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Thread: Self-Mastery

  1. #11
    right on the left wing Philosorapteuse's Avatar
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    To me, self-mastery means seeing myself for what I am, applying to myself the same standards I apply to others, overcoming behaviours and traits that I think are unacceptable or that I dislike in others, and through that becoming somebody I find admirable. Consistency and integrity, if you like. It's the quest to become the me that I want to be, not someone else, and not the me that it's easiest to be. In retrospect, I've got a twisted kind of gratitude for the times I've been forced to make unpleasant choices, because every time I manage to make one of those for the right reasons and not for the easy ones, I get to be who I want to be for a moment. I suppose it's kind of an Aristotelian approach to virtue.

    I've recently realised that I've been approaching it wrong, by screaming at myself every time I fall short of that ideal. That's not self-discipline, it's abuse, and it doesn't help me. So my current project is working out what healthy self-discipline means for me (not an easy task in a world where the very concept of discipline seems to invoke Je.) I'm a work in progress.
    "A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." --William James

    I'd be a card-carrying sensotard, but I can't find the goddamn card.

  2. #12
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaptorWizard View Post
    i BELIEVE IN THE MASTERY OF MIND OVER THE MATERIAL WORLD, the harnessing of the forces of nature for human needs.
    The archetypes and imaginations of the mind made real in our outward advances and creations? I agree!!

    It's what makes us human and it is brilliantly fascinating. When I look around, at what im typing on right now, what im looking at, what I eat and read and watch, how it all started with our minds, is amazing.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

  3. #13
    Unlimited Dancemoves ® AgentF's Avatar
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    is self-mastery by necessity a solitary journey?

    during periods of being single, i don't mind it all when i remain focused on this practice. in fact, i make tremendous progress in achieving my SM goals when my attention is not divided. being in relationships, on the other hand, provides the opportunities to put my self-mastery to use. test and refine it.

    rigorous honesty plays such an important role, and acceptance. but who here has stared into their personal abyss for long? one of the hidden goals of developing some sense of self-mastery is to transform one's aversion and judgment about one's shadow side into something else.

    but what? acceptance, or something deeper...

    storytime!

    a long-distance affair once caused me to accept more openness in the relationship than i would have preferred. it was in its earliest stages but there was passion and affection and i was hungry for more, very much including sexual exclusivity. but the other person involved had a pre-existing policy against LDRs. and there was a competing policy (if you can call it a policy: i've learned to call most "policies" FEARS except for one, and that is the policy of truth).

    that competing policy was a desire on my part to have things a certain way. to have relationships of a certain type be exusive. anyway, nevermind the details: i had a pre-existant idea of how the present, and the future, should look. once i let go of that, and embraced reality instead of fought it, i was able to feel closer to the person i cared for. in fact, my love for him increased because i had sacrificed an ideal for him.*

    i did momentarily resent having to develop that more open attitude. i didn't resent him, just the situation. and that's where self-mastery was needed: it helped me see people and things as they are and let them be. and, contrary to my fears, love remained, and grew. (the story has an interesting ending, but i left that out to leave room open for discussion.)

    along the way, i have discovered the intimate connection between self-mastery, self-love and the ability to love others.



    *this was a very singular experience. i generally would not sacrifice my ideals for someone. but perhaps that's what love is? sounds iffy.
    I may be kindly, I am ordinarily gentle, but in my line of business I am obliged to will terribly what I will at all.
    ~ Catherine the Great


    7w6 ❣ sx/so ❤ physical touch ❥ sanguine 70%, choleric 30% ❦

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  4. #14
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    It comes natural to me.

    Ahem. Okay, not really.

    Self mastery to me is the ability to transcend my comfort zone without having to change myself in order to do so. It's easy to do the things I like to do and want to do, but being able to do the things that need to be done, regardless of my own will, and not let that frustate or anger me, that's true mastery of the self.

    Hmm, a good example is sacrificing time and effort for the sake of the family business when things did not go so well, without asking or needing anything in return. This was a process and definately not easy on me at first, but now it's no issue anymore. I am responsible not just for my own interests, but for the interests of quite some people around me. And I need to bear that responsibility without feeling like I'm a victim of sorts. Which would be the normal INTP kneejerk reaction, and was my reaction when I was 18-21. The ability to master myself helped me transcend that reaction/emotion and allowed me to be the person I need to be, without sacrifing the person I am.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

  5. #15
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentfurrina View Post
    is self-mastery by necessity a solitary journey?

    during periods of being single, i don't mind it all when i remain focused on this practice. in fact, i make tremendous progress in achieving my SM goals when my attention is not divided. being in relationships, on the other hand, provides the opportunities to put my self-mastery to use. test and refine it.

    rigorous honesty plays such an important role, and acceptance. but who here has stared into their personal abyss for long? one of the hidden goals of developing some sense of self-mastery is to transform one's aversion and judgment about one's shadow side into something else.
    I think self-mastery is solitary, in the sense that no one can walk the path for you, though they can give you maps, encouragement, personal accounts of the road ahead, and even snacks along the way. I have no problem with self-discipline, especially as it relates to getting things done. I am well-versed in keeping my eyes on the goal and sacrificing today for what I can have tomorrow, or investing time/effort to reap a return. This is not self-mastery, though.

