Discipline as medicine

Words are limited. Right and wrong are divisive and subjective. I read that in Sanskrit there are no words for right or wrong. There is no perfect translation in the western language to adequately express an idea that has no polarity. As humans, we are constantly organizing and classifying things to make sense of them. But what happens when our ideals clash? What is good for one may be disastrous for the other. And so, through my meditation practice, I have learned and adopted words and mantras that resonate more with the authentic source of the teachings. To practice concentration (samadhi) in the western definition means something entirely different than in the eastern tradition. The Sanskrit or Pali language would instead say “Higher View”, and yet it is still not the perfect word.

It takes much practice to elevate yourself and observe the world with a “higher view”. Practice demands a certain discipline and the word discipline, ultimately, is entangled with disciple. The Latin root “discipulus” (disciple or pupil) and “disciplina” meant “instruction or knowledge. Somewhere along the way discipline for many meant to give chastisement while disciple took a religious connotation for many people.

Without will you cannot begin, without discipline, you cannot apply.

For some discipline is necessary, for others it is something to avoid. Depending on your early conditioning you may be more inclined towards what you were taught discipline meant.

Most of us had a strange relationship with it: Most children are subjected to it. During our teenage years, we rebel against it. When adulthood hits, it is either ingrained in us, or we try to avoid it whenever we encounter it because, for many, discipline was a thing used against our will.

By the time you get halfway through your life, you suddenly realize that it’s easier to apply this discipline to the things we enjoy. But even if passion reigns, discipline may not. It is the reason many people feel weighed down by the overwhelming guilt of knowing that we may have the will, yet lack discipline.

When you begin with meditation, you realize that the most mundane things in life require some sort of discipline. You want to keep your teeth until old age, you must brush and floss ardently without ever failing. You want to be healthy you must exercise and eat well and see it as a ritual. Without will you cannot begin, without discipline, you cannot apply. It takes a shift in perspective to change these stories we have been telling ourselves. Every day the conquest is to conquer your mind. To watch your desires unfold but never yield to them. This is what the “higher view” entails. The forming of a ritual. To take the high road, but always maintain contact with the ground below you.

This higher view teaches you to balance everything, to observe this body we are given for this life as a tool of creation. Everything is possible once you merge the higher with the inner view as healing begins when you decide to create it.

Tash’s Salt.

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