Discipline: Practice and Repetition leads to Improvement
For any desired result, discipline is a requirement. Structure, repetition, and learning are necessary, but when channelled negatively they can produce unintended consequences.
When I was a using active alcoholic, my discipline was producing results that were not in my best interest. I routinely structured my days to go into as many different stores to purchase alcohol so as to not draw suspicion to store clerks that I was an alcoholic. I was disciplined in the end to only drink at home in solitude. I did not want to endanger anyone on the road, which in a real sense was false because in the morning when I would purchase alcohol, surely I still had some remaining alcohol level in my system from the day or night before.
What does discipline mean for the non using alcoholic who is sober and is willing to remain that way for life? A mind shift needs to be created, whereby I can see myself sober today. I need to understand that I am only an actor in this play that I call my life. There is action that is required to maintain a soundness of mind. Sometimes action means no action. First, I must recognize that I am not in control, as much as my ego wants me to believe otherwise. I do not control the weather, yet I can choose my own weather (attitude) to adjust. There is a force, frequency, vibration, or energy that rules this universe. I can choose to connect with this source daily and or as many times as necessary to maintain a level of balance and trust in my behavior. All of my actions are the result of two categories: psychology and spirituality.
All expectations are assumptions. This is a formed habit and an activity I do in my mind spontaneously. Fortunately, today I am more aware of this thought madness. It gets to the point that now I can witness these thought patterns and not act on them. I required a consistent discipline of daily victories of learning, sharing, and growing to achieve this awareness. Like the clouds that dissipate under a strong wind, I can remain still in my mind and centered. The art of discipline mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually is required to be practiced sometimes moment to moment, day to day to achieve soundness of mind.
I must learn to offer myself to the power greater than myself to sustain me. I must come to believe that this source is guiding and directing my daily circumstances. Faith and trust is established and nurtured. A willingness to accept the things I cannot change and finding courage to change the things I can, must be understood and disciplined in my behaviors. Discipline requires wisdom or discernment, coupled with consistent effort to live life as an instant happening. And the discipline of understanding that I can choose my reaction or response.
Focusing on the task at hand or simply living in now moments will produce your circumstances in the future. This is why prayer is a discipline that creates order in the mind and in my life. When I pray, I am not trying to receive anything. I focus all my attention humbly asking carefully what I would desire for another as if it is a gift from me. This asking or imagining is re-establishing order in my mind. Soundness of mind is the destination not just sobriety. Gratitude is an attitude and appreciation for my gifts.
It is useful to know that the word discipline is derived to mean pupil and to learn. Discipline is an active action. As stated earlier, structure in your daily activity is essential. This means self-care, ie. bathing, proper nutrition, sharing and working with others. Self-respect is to honor myself and the commitments I make to others. All these things build my character which is demonstrated in my actions. Responsible Integrity is the result where I can “walk the talk” in a consistent manner which boosts my confidence or assurance that I am a person of trustworthiness. I believe this is what I most deep down desire.
Exercise your discipline daily in small quantities within your circle of influence and you will be amazed at the larger sphere of influence you will have on others. Maintaining sobriety on a daily basis creates a brighter future for you. Be aware of what small actions you are making continuously, this is the discipline.