Monthly Archives: November 2014

Week 9 – Answers from Nowhere

“I will succeed by attracting to myself the forces I wish to use and the co-operation of other people”.

                                                                                                                                    – Napoleon Hill

More amazing stuff happening between my inner- and outer-world!

If you’ve read my blogs before, you’ll know that I regularly practise Tai Chi. My instructor, Craig, is one of the most spiritual people I have met.  This intelligent, talented and very capable man decided relatively early in his life to forego the mainstream, the “River of Dreams” as Mark J puts it, to follow his Dharma: namely mastery of Tai Chi. He has studied various spiritual disciplines, but his devotion to this “meditation in motion” now runs deeply within his life and his psyche. Serious practitioners don’t “do” Tai Chi, they don’t even “live” Tai Chi. They become Tai Chi. I am a witness to the impact that has on a person and the people that person encounters. Even more so after this week.

By week 8 of the course, Charles Haanel and Emmet Fox had been creeping up on me and had finally caught me. The first few weeks of Master Keys’ sitting exercises was relatively simple for me: I had been taught meditation principles by a Transcendental Meditation tutor a few years ago, so sitting still with my body still, then with my mind still and empty of thought was an exercise I could already do.  However, I found Fox’s 7 day Mental Diet a REAL challenge: holding my thoughts objectively and rejecting the negative ones before I attach an inappropriate emotion to them and ruin my 7 day diet.

Thankfully, my subconscious and the Universe had been working on the problem: back in week 7, Craig had read a quotation from D.T. Suzuki and reflected on it. He thought it may be a good idea for a practical exercise – something a little different from Tai Chi, but proved a certain point in how to “feel” when practising the form. Two weeks later, I am in the Tai Chi session getting superb practical tuition in sitting still, calming my mind, (not meditating, I was told – that is emptying my mind and cheating, you can’t meditate in that way when in normal interaction with the world) allowing thoughts into my mind, assessing them and, if not appropriate, letting them go. Craig hasn’t even heard of Haanel, nor Fox and but I’m receiving form him clear guidance on how to deal with my very specific problem.

There’s more. Craig then starts talking about acknowledging the “real you” in your mind – the one that is not making the thoughts but the one receiving, controlling and discarding them. Basically he proceeded to give a precis of Master Keys, chapter 4.

So to conclude, I had a specific need and the Universe brought me the specific answer – in the easiest, most direct and useful way to learn it. Out of nothing (!)

There’s even more. What I’m still trying to come to terms with is not just the weird and wonderful way this all happened but also how I responded to it.  At the time, it all felt surreal, but in my mind, my predominant feeling was one of calm. There seemed to be something in the back of my mind saying, “So? What did you expect?” Maybe it was an example of the manifestation of what Haanel describes in Master Keys 7:18 as “confident expectation”…?

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Week 8 – Dietary Supplement

Last week, I bought Emmet Fox’s “the 7 Day Mental Diet”. It’s more of a booklet than a book: a mere 22 pages with short paragraphs and large spaces between each of them. Fox’s writing style is akin to the transcript of a lecture or a sermon – indeed he spoke before large crowds of people in New York City during the Depression.

Fox’s message is a deceptively simple one:

“Make up your mind to devote one week solely to the task of building a new habit of thought, and during that week let everything in life be unimportant as compared with that.”

It’s engaging the message in practice that we find the just how hard a task this is.

I’m no expert in dieting, but there are certain things that are important to remember in such acts, for instance:

