The Arc of Masterful Performance

    A Short Course Is Always Useful

    Here are some key points.

    If you run with these and never read another word here, you'll be a success at what you want to do but don't just read about it. Put it in action. Spin your life in this direction and build habits that make these ideas an active, living reality in your life.

    Self mastery is simultaneously formed on two levels:

    1. The first level is worldly skills, practical applications, tool-using procedures and operations that affect how the arrangements we create come into physical existence. We have to get good at whatever we do - real ability, readily available to do what needs to be done on our command.
    2. The second level is our first-person experience, our conscious awareness with which we navigate the world - the way we feel the things we do.

    Both at once.

    Mastery on one level implies mastery on the other. Pay attention to the feedback between the two. Open a line of communications that keeps these two levels talking with each other. Never let that line of communications break down.

    If we make this dialog between our internal experience and our outer actions a constant in our lives, we establish a chain of custody for our experiences and efforts. That chain is a mirror-like organ in which outer world experience and inner world experience induce a living laser that increases the power of our life's creative engagement.

    Our awareness and attention meets the movement of the world. The movement of the world meets our mind within.

    This all takes place in our evolutionary moment, when the world changes from what it was into what will be. That is the big now, the long now, the gnarly thought of eternity. Now is a whorl of change that plumbs deep into the still root of our conscious attention and way out beyond the borders of our unlimited potential.

    We have time to get this.

    The opportunity is always present in the event that comes next. We respond to that and our the way we respond has outcomes.

    This cycle is the foundation of our life's change. First, we become aware of the event as it happens. If our response is framed accurately, feeling and intuiting what the event implies, we may be able to direct the desired outcome.

    Our personal practice of self mastery evolves both procedural and emotion stability in the face of change.

    That demands that from the beginning, we master our self-talk. This apparently, unstoppable chatter of our cognitive process is useful enough when we need it, but its not needed as much as it thinks. Self-talk is self-important, pretentious, overbearing. It is the soul of our narcissist.

    There's a higher state we can achieve where our mind resides before cognition and feeling. Where any thought or feeling is merely an object of our mental traffic. If the mind chooses to, it can stop the traffic and remains still and it can do this for as long as it wants.

    The longer the mind  can sustain this inner peace and quiet, the less overwhelming any thought or feeling becomes.

    In fact, when we re-emerge from this open, spacious state, we have an enhanced ability to manage and direct our thoughts and emotions in a more productive and creative manner. But, bear in mind, the left hemisphere of the brain where all the noise comment is generated is haughty and fully intends to dominate our consciousness.

    Cognitive chatter is greedy. The Arabic world calls it kaf - the greedy mind. It has a predictable, self-centered message - fear. If you don't do as it says, all nature of trouble and problems arise. That's its inherent, self-validating argument.

    Self mastery trains this greedy process to stand down. Here's the foundation practice for mastery the chattering brain and mastering our selves:

    Begin to observe your thoughts and emotions. Don't just think and believe. Don't just feel and identify with your feelings. Begin to observe them as objects occupying the mind - transients, that emerge and subside in your attention.

    Learn to recognize that you are not your thoughts, not your feelings. They are just objects your mind is shuffling from place to place in memory - bit streams, directories and files. Re-writable. Erasable.

    Once you understand they are not actually you, take command of them. Decide if they should stay or be discarded.

    Identify a thought, a feeling, a fear that doesn't help you. Observe it when it arises, as if you were shining a flashlight on it and causing it to come out of the shadows and be recognized.

    Next, identify a better way, a more accurate idea, an alternative feeling - something that, whenever an event triggers this negative thought or emotion, you'd fare better if you adopt and apply this new response - this new idea or feeling.

    Once you've got that plan, execute it in the next triggered event. Tell your brain to disregard the old response and implement the new response.

    YOU MUST CHOOSE TO DO THIS! and DO IT!

    Once you do, the brain begins to fall in line and run with the new response. Then, every time a similar situation triggers the old response, reinforce the new behavior by choosing it and putting it into action.  Do this repeatedly, over and over again.

    This builds a habit that causes the old response to atrophy and the new response to take up residence. Over time, the incremental application of this technique forms a Meta-Habit of Success and things get progressively better. You self-master a principal challenge to your well being and with each successful iteration, your mastery grows.

    Stillness is the central contribution to this effort. Your ability to become completely still is your ability to quiet the greedy mind. When you do, you become open to all perceptions and views. You comprehend more broadly and understand more deeply.

    This is a compounding practice. As in everything, practice makes perfect.

    When your self mastery achieves stillness, you become free to let many things pass. Then, when you decree what you choose to create - to bring into being, you can apply all of your creative resource to doing so.

    This forms a cyclic method of mastering any and all obstacles to your complete well being. Inevitably, your world will change a little and that typically becomes better. 

    If you find this useful, there's more ideas like this to be explored here at [email protected]. Take some time, log in and read around.

    If this brief exercise opened something for you, use your email address to log into comments on this page page. and tell us about your experience. You'll be able to read what others have discovered doing this. I think you'll be amazed at what we share when we join a common exercise like this one. The results can be remarkable.

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