Tag Archive: discipline


It’s cold, very cold. This might be stating the obvious but I think that somehow we miss how cold it really is. As the cold front settles in and the effect of winter is clearly visible on frosted window panes and heater sales, we seem to be absorbed in how to stay warm. The result, we forget how cold it really is.

But maybe it is worthwhile to open ourselves to the reality of how cold it really is. This morning, stepping out of the house unshod was a real challenge but at the same time a real reminder that there was a bunch of people sleeping outside last night. Walking to the car barefoot in sub-zero temperatures reminded once again how privilege I am; a warm bowl of soup, followed by a warm shower and a warm and comfortable bed to spend the night.

At the same time the frost was biting at my toes I wondered how many people spared a thought for those who are not so privilege, for those to whom going barefoot is not a choice but the only reality. How many of those who laid siege to shops in search of heaters decided to invite a little discomfort into their own lives in order to gift someone else a little more comfort in theirs?

Traveling barefoot in the freezing cold I am constantly reminded, and made acutely aware, of how selfish (wo)mankind can be. Even as we talk about compassion and espouse self-sacrifice, we seldom dare to venture out of our comfort zones in order to make a real different of those who truly suffers. Indeed we are willing to help others, as long as they make some effort to help themselves and also only as long as it doesn’t really affect our own comfort.

Maybe the time has come that we choose to leave our shoes at home or to leave the heater switched off for one night (at least Eskom will be happy) or use one less blanket for a night. It might just be that we wake up the next morning with a little more gratitude which might just lead to each one of us doing one little thing that will make a big difference in the life of someone not so fortunate. And if we don’t, I venture to say that deep down there will always be that niggling feeling, that idea that we are not the great people we think we are, that we are indeed self-centred fools who are bend on our own destruction; at least we will be destroyed whilst being warm and comfortable.

  1. Write this list
  2. Make meditation a habit for every day, 30 minutes a bare minimum, but why stop there? In short: speak less, listen more.
  3. Read more. Include at least two classics, a cookbook, a book on travelling and a book picked out by a friend.
  4. Visit the places that are mentioned in the book, make the recipes and share the insights of the book picked by a friend.
  5. Run more, cycle more and swim more. Be active. Open the lungs, take note of every breath, the essence of my life.
  6. Connect more. Once again, in short, listen more to others. What is important to them? What is your answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything? Or, what is your question to the answer 42?
  7. Watch the diet, cut on the fries, the soft drinks and the chocolate. Add on the fruit, fibres and water.
  8. Strive for balance. Not only in regards to the diet, but life as a whole. Know when to work, and then work hard. Know when to play, and then play hard. Know when to rest, and then rest hard.
  9. Sleep less! We sleep too much.
  10. Chill, and know: it is ok to not be ok. Grace is abundant!

Quietness

Quietness is where we meet ourselves,

something sometimes terrifying

and other times soothing.

*

Of course, sometimes,

we are met by the

*

wholly Other!

Food security: A crisis

“Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink to live.” – Socrates

One of the biggest challenges facing us today must be our ability to secure a balanced and healthy food supply to everyone. The combined challenges of population growth, climate change, political upheaval and economic growth put more strain on an already taxed system.

The planet is straining under the burden of 6.7 billion people, all of them needing to be fed, clothed and housed. This is all depended on the ability of an economic system to supply these things based on energy created wealth. With the advent of bio-fuels more food producing lands are converted into fuel producing fields in order to satisfy the “green” energy needs of growing economies.

Economies are dependent on the governance, which in itself, becomes a lucrative place to be. The ability to dictate policies and agendas often have the spin-off that he or she that dictates benefits financially. In order to be in government land is often repatriated from one and shared with the other; resulting in further loss of food producing area.

In a time where the burden keeps on getting heavier by the second, the ability of the diminishing agriculture surface to produce crop successfully takes another hit by climate change and weather anomalies.

Many of these challenging factors are not going to change. Those in power will always act in their best interest, even if those who elected them suffer, economies will keep on demanding more and more energy, change will stay the only constant in climate and people will keep on procreating beyond mere replacement.

With a crisis on hand it is time to respond, but how? Creating and maintaining food security will depend on a segmented solution, a combination of micro and macro approaches.

Individuals need to look at their own diet and start to follow a more frugal approach. This is counter to the over-consumptive approach of the day; which is seen in the obesity pandemics in the United States and China and rising occurrence of obesity amongst young people in South Africa. It is not justifiable to pig out just because you can afford it. Try doing so with the picture of a starving child on the table facing you.

Government need to realize that before you take a farm, train a farmer of equal ability. As a country we cannot afford to lose the productivity on any farms. The stability of a country depends on the satisfaction of the basic needs of its citizens, but not on the satisfaction of their greed.

Government and individuals need to find a way in becoming more energy efficient. The goal will be to use less energy or produce more while using the same amount of energy. We cannot afford viable land producing lands being converted into bio-fuel plots.

Families need to seriously think about limiting family sizes. We cannot claim an inalienable right to procreate if this right pushes our and mankind’s future to the brink of disaster.

We do not have a lot of time left to act; we need to act now!

Diving Deep

There is a general shallowness taking over society.

This is indeed a very bold and sweeping statement and I venture to say that it will be difficult to refute it, especially in the modern west, maybe even globally.  This becomes apparent (at least to me and a number of others) in conversations between people, advertising, letters to newspapers, twitter and facebook updates, box office successes and the extreme attention to appearances. It becomes apparent in what we think has value and priority in our lives.

Recently I have been struggling with this statement, asking myself how I am influenced by this trend, what is the cause(s) thereof and if possible how to counter act it. I concluded two, definitely not the only, reasons for this trend. The first cause I think is the emphasis we place on our individual independence. The second cause, in my opinion, is the lack of discipline that flows from the first cause.

Holding individual independence as the benchmark for maturity and success disconnects us from our environment, our community and from accountability all in one swift paradigm shift. I, become my own judge, jury and executioner. I decide what is right, I decide on an action based on what is right and I act on it. With a singular opinion it is therefore not important to be accountable to others; rather accountability is now solely to my own needs and wants and how to meet them.

With a loss of accountability we also lose the need for discipline. Discipline used defined as training that corrects, moulds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character through a rule that governs activity. The moment individual independence is the benchmark for maturity and success there is no need for to better mental faculties or moral character and especially not in obedience to an external rule that governs. In independence, the “I” has already arrived at a place where both mental faculties and moral character are observed to be an authority on Life.

This authority on Life has thus been achieved by a subjective, singular opinion rather than the discipline of thought and silence, of living in-environment and in-community. The end result is that shallowness creeps into our daily living unnoticed. We rather talk about the weather, the last celebrity sex-video scandal, yesterday’s soap opera drama or, if we touch on an important issue, we are as vague and non-committal as possible. Tolerance becomes the keyword in our approach to others to ensure that they have the same approach to us in order to avoid mayor conflict in a world where everyone is entitled to their individual independence and singular opinion.

I think, taking into account the global economic and even bigger environmental crisis, it is time to dive deep, to find new approaches and re-evaluate paradigms. Without change we will find ourselves overcome by a tsunami whilst playing in the warm shallow water of indifference. How do we do this? I would suggest developing a rule of life in relationship with the environment and the community whilst searching for the underlying Mystery that binds it all together.

I will continue with these thoughts in a next porting that will focus on developing a rule of life.