Discipline without the Carrot & the Stick
(Yama & Niyama)
When we attempt
to instigate discipline to the principles of the carrot and the stick, whether in other or
in ourselves, we invariable move away from discipline.
What we obtain, instead, is a strengthening of the subjugation of the being to
fear, ambition, and conformity.
train your child to behave well because he gets rewarded when you approve, and
consequenced when you dont, what are you really teaching the child? Right, exactly.
She learns to be bribed, and learns to associate pain with not being in conformity. Also, she learns from you how important it to
attain approval and material stimulus every time you give her something because she obeyed
or conformed. Conversely, she also learns how
she needs to retain as many privileges as she can. For
instance, every time you take their TV away because they did not behaved as required, she
learns to value television as an end in itself and that she must strive to not be deprived
by conforming to the wishes of others.
Of course, we
are not giving child-rearing advice here. We
wouldnt want to get the psychologist, teachers, and social workers angry here, or
they could tell others not to read this book. If
you get the logic of what we are saying, though, youd realize how absurd it is to
think that someone will acquire self-discipline (and self-discipline is the only kind of
discipline there is) by constantly acting out of fear to loose something idiotic or by
ingratiating weak-willed adults who think they know how everyone should act and that
children dont know better.
the idea here is not to tell you how to educate your children. Thats impossible (and this sentence has at
least three levels of meaning, see if you can find them all). The idea here is to communicate the absurdity of
that mode of achieving discipline. It is just
as absurd to apply them to ourselves.
punishing the ego achieves nothing. That is,
nothing that can be called discipline in the way we are using the term. What you get is a sly ego who learns what a fake
you are and knows how to get the best of you every time; or, you could end up with such a
fearful personality that youd always act as if God is watching.
What then, do
we mean by discipline? It could be
illustrated by the following adage:
- Do what you decide to do, and dont do what you decide not to do.
Or better yet,
it can be derived in a more visceral way by this other adage:
- Dance as if nobody is watching, love as if its never going to hurt.
disciplined person could do that.
Close the book
and think about it for a minute.
(What are you
still doing here? We told you to think about
it for a minute!)
So, if the
carrot and the stick are more related to true slavery than the freedom brought about
through discipline, how can self-discipline be achieved?
thats for you to find out. In the
meantime, you could avoid the issue by trying the following Experiments.
Experiment is called Yama. Yama refers to the
formation of the will through intent. It is
the tool the driver of the carriage uses to get the horses going.
whats happening with Yama: if someone asks you to raise your arm, you may or not
raise it. If you raise it, whos will
was at work? Who made the arm go up and down? You could say that you decided to do it. If the one asking you to raise your arm is your
boss, your teacher, your guru, God, your wife (or any other being seen as having power
over you), someone could say that it was that person whose will was at workyou were
simplify the issue. Lets say that you
decide to raise your arm. Whose will is at
work? Clearly, it is your will. Right? Lets
explore that for a minute.
Raise your arm. Observe yourself raising your arm, and then lower
happened there? How did you do that?
you could say, I just raised it and lowered it like this.
Yes, you did,
but how did you do that?
my brain send electrical impulses that contract my muscles and cause the arm to go up and
Really? And how do you make your brain send those
decide to do it, and it is done.
Hmmm. You know what Im going to ask, right? How do you make that decision? And how is that decision connected to what your
brain does? Where does volition or will come
into play? How can a decision activate the
physical sequence of events that lead to your arm raising?
It is not
thinking. You can think Ill raise
my arm now, or even Arm, go up! and nothing will happen if you
dont raise your arm. Conversely, you
can say I will keep my arm down, and then proceed to raise it.
about willing something does not equate willing it. Thought
is not the same as will. That is why you can
think something and not do it.
It is not just
awareness of the act. You dont just see
the arm going up and down. You will it. But how? In
fact, there are many times in the day when you have raised your arm up without thinking,
desiring, or even deciding to raise it. It
just went up to grab something you wanted, or to say wave goodbye, or even in your sleep
to relieve the pressure. In those cases, who
was moving your arm up? Was the arm doing it
by itself? Did your brain decided to do it? If so, whose will is at work? If it is your will, how can the will operate
independent of your awareness or it, and without even deciding to do it? If it is not your will, who or what is moving your
arm when you are not looking?
Will, then, is
independent of volition. That is, will is not
subordinated to the decisions you make or dont make.
Have you ever
wondered why the alcoholic cannot just decide to stop drinking and stop? Or why you break the solemn promises you made
yourself as a child? Or why you betray those
you love the most, including yourself and your gods?
Where is your will? It is not in your
arm, not in your thoughts, not in your words, not in your decisions, not in your desires,
not in your awareness. Where is it? What is it? Who
is it? How does it function? What law does it serve?
have a clear intent to do something. I
will work on that chapter today, or I want to go to bed early today, or
I will be a good Christian and follow Gods law from now on. Sometimes you have a clear intent at heart, not
just a thought or a decision, but intent. A
decision comes from the headbrain, while intent comes from somewhere else. Where does intent comes from? How is it related to will? Arent they the same?
that you a clear and simple intent, like the intent of loving everyone as you love
yourself. Lets even take a slightly
simpler objective, something like the intent to grab something. Your eye sees the object, and your hand comes
slowly toward it. You end up knocking it
down because you were distracted at the last second by someone coming in the room, or a
passing thought in your head.
closely related to will, but the intent can lack the will to accomplish the task at hand.
Experiment, Yama, has two components:
- Raising the dead. Which is done
to explore and examine the location and nature of will.
It will help by beginning to uncover the true identity of your will.
- Aligning the will with intent. Which
is designed to align your intent with your capacity to will. When your intent can invoke your will, then you
can be called a person of true will. You can
decide to do something, and do it.
