(List what you want as gratitude statements, as though you already have them.)
Thank you, CSO, for your universal power operating in my life. For all this good and more, I give great thanks. I now release these words to the law, truth, and power of the universe and know that it is done.
In this chapter (chapter two) Kornfield likens the war in our head between all the ego voices to the wars in the world. He suggests the way to have peace in the world is to stop the war inside. He suggests that adapting to our society leads one into denial and addiction saying
We use addictions to support out denials.
To wake up to these voices can be overwhelming and depressing, but if you persist you will eventually find peace inside. The most important thing to remember when you begin to pay attention to the voices inside is to simply notice without judging. It’s important to NOTstart a war with these voices for that only exacerbates the war.
In Jungian terms the process of paying attention and accepting “what is” is called taking back one’s shadow because what gets denied gets repressed into our unconscious. It distorts reality. So to take back one’s shadow is to see wholly.
Another important point in this process of “stopping the war” is to NOT identify with the voices. You are the observer of the voices; that is your true self. The voices have created the false self or what Jung called the persona.
DR BREN recommends the following soul practices to improve your consciousness and your connection to soul, your true self.
Meditate for 20 minutes each day.
Journal for at least 20 minutes each day. Use it to ask yourself questions, record and celebrate progress, plan, record insights, note patterns, etc. (See blog post called Journaling with Soul in Mind)
Inquiry Practice is the way-of-being for the masters of self. (See blog post called Inquiry Practice.)
Life Coaching is about self-mastery or psyche mastery. Where Psychotherapy is about healing psychological dysfunctions with an emphasis on pathology, Life Coaching is about teachings and practices related to understanding how the psyche works: how the mind, heart and soul function in the world. Jungian Psychology is perfectly suited for life coaching since it steers clear of diagnoses and focuses on how the psyche functions.
What is Self-mastery?
Mastery is a way of life, not a goal. It is the path of committed practice and dedication without regard to destination. Anyone can become a master if they are willing to stay on the path and stick with it through the inevitable pitfalls and plateaus of learning.
Perhaps, the most important topic of mastery, in my opinion, is the self. If we don’t know how our “self” functions then how can we master anything? Everything in the world presents itself to and through our psyche which means everything is psychological. So it follows that understanding psyche should be a pre-requisite for all those working towards excellence in their life. Here is a link to the life practices I recommend.
The Dabbler starts every new skill with enormous enthusiasm. He loves the newness of it all reveling in the first spurts of progress. However, at the first falloff his enthusiasm fades, boredom ensues and he begins to rationalize why this new skill is not for him.
The Obsessive is focused on bottom-line results, She will not settle for second best. She wants to get it right in the first lesson, staying after class to talk to the instructor, and buying every book she can on how to master this skill. Her first spurt of progress is expected; and she expects to continue in this fashion until she is number one. She pushes herself mercilessly. However, the higher she pushes herself, the bigger the fall and eventually she gets hurt.
The Hacker is altogether different from the Dabbler and the Obsessive in that he is willing to be mediocre forever. He is the tennis player that never learned the strokes, just whacking at the ball any which way. He knows a few things and thinks he knows it all. He is not willing to change, instead clinging to security and safety at the expense of mastery.
5 Keys to Mastery
Leonard identifies five keys to mastery: instruction, practice, surrender, intentionality and the edge. No matter what skill you apply these keys to, if you follow this wisdom and sustain your practice even when you think you are going nowhere, you will eventual become a master.
If you want to become a master find a master teacher. To find the right teacher, look at their credentials, lineage, and experience. In addition and perhaps more important, look at the teacher’s pedagogical style and philosophy. Unlike other coaches and therapists I share these important details about myself on my website.
Mastery is practice, and practice is mastery. The key to getting to the place of where practice is a treasured part of your life is enduring the inevitable plateaus of practice. We are so societally trained to achieve that when learning goes flat we tend to abandon our practices. But the true master has learned to observe the subtleties in the moment and commits to her practice without the hoping for future rewards.
The true master not only surrenders to his teacher and his practice, he surrenders his rigid ideas of himself. In order to learn one has to give up knowing. Seems ironic but it is critical for mastery. A true master never knows because he is always learning, and everyone is his teacher. He is always willing to surrender something known for the unknown. To continue on the path of mastery often means skills learned must also be unlearned in order to move to the next level of mastery. If the plateau has been reached, then most likely a skill needs to be broken down in order to be built up again.
All the great athletes rely heavily on visualizations. For them the mind is as important as the body. In life coaching I am often trying to help people bring their bodies back in sync with their minds. The goals of their life must have an experiential reference, a feeling or being state associated with the mind state they are trying to achieve. Furthermore, often I recognize unconscious ego intentions that are disrupting their conscious desires. The key to mastery is to know both your conscious and unconscious intentions and focus them on the goals of practice.
The edge is the collective limits of your skill. A true master does not stop at the collective limits but continues setting new goals for others to follow. This is when you know that mastery has no end, it is a bottomless chasm of possibilities.
I send many blessings on your path to self-mastery.