At first glance, the concept of discipline may not seem to be directly related to the spiritual life. And this is really so, if we take the relationship with God as something abstract - as "faith in the soul." But for a Christian life, which is exactly a full life with Christ, discipline is one of the absolutely necessary qualities. And it is not only about the elementary routine of the day, the mode of work and rest, the regularity of prayer, but also about deeper and inner things.
We often face in our lives the fact that we are caught off guard by some unpleasant circumstances, temptations, and we repeatedly fall under the pressure of these temptations, as a result of which we are discouraged and sometimes completely despair, because we can not in any way understand why it happens: after all, we pray, we take into account some moments for the future, but nevertheless we can not resolutely cope with what wins us. If this is the case, then the reason, most likely, should be sought either in their pride, in need of such lessons of humility, in vanity, with which it is so difficult to cope, or ... in a lack of internal discipline.
What is discipline in general? I think different people will have different words with this word, but on the whole similar associations. I, for example, imagine how young pupils of the Suvorov school are walking along the street. They will be in shape, tightened, they will guess a certain concentration, which is not so often found in adolescents. I do not want to say that the Suvorov school is an ideal form of education, but it is a clear example of the fact that an externally disciplined person with time and internally begins to differ from those who disregard discipline. Therefore, equating discipline only with obedience to external rules and thereby minimizing its significance would be incorrect - this is something that must permeate the whole life of a person: his thoughts, views on life, attitude to people, to the world, to God.
In the church enclosure, people are sometimes met, the Christian life of which is nothing but a chaotic, uncontrollable flow, and they are convinced that this is exactly what it must be by its nature. And at the same time, as a rule, one can see that they are given with great difficulty the most ordinary things for a Christian. And this is not surprising. Here it is possible to give such a simple analogy: if we, having slept or for some other reason lost time, unprepared ones fall out into our usual everyday working day, as into a stream of people, events, circumstances, which is picked up and carried by us, in total, this day will be difficult. And on the contrary: if we forced ourselves to stand up in time, gathered, prayed, if we had already outlined a certain sequence of things for this day, then the tasks that we need to perform during the day are much easier. Of course, life makes its own adjustments, but nevertheless, when there is a certain predetermined trajectory, it gives us the opportunity to live much more seamlessly.
Probably, almost every person is taught from childhood elementary standards: to watch where you are going, do not turn your head in all directions, do not wave your hands. Similarly, we must edify ourselves, taking care of such a discipline as the discipline of the mind. In the holy fathers, the mind is compared to a bird that can not stay in one place for a moment and constantly flutters from branch to branch, from tree to tree, as if seeking something. Undoubtedly, apart from the grace of God, nothing can stop our mind from curbing completely, to give him a full sense of being here and now and a full understanding of what he is comprehending. But nevertheless a certain work here is still for man.
To buy for your mind a leash-roulette
Perhaps the most important thing in the upbringing of the discipline of the mind is the ability to concentrate it on what we are doing at a particular moment. If we are reading a book, the text should be the main thing for us; if we are talking with a person, we must at this moment distract ourselves from everything else and concentrate our mind on the interlocutor; if we give our minds a rest, then in this brief, as a rule, period it is necessary to rest. In practice, all this is often not easy. Therefore, it is necessary - in a figurative sense, of course - to acquire a roulette leash for your mind; there are now such for small dogs: on it the pet as though walks freely, but can depart from the owner of meters for ten, it is no more. Just like us, your mind, giving him a relaxed mind, it is necessary to constantly pull yourself up. Gradually, he will get used to such a regime, for him it will become something natural, and we will not have to search for it through "garbage cans" and return it from the "shoots".
And one must also keep in mind this pattern: in order to penetrate into something, it is necessary to look into it. It is necessary to accustom your mind to look at what it wants to comprehend, for a long time, intently, to immerse itself in this phenomenon, to discover in it internal interrelations. I remember one of my acquaintances retired, sharing: spending much time at home, he suddenly began to notice what he made floorboards from, and after a while - what kind of rubbish between these floorboards stuck. And this is a clear example of how to learn to see what is happening in ourselves: we need to accustom our mind to "dwell" in us, and not just look into ourselves for a little while, as an occupied, hardly living at home person peeks into the space of his apartment. Then we will not just know what and where we are, but also from some stuck small things in time we can free our heart.
In addition to the discipline of the mind, there is a discipline of the senses. For someone, the very fact that feelings require discipline can be surprising. But in fact a person must have his own feelings of restraint, so that they do not seize power over him. This is an important skill, including for the Christian life, because a huge number of people get confused in sin because they can not cope with their attachment to someone or overcome a sense of fear that paralyzes their soul.
Feelings need to be educated, including believing a certain limit
Discipling one's feelings does not mean squeezing them like a spring: this will only lead to a breakdown at some point. But the feelings need to be educated, including believing a certain limit. And if in difficult circumstances we sometimes find it difficult to do this, in simple life moments it is available to us and allows us to acquire a skill. We are happy with it, it's good - we can rejoice, but this does not mean that we need to sing songs or laugh at the whole street. Annoying us something - you can get upset, but it does not give us the right to break anyone. And this is not an emasculation of our lives, but in fact a completely natural thing.
Do not splash around yourself everything that is in us. Any feeling must be verified by the Gospel, try to understand: it is by God or not according to God, and, depending on it, determine its place in your life and your attitude towards it. This ability is difficult to overestimate - after all, being carried away by feelings, people make the most serious mistakes, which sometimes lead to tragic consequences.
It happens that a person comes and says: "And I have no way to discipline myself." What can I say to this?
I am convinced that any capable person can take for himself certain rules of discipline and adhere to them. There are, for example, people who are constantly late, and they consider this their almost probable congenital pathology, with which one can only accept. But it is enough to recall the relatively recent times of the cult of personality, which are very sad for our country, in order to understand: there is no irresistible propensity to late. In those years, failure to appear in time for work threatened problems up to the criminal article - and people, regardless of their arrangement, somehow managed to come on time. Therefore, when it seems to us that we will never learn to not do something, we should ask ourselves the question: "And if they were shot for this?" Most likely, we will answer ourselves that yes, then we could. I do not approve of such methods in any way, but if we could then - in principle, it means, we can now.
When tests come, it is already very difficult to learn discipline. We priests often have to talk with people who are brought to the temple a whole series of misfortunes: they lost their jobs, betrayed a close friend, one of the members of the family fell ill ... And a disciplined person has all the chances of getting out of this situation: he can radically harden himself, for example, in spending, he can increase his working day and make the most effective use of the remaining time to restore it, he can survive his grief in such a way as to remain active and useful to others - and ultimately in this following reason and prayer to God, his life will be straightened. And if a person could not deny himself the pleasure of lying on the sofa to the detriment of business, to the detriment of his life, like Oblomov, then in such a situation he would completely go into his Oblomov's dreams and die. And if we felt this threat, if we fully understood what the consequences of our relaxation might be, we would never allow it to take possession of us.