How can one activate a very lazy person?

We can constantly motivate such a person by being an example of the active lifestyle we'd like to see in them.

How can I control excessive appetite or sleepiness?

If you think excessive intake of food and drink is not good for you and want to stop it, first reason out why it is not good. For example, it takes a lot of energy to digest rich or excessive amounts of food – which is waste of energy. Moreover, it makes the mind lethargic and may cause disease. If you are thus convinced that overeating is not good, impress it upon your mind repeatedly, until the mind is motivated to control the desire to take excessive food or drink.

Excessive sleep and sleepiness are the characteristics of a Tamasic person, and finally makes that person dull, lethargic, indolent, and susceptible to mistakes. To overcome such a state one must motivate the mind by impressing upon it repeatedly that life is valuable, but short and fleeting, so one must utilize one's time as best as possible to lead a higher and more purposeful life. Regular exercise and stretching, or a brisk walk at the onset of sleepiness, may help to relieve this.

Why are there so many differences in life; rich and poor,
good condition, bad condition?

There may be various explanations for such differences we see in the world, which pains us at times. However, some explanations are given below:

a. The universe and all its animate and inanimate objects are made of the five elements;
    Kshiti (earth), Ap (water), Tejas (fire), Maruti (air) and Vyoma (ether), each of which have the three
    qualities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, mixed in various proportions, which cause differences in
    things and persons.
b. Some of these differences in human lives can be explained by the theory of Karma
c. Because there is darkness, we understand the value of light and strive to dispel darkness by
    bringing light. Again, that is why we abhor ignorance and strive for knowledge, and thus, develop
    ourselves and proceed on the path to perfection.
d. Differences in certain areas, in matters of aptitude and tastes for example, are generally
    welcomed as they make life interesting and colorful.

I do volunteer work because I think working for financial reward is a very low reason to work. But at the same time I am worried that if I do not work for money, I may face financial problems. Please advise.

Doing work to earn money by honest means to support oneself and one's family is in no way bad. Do that work in the spirit of service with a worshipful attitude (Karma yoga).

Though I know that regular practice of meditation, exercise, study of holy books, etc., are good for my body and mind, I practice them either half- heartedly or give up after a few days. As a result I cannot bring any positive change in my life, though I wish it so much, which makes me sad and frustrated. Has this problem any solution?

This is not exclusively your problem. Many idealistic people who want to lead a higher life also have similar problems. In fact, this situation is caused by lack of will power and strong motivation. To redress this, some methods are suggested below which, if tried sincerely, should yield some positive results.

1. Do occasional introspection. This will help you to realise your present state and to make new
    resolutions for self development.
2. Make a schedule for the whole day that should include your practice of exercise, meditation,
    study, etc. and scrupulously follow it at least once a week. If you succeed in doing that even a
    little, it will be a great in help in developing good habits.
3. Even if you are very busy or feel a little unwell, practice these disciplines for a shorter period of
    time, but don't skip them altogether. For if you skip them even for one day, your mind, which is
    fond of casual ways and dislikes discipline, will find some excuse to skip them the next day as
4. Do what you should do even if your mind does not want to do it. Don't do what you should not do
    even if your mind wants to do it. This helps to increase your will power.
5. Memorise some inspiring messages and often repeat them in your mind. You may also write such
    messages on a piece of paper and keep them at your desk or on your computer and read them
    every day. This is a simple, but very effective, method that has been followed by some who were
    later to become quite eminent people.

Can you suggest some such inspiring messages?

Some inspiring messages and words of wisdom would include:

1. 'Introspection is the steering wheel of the car of life.'
2. 'You can if you think you can.' - Norman Vincent Peale
3. 'For success strive until there is success.' - Matsushita Kounouske
4. 'All power is within you, manifest it.' - Swami Vivekananda
5. 'Faith in yourself, faith in God is the secret of greatness.' - Swami Vivekananda
6. 'Strength is life, weakness is death. The remedy of weakness is not brooding over weakness
    but thinking of strength.' - Swami Vivekananda
7. 'Hope is life, despair is death.' - Swami Virajananda
8. 'Never make yourself depressed. Uplift yourself by your "Self".' - Bhagavad Gita
9. 'You are your friend provided you can control your mind and senses, you are your enemy
    if you cannot control them.' - Gita
10. 'Don't run away from the brute (problems), but face it.' - Swami Vivekananda
11. 'Live this moment well. The work in your hand right now is the most important work for you;
     the person in front of you right now is the most important person for you.' - Leo Tolstoy
12. 'The secret of health for both mind and body is to not mourn for the past, not to worry about
     the future or not to anticipate trouble, but to live wisely and earnestly for the present.'
      - Gautama Buddha
13. 'Love is the password for entering into others' hearts.'
14. 'Ninety-percent of our worries are imaginary, and they do not take place at all.'
15. 'Unselfishness is God.' - Swami Vivekananda

Remember, if your spiritual question has not been addressed here, the Swami will respond to serious questions here: Spiritual Q&A

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