Discipline Is What You Are Every Day (Jim Harrison)

The hardest thing for me to accept was that my life was what it was every day. This seemed to negate notions of grandeur necessary for an interest in survival. The turnaround came when an interviewer asked me about the discipline that I use to be productive. It occurred to me at that moment discipline is what you are every day, how conscious you are willing to be. In the Tao Te Ching (in the splendid new Stephen Mitchell translation) it says "Act without doing; work without effort." So, you write to express your true nature, part of which is an aesthetic sense that reflects the intricacies of life rather than the short-circuts devised by the ego. Assuming the technique of the art has been learned, it can then arrive out of silence rather than by the self-administered cattle prod to the temples that is post-modernism.

- Jim Harrison, from the essay "Everyday Life: The Question of Zen", Just Before Dark