All spiritual philosophies are forms of self-programming. Self-actualizing in the age of crisis is no different. We recognize the individual and system as a single self and direct our focus and energy toward aligning our efforts with the single truth and the relational universe. The more aware we are of our place and space, the greater our power to direct the flow of our time experience. Drawing from our infinite imaginations, the individual leverages information in ways that breathe life into the universe where there was none before. When we choose to direct our focus and energy toward developing ourselves, we evoke the power of soulcraft, the proactive shaping of our being that occurs through the development of routine, discipline, and mastery.
There are many labels for the practice in the present day. The idea that we should better ourselves as individuals is not new. What is new is how this practice aligns us with the single truth. In a universe of perpetual change, soulcraft is a formula for ensuring that the direction of change we experience aligns with our visions of creation. Is what I am doing now, in this moment, drawing me closer to the time experiences I envision? If yes, stay the course. If not, I must change the direction of my focus and energy. I imagine I am not alone in sharing my experience of how easy it is to squander time on something like scrolling through social media, playing video games, watching the latest streaming series, or obsessing over a sports team. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying entertainment, doing so without intent can easily overwhelm our desire to create.
Soulcraft is a top-down process. The individual imagines what they desire to create and works backward to lay out the steps necessary to breathe life into their vision. It is best expressed by the individual with the access and agency necessary to recognize their universal uniqueness as embodied imagination. There is no right or wrong direction of individual soulcraft. The paths are as varied and unique as the individuals walking them. Self-actualizing in the age of crisis is a process of spreading imagination throughout the universe. Any form of spiritual practice requiring strict adherence to predefined visions of how to be is in direct conflict with the single truth and should therefore be discarded. Our ability to remove ourselves from the momentum of the moment and evaluate where the wave carries us is a habit of awareness that contains immense power. It is a defining aspect of soulcraft and an integral part of individual actualization and the shaping of the sovereign individual.
The single truth provides a scope through which we can develop and practice active soulcraft. Every moment spent directing focus and energy expands our humanity in specific directions while leaving other possibilities behind. Individual actualization is an effort to keep us aware and active in this process so that we may play a prominent role in directing it. Past meaning systems were hierarchical in their spiritual purpose. There was a single goal—ascension into heaven. For centuries, spiritual leaders developed shortcuts to achieving this goal, in many ways reflecting our present circumstances of being above common law once a threshold of wealth is crossed. There are no goals within individual actualization outside of the ones we set for ourselves. It is a perpetual process of becoming. We frame our objectives around process and effort, leaving our self-worth unbound to outcomes. There is no right or wrong way to practice, no inherent good or bad paths. Soulcraft is an act of self-defining that can take many forms. We develop habits in specific directions, which then become routines, and continue to evolve into disciplines. Our consistent effort results in mastery, a level of freedom, understanding, and creativity that infuses life with loving imagination.
One of the unfortunate aspects of inhabiting time experiences with an eventual expiration date is that we cannot do and be all the things we desire. There are only so many moments in a day, so much energy and focus one can exert before we require rest and replenishment. When choosing what we want to pursue, there are several aspects to consider, but the process always begins with imagination. How do I envision myself in the future? What am I doing? Who am I surrounded by? How am I serving others? What am I uniquely great at, and why do I love it? These are just a few questions the individual may ask themselves before embracing a direction worthy of their focus and energy. Through vision development, we create information anchors—goals—that draw us nearer to them. We work backward from our destination to explore and understand what we must do to breathe life into our imagination. Once the path is defined, the process is always the same, directing focus and energy within the moment. Given our unique starting points, the directions and intensity of our efforts will vary by individual and circumstance. While not everyone is aware of their imaginative infinity, all can exercise it. During my journey, I developed a simple method that I have used to guide myself through various paths of mastery across a broad spectrum of knowledge (See Figure 6). It is a top-down approach that breaks down large visions into small tasks.
This simple framework for organizing the journey can be applied to any vision in any direction. It begins with imagination. We have to have an objective first, a specific form of time experience we would like to inhabit, a goal that anchors us to a known future of our own creation. It acts as a beacon, guiding the direction of our focus and energy through the turbulent seas of the moment. While tasks are detailed, our primary objective should avoid absoluteness. Rarely does the journey happen according to plan, and attempting to defy the single truth will only lead to disappointment.
Once the individual establishes their vision of creation, they begin to imagine backward. What major happenings must occur before the moment can be real? You continue to break down the vision into smaller bits until you reach the foundation of becoming: focus and energy in a specific direction. Include tasks you can act toward immediately and that will make themselves available after other tasks are completed. Individual and system are similar in that both reach growth plateaus that cannot be surpassed without the development of alternative directions. As you complete tasks and milestones, new priorities will likely arise. When that happens, focus on reviewing and reimagining the path laid out toward your vision. You can approach this framework for action as a perpetual rough draft, welcoming revisions and reimagination whenever necessary. It’s a method of organization that easily translates into widely available digital task management applications, allowing a high degree of accessibility and convenience within the practice. Our journeys are of constant revision, evaluating where we are and where we intend to be and adjusting course accordingly. Persistent planning and evaluating how and where we direct our focus and energy ensure that we maximize our ability to redirect our trajectory whenever necessary.
