This series on discipline is the third series in our Tao Te Ching Exploration Project. Throughout this project, we will be discussing some of the basic principles brought up throughout the Tao Te Ching. The principles we will cover are Awareness, Stillness, Discipline, Humility, Flexibility, Consistency, Connection, Service and Leadership. I am sure that there are many other principles that have been discussed throughout the text, but these are the nine topics that I am choosing to focus on over the next several months.
I relate to each principle by focusing our attention on each of the nine chakras, based on the Q’ero Shamans’ chakra system that is explained in depth in Dr. Alberto Villoldo’s book, Shaman, Healer, Sage. In this system, the chakras extend outside of our human form, which allow us to recognize our greater aspects of being. With nine chakras and nine disciplines, we will end up with 81 essays on living with the Tao in mind throughout every aspect of our being. (Since there are 81 chapters in the Tao Te Ching and nine is a completion number, I felt this was a fitting tribute.)
I hope that you are enjoying the series and will continue to explore with us throughout the rest of the project.
Discipline – Part 1
In the U.S., we use the word discipline as a way of parenting.
To many people in the U.S., discipline means how you punish your children. You “discipline” your child. To me, this is very sad because it has taken a really great word and made it seem negative to lots of people. For those children who were disciplined, they want to run from it. That is not the meaning that we are talking about in this series.
For this series, I want a re-frame.
In this series, when I talk about discipline, I am talking about sticking to things and recognizing what is needed and having the wherewithal to do the things that are needed. It might mean to eat healthy foods, to exercise your body, it could mean to do your homework if you are in school. Discipline is about getting the right things done. It’s very important. If you don’t do that and you just let things go, before you know it your life is going to be gone.
Without discipline, you will get to the end of your life and
you may say, “What did I do with my life?”
Discipline is quite an amazing principle to have in your life. In this first part, we are looking at the first chakra. The first chakra is your home base. It is the ancestry, what has been learned in your prior experiences…anything that comes from your parents, from your ancestors, from your family, from your ethnic background.
In my own experience as an American, I have not seen a lot of discipline that is taught in our culture overall. I see pockets of it in musical development and athletic training. Many families are very disciplined when it comes to participating and excelling in sports in the U.S. Some families are very disciplined when it comes to financial training. Overall, it is impossible to say because we really are such a melting pot of unique cultural practices.
Many cultures around the world have a sense of discipline ingrained in their entire cultural experience. Many cultures have a strong martial arts background that is integrated into the culture and daily life, which is very helpful in encouraging discipline in life overall. Any sort of training that requires one to stay focused on learning and developing a specific skill requires discipline.
When I look at my own life and at my history with discipline, I think of my Dad. My Dad is a very self-disciplined person. He has always been a model for me of looking at what needs to be done and just doing it. I hope that I live that somewhat as a model for my daughter. When I was in my twenties, I learned Tai Chi. My teacher was excellent and he really helped me to learn the principle of discipline as a tool for my life.
Discipline is an important skill
to pass on to your children through modeling.
I chose discipline as one of the principles to practice because discipline can be an incredible tool for your life to really help you achieve the things you want to set out and do. We can talk about our history and about what sort of things we bring from the past, but in the end, it doesn’t always matter. You get to start fresh every day. You also get to fail every day. That is the nature of discipline.
If you are lucky enough to have been raised with a sense of discipline, you have an advantage but anyone can develop discipline at any age.
As far as the first chakra goes, I think it is important to look at your own history with discipline. Where have you been with it in your own life? When you think of the word “discipline”, what does it feel like? What is your relationship to discipline? What are your parents like? What have your parents taught you in terms of discipline? Your grandparents? What have you learned from mentors and people who have influenced you in your lifetime? (Remember to use my definition and not the one about punishment.)
What are some of the things that have been influential to you in terms of creating discipline in your own life? I encourage you to think about that throughout this series.
Discipline is hugely important.
We want to get to the end of our lives and have incredible experiences and we want to know when we get to the end that we have done our work, whatever that is.
What about you? What came to mind as you thought about discipline here? Please share with us your thoughts with a comment below. If you enjoyed this article, please use the sharing buttons at the top of the right panel to share it with your network! Thanks!