On the journey to deepen our relationship with God, one of the most powerful ways for us to commune with Spirit is through a disciplined spiritual practice. These practices are many and can vary from the simple (but powerful) gift of gratitude to affirmations, deep meditation, contemplation and many more. In any pursuit, a spiritual practice reveals the key that unlocks the gates of heaven and allows us the opportunity to recognize God’s innate qualities on Earth. When we consistently engage in our practice, we demonstrate a deep commitment to our spiritual growth. Commitment to spiritual growth is not an easy path, and it takes more than irregular practice or a Sunday service to see lasting and impactful vibrational changes. Spirit is a way of life; and a powerful way to live that is filled with self-love, self-respect and constant surrender that results in personal freedom and liberation. Disciplined practice allows us to be available to Spirit and supports our alignment with the divine flow of the Universe.
Spiritual practices such as mediation, mindfulness, and prayer have been instrumental for me in cultivating an intimate relationship with God and they have supported me in transitioning from the ego-self into my spiritual-self. The consistency of these, and other, techniques have been most important and continually aid me in remaining focused on my path. Deeper insight is revealed to me the more committed that I become to each practice, and just like the boundless universe, my ability to grow seems infinite. The practices of gratitude and forgiveness allow me to feel lighter, have more energy and less problems. Through mediation I have discovered a willingness to let go of myself and maintain a tremendous amount of focus. Mindfulness supports me in staying centered and has produced a high state of awareness that I find myself using in every moment of every day. Daily blessings of my energy centers and breathwork ignite my shakti and all of these are spiritual states of being, anchored in Truth that generate sensational states of Bliss and Peace that anchor me in the present moment, every moment. I understand this to be what Jesus the Christ spoke of when he said referenced the “Peace of God that surpasses all human understanding, will guard your hearts and minds.” When our inner divine light is illuminated through our spiritual practices, the light burns away the ego to reveal our true nature which lies deep within our core. Just as a fire does not extinguish itself when you take your attention away from it, a continuously maintained spiritual flame continues to burn as we live our daily lives, as long as we return to the maintenance of it regularly.
A practice can seem one dimensional at first, but over the course of time the practice expands and one realizes that spiritual practice reveals itself in every moment. At any given point in time one has the ability to slip into a practice. With a deep intention being placed behind each practice, we can recognize that it is not necessarily the practices themselves, but their lasting results that are so powerful. Just as the effort of one’s hard work in the gym is not instantaneously apparent, with commitment and dedication over time strength is developed. Therefore, willpower, discipline and intense personal effort are essential aspects of our spiritual growth. Within the Indian scripture of The Bhagavad Ghita, Sri Krishna tells the (spiritual) warrior Arjuna “To those who have conquered themselves, the will is a friend. But the will is the enemy of those who have not found the Self within.” One’s self-will can either be a distraction fueled by the lower-self ego or an engine of Peace for those who “have conquered themselves, by themselves” through genuine self-discipline.
Therefore, for a strong and healthy spiritual practice we must have a disciplined self-will. A disruption in consistency can easily occur when our egoic, reasoning mind is in control, which usually occurs when we are operating from our subconscious. Self-Discipline has the power to take you beyond your temporary reasoning mind and deliver you to your personal freedom. Self-discipline is like a muscle, the more that you work it out, the stronger it will grow to be. And also like a muscle, it is difficult and counterproductive to lift more than you are ready for. We must start small, with quick and relatively easy things. Then, little by little, over the course of days, weeks, months and years we can continue to add new dimensions to our practice. When I first began to grow my discipline muscle, I started simply by focusing on my breath for 10 deep inhales and 10 deep exhales every morning before I started my car to go to work. I also wrote a weekly intention that I would read to myself each morning upon waking and again at night before bed. I even made it a goal to smile every morning before getting out of my bed. Over time, these practices grew but so did my capacity to lift more self-discipline weight.
Do not think of your discipline(s) as a restriction or renunciation, rather treat your self-discipline as a gift that you are giving to yourself and to the world. It is a gift that will allow you to reveal more of your perfection. Every achievement of your discipline goals should be celebrated as it not only empowers you when you honor the commitment that you have made to yourself but it also is a demonstration of self-love and your willingness to do what it takes for your inner freedom. Our lower-self ego misunderstands “freedom” for doing what it wants, when it wants. This does not reflect our true freedom which is our inner awareness of Universal energy manifesting in, through and as our lives. As you continue with your disciplined spiritual practices, they will begin to transmute from being a conscientious effort into something that is honored. Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith says it beautifully; "the real meaning of discipline comes from being a disciple of something you love." So once real commitment is cultivated, a discipline becomes a blissipline.”