Discrimination and Discipline for Spiritual Growth

“When one lacks discrimination and his mind is undisciplined, the senses run hither and hither like wild horses. But they obey the rein like trained horses when one has discrimination and has made the mind one-pointed. Those who lack discrimination,with little control over their thoughts and far from pure, reach not the pure state of immortality but wander from death to death;but those who have discrimination with a still mind and a pure heart,reach journey’s end never again to fall into the jaws of death. … They attain the supreme goal of life to be united with the Lord of Love. …
“Get up! Wake up! Seek the guidance of an Illumined teacher and realize the Self. Sharp like the razor’s edge, the sages say,is the path, difficult to traverse.” ~Katha Upanishad

Discrimination and Discipline

Discrimination is a good thing when not used in the sense of being prejudice against some people because of their race, religion, or nationality. It is not always obvious when one lacks discrimination and discipline. It is especially hard to see this lack in ourselves. Most of us think we have plenty of discrimination and discipline, and this simply doesn’t apply to us.

The most important part is a disciplined mind. A mind that wanders from subject to subject indiscriminately is not disciplined. When the mind cannot concentrate on a goal long enough to make it happen, you don’t have enough discipline. One major reason people fail to accomplish things is that they can’t concentrate on a single goal long enough to make it happen.

Defining Discrimination

Let’s look at a few examples to understand what it means to have discrimination on many levels. I think it is fair to say you lack discrimination if you:

  • Choose what to eat based on taste rather than nutritional value,
  • Buy the latest fashions even though you don’t like how you look in them,
  • Listen to whatever happens to be on the radio,
  • We get angry with others for doing things we think they shouldn’t do,
  • Do whatever your friends do.

You are showing discrimination when you:

  • Wear the clothing that is comfortable and looks good on you,
  • Choose to wear colors that are uplifting and spiritual,
  • Carefully select music that is uplifting, soothing, or otherwise beneficial,
  • We are tolerant of others weaknesses,
  • Insist that friends sometimes do what you want, or do it without them.

Of course, discrimination is not a black and white thing. Few of us entirely lake it. Still fewer are always discriminatory. So it is something we can all work on and improve as we travel down the path to spiritual enlightenment.

Spiritual Discipline

While discrimination and discipline go hand-in-hand, they are different. Being discriminatory is making good choices. Discipline is required to do that and stick to it. But discipline is more than just making good choices. For spiritual people, it means putting spiritual activities at the top of your to-do list. You almost never skip your spiritual lessons or techniques to do materialistic things. There are rare occasions when it may be necessary, but they must be limited.

One of the tools the powers of darkness use to turn you away from spiritual growth is to convince you otherwise. It’s OK to skip your spiritual practices on Tuesday morning so you attend the coffee meeting at Starbucks. Then soon they will convince to to skip Saturday morning because you are up late on Friday. Before long, you are rarely doing them at all and therefore getting little out of it. Discipline allows you to resist these temptations from the dark ones. Practice discipline and discrimination whenever you can. The end result is worth the effort.

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