The way we as a society view knowledge and wisdom has changed, and it’s affected our ability to train and learn. This applies to just about every aspect of life, including business.
Hundreds of years ago, a man could spend 50 to 70 years honing his desired craft, living it and breathing it his entire life, yet still consider himself a “student,” who doesn’t know everything there is to know.
Now, a kid can come out of college after only 5 to 7 years, literally knowing the small end of nothing, and be labeled a “master” in his or her field.
The disparity between these two extremes is stark.
Knowledge molds a person: it is one of the defining traits of a moral, evolved individual. In fact, the art of “knowing” is intimately linked with psychic evolution and the maturity of one’s countenance. In other words, it’s unlikely that you can have one without the other.
In today’s world, there is a drought of true masters. Artisans of various crafts, be them physical, mental, or spiritual in nature. Just because someone professes to have a “master’s degree” in a field doesn’t mean much anymore.
To some, a master’s degree holder is simply a novice apprentice, waiting to take their first steps into the real world. A world where, unfortunately, they will be guided by several other so-called masters, who themselves are merely trying to figure out everything as they go along, without much true wisdom to guide them.
This is the definition of “the blind leading the blind,” and if our society is any indication, it’s not working.
Self Mastery Begins Where the Ego Ends
It’s not enough to just go out and say you want to learn something and master it. These days, people think they are experts and savants at everything, when in actuality they are ignorant of most things. This ignorance permeates everything they do.
Of course, this spills over into their Knowledge of Self. If you’re trying to get your life on track, make money, find success, and obtain true peace of mind, it all begins with work on the Self.
Knowledge of self, of course requires introspection and a tearing down of the ego: this is something so alien in our culture as to be considered almost extinct.
It is an absolute must however, for any who are truly serious about personal progress. Every step you take toward build your Self up, requires an equal deficit in the ego.
As long as the ego calls the shots or has any power in your life, you are bound and limited by it.
This same force, the ego, is what drives the ignorant to call themselves masters. The ego is that narcissistic twinge that whispers in the ear of the mediocre and tells them they are an untouchable genius. The ego is the single greatest roadblock to true self mastery.
Naturally, to understand how to dismantle the ego, one must first admit their shortcomings and seek genuine knowledge. It is this knowledge, and the wisdom that comes with it, that helps tear apart the constructs that the ego has built.
Every bit of truth that is digested is like a hammer crashing against a wall. Enough hammers, and that wall will crumble.
Behind the wall is contentment in truth and self knowledge.
Understanding the knowledge disparity in our society shows us why there are so few “masters,” so few people not ruled by ego. No one meditates on their craft anymore, no one hones themselves to a razor’s edge, pouring over the wisdom of the ages in order to grow and build new, more sophisticated conclusions.
It’s all floating data not tied to anything, investing in hollow food for the ego, and empty titles that placate us and make us think we are obtaining progress, when we are really just spinning our wheels.
To build the Self you have to lose the ego, that part of you that thinks it knows everything, that part of you that strives to construct a false reality to uphold its beliefs. This applies not only to beliefs about who you are, but the nature of reality itself.
Implicit in Self Mastery is the ability to discern the world as it truly is, not as the ego perceives it to be. Thus Self Mastery involves discarding “beliefs,” “opinions,” and “ideologies,” for knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.
These are the only facets of interpreting reality that you need. Using the ego as a filter to understand the world comes with many drawbacks and flaws, which ultimately limit one’s ability to function correctly.
A person given over completely to their ego is essentially dysfunctional.
Their behavior is out of their control, they are at the opposite end of Self Mastery. Indeed, everything else but the Self controls them at that point. You know the kind of people I refer to: easily angered, manipulated by words, swayed easily by the whims of random events, easily lied to, given to false beliefs.
I just described a sizable portion of our entire population. The knowledge deficit in action.
Correcting the Knowledge Disparity
There’s two aspects of self mastery that apply to any discipline: being present, and dedication.
If you are training your body, for instance, invest more of your Self than “stopping by the gym.”
There’s more to Self Mastery than lifting some weights. Part of this growth occurs in the mind, in your perception and ability to allow things to manifest rather than being obsessed with a preconceived outcome. Some form an entire identity off of going to the gym or being smart at a particular subject. This kind of behavior can only ever hold you back.
You will accrue knowledge proportional to your ability to be present in what you are doing. Applying dedication to this act will compound the knowledge over time. This is the formula for mastery.
It should be said that there are few, if any real “shortcuts” to mastery, and that includes Mastery of Self. It’s not something that can be achieved while floating through 7 years of college in between partying and binge-watching Netflix (nothing against those acts, we’ve all been there. But it’s not a path to any sort of mastery, and you shouldn’t delude yourself that it is).
The art of being present is, in itself, a form of mastery that you will get better at over time.
You want the no-nonsense guide to staying present and actually absorbing more information? Meditation.
You have to learn how to meditate if you want to really consider yourself a master at anything.
While there are certainly many kinds of meditations, including active ones you can perform while working, I’m referring to the straight up sitting in a dark room in the lotus position, rhythmic breathing from your diaphragm, “shamanistic” kind of meditation. You have to get primal and dig deep.
Meditation is one of the only reliable methods for tearing down the ego.
It’s a means by which we learn the difference between the ego-mind and the Self, and it enables you to stay focused, digest more information and at a faster pace, retain information you have learned, balance your emotions, and remain present. This is a skill successful people have been using for centuries, because it is quite simply the “key” to unlocking the potential of your mind, and closing that knowledge disparity gap.
True masters share a few traits in common. One, they always know how to live in the present moment. They are neither hung up on the past or anxious about the future. They exist from moment to moment in a balanced mental state. This opens the door for enjoyment, fulfillment, and success in their endeavors.
Second, they also understand the value of knowledge over “ego food.” Self mastery is always something to be sought, and as such, false beliefs, perceptions, delusions, and fruitless opinions are discarded for larger truths and more expansive ideals.
Feed your Self in everything you do. This pursuit of truth typifies the master, and is one of the defining qualities of those who have palpable integrity. And yes, this is applicable for everything from business to your progress in the gym.
Everything you do is tied to your mental states and how well you’re able to live in the present and absorb / retain knowledge, as well as your ability to take that knowledge and use it.
Most, if not all, of our limitations can be traced back to a lack of mental maturity and digestion of knowledge. Meditation breaks through these limitations, hence why it is a key component in all paths of self mastery.
Eliminate the knowledge deficit. Learn to meditate and take charge of your personal Self Mastery.
Want to learn more about self-mastery and the role of knowledge disparity and defeating the ego? Download the full ebook here for free, no sign up required. We only ask that you share it around and spread the knowledge!
The founder of Digital Sages, Matt has an extensive background in self-mastery and has authored several books on the subject. His goal is to demystify important esoteric subjects and help people transform their lives through self-awareness and personal empowerment.