Over the years I have found that one of the essential values to living life fully and with gusto is the practice of discipline.
Sadly this term has to many come to conjure up negative associations. For those who have embraced the practice of sloth and mediocrity as a way of being no doubt the term ‘discipline’ will engender a degree of discomfort..as well it ought.
Others who have come to resist the term and practice of discipline are those who have come to imagine that ‘discipline’ is contrary to freedom and independence.
In either case nothing could be further from the truth. Discipline is in fact the means and the experience of freedom, of living fully, of attaining excellence in any worthwhile endeavor. Thus in reality, as well as etymologically, ‘discipline’ and’ liberation’ are closely related, and philosophically essentially the same.
As Frank Herbert, author of the classic book DUNE said “Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.”
I strongly feel that a life without discipline is a life severely disabled from experiencing happiness and authenticity. All of us have dreams; from goals and accomplishments to living a whole life of self actualization, even enlightenment. Do you honestly think and feel that will come about by following the desires of the ego, the mediocrity of the common man, the resignation of those who have nothing better to do than to play another video game, sleep in an extra hour, or take the safe, easy, comfortable way?
Remember, discipline is not the same as flagellation. Discipline is what purifies not punishes. Discipline is embracing the rhythm superior to ones own and in the same enduring direction that both Kierkegaard and Nietzsche refer to.
I in – courage you in the year ahead to find the freedom that only a wholesome discipline can bring. Arise early and meditate as the sun rises, whether you are in the mood or not. Go to the gym and strengthen your sinew and spirit with iron, whether you are in the mood or not. Get out and elevate your pulse in the real air of a cycle ride or run, whether you are in the mood or not. Study your h(om)ework, your Svadhyaya, whether you are in the mood or not. Set down at your piano, go to bed early, forego that dessert, clean your space, show kindness to someone you detest..Whether you are in the mood or not.
Embrace these liberations and experience the practice of living fully, (w)holy, with gusto and joy.
I bow to your efforts.
“He who lives without discipline dies without honor.” -ancient Icelandic Proverb.