Excerpt About Discipline

Discipline is a Way of Dealing with One's Personal Limitations

Student: I have a question about the relationship between self-discipline and the love of truth. It seems like there’s a continuum where self-discipline is the motivation for the process of inquiry, and then at some point, love of the process of getting to the truth takes over.

Almaas: My experience is the other way around. It is loving the truth that motivates me to discipline myself. Why else would I want to discipline myself? What would motivate me to do that? Love is the source of true discipline. Let’s assume that you’re really interested in the subject matter you’re inquiring into. Then at some point, you discover that you have certain limitations. Because of those limitations, you need discipline. Discipline is a way of dealing with one’s personal limitations; to use it in other situations is to turn it into the superego. That’s why kids always develop a superego: Their parents try to discipline them, but children don’t see the point. They don’t see the discipline as addressing their needs or limitations. So it becomes a superego thing that is unavoidable. But that’s okay as a transitory stage.

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