When we talk about discipline or restraint, most people think it means no freedom. Man craves to be free; it is apparent one feels good with freedom, but freedom without discretion invariably leads to chaos and anarchy.
Freedom and discipline are two sides of the same coin. One without the other loses its meaning. Therefore, a good balance is needed between the two. While discipline is control; freedom is ability to adapt. For any system to work, one needs both to be effective.
Rules allow for freedom
Think for a moment, if everyone is allowed to drive freely without heeding traffic signals, the result would be disastrous. Traffic jams and fatal accidents would be the order of the day. Here, in this situation, discipline is two fold: - First when people observe self - discipline while driving; they keep themselves safe and second when signals work properly, it allows more freedom to move. Thus, discipline does not always mean restriction. Rules and regulations are often designed to give us more freedom. What seems like a restriction may actually be freedom – it’s a matter of perspective, wise decision and good judgment.
Freedom is a basic human value. No one likes to be controlled by others. But, freedom is not always good. We express emotions to get what we want, but many a times land up becoming slaves to desires which lead to addictive behavior. The things we like the most, we fear losing them. And that's no freedom. We find ourselves enslaved by our own emotions.
Invention of the wheel was the greatest invention ever. It gave us the freedom to move, but can you imagine a wheel without brakes. Before setting out on any journey by car, which is the one thing you would check that can make a difference between life and death. It is not the engine, the fuel, or the air in the tyres; it is the brakes. If the brakes of the car are not working properly, you know what can happen. Even if the engine and the wheels help to move the car, they will be useless without the brakes and the steering wheel to regulate the speed. Therefore, life is not always about freedom, it is about regulation of thoughts, action and behavior. That can only come with discipline and restraint.
Self-control and restraint is the function of human brain which is much more evolved than any other species. Only human beings can exercise control by thinking rationally and using the intellect to rationalize thoughts, behavior and actions. Our intellect allows us to discriminate between what is right and wrong. All animals on the other hand are driven by instincts and impulsive behavior.
Emotional expression is good for mental health but impulsive emotions can land us in trouble. Therefore, we need to rationalize our emotions. Most spiritual masters and Yoga teachers recommend controlling the sense organs which is the biggest challenge for all spiritual quests. That is why all religions advocate restrictions like fasting, celibacy, observing silence to bring restraint and self-control. Controlling your sense organs is a basic step towards spirituality. It gives you the space to live with freedom: - Freedom from likes, dislikes, attachments, judgments and also freedom from emotional reactions.
Indulgence and willpower
Human beings possess intellect and rational thinking which helps to exercise self-control on our senses and gives us the willpower to say “No” to indulgence which can make us unhealthy. Overweight, alcoholism, drug addiction are basically loss of self-regulatory systems. The regulatory system of the brain is the key to living a disease-free and healthy life. Discipline and restraint brings good health and one can live a life of freedom from physical and emotional pain.
This article is from Dr Kataria's Book "Inner Spirit of Laughter" . You can download the E Book for just USD 8.95. To Buy Click Here.