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Life Isn’t Simple

mobiusThere’s a meme going around that “discipline is freedom.”  Let’s take a moment to examine this proposition.  Indeed, when you are disciplined, when you do what you choose to do, your life acquires a quality of predictability and order.  Before too long you begin to experience yourself as psychologically sovereign, as somewhat invulnerable to external influences.  You begin to experience yourself as self-determined.  As your discipline continues to crystallize and consolidate, you become an unwavering monolith of integrity, following your own guidance, minding your own business, referencing your own standards.

So it would seem that you are on the right track…  Except that with time this self-determination, this discipline becomes an un-freedom of its own kind.  You grow inflexible.  After all, what is integrity if not an inflexibility?!  With time, your discipline acquires a compulsive aspect to it.  You get set in your ways, you get stuck, you become a closed system that resists external input, feedback or direction.  So, now you need to un-discipline yourself in order to free yourself.  Now you need to throw a monkey wrench into the compulsive machinery of your integrity.  You need a pattern-break, a kick in the butt from some rascal sage to awaken you to your self-imposed automaticity.

The Mobius weave of the feedback loop twists with paradox again and again.  Life isn’t simple.  Truths are but moment-specific and mind-specific.  And confusion is an essential prerequisite to enlightenment. |

Life Isn’t Simple

Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and the author of 7 mindfulness-based self-help books. Several of his books have been translated into Chinese, Dutch & Portuguese. Somov is on the Advisory Board for the Mindfulness Project (London, UK). Somov has conducted numerous workshops on mindfulness-related topics and appeared on a number of radio programs. Somov's book website is and his practice website is

Marla Somova, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the co-author of "Smoke Free Smoke Break" (2011).

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APA Reference
Somov, P. (2016). Life Isn’t Simple. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 8, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Nov 2016
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