Discipline is a way of expression. Say you want to express your feelings in stone. Now stone doesn’t give way very easily, it’s tough stuff. And so you have to learn the skill, or the discipline of the sculptor in order to express yourself in stone.
And so in every other way, whatever you do. You require a skill. And it’s enormously important, especially for American people to understand that there is absolutely no possibility of having any pleasure in life at all, without skill.
Money doesn’t buy pleasure, ever.
Look! If you want to get stoned drunk, and go out and get a bottle of bourbon and down it. You can’t do that except for people who have practiced the distillers art. You can’t even make Love without art.
Where I live in Sausalito, we have a harbour full of ever so many pleasure craft: motor-cruisers, sailing boats. All kinds of things. And they never leave the dock.
All that happens with them is that their owners have cocktail parties there on Saturdays and Sundays. Because they discovered having bought these things, that the discipline of sailing is difficult to learn and takes a lot of time. And they didn’t have time for it, so they just bought the thing as a status symbol.
So in other words, you can’t have pleasure in life without skill. But it isn’t an unpleasant task to learn a skill, if the teacher in the first place – gets you fascinated with it.
There is immense pleasure in learning how to do anything skilfully. To make carpentry things, to cook, to write, to calculate – anything you want!
It can be immensely pleasurable to learn discipline, and it is completely indispensable. Because look, you may be a very inspired musician. I’m not a musical technologist you see, and I regret it. But I’m a word technologist.
But I can hear in my head, all kinds of symphonies and all kinds of marvellous compositions. But I don’t have the technique to write them down on paper and share them with somebody else. Too bad – maybe next time around.
But you see, so far as words are concerned. I can express ideas because I have studied language. And I work very hard, not that I didn’t like it. I intensely enjoy the work of writing a book, although it is difficult. But it’s fascinating! To say what possibly can never be said!
So you see what’s happening, you have inspiration; but then you have to have technique to incarnate, to express your inspiration. That is to say, to bring heaven down to Earth and to express heaven in terms of Earth.