Discipline Without Burnout
Discipline is the truth of love.
Discipline – the experience of applying committed energy to attain a goal – certainly produces obvious and sometimes, extraordinary results.
Those of us who have learned and practiced the art of discipline can put ourselves to a task for long periods of time, until it’s complete. Our actions yield great results in all areas: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – you name it.
But discipline can really burn us out over the long term.
Because discipline takes a lot of willpower.
A lot of willpower takes a lot of Yang force.
In the Chinese system of philosophy, Yang force is the masculine, or male principle of outward, expressive dynamic energy. It is a strong, exertive energy; the contraction of the muscles. In martial arts, a Yang style would be Karate, where we hit using strong body blows.
With Yang force, great damage, great effect can be done. Because of this, there are always consequences on the body, mind, and spirit, for existing in a very Yang state of being. Stress, anxiety, overwhelm, inability to relax, chest pain, forgetfulness, and so on. This is natural, and if you wish to bear the consequences of such a lifestyle, so be it. It’s your free will to do so. But, down the road, these consequences add up – without a doubt. No one can escape that.
The question is, how can we attain the great results of discipline and willpower without burnout? How can we move forward in life with the creative power of discipline, but not the destructive consequences?
For starters, we have to find what we love about the thing we are disciplining ourselves to.
If we are disciplining our bodies to be in better shape, do we do it because we genuinely love our sense of well-being, and vitality? Or are we driven by the desire for approval from our social media followings, or our families? Are we disciplined because we love our feelings of sexiness, of achieving our goals? Or are we committing our willpower to our fitness because we fear judgement?
If you drive yourself forward for entertainment, for status, for appreciation from others, your well of willpower will run dry, and your discipline will turn into burnout.
Things change when you truly engage with the process of disciplining yourself out of love.
Can you train hard because you love your body?
Can you read and study because you love your mind?
Can you do your disciplines from a place of bliss?
Humorously, you might want to even call your disciplines, “blissiplines.” This is a light-hearted approach to finding and attaining your goals through long-term, committed actions, while remaining grounded in where the love is for you.
Love will rejuvenate your discipline. Love will infuse your discipline.
Love will inform your discipline, balancing your Yang energy with your Yin.
Yin is the receptive Feminine energy in Chinese philosophy; the yielding, surrendering life force within our essence. It is the counter side to the Yang.
When we allow ourselves to express Yin energy, we feel compassionate self-love. It is the energy of just being, without the drive of doing; of accepting ourselves, accepting others, and accepting our circumstances from a place of, “This, too, is perfect, and right, and opportune.“
Yin helps us remember that we are always in the perfect intersection of time and space. That the present moment has richness for us.
It shifts us from, “I need to take these massive actions right now,” to “I need not take one step right now. I have infinite time in the universe.” This is the Yin disposition of being.
When we allow ourselves to feel that essence within us, to cultivate and nurture of our deep relaxation of being, we grow our self-love. That self-love, in turn, becomes a palpable energy that starts to radiate.
You will notice that the love you give yourself from this balanced place will start to overflow. It will fill your family life. It will fill the lives of your associates. It will fill your visions and your missions, your creations and your productions. You will still take actions, but they will be sourced in a wellspring of equilibrium. With such a store of energy radiating effortlessly from your being, you might even forget that you are taking on discipline in the first place.
All that is happening when we balance our energies of doing and being is that we are following the path of love. We are not grinding and pushing, striving and struggling.
This is the ultimate form of discipline: where there is none left.
Love is living us.
It is living you, right now. As you follow the stream of love, from a harmonized place of Yang and Yin, it will lead you right to what your discipline sought to attain: true, magnificent power, sourced in the heart of being.
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