When you hear "discipline," what do you usually think of? It may evoke a feeling of rigidity inside. It may connote enforcement or obligation. Everything we do with this concept of "discipline" feels like a job, but in truth it isn't. The literal translation of discipline is, "to have the capacity to discover something new about oneself." I think that's a better way to interpret discipline. The hardest part of any practice is to show up. When you stand on your Yoga mat, you're in a space of openness to discover something new. Niyama means the ability to come back to your practice again and again, without force or rigidity. Approaching life this way will invoke a totally different energy than the usual mechanical approach.
(Anthony "Prem" Carlisi)
I really enjoy Prem Carlisi's approach toward the meaning of discipline. If anything, coming to the mat with an air of discovery is more fun than the alternative - becoming trapped into feeling like there is somewhere to be in the practice, or as if something needs to be attained - brings heaviness to it. Why take the joy out of the process?
Finding a balance between disciplined effort and non-attachment is an interesting dynamic to play with. It's amazing how things open and expand when no longer confined by the tangle the mind put us in. Hence, a reason to practice.
Always having a wild imagination, and active mind, I've learned how it can either stifle or set me free. It feels good to have tools to perceive more clearly. Not that I always get it right, but really, I guess the point isn't to get it right. Right? Just opening the mind, setting aside filters of past and future aside, is enough for now.
I've never been good at spiritual banter, and honestly, I'm happy not to be, because sometimes it's best not to verbalize what the heart can only know. Through practice, I enter the spaciousness of my heart, and learn to speak it's language. Silence. The silent hum of perfect fulfillment - the feeling of being embraced by an unknown/knowable force, that vibrates, pulsates, and buzzes with nothing more I can explain, but unspeakable LOVE.
I may not be the most eloquent when expressing all the inner workings of the mind, yoga, spirituality, and life, but at the end of the day, I ask myself ... Have I loved deeply? Have I been of service? Have I added value to those around me? Feels like some good stuff to start with.
It makes all that discipline worthwhile. That's for sure.