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Mastering the self

Perhaps the most important thing in this life is to gain control over one’s own will and mind. Such a task is not as easy as it would sound. It involves a tremendous amount of self discipline and patience. Once one has mastery of the body they can have mastery of the mind and then the will. This is a very zen like approach taken by many.

Here is a small experiment for you to try. First you need to relax, you can do this sitting down or lying down. Once you are in a comfortable position breathe in slowly through your lungs, then continue the breath until you expand your diaphragm as well. Now if you do this properly you should be able to breathe in for a count of ten or more. Once you have completed the breath slowly exhale. While you do this pay very close attention to the expansion and contraction of your lungs. You need only do this a couple times before you resume your regular breathing patterns.

This was best explained to me as “Imagine in everyone’s life that their body is only allowed so many breaths before they pass on. People would value their breathing more because every breath had a purpose.” This statement is quite true because without the breath without air we die.

Now for a moment I want you to breathe in slowly and exhale slowly for a count of five breaths. This is taking time out of our busy schedules to realize that we are alive. In those moments of breath don’t focus on your taxes, or what is playing at the movies. Simply be with the breath and try to clear your mind of all thoughts. What happens is you experience a small but brief release. In that short moment all of our problems absolve and we realize that we are alive.

This is what is meant by the buddhist phrase to be mindful. It is to be mindful of the task at hand, not the ten tasks at hand because we can not be in the moment when trying to do ten different things. Our mind becomes distracted too easily. If we take but few moments every day to just be completely and absolutely aware of our surroundings then we will begin to realize how “asleep” we have been most of our lives. Not too mention how autonomous everyone else is. We are alive, but we act no differently than the systematic programs that operate on our computer. Only when we become mindful of our actions can we start to master anything.


  • Zen buddhism
  • Teachings of Samael Aun Weor

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