Self-Discipline and its Relation to Spiritual Progress
There are several qualities that are needed to be in order to enter the path of the initiations, such as spiritual aspirations, patience, seriousness about the work etc. Each of the components that are necessary have their place in the “building up of the soul”, and so it does self-discipline.
It is not uncommon to see people that enter an esoteric school with great enthusiasm and zeal, starting out with practices and asking a lot of questions, but eventually this initial interest disappears and what then remains are the qualities that are sufficient or insufficient to move the person along the path. One thing that I noticed that people are often lacking, is self-discipline.
In one of my previous articles I wrote how important is patience on the spiritual path, but another thing that is very important is self-discipline. The latter is required so that we carry out practices and the work needed so that our patience does not become a hopeless waiting for something that will never arrive; not unless we apply the necessary efforts to move towards it. However, the efforts applied do not come only from being enthusiastic about the work or simply liking it. This may be the case for some time, but as the inner work is a life-long thing, one has to create a necessary framework in which the efforts are applied consistently, throughout many years, and this is something that can be achieved when we have self-discipline.
Self-discipline in the inner work refers to consistently applying efforts into things that keep us on track, and to improve upon them – things such as different sit-down practices that serve to awaken our essence so that we can perform the inner work, but also other components of the inner work that are done throughout the day, such as self-remembrance, self-observation etc; all of this is achieved daily when one has self-discipline.
When we don’t have this quality, or have it to a small degree, it would mean that we have to depend on external circumstance or external stimuli in order to do our work, as otherwise it would be too hard to get ourselves to regularly do those things that would move us closer to the goal of self-realization. We would have to depend on things such as our fellow students inviting us to do practices with them, or to attending a Gnostic centre, or an online activity etc. All these things can be good in the beginning until we establish ourselves in the inner work, but eventually the time comes when instead of resting on the external, we will simply have to learn how to rest within our own soul, our own essence, and find it sufficient source of what we need to do our work.
It is important also to have a clear goal of what we want to achieve with the inner work; it’s not enough to be good in organizing ones own daily activities. Even though the latter is a quality skill to have and can contribute to being self-disciplined, it would fell short eventually if the clear spiritual goal and the aspiration to achieve it is lacking. Therefore, there needs to be a goal, an understanding about the result of the goal and its implications, a longing for the self-realization that is coming from the soul and not from ambition, and then planning out how to go about achieving it. Once those things are in place, you know what practices you need to do to get there, and how to organize your day in order to keep moving forward from day to day.
To be self-disciplined means that we have reached a certain degree of spiritual “independence”, in the sense that we stand on our own feet and do not depend (as much) anymore on other people for our spiritual progress. Our spiritual ascent still depends on the help coming from higher beings, and to a degree we also depend on the esoteric school that we belong to, and often time we also depend on someone that is on a higher spiritual level than us and is able to guide us on the path (until we incarnate the Being), but a difference is that now we stand firmly on the ground, centered in the inner work, and we are able to make daily, weekly, monthly and yearly plans (and put it to practice) that we know will move us closer and closer to our Being.
We become self-disciplined when we know what it is that we want, when we recognize the importance that the inner work has, and when we do what it takes to achieve it.
HDP, August 2020.