‘Discipline’ is a beautiful word, but it is misused as all other beautiful words are misused in the past. The word ‘discipline’ comes from the same root ‘disciple’; the root meaning of the word is “a process of learning.” One who is ready to learn is a disciple, and the process of being ready to learn is discipline.
The knowledgeable person is never ready to learn, because he thinks he already knows; he is much centered in his so-called knowledge. His knowledge is nothing but a nourishment for his ego. He cannot be a disciple; he cannot be in true discipline.
Beginning of Discipline
When one says: “I know only one thing, that I know nothing.” That is the beginning of discipline. When you don’t know anything, of course, a great longing to inquire, explore, investigate arises. And the moment you start learning, another factor follows certainly: whatsoever you have learned has to be dropped continuously, otherwise it will become knowledge and knowledge will prevent further learning.
The real man of discipline never accumulates; each moment he dies to whatsoever he has come to know and again becomes ignorant. That ignorance is really luminous. It is one of the most beautiful experiences in existence to be in a state of luminous not-knowing. When you are in that state of not-knowing, you are open, there is no barrier, you are ready to explore.
People have been telling others to discipline their life, to do this, not to do that. Thousands of shoulds and should-nots have been imposed on man, and when a man lives with thousands of shoulds and should-nots, he cannot be creative. He is a prisoner; everywhere he will come across a wall.
Your discipline has to come from your very heart
The creative person has to dissolve all shoulds and should-nots. He needs freedom and space, vast space, he needs the whole sky and all the stars, only then can his innermost spontaneity start growing. Your discipline has to come from your very heart, it has to be yours—and there is a great difference. When somebody else gives you the discipline, it can never fit you; it will be like wearing somebody else’s clothes, which might be too loose or too tight, and you will always feel a little bit silly in them.
Discipline is an individual phenomenon; whenever you borrow it, you start living according to set principles, dead principles. And life is never dead; life is constantly changing each moment. Life is a flux.
You cannot step in the same river twice. In fact, you cannot step in the same river even once—the river is so fast-moving! One has to be alert to, watchful of, each situation and its nuances, and one has to respond to the situation according to the moment, not according to any ready-made answers given by others.
Try to be alive, with all its contradictions, and live each moment without any reference to the past, without any reference to the future either. Live the moment in the context of the moment, and your response will be total.