Rev. Elizabeth Rowley is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at revelizabeth@cccsl.org.

Is your commitment to the unfolding vision of your life greater than your resistance? It takes discipline to follow through and keep your commitments.

For many, the word discipline carries a negative charge and gets pushed aside or avoided. However, consider another word for discipline is practice, and another word for commitment is promise. Thus, you can perceive self-discipline as the opportunity to practice your promises – the promises you made to yourself – God within you. When you keep the promises you made to yourself, you feel a sense of accomplishment because you have kept your word and are in integrity, with dignity, elegance, passion, and deep contentment.
It takes discipline to eat food that nourishes our bodies, drink at least eight glasses of water per day, have a regular spiritual practice, and change our thinking to change our lives. Discipline keeps us on track with where we are determined to make changes. It is an act of self-love, self-respect, and surrender that leads to freedom.

Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith shares a great example in his book, Spiritual Liberation. He invites us to imagine having a regular meditation practice where you take time to sit in silence for forty minutes every morning. You begin to see the results of your practice in your life with less stress, more peace, and greater happiness. One day your spouse needs help taking your kid to school, and you pitch in for the next two weeks. Rather than waking up a little earlier in the morning to accommodate this new responsibility and still have time to meditate, you tell yourself, “Oh, I just don’t feel like it, and besides, I need my rest.’”

What happened? Your emotional reasoning justified your decision not to make the necessary effort to honor your aspiration to meditate every morning. However, the beautiful gift of self-discipline is that it has the power to take you beyond the reasoning of temporary emotion to freedom.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

When you apply discipline to the spiritual path, it’s life-changing. The root of the word discipline is to discern or to perceive clearly. In the book Love, freedom, and aloneness, Osho observed, “To be a disciple means to learn the discipline of being yourself. Your true self.”
Your true self is the Self within all selves. It is the unconditioned radiant you that was born into the world. It knows what you came here to do and who you came here to be. It’s up to you to remove the barriers preventing you from hearing the still small voice within you. It’s the voice of your intuition, the part of you that patiently waits for you to notice and listen to it. If you have yet to contact that place within you, meditation is the place to begin.

It’s time to get back on track with the promises you made to yourself, to God within you. A little discipline goes a long way. You can do it!

And so it is.