Self-Control V/S Self-Awareness

Excerpts from the book ‘Are you a Super Leader?’ by Manoj J Lekhi.


Self-control requires strength and will power. Self-awareness requires alertness and sensitivity. The word self-control itself implies lots of will power. Will Power is temporary. It is a ‘doing method’ whereas self-awareness is a ‘non-doing method’.


The Mechanics of Control

Think about this:

Controlling your child, is it possible?

Controlling your spouse, is it possible?

Controlling nature, is it possible?

Controlling the weather, is it possible?

Controlling the body, is it possible?

Controlling any relationship, is it possible?


The moment we say ‘control’, there is a sense of resistance from the other side. There is a confrontation from the other person as soon as you try to control his or her behaviour.


Try controlling a child and he will struggle, fight and rebel. If he is an adolescent, he will definitely rebel, but may not have the strength to move out. If an adult, he will rebel and go on his own, leave the parents and do what he wants. Control is

no solution to any problem of life.


Mastery v/s Control

There is an aspect in Ashtanga Yoga which says pratyahar is about ‘mastering’ our 5 senses. It is always better to say mastering than using the word ‘controlling’ as it is quite negative and damaging for one’s consciousness. So let’s just

call it as mastering oneself or self-mastery.


When one needs to regulate oneself, he simply needs to be aware of his dependence on the 5 senses of his body i.e. the smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing senses. We get all our inputs, all our memory, our pleasure through our sense organs. We love to smell fragrance, we love to taste delicious food, see and feel beautiful things, hear melodious music. Over a period of time we become dependent on all these pleasurable sense organs. If we could take these senses inwards and start mastering our senses, which is called pratyahar, then we would automatically manage our senses and go beyond just control and be the master of our senses.


You can always have the best of food, but not be dependent on the food for happiness, hear best music, but not be dependent on music to give you pleasure, see best of the world but not be dependent on the outside world. You can always master all the senses without being dependent on them. This process is called pratyahar which is an outcome of a deep inner sadhana of being in vairagya (detachment).


Why should one work toward vairagya?

It is very simple, if we have a sense of non-dependency, we are already in freedom. We have no bondage toward anything. We are already empowered. We are not dependent on any external situation, event or person for our happiness. Happiness is our true nature. When we are the master of our senses, we have tapped into our true nature – which is being happy for no reason.


A Super Leader is always in the journey towards selfawareness or self-mastery. He is always working on being free which is the universal principle of life. Freedom from self is the top priority of his life.


How to work towards vairagya?

This does not happen overnight. It is a process which requires tremendous years of sadhana, a practice which we need to do. It is the process of simply and gradually increasing our self-awareness.


We can amplify our sensitivity by sharpening our 5 senses. Let’s take the sense of taste which is related to food. When we go for a wedding there is a variety of food items to eat, Chinese, Maharashtrian, Italian etc. A person fills his plate with all types of food and when he has finished the meal he remains confused as to what he enjoyed.


Instead, you can do what I have been following for years. I just tell my brain beforehand that I will eat only 2 items and salad (of course) from this buffet; I speak to my body and ask it to select what it wants. I follow my body’s suggestion

and choose only those food items and I cut off my thoughts from the others. I enjoy and relish the meal without worrying about the rest of the dishes. This way the brain remains focused and we succeed in fulfilling our sense of taste.  


Similarly, by being in high awareness, we can sharpen and manage all our other senses too. We teach this concept in our workshops – ‘Amplify your Sensitivity’ and ‘Increase your Consciousness.’


When we have attained this self-mastery, there is no need for us to control anybody, any situation, any relationship. Everything will start falling in place because now we know how to go inwards and be in self-awareness. The more

perceptive we become with practice, the more we will catch the subtle patterns of our senses.


We will soon achieve completeness in our relationships. We will no longer need to control the outer events as they will start manifesting as we simply think about them.


By increasing our self-awareness and by steadily increasing our levels of consciousness we will enrich our inward journey of health, wealth and relationships. We will experience our true intrinsic nature of pure happiness.


Self-control is from the Manipur Chakra. Self-awareness is from the Agnya Chakra. Self-control will drain our energy. Self-awareness will enhance our energy. Self-control is bondage. Self-awareness is freedom.


A Super Leader is self-aware, not self-controlled.