The theme of the morning walk was discipline. There are four types of discipline:
I. Discipline of the body.
2. Discipline of emptying the contents of mind.
3. Discipline of the Spirit.
4. Discipline of consciousness.
Discipline of the body is familiar to many people. As we grow up, we discipline our body in many different ways. We learned to prolong hunger and to contain our natural bodily functions. We also discipline our bodies in various forms of sporting activities. We go to the gym. We discipline our sleep habits. We learn not to overeat and to control our sexual urges. We also approach the discipline of the employing of the mind in many different ways. We take courses on how to improve our memory and concentration. We learn how to do new things. We look for and practice activities that will assist us in the discipline of concentration and focus, so eventually we will have no-mind (Nacta).
Our mind also contains our emotions. We now know that emotions are made of chemicals. The more we discipline our minds, the more that the various neurotransmitters in the brain (which are chemical also) change. Our ability to discipline our emotions is reflected in our character and in our spiritual consciousness. Character traits such as self-control, even temperedness, kindness, gentleness, patience and others are enhanced by a continuous disciplining of our emotions and the deepening of our spiritual consciousness. We should not mistake this for the notion of repression of emotions. It is about learning how to bridal our emotions and to understand them in the context of spiritual awareness.
Spiritual discipline is achieved through a number of different methods. People who come from an organized religion orientation use certain methods they are comfortable with to expand and deepen their spiritual awareness. There are a number of paths that lead to the same end. Contemplation, meditation, prayer, ritual, dance, study, workshops, and retreats are examples of such methods. This list is by no means complete.
Spiritual consciousness uses a variety of all the universal spiritual principles to teach that discipline is a central ingredient for spiritual awareness. Spirituality is not a list of things to believe or doctrines to follow. Rather, spiritual awareness is inconclusive and not exclusive. Central to spiritual awareness is the affirmation of and commitment to non-judgment, acceptance of mystery, worship and veneration (adoration), and love of self and others. It is different than just consciousness in general. One can be an atheist, an agnostic, a liberal, a fundamentalist, a moderate, or any other type, brand or identity and still be spiritually aware.
From Journey with a Modern Mystic written by Rev. Dr. David Kenneth Wheaton Ph.D. Read by Jodi Behan. © Rev. Dr. David Kenneth Wheaton Ph.D.