Week 13 – Christmas, Family and the Art of Stillness

This Christmas has been one of the best of my life. It was not just that I had the opportunity to spend it in a forest, cut off from the rest of the world, nor was it just that the place we stayed was a beautiful farm house set in fields and woods. It was that I had quality time – four days all told – with 9 other family members; and what a blessing that was. We talked, walked, cycled, cooked, ate, played, and had fun together. It was a real holiday for me – a complete change – and it made me realise what you can miss if you let it pass you by.

Another thing I love was the time and the idyllic place for thinking. To pause and take notice of the changes that have taken place within me. I have a completely different attitude, an altered mind-set from when I first started the MKMMA course. I have hope. I have determination to see things through to their end. And what a gift it is to share these experiences with your loved ones.

My family clubbed together and gave me a tablet for Christmas. My daughter put some apps on it that I may find of use. One of them was called TED Talks – a marvellous site dedicated to talks given from great thinkers of our time. The first talk I looked at I hit gold – Pico Iyer’s The Art of Stillness completely resonates with the Master Keys approach to Sitting Still. I high recommend it to you.

Peace to you and a Happy New Year!

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Week 12 – A Master Keys Christmas Carol – Part 1

The melted candle’s flame convulsed as it struggled for oxygen in the stale and heavy air of the bedroom. Ebenezer’s shadow swayed across the damp patches of the bare wall, but his body moved not. He sat on his old, old bed hunched and clasping his shins, staring into the darkness of the other side of the cavernous, cold room. In the stillness and silence, only the occasional wisp of breath furled from his mouth to demonstrate the life within. With emaciated frame and hunched repose, those dull, lifeless grey eyes and gaunt demeanour belied the man’s relative youth. A life of selfishness, greed, intolerance and mistrust had carved deep furrows into his mind and moulded his form to that of a snide, cynical and penurious creature that, with avid emotion, embraced mammon and vehemently shunned open-hearted companionship with disdain.

He gazed at the darkness and the darkness stared back. His usual mood of superiority and resentment for the world around him had, at his time, retreated; his mind as empty as the trappings of his abode. The path that he had chosen for himself had finally reached its destination. The dying light gave in to the black void.

The whispers were hardly noticeable and, in the numbness of Ebenezer’s mind, it took time for him to realise the sounds were not of his own imagination. With breath held, he tracked the sound from right to left across the far wall of the room. Clearly a voice…perhaps outside? No, it is moving too far to the left – it would be inside the house. Inside? Burglars?

As Ebenezer rose, the whispers intensified and darted from place to place. Curiosity slowly transformed to a mild sense of peril as the wiry man lit a candle and peered into the blackness.

“Who is there?” he murmured. The noises continued with no sentient reply. With gathered courage he spoke with what eminence and authority he could muster. “Who are you? Do you mean me harm? …..If you seek to rob me, you may see that I have nothing of value”. With no visible form hushed whisperer spoke softly, but firmly into Ebenezer’s ear, “Of that, Ebenezer Scrooge, I heartily agree!”

Ebenezer, turned and reeled in shock. The candlelight revealed no person. He gulped, “Where are you?”

A voice in the corner of the room replied “I am here”. Scrooge turned to the corner and with candle held aloft, hastened to the corner to find no one there. His neck craned, he scoured the ceiling and the walls. “What do you see, Ebenezer?” The voice was now behind him. He scuttled to the opposite corner of the room. “Ebenezer, what do you see?”

Fear gave way to frustration, “Why are you playing games with me?” Scrooge uttered firmly.

“I assure you, I play no games. What do you see?”

The deep-set steely eyes of the man in night attire shot to the latest location of the disembodied voice, “What do you mean ‘What do I see’? I see nothing, I have seen nothing!”

“Then you have seen me.”

Scrooge’s frustration grew. Before he had chance to vent his ire, the voice spoke again. “I am the phantom of your opportunities passed. By definition, you see nothing. Now, Ebenezer, extinguish the candle.”

Scrooge glanced at the meandering flame, then back to the darkness. He had been startled, exasperated and bewildered in quick succession but he still had the presence of mind to think logically. Logic was the currency of the world and he was a man of the world. If he could not see his companion in the light, yet he did not attack with the benefit of this advantage, then he probably had no intention of aggression or malice. Furthermore, the darkness would further diminish the chance of success of such intentions and, with his greater knowledge and experience of the room in darkness, he would have the upper hand. He blew out the candle.

