I believe that deep down people want self-mastery. We all want to have control over our own body, mind and emotions. To make matters complex, our world globally connects at a faster rate everyday, forcing our minds to have the ability to become confused at a faster rate. As more data comes into our mind the less chance we have to assimilate and react gracefully.
I’ve condensed every aspect of self-mastery into 7 levels in order for you to study your mind, your body and your emotional system, and become the modern day sage you were meant to be.
People want self-mastery?
I’ll provide some common excuses that come with some of these disciplines and why they are wrong.
• Wake Up Early
o More Time
• Yoga and Meditation
o Improve focus, improve memory
o Critical thinking
• Work Out and Eat Healthy, most of the time
o Fit body, fit mind
• Listen to Your Language
• Turn It Up: Increase the amount of pressure in your day
o All of the above
Waking Up Early
Waking up early is hard, tiring and sometimes painful, but when this specific discipline is accomplished, the day is sacred, more secure and powerful. Try to wake up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do, and eventually wake up before the sun does, when everything is dark and quiet outside. The routine itself is doable and the mystery of the early morning routine slowly begins to reveal itself.
Excuse: Some of my clients have tried to get out of this one by explaining that they stay up later so they don’t have to wake up earlier, they are just more of a night owl and are productive late at night.
Wrong: The morning hours of the day helps you prepare for the rest of the day, so pushing those hours of routine and ritual to the evening doesn’t have the same preparatory affects that the morning does. We wake up early not just to fit in more time in a day but to prepare for the day itself. When we are up and ready and in our own head before the world gets to us, we are able to absorb the impact of the pressures of the world in a much more stress-less way.
The alternative is to get as much sleep as possible, wake up just in time to get ready and maybe eat something and rush off to work or school. Our mind’s ability to process the pressures of society are reduced as we attempt to stay out of stress’s way. When we aren’t ready to face the world the world will appear to show no mercy. Wake up early and prepare yourself before the world pushes back on you and your reactions will come from a place of calm.
Yoga and Meditation
Most think that yoga is calming, relaxing and stress relieving, and it is, but the main point of yoga is to stretch out the nervous system so we can absorb more pressures of society. The more pressure we can take, the more effective we will be at leading our own lives.
Meditation naturally follows yoga and helps us consciously train our ability to move awareness. When we can move our awareness at will, we can move out of anger, frustration, jealousy and resentment, the lower emotions that constantly attempt to take our equanimity away. Practising yoga and meditation in the early morning hours will eventually mean we control our own emotions, our mind and our body throughout the whole day.
Excuse: I’m too inflexible to do yoga and I’m terrible at meditation. Each time I try to sit my mind wanders and I will probably fall asleep.
I get that one a lot when it comes to yoga and meditation. What most people don’t realise is that yoga doesn’t mean standing on your head, it means “to attach, join, harness, yoke” and to yoke or join means to bring your mind into a peaceful state with itself and merge with a contentment that already exists within you.
Uniting our spirit with the divine is something that everyone can do, any age and there are many ways to go about it. If we hold onto this state then we naturally end up in meditation.
Read and Learn New Things
Reading is one of the most powerful tools our mind has in the form of education, self-development and overall upkeep for our brain as we get older. If we do not take the time to read then our brains will atrophy and the level of sharpness our minds had during schooling will be the peak of our mental development.
We cannot learn enough from our own experience since it’s far too short and slow going to learn that much but there’s a solution. When we read biography, autobiography, history, philosophy and some fiction (I don’t recommend a lot of fiction since it tends to be more abstract and life lessons could be harder to grasp) we enrich our mind with the experience of others. Their perspective on life helps us see ours in a wider, less myopic view. The struggles and pains of history are often the greatest gems we can grasp from reading.
Learning what has come before can give us insight into why we do what we do (learning is mostly from imitating our parents), and what we should do in any given situation. Culture and tradition stays afloat by the ocean of the written word; ethics and morals all passed down from storytelling can continue to broaden our way of thinking, assuming we do a great deal of thinking.
Excuse: I don’t have time.
Take one book that you might like and start with five minutes of reading. Set a timer and just begin. You might not have any time, but you can’t afford to not read. Reading as a means of self-development is not the same as watching a YouTube video, so carve out five minutes and read.
Expressing our own thoughts by writing on paper or typing on screen is a way of clearing out the excess and making room for the new. Creativity and spontaneity are waiting for all of the backed up mental barriers in our minds to clear out: writing is one way to mentally floss.
Take some time throughout the day, especially before meditation, to jot down some floating mental images on paper or on a word doc. As you write, the slow process of mental revelation will begin and more words will come out. Self-authoring is powerful, and it is one of the concrete ways for us to show the mind what its contents are. In this way we bring to light that which has been in darkness and expose that which has attempted to remain hidden. We may make ourselves vulnerable, but every thought kept inside is just an undeveloped seed. Bringing out our thoughts, past experiences, fears, doubts, worries and ideas for the future help give them tangible form instead of remaining formless and without resolution.
