A master once asked me what I thought that I most gained from training with him. Many things came to mind and I mentioned his technique, understanding and expression of principles and teaching ability. He stopped me then and said: “The one thing that you gain most from me is the ability to have confidence in yourself. You trust that my ability is good and so you believe that what you are learning and developing is also good. Because of confidence in me you trust what I say, you trust what I show you – and so you develop confidence yourself.”
Over the years this statement has been reflected in my own teachings. I’ve seen students struggle to understand concepts but continue on trusting that I know the method and so having confidence in themselves.
An Aikido master once remarked to me that it was amazing how people would train the same basic technique for 40 years and still feel like they were scraping the surface of it, yet because of the confidence given to them by their teachers they would continue, knowing full well that the journey may not be completed in their lifetime and yet finding gratitude in the smallest increments of improvement.
I have often seen meditation practitioners who believing that they were getting no where simply gave up. What they were unable to see was the context and structure in which they were learning. They perceived elements such as the monkey-mind, lack of focus, agitating emotions and believed they were on the wrong track. Confidence waned and they dropped their practice.
I now see the remarkable value that confidence has in ones life because the fundamental thing that it give us is the ability to persist. If we believe that we are on the right track it is far easier to keep going. When we are in the dark, confused and unsure if we are going in the right direction, it is easier to give in to doubts.
This is one of the reasons why I encourage people to find teachers and mentors. Especially if our life reflects certain undeveloped skills or experiences which seem to just keep being allocated to the “tomorrow” folder. A time will come where most teachers or mentors would encourage us to develop confidence in ourselves. The sooner the better generally. Confidence is an energy which we release ourselves. It is simply that we do not choose to release it until we believe that we have reason to feel it. If we are doubtful people then we will perceive there being very little reason to release it. On the other hand confidence can be an addictive sensation so we may try to recreate situations and experiences where we can attain this feeling. We may try to dominate conversations and push our own views. This tends to cover up our own inner insecurity. There is a far more effective path. The path of self-knowledge.
Self-knowledge develops confidence simply because in knowing who we are we gain the opportunity to understand what gives us value and meaning, form our inner self into one united with deep purpose – and ultimately accept and love ourselves for who we are.
The path of developing confidence requires bringing sense to a universe that is seemingly senseless. In learning to control ourselves we learn to flow with what comes our way. We do not control the waves of life, we become master surfers and learn to direct our way through what is given to us. It is an exquisite balance of give and take. Ebb and flow.
Self-knowledge comes from connecting with experiences consciously. Being conscious we will see what is occurring. Self-knowledge comes from seeking information through books, people and other such resources. Path-notes that others leave are like journal entries that eventually unite all paths and thought. Seek the connection between all directions. Perhaps most importantly is to realize the mind which has already achieved full self-knowledge. This is also the mind which has attained true and pure confidence.
Work with this exercise:
Start exactly where you are. Expand your mind to encompass and observe your thoughts, emotions and feelings. Notice how they inter-react with your body.
Stretch your mind to effortlessly observe all the movement and flow within yourself.
Place no regulation on however your inner and outer landscape will express itself. Simply allow it to be.
At this point the eyes may be opened or closed. Allow yourself to see in your mind’s eye the you that is mastery personified.
See, feel and hear the essence of this being that is you.
How does it feel to know yourself fully and honestly?
How does it feel to meet every atom and point of consciousness with complete and effortless acceptance?
How does your inner master look?
Allow your consciousness to move completely into this reality.
Allow the dimension or mastery to be pulled completely into you.
Becoming the consciousness of mastery automatically shifts you to doing what a master would do to complete their journey. It draws in all the elements of meeting experiences consciously, attracting people, texts and other resources and integrating this knowledge at all levels of the body and mind. As consciousness opens up to being a master, aspects which may have been a struggle before will happen easier and with less effort. We essentially get out of our own way! As we begin to see that we are capable of being spontaneously effective, we realize a confidence that we can never achieve from attempts to control the external world. This is the power of true confidence.