12-17-17 The Joy of Discipline

The Joy of Discipline

Discipline – an activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training. What are we training ourselves to do? Pay attention to this!!!
We get sloppy when we pursue our small ego satisfactions. Instant gratification is only for an instant. In fact, instant gratification makes you unhappier. Sooner or later that instant gratification will not satisfy you and you will need something bigger and better to make you feel good, right away. At first it feels like drudgery to stay with our discipline, but now we enjoy it. To not pop the pill of avoidance. When I am lazy, it feels heavy and grey. When I am motivated it feels lighter and everything seems brighter. The discipline of balance. We begin to reap the harvest of our right actions. A beautiful garden has come about through a lot of tender loving care.We gain contentment through discipline.

Discipline is not about just staying busy, it is about knowing how to approach the tasks in our lives in a balanced and proper manner. We need to learn to stop, breathe and step into our lives with a sense of gentle but strong purpose. When we have a sense of drudgery and desire to avoid our lives, it is time to reset. Meditation helps us to recognize what is happening. To be awake, aware. We need to balance discipline with gentleness. It is healthy to stop our manic doing sometimes and relax for a while with a cup of tea, a book, perhaps a nap. Then we can joyfully re-engage in accomplishing what is next.
In an addiction we pursued the continuous state of avoidance and what we thought was happiness. Happiness is not about not doing, it is about doing correctly with a sense of contributing and belonging.

Our minds need to be — not too tight, anxiety, or not too loose, boredom and lethargy. Proper discipline brings a sense of energy and delight, contentment. Being patient and choosing well, gives us more energy than flailing around and pushing our agenda.
Practice awareness and discipline in small things first. Bring your full attention to what you are doing with a sense of joy and completeness in that task. Only what you are doing right now. We learn to be comfortable with the small discomfort of discipline instead of needing to constantly find distractions.

Don’t overdo the discipline, trying to become enlightened and be this amazing helpful and joyous person by next week, will only defeat you. You have set goals your goals too high and you are judging yourself. One of our favorite past times. To begin, step slowly and consistently into a better frame of mind about yourself. Do not accept any negative judgements about yourself. With a renewed sense of confidence, be more aware of what your motivation is. Is your motivation to get through however you can with a sense of avoidance, or resentment? Or to relax and engage fully in your life, each and every small part of your life. When your task changes without your consent, after a moment of HEY this isn’t going like I, I, I, want it to, have the discipline to happily re-adjust. Knowing the alternative is to do the task with resentment . Choose a more peaceful way.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” ~Annie Dillard

When I first engaged spiritual practice, I tried to meditate while being aware of breaths. “I can’t do this!” I lamented, “It’s too hard.” The cushion felt hard and unforgiving. My legs ached. I kept checking my watch. My mind ached. Tick. Tick. Tick. It was nothing but an occasion for self-criticism. The word “discipline” only conjured suffering. The whole idea of discipline was clearly associated with punishment and pain. Practice makes perfect, after all, and perfection was what I thought I wanted and could never get my arms around. I came to dread even life-giving activities I loved because I associated them with “having to” do them because they were “good for me.” Down was up. Good was awful.
“Discipline is remembering what you really want,” and “discipline’s” root is “to follow.” How did this shift happen? How did things turn and move and change?
In me, it happened because I learned that discipline is nothing without gentleness. Discipline without gentleness is cruelty. It was gentleness that allowed me to explore forms of spiritual practice that I had not previously considered. Gentleness allowed me to be creative and find what worked for me. It is gentleness that allows us to sit for only a few minutes today there with no expectation or plan, instead of the forty-five we think we SHOULD be able to do.

It is gentleness that acknowledges that the practice of discipline changes us over time, not in a sprint or in a flash of heavy lifting. In my experience, gentleness doesn’t keep us from being disciplined. In point of fact, because gentleness helps us respond to our current circumstances, it is indeed a practice of mindfulness. Gentleness is supple. Gentleness does not say that it’s okay to throw in the towel of discipline. Gentleness makes practice possible when it feels so difficult. Paraphrased – Catharine Clarenbach – Tiny Buddha
There is a child in me that I can touch into that has wonder and happiness. I can touch into that through the discipline of relaxing my ego and smiling when I feel the tightness of “I am not getting MY way.” I feel the re-setting of my emotional attitude to relax.
I also feel the pull to continue with the Poor Me, I am so used to feeling unhappy I choose to continue rolling around in that sewage. I can now recognize the harmful attitude of judgement. When I do, I can discipline myself to let it go, and replace it with a sense of — what can I bring that will be useful and uplifting.

A discipline of replacing judgement with kindness, and replacing a fear of having to deal with some backlash because you spoke up for yourself, you will finally feel you are growing. It really is OK, and necessary, to feel good about yourself!!!
Even as a mother needs to discipline a child so they do not harm themselves, I need to gently and mindfully discipline my inner child to not indulge in harmful, negative behavior.
Through Discipline, Gentleness and Balance, comes the joy of life. Choose that.
A farmer is helpless to grow grain; all he can do is provide the right conditions for the growing of grain. As we provide the right conditions for spiritual growth, it will occur.

As you clean a little bit of the grime off of your window, small shafts of light shine through. You delight in the light and are inspired to clean more and more.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.
Heart Of Recovery web site — fcheartofrecovery.com