How to Transform Misery and Mastery into Mystery


“A mistake that makes you humble is better than an achievement that makes you arrogant.” ~Unknown


The human condition is a tightrope walk over an abyss. Lean too far one way and you fall into misery. Lean too far the other way and you fall into arrogance. Balance is achieved when the extremes are harmonized through mystery.


The Great Mystery is the primal center. The Great Mystery is a balance of opposites walking the tightrope between misery and mastery. The center cannot hold unless it is beholden. Sacrificing misery and mastery to mystery binds symmetry into synergy.


Allowing things to be mysterious despite our tendency to dispel mystery reinforces the sacred center. It lights up the dark. It blacklights the blinding light. It spotlights the Middle Way. The precarious tightrope becomes a secure bridge. Let’s break it down…



Transforming misery into mystery:

“Begin to weave and the divine will provide the thread.” ~Ancient Proverb


Things fall apart. Entropy is both God and the devil. The universe itself is a never-not-broken thing. And that’s okay. Life won’t always be roses, sunshine, and butterflies. Sometimes, most of the time, it is thorns, Dark Nights, and shit flies. So be it.


It’s your responsibility to make the best of it. And the best way to do that is to honor entropy with mystery. Allow the universe to be mysterious. Understand that you are the paradox. You are a walking, talking anomaly of the highest disorder. So be it. That’s where the gold is at. That’s where tragedy meets triumph in glorious self-overcoming. That’s where honor stokes the fire of humor through the spark of humility. That’s where setbacks smash into wisdom and forge steppingstones out of comfort zones.


The mystery must be paramount lest misery become absolute. Mystery injects pain with existential masochism. Mystery sutures wounds into sacred wounds. Mystery dissects the animal of failure and plucks out the heart of wisdom. Mystery infuses ordinary suffering with extraordinary magic. It detoxifies nihilism with high humor.


When you transform misery into mystery, you are an alchemist of the highest order. The never-not-broken universe is celebrated. The path becomes clear because the chaos has been integrated, and a power more powerful than Power itself manifests: A good sense of humor.



Transforming mastery into mystery:

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. 'Til your good is better and your better is best.” ~St. Jerome


Your good can always be better and your better can always be best. This is the way of self-mastery. Letting it rest is the way of self-preservation, which is the opposite of mastery.


Mastery that takes itself too seriously becomes arrogance and conceit, which creates an intellectual blindspot called the Master’s Complex. Pride blocks humility. Self-seriousness reinforces self-preservation at the expense of self-improvement. The underlying essence is lost to the abstraction of the over-inflated ego. The “master” trips over his intellect into willful ignorance and inadvertently becomes an egotist.


True mastery is recycled mastery. This type of mastery is biodegradable. It transforms the overbearing ego into composted undergrowth where the seeds of mystery can be planted. Egocentrism is transformed into soul-centrism. Fear of the unknown becomes courage under fire.


Mystery must be paramount lest mastery become egocentric. Mystery sharpens the sword of mastery. Without it the sword grows dull. It loses its cutting edge. It gets stuck in the “stone” of the rigid ego. Only the soul can pull it out. And only the Great Mystery can animate the soul. They are reciprocal forces that the master must maintain lest his ego denigrate him into an egotist.


When you transform mastery into mystery, you are completing the sacred cycle of recycled mastery. The life-death-rebirth process is alive inside you. The master’s mind dies to the mystery of the beginner’s mind. The beginner’s mind dies to the mystery of new knowledge. The mystery of new knowledge dies to the mystery of the master’s mind. Mystery is the binding force, primal and vital, curious and dynamic, ambiguous and animated.


The path becomes clear, cyclical, primordial, mythical, binding all worlds into a bridge that carries you over into a power more powerful than Power itself: a good sense of humor.


Image source:

I Bring Bad News II by Edson Carra


About the Author:

Gary Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide-awake view of the modern world.


This article (How to Transform Misery and Mastery into Mystery) was originally created and published by Self-inflicted Philosophy and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary Z McGee and self-inflictedphilosophy.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.