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Discipline Brings Freedom

Updated: Dec 17, 2022

Self-actualization can be thought of as the process of developing awareness and de-conditioning - freeing the mind and body of the obsessive compulsive patterns that have been accumulated, so we can be free to choose a life based on our own unique interests.

I like metaphor or “we are the golden statue under dirty rags,” or “we are the glass mirror under all of the grime.”

So, from here, I guess the question from there would be

-“How does one get back to their Natural Self?

-“How do we build these skills of focus, attention, and calmness?”

-“How do we decondition ourselves from these old patterns that are no longer beneficial to our wellbeing or well-being of the people around us?” and finally,

-“How do we re-program ourselves, and solidify qualities within ourselves that are truly beneficial to oneself and all things equally?”

And the answer to these questions is SOME SORT OF DISCIPLINE/PRACTICE.

In my own life, my practices have been martial arts, music, and meditation, but it can anything that builds awareness and focus. Something that you see small progress in, and something to reflect on.

It can be learning an instrument. It can be training for a triathlon. It can be writing a book.

So, when done correctly, these disciplines induce a perfect amount of self-induced stress that prompts us to pay attention, therefore developing one-pointed focus.

As focus develops, it induces a perfect balance between stress and ease, allowing us to be ‘in the zone’ and continuously break old patterns while building new ones. We eventually also learn to be calm under this self-imposed stress.

This is called “flow” in modern science.

This clearly translates to everyday life:

It teaches us that we can implement small incremental changes in any area of our lives to create strong beautiful skillsets of our choosing.

We will also slowly be able to handle more challenging or stressful worldly situations with more focus, ease, and patience. This is called stress tolerance in psychology. It is the development of resilience.

I have done martial arts for most of my life - Japanese styles like Isshin Ryu and Aikido, Muy Thai, Kickboxing… In martial arts, we learn basic punch and kick combinations for basic structure, but we must also learn to break them so as to not be as predictable to your opponent.

In other words, we learn to incessantly improvise.

We constantly break old patterns and find new ones to allow for growth.

We can even do this in small ways in our everyday routine like using your nondominant hand to eat with, or taking a different route to work in the morning.

This is what I have found freedom to be. Freedom is the neverending ability to be aware of the patterns that we’ve created for ourselves, and then to improvise and create new patterns that allow for further growth.

In the words of psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor Frankl, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

And as we develop awareness, we can more readily navigate that space between stimulus and response.

This is response-ability, our ability to respond.

In the social realm, we can, over time, create personalities which are based in the skills of patience, understanding, and compassion. And the more we choose responses of understanding and compassion rather than hate and aggression, we will turn into an understanding and compassionate person.

All in all, our past is not the determining factor in our lives.

We choose the behaviors that we want to solidify on a regular basis. And the brain’s ability to change and adapt to these new chosen behaviors can be called neuroplasticity.

We are essentially building a new interpretive framework to operate from, based in true expression of Self.

Now, to some extent, developing this discipline that we’re talking about demands both asceticism and structure - it requires being alone, introspecting, shedding the old and nonbenificial, understanding your unique qualities and interests, and then creating the ultimate package/message that you want to send out based on those unique traits. As we do this, we self-actualize. We express outwardly our true inner Nature - who we truly are.

It seems to be a complete paradox, but it’s true - discipline brings freedom.

And I’m not saying this is an easy process either... It is an arduous and emotional process to let go of habits that we’ve accumulated over the course of a lifetime. We’re emotionally invested in this old framework, and there are multitudes of emotions and memories associated with said habits and patterns.

Much of how we operate also tends to be unconscious, so it takes an extreme amount of awareness and objectivity to bring the unconscious to the conscious mind.

So, patience and determination are also a large part of discipline.

Perhaps accountability as well; give yourself little congrats when you accomplish a feat and let celebrate with your loved ones.

To sum up, your individual discipline and self work leads to en-lightenment - a letting go of old stagnant patterns to make room for new patterns which are conducive to the flourishing of life. This then echoes out to all of the people and things that you are connected to in your life. And to those people they are connected to. And so it continues.

Out of chaos, we can create order. In this, we have the power of Gods. We truly have the abilities to create a world that will promote a flourishing for all life of the planet...

It just takes personal responsibility and discipline.

Blessings to you

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