Discipline of self is perhaps the hardest and best thing you can do for yourself. Being able to deprive yourself of momentary pleasure to receive a lifetime of joy and bliss is something most people are not willing to abide by. We live in a society where we want instant gratification but that isn’t always the way. In fact that is never the way.
Nothing worthwhile ever comes immediately. Seeds planted need time to grow before they become plants and trees. Birth, education, relationships all take time and need to be consistently cared for and nurtured before you can reap the results, and yet we forget this.
We forget that we are forged in the fire of patience and consistent behaviors.
We still demand and require instant satisfaction. Self discipline is character building. the very act of consistently and constantly showing up day after day, week after week forms a different level of self worth. It requires a heightened awareness of self to do this as well. When you start to build muscle, it doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a constancy – you don’t see it building, it just ‘magically’ appears months later.
Your practice to connect to God is not different. There is prayer to simply say the words and check it off the list, and then there is truly connecting with God. While showing up is half the battle, how you show up matters. It is important that this be more than the token gesture of going to church on Sunday because it is expected of you, or attending prayer ceremonies during different festivals because that is what you remember of your youth. I grew up attending Satsang when visiting my grandparents during the summer, but for the rest of the year, there was no requirement to pray or commune with God. This caused both obstacles and opportunities in my adulthood. I had nothing to unlearn, but I also had no traditions to uphold.
I felt myself awakening as I turned 40, seeking a deeper connection to God but not knowing how to go about it. I engaged in trial and error for many years, finding different voices that gave me some shred of guidance, but they always fell short. I wanted more, and I didn’t want it to be interpret or guided by a pastor, a priest or any other self-appointed person of God. I wanted a direct link, or what I called, direct access to the Divine. I read all kinds of books, listened to people like Deepak Chopra, Joel Osteen, Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Das and while I was inspired for a while, after a bit, the shine would wear off and I would find myself bored.
But I never stopped seeking.
I knew I wanted more than what these books, sermons and talks could deliver to me.
It is said that prayer is when you talk to God and meditation is when God talks back.
I found myself sitting, but easily distracted. My mind would wander in milliseconds. I could sit for 5 minutes or an hour, and still feel like I accomplished nothing. I felt like there was no one particular practice that helped, only that I never stopped showing up to the quiet space.
I maintained a deep desire to have an intimate connection to God and I didn’t let up the discipline of making time for this connection to develop.
No matter how busy, how overwhelmed, how tired, I made time to deepen my relationship with God, even though I didn’t really know how, or what I was doing.
I continually worked on my self awareness, becoming acutely aware of every thought I had, every word I said and taking responsibility for my actions, my words, my thoughts and even the behavior of my husband – seeing it as a reflection of my own behavior. I understood that he was a mirror to my thoughts and actions. So if he was acting out, it was because I was either consciously or subconsciously acting out – and when I started to examine my actions with a fierce and brutal honestly, I found that to be true 100% of the time.
Slowly the tide began to shift. Life started to meet me in unexpectedly joyful ways. Gratitude for life passed my lips daily and still does. I wake up to the words THANK YOU in my heart.
Relationships improved, arguments lessened, joy increased, partnerships blossomed.
Experiences began falling into place.
Busyness started to drop away, replaced by productive periods interspersed with periods of rest. Life slowed down but became more meaningful.
I stopped worrying about losing out, missing out, being left out (FOMO = Fear of Missing Out turned to JOMO = Joyfully Missing Out).
I started appreciating the space being created as a result of NOT being asked.
The nature of the books I read, the people I stayed connected to, the work I did and the space I occupied in the community changed.
I stopped setting goals that I invariably struggled to keep and instead started setting intentions that are more meaningful to maintain.
Professionally I started to thrive. I stopped searching for my place in the world; it found me when I got asked to step into the dream job I didn’t know I wanted.
I finally find myself in a place where I don’t have to multitask to stay afloat. I do one thing at a time, do it well and then move to the next.
Remember, we are born Divine and we forget this as we go through our human existence. This job of self discipline then is to simply help us remember our Divine nature, to help us remember that we come from Source. We come to have this human experience, so we can continue to transcend our Divine experiences, so we eventually never have to leave the side of God. Finding our way back to God is the only thing worth working toward, because it is in dedicating our true self to this path, that we get to live a rich life that we love in a way that we couldn’t even begin to imagine.
This is the only life worth living.
In pursuit of being reconnected/awakened to our Divine nature and to our preexisting relationship to God.