The Path of Personal Mastery
Week One Video and Reading
Please start by watching this video if you haven’t already. In it, I explain why I think developing intuition is so important, and what it can do for us!
A note on the readings:
Throughout the course, I will be sharing readings from the material I’ve received over many years using a practice I call “guided writing.” You might also call it intuitive writing, inspired writing, received wisdom—whatever works for you. Whatever the term, I experience these insights as coming from both deep within me and beyond my conscious mind, and I’ve found the wisdom I’ve received tremendously helpful, inspiring, and comforting over the years. You may hear me use the term “my Guides” or “the Guides” to describe the source of this wisdom, which has the sense of a collective or Universal energy, and if you want to know more about that term and how I think about it, feel free to ask me or take a look at the blog posts I’ve written on the subject (see links on the Week One class page). In the meantime, I’d encourage you to focus less on the source and more on the teachings, deciding for yourself the extent to which they feel valuable or resonant for you. <3
But before I offer insights from the Guides, I wanted to share some more thoughts on our course topic. As a way of getting our heads around what we’re doing here, allow me to break down our course’s title, “The Path of Personal Mastery: Trusting your Intuition for Spiritual and Personal Success.”
Because we’re talking about a process, not a destination. Life itself is a process, not a destination. This is a profound distinction. Everyone in our group is exactly where they need to be, and we all have different experiences and different perspectives, and that’s perfectly OK. A perspective of understanding and compassion is so important—letting ourselves (and other people!) be wherever we are and not judging ourselves harshly for anything.
We are not taking the “self-help” perspective, as in something is “wrong” that needs to get fixed. That is not the paradigm I like to operate from. Self-compassion and growth along the path is itself the goal. Not perfection, but peace, learning, and the acceptance and even embrace of human imperfection. So let’s be here in the spirit of growth and compassion and being on the path together!
Why PERSONAL MASTERY?
What does that phrase even mean? From my perspective, “personal mastery” is the state of being aligned with life as it is, from the inside out. Personal mastery is a set of skills and a way of knowing that allows us to move forward confidently on our human path with faith, purpose, peace, and the certain knowledge that we’re never alone. It is a perspective that allows us to access a sense of underlying calm in a realm of ups and downs. It means feeling in alignment with Who We Are and what we are doing here.
A teacher of mine once defined “enlightenment” as the ability to live peacefully amid darkness and light. Unity within duality. That’s personal mastery. It means having access to “the peace that passes all understanding,” and knowing that state as the truth.
It does not mean always being in that state, or never suffering, or feeling pain, or not being confused or angry or anxious or any of the natural human emotions. Instead, it means we develop, over time, a baseline state of being in harmonious alignment with both our imperfect human experience and our own underlying Divinity. That, to me, is the best kind of “personal and spiritual success.”
The last part of the title—Trusting Your Intuition—is about the HOW:
HOW do we gain Personal Mastery? It’s through developing and trusting intuition. Inner knowing is the NEXUS, the meeting place, between the human self and the Divine, or the self and the Self. It’s how we contact God, or our soul, or our purpose, or whatever words you want to use for who we really are and why we are here.
The word TRUST is key. In order to access and benefit from the power of intuition, first we have to TRUST that it’s there. We have to be willing to go inward and find it.
Next, we have to learn how to listen for it. We have to learn to read our own personal language of intuition, which is different for everyone.
Finally, we have to say YES to it. Not every time, but more often than not. This takes practice. It requires TRUST to let ourselves be guided by it, particularly because the promptings of intuition don’t always match up with what the mind or other people or society wants us to do.
The end result?
When we do learn to trust our intuition, the result can be magical. We can get reconnected to a sense of peace, purpose, and connection with the Divine and with our own souls—even as we’re living a messy human life. We can experience ourselves as loved, valued, and never alone, knowing our lives as vitally important no matter how seemingly “small,” and knowing that all is truly well regardless of all the ups and downs happening around us and in the world.
The River as a metaphor.
