I went to a Convent school where discipline was taken very seriously. You have to be in class on time, you keep quiet when the teacher is talking. You greet the teacher as she walks into your class. You raise your hand and speak only when you are called out. Play during the Sports class, paint during the Art class, eat during the lunch break and study during the rest of the time in school.
My reaction to it would usually be oh well, what other option do I have than to follow along. Some mornings it would be difficult to get out of bed and I felt like sleeping in. But I got up early anyways and went to school on time. Somewhere the rebel in me wanted to break those rules and find freedom. Freedom then was in waking up late. Eating when I like. Play outside with my friends all day!
There came a period in the later part of my life when I had the opportunity to do exactly what I felt like and when I felt like it! Finally I found freedom! But I could not sustain it for long. Somewhere inside me I was crying out for a sense of purpose, that feeling of high energy or prana that I used to feel when I was living with discipline and purpose.
I realized having a sense of purpose automatically brings discipline in life. I studied many successful people in many different areas of life. It is their self-imposed discipline that has made them successful. Actors spend so many hours of their life in the Gym, to get those 6-pack abs. They have a strict discipline of food and can rarely indulge in all the goodies that we indulge in while we watch their movies. Ironically what is portrayed as being the “cool” food and drink of the “cool” people in the movies is hardly what they can afford to eat in real life, to keep themselves fit.
If it takes two to Tango, Discipline and Freedom should definitely be dancing together. Without one you cannot have the other. If you don’t have the discipline of brushing your teeth everyday then how can you enjoy the freedom of eating what you love for the rest of your life. Reaching school on time, studying when it was time for study in the earlier part of my life, gave me freedom to explore this world wisely after I had graduated.
Patanjali the father of Yoga, starts his Yoga Sutras by saying “Yoganushasana” which means Yoga is a discipline. Its a discipline that you practice to experience the infinity within you. The Eight limbs of Yoga give a upward direction to your life, which allows you to experience the infinite possibilities of your self. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says that eight limbs of yoga are like the limbs of a table. You pull one and the others follow. Which means that you can start with any one of the disciplines fully and the other disciplines will automatically follow.
The most important discipline that I have been following for the past 14 years is doing my Yoga, Pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya meditation practice first thing in the morning. I can proudly say that I have not missed my practice even for a day! Some days it has been hard to keep up with that discipline. Especially when I am traveling or have too much work to complete. My commitment to this discipline challenged me many times to think of creative ways to find a way to do my practices. Keeping up with this simple discipline has brought so much physical agility and fitness, mental stability, skills, creativity, self-awareness, self-confidence and years to my life!
If you are averse to Discipline, learning to Tango with it will help you taste more and more freedom in your life ! The short term discomfort of a discipline gives long-lasting health and happiness for the rest of your life. The discomfort is only in the beginning. After a while it becomes an integral part of you as you reap the results of what you have sowed!