Every cell in your body is in constant movement, as is every atom in the universe. Your mind is in constant movement, as is your life. Every day in your life you are taking action, thinking thoughts, creating something, and moving toward something.
The question is, “Is your movement organized, or chaotic?”
“Movement is life, stillness is death.”
— Hazrat Inayat Khan (Indian musician, poet, philosopher)
Self-discipline is organized movement, purposeful movement. It is continuously moving toward what matters most for you: your core values and aspirations. When your daily actions, thoughts, and choices are all pointing in the same direction, you feel powerful. You feel you have flow. Not the flow that is already happening regardless of you; but the flow you initiated and got momentum in. You become a creator, rather than a follower.
A good metaphor for this is electricity. Typically, electrons are moving in a chaotic, random manner. They always take the path of least resistance. Now, when they are all moving in the same direction at the same time, we have electricity. This power can be used for producing images on the TV, sound in your speaker, heat in your heater, and cold in your refrigerator.
In like manner, by default our mind is like the electrons in a field: thoughts are going everywhere, randomly. As a result, so are your actions and your life. You can live like this your whole life—it can actually be a pleasant life. But your movement will be small, shallow, and hectic; you won’t gather enough momentum to achieve any major goal, or to transform yourself. Something inside of you knows that you haven’t tapped into your full potential.
But when you are charged with purpose, everything is different. Your thoughts and actions are more focused. Your life is more organized. As a result, you have the power to make things happen—whether we are talking about building a business, improving your health, or achieving enlightenment.
Random movement feels natural and easy, but it does not generate energy, and it is not truly fulfilling. Consistent movement in the same direction, with all your being—that is powerful and fulfilling. That is self-discipline.
For that, you need to know your aspirations, goals, and values. That is, you need to choose the direction of your movement. That is the first pillar of Mindful Self-Discipline. Then you need to constantly be aware of it, and take action on it—that is the second and third pillars, Awareness and Action.
Your movement is inconsistent when you don’t have clear goals, when you regularly get distracted away from your goals, or when you are not taking consistent action toward them. Your mind, your vitality, and your will are dispersed.
Your movement is consistent when you have clear aspirations, constantly remember and think about them, and take relentless steps toward them every day, even when it is hard to do so.
On a scale from 1 to 10, rate how focused is your life, your actions, and your thoughts. If helpful, you can have different ratings for different areas of your life.
Then identify what is one thing you can do to bring more focus and order to your movement. That could be gaining more clarity on your aspirations, cutting out distractions, building a morning routine around your key habits, or reflecting daily on your goals and choices.
Everything in the Mindful Self-Discipline book, workbook, and app, exists to help you live a more focused and fulfilling life. Having said that, the meditation techniques of Deep Longing and Shift Your Focus are great starting points, as well as the Daily Journal—all part of the app.