marathon yellowWhen I first started running, I would measure my progress in driveways.  The first day, I made it two driveways from my own.

Then three, then five.

Then a full city block.  Then two.

Eventually, miles and miles were easier than those first few driveways, and I always passed them with gratitude for the perseverance that I found deep inside me to keep going.

I am still amazed at the result of rigorous practice, the results of focused discipline.  I’ve found that discipline always takes me to a better place:

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“You cannot live without discipline.  A clump of weeds traveling before a high wind makes many motions similar to a tree swaying in the breeze.  The difference is that one is rooted and at home, and the other is wandering wildly in foreign lands.  

It is your roots that will keep you from becoming an erudite spiritual dilettante worshipping at the altar of self-love.  These roots are developed by surrendering to your spiritual path.  The name of the roots is “virtue”.  

Virtue is the muscle tone that developes from the daily and hourly training of a spiritual warrior.  Virtue is not a prissy morality.  It is the presence of an inner strength that results from living a disciplined and aware life which emphasizes a detachment from self-centered desire.  Be always alert and vital; there can never be any time off.  

Like the warrior or the athlete, focus your full attention on the present now moment.  Do not hold on to things that have already happened, nor grasp for things yet to come.  Do not waste your time on guilt or regret.  IF you have gone too far to the right swing to the left and keep on running.  Let your responses be quick, sharp, and without reserve.  DO not entertain that which is shadowy.  Value only what you can rely upon.

There are no accidents in your life; nothing happens by chance.  Eat a lot and you get fat.  Each step of the process may not be easily observable but there is no mystery about it.  If misfortune is a frequent visitor, look for the lessons in the pain.  Detach from your desire to have things go your own way.  

Suffering is like a rope around a person who as wandered off a mountain trail.  It keeps her from falling off the cliff.  Do not fight the pain; learn from it.  Find your way back to the path; correct your steps.” ~ from Notes from the Song of Life by Tolbert McCarroll