You Can’t Do It By Yourself

Most of us desire to change for the better. And in our quest, we often turn to others for support, knowledge, or understanding. We realize we can’t always do it on our own. Indeed, this ongoing demand for help has given rise to hundreds of self-help books and websites teaching mental control, developing good habits, achieving life-changing goals, and unlocking our potential for success. Not all are helpful, but many are quite original and offer constructive advice.

The nature of this help varies widely, depending on what we’re looking for. We don’t need spiritual maturity or a sense of morality to be a financial success. We can succeed in any profession by mastering our emotions, having intellectual focus, and honing our skills. We all deserve to do well in life, especially if it’s done honestly, but none of this material success implies spiritual achievement. Our strengths and abilities can be used for serving ourselves or for serving the greater good.

In the God experience, success means spiritual success—improving contact with your Spirit Guide. Growth is spiritual growth, intellectual control is spiritual control, and intellectual focus is spiritual focus. A successful life is one guided by the spirit within.

Self-mastery, in order to be spiritually beneficial, must be spiritually dominated. Instead of whipping yourself into shape, submit yourself to what is true and right. Think less of seizing control of yourself with an iron fist, and more of embracing the way of God with all your heart and soul.

A man who conquers himself is greater than one who conquers a thousand men in battle.

– Buddha

Self-mastery is the art of self-control—not an act of self-denial. It is not an attempt to dominate the mind with the mind. Achieving true self-mastery comes about by actively following the lead of the Divine Spirit while having complete faith that it can and will transform you. You need to make only one choice, and that is to freely align all your choices with those of a higher source. Whenever you heed spiritual direction, every choice is the right choice.

Spirit Forces Can Transform You

There is no need to be a slave to self-denial by keeping an incessant, self-conscious vigilance over the desires of the flesh. Instead, learn to trust in the guidance of the Spirit within you. Rather than trying to change yourself by force of mind or by the application of fear and guilt, learn to love the Divine Source. When you come to love and adore all that God stands for, all that he/she is, you will discover the power to live a masterful life in the spirit.

True self-mastery rests on your faith in the Spirit to accomplish what you cannot do alone. It is learning to accept and trust this loving and wise counsel. This doesn’t mean that everything about your life is preordained or that no effort is required on your part. You can choose many different careers and many different paths to God. But on each path, there are moral and spiritual decisions to be made according to the way of God—the way of love.

Your secret of the mastery of self is bound up with your faith in the indwelling spirit, which ever works by love. 143.2.7

– The Urantia Book

The ability of your inner Spirit to literally transform you, to spiritualize you, is greatly enhanced whenever you believe it can happen. Come to realize that your undaunted faith in the power of God to transform you, actually allows God to transform you (see Have Faith – But Faith in What?).

Whenever you hesitate to accept the direction of your Spirit Teacher, take some time to evaluate how well your choices have served you to date. If on reflection, you realize your decisions have led you to a life of anxiety, depression, anger, grief, or any kind of mental anguish, then what do you have to lose by beginning a new, invigorated life in which you allow yourself to be guided by an all-loving and all-wise Spirit?

Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved, is that of overcoming self.

– Francis of Assisi

Rather than trying to enforce self-righteousness on yourself, it’s more constructive to imagine yourself living out your highest ideals and, in the process, you regenerate your spiritual self. One way to begin, is by meditating on divine values, praying for strength and courage, having faith in the goodness of God, and by adoring and worshiping the perfect, magnificent, and glorious Source of all creation.

Start With Self-Evaluation

Self-mastery begins with your faith in the power of spirit to transform you, but it also requires some measure of self-knowledge. If you have no idea what needs to change within yourself, then what is there to master? And if you are convinced you are adequate enough as you are, then attaining true self-knowledge will be a difficult task. Such self-satisfied convictions will forever confine you to a life of mediocrity and stagnation.

To know oneself is, above all, to know what one lacks. It is to measure oneself against Truth, and not the other way around.

– Flannery O’Connor

Self-evaluation is not self-criticism, but it is self-critique. It entails an honest assessment of your thoughts and actions and how they impact your life and the lives of others. Often, you can gain perspective by asking others, particularly friends and family, how they view you and your ideas—but prepare to be humbled!

Indeed, humility is an essential state of mind for achieving true self-knowledge. Humility, sincerity, and courage are spiritual qualities that allow you to see yourself as you truly are. And you can know yourself even better when you couple these inclinations with any spiritual technique of communion, such as meditation, prayer, or worship.

