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Week 23 – No Turning Back

Deep down I know there’s a fundamental change within me which has taken root in the last few weeks.

My previous 3 weeks have been a little out of the ordinary, both with my work and the MKE. My work prospects have risen such that it’s hard to keep track of who is who. The upturn was literally effortless – people were coming to me by recommendation (OK, I had to work with the people who recommended me, so I guess it wasn’t totally effortless) and they all seemed to come at once! Of the 4 most likely candidate to get business from, I found today that 2 want to postpone for a time (in one case, a year). In the past, this would immediately impact on my fears of losing business with the near inevitable result of my fears being manifest – after all, as it said in Part 23 of Haanel’s book, The Master Keys: “Fear… is poverty consciousness, and as the law [of growth / attraction] is unchangeable we get exactly what we give; if we fear we get what we fear”. This time, however, there was no attack of fear but a conclusion in my mind that what I used to think is a set-back will actually turn into an opportunity. I don’t know in this instance exactly what the future holds, but I’m not fearing it. This is a fundamental change for me.

In a similar twist my connection to MKMMA took an unexpected sabbatical. I was effectively off the site for 1 ½ weeks and I couldn’t get on the webinars for 3 Sundays. I’m still catching up. If this had happened earlier in the course, I would be distraught, how could I carry on by myself and in truth it would have been nigh-on impossible to do so. I now have learned enough from the course to stand on my own two feet and trust that the Universe will supply my needs.

I used to be a sheep – I thought like a sheep, I reasoned like a sheep and I bleated like a sheep. Now I’m a lion – I think for myself and by myself. I take responsibility for my own actions and plough my own furrow.

My thanks to the MKMMA team, they have helped me to help myself. The may be challenges ahead, but there will be no turning back. The genie is out of the bottle.

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Week 22 – Silence Class!

In response to the request / challenge that Mark J gave us students of The Master Keys Experience (MKE), I gave 12 hours to the Silence last Tuesday – a period of time in which contact with electronic communication systems was removed, along with any other distraction, from the objective of allowing us to listen to our minds.

Several personal accounts of the benefits of the Silence were aired on the webinar on the previous Sunday. I was intrigued to discover the benefits for myself.

I have been fortunate enough in my life to experience good teaching, from fine exponents of their profession, of the art of mindfulness. I had been taught breath control and meditation techniques (see blog Week 21 – Heroes and Mentors in the Abyss) and had been coached in the art of holding thoughts objectively, loosely in the mind and to discard them if not of value (see blog Week 9 – Answers from Nowhere). I have learned the stark, introspective nature of wall meditation and the expansive, vibrant experience of cloud meditation, but to spend an extended period of time in quiet and secluded contemplation was something I really wanted to try out. So at 9:30 am Tuesday, my new adventure began…

It never ceases to amaze me how apt and timely are the scrolls we read from Og Mandino’s “Greatest Salesman” as part of our daily exercises for MKE. The current offering is centred on the mastery of our emotions. The silence for me began as a struggle due to my initial feelings and moods. Tiredness was the root cause of my restlessness when attempting to start the Silence. Having the sleep pattern of a “night owl” the start of the working day is difficult for me to function properly and despite a good dose of caffeine to stimulate the thought process, the relaxation of the event resulted in periods of dozing and refocussing courtesy of the works of Og, Charles and Napoleon for the first couple of hours. But at least I learned that early morning is not the best time for me to be still and contemplate for long sessions. A walk in the local forest would serve me better.

The afternoon was far more promising, with contemplation of my DMP firing-off a trail of thoughts connecting the key words in the text and deriving a clearer meaning of what these words actually mean to me – getting a sharper focussed picture of what my DMP conveys. It all led me to a contemplation on the type of person I want to become by the time I was finished, I had defined eight attributes of my character I want to work on. These attributes will go onto a “Franklin Makeover” table that we’ve previously used in MKE. But this time for a given day, I want to tally ALL of the attributes at once, then repeat the process with the same table every week. That way, I can start to build a picture of the attributes that tally least – and therefore probably the weaker ones in my character in order to improve them.

