by Linda Howe
I have been infused with amazing energy simply by adjusting to this idea: that the life I’m currently living IS my soul’s path! Initially reluctant to accept this, I’m surprised, relieved, and feeling an influx of vitality and zest for living, more so than I have previously known. This enthusiasm delivers me to the threshold of new questions, including “What do I do with all this energy?” and “How do I use it for good?” Addressing this matter in my Akashic Records – using the Pathway :Prayer Process© – led me to a word that used to make me anxious: Discipline.
I fancy myself to be a spontaneous free spirit, most often honoring the pulse of the moment. But the very word “discipline” brought to mind images of punishment, denial, withholding – a wide variety of harsh treatment. Recoiling from my knee-jerk reaction to discipline, I was temporarily stuck, which led me to explore this concept at a deeper level.
My confusion sat between ideas of discipline and punishment. As it turns out, punishment and discipline are quite different. I’m not the first person to be mixed up about this. Other well-intended people, often authority figures, are confused as well. They call discipline, punishment. Punishment is a penalty often involving injury and even suffering for committing a fault or engaging in criminal behavior. My task became exploring the true meaning and essence of discipline.
Coming nose to nose with discipline offered me an opportunity to make this radical shift: from a fearful avoidance of discipline to a loving embrace, as an approach for making my dreams come true. Rich with spiritual meaning and based on the word “disciple,” discipline means to listen. The purpose of discipline is to empower us to hear the Innermost Self – to listen to the voice of the Divine within.
Gradually I came to understand discipline as a systematic approach for developing internal and external structures supporting who I am and how I interact in the world. Discipline is a condition of order, or training for, specific behaviors. From this perspective, discipline is a potentially significant ally on my path to manifesting my soul’s purposes. Thinking about all my dreams, goals, hopes, and wishes, I began to see discipline as my friend, always available to assist me to develop appropriate patterns so that all this newfound energy bubbling up from within me could propel me towards (rather than away from) my heartfelt desires.
At this point, another idea became very clear. In order for a discipline to be sustainable, it must meet the Triangle Test:
- What do I really think of it? … Mind
- How do I really feel about it? … Heart
- Am I willing to take necessary action to make it happen? … Will
Recalling many times that I initiated new disciplines – from waking up earlier to meditating, doing yoga, eating vegetables, and all sorts of desirable patterns that just never seemed to last. I noticed my good starts often fizzled out after the initial flush of enthusiasm waned. Whether the discipline was wise, or unwelcome, it just wasn’t lasting! In order for a discipline to last, I had to think it was a good idea for me at this time in life (mind), feel happy and energized about it (heart), and be glad to be able to take the necessary action (will). This new perspective was unbelievably helpful to me in making sense of past disappointments and creating future successes.
Recognizing the spiritual essence of discipline, I grew to appreciate it and have been increasingly able to make good use of the life force within. Efficiently using the power of discipline to manifest more and more of my dreams – from writing books and articles, to increasing my level of fitness through line dancing and ice skating and beyond, to developing deeper connections with family and friends by sharing experiences on a regular basis – I’ve learned the value of keeping my word with others and disciplining myself to do what I said I would do, becoming more honorable and trustworthy. More and more frequently, I initiate traditions and participate in rituals in a disciplined manner.
To my delight, my great reservoir of energy produces positive results, through discipline. Facing that simple misunderstanding of confusing punishment with discipline has empowered me to stop avoiding discipline. Instead, by embracing discipline, I am more likely to hear the voice of my Innermost Self and then able to direct infinite inner energy to my soul’s purposes. Consider it for yourself. Examined from a spiritual perspective, discipline can become a trusted ally on your soul’s path. Developing a structure through which the infinite life force can flow will help you manifest your dreams and enjoy more of the goodness of life!
Interesting in exploring this further? You can pre-order my book Discover Your Soul’s Path through the Akashic Records: Taking Your Life from Ordinary to ExtraOrdinary from Amazon (release date February 3, published by Hay House).