Active soulcraft is applicable to both short- and long-term objectives. The simple framework we discussed earlier may be too complex a system for accomplishing some objectives while being inadequate for others. In many directions, mastery is repetitive. The relational universe ensures that the more we direct focus and energy in a specific direction, the more we become it. This is especially accurate for developing our creative and technical skills. If you want to be a great musician, all the planning in the world won’t matter if you are unwilling to dedicate the focus and energy necessary to develop mastery within the moment. Soulcraft is always happening in all moments—such is the nature of an informational relational universe. It is vital to remember this when we are failing ourselves: allowing the flow of our time experience to take us in directions we should otherwise avoid. Like all things governed by a single truth, developing discipline through routine is a choice we make independent of the circumstances we find ourselves in. It is one that we must make over and over again throughout our lives to bring our visions to life.
Our ability to successfully practice active soulcraft correlates to our willingness to dedicate ourselves to a specific direction. Mastery takes time, patience, and practice. As any expert will tell you, the effort of becoming isn’t always fun. This is why individuals should seek to master knowledge and practices that bring joy and empower them to strengthen others. Maintaining discipline through the rough patches is much easier when our focus fosters love within us. We might experience joy within the moment we imagine, for the good we will create during our journey, for the self-empowerment that mastery will bring us, or for continuously getting up after hard lessons knock us off our feet. Developing routines and habits lays the foundation for event chains of knowledge sharing yet unknown to the universe. The relational universe illustrates our intimate connection with all others within any particular moment. This wholeness of being ensures that if we dedicate focus and energy toward strengthening others, we strengthen ourselves. This is why practicing active soulcraft in meaningful directions is vital to individual success.
When exploring directions to pursue, an individual should be mindful of the crisis of doubt, desire, dogmas, and death. Do not allow your fears to dictate the direction of your journey. Ignore the paths others have set for you. Soulcraft is a process by and for the individual, the individual’s chance to develop themselves in the direction of their choosing. Sometimes we must dedicate time to introspection to understand what we really want. All of us are subject to long trajectories of learning and understanding beyond our control. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Explore. The development of discipline and routine is a practice. This approach to developing a more expansive humanity is guided by the single truth, leveraging our knowledge of choice within the moment. It also starkly contrasts the beliefs and practices of past spiritual technologies. To believe that one direction of focus and energy is somehow less than another is rooted in philosophies of hierarchy we reject.
Soulcraft is universal and accessible to all with awareness of the practice and the security to practice it. Yet many with the ability and knowledge avoid it. We wait for a better time, more motivation; we are afraid of committing and failing, anything to avoid the responsibility of creating ourselves in our image. Do not be intimidated by your latent power. Practicing active soulcraft is absolutely within your grasp. It has nothing to do with motivation and everything to do with discipline. Motivation is a feeling typically related to the convenience of devoting focus and energy toward our intention within a particular moment. Discipline is action. It frees us from the burdens associated with doing difficult things because it separates our emotions from circumstances. Individuals practicing active soulcraft discipline themselves by being aware of their time experience and, at times, choosing to do things they do not want to do. There is no secret to discipline outside of doing. Doing when you’re tired, doing when you’d rather be doing something else, doing when you really just don’t want to, and most importantly, doing now. Repeatedly doing develops routine, routine reinforces discipline, and disciplined routine develops mastery.
Sometimes we avoid trying because we are afraid of the inevitable disappointment that comes with being bad at something we want to be good at. Fear not, because with enough focus and energy, your success is certain. Earlier I shared my journey of letting go of my commitment to the active practice of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. What I didn’t share is that for the first two years of my twenty-five-year grappling career, I amassed a competitive record of two wins and twenty-two losses. When the individual embraces the single truth, there is always choice within the moment. What eventually led me to mastery was not innate talent or superior athleticism, far from it. My mastery developed through routine and my commitment to just showing up for practice. Directing our focus and energy toward a specific direction continually reshapes us in an image of our own choosing.
Our practice of soulcraft is aided by our ability to inhabit authenticity within our time experience. Specifically, letting go of what no longer serves us. When we practice disciplined routine to align with the single truth, we change ourselves in the process. The directions we choose become a part of us, a wholeness of internal and external infinity that develops a more expansive individual. This is the nature of a relational universe, and the choice to change direction can be difficult. Sometimes our paths fork, and the only option is to leave behind practices, places, and people we share deep connections with in order to become more. This is fine, and the individual should bear no burden in redirecting themselves. Unfortunately, redirecting the focus of your choices also means leaving others behind. At times, they will be people you love and care about, and that’s not easy. If two individuals stop sharing alignment of their focus and energy, they will cease to grow together and begin to grow apart. This is especially relevant when making sizable alterations in your course, like significantly reducing or stopping the practice of a present mastery and starting anew in a different direction. Knowing when to redirect your focus after achieving your objectives can be challenging, but it always begins with imagination. There are just not enough moments in the day to do all that we wish we could. In my personal journey, I have reimagined and redirected myself several times. Some things you never stop doing; you just reduce their level of priority. Others you abandon completely. Do not waste energy burdening yourself with feelings of guilt. When you continue to devote energy toward a focus that misaligns with your values and vision, you will fail to realize the extent of your power. You owe nothing to the past, but the present demands much. Creation is an act of the universe expressing itself. Whenever possible, the individual must strive to create something they love. It is the highest act of divinity the individual may express.
