One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.
Leonardo da Vinci
When I started my personal transformation journey at the age of 22, fresh out of studying business at university, I had no idea what I was signing up for. I was starting what seemed like a cool process of gathering knowledge by taking evening classes in practical philosophy, depth psychology and mindfulness meditation. I thought this would somehow make me special.
What I did not realise at the time was how delightfully humbling the process would be — that it would bring me into direct, truthful contact with my confusion, my deep conditioning, my self-obsession, my painful insecurity, my need to feel validated by always being ‘right'… and so much more. Rather than making me special it exposed a wonderful ordinariness in me.
Now, as I look back on years of disciplined mindfulness practice, the inquiry processes, the failures and successes, the laughter and the tears, I see that mastery of oneself is more about removal than addition. It's about stripping off the masks and pretences that keep us feeling isolated. It's about letting go of beliefs and ideas that keep us locked in self-defeating habits. It's about dissolving the inner judge, surrendering the burden of a busy mind, and rediscovering the innate love and wisdom that have been with us all along. It's a mastery that clears the conditioned patterns that confine us.
And as we let go, we ...