong impulses, inner and outer falsehood, things which are ugly, base, so long as one does them or has them through ignorance — ignorance is there in the world — one understands, one is in the habit of doing them; it is ignorance, one does not know that it ought to be otherwise. But the moment the knowledge is there, the light is there, the moment one has seen the thing as it is, how can one do it again? That I do not understand!
Then what is one made of? One is made of shreds? One is made of goodness knows what, of jelly?… It can’t be explained. But is there no incentive, no will, nothing? Is there no inner dynamism?
Strengthen the Will
Mother, how can one strengthen one’s will?
Oh, as one strengthens muscles, by a methodical exercise. You take one little thing, something you want to do or don’t want to do. Begin with a small thing, not something very essential to the being, but a small detail. And then, if, for instance, it is something you are in the habit of doing, you insist on it with the same regularity, you see, either not to do it or to do it — you insist on it and compel yourself to do it as you compel yourself to lift a weight — it’s the same thing. You make the same kind of effort, but it is more of an inner effort. And after having taken little things like this — things relatively easy, you know — after taking these and succeeding with them, you can unite with a greater force and try a more complicated experiment. And gradually, if you do this regularly, you will end up by acquiring an independent and very strong will.
How to Will Truly
To learn how to will is a very important thing. And to will truly, you must unify your being. In fact, to be a being, one must first unify oneself. If one is pulled by absolutely opposite tendencies, if one spends three-fourths of his life without being conscious of himself and the reasons why he does things, is one a real being? One does not exist. One is a mass of influences, movements, forces, actions, reactions, but one is not a being. One begins to become a being when he begins to have a will. And one can’t have a will unless he is unified.
And when you have a will, you will be able to say, say to the Divine: “I want what You want.” But not before that. Because in order to want what the Divine wants, you must have a will, otherwise you can will nothing at all. You would like to. You would like it very much. You would very much like to want what the Divine wants to do. You don’t possess a will to give to Him and to put at His service.