This article examines the pitfalls of external discipline and the fruits of inward discipline.
Discipline may be outwardly motivate or inwardly motivated.
When outwardly motivated, discipline is done so with the "carrot" or the ‘"stick". Our actions are controlled by force and/or reward from an entity or power outside of ourselves. While this is productive in the short to midterm, it will create resentment and a desire to escape or usurp the system.
The stick will surely motivate both action and resentment. Morale and self-worth is separated from the actions, and suffer. Resentment will build, and its outcome is variable, but all-together tragic. Degrading of morale and self-worth leads to apathy and a loss of productivity. When properly broken, the individual can continue to operate, though the expression becomes soulless and the results far below productive. When self-worth is left intact, resentment can lead to rage and violence against the external task master. Rage is expressed in sabotage, violence, or even creation of a forced exit from the stick. Rage replaces feelings of love and compassion, and the inmate of the stick can become like the captors. This is a feature of the generational passing of abuse through a family or tribal structure. The prisoner becomes the guard, and at all times the person is trapped by the motivation of the stick.
The carrot seems much more appealing than the stick. The rule becomes "if you do A, you will get B", with A being a verb, and B being a noun. This is the most common structure in the modern workplace. People don’t come to work because they enjoy it. They instead arrive dutifully each day because the wages earned are used toward their continued well being (food, house, transportation). There is very much a carrot, though there is a very subtle stick in this equation. Discipline is rewarded, and deviation from discipline has no reward. But in essence, the removal of reward becomes a punishment, a stick. To maintain this system, people are recruited to be the bestowers of carrots; of rewards to those below them. In return they are rewarded in greater magnitude.
The reward system, when the subtle stick flavor is removed, is still with fault. Temporal, mundane rewards are fleeting, and must be replenished. Today’s reward is less satisfying tomorrow, and an escalation of desire begins. If a person stays at the same level of reward and does not progress, a boredom, resentment, or emptiness develops. Like a drug addict who needs a bigger fix each time to feel the same high, the carrot must grow for the externally disciplined to feel the same pleasure in the carrot.
What is the answer? Discipline must be inwardly motivated. Inward discipline is a product of maturity. Maturity comes from the understanding of delayed gratification and a larger view of the world. The larger view of the world is a result of awareness and the goal of spiritual goals instead of mundane goals.
The Hindu path for maturity, and its product of discipline, is two fold:
Answer: acceptance of the infinite, and joy in the finite.
Answer: Seek the mature, hidden mind that touches the infinite.
When this happens, the person will not find natural orders frustrating. Nothing bind or shake them. Peace of mind is maintained. An ego that does not need bolstering allows for love to flow outward. Contact with these people brings strength, purity and encouragement.