Here’s a thought I’d like to share…
Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most. ~Augusta Kantra
I wrote the above sentence as I was preparing a talk on the positive aspects of discipline. After that, I used it in a yoga class. Since then, I’ve thought about it quite a bit. Originally, I liked it because it sounded catchy, but the more I thought about it, the more deeply it sank in. I realized that choosing what I want most – and keeping that intention at the forefront of my mind – shines a compassionate light on my decisions and almost pulls me toward actions that, in the past, I might have had to struggle or strive to do. It seems to have taken the punitive element out of “discipline” for me.
Discipline is a word that conjures up images of punishment, giving up things you enjoy, doing hard or difficult things, correcting your behavior, stoic-stern-stubbornness. Whoa — no wonder we shrink and shudder at the very sound of the word!
But when discipline is viewed as choosing what we want most, our goal comes into focus and we own the choice of actually moving toward that goal.
If instead, we focus on what we want now, and if that is incongruent with what we want most, our eyes and hearts are clinging to what it is that we “can’t” or “shouldn’t” have. We are not mindful of our deeper intentions and we feel a bit victimized or defeated by circumstances. If we feel defeated, we might give up and reinforce old patterns of low self-esteem and failure. If we feel victimized, that feeling might make our fur bristle causing us to react by getting rebellious – taking on the attitude of “You can’t tell me what I can or can’t do or what I can or can’t have! I deserve to treat myself.” Now the ego is all indignant, and so we set about proving how strong or deserving we are – going for what we want now and abandoning what we want most – ultimately, sabotaging ourselves.
The remedy — be compassionate towards yourself and keep your heart mindful of what YOU (not someone else) WANT (a choice vs. a “should”) MOST (your deepest intention). Then choose that — again and again and again — joyfully!
Wishing you what you want most,