The spiritual path is a game of survival. Will we survive our minds and attain our goal or will our minds survive us and keep us bound in this game of samsara? Round after round, life after life, this is the battle we face. The mind will go to great lengths to convince us that it is stronger, that it is the ‘good’ guy, our best friend even. It will say and do anything to make us hold onto it.
The most dangerous game we can play with our minds is the game of “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
In one of our last posts, we talked about the difference between motivation and discipline. We can think of motivation as the elated feeling that gets us going and discipline being the thing that keeps us going.
Discipline requires constant practice. Many people have a negative connotation associated with discipline. It’s this hard thing we muster up because we feel we have to or we believe we should. But what if we started to view discipline as an expression of love?
If we did that, then discipline becomes the quality that allows us to show up to our relationship with the Divine even when it’s hard, even when we don’t want to, even when our minds are throwing us through extra chaos. Discipline becomes the conscious choice to choose God, to put your love-relationship with God first.
This begs the age-old question: How do we develop discipline?
Japa is amazing. If we have not covered that properly in our blog, we’re not doing our job. Japa is the constant repetition of the Name of God. Through Japa, we begin to calm the judgemental mind, we purify ourselves and attune to God’s presence and our unique relationship with Him.
When these things happen, we naturally want to spend more time in sadhana and seva, more time developing our relationship with God and as such, Japa makes it easier to develop the discipline necessary to the spiritual path.
Become More Introverted
Essentially, we mean start saying no to distracting things. Be conscious of how you spend your time and be clear about what impact you want to have on your spiritual path. Just as the sangha is important, it is also important to have time alone to practice your sadhana and be with God. Becoming more introverted does not mean stop hanging out with friends and family, it means doing those things less so you can give that time to your sadhana.
This is probably the hardest part. Perform daily self-analysis. In short, it’s a daily practice of reflection. Take five minutes before you go to bed each day and ask yourself:
What is your goal? What did you do that was helpful in achieving that goal? What did you do that was not helpful?
By practising daily self-analysis we can get a birds-eye view of the things we do that are helpful to our spiritual path, the things that are not helpful, and gain clarity on what we need to do to become the spiritual person we want to be.
We’ll do another post in the coming weeks on how to do self-analysis but this should be enough to get you started.
Discipline is important because as soon as we say ‘oh, I’ll do it tomorrow,” we’ve already lost. We’ve already said I’m willing to hang out in the cycle of birth and death a little longer. Discipline doesn’t have to be a scary thing we’re all afraid of. It can be an expression of love; a conscious action to show up every day, to commit to you’re relationship with God.