On Discipline: What good is beating yourself up when you want love?

Some papers just come at exactly the right moment. Perhaps they always do—as with all things in life, but we just don’t realise it.

So there I was, mulling over the word “discipline” – discipline at work, discipline on physical exercise, discipline on diet, discipline on rest, etc. Then suddenly this paper was just delivered straight to my lap.

A friend brought that paper as an option for us to read—collectively, during a gathering. We opted for another paper. So this paper was just left for me to read. For me. *I feel special ;)* It was called “To the question: do we need discipline to attain union?” What a question. I read on.

Much to my surprise, the paper talked about a different taste of discipline. When we think of discipline, we—okay, let me use the word “I” instead. When I think of discipline, I think about waking up at certain hours, doing certain exercises, eating certain kinds of food, etc—on a regular (daily) basis. I sometimes feel bad when I am not sticking to what I have ‘disciplined’ or promised myself to do.

Then this line from the paper came: What good is beating yourself up when you want love? Ouch. The paper was spot on—it highlighted the contradiction in what I was doing. What I want do is expressing love to my self, my body, my soul, whichever term you’d like to use. I want to care for me. Yet, I impose all those things for me to do. Where’s the love?

I am not saying it is bad to get ourselves up every morning to do some prayers, meditations, or sun salutation, or preparing breakfast for our families. I am saying, if that is our whole point, if that is our anchor, and if that is our objectives, then we miss the point altogether.

The point, the paper indicated, is not discipline, but love and submission in humility. Again, spot on. The starting point is not the discipline, but love.

Too often we shift and concentrate on the ‘how’ and we forget the ‘why’—and what the ‘why’ implies. In this case, the why (love, submission, humility) implies tenderness, compassion, listening, following, and kind of putting Him at the center stage. It is high time for a change.

And I believe, if He is the Compassion, the Merciful, than imposing things on anyone, including ourselves, is not in the dictionary.

“Must” is such a harsh word. “Blame” is too, and so is “regret.” Unfortunately, we (I) use this to myself more often that we (I) use it to other people. May God forgive me and give me something better.

Nevertheless, it is also right that the discipline is necessary. The meaning of the word, however, is somewhat different to what we usually understand.

The discipline is in the constancy. The constancy in listening, in following, in turning to Him, in asking Him for guidance and knowledge. That’s the discipline. This approach is, to me, much simpler and kinder.

If you turn to Him as often as you can what more discipline do you need? (F)irst, it is Him in everything.
Then, I believe, everything shall flourish from there naturally.

So to be kind to myself, to listen more intently, and to turn to Him as constantly as humanly possible–these are my invitation to myself, and now I am extending it to you.

[First draft which is bound to be revisited]

Picture was taken from here, here, and here.

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