Sorry if this sounds a little dry to you – it’s not the “freakin’ AWESOME!!!” type of comment that people on last week’s webinar used to describe their experiences. In fact, when I finished my 12 hours of the Silence, my overall impression of the event was….pleasant…sort of nice. Is that because I am a reserved Brit with a “white” colour code personality? Only partly. Is it because I just didn’t get it? Not at all. The reason is that 6 hours into the session, I realised that these conditions aren’t much different from my average day. I noticed just how blessed I was with the lifestyle I have, with bags of time to contemplate and meditate if I wish. One of my identified Personal Pivotal Needs was Autonomy – to do what you want to do when you want to do it. From the Silence, I made the realisation that I already had it! And that, my friends is not only a comforting thought, but a great revelation to me. Freakin’ AWESOME, actually!

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Week 21 – Heroes and Mentors in the Abyss of Emotions

One of the blessings from a tumultuous period in my life (between 2005 and 2009) was the emergence of understanding, gratitude and peace. Divorce, mental breakdown, chronic illness and redundancy in those stormy few years had led me to quiet waters. I found a new home, a new career and a new life. I finally had time to think and time to reflect and in that reflection, not surprisingly, there were feelings of anger, fear and unworthiness.

Looking back, through this “Abyss of my Hero’s Journey”, I can identify the “Supernatural Aid”, as Joseph Campbell refers in his book The Hero’s Journey, those unexpected characters in the Hero’s journey who have pulled me through my Darkest Night.

My greatest help came from the people I expected least – my ex-wife who, despite the angst and bitterness we went through in a separation, still had the one thing that crosses all boundaries, heals wounds between all factions, and with time solves all problems of the human condition – unconditional love. When those that I expected most had deserted me, the one I could understand would be least inclined to help me nursed me through a near catatonic state during many days and at night, her mother, Roz, cared for me and took me in until I could look after myself. What words can suffice to repay my gratitude for such divine acts? It’s a humbling experience and one that can easily make me feel unworthy of such kindnesses.

And as I recovered from my mental illness, another “Supernatural Aid” appears on the scene to mentor me with my physical condition. My mental state was exacerbated by a lung condition I had and this got me into a downward spiral mentally and physically. I was bound with fear.  It became a burden I found almost unbearable, until I found Linda. I would travel to Stratford –on Avon to meet Linda, my Buteko mentor who taught me to fight COPD with breath control. She gave me the tools to fight my greatest fear of the time. All I had to do was continue with the exercises. I felt a lifeline had been thrown to me. I performed the tasks with great determination, though the outcome took time to appear. But nonetheless, I reached a stage where I could function with my condition. Linda also happened to be a tutor for transcendental meditation – some of which she imparted to me during our Buteko sessions. How incredibly useful this has been as I’ve developed!

In my Hero’s Journey, I have discovered that help can appear not only from those of whom you least expect, but from those who seem to be an agent of detriment to you. After 20 years of working for the same establishment and surviving 5 previous rounds of redundancies, I thought I was relatively safe from the 6th. There was a 90 day period whereby my (recently appointed new) director and I would have a series of negotiations. To cut the story short, I made my case for unfair treatment well. I had reached the point where his defence became “Well, I’ve made this decision because …… I have made a decision”…! But for years up until this moment, I had lived in the world without and not the world within. I had squandered my spiritual heritage and there seemed to be no way out. I had this strange feeling that the redundancy was for a reason – as if someone “up there“ was saying to me, “Ok son, I think you’ve had enough now. It’s time to take you out of this situation”. And so, I let go and accepted the redundancy. And I let go of the anger, because I saw the way that it had destroyed previous colleagues who held on to the bitterness years after their redundancy, and because I truly believed it when I said to myself, “it’s business – that’s all, it’s just business”. Many years ago, when I had just started work, I had a dream, where I was a lamb running around with the wolves and trying to howl like them, but all I could do was bleat. You should have seen the bemused looks on those wolves’ faces! But I should have listened to my subconscious mind – I was never designed to be a wolf – I was a lamb and I needed to act like one.

So today, I can look back at these dire experiences from my present position. It is as though I was plucked out of the abyss and transported to pleasant pastures to convalesce. I could find time, precious time to meditate, think and be still, which was a surprisingly exhilarating experience. I took to learning Tai Chi where I found stillness in motion, while at home, I found motion in stillness. Now, being in the Master Keys Experience has helped me to make sense of so much of what has happened to me and the tasks and exercises from the course have made me feel as though I have made the kind of personal development that would have taken me years to achieve on my own. Now, those emotions I felt in the abyss can be used as tools to further me on my Hero’s Quest. Those unlikely mentors, those inspiring heroes I met on the journey are all mentioned on my stack of gratitude cards, for each has helped me to be right here, right now, giving my account to you.

