By Gloria Excelsias
Self-discipline is one of the most important qualities to develop on
the Spiritual path. It is certainly no coincidence that the words disciple and discipline sound so similar. They originate from the same root. Discipulus, in Latin, means student – and discere means to learn.
It is only when the student begins to learn to discipline his and her
forces, that true Spiritual growth and self-mastery may be attained. So
long as we don’t learn to control the invisible forces within us, we
cannot hope to steer and direct our visible life.
Until we decide to develop self-discipline, we are basically thrown
hither and yon by the inner currents of desire and by the outer currents
of temptation. In other words, we are the victim of desire and
confusion and not the captain of our ship.
Self-discipline enables us to direct our forces and thus take control of our life.
With this understanding in mind, how may we develop self-discipline?
We develop self-discipline first by deciding that from this moment
forward we’ll control our desires, passions and appetites which have
hitherto controlled us and that from this moment forward we’ll resist
the temptation to give into selfish gratification. Step number one is
to make a decision to change our life and take control of our forces.
What might be helpful is to make this decision in front of our Creator
in the form of a Spiritual contract of sorts. Doing this will make it
easier to follow through.
Step number two is to take the opportunity, when the lower passion or
appetite arises, to not just restrain it but purify it. Remember, we
live in a world of energies and forces. Lower passions, desires and
appetites are real, tangible forces. Just trying to restrain them will
not get rid of them. The only way to get rid of them is to transform
them. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be
transformed. We transform a lower passion by purifying it into a higher
aspiration. As we transform these lower forces, one by one, they will
soon lose their hold over us as well as their attractive power. In other
words, as we begin to purify our life through self-discipline, we will
begin feeling repelled by the impure life and start feeling attracted to
the pure life. As the lower life is phased out of our constitution
through self-discipline, as per the law of attraction, we will no longer
feel attracted to it.
It is through the purification of our lower nature that we step into
our nigher nature. The lower animal forces are not lost in the process
of purification, they are simply transmuted into higher spiritual
energy. However, this transmutation of lower force into higher energy
does not happen by chance. It happens by choice. It is accomplished
through self-imposed discipline.
Here is what happens: Each time we give into a lower passion and
desire, we give our power away to the lower desire and in this way
strengthen the force of desire while at the same time weakening
ourselves in proportion. However, each time we restrain a lower desire
and transmute it into a higher form of energy, we strengthen our will
power and grow in Spiritual power.
As we begin to transform our lower desires into higher energies, we
develop will-power, self-confidence, self-love and self-respect. We also
begin to conserve our energies rather than dissipate them. In other
words, we begin to apply the law of energy conservation. Nature does not
dissipate her energies and neither should we if we are serious about
stepping into Spiritual maturity.
Without self-discipline we steadily keep drifting lower and lower
(one low passion magnetically leads to another lower passion) whereas
through the execution of self-discipline we may lift ourselves out of
the lower life into the glories of the high life.
We won’t just wake up one magical morning being fully awakened and
alive without having initiated the necessary self-discipline to prune
away all that is not divine and cultivate all that is. As we sacrifice
the lower life, we gain so much in return! Give it a try
ACTION STEP: Practically speaking, let’s say you want
to become the master of your tongue. Each time you are about to say
something unfriendly, unsupportive, unhelpful, mean etc., restrain
yourself and make yourself say something nice, uplifting and supportive
instead. Words are forces! That’s why they can hurt – or uplift, for
that matter. Every time we restrain our tongue and/or turn a negative
conversation into a positive one, we are literally transmuting lower
force into higher energy. We are practicing alchemy Spend the next seven days actively practicing alchemy.