Monday, July 6, 2009

Discipline - The means of spiritual evolution

The post has nothing to do with the picture above ;o).

Today everything happening around me reminded me of Scott Peck's "The Road Less Traveled". Considering how memory is failing me these days I guess I have to read the book once again page one to page last. The book in short is a description of the attributes that make for a fulfilled human being.

Below I (will TRY to) am posting the review of my favorite chapter in the book-Discipline.According to Peck, discipline is essential for emotional, spiritual, and psychological growth as a human being.He describes discipline as "the means of spiritual evolution".Peck describes following four key aspects of discipline

Delaying gratification - Sacrificing present comfort for future gains
Acceptance of responsibility - Accepting responsibility for one's own decisions
Dedication to truth - Honesty, both in word and deed
Balancing - Handling conflicting requirements. Scott Peck talks of an important skill to prioritize between different requirements-bracketing

Delaying of gratification is defined as sacrificing present comfort for future gain. This is, in fact is an important skill for both children and adults to learn. Most children have this skill learned at an early age. Unfortunately, a large number of us (grown ups) either do not have this skill, or push it to the side. I admit that I am guilty of not exercising delay of gratification. Doing tasks right before they are due is a commonality in my life.

Acceptance of responsibility for oneself and one's actions is a really big deal in today's times. In my opinion, I think this may be one of the hardest things to accomplish. Most of us children/adults, will never admit that we did anything wrong, even when it's completely our fault.

Dedication to the truth is as important as the acceptance of responsibility. This dedication has to be both in word and action. The dedication to truth is not just about avoiding lying. The idea is that if one is living under false pretensions, life will not be as fulfilling as it would be if truth was a big part of one's life.

The final aspect of the discipline theory is balancing - the technique of flexibility. Each one of us has to handle conflicting requirements of life at some point in our life.Scott Peck talks of an important skill to prioritize between conflicting requirements-bracketing. Most of us are very rigid with our lives, functioning with set patterns of behavior day after day. Part of this technique is also learning to give up something that is dear and familiar to us. In refusing to suffer the pain of sacrifice, we fail to truly grow.

It is in giving that we gain more and truly grow.


Neeru's Corner said...

Depiction at the start of the post reminds me of someone in particular ;) Jokes apart..

This post is concise and apt in some ways however I contradict with many lines defined in the post one such being - "Part of this technique is also learning to give up something that is dear and familiar to us."

Kalpana Bhushan said...

I don't know how you interpreted the concept of bracketing. It is not about giving up material/physical things...chocolates/toys/icecreams ;o).

Bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside of one's own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker's world from the inside, step in inside his or her shoes. This unification of speaker and listener is actually and extension and enlargement of ourselves, and new knowledge is always gained from this. Moreover, since true listening involves bracketing, a setting aside of the self, it also temporarily involves a total acceptance of the other. Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will feel less and less vulnerable and more and more inclined to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener.