Do You Have a Personal Ethos?
Part 2 – The 5 Personal Disciplines
We discussed in the last post how the 5 ethical standards define how we interact with others (the We sphere) and provide the starting point for developing a personal ethos of excellence. Now I would like to turn to the 5 personal disciplines, which ground our personal and daily journey toward mastery. These 5 disciplines are:
1. Developing control of the body and mind. We accomplish this with proper fueling and a daily practice of functional fitness and pose work, or some other skillfully executed method of somatic movement training.
2. Contentment of one’s circumstances in life. We are where we are for a reason, so be okay with it while working methodically to improve your own condition and the condition of the world . . . one relationship at a time.
3. Taking control over your desires, the constant grasping at pleasure and striving to avoid pain. Neither pleasure nor pain is good or bad on its own, but it is the craving or avoidance that makes it so. Consider the avoidance of the pain associated with intense physical training. Choosing to avoid this kind of temporary discomfort means that we won’t develop our warrior body and mind. Or being constantly drawn to the pleasure of sweets. Consistently folding to this weakness means that we sacrifice control and we slowly kill ourselves with sugar.
4. Self-study and study of spiritual works. This is a deeply spiritual aspect of yoga. It’s about what we choose to focus our mind upon, whether our internal states of mind and emotion or a parable of Jesus, we come to understand deeply. Our awareness of reality and knowledge of the nature of things increases.
5. Surrender to a higher power. This is your concept of God, whether you have a religious orientation or not. Let go of the mental grasping and contracting of the ego self and surrender to a “now” presence where you can connect to this power. Offer your actions in service to this higher power.
These personal disciplines are meant to tame the body, mind, and senses so we can advance through deeper concentration and meditation. Similar to the 5 ethical stands, they arise in thought, speech, and action leading to three elements needing to be examined and trained. For instance, do you think you are content? Do you talk about contentment and do you act content? Upon deep reflection, you may find that there are subtle differences in each of these, and this awareness leads you to work toward their alignment.
Write down any insights that come to you as you consider your relationship to the ethical stands and personal disciplines. Then review weekly and note what comes up in your silence practice. You will be developing a powerful personal ethos through this process. Ultimately you want to always be able to answer the following questions: Why am I doing this? Why is this happening to me? Am I aligned with my ethos? When you can answer these questions confidently, you are living a life of excellence. That is the Kokoro Yoga way.