There is nothing more important in a human being's life path than the dedication to practice and discipline, I believe. The cultivation of focus and drive can not be overemphasized in a well-lived life.
I imagine that many would argue that these principles are fine and good in the realm of work and education but have no place in spirituality and personal growth, but I adamantly disagree. There is no area where discipline (that dirty word) is needed more than in working with our psyche and spirits honestly.
Perhaps I jumped ahead of myself here though. I still maintain that beneath this discipline and practice must be a ground philosophy that speaks to service in the world, compassion, self-love and the like, and so perhaps I should rephrase that opening statement:
Beyond the recognition of connection and meaning within the system of all things, the most important part of a human being's path is the dedication to practice and discipline. Better.
We only know ourselves to be strong when we focus and practice. With practice and focus we overcome obstacles or challenges not because of luck or someone else's influence, but because we were able to come into contact with the reservoir of strength that exists within. This leads to a life of power and purpose, one where victimization is baffling and impossible response.
And we only come to know ourselves fully--to see and live what particular proclivities and abilities we carried into this world with us when we arrived--when we become dedicated to the practice of uncovering them. They do not uncover themselves easily; they will not present amongst the materialistic banality of modern society. Only under an unwavering commitment to honoring and unearthing them will the secrets and possibilities of our individual experiences be understood.
The reason I am writing this now is because I have recently not been practicing. For the last week I have had a lot of 'things' happening in life (amazing, wonderful things, but things that have kept me busy nonetheless..) where it has felt like I just couldn't make time for my meditation, journaling, ceremony and artwork. I have been playing a lot of music, which is certainly a practice, but not one that speaks to the perpetual necessity of calming my mind and focusing my heart in the same way that meditation does.
Not to suggest that anything has fallen apart because of this week's loss of focus. It's only that I can feel--both in my energetic and physical systems--the difference between this week and the weeks prior, where my practice was done daily. My subconscious mind is slightly more scattered, slightly more doubtful, slightly more unsure, and this creates a sense of incongruence between that which I know as 'myself' and those thoughts and habits that have crept into my conditioned response to life. I am not scattered and fearful, and yet a mind left unattended will certainly dance off in that direction..I see it as I begin to work on projects that would normally herald a 'fuck ya' from my inner self, but are recently tainted by the quivering voice of a questioning and insecure ego. This ego is supported by our modern world (' No really, you SHOULD feel like shit about yourself. It's normal.'), and it takes a daily dedication to my practice in order to keep those insidious psychological wolves at bay.
Practice and discipline are not easy, and yet they are the road--the only road, unless you are a Buddha, but even then..--to enlightenment, freedom and meaning. There is no easy nor fast route to the goal of self actualization and power, yet it is one that offers daily invigoration and increasing vitality should we engage with it.
I promise to you: practice--daily, dedicated and consistent practice--feels damn good. Discipline--daily, meaningful and focused discipline-- feels phenomenal.
Everything in your ego and subconscious programming will fight this, and ask you to take the easy, lazy way in the human experience. To go with the flow. To not intensely challenge yourself. But if you are here to live fully, and I would imagine that if you're still reading this you are, then no more excuses: you must focus, and find mastery in the constant application of your conscious mind and attention to your path.
(please know that I'm applying this reasoning to myself as well, and off to take my seat on the cushion right…..now.)