The Path to Self Mastery

By Rod Morin Waking Times

Superficial Mind

The superficial mind is a program working within the hardware of the brain. This program is an operating system that has an architecture that includes the sub programs of ego, logic and reason. The superficial mind also includes what is referred to as the sub-conscious, which runs the body’s intrinsic functionality.

Be certain to understand that no thought is ever created within the superficial mind. A program is but a program after all, regardless of its intricacies or capacity for upgrades. Thus, on our path to self mastery, we can bypass any system, modality, technique or practice that remains focused on or within the realm of thesuperficial mind.

Now, if the superficial mind is the program running within the hardware of the brain, then where did that programming originate and how was it loaded in the first place? More on this later.

The Reality of the World

We humans think of ourselves as walking and talking bodies continuous in our thought and motion. We live in this world that is, without doubt, defined by our senses. We sense the reality of the world through the five senses of sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. Yes, some would say we have a sixth sense of intuition so we’ll include that sixth sense in this essay.

It is a fact that we sense this world we call reality, of that there is no doubt. But what is “sense”?

To “sense” means to interpret. To interpret necessitates assumption.

To expound on this idea let’s look at the sense of sight and what we see. Firstly, you can’t see anything without light. Everything you have ever seen has been a due to light bouncing off an object, which then follows a path to the receptacle of you eye. This then transmutates into an electrical impulse that travels along the optic nerve, which then is translated by a specific part of the brain using a specific program. Thus you have never seen anything first hand. What you have done is re-imaged information. The hardware software configuration has interpreted information and that is why we use the term “sense” of sight. The same system functionality is used for the rest of the senses, including intuition. The term “common sense” is rooted in the mass conceptualization that humans refer to as reality. To put it bluntly, we play in a world of interpretations.

The seeker’s path inevitably leads to this finding. The question then becomes how to use this knowledge to further our quest for self mastery.


The concepts engaged in the earlier part of this essay basically boil down to the fact that what you perceive on a daily basis within your life is not what you thought it was.

For millennia, the great sages have always said that the world that we perceive is false. The Vedic philosophy, as well Hinduism and Sikhism, call it maya, while the Buddhists’ refer to samsara, different names for the same idea. The idea being that what man perceives as reality is illusory.

The true seeker MUST work through this paradigm-shifting idea in order to proceed. One cannot just bypass this part of the process without fully digesting it. Digestion can often take years because the reality we call waking life is such a fantastic show!

This worldly reality is best conceptualized with the analogy of a cinema. When you go out to the movies, you are seated in some comfy chairs, chewing on some popcorn, and, if the movie is good, you get absorbed into the show. When the bad guy gets kicked in the crotch, you flinch; when the hero triumphs at the end, you cheer. Yet it is all illusion. This analogy is VERY close to the truth of the situation. I say this becauselight is at the basis of the cinema show, just as it is “here” in what we call reality.

If you can grasp the truth of what I am sharing, then you’ll have even more questions. But I will move on in order to focus on the specific topic of this essay.

If our reality is illusion, then one might say that “nothing matters,” as it’s all just some type of play, show or game. There is a bit of truth in that reasoning, but this knowledge should lead to a higher understanding ifyou continue to seek the bread crumbs along the path.

Fully understanding that this reality is an illusion does not diminish the fact that there is a consciousness perceiving the show. This is where the jolt comes, this will be the “a-ha!” moment. Truly understanding, grasping, digesting the fact that you are that conscious awareness which experiences all things is the enlightenment. The Taoists have eight immortals in their folklore, and, of course, there is Buddha and Christ and Zoraster, all enlightened. But all “enlightenment” means is that they have fully digested the truth, nothing more. Immortality has nothing to do with the body living forever; immortality is our nature, but most just don’t know it due to being immersed, anchored and subject to this reality.

There’s a great Zen saying:

Before enlightenment, chop wood carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood carry water.

What this means is that conscious awareness will not change after enlightenment, after realization of the truth. Conscious awareness cannot change as it is the primal witness to the cinema show. Think about it, and you might grasp why all those statues of the Buddha show him with that slight all-knowing smile.

About the Author

Rod Morin operates Barrie Tai Chi & Qigong studio in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, focusing on Yang-style Tai Chi, Taiji Qigong and Ziran Qigong. Rod has taught hundreds of students basic tai chi and energy work while striving to incorporate the profound teachings of taiji philosophy into his daily life. Please visit his website at

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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