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Week 20 – Encouragement from Charles and Og

I want to use this blog as an encouragement to myself (and us others in my situation) to reaffirm my commitment to my Definite Major Purpose and to place it back where it belongs: at the core of my intention and a daily focus in my life.

It has taken only a few weeks of unusual activities in my working and private life to disrupt my usual pattern and to take away the multitude of benefits I’ve gained from the Master Keys Experience. As my life is getting busier, so my priorities are now getting wrong I need to get back in step with my Dharma.

The chapter from Haanel’s Master Keys (Part 20) we read this week has been really useful in making it clear to me about my situation. In paragraph 4, Haanel asks,

“Thinking is the true business of life, power is the result. What results can you expect so long as you remain oblivious to the power which has been placed within your control?”

So I’ve taken my ‘eye off the ball’ and the advances I’ve gained have slipped back somewhat through a lack of continual effort to the practise of keeping my priorities in mind. The clock has taken over my life’s compass in recent times.

But, I am not kicking myself and while I draw breath, there always hope. In Scroll Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman, which we have been reading and re-reading in February encourages us to make the most of today and not to linger on the past:

“”I waste not a moment mourning over yesterday’s misfortunes, yesterday’s defeats, yesterday’s aches of the heart, for why should I throw god after bad?”

Yesterday is gone and all I can do is seize THIS moment to do the right thing for me. And so, I do.

I have been reminded this week of the importance of the “Sit”, or as Haanel calls it the “Silence” this apparently simple, but deceptive task of sitting still (controlling the body) and concentrating (controlling thought in the mind) is the fundamental core of the Master Keys Experience. This is where the rubber hits the road – all else in the Master Keys Experience is designed for us to get our minds to be the most effective it can be for when our conscious mind moulds and edits the subconscious mind’s creativity and aligns itself with Universal thought. The immediate effect is inspiration, the prolonged effect is a purposeful life.

Haanel describes the mechanism of the Silence perfectly in paragraph 18 of Part 20,

“Inspiration is from within. The Silence is necessary, the senses must be stilled, the muscles relaxed, repose cultivated. When you have thus come into possession of a sense of poise and power you will be ready to receive the information or inspiration or wisdom which may be necessary for the development of your Purpose.”

And why is the Silence the fundamental core? Because in the Silence we create the conditions which encourage powerful thought. It is the activity of the world within that will change us from within. Paragraph 27 of Master Keys part 20 holds the phrase that for me, is the crux of Haanel’s book:

‘Thought is creative vibration and the quality of the conditions created will depend on the quality of our thought, because we cannot express powers which we do not possess. We must “be” before we can “do” and we can “do” only to the extent to which we “are”, and so what we do will necessarily coincide with what we “are” and that depends on what we “think”. ‘

So now, what I need to do is to get back to the routine of planning and executing my outer world to nourish my inner world, then to doing the requirements for the day. As Haanel said, “knowledge does not apply itself”.

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Week 19 and 18 – Living Life to the Full

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Think
    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.
  3. 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…

    4. Balance
    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).

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Week 17a – The Importance of Loss

Two significant events of this week have had a large impact on my thinking this week. The death of one of my aunts and the 700 hundred miles of journeying to visit Universities who wanted to interview my daughter for a degree course in Animation and Design.

The loss of a family member with its associative reminders of my mortality and the looming fact that my daughter will soon fly from the nest and I will no longer be in a daily close proximity to her has raised deep-seated emotions of loss. I have been preparing for the impact of the latter for a considerable time.

I’ve reached an age where loss is not a new thing to me – like many of us, I have suffered death of close family, divorce, broken long-term relationships and disappointments in working life and private life. Through my spirituality, I’ve gained comfort – not by using it as a crutch, but using it as a map. My spirituality has taught me the importance of loss and the key to greatness of character.

