Larry Mullins

March 12, 2011

Discovering the Secret of Self-Mastery

When I was a young man, I had an experience that gave me my first inkling of what it feels like to have power over thought and a deep sense of self. When I made this discovery, I was certain I had found the secret of the universe. I had yet to learn that having knowledge of something is not the same as knowing it or owning it. We really do not own something until we incorporate it into our experience and share it with others. Yet, even though I would find it necessary to retrace my steps time and again and relearn the value of self-mastery, the original experience was a critical beginning. It was my introduction to the power of mind control and self-induced inner peace.

As an eighteen-year-old, I lived in a dysfunctional home. I was angry, poor, and had little hope. In this shadowy world, there were many temptations and diversions, but few positive possibilities. Or so it seemed. Too bored and indifferent to study, I barely managed to graduate from high school. Soon, I was working as a laborer in a local lumberyard. On the surface, I appeared defiant and confident, but inside I was in constant fear, turmoil, and despair. It was as though I was not really fully awake and was watching the world through a long tunnel. Then, I happened into a barbershop and met a man known in the neighborhood as “Don the Barber.” From there, everything began to change.

A haircut was a rare occasion for me in those days. I had passed the tiny barbershop many times, but had never entered it before. Don was middle-aged and walked with a severe limp. His intensity and friendliness immediately struck me as unusual. We were alone in the shop, and as he cut my hair, he talked about mind power, human will, and other subjects that seemed peculiar to me. I could not imagine why he wanted to discuss such offbeat ideas with me. I answered most of his overtures and questions with a grunt or a few mumbled words.

When I paid this unusual man, he suddenly handed me a small book with a worn blue cover. I turned the old tome over in my hands and noted the title: Raja Yoga … or Mental Development, by Yogi Ramacharaka. “Why don’t you read this book, and tell me what you think?” he suggested. In those days, such books were unusual in our culture. I was deeply suspicious. A yogi, to me, was a skinny guy with a turban who could lie upon a bed of nails.

“You don’t believe all this stuff, do you?” I asked.

He smiled. “Well, just read it. Think of it as a cafeteria of ideas. If one appeals to you, take it. Otherwise, pass it by.”

I tucked the book under my arm and promised to return it. When I got home, I decided to look the book over. I began to read by the afternoon light of my window. I read words unlike anything I had ever read before: “Before man attempts to solve the secrets of the Universe without, he should master the Universe within—the Kingdom of the Self.”

For a young man who had concluded he was fighting a losing battle with a hostile universe, the concept of a refuge within—a Kingdom of Self—was irresistible. The idea that there is another, better self within, with access to powerful resources unavailable to my present state of consciousness, was thrilling. It seemed to me that I had been playing a life role far below my capacities, one I did not relish. Down deep, I wanted to be something else. Raja Yoga declared that my “real” self was hidden by the fake outer persona, a facade that I presented to the world so that I could cope and get along. I was even more astounded by the assertion that it was possible for any normal person to control the mind and achieve inner peace. The idea that I could control thought was completely unique to me. The greatest of all demoralizers is the state of being in which we are helpless victims of our thoughts.

Regarding the many grievances that tortured my mind, I read:

“Yet this is an absurd position—for man, the heir of all the ages: hag-ridden by the flimsy creatures of his own brain … It should be as easy to expel an obnoxious thought from your mind as it is to shake a stone out of your shoe; and till a man can do that it is just nonsense to talk about his ascendancy over Nature, and all the rest of it. He is a mere slave, and prey to the bat-winged phantoms that flit through the corridors of his own brain. Yet the weary and careworn faces that we meet by the thousands, even among the affluent classes of civilization, testify only too clearly how seldom this mastery is obtained. How rare indeed to meet a MAN!”

I read and read. I was unaware of time or space. When the light from the window was so dim I could not read anymore, I looked up and observed the dark disorder I lived in. There is a better way to live, I thought. Of course, I knew that if I had money I could live on a higher material level. But the stunning new idea was: There is a better way to live now. I could create my own world within! It could be my own gallery of peace, freedom, and joy. I reasoned that if my mind could generate and sustain thoughts as clear and pure as a mountain stream, no one could hurt me anymore. No matter what others did, they could not destroy, or even affect, my inner kingdom—unless I let them. It all seemed so simple.

