Awaken Your Mastery

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 2 months ago

Dr Demartini explains why, if you are inspired to awaken your state of mastery so you can live an amazing, empowered and fulfilled life, it is wise to ask quality questions to help move from a life of ungoverned reflexes and reaction to a life of governed reflection and action.



DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 2 months ago

"Knee-jerk reflex reaction" – a term that refers to the sudden kicking movement of the lower leg in response to a sharp tap on the patellar tendon, which lies just below the kneecap.

This type of response, known as a "stimulus response", is unlearned, rapid, involuntary, predictable, and primitive. It has very few options in that it either fires or it doesn't. It is all or none, black or white, not grey.

Another example is placing your hand on a hot stove. It would be unlikely that you’d need to think, strategize or plan to remove your hand. Instead, it would tend to happen instinctively as a reaction to external stimuli.

What you may not yet know is that each of these reflex responses, which you have little if any control over, originate in the most primitive part of the brain or spinal cord.

These spinal cord reflexes and those slightly more complex instincts responding from higher up in the amygdala operates as a survival mechanism – one of seeking and avoidance.

These instinctive (avoiding) and impulsive (seeking) survival responses are highly effective when a fight-or-flight response can mean the difference between life and death or so you don’t get badly burned or die of starvation

However, the majority of your life likely doesn’t warrant living in a constant state of fight-or-flight. This is especially poignant to understand if you would love to awaken your mastery and govern your life.

Here’s why.

When you are functioning from those lower parts of the brain, you’re most likely to have limited potential with few options and little freedom. It’s also where you tend to have very little control over your perceptions and actions because you mostly react without thinking, without mitigating risk or without making objective and balanced decisions.

On the other hand, as you go forward or up into the very front of the brain (the prefrontal cortex in your forebrain – also referred to as the “executive center”), there are massive amounts of interneurons and their associations. As such, you’ll be more likely to reflect on how you want to act instead of reflexively, impulsively, or instinctively reacting. This is where you activate your leadership, genius, creativity, objectivity, strategic planning, and mind-mastery.

To sum up so far: at the bottom, most primitive level of the brain and spinal cord, you have a REFLEX. At the higher, most advantaged part of the brain, you have REFLECTION. 

Reflection indicates that you stop, process, think about it, decide what you’re going to do with it, and then control your responses. In other words, you have governance when you’re in the more advanced part of the brain because you are able to take command of what you see or sense and decide what to do with it.

I often say that when you’re using the more primitive part of the brain, you’re likely to become a victim of your environment and a victim of your history. However, when you let your executive center take command, you become a master of your destiny.

In other words, you can choose to be a follower and be run externally by the world or a leader and run intrinsically from within.

The majority of people tend to spend their lives subordinating to the outside world and letting outside stimuli such as the news, TV, magazines, social media etc. run them instead of running their lives from within. As such, they don’t live by design and instead live a life of duty and reaction.

The ratios of your perceptions determine what areas of the brain are firing.

Here’s what I mean by that:

Suppose you meet someone and become completely infatuated with them - you are likely more conscious of their upsides and less conscious of their downsides.

Your ratio of perception would tend to more positive and less negative, or if extreme all positive and no negative.

The more polarized your perception, the more likely you are going to have a primitive survival response and activate your more emotionally and impulsive systems 1 thinking and the stronger your reaction to them.

It’s almost like predators in the wild that respond impulsively towards prey; or prey that respond instinctively away from predators for basic survival reactions.

In other words, when you have a highly subjectively biased interpretation of your reality it will trigger a dramatic survival response where you are reactive instead of proactive.

However, supposed your ratios of perception were more balanced and you were conscious that this individual possessed all the traits, both positive and negative. In that case, you would likely activate systems 2 thinking where you could think logically, objectively, neutrally, and less emotionally. As such, you would tend to strategically act instead of reacting. You would act with foresight more than react from hindsight.

Anytime you're in a highly polarized perceptual state, your primitive system tends to come online.

Anytime you become synthesized and balanced in your perception, the more advanced part of the brain comes online.

You have complete control over your perceptions. As William James said, the greatest discovery of his generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their perceptions and attitudes of mind.

One of the wisest ways to do this is to ask quality questions, because the quality of your life is based on the quality of the questions you ask.

It’s for this reason, amongst others, that I incorporated a methodology called the Demartini Method into my signature two-day program, the Breakthrough Experience, that I’ve taught over 1,160 times around the world and online.

If you ask quality questions that help you make unconscious information conscious, you can take any polarized perspective and balance it, thereby becoming fully conscious.

  • If you're infatuated, you're conscious of the upsides and unconscious of the downsides; conscious of the positives and unconscious of the negatives.
  • If you're resentful, you're conscious of the downsides and unconscious of the upsides; conscious of the negatives and unconscious of the positives.
  • When you're in a state of true love, you embrace both sides synchronously. True love is not an emotion of polarity, although most people tend to conflate infatuation (that is polarized) with love (that is balanced). It is a synthesized feeling integrating both sides at once.

If you’re inspired to have more love, true gratitude, and grace in life, it's wise to know HOW to ask the right questions to make you conscious of any unconscious parts, to balance your perceptions, activate your executive center and take command of your life. That is the path of mastery.

Let me give you an example of a few questions from the Demartini Method.

Suppose you are highly resentful of someone you work with, try ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What specific trait, action, or inaction do I perceive this individual displaying or demonstrating that I despise, dislike, resist and want to avoid most?

Try to narrow it down and define it in three to five words.

At this point, it is wise to avoid writing down how their behavior made you feel, because you’re in control of your feelings. It is your perception of their actions that created your feelings, not their actions. Instead, write down the action – for example, your work colleague verbally criticized you.

