Tapas: the Heat of Self-Discipline [Part 2]

“Take your medicine first.” – Narvada Puri

 The word medicine conjures up many unpleasant memories from my childhood. I can almost taste the medicine my parents gave me when I was sick so that I would feel better. They always tried to hide the taste of the medicine in a spoonful of sugar, but as far as I was concerned, it didn’t work.

I have had to sit and reflect on these words spoken by one of my beloved teachers in an attempt to get past my unpleasant memories and into her simple wisdom. Perhaps she was speaking to the things we ignore on a daily basis pretending they don’t need our attention. They seem unpleasant, like bad tasting medicine, and are often simple things like balancing the checkbook, cleaning the closet, or calling the dentist.

I can easily find myself spending time wanting to do more “spiritual” practices instead of facing my neglect of ordinary tasks that eventually become big enough to trip over. Then I remember Narvada Puri’s words, “Take your medicine first”. Face these ordinary, seemingly unpleasant tasks as part of your daily spiritual discipline.

For further inquiry:

Week One. Doing what needs to be done in the moment is ultimately generous with us on many levels. Postponing what needs to happen in the moment in favor of something more “pleasurable” can ultimately bring about a huge problem that screams at us for recognition and action. Reflect on past experiences in your life that confirm this insight.

Week Two. Take inventory of your life. What are you currently ignoring or putting off, in other words what is the biggest obstacle that is draining your will power? Take action on it now, and then reflect on this action as part of the discipline of a spiritual focus.

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