Self-Discipline – Part 2

Would you assist me in conducting a little experiment??

I hope many of you can recite the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9-13) it is after all how Jesus told us all to pray.

Try doing it now, word for word, silently in your mind – right this second….



Ok – how did it go? Easy? Difficult?

Now comes the ‘experiment’ part… you will need to have maybe ten minutes or so of ‘quiet time’ when you can be uninterrupted by any of the day’s many ‘neccessary’ events. Sit or lie still and clear your mind…there does not need to be TOTAL silence but ideally nothing that demands your attention.

Now, once you have the right time/place try repeating the Prayer – in your mind, silently.

Only this time… slow   it   down – allow each word to ‘sink in’ and get the full ‘flavour’/ideas behind each word/concept in the Prayer. ideally it should take something more than one minute to complete.

Don’t ‘dissect it’ or analyse it in detail but think it slower than usual – maybe one-quarter or a bit less of how you would ‘read’ it.

See how you go.

Here’s what i found…. i could not do it! There is a certain speed/slowness at which i cannot do this!!!

Each time i tried my mind would take over and some weird or boring thought would jump into my consciousness and i’d realise that i was no longer reciting a prayer but had got ‘lost’ down a sideroad into a completely different thought!

I suspect that all our thoughts have a certain MINIMUM ‘speed’ and if we slow one down to below that speed to consider it a little more ‘carefully’ we are unable to sustain it – at least i am unable to and i want to know – is it just me? or do we all have a minimum speed of thought?

Can i develop this lack of control or is it a ‘basic feature’ of our brains/minds?

Hence my ‘request’/experiment for help here!

I’d be really interested in your input.

Thank You.


  1. When I was a teenager I had an extreme allergy to poison ivy. It would spread all over my body. If I moved at all my whole body itched. I learned to lay perfect still in bed for hours. So this probably gave me a good start in learning how to focus. 🙂

    I would guess there is an optium speed our minds are most comfortable working at. A high energy person may have a harder time slowing down their thought process.

    I think the kind of self discipline you are speaking of does require some practice. First to learn how to truly clear your mind of every thought, to think of nothing. Two, to learn to focus on just one idea, word(s) or picture. Three, to stay focused on only that one thought. Religious monks practice this process and for many, even living in a sheltered world, I am sure it is difficult.

    I have practiced mediation. If I can’t completely relax, than I can’t clear my mind. My guess is it’s similar to praying, but with no interactive(?) dialogue. Deep breathing exercises helped me. Perhaps you could start by visualizing the face of Jesus. Something that will calm you and make you smile. If you can keep the image of Jesus in your mind then you can move on to words.

    Finding a completely quiet place is probably hard in a suburban environment. Soothing background noise can help relax your mind, a water fall, the waves flowing over a beach.

    Have you tried other types of mediating? Is it a problem only with words, this particular prayer?


  2. I don’t understand the need. Honestly. I do know it’s good to relax and to breathe deep. I don’t see the need to let our minds move into nothing.

    I may not be understanding at all. When I think about meditating, I take the admonition from scripture that I am to meditate upon the Word. I don’t believe that means one word. I do think we are to concentrate and deliberately remember the Word implanted in our hearts. That’s more of a discipline of having the mind of Christ.

    Just my thoughts. Am I totally not getting your point?


  3. Ed – things from our childhood can certainly be of usefulness ( or the opposite) to us as adults. I suspect you got a ‘head start on ‘self-control’ from the issue with the ivy 🙂

    Yes – i have tried and have difficulty with meditation but i don’t find a problem finding a ‘quiet’ place to practice even living in a city of over a million and close to traffic routes home is a remarkably quiet place 🙂

    I was referring in my post thought to more ‘day-to day’ thoughts – ALL thought being ‘captured’ and turned to Him those worthy thoughts and eliminated any ‘unworthy’ ones that slip in from time to time.

    a sort of perpetual meditation state – of heightened awareness – not unconsciousness or single word focus


  4. Thanks for clarifying that, Love. I get the capturing of thoughts and eliminating unworthy ones. It can be a strugggle for me, a huge struggle. But it is the only way I know to stay above the discouragement that can come from living in this flesh.

    Love you, Love!


  5. i’ll initiate this “experiment” tomorrow…too much going on now for the “quiet” necessary to successfully complete this analysis of self-discipline…we’ll see if we even encounter that tomorrow, or the next day, or the next…i’ll keep you posted though!


  6. “a sort of perpetual meditation state – of heightened awareness – not unconsciousness or single word focus”

    I am not sure I understand your goal Love. Living life in a “perpetual meditation state” is how religious monks live. Is that the “state” your are trying to emulate? In such as state it would seem to me the only emotional you would try to feel is love. You would block out any desire for the material things you encounter, cars, clothes, etc?

    I can spend hours at the beach doing nothing but breathing in life and seeing the beauty in everything around me. It this the kind of state you are referring to?


  7. Mandy – Well…. you’d need to hop up on the couch for a FULL diagnosis – but i suspect that like most people’s it thinks IT should be in charge of YOU rather than the other way around.

    Most of us experience a constant conflict between the brain’s ‘sensory’ input/analysis/fabrications and our spiritual internal core ‘essence’. I believe it is only by developing that inner essence to a stage where it can let the spirit become fully Free and in charge of our awareness/body (at the highest place within us) that we become ‘IN’ spirit and we live the life God had in mind for us.