One of our Master Keys Experience heroes, John Wooden, one of the most revered coaches in the history of sports, said that he infused into his players the attitude on court that if they lost, they would not show their disappointment; such that if someone had just entered the arena, they would not be able to distinguish who had won. Wooden’s philosophy was to build greatness into his players and to be great, you must first have to act great. In Scroll 1 of Og Mandino’s “Greatest Salesman in the World”, the formation of a good habit, through constant and frequent repetition, will replace a bad one. Contrast this with the attitude of soccer players of our time whose psyches are geared so desperately to avoid loss that they will bite members of the opposition, deliberately handle the ball or risk injuring an opposing player. The truly great players of past generations are lost to the financial monster that is the high-performing professional arm of the world’s most popular game. What is being taught to our children and even many adults with regard to loss?

Loss is an important factor in life because it is unavoidable. The only thing we can change with loss in our lives is our attitude to it. If we can do that, we can (as Scroll 4 of Mandino’s book describes so well) recognise that “…all our problems, discouragements, and heartaches [i.e. losses] are, in truth, great opportunities in disguise”. The way we respond to our losses is a litmus test for our character.

There are two important factors in our attitudes to loss: our emotion and our ego – our conscious thought. The ego is what Charles Haanel in his book The Master Keys describes as the “I” in us – that which is not the body for  the “I” controls it, nor is it the mind, for the “I” uses it to think.

Our emotions can have serious impacts on our ego; such that those who have not sufficiently educated their egos may be at the complete mercy of them. Emotions are a great servant: to light-up our thought and energise them into acts of creativity, as Haanel has shown us in previous weeks; but they can also be a bad master. Controlling emotions can be difficult, but if we treat our emotions with a detached mind and regard them all – even the bad ones – as old friends, we begin to see them for what they really are, and their sting on us is thwarted. This method has certainly helped me with the emotional misery that is depression.

Our ego, our core, conscious self can be a force for good or bad – both in the world and ourselves. Principles or vices attach themselves to our egos through the medium of habitual practices. They will make us heroes or villains according to our choice. Our true possessions of value are the principles to which we attach our egos – we live intimately with them and they stay with us to the moment of our death.

So, when we encounter loss, we must deal with our emotional response and our ego attachments, and they may well be intertwined. The Master Key Experience has taught us many things regarding the power of concentrated, emotive thought and Haanel’s The Master Keys is replete with the positive outcomes that it will achieve. It is with concentrated, emotive thought that we can find our hidden vices by asking ourselves “”What am I pretending not to know?” This simple question repeated regularly seeps into our subconscious to eventually enlighten us with multitude of answers – including showing ourselves for who we really are. When known, it is thought which, when properly applied, will dig beneath our ego attachments to life and collapse them.

So when it comes to thought, what do we think? Emmet Fox’s “Seven Day Mental Diet” showed us the principle of holding a thought objectively and letting it go. It is this principle of letting go that is paramount to the release of emotion and ego attachment alike. It is also perhaps THE most fundamental principle to the mystery that is life for Haanel’s work explains mainly (but not exclusively) of how the Laws of the Mind and the Universe work but not why.

We are each an eternal spark in a mortal body. Our spirit is meant to grow as our bodies bloom and then decay. This is our purpose. Our character (the ego surrounded by its attachments) grows as our spirit grows and develops and we move through life understanding and appreciating what we encounter within a spiritual context. And we let go. We let go of the need to be admired by the people we want to impress, to always be right, to be given respect because we think we deserve it, to nit-pick, to think that we need a gamut of “stuff”, to compete at any level. We let go of envy, jealousy, selfishness and cynicism (as Napoleon Hill encourages us), we let go of anger and bitterness, pride and prejudice (even Jane Austen gets a mention!), petty vendettas, impatience, intolerance, procrastination and a host of other vices that may attach themselves to our egos. And as time passes we let go of more and more that holds us back until one day, with even our greatest fears released from our inner world, we may let go of life itself with peace. We lose the baggage of this world as we embrace eternity.

There is one more insight I have to give on loss. As I was preparing the outline for this blog, the story of the Prodigal Son came into my mind. It took me a little time to work out why. My first thought was that it was because it is also known as the Lost Son. However, shortly after, I got the message…

When I was younger, I have heard many people’s sermons and expositions on the meaning of the story. They were all based on the love of the father in the story and the wayward son as a parable of God’s love, forgiveness and acceptance and our sinfulness. It hit me that this could just as easily be interpreted as a lesson on our response to loss: the father’s loss of his son, the lost son’s loss of his inheritance and the elder son’s loss of position as the cherished son that did the right thing and deserved more love than his prodigal sibling (note the elder son’s ego attachments).

