Self-Discipline, Self-Study, and Faith

“We could take a panoramic view of our lives, realize the themes that steer us in all our roles, and alter our overall course if we feel dismayed at what we have become. In short, we could attempt to perfect ourselves with an overarching perspective of everything we are and hope to be.” 
-Stephanie Wellen Levine

To actively grow takes self-discipline, self-study, and a measure of faith that doing these sometimes challenging things are worth it. At least this is what the yoga philosophy tells us. Let’s explore this further.

Doing the things you know are good for you not just once, but repeatedly, regularly, until it becomes a habit. Like brushing your teeth. You’re most likely self-disciplined in this way. Somewhere along your life’s journey you got over the annoyance of brushing your teeth every day, twice a day, and you just do it without complaint. Note, its self-discipline, imposed on you by you. The motivation comes from within, and the motivation must be attended to or else it will fade away.

Working to honestly know yourself, your strengths as well as your weaknesses. The psyche, that is, the driving forces within us that lay the foundation for our lives, does not become refined on its own, with no intentional effort. We have to care enough to unpack and explore ourselves, look for common themes, step away from blaming others and towards taking responsibility. Without some sort of self-discipline that supports this self-study, our unexamined psyche, as our primary foundation, continues to influence our daily lives from below the radar and outside of our control.

Belief in things unseen, like a positive future outcome. Perhaps beyond belief, faith is an inner knowing that your self-discipline and self-study are amounting to something, to a greater freedom, comfort in your own being, and control over your own destiny. Holding the faith that you have creative power, that you are worthy of expression, that you can and are moving in the direction of your dreams.

In my own efforts forward in my spiritual practice I’ve embarked on the difficult but most important exploration of the role I play as a white woman in benefiting from and upholding a system of white supremacy and racism in America.

I’m working through the book Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad, a workbook style guide that asks the reader to journal, answering questions about their own personal relationship to white supremacy. For my white friends reading, I recommend this book to you.


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