    Adam began the fall by folowing sensory desire over His Word and by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and thus incresing in physical awareness over spiritual awareness.

    Jesus showed that that was NOT the only way we could live here on Earth by coming back after death to the earthly body of ‘knowledge’ – that spirit can conquer our earthly awareness.

    It is NOT easy.


  8. Ed – I do not believe i want to attain either of the ‘states’ you describe; the monk-like state of devotion only to ‘god’ (whatever they believe it to be) by living a simple subsistence life without access to earthly ‘temptations’, notr the calm peace of simple communing with nature and enjoying all the beauty that is in evidence wherever you look, if you can sustain that ‘awareness’ by ignoring the ‘evil’ that exists side by side with the beauty ( in corruption, disasters and the savagery of life that needs to kill other life to survive – predation is a feature of nature also at all levels from the microscopic to the galactic)
    The state i desire to achive is more the kind sportsmen achieve when ‘in the zone’… complete harmony of spiritual and physical and intellectual experience whereby we operate at the very highest levels of our human awareness across those distinctly differing ‘areas’. This requires us to greatly improve our spiritual awareness of the beings we are ‘inside’ and how we are ALL connected to one another by reason of the spirit’s ‘commonality’ (us all sharing/living within God if you like?)

    To do that i believe we first need to discipline and gain mastery over ALL ‘thoughts’ our minds generate as a result of our day to day, moment to moment experience this will allow us the control we need to build up our spiritual awareness ( generated/created of God) to the point where we can ‘follow’ it always – no matter what our personal circumastances may be – lying on a beach, living in a monastery or running a major global corporation.

    Or scoring a winning touchdown in the superbowl or a gold medal in th eolympics – wherever we happen to be or do as God desires us to live.

    There are over 6 billion human lives at present – there is quite enough room to experience an amazing number of lifestyles.


  9. “This requires us to greatly improve our spiritual awareness of the beings we are ‘inside’ and how we are ALL connected to one another by reason of the spirit’s ‘commonality’ (us all sharing/living within God if you like?)”

    When you speak of the “beings we are inside” are you speaking of your soul? I think of my self as having a spirit and soul, but not in the same way as people of religious faith do. My spirit and my soul are reflected in how I response to experiences I encounter. My spirit and soul represent my emotional side.

    When you refer to the spirits commonality are speaking of the spirit you believe God has given all of us? I believe all the people of the world are connected because we are all members of the human race. The better we are able to see we are all connected, the better we will be able to work together and build a better world. I do feel, or try to feel, this connection with every one I meet. My perception is that you are speaking of a different kind of connection.

    I do try to learn more about myself, why I feel the emotions I feel, through self analysis. Again it’s my perception you are talking about a different kind of self analysis.

    “To do that i believe we first need to discipline and gain mastery over ALL ‘thoughts’ our minds generate as a result of our day to day, moment to moment experience this will allow us the control we need to build up our spiritual awareness ( generated/created of God) to the point where we can ‘follow’ it always – no matter what our personal circumastances may be”

    Are speaking of reaching the point where you will be aware of God’s guidance “instinctively” with having to go through any thought process? Does “spiritual awareness” refer to feeling God’s guidance?

    The goal of Buddhism, as I understand it, is to end suffering by training of one´s mind through learning and meditation, to achieve “enlightenment”. Is this similar to the kind of “spiritual” control you are speaking of.


  10. I got a lot of visuals as I was reciting each word. Symbols and pictures of the actual prayer manifesting on earth came to mind. I know a lot of times when we recite The Lord’s Prayer, we tend to do it in a hurry, without really thinking on the words, so this was good for me. An example of my imagination is that I imagined God delivering a baby when I said “deliver us from evil” which is an appropriate analogy because we are made new in Him when we are delivered from evil and things unrighteous. I also imagined bread being delivered from Heaven into my hands and Him patting me on the head in forgiveness of my tresspasses.

    Thanks for this. I truly enjoyed communing with God this way. Hope all is well with you. Lots of love.


  11. Love,

    Russ here from the “wonder” blog post. Thanks for stopping by. I posted a response, that might clarify my original thinking a bit. I also wanted to say how much I appreciated YOUR response.

    Kind of cool though, because when I stopped by over here and read your post on discipline, it seemed to resonate with me about the very thought s I’ve been having about wonder.

    I truly believe that because of our “status-quo” habit and comfort oriented society, it’s become uncomfortable and inconvenient to pursue wonder (especially as it relates to nature). I mean this as a generalization about society, not a slam on science and scientists.

    I find I have to discipline myself to include moments of “natural” wonder in my week. I have to seek it. Pursue it. Sure, it just happens occasionally. My wife and I were running at the local track last evening, and it was a little cloudy and misty out (which we love because it makes the run a little cooler). When we rounded one of the turns we looked up and saw a HUGE double rainbow. Not just 90 degrees of a rainbow, it was a full 180 degree spread across the sky (double at that). It was so breathtaking.

    Anyways, great post about discipline. I do believe that as we study Scripture or anything for that matter, we should take time to savor each word, to ponder the concept and meaning of the passage individually and as it fits into the larger context. to do that we need to slow down sometimes, which like I said, in this fast-food culture takes discipline.



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