Experiment 1: Raising the dead
Experiment, you will need a watch, paper to write on, and a pen or pencil. Follow the instructions below, doing the
Experiment for ten minutes. Follow the exact
- Look at your arm, the one you dont use for writing. See how it stays there most of the time, inert
unless you need it for something. Right now,
it is just lying there. It will not move
unless you direct it. It is your will that
will move the arm, and nothing else.
- Write down in your paper the following sentence: It is my Will to raise my arm.
- Now raise your arm.
- Lower your arm.
- Read the sentence you wrote out loud.
- Raise and lower your arm.
- Now, close your eyes, and say to yourself, in your thoughts, It is my
Will to raise my arm.
- Raise and lower your arm.
- Now, visualize your arm going up and down.
- Raise and lower your arm.
- Write again: It is my Will to raise my arm, but this time DO NOT
raise your arm.
- Read the phrase out loud, but do not raise your arm.
- Read the phrase silently, but do not raise your arm.
- Close your eyes, and think to yourself, It my Will to raise my
arm, but do not raise your arm.
- Now, visualize your arm going up and down, but do not raise your arm.
- Decide to raise your arm, but do not raise it.
- Make a firm, definite commitment to yourself to raise your arm, but do not
- Now, do not say anything to yourself, do not make promises or visualizations,
simply look at the arm and find in yourself the intent to raise it.
- Raise your arm.
- Finally, repeat 18 and 19, trying to find out the move right before you move
it that corresponds to your intent. This is
the exact moment when Will is invoked.
Experiment 2: Aligning the Will with
- Pick something to do for the next seven days.
It should be something easy, clear, and exact.
- Formulate in yourself the will to do it.
- In order to formulate in yourself the will to do it, all you have to do is
find the intent to formulate the will to do it.
- If you are wondering how to find the intent to formulate the will to do it,
all you have to do is decide to do it and do it.
- Write down, in exact and precise terms, what you will do. For instance, it could be It is my will to
smell a flower every afternoon for the next seven days, or It is my will to
say By Golly!!! every time someone says Have a nice day in your
presence. It doesnt matter, just pick
something that you will DO for the next seven days. Do
not pick something that you will NOT do.
- Make a written record of every time you fail to do what you have chosen to
As you do this
Experiment, be mindful of all the times something inside of you plots to distract you from
your Experiment. It can be forgetfulness, it
can be embarrassment, it can be any emotion, it can be procrastination, it can be
anything. There is a mob in you trying to
force you to not follow through.
Also, try to be
conscious of the moment the Will is aligned with intent.
That is the moment when the Experiment strengthens the Will.
Will needs a tuning dial, something that helps point the manifesting energy in the proper
direction. The previous Experiment provides
this tuning element. By aligning Will with
Intent, we acquire the tool by which we can modulate the flow of energy into our
invocational circle and produce a result in accordance with our higher and most conscious
path of Will must be cleansed. The Intent can
be equated to the scepter of the magician. It
collects the higher creative energies of Will and brings them into our invocational
circle, but if the scepter is not clean, the resulting invocation or manifestation will
also be contaminated. Put in simple terms,
the disciplined Will has to do not only with doing what you intend to do, but also with
not doing what is your intent not to do. The
least thing you want to do in an invocational chamber is bring out the nasty aspects of
your personalities, those that you so diligently hide from even yourself.
Yama is the
feminine or creative aspect of discipline. It
has to do with doing and accomplishing, manifesting and creating. Niyama, on the other hand, has to do with denying,
saying no, choosing one path over the others, pruning and eliminating some
branches so that others might grow. It is the
masculine aspect of discipline.
Cleansing the Intent
Experiment cleanses the Intent, and aligns it with your Will even further. In the end, your Intent and your Will act as one.
- Pick something you decide to avoid doing for the next seven days. It should be something easy, clear, and exact.
- Formulate in yourself the will to not do it.
- In order to formulate in yourself the will to not do it, all you have to do
is find the intent to formulate the will to not do it.
- If you are wondering how to find the intent to formulate the will to not do
it, all you have to do is decide not to do it and dont do it.
- Write down, in exact and precise terms, what you will not do. For instance, it could be It is my will to
not say the word I for the next seven days, or It is my will to
not use my left hand when drinking or eating. It
doesnt matter, just pick something that you will NOT DO for the next seven days. Do not pick something that you will do.
- Make a written record of every time you do what you have chosen not to do.
Experiment 4: The Powers of the Sphinx
It is said that the four powers of the Sphinx are the pillars of magick. These powers are:
To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Be Silent. Once you learn to work with these, you
develop a powerful will, a magical will. Here is an experiment where you can experience
these four powers and learn to apply them later to bigger things.
1. Pick a project completely familiar to you, something well within the range of your
normal abilities. If you are a writer, it could be writing a chapter on a book you are
already working on. If you are a student, write a page or two for a paper using this
experiment. Make a new song. A love poem. Do a small piece of furniture if you are a
carpenter. Draw the sketch for a summer dress if you are a designer. Cook a meal if you
know how to cook. Send an email. You get the idea.
2. On a piece of paper, write the headings for the four powers of the Sphinx.
3. Under the To Know power, write everything related to the project. Consider every aspect
of the project.
4. Will it. Write down a statement of will. It is my Will to
it in writing.
5. Dare. Take the necessary steps to do it. You can include in this section a checklist of
things to do. Do them. Check them off as you fulfill them.
6. Be silent. Make a commitment not to tell anyone not directly involved with it about the
project. Go on with your activities as if you are not doing a special project.
Do this experiment several times, try using it in something that is slightly outside your
area of comfort. Once you get the hang of it, this technique can be applied to accomplish
a big project. You can apply it to write a book, build a house, start a new career, finish
a degree, etc.