The minutes of adjustment for Scrooges eyes to the darkness were spent in silence and expectation. He concentrated on the finding the body of the mysterious visitor. He looked for a shape, even the hint of a shape in the blankness before him. He could not tell at first whether it was his imagination or actual bodily forms or even a combination of the two, but as he focussed his mind on the task, extremely subtle wisps of fleeting light appeared and faded – first here, then there- until Scrooge’s mind could piece together a shape, and the shape was that of a human body standing five paces before him. In time, by memorising the positions of light both past and present the picture took shape and features began to develop. A young man manifested slowly before him, bold and upright with an open posture accepting – even loving. Scrooge’s usual attitude of cynicism and contempt had stopped abruptly with shock of the apparition before him – the very foundations of his philosophy of the machinations of the Universe were now in a state of flux. This was not a time to revert to type.

The phantom slowly raised his arm in an arc above his head. Again, by a combination of sight and memory, the shape of an arch was formed. The apparition moved slowly sideways as the arch took its form.

Scrooge could not tell if the arch enlarged or moved toward him, but the effect was that he was slowly entering the arch. He knew he had to focus or the visions he saw would be disrupted or gone.

Wisps of light like tendrils of smoke drifted-by at all angles. For no known reason, a gamut of emotion was stirring within Ebenezer. Again, the drifting strands took form until he finally realised their significance. These were people he knew! People of all types that he had known in his past – some he had known well, some not so and all around were amorphous shapes and shades of light.

“Look harder Ebenezer, focus” came the voice once more.

The form of Scrooge’s sister, Fan, came before him. His countenance lit up as he watched her dance the way she did when he was but small and young and carefree. He wanted to hold her hand, but fear that it would somehow break the spell. As he looked to his right, his jaw dropped and a blush reddened his pallid and haggard cheeks as his first and only love, Belle drifted toward him. Three faint lights raced playfully around her. Ebenezer stepped closer but all apparitions receded quickly in to the darkness. Though still present, not even Scrooge’s guide could be seen.

Perplexed, Scrooge inquired, “What have I done to repulse them so?”

The voice replied, “You have done nothing”.

“I don’t understand. If I have done nothing, then why do they depart from me?”

“You did nothing”.

Ebenezer’s indignant face melted when he realised the import of the voice’s words. It was his own inactions of the past that resulted in the ghosts of the present. Vast possibilities of life and love for scrooge is confined to the ether of non-existence.

“How did my path divert so?”

The voice replied with no emotion, “You made a series of choices which impacted on you and the world around you. Your choices have defined you.”

Scrooge dropped to his knees, his eyes welled with hot, bitter tears, “What can I do to amend for my transgressions?”

The voice replied, “In my realm you can do nothing for the thoughts, the attitudes, the mind sets and actions of the past have already had their effect and they cannot be altered. But in your realm you can do everything.”

Ebenezer held back his tears, raised his head and composed himself. “Forgive me, phantom for I have indulged in myself for far too long – what of Fan and my dear Bella? What if I cannot find them to make recompense?”

“Guard yourself Ebenezer, for the only person you can truly find is yourself.”

The first light of dawn filtered into the dank bedroom of Ebenezer’s abode. “One more thing I ask of you phantom, I beg you, please to seek the forgiveness of those I wronged in your realm”.

“They have no need of your forgiveness, for they know you not and could not perceive you, as I have been unable to see you. Your thoughts have formed habits, your habits have defined your character and your character has diminished your soul. The opportunities from your past have disappeared. I cannot see you for you have become as nothing”.

The tears welled up to over flowing, “Then I have no hope?”

The voice spoke more softly, “You have shown remorse. Remorse is the Handmaiden of Resolve and the Herald of Hope. You have hope Ebenezer, but on your journey you will need much more than that alone.”

“Good spirit, from whence do I obtain the abilities to extricate my elf from this pit?”

“More guides will manifest themselves, but for us, it is time to part our ways.”

Scrooge melted softly to the floor, head hung in the grief of such wasted time on dark and fruitless pursuit. He took a breath, “Before you depart, may I know the name of my messenger?”

The reply was hushed and echoed through the room.

“My name is Ebenezer Scrooge, the man you would be.”

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Week 11- If- Rudyard, Og, Charles and Napoleon Are Met…

Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If-” is my favorite and is one of the most inspiring pieces of text in the English language. The poem resonates with the teachings found in The Greatest Salesman, The Master Keys and Think and Grow Rich.

This is my homage to Rudyard, Og, Charles and Napoleon:

“IF-” by RUDYARD KIPLING


If you can keep your head when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

“I will hear not those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious…the slaughter house is not my destiny. I will persist until I succeed.” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked III.

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

“I will cause others to believe in me because I will believe in them and in myself” Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

“The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning.” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked III.

 

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

“For just as love is my weapon to open the hearts of men, love is also my shield to repulse the arrows of hate and the spears of anger. Adversity and discouragement will beat against my new shield and become as the softest of rains”. Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked II.