Any kind of communion helps because it makes you more receptive to the workings of your soul and your inner Spirit, providing you with spiritual perspectives and the ability to conduct a more objective evaluation of your spiritual life—it is seeing yourself not only as others see you, but as the angels see you.

Know yourself as angels know you. 48:6.25

– The Urantia Book

Allow the Spirit to Act

Once again, neither God nor his angels will ever interfere with your freewill. Spiritual beings will never attempt to drive you along a righteous path by beating you with truncheons of fear, guilt, or shame. Instead, they entice you to follow this high moral road with carrots of love, understanding, and compassion. And if you sincerely search for this desirable path, spiritual forces are always ready and willing to clear the way.

The enlightened path of spiritual liberation is forever open to you. It is always accessible. There is no one and no thing in the entire universe that can prevent you from walking the path of love and faith—no one but yourself. You enter and follow of your own freewill, not because you think you should or because you feel guilty, but because you wholeheartedly desire to.

If you don’t feel any spiritual inspiration, you can ask for it. The spiritual powers within you and around you will do everything they can to assist you, but they can do little until you make a conscious and sincere decision to allow them to help you—and then have faith, believe they are helping you. When you truly seek wisdom and divine assistance, have no doubt, you will receive it.

Believe the Spirit Is Acting

Because most spiritual achievements occur unconsciously, it may be frustrating at times to think that nothing of any import is happening and then to lose heart in our quest. This is one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome when starting out.

But our doubts and fears are our only real enemies, and we must refuse to entertain them. To succeed, we learn to put aside our troubled past and to stop dwelling on apparent failures, past regrets, or being confused. Take heart that the more you believe God is helping you, the more you are helped, regardless of your fears and failures or whether or not you understand how it works.

Imagine, accept, and believe that God is helping you.

– A. K. Mozumdar

Use the power of faith to change your world. By believing and trusting that the Spirit within you has the ability to bring out the best in you, you open a spiritual channel that allows it to do exactly that. Believe God is helping you and then, with complete confidence, sit back and listen—be receptive to the spiritual energies that will transform you. Welcome them into your life.

Over time and with some reflection, you will come to recognize the amazing changes within yourself. You will soon discover that your spiritual accomplishments are genuine, spontaneous, and progressive.

Make Courageous Choices

All choices, spiritual or otherwise, determine the consequences and direction of your life. Exercising choice is the greatest power of change you possess.

Every decision you make either impedes or facilitates the function of the Adjuster [Spirit]. 110.6.6

– The Urantia Book

Make courageous choices to cultivate your soul growth by becoming more receptive to the continuous stream of spiritual forces trying to help you. Make the daring choice to cooperate with your inner Spirit.

Be bold with life! Go out and do something worthwhile, not just for yourself, but for everyone else—do it for the world. Choose to be better. Choose the spiritual life. Choose courage over fear. Choose good over evil. Choose love over hate. Choose compassion over intolerance. Choose truth over error. Choose beauty over ugliness. Choose to follow the Spirit wherever it may lead you. These are more than moral choices—these are courageous choices.

I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear.

– Oprah Winfrey

Make the supreme choice to consecrate your life to the spirit way. Risk everything you are and everything you have for the discovery of truth, for the advancement of spirit, and for the love of God.

Balance Your Self

In all things, seek balance. It’s easy to overdevelop one area of our character at the expense of another and, by doing so, we impede our spiritual progress. This is why it’s important to take a balanced approach, giving equal weight to our physical health, intellectual development, and spiritual status.

It’s good to work out at the gym, lift weights, run on the treadmill, or swim twenty lengths. It’s great to stay in shape. But we should also take time for intellectual development, which entails a constant expansion of knowledge and an increasing understanding of relationships, meanings, and values.

But intellectual development can be overdone. And when it is, we tend to overthink the simple things in life. We risk becoming arrogant, easily distracted, or prone to mood and anxiety disorders. Worst of all, when intellectual knowledge is deprived of wisdom and spiritual insight, it’s difficult for the indwelling Spirit to spiritualize our thoughts. And this is why it’s helpful to balance our intellectual lives with good physical health and enlightened spiritual perspectives.

Similarly, any undue focus on spirituality at the expense of body and mind has its own problems, such as a tendency to become fanatical in beliefs, extremist in views, or overly dogmatic.

Overspiritual development tends to produce a fanatical and perverted interpretation of the spirit leadings of the divine indweller. 110.6.4

– The Urantia Book

The safest way to advance is to live a balanced and harmonious life, giving equal attention to a healthy lifestyle, average intellectual development, and progressive soul growth. By doing so, we enable the Spirit to function more efficiently on our behalf.