  1. Let me go to a moment where and when I perceive myself displaying or demonstrating the same or similar specific trait, action, or inaction, and go on to identify, where it was, when it was, who it was to and who perceived it?

If you go to a moment where you verbally criticize others (the same action you perceive in your work colleague), you effectively level the playing field and say, “Who am I to judge him for verbally criticizing me, when I do the same with others?”

In this way, you tend to calm down any emotional knee-jerk reaction, and move out of your amygdala and into your executive center.

  1. Let me go to a moment where and when I perceive this individual displaying or demonstrating the specific trait, action, or inaction that I dislike or despise most? How did the trait I despise serve me?

In other words, what are the benefits, advantages, and upsides? Just because you haven’t noticed it or become conscious of it, doesn’t mean that their behavior doesn’t serve you.

I've been helping people do this for more than three and a half decades, and I am certain that if you look carefully, you can find the blessings and benefits to anything. I've taken people through some of the most challenging situations and helped them find the hidden blessings and opportunities.

When you’ve stacked up the benefits until they equal the drawbacks, the event or action (in this case, your colleague’s verbal criticism of you) will likely be something you no longer perceive as being negative. Instead, you’re able to see and be equally conscious of both the downsides and the upsides, the negatives and the positives.

As such, instead of having an instinct to avoid it and have it run you, you give yourself permission to take command of your life with a more balanced state of mind. This frees you to become present, poised, purposeful, patient, prioritized, productive, and empowered instead of emotionally reactive and instinctively defensive.

  1. Let me go to a moment where and when I perceived myself displaying or demonstrating that same or specific trait, action, or inaction. Who did I do it to? How was it a benefit to them if it was something I resented?

This is a powerful question to help you clear out and dissolve any shame and guilt from past experiences because if you have guilt and shame from your past, they may result in you reacting to people who remind you of it.

If left uncleared, your subconscious mind will tend to keep bringing in people into your life that push your buttons.

Your buttons are actually your imbalanced perceptions that are stored as reverberating circuits in the brain that likely result in you reacting like an animal in a state of basic survival. Remember the knee-jerk reaction I referred to earlier? Imbalanced perceptions tend to have the same effect where you have little control and instinctively react without thinking.

In other words, while you may perceive that this particular individual pushes your buttons and that they’re the root cause of your reactive behavior, it is wiser to take command of your life by asking quality questions, balancing your perceptions, and changing your reactions to this individual.

  1. Let me go to a moment where and when I perceive this same individual doing the exact opposite behavior.

For example, think of a time when your business colleague praised you, because if you misperceive them to always be criticizing you, you may emotionally react or avoid them, which may undermine your relationship.

The truth is they have both sides. No one is only one-sided.  If you support them, they may be nice to you, and if you challenge them, they may be mean. To label somebody as being one-sided instead of seeing both sides is to not fully appreciate the wholeness of another individual. Once you balance the equation and become conscious of both sides, your reaction to them will calm down.

  1. Let me go to the moment where and when I perceive this individual displaying or demonstrating the specific trait, action, or inaction that I despise or admire most. At that exact synchronous moment, who was doing the opposite to whoever they were doing it to?

Every perception is a contrast - there’s a pair of opposites.

So, if you suddenly perceive somebody criticizing you, it would be wise to look for whoever you equally perceive is praising you. They may be real or virtual, close or distant, male or female, one or many.

Your mind won’t perceive without a contrast. This question brings balance to your mind by helping you see the synchronicity of opposites.

So, if you get criticized, it is wise to look for the simultaneous praise that was also present to lift you back up. If you get puffed up with pride, you would be wise to look for the criticism that occurs simultaneously to bring you back down.

Once you see both of them simultaneously, you are more able to be centered and authentic. When you are over inflated from praise or over deflated from criticism, either side leaves you inauthentic.

  1. Let me go to the moment where and when I perceive this individual displaying or demonstrating the specific trait, action, or inaction I admire or despise most. At that moment, what would have been the drawback if they’d done the exact opposite of the thing I despised, or the benefit if they’d done the exact opposite of the thing I admired?

For example, if in that moment, your colleague had verbally praised you instead of criticizing you, what would've been the drawback? This may be challenging at first, but it is a powerful way to help you balance your perceptions and break any lingering fantasies or nightmares that one sided expectations initiate.

As long as you have a fantasy about how life is supposed to be, you're unlikely to appreciate the other side that comes with it.

Life has two sides, like a yin and yang sign.

If you don't appreciate that Taoist understanding of the pair of opposites in life, you'll tend to constantly try to avoid some behavior in life and seek its equal and opposite in life.

The Buddha is believed to have said that the desire for that which is unobtainable, and the desire to avoid that which is unavoidable, is the source of human suffering.

All the potential survival-based emotions that are stored in your subconscious mind that are causing impulse and instincts, and causing you to react from the external world, are all dissolvable. It’s for this reason that I am inspired to share that you have the power to awaken your mastery and take command of your perceptions, decisions, and actions.

To sum up:

You have the ability to take complete control over your perceptions.

As William James said, the greatest discovery of his generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their perceptions and attitudes of mind.

If you intend to awaken your greatest state of mastery so you can live a masterful life, it is wise to ask quality questions. As I often say, the quality of your life is based on the quality of questions you ask and answer.

If you can learn to ask masterful questions, like the ones I have shared with you above, you may be amazed at what you can accomplish in your life. Life mastery begins with mind mastery.

Questions, like those in the Demartini Method that I teach in the Breakthrough Experience, help you liberate yourself from living in fight-or-flight mode where you react to life so you can awaken the executive center in your brain and instead take prioritized and productive actions.

As such, you can learn to govern your life, your perceptions, decisions, and actions from the inside instead of reacting (and over-reacting) to the world on the outside.


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