YOGA-ARTICLE: Trick or treat

A good leader knows that every employee needs a different approach. Some need to be praised to get the job done efficiently and on time. For others this method does not work, and only imposition of fines or salary deductions can get them moving.  Why are there such differences: some people are motivated by the stick, while others are motivated by the carrot? Is it necessary to apply the carrot and stick method in your life?

The evolution of mindfulness

In the article “How to learn to live in the here and now,” we described in detail the division of society according to individuals’ level of awareness. The lower the awareness of a person is, the more the “stick” will affect them in the form of circumstances, punishments, etc. When the level of awareness increases, the “carrot” begins to prevail, they respond better to praise and various bonuses.

The effect of the carrot-and-stick mechanism can be divided by the external and internal orientation. A group of untouchables, sudras, vaisyas will react more to the external. A group of kshatriyas and brahmins will react more to the internal. Let’s describe it in more detail.

The untouchables and the sudras have strict rules as a determining factor. Due to the low level of awareness, an increase of freedom can cause the degradation of these two segments of the society, and further suffering.

Vaisyas are more inclined to accept reward than punishment. Direct motivation in the form of immediate benefit stimulates their action. However, they cannot do without the “stick”, or they will have a temptation to step on people, using their freedom to the detriment of others.

Starting from the level of kshatriyas, the balance of “carrot and stick” begins to shift inward.

Kshatriyas are not scared of physical or financial punishment, as is the case for above mentioned varnas. They are more idealistic and their best reward is a well-deserved praise and fame. They need a minimal “stick”, and the most terrible punishment for them is the loss of honor due to an unworthy act.

Brahmins do not need external “carrots and sticks”. They completely transform them into the concepts of duty, honor and responsibility. Their vision of what is happening is clear enough so that the motivation for the right action arises from within. The only external stimulus for a Brahmin is happiness for all living beings.

A high level of awareness leads to the abandonment of the primitive system of “carrots and sticks”, and we gain the freedom to act not out of fear or profit, but out of considerations of personal will and our goals.

Get the “carrot and stick” out of your life. This is the only way to become free. The stick is a fear of hunger, poverty, disrespect, and failure to fulfill desires. The carrot is the opposite. Together the carrot and the stick are the duality, and our soul goes back and forth between them, meanwhile there is more suffering than joy from the fruit of action.” Dharmananda.

Yoga encourages us to strive for absolute freedom, but not to neglect the inner “stick” or “carrot” if necessary.

Yoga recommendations

⦁ First of all, it is necessary to reduce the harm that we bring to the world around us to a minimum, and do everything in our power to fulfill the tasks set for ourselves.

This is indicated by two fundamental principles of yoga — Ahimsa (non-violence) and Brahmacharya (efficiency). These principles are the foundation of the whole yoga system. Countless generations of yogis claimed the feasibility of compliance with these simple yet complex rules.

If you decide to take an active position for yourself, yoga recommends helping other living beings to give up suffering. But you must act kindly and effectively: do not impose your help without permission; do not become hostages to your kindness by giving more than you can afford. With the right use of your capabilities you will eventually find that your freedom and the freedom of the people around you increase and no one and nothing causes you suffering.

⦁ “Whatever is planned is done” is the principle of Raja Yoga, which is consonant with the second principle: if you set a goal — fulfill it. Each time, having received a positive result from any activity, we feel an increase of emotional upsurge, joy, and self-confidence. Even a tiny result helps us feel happiness.

All aspects of the problem or task should be carefully examined before making a decision. However, when a choice has been made, we should stick to our decision, achieve a result, discarding everything that does not lead to a given goal. Even if at the very end it becomes clear that the decision was wrong, still “the game is worth the candle” — we will gain invaluable experience!

⦁ “Just do it without being attached to the result!” — the principle of Karma yoga. It is important to understand that self-motivation is a complex issue.

Do your job quickly and efficiently, even if there is no desire or you do not see the immediate result of your work. It is a way of real heroes. However, once you go beyond the bounds of morality that limit your world view, you have a second breath. 

⦁ “Everything is the will of the Absolute” — this is the principle of Bhakti Yoga, which reminds us that even if we worked honestly and hard, there are aspects that we cannot influence. All we have to do is to rely on the will of Absolute.

Do everything that depends on us, and delegate the rest to the Universe with a clear conscience. The universe will always take a thousand steps towards us.

⦁ “I am Brahman and nothing else!”— this phrase is a very powerful mantra, which can lift the spirit and strengthen the will.

We often think that we lack some abilities, talents, qualities necessary to get what we want. But this is not the case. Nature has an inexhaustible potential in us. We have won already, when we were born! Our task is to cleanse our bodies painstakingly and patiently and put them under control: the physical body, emotions, feelings, mind. It is for the disclosure of this potential that we have been given a great opportunity to manifest on Earth.

Do not forget that there are such types of yoga as Hatha, Kriya, Mantra, Pranayama yoga. They will help cleanse the impurities, free our vitality, which we can direct to achieve the desired goals.

The answer to the question in the title of this article is neither of the two neither the stick nor the carrot are capable of providing us with endless motivation to accomplish any deeds, because they act from outside. However: “That – That”, complete and unconditional management of your life will lead to the right direction and will allow you to achieve your goals, bringing happiness to yourself and everyone around you.

Grow from within yourself for happiness!

Article author: Marina Mirra

Editor: M. Saraswati-Bhavani, Kerigona

Curator of the project: Kerigona

Translator: Way, Tatiana Sugrue, Nat Satcitananda