Have you ever thought that “discipline” was invented to put you in a “box”, restrict your freedom(s), prevent you from living the life that you were meant to live? Have you ever met someone who is allergic to, inherently resists the idea of “discipline”?
In my younger (read ‘teenage’) years, discipline was perhaps the last thing that I wanted to be subject to. The very notion that I was expected to make my bed before I went to school seemed like an injustice. And the bus came at 6:30am! In high school, there was no ‘sleeping in’ on weekends. Saturday morning discipline included going shopping for milk, vegetables and groceries. Then there was the choice of dusting the furniture and bookcases, folding the laundry, putting away the washed dishes, setting the table for lunch or dinner, clearing the table after the meals, and much more. There was no escape from the seeming prison of chores and discipline. And I haven’t even talked about the take- no-prisoners attitude of discipline of some of the teachers at school!
But little was I to know that it was all preparation for what was to come my way a few years later. On my arrival as a graduate student in the USA, I realized that the ‘prison of discipline’ in my aunt’s home in India had taught me self-awareness. I was pleasantly surprised that I knew exactly what it would take to thrive on my own in a foreign land. I was able to work out chore-sharing with my roommates, just like I chore-shared with my cousins growing up. I quickly became aware that grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, cleaning, and even cooking, were all things that I was already good at. I actually began to fall in love with the idea of discipline!
After the self-awareness, I began to realize that freedom from the ‘prison of discipline’ had led me to the practice of self-discipline. The more I practiced it, the more my self-respect and self-image grew. With this growth, I found that I was comfortable in reaching out and making friends with all sorts of nationalities, and particularly the Americans. The land that I considered foreign, adopted me over time.
I believe that this two-way adoption happened because self-respect grew into self-love. It took self-love to keep an open mind to learning about western customs and culture, and harmonizing them with my eastern foundations.
As a parent and teacher, I began to consider that most of our parents’ (and teachers’) discipline is perhaps borne out of love for us. By by ‘drawing lines’ for us, they are teaching us self-awareness, self-respect, and self-love. Theirs, and now mine, is evolving into a loving discipline indeed.
Loving discipline manifests because true love takes some discipline, and true discipline takes a lot of love. What’s your take on ‘loving discipline’?
P.S. join us for our weekly #SpiritChat gathering – Sunday, Aug 11 at 9amET – I will bring some questions on discipline – with love 🙂 – Namaste. Kumud.
Nature’s discipline takes many forms – mostly of a loving nature!