Forming DisciplineMarch 14, 2008
How our earlier years determine our abilities
When I was five years old my parents moved into a house a couple of miles from our apartment. This was a big change for me. We had moved away from all of my friends and I was depressed. Now I was all alone. After a few days I formulated a plan, which if successful, in my mind, would return us to our old apartment and my friends. I gathered up a lot of branches and without my parents knowledge placed them in a corner of our basement. Then I snuck down to the basement and proceeded to light a fire under the branches with some matches. When the branches began to burn I quickly ran up to my room on the second floor and hid, terrified at what I had done, but determined to see it through. Suddenly I heard my mother screaming. She had gone down to the basement to do some ironing and had discovered my fire. She quickly filled a pot of water and proceeded to extinguish the fire. Then I heard her running up the stairs. I panicked and hid under the bed when she opened my door. Luckily she could not pull me out from under the bed and I remained there until my father arrived home. He wasted no time in pulling me out from under the bed and administering a firm spanking, which I would never forget. After the spanking when I stopped crying he asked why I had started the fire. When I explained to him and my mother that I was trying to get us to move back to my friends he made me promise never to start a fire in the house again. My mother then started a search for friends for me. Her first choice was the son of a dentist who my parents knew. His name was Bruce. His idea of playing was to beat me up if I didn’t pay him a penny a day. Needless to say our friendship didn’t last and I promptly went in back of our garage and started another fire. Lucky for me it burned itself out in a couple of minutes, however my mother was aware of what I was up to and convinced my father to send me to religious school. She felt that I could make some new friends. I did in fact make some new friends however I was such a troublemaker that the religious school threw me out. At her wits end my mother sent me to public school. Finally I made a lot of new friends and my life quieted down for a while. A couple of years later when I was in sixth grade I became interested in chemistry. I setup a chemistry lab in our attic and proceeded to make gunpowder, which I stuffed into long tubes and fired at the houses across the street. Luckily I never hit any of the houses. Then I got a new idea. I would make some nitroglycerine and fire one of my tubes at the garage. I planned to blow it up. After carefully preparing my explosive, I hid in back of the back porch and threw the tube against the garage wall expecting to hear a loud explosion. Nothing happened. Totally confused I went to the chemical store and asked the owner how come my bomb had not exploded. He explained to me that he had sold me diluted acids and that minors could not purchase concentrated acids. Furthermore he said that had I had the concentrated acids I would have blown myself up mixing them.
These were some of the incidents that shaped my early years. There were many more, which I will recount, in future articles. These formative years had taught me, without my knowledge, how to discipline myself in order to achieve success. I had developed the ability to stick to a task until I accomplished it. The internal arts are like that. They don’t look like much on the outside, however there is a lot going on inside. They take time to bring forth results. They take discipline and an inner faith, which if lacking, leads to failure. Many people stick with the internal arts for a couple of years and then drop out. Progress in these arts is measured in decades not in years. Our bodies completely reshape themselves from the inside as we learn to relax. Our health slowly changes due to the renewing of our organs and glands. We start to function on a higher level.
There is no short cut. There are no secrets, only endless practice. They are lifetime arts, which must become part of you as you practice them. Body mind and spirit unite and when mixed with daily meditation lead to life changing outcomes.