What is structure? Things like going to bed and getting up at the same time every day; buying food that’s healthy, or not buying beer or candy; writing the first three hours of the day.
Just not buying beer to drink at home has been huge for me in making it possible to have productive evenings instead of crapping out in front of the tube.
Structure puts us in the right place at the right time. Structure puts only healthy food before the elephant eyes of our appitite. Structure makes it easy for us to build the kind of habits we want, and difficult to do the “bad” habits we don’t want.
Structure builds a shute around temptation to guide the elephant directly to the goal of practice. It keeps us out of harms way, and puts us in the way of our practice, so that it’s easy to do the right thing at the right time. With time, we come to do those things almost automatically. And this frees the energy of our minds to focus on our practice, rather than wrestle with a decision we shouldn’t have to make in the first place.
For example, I go to bed at 10 and get up at 5, whether I’m “ready” or not. I write from 5 to 8 in the morning. At 8 I practice yoga. After yoga I eat breakfast, etc.
Structure involves building riturals that correspond with the rhythms of the day so that we do our practice in time with the regular cycles of life. This ritual cuts a channel through our brain as surely as running water cuts a channel through rock.