See if this makes sense to you…

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. ‘ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 ” ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”

Courtesy of biblestudytools.com

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Week 17 – Do Not Think! – And Other Heresies

Being a “white” personality (as defined by the Hartman personality profile we took at the start of the Master Keys Experience) has its ups and downs. On the upside, it’s the type of personality made for thinking. Analysing data, finding trends, going that bit further to find a deeper layer of meaning in a text is what Whites are about.

So, with the task of writing 60,000+ words of risk assessments – the type of task that my personality opposites the Yellows (born salespeople) find the stuff of nightmares – was a laborious but nonetheless satisfying achievement. Thus came the completion of my preparation for a new work-project in Health and Safety. The groundwork completed, the proposed services and documents tried and tested by for a 12 month trial period with a friendly client in the field. Competition was known and trumped with my offering. Everything in place for launch. All I have to do is pick up that phone and start dialling…

You know, it’s truly amazing the number of things you can find to do when you don’t want to do something. If you haven’t already discovered this, I found the Master Keys course is a great ploy for not doing the very thing I should be doing – reading Haanel / Mandino / Emmerson, writing gratitude cards, shuffling them and reading them and shuffling them again, maybe writing a few more to shuffle and read, reading blogs, tweeting and G+ing, retweeting, looking every 5 minutes to see if anyone’s following me on Twitter, posting, replying to posts etc. etc.

So it was that my list of prevarications came to the Sit, time to calm the body, relax the mind and direct thought to my definite major purpose in life, with a positive mind-set. This was easier from spending the previous hours performing the above activities – but it wasn’t a wholly easy experience. After all, I’d been here before – fear of failure is a tenacious ghost rising from my perfectionist past. Equally, rejection is a hard pill for me to swallow; for some reason, I seem to take it far too personally.

One saving grace is that I’ve learned to be true to myself – I know I have a problem and it’s persistent. I visualised a path to my destiny with a road-block placed on the path. An old, ugly road-block. On the other side was a mobile phone. Then came plea from my conscious, through my subconscious to the Universal Mind: “I have this block in the way and I despite all I’ve learned, it’s still stopping me. Can you show me a way?”

No shafts of light – no inspiration.

The next day I was seeing one of my longest-standing clients. Pete is a director for the company and we have a great working relationship – not least due to the fact that our personality types complement each other’s weaknesses: he’s a staunch Yellow, and a very good salesman. We were discussing sales strategies when he started talking about his philosophy on it all. He said that when he knows of a potential client he doesn’t think about the prospect of meeting them too much, but gets on with getting to know them.  He could spend an eternity waiting for all the conditions to be right or he could just get stuck in. He doesn’t mind if he makes mistakes because he learns the lesson from that one and moves onto the next one.

The penny was quickly dropping. I thanked him for helping with a problem that was bugging me and thanked Universal Mind for showing me the right way. But this was not all…

That night, with Pete’s words still bouncing off the walls of my mind, I opened The Greatest Salesman. I opened the book and glanced at a sentence that roused my curiosity and then made me smile:

SPOILER WARNING: The following line is from a future chapter of The Greatest Salesman

“My dreams are worthless, my plans are dust, my goals impossible. All are of no value unless they are followed by action. I will act now.”

The first sentence from Scroll IX

So I committed the heresy of reading the chapter ahead of our allotted time. I had learned my lesson from Pete: I did not spend time weighing up the pros and cons. I did not think at all.

My thanks again to Universal Mind for more help to remove the road-block.

Thus, I have learned that thinking is very powerful and very important, but when it comes to putting the thought into action, the thinking stops.

Also, Universal Mind does not seem to obey the conventions of the MKE course and gives me what I need when I need it!

So, did I manage to pick up that phone?

You’ll have to wait for my next blog….

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Week 16 – Light-Sensing

My focus this week is something I was about to write about last week, until I got carried away writing poetry (!) Last week’s assignment of reading Haanel’s Master Keys Part 15 I found extremely insightful. My offering of last week was a consequence of reading paragraphs 16 to 23 (by paragraph 20 I was inspired with the invisible and invincible power of clothing thoughts in the form of words).

But it was paragraphs 24 and 25 that got me thinking…

  1. There is a principle of mathematics, but none of error; there is a principle of health, but none of disease; there is a principle of light but none of darkness; and there is a principle of abundance, but none of poverty.
  2. ….if we let in light there can be no darkness. Where there is abundance, there can be no poverty.