I have always loved the metaphor of the river to capture this kind of approach to life. One way we can think about what we’re doing in this class is connecting with the Divine “flow” of our lives, learning to trust more and more that that flow has a direction and a purpose, and to pay attention and let it show us where it needs to go.
Now, some wisdom from the Guides:
Go within. Begin to encounter the Divine mind within yourself. You will begin to feel yourself as part of something much greater, more ineffable, more compassionate, more Eternal, than you ever thought possible. And that will give you Peace beyond what you can imagine.
If we cultivate an attitude of strength, of willingness, of courage, of curiosity—a sense that we want to know what is in us, and what is beyond us, and who we really are and what, indeed, we are really doing here, then trekking into the silence day after day, as a way of living, can be a great, mythic adventure, a hero’s journey, a pioneering trek greater than all the heroic adventures in the outer world.
Do you want to know why we are all so fascinated with outer adventures such as these? Ascents of Everest, descents into the deepest caves, journeys into space? It is not just because we love stories of courage and danger and discovery.
It is because we Are, in our very being, stories of courage and danger and discovery. Or we can be, if only we are willing enough to enter our own silence, our own Selves, to see what lies within.
Remember the quote from the Gospel of Thomas? “If you bring forth that which is within you, that which is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth that which is within you, that which is within you will destroy you.”
There is another way to phrase it. “If you become willing to go within and listen, what you find will save you. If you never go within and listen, the not listening and the not finding will destroy you.”
Not malevolently destroy you, mind you. Not in a purposeful or malicious way. But in the slow, insidious way that untold truths can eat away at us, can burn up the life force, sapping it with the energy it takes to keep something down, to keep it hidden, to look away.
Like most everything you can think of, the truth about Silence and entering the silence of your own life is a paradox.
We want adventure and pleasure and distraction, and most of all we want freedom from pain. We imagine great achievements in the outside world, all the things we will do to make a name for ourselves or prove our worth or garner for ourselves the attention we so desire. We imagine that these things will make or break our life experience, that our sense of our own value hinges upon certain things either happening or not happening, certain goals either being met or not met, certain attributes displayed or not in the public eye, or at least in the eyes of others.
When in fact the real “action,” if you will, is all inside.
Can you face yourself in the dark? Can you make the journey into your own silence and stand it there? Can you do this very heroic, very private, totally invisible thing for which you will get no outside reward, not in the typical sense, and which in fact may carry with it certain disadvantages in an earthly sense? A sense that you are separate from others, that your “achievements,” while great indeed, are not easily shared?
This is the true meaning, in our eyes, of the word Pioneer. This is what it means to brave the unknown, to explore, to go where few have gone before. The Self, in a sense, is an unknown country, and one to which only you truly have access. And the work you do on that self/Self, if you will, since the lower self and clearing it out is an inevitable part of the work, is the one true achievement, the one true journey, the journey to which all other journeys—mythic, real-world, epic, fictional—actually refer.
The Grand Adventure.
Do not be misled by how quiet it seems, how unimportant or unimpressive it seems to sit, say, for fifteen minutes in your living room or in your car or on your bed or wherever you can get a moment of relative silence, undisturbed.
It is huge. It is, in this age of tweets and texts and nonstop striving and rushing and struggling and exchanging information and seeking entertainment and above all, distraction distraction distraction, a truly radical, heroic act.
To act as though silence has value. To act as though you have value, beyond what you say or do or how you look or act or who thinks what about you or what you achieve in this life. To act as though Eternity exists, and you have some share in that. Which it does, and which you do.
You are a precious Child on this Earth, one with work to do, work within yourself, work on yourself, all of which is work benefitting others as well.
Because your silence is My silence.
Your struggles are my struggles.
Your inner journey is my inner journey.
What you do for yourself in this way, you do for all of us.
Clearing out the dark.
Facing the truth.
Detaching your worth from the many externals that vie for your attention.
Loving All That Is by connecting to your Self in the silence.
Which is the meeting point where we all truly live and where eternity resides.