When you think of Buddhism, the world discipline is usually not far away. In fact, discipline is right at the core of Buddhist teachings.
Its tenets emphasize maintaining a sense of control over one’s mind and body as a means to fulfillment. In fact, it preaches that we are naturally endowed with the ability to do what we want, and feel contentment at all times. However, we give up those feelings of control to someone or something outside of ourselves; we relinquish our own power to an external force that we perceive has more power. We say, “I can’t,” “I shouldn’t,” or “I won’t,” far more often than we should. We say it so much that we believe that fighting against these powers is useless, and thus we lose power over ourselves. In other words, when we tell ourselves we have no discipline, it ends up being true.
Therefore, Buddhism teaches that a lack of personal power is illusory. It can be difficult to take that power back, but this, of course, is one of the first steps to self-discipline—believing that it’s possible and within your control.
Part of the process involves knowing exactly how we’re being blocked or prohibited from exercising that control. To that end, there are five areas that cover most, if not all, of the sources of our trepidation in taking control of our lives. If you’re just starting to figure out where your shortcomings in self-discipline exist, these five areas are helpful to start investigating yourself. If you’re a grizzled veteran seeking new methods, these five areas may provide new perspective on familiar issues.
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Peter Hollins is a bestselling author, human psychology researcher, and a dedicated student of the human condition.
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