Welcome to Self-Mastery — a place for exploring timeless ideas to become the architect of your mind, create yourself, and do less, better.
“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn't try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn't need others' approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
— Lao Tzu
Self-acceptance is bliss. And to learn more about it, you needn’t look further than the story of Siddhartha Guatama—the man who became the Buddha.
Siddhartha (Siddha meaning “achieved”, and artha meaning “what was searched for”) was born into a royal family in Nepal, known as Brahmin: the highest Hindu social class. He grew to become a prince who lived a luxurious life, insulated from seeing the true suffering that the world contains.
As an adult, married and with a child, he ventured outside his royal enclosure after years of shelter behind its walls. And he saw, each for the first time, an old man, a sick man, and a corpse.
Although it disturbed him greatly, it opened his eyes to the axiom that sickness, age, and death were inevitable fates—fates no-one can avoid.
Siddhartha also saw a monk for the first time. And he decided this was a sign he should leave his protected royal life, to instead live as a homeless holy man.
Through his travels, he learnt about more suffering than he could have ever imagined. He searched for ways to escape this inevitability by studying with various religious men—none of whom could provide an answer.
He later encountered an Indian ascetic who encouraged him to follow a life of extreme self-denial and discipline. But after living this way for six years, with a focus on meditation, it did not work.
Siddhartha abandoned this way of living, though he did not return to his pampered luxury life from before. Instead, he pursed the Middle Way; a life of neither luxury nor poverty.
And one day, he seated himself beneath the enriched Bodhi tree, becoming deeply absorbed in meditation. Siddhartha tried to reflect on the experiences of his life, determined to penetrate its truths. And as he sought a higher power within himself, recognising his flaws, and his sins, to his surprise, that power was there all along. Thus he became The Buddha.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
— Siddhartha Gautama
The greatest lesson here is that there’s no other “perfect” moment than the now. We’re all at fault for searching. But there is no end when we search for peace through answers, drugs, validation, or materials. The search only leaves us empty when we cannot indulge in ourselves and the present. We then feel lost. Because when we dwell on the past, we become depressed. And when we dwell on the future, we become anxious.
But for us, staying in the present is both difficult and unsettling. Although it doesn’t have to be.
Siddhartha realised he is a sinner like every other person. But it is because he is a sinner that he finds peace. We learn from the worst of experiences—and find the answers to it all within ourselves. Not through the blind teaching of others.
In ourselves, we find inspiration, peace and comfort. We recognise our skills. We learn about our purpose. In meditation and self-acceptance, you study how your mind works, and you realise it’s a practice for when you feel pain, anxiety, joy, and comfort. It’s less a tool and more a state to embrace the power of the moment and the presence of oneness in any situation you’re in.
To be beautiful is to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others—what you need is to accept yourself. You create empowerment by learning to like who you are—unconditionally. You are not bad or undeserving because you make mistakes, or get rejected; that is what it means to be human. If you can learn to have unconditional self-acceptance, and you practise learning the power of your sense of self, you will create peace and stillness and happiness in everything you do.
“You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.”
― Siddhārtha Gautama
What’s on My Mind
I recently received a pretty significant rejection to a job offer I wanted. After waiting weeks in the hope to reach the final stage.
2021 had a surprisingly good start for me; particularly that last week’s newsletter edition had more than double the usual readers (I don’t know how, but thank you). And this job would have been a highlight of the year.
Although I was down, I realised something: Other than the old “if it was meant to be…” cliche stuff, I felt that perhaps the reason I was rejected was they had seen I was on the path to creating something far greater. I have full self-belief in Joxen and what I’m building for you, my reader, as an independent writer.
And maybe because of this, they went for someone that wasn’t doing the same work as I was already. Especially by what they added in my rejection email.
I could be thinking too far here. But it may be a testament to what’s in store for the future as I keep working to create something better for both myself and you. If you stick with me.
In all, rejection means nothing but the meaning we give to it. It hurts, initially. But soon you begin to realise while it may close one door, it can open ten others.
“The most dangerous person is the one who listens, thinks, and observes.”
— Bruce Lee
Article of the week:
This week’s article is on Self-Belief: why it’s the first stepping stone to a better self. Funnily enough, it was rejected the first time. But I had another look and made it more true to myself. Now, it’s been published to over 150,000 readers.
Interesting thing of the week:
Minimalissimo: a website filled with calming, hyper-minimalistic architecture.
What is one thing you like about yourself?
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