Excerpt About Inner Development

Discipline in the Course of Inner Development

Another category of action connected to inner development is that of discipline. Discipline is a basic ingredient in almost all schools of inner development. This is for several reasons. One reason is that the emotional, false personality tends to act and behave in a haphazard way, mainly in whatever way seems to help avoid any unpleasant truth. So without discipline it will tend not to do the work necessary for inner development because this work is largely a process of confronting unpleasant truths, at least at the initial stages. Discipline will force one to confront, and not avoid, the unpleasant truths and sensations necessary for the work of inner development. Discipline is necessary for developing certain attitudes and capacities needed for the work on inner development. For example, it is needed to develop the capacity for paying concentrated attention. In addition, discipline is necessary to carry out the practices that a particular school or system prescribes. Many systems require the discipline of regular meditation. Thus, many people end up with the conviction that discipline is necessary and useful for everybody at all times. This is obviously false; very often we find that a person is disciplined not for the work on inner development but because of the inner authority of the superego. The case of the obsessive-compulsive neurotic who rigorously and ritually disciplines himself and his time is well known. This is an extreme case that well illustrates how discipline can serve the false personality and therefore hinder inner growth. So discipline needs to be exercised with understanding of the individual personality and the person's specific, true, inner needs.

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