  • Entering with the right attitude really helps. If it’s one thing that the MKMMA course has taught me it is that action without will not last, but action within – persistent presentation of mind and feeling together works on the subconscious to subsequently and subtly impact on the conscious mind – that makes the path so much easier to tread.
  • Crash diets rarely work. Successful dieting is not a project for 7 days nor even 7 weeks or months. It can be years of making the right decisions every day until the old blueprints have been completely conquered.
  • The right conditions and the right environment for the commencement of dieting are important factors to success. This isn’t me talking, but Fox himself. It is only seven paragraphs after his statement quoted above that he counsels us to “not start it lightly. Think about it a day or two before you begin”. This is not procrastination but preparation. Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Mark J’s quotation of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” comes to mind too. Due to the degree of preparation, the battle is won or lost before it starts. Pick the battle field and pick the time to fight. Deciding to go on a food diet the day you take the family to Cadbury World is probably not a good plan. Starting your mental diet on a day when you are not likely to be pulled into work- or family- crises or -arguments gives the diet time to germinate. It takes time for the mind to refuse to allow such occurrences the power to affect it negatively.
  • Be easy on yourself when you fail. My hardest challenge, being the perfectionist pedant that I am. Even that last sentence sounds like I’m being hard on myself! This isn’t a race. We all have different histories, backgrounds, environments and responsibilities. All of our respective experiences of the 7 Day Mental Diet will be at least slightly different. To those who are struggling with the mental diet, you’re not alone. If I find I haven’t had a negative thought for several hours, it’s because I’ve forgotten to check myself for several hours! But it’s not the failing, it’s the carrying on that will be the deciding factor in this literally life-changing opportunity to develop a truly strong character as a consequence. Putting it simply – don’t give up. Ride the storm.

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Week 7 – No Tricks, Just Plain Magic

“Make the mental image; make it clear, distinct, perfect; hold t firmly; the ways and means will develop; supply will follow the demand; you will be led to do the right thing at the right time In the right way. Earnest Desire will bring about Confident Expectation, and this in turn must be reinforced by Firm Demand. These three cannot fail to bring Attainment, because the Earnest Desire is the feeling, the Confident Expectation is the thought, and Firm Demand is the will, and, as we have seen, feeling gives vitality and the thought and the will holds it steadily until the Law of Growth brings it into manifestation.”

Charles Haanel, the Master Keys 7-18

It is a strange and wonderful thing to be on this course. To see how the combination of focussed thought with feeling, backed by the determination to see things through, can literally change one’s life – within and without.

Bad habits have such a diminished sway over me than previously, and It has not really been that hard to do, once the original craving has been replaced by a just a few thoughts repeated often with good feelings and some resolve. Good habits have taken their place – they just seemed to quietly slot themselves in. It’s a quiet revolution; like the moment a magician pulls-off his trick right before your eyes, there’s that few seconds where your view of reality has been changed and you can’t quite figure out how it happened. But this is no trick, which makes it all the more bemusing.

The Earnest Desire, I could understand; the Firm Demand, I could generate; but the Confident Expectation? That, I did not have before. But it now feels like it’s always been there. So bizarre.

And that’s not all. It was after a good session of contemplating Haanel last week that for the first time since I started my business, a client actually phoned me for business instead of me chasing them. This organisation contacted one of my previous clients and asked if they knew anyone who could help them. Firstly, from what they said, I wasn’t sure I could help them but after meeting them a couple of days ago, it’s just all fallen into place. That, I used to think could not happen so easily. But it now feels like it was inevitable. Attainment. That’s even more bizarre.

It’s difficult to go into detail, but so many little things are lining up in my working life – with a purpose – not quite clear yet, but I can see the value of each and every one.

A different character, with a different focus, creating a different outlook on a different world.

Amazing. Exciting. Bemusing.

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Week 6 – When the Gate Watches Over the Gate Keeper

THE SCROLL MARKED II

“And most of all I will love myself. For When I do, I will zealously inspect all things which enter my body, my mind, my soul, and my heart…..Never will I allow my mind to be attracted to evil and despair; rather I will uplift it with the knowledge and wisdom of the ages”

When I was a kid I thoroughly enjoyed watching horror movies. In those days, they were comparatively mild. Hammer Horror movies: the eternal battle of good (usually Peter Cushing’s van Helsing) against evil (usually Christopher Lee’s Dracula). It was John Pertwee’s 3rd regeneration of Doctor Who that got me hiding behind the sofa and from daleks and cybermen. It’s a real pleasure to have seen my kids go through the same British “rite of passage” with the nearest piece of furniture thanks to their generation of Doctors. Fear is a strange thing – most of you wants to hide or run, but there’s still that small part within you that wants to peak over the sofa and see more. What is it? Courage? Curiosity? A logical conscious mind fighting to control a panicked subconscious reaction?

