The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus distinguishes three domains of askêsis (exercises or practices): the discipline of desires, the discipline of impulses, and the discipline of thoughts. Since my attempts to live a regenerative lifestyle, I have alternated between using discipline as a way forward or using a more holistic, intuitive approach, as suggested by the Taoist tradition (as I understand it): through noninterference in the natural flow of the cosmos letting spontaneous truth realize from within. I still alternate between the two.
What seems to be true is that I need discipline if a good myth is missing in my life. A myth that forms my ontology in a way that “right” action becomes effortless. In other words, if I only try to change my ethics without changing my ontology and epistemology, “right” action might only come through discipline. As I mentioned two days ago, for the transition towards the Ecocene, we need to address our ethico-onto-epistemologies. In my understanding and experience, “right” action becomes effortless once these align, and discipline is not required.
For me, the wise way to go forward is to apply discipline in areas of my life where my myth doesn’t align yet with what I think is the right thing to do (for example, I discipline myself not to buy so many clothes), and to let my spontaneous truth realize itself from within where my ways of knowing-being-acting align (for example, I don’t need to discipline myself not to kill anyone - human or nonhuman).