Apr 11, 2018
“A man is born to achieve great things if he can conquer himself.”
Last episode we talked about the things with which we shackle ourselves, and this episode we discuss the keys that will unlock our fetters and liberate us.
“True mastery stems from mastery of oneself.”
Although you can apply this idea to the mastery of a skill, this quote is really about the knowing and the freeing oneself. But in mastering a skill, knowing oneself masterfully, will only make one more artful in that discipline. True mastery is built up through the mastery of oneself.
The fetters were:
The keys are:
Know Yourself (Self-knowledge)
“Action is a high road to confidence and self-esteem. Its rewards are tangible. The cultivation of the spirit is elusive and difficult and the tendency toward it is rarely spontaneous, whereas, the opportunities for action are many.”
Sometimes we use action as a distraction technique, doing the small things to avoid looking inwards to what actually need to be done. If your sequence of actions are taking you away from Self-Knowledge, that is not the type of action we want when we Take Action. Act instead of distract.
“Self-knowledge has a liberating quality.”
Self-knowledge gives you your freedom. Self-knowledge is not about finding just the positive in yourself; it is the willingness to look at your whole self, shadow and the light. Be honest with yourself. Create intimacy with yourself so that you feel safe in your mind and heart in order to really examine your whole self.
“We should look within ourselves to see where our particular problems lie and our cause of ignorance. You see, ultimately all types of knowledge simply means self-knowledge. You must look for the truth yourself and directly experience every minute detail for yourself."
For those who tend towards just the negative, this is not an inventory of everything bad about you. Looking inward is about every detail and being honest with yourself about the good and the bad.
“A man is at his worst when he does not understand himself.”
The Self-Knowledge journey will be hard work, but the gift is that you know your true self.
It is important to have optimism when looking at your tools and getting to know them, so that you will have faith that those experiences will teach you and help you grow into your best self.
“Optimism is a faith that leads to success.”
“Pessimism blunts the tools you need to succeed.”
When looking at your ignorance, it is a void of good information and it becomes a great opportunity to fill that void with good information. Seek out the information and teachers to help you fill that void of ignorance.
“Learning is discovery, the discovery of the cause of our ignorance.”
Ignorance is just something that you do not know. People can have a lot of shame around not wanting to admit their ignorance out of fearing that they will look stupid to others. Acknowledging your ignorance is a part of the discovery process and you discover through learning.
It is better to say, “I don’t know. Let’s find the answer,” instead of refusing to admit your ignorance and manufacturing a false answer.
“Learning is discovering, uncovering what is there in us. When we discover, we are uncovering our own ability, our own eyes, in order to find our potential, to see what is going on, to discover how we enlarge our lives, to find means to our disposal that will let us cope with a difficult situation.”
“Eliminate all opportunities for rivalry.”
We can waste a lot of our time and energy in competition with others. Some competition can be good to push or motivate yourself, but when competition becomes rivalry then you start aiming to make the other person fail so that you can win. Rivalry is “me against you,” and does not lift up you or anyone else.
“If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between “for” and “against” is the mind’s worst disease.”
When you look at something neutrally then you can look at its whole, instead of its parts. Then, by looking at something wholly you can decide if it works for you or if it does not.
“Completeness is the absence of the conscious mind to strive to divide that which is indivisible.”
“Be a calm beholder of what is happening around you.”
Take in the information, allow it to be as it is, take what works for you and leave what does not work for you for someone else.
Take Action + Self-Awareness
You learn through experience.
“Be self-aware rather than a repetitious robot.”
Combine your action with self-awareness. You do not want to go through the day unaware with robotic action because then you are not living in the present or acting with awareness of your actions.
“A healthy person has both a good orientation and an ability to act.”
A healthy person uses all of the keys together: Self-Knowledge, Optimism, Self-Awareness, Learning, Remain Neutral, and Taking Action.
Be in inquiry with yourself. You must do in order to know.
For example, if you are in inquiry with yourself, instead of saying “I hate exercise,” you could ask, “How do I like to move?”
“Decide to be cured.”
Do not examine yourself with shame and guilt, it will make you want to shut down and stop your self-inquiry. Approach your investigation with openness.
“I have to leave you now, my friend. You have a long journey ahead of you, and you must travel light. From now on, drop all your burden of preconceived conclusions behind, and “open” yourself to everything and everyone ahead. Remember, my friend, the usefulness of the cup is in its emptiness.”
Other episodes to delve into:
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