Any great cricketer will tell that one of the secrets of the game is to play it one ball at a time. Likewise, any great celibate monk will tell that one of the secrets of monkhood is to live life one day at a time.
Stay ahead of the past, but behind the future—be here now. This outlook helps one smooth troughs, whether in cricket or in real life. It frees you from the burden of self analysis.
Some years ago, when I had newly joined the monastery, a speck of remnant of my past conditionings crept in, in the form of unholy thoughts. Seeing that arose fear—will I be able to maintain the sanctity of monkhood? My mind was clouded with shame and fear, and that affected my focus during spiritual practices. With my spiritual practices turning hollow, I started losing connection with the divine positivity that sustains monkhood. The result—more negative thoughts and more fear. I was spiraling down a vicious dark abyss.
I approached a senior monk, a disciple of Radhanath Swami, and he advised, “Live life one day at a time.” That was a turning point. Deliberately, I began every day afresh; nay, I began every event of every day afresh. When I participated in the morning prayers, I focused my mind exclusively on the Sanskrit words—I heard them one word at a time. When I sat to meditate on the holy names, I heard one mantra at a time. When I sat to study the scriptures, I was there, focusing on every word. Slowly, positivity flowed in, and displaced all the negativity. I realized that leading life this way—one day at a time, one event at a time—was not just the way to get out of negativity, but the best way to lead life in a monastery.