The pivotal, enduring insight I gleaned that day was this assurance that I had choices. I gained the knowledge that no matter what circumstances surrounded me, I could master my inner life. At the time, I had no idea how difficult such inner mastery would turn out to be. It would take the better part of a lifetime and what seemed to be endless grief before I could consistently win the battle within. Even so, in times of despair, the original revelation that we can control our thoughts gave me hope. That day, I also accepted responsibility for the secret place, my inner life. The strange book that Don the Barber lent me made me conscious of self, of being, in a way I had never imagined before.                                                           LARRY MULLINS

March 28, 2010

Peak Experiences that Change Lives … Yours may be Next

In Abraham Maslow’s studies of Self-Actualizing people, nearly all of them reported sudden, unexpected moments of overwhelming joy, the legendary Peak Experience. However, though we rarely if ever talk about them, virtually all of us have had Peak Experiences. The precious moments of transcendence are so intimate, so personal, that we are not inclined to share them with anyone. In fact, Maslow noted that a discussion of these highest states of consciousness seemed to embarrass most people, including Self-Actualizers. And yet, for a fortunate few people (including Maslow himself), a particular Peak Experience was a life-changing experience. It was as though the curtains of material reality parted, and revealed another reality. This Peak Experience permanently altered their world view. For most of us, however, Peak Experiences come and go and become faint memories. We may even suppress them.
What makes the difference? In a recent ezine article, I tell the story of my own transforming experience. I note in that article that those magnificent moments of vivid transcendence soon began to fade, and I was left with only a memory. The cold world of material reality began to intrude. Briefly here, I can tell you that I came to eventually learn that this fading reality is experienced by even the highest and most noble Self-Actualizers. This by no means indicates the Peak Experience was not real. It rather indicates that what we are occasionally able to see is a reality that has not yet been made manifest. It is the domain of what is not yet real, but ought to be. Material reality is the domain of science, the domain of fact, the domain of what is. Peak Experience reality is the domain of the visionary, the domain of what ought to be.
I came to understand that most of us fear the Peak Experience. Self-Actualizers somehow embrace it. The fading glory of their particular Peak Experience does not disturb them because they are able to live their unfinished lives as though they are able to see what others have not yet seen. They have been chosen by a great ought-to-be. And they have yielded to it and in surrendering to it they have been lifted. They belong to it. There is no higher calling for any of us than this.

August 7, 2009

99% of Salespersons Lack these Two Ingredients for Super Success

The supreme alchemy for success is a perfect balance of confidence and love. The more confidence you have, the better. Provided you have an equal degree of compassion. The more compassion you have, the better … provided you have an equal degree of confidence.

Leading salespersons have this perfect alchemy. Great leaders have it. It’s not true that you can have too much confidence. You need an absolutely impregnable self-respect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this provided, that is, you have an equal degree of respect for others. Compassion tempers confidence, and changes it from being overbearing and annoying to being gracious and passionate.

It is equally true that you cannot have too much compassion. Provided, that is, it is balanced by an equal degree of confidence and self-respect. Impregnable self-confidence changes saccharine and deferential behavior into a spiritual fragrance that engages and allures other personalities.

This is the ultimate formula, the fail-safe alchemy for success. Simple, yet profoundly difficult. In fact, only one percent of humankind learn to master the elegant balancing act of enlightened self-interest and service. They are known as self-actualizers.

Learn how to become one at .

July 26, 2009

Beyond the cults of self-improvement

Filed under: psychology,science,values — Tags: , , , , , , — LarryMullins @ 5:12 pm

Abraham Maslow has been unjustly blamed by some for fostering a “me generation” of ego-centered narcissism. Reasonable examination of Maslow’s ideas will show little correlation to the fads of “self-development” that are centered around ego-embellishment. These cults seem to form around gurus, or ultra-energetic motivators who leap upon a stage and assure their adoring flock that they, too, can be “great.” It is professed that if one can only become fearless enough, free enough, brilliant enough, and can visualize success vividly enough, one can find happiness. The facts of life do not support this notion.

The failure of the “ME” philosophy has now become as obvious as the insolvency of the Freudian “ethic.” Yet, in the face of our disillusioning role models, unhappy celebrities, and the continuous unraveling of the lives of rich and famous personalities, many aggressive would-be “achievers” persevere in worshiping the gods of power, narcissism, and fame — and to “keep score” with money and material possessions. See more at