We live in an action-oriented culture; a paradigm that values doing over not doing, that views strength and power as the products of big muscles and big movements.
The quality of discipline is attributed to those who take action. The doers.
There is another form of discipline that gets less attention but is equally valuable. This is the discipline of restraint, and it’s a quieter strength.
In the wisdom of the Kabbalah, this is the attribute of Gevurah.
Gevurah means “power” or “strength” but not in the sense of brute strength or fighting. It refers to withholding a good that otherwise might have been given.
Gevurah is the strength of restraint and non-interference.
Who is strong? The one who controls their inclinations/tendencies. — Ethics of the Fathers 4:1
Controlling our inclinations implies holding back from interfering with or manipulating what is before us. It is the practice of not acting.
We strengthen Gevurah by waiting and allowing.
This is a practice of humility, a recognition that nature and life have a force that is stronger than we are.
We can plant and water the seed, but we don’t control when it sprouts. An egg hatches in its own timing. The moon cycles control the tides.
The exercise of Gevurah is rooted in trust that nature will do its part. This doesn’t mean we don’t take any action; it means that we do what is necessary to set the conditions while recognizing that we don’t control the outcome or the timing. It is a practice of patience.
In a world that values doing, it takes strength to practice non-doing. This is the discipline of restraint.