I’ve long romanticized discipline.
I’m not claiming to be the most disciplined person on the planet – far from it. But because of the respect I have for discipline I willingly admit my downfalls and shortcomings. I have no intention of deceiving people into thinking I am without fault.
There is something about self-control that turns me on. The ability to put instant gratification away and redirect that power towards long term gains. It is that far-sightedness that I value – the willingness to trade now for later, and the lesser for the greater.
Perhaps it has something to do with my Buddhist beliefs. All the meditation practice which works to control emotional reactions and replace them with equanimous awareness. That is, an awareness which is without craving or aversion.
I see that as a seat of incredible power, one that is not swayed by temptations of pleasure and delight.
I know that we have access to such immense power as the human beings that we are. I acknowledge that lots of that power is untapped, and it is with reverence for that power that I contemplate the ways to access it. That is where my love of discipline comes in.
I notice in myself the willingness to trade comfort for greatness. And I realize the subjectivity of ‘greatness’, but what I’m trying to communicate is that I am willing to sacrifice the pleasure of the moment, for long-term gains.
I will tolerate, even oddly celebrate, pain if I believe that it is leading to a toughness that will serve me in the long run.
I do believe that us people have a great resource of untapped potential that I am willing to go to extremes to realize.
Again, I am not the most extreme. I am far from that. There are certainly people of greater degrees of discipline that look at me and laugh. But I do revere that sentiment. I do value that willingness to push through pain.
I discuss these ideas with people and there are varying opinions. Some people declare how important it is to be gentle and kind with one’s self – not to be too hard on yourself if you break your discipline. If your will is proven to be weak.
As much as I understand the importance of self-love and acceptance, I find myself demanding more of myself. I find guilt and disappointment at the bottom of my failures. And while I do not wish to dwell there, in that suffering, I wonder if I can use it to empower myself.
I look at these efforts to write daily. There are certainly days where I do not want to write. But I do it anyways, and I do believe I am better for it. I do not want a life where I simply do whatever I want whenever I want without any sense of commitment or willingness to overcome challenges.
As much as I can, I step into uncomfortability in order to make it comfortable and make myself more capable, more competent, tougher, wiser and more disciplined.
There is a point where desire to succeed becomes an obsession. And that is where the strongest will is developed.
I believe that if I am to accomplish great feats that I must be willing to push myself.
I see the self-love responding as such, ‘you’re already great’, ‘there is nothing you have to do to be perfect’, ‘don’t be so hard on yourself’. And I acknowledge that there is a time and place for those sentiments.
For the third time, I acknowledge that I have a lot of wiggle room. I allow myself a lot of relaxation. But I seem to value discipline more and more as I continue to age.
I am inspired by agents of strong will. I see that it can serve me in so many ways.
The Buddhist beliefs urge me to be the master of my mind. And that is no easy feat. It requires daily discipline.
I see all masters as willing to push further and harder than others were. That is who I want to live amongst. I want to be remembered as someone who was willing to go further than the rest.
I have a dream of tranquility. I am willing to surrender comfort to get there. It seems paradoxical on the surface. But I consider it to be a reconditioning. Discipline is a means by which I can experience greater ease.
I am playing the long game now.
We are capable of so much. I want to taste that. I want to know that I pushed as far as I could before I kicked the bucket.
day 49 : Human Spirit
I’ve long romanticized discipline.