By Karin Leonard
spring/summer issue of “What is Enlightenment?” magazine compares
and contrasts self-mastery with spirituality.
Interestingly, the publishers had difficulty finding female
professionals in the personal development field willing to use the word
These women felt the term means controlling oneself and others,
and would block the process of spiritual unfolding from within.
Since I happen to be female, and because I have stood by
“Personal Mastery” ( as a column since 1993), I’d like to share a
the “Kaizen” of Personal Mastery means that you are committed to the
continuous improvement of everything you do, in all areas
of your life.
This is an ongoing journey of learning, where your results
reflect feedback for the future, not failure.
Moreover, mastery implies that because you value your
innate gifts, you set up structures and support in your life, in order
to fully and reliably express them.
So-called self-discipline, then, is not an act of
controlling and punishing yourself, but is motivated by self-love.
doesn’t block unfolding from within, but catalyzes and sustains
some exceptional folks it may be fine to just flow with the spontaneous
expression of the self, yet for the rest of us, both inspiration and structure
Inspiration alone risks loosing momentum, and structure without
spirit crumbles in the dust.
In my private practice for example, my clients may engage in deep
hypnotic process work, and we also discuss specific daily actions
to follow through on the inner shifts that have occurred.
does not necessarily imply “controlling” anyone, including oneself.
What works over time is to integrate the various and often
conflicting aspects of personality.
The goal is to get all of you on the same team, working together,
instead of internal struggle, sometimes bordering on warfare.
For example, you may well be able to make yourself stay
away from cigarettes, for a while…
But eventually the “control” stops working, and the old
habits come back.
Unless the reasons why you smoked in the first place are
addressed effectively, change is unlikely to last.
To develop enduring new good habits, all parts of your
being need to be honored and understood, not suppressed and conquered.
the end, Personal Mastery is the journey of tapping your full potential
as a human being – through being the leader of your life, and by
co-creating with the spirit that runs through you.