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Self discipline and peace of mind

James Allen once said that: “Men are anxious to improve their circum­stances, but are unwill­ing to improve them­selves; they therefore remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set. This is true of earthly as of heaven­ly things. Even the man whose object is to acquire wealth must be prepared to make great personal sacrifices before he can accomplish his object; and how much more so he who would realise a strong and well-poised life.”

Brian Tracy says that you re­quire high levels of self-discipline if you truly desire to develop all your inner resources and fulfill your true potential. Throughout the ages, in all religions and philos­ophies the highest human good or idea has been peace of mind. “Your ability to achieve your own peace of mind is the true measure of your success and the key deter­minant of your happiness.”

Tracy believes that to devel­op spiritually, and to become a fully functioning person, you must regularly apply self-discipline and self-control to your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Spiritual development, inner peace, and the experience of joy all require self-mastery and self-control.

OUTER VERSUS INNER SUCCESS

To succeed in the “outer world,” you must discipline your­self to focus and concentrate, work hard at your job, take continuous action toward your goals, and become better and more capable as you move onward and upward in life.

To succeed in the “inner world,” however, requires almost the opposite abilities. To achieve inner peace, you must discipline yourself to let go of everything that can disrupt your sense of inner peace and contentment.

Zen Buddhism teaches that the main cause of human suffering and unhappiness is “attachment.” People become attached to ideas, opinions, and material things, and then they are reluctant to let go of them. Sometimes people become so preoccupied with these external factors that it affects their mental and physical health—even keeping them awake at night.

When you practice detachment, separating yourself emotionally from things or outcomes, the negative emotions involved stop as well, like unplugging a light from the socket.

THE NEED TO BE RIGHT

Most people have a deep down need to be right. However, when you stop caring if you are right or wrong, all the emotions surround­ing this need for rightness disap­pear. Dr. Gerald Jampolsky asked the great question: “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?”

Some people become passion­ate about their political or religious beliefs, all of which have been learned from someone else in some way. But when you put those beliefs aside for a while, they lose their ability to stir your emotions or to inflame your anger.

REFUSE TO BLAME ANYONE FOR ANYTHING

The chief cause of negative emotions and the primary destroy­er of inner peace is BLAME. Tracy believes that it is not possible to have a negative emotion without having someone or something to blame in some way or for some­thing.

“Blame requires one or both of two factors to exist. The first is identification. This occurs when you take something personally: You identify with it. As soon as you decide to feel that someone has done or said something negative that affects your personal interests in some way, you immediately become angry and blame that person.”

Even if someone who is hur­rying to work, completely preoc­cupied, and who may have just had a fight with his or her spouse accidentally cuts you off in traffic, you can immediately become angry at that person, a complete strang­er, because you took his driving behavior personally.

But when you discipline yourself to detach and stop taking things personally, the negative emotional charge connected with the person or incident stops almost immediately. For example, when someone cuts you off in traffic, you can detach from the situation emotionally by saying to your­self, “Oh well, he is probably in a hurry to get to work. Maybe he is late.” The minute you say that to yourself, all negativity associated with the event vanishes and you become calm, relaxed, and positive once more.

GIVE UP YOUR SUFFERING

The second root cause of blaming is justification. This occurs when you tell yourself (and others) why it is that you are entitled to be angry or upset in this situation.

Many people fall in love with their suffering. Their past prob­lems become a primary focus of their lives. They think about what happened all the time. They go through the day and even the night carrying on angry conversations with people who are not present, people who they feel have hurt them in the past.

Whenever they get into a con­versation for any period of time, they bring out their suffering, like a trader in a bazaar, and display it to the other person. They then recy­cle through the unhappy events of their lives, telling what happened, how they were badly treated, and how awful the other person was to have behaved in this way.

However, when you discipline yourself to stop justifying your negative emotions by continually rehashing what happened and what the other person did or didn’t do, and when you instead calmly accept that “stuff happens” in life, your negativity accompanying the other person or situation dies away.

PRACTISE FORGIVENESS

The height of self-discipline in spiritual development is the practice of forgiveness. The Law of Forgiveness says that “you are mentally and emotionally healthy to the degree that you can freely forgive anyone who has hurt you in any way.”

Every person—including you—has experienced destruc­tive criticism, negative treatment, unkindness, rudeness, unfairness, betrayal, and dishonesty from others over the years. These events are unfortunate, but they are an inevitable and unavoidable part of being a member of the human race. The only way you can avoid the problems and difficulties of living in a busy society with many different kinds of people is to live in as a hermit.

The only question you need to ask and answer after you have had a negative experience is “How long will it take me to get over this event and get on with my life?” This is a decision only you can make. It is one of the most important types of decisions that you make in your own life if you truly want to be happy. What is more, it is a true test of your mental and spiritual discipline.

Tracy believes that The disci­pline of forgiveness is the key to the spiritual kingdom. “It is only possible for you to enjoy high levels of peace of mind when you develop the habit and discipline of freely forgiving other people for everything and anything that they have done to hurt you.”

Some people are confused about the concept of forgiveness. They think that forgiving someone else for having hurt them is the same as condoning that behavior, or even approving of it. Quite the contrary. Forgiveness is a purely SELFISH act. Forgiveness has nothing whatever to do with the other person. You forgive oth­ers so that you yourself can be emotionally free, so that you no longer carry that baggage around with you.

Use your mind at the highest level is to find reasons to forgive others. Instead of rehashing and dissecting a past event, looking for rationalizations, justifications, and reasons to take something personally, use your intelligence to find reasons to accept respon­sibility and let go of the negative situation.

The instant you accept respon­sibility and forgive everyone for anything that they ever did to hurt you in any way, you liberate your­self completely.

The payoff for using your self-discipline to practice for­giveness on an ongoing basis is extraordinary. When you use your incredible abilities of self-control, self-mastery, and detachment to separate yourself emotionally from situations that would otherwise make you unhappy, the entire quality of your life improves in a wonderful way.

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