I don’t think many people think about building self-discipline with meditation when they first start. Most people start meditating to manage stress, reduce anxiety and to improve their happiness.
And there are plenty of studies documenting a multitude of other benefits a meditation practice can deliver which will have a positive impact on your mental, physical, and emotional health.
When I first started meditating self-discipline was definitely not something I was thinking about getting out of my meditation practice.
But it’s ended up being one of the best and most surprising benefits that I’ve gotten out of my practice.
Because most of my life self-discipline wasn’t something I had.
I could never have one cookie out of the packet. I had to have the whole packet.
I couldn’t have one beer. I had to have 5 or 6. Sometimes more…
I wanted to go to the gym every day. But I didn’t.
I had high aspirations of moving up the career ladder fast, but I never got where I was capable of getting because I wasn’t consistent or focused with my work.
I wanted to better myself, but watching TV, going to the pub or hanging out with my mates was the nice easy option.
So I did that instead of doing some of the things I wanted to do that would improve my life.
And the reason I wasn’t improving myself or being more constructive with my precious time is that I lacked self-discipline.
And this was my life to a tee until I turned 28.
MEDITATION AND SELF-DISCIPLINE
Everyone can ‘Netflix and chill.’
It’s easy to hang out with friends all the time or scroll through your social media feed, but these ‘easy’ things will not give you inner satisfaction.
But when you meditate regularly you strengthen the skill of self-discipline in several ways.
Firstly, just the simple act of sitting down to practice is going to build discipline because you are putting in time and effort to train your mind.
And secondly because even when your mind is busy and restless or challenging thoughts and emotions come up, you choose to sit still and continue to practice.
You choose to sit quietly and patiently, staying calm and focused with the experience no matter how uncomfortable it becomes.
No matter what, you keep returning to the breath again and again, even when all your mind wants to do is to get lost in thought, to bring up strong emotions and reply panful memories. To make you move away from any physical discomfort.
But when you can sit through whatever your mind throws at you, you cultivate self-discipline.
And when you cultivate self-discipline you can use it to achieve virtually anything in life.