How do I master myself? How do I become more self-aware and beat my past self?
The three things you mention in your question, i.e. (i) self-mastery; (ii) heightened self-awareness; and (iii) beating the past self can be achieved through meditation.
The three aspects are all related to the mind.
- If I haven’t achieved self-mastery, I’m a slave to all the crap that my mind produces: thoughts, negativity, judgments, inferiority, pride, etc. The reason I can’t master myself is because my mind has the grip on me.
- If I’m not aware of myself, it is because my mind is too narrow to see beyond my thoughts, fixed conceptions, and habits.
- If I can’t beat my past self, it means that my mind is stuck in the stories and identifications of past experiences and conclusions.
Meditation is a practice that addresses these issues in the most fundamental way. Through meditation we look within and see what is going on in our mind (introspection). Gradually, we become aware of all our thoughts, emotions, patterns, concepts, beliefs, etc. We start to see them from a new perspective, from outside of ourselves, and we let them go. In this way we transform into a new, and true version, of ourselves.
Self-mastery means to be free of constraints of the mind and live our true potential. The reason why we can’t live our true potential is because we are not able to see and act beyond our mind. The mind weighs us down with its constant chatter, fears, anxieties, judgments, etc.
By practicing meditation, we can let go of all this junk in our mind. This sets our mind free. Our perspective grows and we are able to do things we were not able to do before. It is only with a free mind that we can live our true potential.
For the same reason we don’t master ourselves, we are not aware of ourselves. Our thoughts and emotions dictate our state of mind. Although we may think that our thoughts make as aware, they do not. On the contrary, they are like a scripted dream; it is not true life or awareness.
In order to become aware, we need to have a perspective that is larger than what the identification of the thoughts and feelings inside our mind can provide.
The more we empty our mind with meditation, the more aware we become. This happens because our mind expands beyond the limitations of our thoughts and feelings; our perspective changes to the infinite universe, the true mind. From this perspective, we are able to see ourselves more clearly, understand the mechanisms of our mind, understand other people better, and also begin to understand the principles of the world and of human existence.
Moving past the old self, transformation
We function like a camera. With our five senses, we copy the world into our mind. Our mind is attached to this videotape and is unable to move on, so we stay in and reiterate the same old stories over and over again.
Meditation is a practice to let go of the old self. It’s a process of transformation. You could say that we ‘kill’ the old self and become something greater, something that is true. For a caterpillar to become a butterfly, the caterpillar needs to die. The same principle applies to us. Meditation is the way to realize this.
A wise man once said that those who seek death shall live, and those who seek life shall die. What it means is that when the old self dies, we can live a true life. However, if we stay inside the ‘life’ of the past self (‘seek life’) then we will be dead.
It may sound violent to ‘kill’ the old self or ‘seek death’, but it is a gradual and natural process of letting go of all the accumulated identifications of the mind. True awareness, which is life, will naturally enter our mind as we do this.
In conclusion, meditation is the answer to what you are asking for. It’s nothing that happens over night. It takes time and patience to do, but it is endlessly rewarding. And it is something everyone needs to do.
Please take a moment and check out the video below. It talks about human completion; the ultimate goal and purpose of humankind.