Freedom or discipline. March 2012. La Clusaz, France
“A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war: wide-awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. Going to knowledge or going to war in any other manner is a mistake, and whoever makes it might never live to regret it.” Carlos Castaneda
I must inform the reader that this year my family decided to try and live not in Russia but in Switzerland. We rented a house for 7 months, found a school for our children in Geneva. It’s an experiment. Why did we decide to do this? First, education and schools are not very good in Russia these days. Geneva is an international city, and there is a wonderful English international school there that we found. In addition to my children’s education, I often felt that I wanted to live not only in Russia, but to belong to the whole world — to be a world citizen. Geneva, in my opinion, is a place where it’s easier to feel neutrality with respect to different countries, and my relationship with those countries.
This weekend we went to the mountains to La Clusaz. There is still some snow there. La Clusaz is only 30 minutes away from Geneva. This seems very close for a person who has lived her whole life in Moscow; where one would spend an hour in traffic jams to get to work. So now, lucky us, we leave our house and in half an hour we are at the ski resort!
These days, I practice discovering my freedom, and I do not put the usual pressure on myself. I allow myself to eat and drink whatever I want. I ate dessert yesterday maybe for the first time in a month. I felt the happiness of freedom. Allowing oneself something is great happiness. Yesterday, I quarreled with Sergey for my right not to go skiing, and enjoyed the freedom of being able to stay the whole day in my hotel room. I answered my mail and was thinking how great it was to stay in the mountains – can you imagine this… not to go skiing!!!
Nevertheless, I understand that discipline is a very important thing to achieve any mastery including maintaining the state of soul and body. How interesting. The contradiction between discipline and freedom is so strong in me. It’s a real inner everyday struggle… Yes, yes, yes! I can actually feel this contradiction now. I can hear the voice inside me. I notice that the voice sounds a bit like a boy’s voice, a teenager’s. He is speaking quite arrogantly:
Boy: “Don’t impose on me! I want to live the present moment to the fullest and fulfill those wishes that arise in me right now! Freedom to your wishes! No to routine and everyday repetition of writing a journal and salads every day!”
Xenia: “But I like salads and I like writing and studying about myself. This is what I really want to do every day. So why should I deprive myself of those pleasures only because of this protest?! I actually wanted the dessert only because the lunch was fattening. I decided to eat at the hotel and there was no salad at the restaurant, the only decent meal was chicken in sauce. According to the laws of biochemistry after fat meals, the metabolism simply asks for sweets. Actually, I am so lucky, I don’t even like sweets…I like pickles, salty things, potatoes, sandwiches…and I’m lucky not to like sweets!!!
Boy: “Insisting is great!!!”
Xenia: “I agree, insist, but on what you REALLY want.”
I step back into the role of the one that insists now. I am trying to feel its energy, truth and real wishes… My posture becomes straight…I notice it and try to feel it even more. I like this feeling in my body. Enjoying it I take the computer and start writing.…..If I REALLY insisted on my freedom, freedom to get what I really want, I wouldn’t have eaten at the hotel at all. I would have eaten somewhere else, something good, tasty, and healthy. More than that, I would have organized my life so that I wouldn’t allow circumstances or people, even close ones to deprive me of things that I love. The key is to know and recognize exactly what I like from moment to moment and then communicate that to my family; communicate all the little things as a daily routine. Sounds great, but it’s hard because normally I just agree with what others offer. I automatically follow. I think that the little things are not important to me and it’s easier to obey than to respond. But I hear now! It’s important to listen to even my “small” desires. I will DILIGENTLY try to be awake about those things that I want every day!
Great job my insisting inner part! You, with your strong energy, help me to be more awake to my needs. A salute to discipline! Here’s what I understood today: Discipline should help me think about my own needs and not delegate them to others. Discipline should help me to plan the realization of my needs. Discipline should wake up my brain from hibernation. What do I need brains for??? To manage MY needs!I felt the fire of a warrior when I said that to myself. Of course I was right when I protested! :-)))) I protest against anyone who tries to decide for me what I should eat, how I should plan my life or even tries to sell me unhealthy food! I protest against my unconsciousness, calling my needs small and unimportant!!! My life…. yes, it’s mine. I need the discipline of awareness to keep it mine!
I looked out of the window and saw a bird with a big sharp beak sitting on my balcony, looking at me instructively. It made me smile.
— Hi bird! Thanks!