Forgive me if the following is obvious to you, but to me, it became something of a revelation.

Let’s start by using the principle of light, for this is the physically the most understandable principle Haanel used as the others were more abstract concepts.

We live in a world whereby darkness is turned to light by the flick of a switch – electromagnetic oscillations (or mains electricity) provides the energy to heat a filament or nowadays excite atoms inside a tube of gas to produce light. I’m sure you know that Edison created the first commercially viable electric light bulb. But he could not, for it is impossible, create a dark bulb. You cannot switch dark on, but only remove the light. Thus light is everything and darkness is actually nothing. Darkness is an absence of light to which we have attributed a word by which we give it status in its own right – as if darkness actually is something, when in fact it is “lightlessness”. Furthermore, the scale of everything between light and what we call darkness is just a case of the degree of light (the number of photons in a given volume of space).

In a deeper sense, I think Haanel, by way of introducing this concept in paragraph 23 when he talks of vitality in thought. The room is not light or dark, but rather has light or not, for darkness is the absence of light –in effect is nothing. Haanel talks of vitality in thought – either it has vitality (i.e., a positive, harmonious thought Universal mind) or it has nothing.

Vitality, like light, is energy it is the opposite of nothingness. Light can never be extinguished by darkness, but light always conquers darkness. The volume of “dark” space in the Universe vastly, literally astronomically, greater than the space taken up by stars but the light from stars which shone in the infancy of the Universe, over billions of years and mind-blowing distances still reaches our planet. Our telescopes collect that light and concentrate it for us to behold in awe. Light from across the Universe still reaches us because light conquers darkness. Similarly, vitality in our thoughts and words shines out – it cannot be destroyed, because its opposite is simply the lack of itself. It is, or it is not.

You may have heard that the opposite of love is not hate but apathy. Hate is a complicated emotion which can often be discovered to be attached to love for a person which perhaps has been betrayed, violated or desecrated in some fashion and is a reaction to love lost; but apathy, where the emotion is absent, is surely loveless-ness and anathema to the Universal mind. This is the stuff of a cold-blooded and calculated fall from all that is. Love – even bruised and scarred love – either is, or is not.

And so, like light, other principles such as abundance, health and many others each are vessels of vitality which, by the Law of Attraction, are either increased or decreased contingent to the clarity of visualization and the harmony of the thought with Universal Mind.

So opposites do not fight, a principle may present itself by degree as a light may dim or brighten, but however bright, the principle possesses energy –it possesses vitality by which it exists. And if anything is possessed, it may be given.

Thus the principles of abundance, health, love and kindness and many others are only manifest by their exchange. A huge rock may be raised high in the air; it has energy –potential energy, but it is not until the energy is utilised or given away, that its power may be seen. The rock exchanges potential energy for kinetic energy and may plunge with great force into the ground and its impact can felt. So it is with all good traits – their vitalities are not to be withheld but exchanged and to impact on our surrounding world.

As the Great Teacher said, “Do not hide your light under a bushel…”

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Week 15 – Ode to Thought

The worlds of nature and humankind,

Can ne’er within them ever find,

Such vast array of power wrought,

Than that produced by human thought.

‘Tis true that nature’s power can be,

Great and fierce through wind and sea,

But nature’s greatest law, you’ll find,

Is a thermodynamic one in kind,

Where, in stately rule is entropy –

The rot and rust of all we see,

But thought, her nature is to grow,

By Divine spark her seeds are sown,

And if Universal Law be known,

To good soil those thought-seeds blown.

 

What of nature’s life? I hear you say,

But life is bound with death’s decay,

A life is born and swept away,

And only thoughts are here to stay,

For to the grave great souls have passed,

But their great thoughts have now surpassed

The power of death and dark dismay,

Their thoughts are with us now, today.

Their good thoughts we can celebrate,

The bad ones we can ruminate

On lessons learned from anguish made,

And vow to not repeat such trade

Of egotistical charade.

 

All around you, you can see

The objects of mentality,

The crafted thoughts of he, or she,

From kindled spark has made there be

A forest fire for you to use,

To gaze upon, to wear or muse,

And thought, by thought of others’ thought did build,

Until our every need is filled,

Our lives are free from wants or fears,

By use of that between our ears.

