I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.

Rabindranath Tagore

Procrastination

There are many strategies in the manner in which we procrastinate - avoidance, denial, distraction - are a few of them, while the reason we procrastinate is usually one; Fear. We are afraid of of working with that which we percieve will bring us pain and discomfort if approached.

Recent research has shown that procrastination is rooted in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This is the same part of the brain that is responsible for impulse control, and the filteration of distracting stimuli.1 The prefrontal cortex is the very front of the brain, the area that one points to when referring to the third eye. This part of the brain forms interconnections with the pons varoli, amygdala, hypothalamus, and the midbrain. These are some of the important organs that aid in spiritual growth and higher experiences, especially the Pons Varoli.

Pons Varolli is part of the brain stem - situated above the medulla and centered below the two hemispheres of the cerebrum - connecting the cerebrum, cerebelum, and medulla.2 It contains the ascending sensory, and descending motor tracts that connect the brain to the rest of the body. These tracts travel through a dense network of nerve cells, called the reticular formation whose function is to arouse to activity(motivate), or in case of procrastination, demotivate the rest of the brain. This area also regulates the 24-hour cycle of sleep and waking.

Mindfulness and the Initial Intervention

Before making any progress in the transcendence of procrastination, one will need to become mindful of how this killer of aspirations weaves its destructive tentacles around your noble aspirations. Once aware of its sneaky moves, you will find it easier to suffocate this robber of joy, before it gets the chance to draw its first breath at the expense of your health, hapiness, and will.

Just by questioning a particular habit, you set an opposing energy pattern in action. This process in known as intention, or the beginning. Take heed that intention alone is not enough. It is sustaining that intention, is what replaces the unwanted habit with the desired attribute. This sustaining comes through patience, perseverance, detachment to the desired result, sincerity, and faith. But before all this, subjective understanding of procrastination is important, not objective, but subjective.

This energy pattern of a higher vibration that makes space for that clear blue light of discenment which shines forth from the concentrated cluster of cells around the Pons Varolli known as the locus coeruleus or the blue place. The structure that this cluster of cells form contain norepinephrine, a chemical substance that stimulates the areas of the brain that prepares the body for mobilization.

While norepinephrine motivates, it is imperative that it be guided by an intelligence that ensures that the action being taken is in the benefit of all sentient beings. As such, the light of discernment, that is an attribute of the blue place, shines its light in the nooks and crannies where doubt, distraction, laziness, lethargy, and demotivation - the tools of the trade, reside.

What is procrastination and why do we do it?

Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin, declared the American entrepreneur, Victor Kiam. Procrastination is delaying to do something that needs done, or doing something else in the place of something that needs done, or not doing things at all.3 It is a force that has figured out ways to prevent you from doing things which will make you into a better person living a higher existence, and participating in the web of life with a more evolved consciousness.

There is tons of theoretical information available on procrastination, as a result we will not go into what it is, how many people it affects, and what percentage are infected. Instead, we will look at simple strategies that align with Yogic principles that can be used to educate, empower, and replace this behaviour.

The Substitute

Understanding what our areas of challenges are is the first step. Am I refraining from paying my bills even when there is ample money? Is it not doing my homework? Is it not taking time out to prepare a healthy meal? Not exercising? Watching TV instead of doing volunteer work?

Once we have identified the areas of procrastination, we need to see what we are doing as a substitute. What is it that is giving us pleasure Is it playing video games when we should be doing homework, or is it sleeping when we should be meditating. After we have the information on what substitute procrastination is seducing us with, then we need to figure out the strategy being used.

For example, when I am supposed to be working on writing code for this software, or writing an article in the support of the subject matter it addresses, I somehow find myself outside in the garden doing something that is not even remotely related to this work, or the article I am working on. How did I get into the garden I used to wonder? That does not happen anymore. Some days it is hard to be on track, but I acknowledge the presence of my nemesis, smile, and evolve a notch. Because every time I choose to evolve, I become stronger and happier, but I am cautious because I know that even being, and becoming good is a trap and the feeling of sudden euphoria everytime I rub the nose of procrastination into the dirt is due to an adrenaline kick.

Our vices are extremely cunning. They have been around for as long as the Creator herself and they have known us intimately since creation. They do not die with the body but remain in our astral mind ready to fight the numerous battles against the good in us upon our reincarnation. The more attachments we have, the weaker our position to fight this monstrous force. "Oh bribe the Minister of Transportation to secure the contract for the vehicles they are buying." or "You are in a place of advantage now that your brother is dead. Cheat your sister in law for the land and property," they all do it say's the devil. You need to look after your own. Have no ties, if possible, is the recommendation of the wise.

Strategy Used by Procrastination

The major strategies used by procrastination are doubt, distraction, laziness, lethargy, and demotivation. Fear is the underlying factor for the strategies to be a success. To tie it all together, let me tell you that the strategy being used by procrastination in my case was distraction. I was fooled into thinking that gardening was a positive activity which not only exercised my body but gave me the opportunity to spend time with my dad. Did I procrastinate because I was afraid of success?

Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the “someday I’ll” philosophy.4

I began studying myself (svadhyaya), using www.hightechmindfulness.com in 2013. Soon I began catching myself at the moment any thought arose in my mind that could potentially lead me away from working on making this application availablle to the world. This article, and the software www.hightechmindfulness.com would never have materialized if I had not conquered procrastination.

Procrastination Related Feelings

Distraction

An obstacle to attention. It can also be something that amuses or entertains you so that you do not think about that which needs your attention.

Doubt

Lacking or indicating lack of confidence or assurance. Doubt afflicts the person who does not have faith and can ultimately destroy him or her. Some people think that doubt can sometimes be referred to as having a "healthy skepticism"- a person exploring all options. Not in Yoga. Doubt here means stuck-not skeptical. In the Bhagavad Gita it is the outward visible sign of the inner struggle that Arjuna faced on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Arjuna is caught in the grip of a vicious dilemma as he speaks. "Oh Krishna, My limbs sink, my mouth is parched, my body trembles, the hair bristles on my flesh, the magic bow Gandiva, slips from my grip, my skin burns, I cannot stand upright, and my mind reels. Tell me O Lord, what to do."

Lazy

Lacking in discipline towards work.

Lethargic

Deficient in alertness or activity, lack of interest in doing things.

Unmotivated

Not cared to do that which is important and needs to be done as in a persons duty.