Excuse: I can’t write well and I don’t know where to begin.
You don’t have to be a trained writer to begin, you just begin. Start writing thoughts down on paper and you will find that even though it isn’t polished people will find something they can relate to and enjoy it. You can learn about proper grammar later, first just start getting ideas out of your head and into the written word.
Work Out and Eat Healthy … Most of the Time
There has been much written online about fitness and diet so I won’t bother with that here. What I want to express is the truth-bearing qualities of fitness and eating clean, bright, fresh local foods.
Fitness for me can be defined as simple as just walking outside or jogging on a treadmill, whatever you can survive for 20 minutes. We don’t have to explore more advanced areas of fitness to be healthy, and we don’t have to spend more than 20-30 minutes a day if we dread the thought itself. What we need is consistency of action for a change to take place, and the exciting thing about my kind of fitness is that the benefits begin immediately.
I’m talking about mental health and our ability to create mental floss. Daily cardio the begins by just walking for 20 minutes has the profound affect of clearing out the dross of our mind, the excess junk, grime and buildup that happens naturally as we live life. All of the toxins produced by living in this world can be sweated out through a simple activity like walking in nature or jogging on a treadmill. It’s easy, time effective and it will be the catalyst to feeling better and maybe even sparking an interest in a more advanced form of fitness.
Eating clean and fresh foods, mostly leafy greens, veggies and high quality proteins will be the foundation to a clean and fresh mind. The cells in your body will thank you once a disciplined routine of getting fresh air, sweating and eating whole foods are a part of your life. But remember not to fear junk foods … everything in moderation. We don’t need to get rid of simple epicurean pleasures just because we are on a disciplined track of clean eating. Even making time to relax from our disciplines and enjoy the world of junk food from time to time is a stress reliever in itself.
Excuse: I don’t know where to begin.
You don’t have to complicate the matter. Set a timer for 20 minutes and start walking or jogging, trying to produce a light to moderate sweat. In regards to food, stay around the outer edges of the grocery story and explore the weekend farmer’s markets. If it’s in a box ask yourself if you can find the whole version and make it yourself.
Listen to Your Language
Mentally record yourself today and observe everything you say as you say it. Are you blaming others? What about the small sarcastic jabs you throw at people? Are you putting yourself down in self-depreciation?
Negative thoughts and mental junk lead to audible expressions of communication. Eventually you should be able to hear yourself defend your own weaknesses or those of others, and you will become more sensitive to harsh language that no longer suits a self-developed adult. When we speak, we create, so make sure you are creating the right things around you. Surround yourself with higher vibration people so that your own reflection is brighter and be sure to not place responsibility in anyone else’s hands.
Speak well and your mind will begin to sharpen. What you say is a reflection of your mind’s nature, so be sure to help mould it by creating the right words at the right time to the right people. It begins by just listening to your own language.
Turn It Up: Increase the amount of pressure in your day
As if all this wasn’t enough to make your day harder, I’m asking that you do more to increase the amount of work you can do in a single day. But, what if I had just one thing to add that would make the rest of your life more developed, less stressed, dynamic, and powerful? I do … make everything your fault.
Here’s a philosophical bit of information: There’s nothing inherently good, bad, right, or wrong about what goes on around us. Things are just the way they are and nothing in life has or will ever inform you, “I am this or that.”
The fallen pot of boiling water, the broken glass all over the floor, your car running out of gas, and even your cheating spouse will never declare and decide how it should make you feel. Yet, throughout our entire life there is one decider who remains, who is always present and accounted for, and who is always available to judge the situation.
That judge is you.
We apply our own qualifiers to every situation. That means we add qualities and structure building concepts around whatever happens to us. Something is going to make you feel this or that emotion and it never ends because that is how our mind attempts to stay sane.
The mind only understands concrete structure in order to categorise and catalogue life events. It’s when the abstract, the unknown, and the unexplored anomaly of life happens that we get lost, confused, depressed, anxiety-ridden, and hopeless.
Having control over our own judgements in life is a power and skill that we are born with but never nurture enough to utilise its full capacity. We get true sanity when we start taking responsibility for situations, people, and things that involve us. With responsibility we can take ownership, with ownership we can fix and repair a broken situation or prevent anything from breaking in the first place. Try, for once in your life, to take the burden of living on yourself and explore the possibility of relieving others of their pain as we relieve our own.
The ability to relieve pain is the greatest skill anyone can have. Not only must we solve our own problems, but once accomplished, we can then become responsible for the pain that others endure on a daily basis. This is the nature of relationships, work or personal, and it is extremely valuable in an ever-expanding global society.
Yes, people want self-mastery
To share, support, give back, and withhold our own need for gratification eventually makes us the effective and powerful person we were born to be.