Cultivating Spiritual Discipline

The word discipline comes from the Latin discere, meaning “to learn.” We need discipline of course in learning a language, a musical instrument, to drive a car or to love and stay in a relationship. Discipline is not helpful if it is imposed by an external force against our will (except perhaps when we are two years old). If it is to work, discipline needs to be freely accepted and followed. This is especially true of a spiritual discipline. And yet without discipline we remain locked under the control of our ego and its repertoire of fears, anxieties, fantasies and desires. We are free only when we can choose to say yes or no from a place of enlightened self-knowledge.

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