I've spent a lifetime, studying the practice of self mastery. I love it.
Its hard for me, its hard for all of us. I'll never be finished. No sooner do I gain a skill to remain current, than somebody re-writes the code, imposes a new model, shifts the terms of engagement. I then have to start from the beginning and get this new work under my belt.
It does go on...
That being said, what I have matured is a calm, inner poise of becoming - the ability to pivot as adaptation demands.
I've grown deeply comfortable with the whole gamut of adaptation. You are welcome to challenge me on that point the next time I face the unknown but with this poise, I will probably man-up and move through. It's now what I do.
I self master on the fly, all of the time, forever and ever, amen. I wrote that in my DNA. It wasn't always there. It took me years to get this game in play. I began studying self mastery at 21 and have never let up.
I began teaching it at a young age because its easy to learn the language and talk about it. We can do that early on. To walk the walk through the omnipresent fires of hell that generally configure the unknown, however, takes more time, more experience, more tenacity.
That means over time, I got burned. The crisp stuff sloughed off. What wasn't useful became burdensome - dead weight, so I dropped it.
I became a little lighter each step of the way but it is a long way, so there's is always more to jettison, always more to learn, something new to adapt to, something better to become. I'm good with that.
I've found that deep, transcendent peace the dead know all so well and with that fine, adaptive asset, I play through and leave these little breadcrumbs for you. Use them as you will. There will always be more. Get all you need because you need, everything you can get.
Don't be daunted by the long game, As the Master Lar Tzu says, "If You're immortal, you have to do something with your time." Whatever consciousness is or is not, it shows up over and over again to do something else then move on. So, the long game makes sense, even for the near-field view.
Ask the Chinese. They play a very long game and with that patience, they simply spin out the remarkable over and over again on the wheel of their presence. They leave a trail of exhausting excellence wherever they go, whenever they show up.
Life provides lots of inspiration for self mastery. We have entire industries full of spectacle where we throw celebrities at you to wonder and gawk at. Most of them our masterful players in the limits of their realm. Around you, even on a local scale, many masters lay hidden, plying the day-to-day with their art, doing good, doing better, never looking for recognition. If you look around, you actually find them everywhere.
Seeing may be believing but looking at mastery won't bring it about. Mastery requires a personal, hard core dedication to succeed, something subtle, pliable, adaptable that relies upon a deep personal feedback to let you know when you're spot on.
It's not for everyone and the big kids know that. The path of self mastery is perennially hidden: hidden by those who practice it, hidden by those who teach it. Sure, this seems to be a very public forum available to anyone from anywhere, but the actual art of application is completely invisible.
That brings me to you. If you want to become masterful, demonstrate that by showing us who you are - masterfully. Do that in spite of any obstacle you meet.
Society itself has always seemed to be ambivalent towards you're self-mastery. History teaches us that slaves are perfectly acceptable human beings. That has been true from the dawn of time and, given our population density and the onslaught of our robot-overlords, it will probably be true in the future.
Often, society is violently opposed to self mastery and will actively suppress it. There are societies today who will snuff out your freedom to aspire to self excellence, your freedom of self expression in a brutal instant. They regularly appear throughout history and never seem to run out of steam. They are whack-a-mole cultures. You never know where they will arise but when they do, they are always intent on whacking self-emergent creators back into place.
Society will also encourage your self mastery when it contributes to its needs. Militaries and sports teams all value and promote your ability to overcome limitation and show us your brilliant performance. The arts are full of excellent performance and the world is happy to shower a limited few with its praise.
Society cannot avoid honoring self mastery in those who achieve it. It is simply to compelling a presence to be ignore. But for all of the world's praise and honor for the masterful, most of the living do not choose to self master because its hard - very hard.
True self mastery can do without that praise and fame. It is simply an impediment to the work of self-perfecting. Self mastery is not an external art. It's internal. Self mastery takes place in the mind. No one can see you do it.
The obstacles we deal with lie entirely within the mind - our own illusions, phantoms of our own creation. We are out to eradicate them and replace them with nothing - leave an open space no answer can invade, then reside there like Brahma holding only the primal question of the Vedas: "Ka?" What? - a statement of possibility from which all creation springs forth.
To acquire Brahma's state of open wonder takes practice. We can practice it in everything we do, gaining skill with each iteration of effort, perfecting poise with each success and failure.
Self mastery is our ongoing effort to tame our brain to surrender its overbearing, intellectual neurosis to know everything, control everything, dominate everything with its explanations for "what it is" without actually having a clue. We teach it to become silent, learning spaciousness. Shhh.......be quiet....
This is not a popular undertaking.
It is done, however. Millions have done so over history. Read and study those who have been victorious in this effort but caveat emptor, you must be the final arbiter of what you learn. Self mastery is an inner directed adventure. Which means, we could be completely fooling ourselves about are mastery.
There are no external judges as to whether we have mastered ourselves or not. No one offers a national certification in self-mastery. Anyone who does is bogus, the very pretender we should avoid. Again, the Chinese, "The Tao that is spoken, is not the Tao."
Avoid those who offer safety and salvation. In a world of endless alteration, no where is safe. Get used to it. Don't seek it out.
Sure, there is shelter along the way but its a long and winding road and we can't tell what waits around the next bend. Peak performance is always open, flowing performance with no fixed measures of excellence, only a bunch of finely tuned dials we create within ourselves to modulate the changing flux along the way. You never know what demon lurks around the bend. Self mastery is always a flexible response to what comes next.
Which brings me to your personal demons. Get to know these cats. They can be cerebral obstructions to success or the entre to new creative excellence.
Whenever your demons loom up ( and they loom up when you least expect them), look them square in the eye and let them know you are coming through. Yes, they make a lot of frightening, hellish noise and are practiced at every scary thing but if you simply choose to move forward, they evaporate with your motion and more likely than not will turn into something like a guardian angel, all helpful and wise, probably offering you some useful insight about the journey beyond your current, scary place.
When you do this, they never appear again because, as they were all products of your more immature creation, you surely will not make that stuff up ever again. Good work, that.
And as this demonic conquest is screaming full of fear, don't be overly impressed by how all of this "feels." Don't make any of your feelings "sacred." They are not. They are just something we feel. The neuronal make up of our emotions are not that different that touching something with your hand or smelling something with your nose.
Fear, elation, joy, sadness - all of these feelings are useful enough, but they also are transients. All of our emotion are our cognitive responses to the complexity and challenge of self-organization. We feel what we do. But just as our motion changes, our feelings about this will also pass.
You may play up or negate your own feelings. You may not believe in such stuff as personal demons. You may think it all a metaphor.
That's fine. True self-mastery is always acquired within, stilling the mind and recognizing consciousness does not require either thought or emotion or action for its existence. Conscious existence simply is.
On the way to that spontaneous, wide open state, self created critters like thoughts, emotions and actions abound. and surround the inner silence of open being.
By taming them, stillness can be achieved. When stillness is achieved, thought, emotion and action can be effectively regulated to elegantly adapt to changing conditions. You will lose all obsession and compulsion to force things to be any certain way and in this new found flexibility, you will simply, quietly flow.
That's very useful because we live, right now, at the speed of light in a complex universe. We really can't afford to tie ourselves up with bundles of self-limiting, cognitive junk that prevents us from articulating our way through the morass of our mind's creation over time, particularly when it is only fleeting imagination we have given the stamp of truth.
At the speed of light, truth is a profoundly, smeary concept. Better to be spontaneously open to the unfolding change of the moment.
When you hear "be here now," we mean it. Now is a transient we are moving through. Do that masterfully. We need to be open and prepared for what come next.
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