Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought. ~Napoleon Hill
Life Mastery frequently involves repetition. You recognize there's a life problem; you do your level best to deal with the problem; you see the problem appear yet again and you begin to think "How many layers have to be peeled off before I can say I'm done with this?"
Let us imagine that you are trying to overcome a fear or change a stubborn habit. You gave it a lot of strong thought. You examined it from various points of view, perhaps your own and through the eyes of a dear friend. You may have even spoken about it to a trusted advisor. You crafted a plan for how to put something new, more productive, more harmonious in its place and then you worked on it daily for many months. You thought you solved this life problem.
I'm convinced that the Great Mind in the Sky - just a lighthearted name for Your Own Intelligence - has this ironic sense of humor. It (because "it" is really you, right?) - It knows every small detail of your hard work to Be the Change about this particular topic. So why is it bringing it up A-G-A-I-N....- when it knows how hard you've worked and that you consider it completed? Grrrrr! From what I've seen, it's a test - your final exam - if you will, to be sure you have mastered this area and can move on to the next good thing.
I think the lesson in this "last showdown" is that our final exam is there to be sure you have mastered this area and can truly move on to the next good thing. When a pattern re-appears, I believe it's from one of two causes: It's your persistence in how you understand this issue, why you justify your behavior around it and what emotions are still connected and pulsing strongly instead of dying off.
Or, it could truly be the last test. If it's the former, give the topic one last, courageously honest look. If it's the later, there's one more lesson to learn in life mastery.
The lesson in this "last showdown" is that you don't get to say "I'm done." Your own wisdom does, and it says it by sending along one last test. "Oh no," you think. "Not again! I'm so sick of looking at this." You might consider changing your sense of this whole process. You might consider celebrating it when this happens, because it truly is a sign that you're very close to completion. You might consider reviewing all the hard work you've accomplished; you might consider patting yourself on the back for exercising courage, strength, patience or whichever virtue you used; you might consider some form of reward for your hard work.
And then, complete this last test and celebrate your accomplishments! Life mastery? Probably not, but surely an easier way to master everyday life problems.