I just wrote yesterday about the idea of freedom, and then today in yoga, the instructor told us the theme of the class was "Discipline brings freedom." That sounded terribly contradictory for about two seconds, and then the meaning hit me like a ton of bricks and I decided it was the most profound thing I'd heard all year.
Why does discipline bring freedom? Say you want to do something—like run a half marathon or (cough cough cough) write a children's book. Most people stop right there, at wanting to do something, but they end up drifting through their lives, doing the same thing day after day, and wasting time that they could be directing toward their goal.
Discipline makes figure out what concrete steps you need to take. Discipline makes you finish your other obligations efficiently so you have time to take those steps. Discipline makes you cut things out of your life that you don't really want. In other words, discipline lets you do the stuff you want to do, and doing the stuff you want to do is the very definition of freedom. Cool.