    A critical missing piece is the idea of self-awareness, what one sees in that abyss, the real nature of what you call the shadow side. I tend to judge myself by my results: did I accomplish what I wanted, with reasonable efficiency and minimal collateral damage? Have my skills or knowledge improved? Is the problem solved? By these criteria, I do rather well, but should I be considering other criteria? I find it hard to see into my blind spots, into the corners of the abyss.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  6. #16
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentfurrina View Post
    is self-mastery by necessity a solitary journey?

    during periods of being single, i don't mind it all when i remain focused on this practice. in fact, i make tremendous progress in achieving my SM goals when my attention is not divided. being in relationships, on the other hand, provides the opportunities to put my self-mastery to use. test and refine it.
    I think there is something to this. In my experience, many aspects are much easier to do when I am single because I can focus on them much more seriously. When I'm in a relationship, however, I'm forced to recognize problem areas that I didn't realize I had. It also helps me focus on what the real priorities are.


    Quote Originally Posted by agentfurrina View Post
    *this was a very singular experience. i generally would not sacrifice my ideals for someone. but perhaps that's what love is? sounds iffy.
    Being a male, I'm sure we see things differently, but there is something not right about this to me...unfortunately, I'm having a hard time putting my finger exactly on what it is.

    I think, maybe, the "sacrificing [of] ideals" seems like language that is too strong. Looks more like a normal cost-benefit analysis, to me, followed up with finding the bright side of the situation and using it constructively.

    I wouldn't say that's what love is.

    There is something very Heinlein-y about it, though, which I can appreciate.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  7. #17
    Unlimited Dancemoves ® AgentF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    Being a male, I'm sure we see things differently, but there is something not right about this to me...unfortunately, I'm having a hard time putting my finger exactly on what it is.

    I think, maybe, the "sacrificing [of] ideals" seems like language that is too strong. Looks more like a normal cost-benefit analysis, to me, followed up with finding the bright side of the situation and using it constructively.

    I wouldn't say that's what love is.

    There is something very Heinlein-y about it, though, which I can appreciate.
    interesting that you interpret my view as feminine and analytical. can you say more on this? assuming i understood you correctly.

    also, since you touched on this topic: what would you say love is?


    discussions of self-mastery can only exclude discussions of love (and self-love) for so long. it may have something to do with independence...
    I may be kindly, I am ordinarily gentle, but in my line of business I am obliged to will terribly what I will at all.
    ~ Catherine the Great


    7w6 ❣ sx/so ❤ physical touch ❥ sanguine 70%, choleric 30% ❦

    Johari.

  8. #18

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    Self mastery is a cycle of learning and improvement. I see self mastery as being a never ending loop between experience and learning and back to experience. Learning being practice and study and all that. So it is a journey not a destination as is said. But a journey in a circle similar to NASCAR.

    Mastery by George Leonard is a good book.

  9. #19
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentfurrina View Post
    interesting that you interpret my view as feminine and analytical. can you say more on this? assuming i understood you correctly.
    I honestly don't think that you can look at how people behave in romantic dealings without taking into account their gender. In my experience, there are major behavioral differences there. Sometimes human nature is awesome and sometimes it sucks , but there definitely appears to be patterns there. Anyways, I'm kind of digressing.

    There are analytical aspects to what you described, imo, but I didn't mean to imply that it was more T-ish than F-ish, or that it's somehow in conflict with femininity.

    From an outside perspective, it seems more like a cost-benefit analysis done subconsciously, which was heavily influenced by emotion, followed by a more conscious analytical process that brought some order and reason to the chaos. So...the emotion and logic work hand in hand to decide the desired end state and weigh the options, all without really breaking it down mentally, and then the logical thought process is used to explain the decision that you had already reached, in a simpler way.

    I'll caveat that, though, with the thought that the more I think about this and type the more I think I'm probably just projecting how I would think about it and I feel like my Te is not adequately expressing what I'm actually thinking, haha. So, you can offer your input and take mine with a grain of salt.

    Quote Originally Posted by agentfurrina View Post
    also, since you touched on this topic: what would you say love is?
    I think that this post highlights my views on it, in theory.

    In practice, I would say that it really comes down to caring enough about someone that you are wiling to make major sacrifices for them. That sounds rather vague and doesn't really convey my full meaning, but I think that when you love someone you are willing to put them above yourself...at least to a greater extent than everyone else. It's really difficult to draw the line between infatuation and actual love so that's the only real criteria that I have come up with, although it doesn't only apply to romantic love.

    Quote Originally Posted by agentfurrina View Post
    discussions of self-mastery can only exclude discussions of love (and self-love) for so long. it may have something to do with independence...
    I think that this is a -very- important point. In my opinion, without it, your actions will always be trying to compensate for something that you feel that you lack, even if you don't realize it. That skews your self-mastery towards certain goals that wouldn't necessarily be that important to you if you had it.

  10. #20
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentfurrina View Post
    discussions of self-mastery can only exclude discussions of love (and self-love) for so long. it may have something to do with independence...
    Can you say more about this? I don't understand it at all (or Metamorphosis' comment, either) but feel you are close to something important.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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