In more recent times, I would watch scary movies with the lights off and completely alone, mainly to find out more about myself – to find what would scare me and why I felt so. How can a film director make a scene than would make a grown man get goose bumps? Interesting.

I found something more interesting this week. It came to pass that the sequel to a particularly gaudy horror film, the first of which I saw several years ago was on the TV. I duly began watching it. The more the film progressed, the less I wanted to carry on – not because of fear, but because I felt it wasn’t for me anymore. I couldn’t understand the way I felt at first and why, until half way through, Og’s passage above popped into my mind from nowhere and it hit me like a brick.

Now, I love scroll II, but that section was not one I had consciously mulled over in my mind. Evidently my subconscious had though, and was telling me “John, this stuff just isn’t helping you to get to be the person you’re telling me you want to be”.

So the moral of my story: if your conscious mind, that “guardian at the gate”, lets the bad stuff into your subconscious, just be sure to let in a whole lot more good stuff in too. You’ll find it’s those “dominating thoughts of your mind that will eventually reproduce themselves into physical reality” as Napoleon Hill put it. Resisting the wrong stuff for you becomes effortless because it just doesn’t feel good anymore. Wow. If we keep feeding the subconscious with the things that are in line with that divine spark, that ever-giving force within us – what else is going to pop out?

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Week 5 – Polar Activity

I just want to start by saying a big thank you to all of you who have commented on my blogs. It’s been a challenging week for me and your encouragement has helped me more greatly and in more ways than you can imagine. Thank you so much, you’ve made my heart smile each time I read them.

As you may know from previous blogs, I have a hobby of / passion for tai chi. I am truly blessed with an excellent teacher with a fine pedigree in the art. You could say I’m studying the “real thing” because there’s a lot of counterfeit teachers around and this has contributed to many people’s view of the art as a load of old people waving their arms gracefully. It is in fact, a lot of things on a lot of levels, some levels of which, I’m only beginning to discover. It’s an exciting journey inwards: a meditation in motion, an exercise of control of the mind, body and soul at the same time. Its benefits for health are widely acknowledged.

It is a little known fact that taichi a powerful martial art – such that I know 5th dan experts in other martial arts to give up their art for tai chi for 3 reasons: Firstly their old form of the art induces a heavy price on the body (e.g. karate has a reputation for injuries and undue wear-and-tear to knees and hips. Secondly, because it imparts all the positive attributes mentioned above. Thirdly, the other martial arts teach you to fight and fight until your mind/body gets learns to feel comfortable with certain attacks; tai chi does the opposite: it teaches you complete control and awareness of your body and its balance, such that if you are, for example, pushed, the body adjusts the compensate without even thinking.

Now I’m getting to my point – tai chi works on the inner world. It is a journey into the awareness of body and mind, and then its control. Its focus is on the Daoist concept of yin-yang or “opposites in harmony”. Anyone who is in control of their body to the extent that there is a perfect balance of mind, posture, balance and bodily energies will respond to an imbalance in that system (e.g. ill health, attacker) by instantly compensating to the said imbalance – not by direct opposite force but by yielding, redirecting and giving back what is received. It is a compensation for an imbalance. Harmony is restored (by restoring good health or the attacker ending up on the other side of the room with a compensated ego). As in MKMMA, working on the mind, on the inner world, its control and its mastery, is the key to impacting on the outside world.

If you’ve read Emmerson’s essay this week, I’m sure the analogies will be clicking with you. They certainly did with me. Polarity, Equilibrium. Compensation. Emmerson had discovered Daoism!

I really enjoyed Emmerson’s essay. There were so many analogies of polarity and compensation – it’s a compelling piece of work and has made me think on several levels. I would say for me the most impactful lesson for my DMP was the second paragraph on page 14. “Cheapest, say the prudent, is the dearest labour” followed by examples. In my working life, I have often undersold my services because I have lived in fear of people not buying them. I have plenty of confidence in my abilities to provide good works but I don’t give them their worth. It has encouraged me, as part of my growth in self-confidence, to ask for a fair price for my work. If I value my work so cheaply, how will my prospective clients rate my work?

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