Self-discipline, a tricky and interesting topic.
Some people have a bit too much; some people can use a bit more.
I am a yoga retreat expert. I host about 12 to 15 carefully designed retreats and holidays around the world every year. In the past 7 years, I have organized and hosted over 55 of my very own revealing vajra yoga retreats.
1 in 4 retreat participants repeats and most retreats sell out months before the start date. My slogan mentions that the retreats are amazing and they are. If you’re looking for the best on the market, these retreats are it.
I know what people are looking for on a yoga retreat. For the past 15 years, I have been going on retreats myself. And, I have been reading, listening, watching and attending anything that would help me understand the needs on these kind of holidays.
The quest for Change
One thing that stands out is that people want some kind of change in their lives, after the retreat. Whether it refers back to working less, working differently, more attention to the physique, having a different mindset, being healthier or picking up a hobby again. Change often seems to be the magic word. And this is for both men and women, wherever they are coming from in this world.
My years of personal practice and practice as a life coach and retreat leader, have convinced me that self-discipline is one of the keys to guarantee this sought after change. I can even say that it is the key to living a light and joyful life. When we practice self-discipline, we can create new patterns for our body, mind and speech.
It’s the cultivation of self-discipline that allows us to be present in the here and now with whatever is occurring whether positive, negative or neutral. I often mention these words in guided meditations when we observe our thoughts. Our thoughts can be pleasant, non pleasant or neutral: whatever they may be, we stay and observe.
But the crux of self-discipline lies exactly in this ‘staying’.
We simply can’t.
Or, is it because we don’t really want to? Is it possible that it is not the lack of self-discipline but might there be something different that is holding us back, and firing up all of our mental blocks?
Every day meditation is impossible
Why do most of us not meditate every single day for example? Or exercise.
These are the numbers one and two on the post-retreat wish list but they both have high scores on our resolution lists as well, every single year.
We all ‘know’ that it is ‘supposed’ to be good for us. So, why is it that we keep dropping exercise, yoga, and meditation as one of the first things when we get too busy? Too busy with life, work, worrying, anything really.
Even when lots of people are familiar with this Zen proverb: “You need to meditate 20 minutes per day, unless you are busy, in that case, meditate for at least an hour.”
We drop the things that we know that are good for us because there is something way stronger, outweighing all the possible long-term effects of meditation and sports. It is too easy to say that we just don’t have self-discipline as we might need to dig a bit deeper to check the causes that hold us back.
On my yoga retreats, I zoom into the factors that can hold us back from getting into new patterns a lot deeper and I show you how to resolve them.
Let’s have a quick look here at one major thing that might hold us from having a daily meditation practice: The “fear of “peeling”, like indeed, peeling an onion.
Without diving into Gestalt therapy, just giving you a hint on how to unlock yourself from fear.
The fear of peeling
With a lot of people, there is this fear of not knowing what might or might not come up during meditation. “You keep saying that we all are brilliant diamonds on the inside, Rachel, but what if there is nothing inside of me? What if I am just an empty box?”
Auch. Of course, this will hold you back in your meditation. And it makes perfect sense that it is so much easier to keep yourself busy with a million things to ‘do’ instead of sitting down and be ready for inquiry.
We need to trust first and foremost that what is inside of us is a brilliant bright shiny diamond and that you’re totally worth it to be around. “I am totally awesome and I am totally worth it to be here!” This should be a mantra to shout out loud but most people I tell it to, just give me a shy grin.
There might be this underlying feeling that what we do is not enough, that it is insignificant or unimportant and that we need to serve a bigger goal.
We tend to trivialize our role as a mother or father, or our jobs.
Or, we might think that we need to save the planet and change the world. That people have expectations and high demands of us that we will never be able to live up to.
But, the antidote to all of that comes down to trusting that who we are is enough.
When we are authentic and loving, starting with the people around us, we are enough. Influencing the people around us in tiny bits by showing our actions and our being, and letting everyone simply be themselves.
I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge and opinions. In the comments below, or as lots of people do, by sending me an email. If you would like to dive in deeper, I warmly invite you to one of my yoga retreats.