Procrastination–a problem of mood management, and not of time management–is one place where the strength of the emotional child is most obvious. But by making a commitment to being accountable to our inner adult, we are stepping onto the path that will eventually lead us to connection with our Higher Self.
One of the requirements of accountability is that our actions toward a goal are measurable. For instance, it’s not enough to say that we’re going to commit to a daily journaling practice, and then, at the most, think about journaling some days, or doodle others, maybe write a phrase or two. We can think about walking ten thousand steps a day but then stop at the first sign of rain…
This is not to say that our progress through our daily journey has to be that we are always better, one day to the next–progress is rarely a straight line, after all–but by day’s end, having a visible measurement of what we accomplished toward a goal brings no small amount of satisfaction to our day. This daily repetition, and daily reckoning with ourselves, has the same effect as the repetition of chanting or of saying a mantra over and over, has. Repetition, which seems circular, is actually a spiral, one leading you ever higher, eventually creating a pathway to your Higher Self, with its broader perspective.
Another aspect of a daily practice is the need to cultivate discipline. The word itself is charged: it’s taken an interesting path through the English language, first appearing in its sense of punishment, or correction, and only some decades later acquiring the meaning of teaching, of learning, of practice. When we practice a discipline we are working within a tradition that implies an eventual mastery; when we take a disciplined approach to something, we signal that we are willing to undertake whatever the work before us requires. Still, the word chafes. Many of us have bad memories of times we were disciplined, or had to discipline others, for misbehavior. And some of us feel that we have too long been bound to structures and demands that have kept us from operating freely, and we rebel against their rigors.
Anyone who, like me, has trained as a musician, can attest to the sheer number of hours that go into learning your instrument, to learning music itself, and the vast role of discipline in achieving that.
When you are committed to something like learning an instrument, discipline becomes a joy, and not a punishment.
The expression the singer becomes the song is reflective of what this kind of discipline leads to, which is the Higher Self taking over the processes that the mental self was running before. You have persevered past the mind, past the eye. That is the goal, and that transcendence is always the natural outcome of your daily practice, whatever form that takes.