Note the distinct difference between letting go and quitting because the journey is difficult. The language of difficulty measures our present skills in contrast with the tasks at hand. These surpluses or deficits only represent information, but it’s easy to become frustrated or flustered when things don’t go our way. I, too, want everything immediately and perfect at all times, but the human time experience ensures otherwise. Separate your individual worth from the challenges you face within a given moment. Know that failures of all scales and scopes are still progression toward becoming more. Mastery is a direct path toward crafting meaningful time experiences, but it does not define the parameters of our identity. Our humanity is too expansive to be identified as a specific set of routines and habits. It is common practice to use phrases like “I am” when referring to our productive and personal activities, but it is an inappropriate use of language given our understanding of the single truth and the relational universe. These activities certainly influence us but can never fully encompass us.
Once we commit to soulcraft in a specific direction and develop the discipline necessary for sustained routine, mastery follows. The individual inhabits a state of flow, synchronicity with the moment where intuition and feeling leverage a depth of knowledge that empowers us to shape the moment effortlessly. The martial artist Bruce Lee spoke of being like water, an excellent illustration of the master at work. The individual does not seek to force the universe into a specific shape, rather they become the shape necessary to meet the needs of the moment. The detachment that mastery brings extends beyond the process; it changes our intent. Things that used to matter as we developed our talents, such as demonstrating competency and competitiveness, no longer do. Mastery is not a destination but a starting point for our creative divinity. Just as the individual dictates the why and how behind their path to mastery, they also dictate the directions yet to come. Earlier we explored the embrace of redirection. At the age of twenty-six, I decided to change the primary direction of my focus and energy away from jiu-jitsu and toward building a business. My journey taught me that high-level jiu-jitsu competition wasn’t for me, and progressing to mixed martial arts was out of the question—I had and still retain a strong preference for not getting punched in the face. Without a clear vision guiding my journey into competitive martial arts beyond the black belt, I knew that redirection was necessary. It wasn’t easy. I left behind a second family. Our journeys to mastery are not about achievement; they are about becoming more. When the individual masters something, they develop a relationship with their internal infinity that few will ever know.
Throughout my journey, I have had the privilege of knowing many great masters. Some are renowned in their verticals and highly recognizable public figures; others are unrecognizable in a crowd. One of the most effective practitioners of soulcraft I know is my friend Dave. We met through our mutual journeys of mastering beer brewing. Dave brews some great beer. He is also a master runner. He’s completed several ultra-marathons and keeps a relentless routine. His pizzas are works of art, the kind you pay highly for at a fancy restaurant, except they’re better than you imagined. While none can master the practice of meditation, Dave has been embracing a ritualistic consistency in his approach. He is a Buddhist scholar, mindful of his application within the moment. A loving partner and a pack leader for two pooches, Dave’s application of soulcraft is seemingly limitless. The common theme throughout Dave’s directing of focus and energy is the wholeness of his approach. He pursues for no other reason than pursuing. His development of himself serves only to extend his humanity but in the process elevates those surrounding him. All possess Dave’s capacity to direct focus and energy toward becoming more. Unfortunately, few choose to exercise it with such precision.
Mastery does not limit the individual to specialization in just a few directions, although some may choose it. The beauty of inhabiting an exponentially expanding universe is that every journey toward mastery holds the possibility of a profession. We can share what we master in many ways. Becoming an expert in a few related domains is a choice to pursue deep knowledge. Like the present-day PhD, the specialist develops niche insights few others possess. Alternatively, some might choose to develop mastery in unrelated focuses. The generalist practices discipline in their routines to develop mastery like any other, but their broad experiences provide the ability to connect dots that others may miss. The generalist will rarely be the pinnacle of knowledge in a specific area, but their ability to imagine alternatives to the present way of doing things is unparalleled. There is no wrong way to practice soulcraft, so long as you actively practice. Be mindful of creating artificial barriers for yourself, such as prioritizing mastery in a direction that you believe will generate capital. Any skill or knowledge expertise sufficiently developed can command a price if necessary. The key to success is aligning your imagination and creative powers with the direction of your focus and energy within the moment.
While each individual practices soulcraft for themselves, our development is collective progress. We reimagine ourselves and the world around us, then direct our shared focus and energy toward it. Soulcraft through routine, discipline, and mastery is an act of alignment with the single truth and the relational universe. We project our imaginations into the universe and direct our focus and energy toward their manifestation. Soulcraft is a spiritual effort that aligns our internal and external infinities in a single, harmonious rhythm.