There is no definition of Mastery but it can be recognized instantly. Mastery comes in many shapes and varieties, but it will always follow specific unchanging laws. It’ll result in rewards, but it is not really a destination or goal. It is more like a process, it’s a journey. This journey is what we call “Mastery”. We are assuming that it is only open to those individuals that are born with highly exceptional skills and abilities.
However, Mastery is in no way reserved for some super-talented individuals or those fortunate enough to have obtained an early start. The journey of Mastery is open to individuals who are willing to join the path and to stay on the path regardless of previous experience, sex, or age.
The Master’s journey may start off from whenever you will decide to learn new skills. How to touch type, how to cook, how to become a lawyer; a doctor or an accountant. The Master’s journey will lead you along a pathway that’s both exhilarating and arduous. The Journey will surely lead to unexpected rewards and heartaches. Probably, you’ll end up not only learning about the skills you’re pursuing, but you’ll learn a lot about yourself as well.
There’s really no way around it, learning new skills comes with relatively short bursts of progress, and all bursts are followed by slight declines, to a level that’s usually slightly higher than the one that preceded it. In an actual learning experience, progress is irregular. The upward starts vary, the upward bursts vary, the levels, or plateaus, all include their own rises and dips in the process, yet the general progression is almost always the same.
If you want to take the Masters journey, you’ll need to practice in a diligent way. You need to strive to hone your capabilities and attain a higher level of competence. However, while doing that, and this is intrinsically connected to the journey, you’ll also need to be ready to spend the majority of your learning time on a certain plateau. You need to keep on practicing even at times when you think you’re getting nowhere.
Loving the Plateau
Early in our lives, they tell us to study and learn hard and attain good grades so we’ll graduate from our high schools and get a good college education. Then they tell us to graduate from college and get good jobs. Then they tell us to get good jobs so we can purchase a car and a house. All the time, they tell us to do the one thing, just to tell us to get another thing done. So we are spending our lives stretched on an iron contingencies rack!
There’s no question that contingencies are important. Sure, achieving our goals is an important element, but the real juices of life, sweet or bitter, are found not only the outcomes of our efforts, but also in experiencing it. In what it feels like to be really alive. We learn in so many ways to appreciate the product, the climactic moment, the prize, yet even we’ll be catching the scoring pass at the Superbowl, we need to realize that there’s always a tomorrow and another tomorrow…
When we live a good life, a Mastery life, most of our lives are going to be spent on the learning plateau. If that’s not the case, large parts of our lives will be spent in destructive, restless, or even in self-destructive attempts as we want to escape the learning plateau. The remaining question is about where in our education, upbringing, schooling, or our professional lives, are we clearly taught to enjoy, to value, or love this plateau.
Contingencies and goals are existing both in the past and the future. They exceed pales of the sensory realms. When you practice and experience the pathway of Mastery, you only exist in the present. You’ll be able to hear it, to see it, to smell it, and to feel it. If you want to love the learning plateau, you’ll have to love and appreciate the eternal now. If you want to the fruits that come with accomplishment, if you want to experience the bursts of progress, you’ll serenely have to accept new plateaus that await ahead. Read also this post about the four Truths in Buddhism
Eliciting Energy for Mastery
If you’re thinking that you just don’t have the energy, or the time, to commit yourself entirely to Mastery, you may want to consider this old adage: “when you want to have something done, why not ask busy persons to do it for you”. In the long term, there’ll be nothing that compares to the pathway of Mastery to guide us to energetic lives. Regular practices will not only elicit energy. It will also “tame” it. If you don’t have the underpinnings of practices, deadlines may result in, sometimes violent, swings between some pretty frantic activity and total collapse. When you’re on the Master’s journey, you’ll be taught to put things in the right perspective. You’ll learn to keep flows of energy alive and going during. Not only in high moments, but also in lows.
You’ll also be taught that it’s not possible to hoard energy, You cannot be building it up or save it if you are NOT using it! As Fritz Pearl, founder of Gestalt Therapy used to say: “I don’t want to be saved, I want to be spent”! It might well be that all of us process enormous stores of potential energy, more than we could ever hope to use. Sufficient rest is, that goes without saying, also part of the Master’s journey.
However, if not accompanied by any positive action, your rest might merely depress you. It could actually well be that much of today’s discontent and depression in the world, and maybe even a significant part of the world’s pervasive malaise that’s leading to crime and war, could ultimately be traced back to the energy we didn’t use, the untapped potential.
People who have flowing energy, don’t have to take drugs, go to war, or commit crimes to feel fully alive and awake. Whatever your upbringing, your education, or your age, what makes you who you are is mostly your unused potential. It is, in fact, your destiny in evolution to use the energy that’s unused, to get educated, to learn, and to remain learning as long as you’re alive.
To realize and choose that destiny, to go the track of Mastery, isn’t that easy, yet it is essential and the ultimate adventure for humans. Destinations will appear in the distance, will be achieved, and left behind, and still, the path will continue – it will never end. How to begin the journey? You need to only take the first step. When? There’s always Now.