I am convinced that the advantage of being in the military is that it teaches discipline. Historically, up till now as we say in my circles, I have not been a highly disciplined person; but that is changing. Those of us who pride ourselves on our open-endedness aren’t necessarily highly regimented. I happen to think that is a good thing because part of faith is going with the flow. Ego is the one who likes to control things because it is afraid, which is at least a lit ironic since being afraid being afraid is an open invitation to life to challenge you. As Michael Singer says in The Untethered Soul, “Life creates situations that push you to your edges, all with the effect of removing what is blocked inside of you. That which is blocked and buried within you forms the root of fear. Fear is caused by blockages in the flow of energy. When your energy is blocked, it can’t come up and feed your heart.”
I want my heart fed.
As this New Year unfolds and I attempt to create disciplines that help me be healthier and more successful, I notice that much of what I am learning to do is overcome fear. Part of how I am doing this is by becoming more disciplined. I have spent too many years indulging the resistance that wants to tell me I need to be in the mood; I need to want the things I know I must do.
The value of discipline is that the wanting is removed from the equation.
I am currently doing at least four miles a day on our exercise bike. I never really want to. But I am enjoying how much more easily I go up and down stairs now. I am enjoying how the varicose veins in my legs don’t ache as much. I am enjoying developing the discipline.
Going back to Mel Robbins and her 5-second rule, she says, “You’re never going to feel like it.” When you know that, it helps because you stop waiting for ego to surrender the reins. You recognize that the only way out is through and you quit making your life more difficult than it needs to be.
When fear arises, the “trick” is to recognize that you’ve (I’ve)encountered something that needs healing. I’ve come face-to-face with uncertainty, some area of my life that I want to control (an ego gambit!). I will never heal it by avoiding it (resistance). From my perspective, the easiest “solution” is to turn to the Holy Spirit. As today’s ACIM lesson reminds me, “Thinking and its results are really simultaneous, for cause and effect are never separate.”
In other words, I made the situation that is causing me to be fearful. It’s like a love letter to myself puling me towards removing a block that I placed in my own path. It is an opportunity to evolve.
The Manual for Teachers in A Course in Miracles says, “You think you made a place of safety for yourself. You think you made a power that can save you from all the fearful things you see in dreams. It is not so. Your safety lies not there. What you give up is merely the illusion of protecting illusions. And it is this you fear, and only this. How foolish to be so afraid of nothing! Nothing at all! Your defenses will not work, but you are not in danger. You have no need of them. Recognize this, and they will disappear. And only then will you accept your real protection.”
Returning to discipline – the advantage of training myself to do the daily lessons is that even though I do them badly (which is a judgment – acknowledging that my discipline could use some work! We’re going to ignore that), at least I do them. It’s like the exercise bike, in the beginning, I only did a mile or two. In the beginning, I pedaled more slowly. But the practice of doing the daily discipline is what forms good habits. The practice of returning to the daily lessons it that each time I do them, the lesson burrows a little more deeply into my soul.
And with the practice comes the recognition that fear is inconsequential. Fear is just a signpost that there is a blockage that needs to be removed, burrowed through, seen for the nothingness that it really is.
Today’s ACIM lesson is “I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thought,” and so I affirm once again that only the love is real. I choose to live in a world of love. I choose to face my fears knowing that if I am afraid it is only because I am not seeing clearly; I am not seeing through the eyes of Christ.
And when I forget to do that, because being human, I do, I choose again and let myself off the hook for not being as disciplined as I’d prefer.
It’s just practice.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.