Discipline is the art of making straight the way. Just as a vine is disciplined to grow attached to only that which will support it and not hinder its growth and production – the expression of what it is, the soul is tutored in the way of God according to the teachings of masters of the Way, such as Jesus.
When training a vine, oftentimes the vine does not see that the structure provided for its growth, such as a trellis, is what is perfect and most nurturing for it to wrap itself around. The soul, like such a vine, is innocent and immature, and sometimes prone to wayward wandering; she needs encouragement and guidance – discipline – to remain on the Way. The structure and support provided for the soul is the Will of God. Were we to attach ourselves, by love, to the Will of God, we would never want for anything, spiritually speaking.
But what if we see God’s Will as not good? What if we fail to see that God’s Will includes what is best for us overall? What if we see ourselves as separate from God’s Will, wandering somewhere off on our own, and do not want to come back to the support of the “trellis”, set out for us to wrap ourselves around, as a small child wraps her hand around the finger of her father and with trust and confidence, follows his loving lead?
What if we choose a different father – a father who leads us far away from the supporting “trellis” of God’s Will? Will we one day look down at the shoes this father wears and notice that they are made of clay – that this father cannot provide the love and security – the protection that we need in order to grow safely in the Light? Will we one day leave off our blind following and look up to find this father laughing at us, laughing at our innocent trust in what is wicked and dark but masquerades as light, that which wants only to derail us and take from us what the real Father has given us in His Light and gifts of soul expression?
And on this day, if it should come, will we wallow in our grief that we were led so astray and hurt and molested? Or will we pick ourselves up and go find the true Father abiding in our hearts, lovingly and gratefully submitting ourselves to the discipline which by now we realize is meted out for our own good – the discipline of the Mother, for it is the Mother who nurtures us and guides us back to the Father?
Those who adore God know that God’s Will is good. If we lack faith in this knowing, we need only look within our own hearts to find the hole where love should be, and we can pray and ask that this hole that is a lack of love be filled by the grace of God so that we can return to being who we were created as and to Be – Children of the Most High and Most Loving God.
“He (Brother Lawrence) said that in order to attach ourselves entirely to the will of God, we have only to cultivate faith, hope and charity; that all the rest was of no importance and we need not dwell upon it, except as one would upon a bridge that one was crossing very quickly in order to go lose himself in the sole end by confidence and love.
“All things are possible to him who believe; still more to him who hopes; still more to him who loves; and most of all to him who practices and perseveres in these three virtues.
“The end that we should propose to ourselves is to be, even in this life, the most perfect adorers of God that we can, as we hope to be for all eternity.” The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection