Besides bringing up humorous memories of Sho’Nuff asking Bruce Leroy the question, for those of us old and blessed enough to remember the 80’s martial arts comedy drama “The Last Dragon”, this question probably provokes thoughts of a martial arts nature for many of us when we hear it. Having studied martial arts for over 35 years and empowering lives through martial arts as my mission and livelihood for the last 18 of these, I certainly can relate to this, though I consider the path to mastery a lifelong journey I am still on. I think the attitude of constant and never ending improvement that keeps us growing and learning in various aspects of our physical, philosophical, business and leadership lives, is in fact one of the attributes that connote mastery. But this isn’t even what this particular meditation is about. For the purposes of this blog, I want to examine who is the master of our minds, and thus the master of our “real” lives. That is, what is the driving force?
Most of us believe that we are very conscious and deliberate about our lives; and some of us are. Certainly, to the degree that we understand the mastery premise I alluded to in the introduction above, we are probably varying degrees of this truth at different stages of our lives and, preferably, more and more deliberate about the results we produce as we evolve. Still, it’s important to understand that the thoughts, emotions and actions that create our “reality” aren’t necessarily conscious at all. In fact, our subconscious mind is probably the master. So much of what we think, feel and ultimately do is controlled by the subconscious mind- the master of our life.
Our subconscious mind is running programming that was written in our very early stages of life. Some if it can be good; certainly a big part of what we do at my dojos (martial arts academies) is to “program” children with self esteem, confidence, focus and discipline that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, much of what is written is not deliberate though. Many of us have many “limiting beliefs” that our subconscious created as a defense mechanism in childhood, or simply that we acquired from limiting beliefs passed on through word and deed by our parents and the rest of our childhood environment. These may be limiting beliefs around money, or accomplishment or relationships. These powerful subversive forces in the subconscious mind can cause us to act and react in ways that create realities we don’t want, even when we are consciously trying to do exactly the opposite.
I have personally spent a good deal of my adult life reprogramming negative subconscious beliefs that kept me from being the greatest version of myself. Some I am still working on. This brings me to second important point I want to share with you today. If the first one is that the subconscious mind is the Master because it is there that our emotions are created and then drive our actions, which then creates our reality; the second one is critically important as the first can create the impression that we are then powerless victims of what our programing is. Fortunately, this is not the case. Whereas the subconscious mind is the powerful and covert master of our impulses, the conscious mind is the Master Instructor! In his infinite wisdom God would of course not leave us in a negative situation without the equipment to change it. So, He gave us two super powers that are denied all the rest of creation!
First, human beings possess the power of choice. Unlike any other animal we, being created in God’s image, have the power to choose. We choose what we read, what we listen to and who we associate with. In these important choices the Master Instructor trains the mind, including the subconscious mind, and can actually reprogram ourselves to have more empowering thoughts, beliefs and emotions that drive greater actions that then create our realities. Thus, and this is the second God like power our creator bestowed us, we can create our realities by our choices. Our choices create our programming, which creates our thoughts and beliefs, which creates our emotions, which create our actions and reactions, which create our world.
Thus, while the subconscious mind is the master for so long as we allow it, the conscious mind, and the decisions we make via this Master Instructor, will dictate what the subconscious mind will create! So who’s really the master? I hope that this brief and humble explanation will help. If you happen to be one of my students, I look forward to talking more and deeper on the subject and, rather you are or are not, there are so many great books that examine the ideas I’ve shared deeper. Feel free to write me or comment and I’ll be happy to share some of my favorites.
Now, Master, let’s go out and Make this a magnificent day!
Shihan Stephen J. Del Castillo is the Founder and Master Instructor of Krav Maga Martial Arts in Tampa, Florida. He is a 7thDegree Blackbelt and BBSI Master Instructor, an MBA and a prior service Army Captain. His missionis empowering lives through martial arts, with the vision of improving individuals, families and societies one blackbelt at a time. Shihan especially enjoys sowing into young lives as he believes it is his calling to “raise up tomorrow’s leaders today”. Shihan Steve also teaches leadership to business and other organizations and is an active blogger and vlogger on subjects related to improving one’s leadership and life. Go to www.tampakravmaga.comfor more info on Shihan and KMMA programs and/or join his leadership mastery community at https://www.facebook.com/meditationsonmastery/.