In his story, Irving shares about his challenges in life and how he moved to overcome them. He is a great inspiration as he empowers each of us to continue growing, learning, and evolving. This allows us to face change with the greatest ease and grace. What stood out the most in Irving’s story, is the idea of how the greater self-mastery we have of ourselves, the greater the freedom with which we live.

My journey of awakening and personal expansion

From young I had an excess of emotions. Like anything that is in excess, this is a doubled-edged sword. On the one hand, it gives me the ability to empathize with people and listen to them—I can feel their pain and understand where they are coming from. On the other hand, it is also very hard to control my emotions. In fact, when I was younger, I had very little control over my emotions and my thinking. I simply did not know how to discipline myself and allowed my emotional impulses and negativity to dictate my life.

To make matters worse, it was easy for external emotions to overwhelm me. As such, I suffered a lot of needless pain due to heartbreak and emotional attachments. Clearly, I needed to change if I was to bring about inner peace in my life. If I did not do so, I would most probably have continued to be very unhappy.

My Inspirations and Influences

I set out to find inner peace and self-mastery. But in the process, this led to change on a large scale in my life. Although I drew from various sources, the two that stand out the most are as follows:

The I Ching or Book of Changes

Change is the only constant in life and if we are not ready for it, it can upset our lives in nasty ways.

I did not set out to master change initially, but the I-Ching came knocking at my door. I remember I had my first Tarot reading done when I was around 24. It was a spine chilling experience. Even though I had never met the diviner before, he was able to reveal spot on information about my life. At that point, I decided I wanted to learn divination for myself.

Soon, a friend of mine mentioned a “fortune-telling” book used by the ancient Chinese known as the I-Ching. For some reason, the book intrigued me and I rushed down to my favourite bookshop to get it. This book changed my life forever.

Written a few thousand years ago by the Chinese, it was more than a simple “fortune telling book.” It was an ancient tome of wisdom. Its purpose was to deal with every possible change that could happen to human beings. Whatever the change was, the I-Ching had an appropriate response.

But that was not its only value. I learned that I could actually apply the I-Ching to whatever problem I faced by using it for divination. By asking the right question, I began to align my actions and choices with my circumstances. This helped me to manage change well, bringing stability into my life.

Self-Improvement

Knowledge is power because it opens our minds to new ideas that help us to better ourselves. When I first read eastern philosophy, I found an inner peace that I did not have before. Since it appealed to me, I began to read more of Zen and the works of Osho. This broadened my understanding of how people from different cultures managed and viewed the world. In the process, I also came across meditation that I began to practice to still my mind and bring peace to my life. But that was not all to my self-improvement. I also turned to self-help books to improve my effectiveness and myself. I blended all of these approaches to bring about the inner peace I sought.

Then, there was my love for history. I am a big history buff and I love to read about empires and their struggle against great odds. Some of my favourites are the Byzantines, Ottomans, Chinese and Japanese. What really interests me is how the prominent figures make choices and manage problems. With so much weighing on their decisions and actions, they need pragmatism and discipline. So I turned to history for role models to cultivate the qualities that I lacked.

My Positive Life Changes

With greater self-control and mastery, comes greater freedom. I am no longer a captive of my emotions or negativity. While I still feel strongly, I am able to detach myself from my emotions if needed. This has brought me a level of inner peace and happiness that I have never had in my early life.

To a large degree, I have maintained this state of mind with proper nourishment. This includes the continued reading of eastern philosophy and self-help books. On the one hand, I preserve the peace and harmony that I found. On the other hand, I continue to pick up new ideas to improve myself. Finally, I meditate regularly as well. All these factors contribute to my happiness and composure.

As expected, the I-Ching continues to play a large part in my life today. It helps me to manage change by giving me much needed insights into events to make the best choices possible. Because I am able to see the big picture, I can seize the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls along the paths I choose. No longer do I wonder “what if?” Instead, through logic and intuition, I bring harmony to my life by managing change better.

My Next Steps as an Evolving Being

Divination has always been my passion. My next step is to continue my practice of I-Ching divination and to use my skills and services to make a difference in the lives of others. I believe that if we have the ability to make a difference, we should not hesitate to do so. After all, that is the reason why we have the ability in the first place. But this is not all. I also have to continue to read widely and to work on my personal development as well. Only by continuing to evolve, learn and grow, can I offer the best advice to people who come my way. I will also continue sharing what I learn to help others on my blog Han of Harmony.

My Advice to Others

The journey of self-discovery is not easy. It usually involves massive changes. On the one hand, you must be receptive to new ideas and thinking that resonates deeply with you. On the other hand, you also have to be willing to change and grow. The process is never ending so it is vital that you have patience, perseverance and determination.

Knowledge is power. Here it helps to read as widely as you can. The more you read, the broader your horizons become. As you pick up new ideas, you are likely to find a philosophy that appeals to you. When you do embrace it and learn all you can from it. Then move on to the next concept or idea that appeals to you and add it to your knowledge.

While it can be tempting to compare ourselves with others, it is best not to do so. We are all at different stages of our development due to our unique natures and circumstances. So any comparison is largely pointless. All we can do is draw inspiration and ideas from others and apply them as best as we can to our own lives. In choosing the path to follow, follow the one that is closest to your nature and heart. It is the path that feels right which leads to inner peace and harmony. Your life is yours to live. Rise up and live it!