 

Now, thought may be for good or ill,

But the law of Universal Will

Shall return the thought with interest made,

And upon the sender shall be laid

Abundantly, the subject kept in mind,

Whether it be harsh or kind,

In proportion to the effort sought,

In clarity of vision thought.

 

With intention pure and purpose clear,

The desired outcome will appear,

If the grain be good, and the line be true,

Free from blemish, through and through,

The task now simple, the way more swift,

The Master Craftsman makes no shrift

But with purpose, did the cosmos bind,

With Time and place and souls aligned.

To make to plan the promised signed,

By the one who forged them in his mind.

 

So take ye heed of what I said,

Sit in calm and use that head

Of yours, and if you wish no wrong

On anyone, then sing your song

And weave your thoughts in fashion clear,

With tenacious grip on those held dear,

For you that toil and shall persist

In mind will dissipate the mists

That cloud your lives, confound your plans,

For now, you have within your hands

The greatest gift that we ere could find,

Proper use of heart and mind.

John Somers

2015

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Week 14 – To Your Health and Mine

Part Fourteen of Charles Haanel’s The Master Key has brought into sharp focus a pivotal moment for me in our course and in my life. I have been blessed with some marvellous breakthrough moments and demonstrations of the power of thought made manifest in my world which I have described in previous blogs. They have caused my great excitement, joy and, at times, bemusement. But now I’m looking back on these occurrences as playing “in the shallows” after reading Part Fourteen.

To Recognise a Cause:

The first sentence that struck me was in the introduction to the section:

“… Most persons concentrate intently upon unsatisfactory conditions, thereby giving the condition that measure of energy and vitality which is necessary in order to supply of vigorous growth [of the very thing with which they are dissatisfied]”.

To Relate the Effect:

This has led me to contemplate on the times in the past in my previous career when I found so much unsatisfactory and even downright unfair. Huge quantities of responsibility with no authority to make real change resulted in a morass of despair at the time. Now I can see how my thought processes had contributed to my condition. I can remember the anger, bitterness and frustration that circled around in my head until I was no longer the man I used to be – instead, some kind of cynical, self-centred, macabre version of myself. The result was mental and physical ill health in spades.

To Assimilate the Counsel:

So now I could see that much of my situation and its outcome was of my own making – I was not without authority, but all the time I gave it away by asserting I had no power over the situations I encountered. Haanel states in paragraph 17:

“… We find that every man is the reflection of the thought he has entertained during his lifetime. This is stamped on his face, his form, his character, his environment”.

Haanel continued in paragraph 25:

“Thought is the only reality; conditions but the outward manifestations; as the thought changes, all outward or material conditions must change in order to be in harmony with their creator, which is thought”.

So the conditions that resulted in my malaise of the time, and the outcomes of ill health to this day are brought about by thought; and by changing thought, the condition, the outcome, will change. My state of health is an unsatisfactory condition. This time, however, I know I can do something about putting things right. I now know I have the authority to improve my lot – but I cannot expect such a protracted period of ill-thought to be eradicated so quickly. Thus says Haanel on Paragraph 26:

“…[You cannot] spend twenty or thirty years of your life building up negative conditions as a result of negative thoughts, and then expect to see them all melt away as a result of fifteen or twenty minutes of right thinking”.

Thus, the road to good health is neither easy nor quick; hence to essential need for determination and persistence.

To Apply the Remedy:

Haanel shines a bright light on the awkward path ahead in paragraph 26:

“But the thought must be clear-cut, steady, fixed, definite, unchangeable; you cannot take one step forward and two steps backward…”

So, my promise to myself is that daily, I will continue to remind myself of the power of my thoughts and the omnipotence of their source. I know that I the miracle which produced me did not end at my birth. I am a miracle of nature – even the greatest of nature’s miracles.

Each time the symptoms of my illness come upon me, I shall proclaim that I am Whole, Perfect, Strong, Powerful, Loving, Harmonious and Happy. With certainty of purpose I shall proclaim my path to becoming the person I was meant to be – and this includes wholeness of body as well as mind and spirit.

I shall proclaim these thoughts regardless of the way I feel physically or mentally. I shall always think positively and with full health my goal.

This is my decision, there is no turning back. Even if I do not receive the health I seek, I will die with these proclamations on my lips, for without them, I would probably have died much sooner.

My die is cast, my boats burned. There is no more to be said, but my last proclamation:

I always keep my promises.

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