Excerpt About Discipline

Discipline is Needed for Openness in Inquiry

That’s not true. You may think of inquiry as a restriction or as a chosen direction, but if you look at it more fully, you will find that this is not so. It is an openness to your experience, but that doesn’t mean allowing unconscious, limiting behavior to go unexamined. You are defining openness as whatever happens, even if it is actually a resistance to openness, which happens to be the habitual condition of the ego-self. I am not defining openness as going along with whatever happens without being aware of how open or closed the experience is. If we define openness this way, then most of the time your experience will be that of an unexamined, closed mind. This is the state of the ego-self, which is not openness, and which tends to block Being’s optimizing dynamism. There is no spiritual practice then, only ego activity that is compulsively trying to get someplace. So I do not think that a person who is distracting herself is being open. If a person is going along with a distraction, which is the usual condition of the ego-self, I don’t call that openness. Inquiry tends not to go along with distractions; it tends to focus you on what is actually going on. So there is a discipline in inquiry, but discipline does not necessarily contradict openness.In fact, you need discipline for a long time in order to be open because you are accustomed to being closed and distracted.

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