As part of the Master Keys Experience, we have been learning from Og Mandino’s “The Greatest Salesman” Scroll V – To live each day as if it our last; to “seal-up its container of life so that not one drop spills itself upon the sand”. We are to make the very best of our days and in order to do that we need to make the very best of ourselves. We are 19 weeks into our Master Keys journey and we have learned so much and experienced so much. This blog is devoted to some aspects of greatness of character that will enable us to live or days to the full.
- Look at life objectively.
Many of us have entered the MKE course with so much “stuff” we have to deal with that we can’t see “the wood for the trees”. In the course we have referred to this “stuff” in many different this ways – the concrete cast of the Golden Buddha, Mark J’s “River of (other peoples’) Dreams”, the Tower of Babylon (depicting the Tower as the errant attitudes we may have to treating one another and our environment in our working or personal life i.e. dehumanising people as commodities to be used and abused). A large part of the problem is that we don’t register this because we’re too busy to stand back and take a look at ourselves and what we do. This is the first blessing in the MK Experience.
In week 8 of the course we learned from Emmet Fox’s book “The 7 Day Mental Diet” to make our thoughts the most important thing in our lives and for 1 week, to hold thoughts objectively and reject negative ones before attaching an inappropriate emotion to them. This is of fundamental importance, because we cannot control the other aspects of living life to the full if we cannot control our minds. And we cannot control our minds if we cannot disengage our egos and our reflex emotions from the situation. We cannot control the maelstrom of our lives if our minds are permanently placed in its centre.
To help us, Charles Haanel has given us his book “The Master Keys” the mental exercises to achieve this. The “sit” is designed to control first our bodies then our minds to be controlled. The fundamental objective of the “sit” is to bring the participant to her / his inner world and not to be distracted by the persistent vagaries of the outer world. This is the key to creating the ideal conditions for objective thought.
The beauty of objectifying the mind is that it sets it for powerful thought. Look around us. Unless we are walking naked and unencumbered through a wilderness, we are surrounded by objects which at some point have originated as a thought. And it is somebody’s thought that put it there. At almost all times in our lives, we are completely engulfed by the effects of peoples’ thoughts. We all think, but few of us have harnessed this power to help us reach our true potential. It takes concentrated, directed and persistent thought to drive our desires to completion, for it is these very thoughts that put us on the path to greatness but the path is neither straight nor flat. Only this type of thought, in concert with Universal Thought can bring about the conditions for our healthy desires to take root and flourish in the most astonishing ways you can (and cannot) imagine.
- Don’t Think – Do
Haanel states that such thought is tiring and, unlike physical exercise, continuous mental exercise can be detrimental to the thinker. This may be one reason not to think too much, but there is a much better reason. Many of us (I’m definitely in this group!) find our thoughts difficult to put into action. Perhaps the greatest reason for this is that at the point of execution, we think too much. It may be a deep-seated fear of failure, a feeling of being out of control or out of our comfort zone, but whatever it may be, nothing will change until the task is done. You may be wondering what your purpose is in life and, like me, you’re only certain of what you don’t want to do. One thing is certain you will never find your purpose in life if you don’t do something. Even by trying something that you find you don’t like, means that you at least know more of what you don’t want and eventually the amalgamation of things you don’t like will teach you enough about yourself to make that change in direction – and it may be a big one.
To add light to the subject, here is a passage from the apostle James, chapter 2 which I’ve translated slightly into MKE language:
What good is it, my friends, if a person claims to have understanding of the power of thought and universal mind but has no actions? Who understands the cause and does not implement the effect? Can such understanding benefit him or her?
Suppose someone knows a person in need. If one of you says to that person, “Go, I wish you well; I hope you find what you need,” but does nothing about their needs, what good is it?
In the same way, by itself understanding and belief in the way the inner world works, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “They have action; I have understanding.” Show people your understanding without action, and those with greater understanding will demonstrate it by what they do.
Is further evidence that understanding without doing is useless required? Are not writers such as Hill, Mandino, Nightengale and Haanel considered great for what they did and not just for what they thought? You see that their thoughts and their actions were working together, and their faith was made complete by what he did.
A person is justified by what they do and not by understanding alone. ~
As the body without the spirit is dead, so understanding without action is dead.
You may think that thinking and not thinking are opposites and I’ve been contradicting myself, but the fact is that they are two sides of one coin – the one stimulates the other into being. This brings me neatly to my next point…
Part 19 of Haanel’s The Master Key has shown us that opposites are merely the polar extremes of the same thing. For example, you could define the South Pole as the point where the effects and characteristics of the North Pole is least on the planet. Or vice versa.
In the last 5 years or so, it has been a joy and an excitement for me to discover that life consists of circles and cycles. My hobbies / passions of astronomy and Tai Chi are replete with this axiom:
In astronomy, [perfectly formed] planets are round and so are moons stars, black holes. Galaxies are flat but round, moons cycle around planets, planets cycle around the stars and the stars cycle around the centre of the galaxy. Scientist are trying to find the extent to which the galaxies may rotate around some point in the Universe.
At the opposite end of the scale electrons cycle around the nucleus of an atom at amazing speeds – about 600 miles per second and the nucleus itself rotates at ¼ the speed of light! Rotation is in itself self-cycling and all heavenly bodies seem to obey this rule. Our lives are ruled by cycles: daily, weekly and yearly cycles as the sun and moon, relative to the earth, cycle around our skies. We eat and sleep in daily cycles – our boy is made for them. I am sure you can think of many more and it is with this knowledge that I place my faith in life after death. Death of my body is part of its recycling into the material universe and similarly, I believe that the mind is more than the material parts and will return to its origin, and perhaps turn the cycle again.
Tai Chi ‘s symbol is the archetypal cycle of the yin and the yang (black and white) which depict all perceived opposites which are in reality a whole which is in perfect balance.
The point for my above ramble is that a circle or a sphere has perfect balance (however you look at it, it’s in symmetry) and the Universe is replete with balance. In physical science, without balance, the universe and our little planet would not exist as it is. In politics, where there is an imbalance of thought or ideology, without a respect for a higher ideology (e.g. constitutions) or people of exceptionally high moral and spiritual energy (e.g. Ghandi, Mandela), there is war.
Thus, balance in our lives is a fundamental part of living life to the full because it is a Universal truth. We must have work balanced with play, we must balance the kindness for our children with discipline. We must balance exercise of our spiritual side with that of our mental and physical sides. As Haanel’s 19th chapter said, we need physical food to sustain thought, which operates on the physical world, but that diet of food should be balanced. Also, we may choose our balance to be “polar”e.g. as in The Greatest Salesman Scroll IV [I keep my life in the marketplace away from my family and vice versa] or may be an “integrated” balance (e.g. I have a family-run business and my family shares in the triumphs and disasters of it).