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

“I will eliminate hatred, envy jealousy, selfishness and cynicism…” Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

“…the value of experience is overrated usually by old men who nod wisely and speak stupidly.” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked I.

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; 

“Do not confuse Imagination with Fancy, or that form of daydreaming in which some people like to indulge. Daydreaming is a form of mental dissipation which may lead to mental disaster.” Charles Haanel, The Master Keys, Part 8 Section 14.

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

“Then comes the process of visualisation. You must see the picture more and more complete, see the detail, and , as the details begin to unfold the ways and means for bringing it into manifestation will develop methods, methods will develop friends, and friends will bring about circumstances, and, finally, the third step, or Materialisation, will have been accomplished.” Charles Haanel, The Master Keys, Part 7 Section 7.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;  

“I will love the ambitious for they can inspire me; I will love the failures for they can teach me.” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked II.

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

“With love I will tear down the wall of suspicion and hate which they have built round their hearts and in its place I build bridges so that my love may enter their souls.” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked II.

 

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

“Failure I may encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never wil I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner”.  Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked III.

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

“I will avoid despair but if this disease of the mind should infect me then I will work on in despair. I will toil and I will endure. I will ignore the obstacles beneath me and keep mine eyes on the goals above my head.” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked III.

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

“So long as there is breath within me, that long I will persist. For now I know one of the greatest principles of success; if I persist long enough I will win.” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked III.

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

“I love the kings for they are but human; I love the meek for they are divine.” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked II.

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

“[My shield of love] will become stronger and more protective with use until one day I will cast it aside and walk unencumbered among all manners of men and when I do, my name will be raised high on the pyramid of life” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked II.

If all men count with you, but none too much;

“And how will I confront each whom I meet? In only one way. In silence and to myself I will address him and say I Love You. Though spoken in silence these words will shine in my eyes, unwrinkled my brow, bring a smile to my lips and an echo in my voice; and his heart will be opened.” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked II.

 

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

“And I make a solemn vow to myself that nothing will retard my new life’s growth.” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked I.

 

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,  

“Today, I am born anew and my birthplace is a vineyard where there is fruit for all.” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked I

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

“I will walk tall among men and they will know me not, for today, I am a new man, with a new life.” Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman, Scroll Marked I

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Week 10 – True Health and the Power of the Mastermind Alliance

Before I start my blog this week, I just want to make it clear that the purpose of my tale is not because I have any particular religious partisanship to promote, but rather, I want to relate to you an experience I had when I was younger which resonates strongly with the principles we have learned in the Master Keys Mastermind Alliance; namely:

  • The reality of manifestation of the restoration of health similar to the case of Frederick Elias Andrews in Part 9 of Haanel’s The Master Key. In the case I witnessed, the manifestation was instantaneous.
  • The Incredible power of a mastermind alliance when all focussed on one task, all with the same thoughts and the same charged feelings (i.e. the same belief) that manifestation would occur.

My tale goes back to 1988, when I was invited to attend a Christian Evangelistic Event at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), situated between Birmingham and Coventry, UK. It was a reasonably big gathering – from what I remember there were around 10 to 12 thousand people attending. In one of the largest halls in the NEC.

The event entered a period where the visiting evangelist went down from the stage to mingle with the people who had come in the hope to be healed by God. It was at this time that something truly extraordinary happened which carries a lesson or two for us on MKMMA.

The evangelist encouraged a woman in a wheelchair to get up. The sceptic in me and my working knowledge of body-language told me that the woman was somewhat reluctant, even embarrassed to stand up (it later transpired that she wasn’t fully wheelchair-bound, but could stand for short periods). All this was videoed for all participants to see. The crowd were less sceptical than I. The crowd went wild, thinking and believing that someone who could not walk had just been healed.

The evangelist then, for no apparent reason, rushed to another area in the venue and commanded another woman in a wheelchair to rise up and walk. She not only rose up and walked, she ran around the auditorium. However, this lady could not stand for short periods. She had in fact been confined to a wheelchair for 2 years after a previous 23 years of spinal injuries and conditions resulting in 10 operations and 4 years in hospital. Furthermore, she had had 3 heart attacks, acute angina, severe bronchitis, pain in her back to the point of blackouts and deteriorating eyesight. Gone. This woman became whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy in an instant. Her name is Jean Neil. I saw this miracle. I waited to the end of the event to talk with her as we left together, Jean pushing her own wheelchair as we left. I bore witness to this as true. You’ll find her story on YouTube.

I’d like to make these observations:

  1. Jean Neil had the most appalling quality of life, but she did not give in to her condition. She gave. She gave love and time faithfully to those at her church and taught at Sunday school. She didn’t despair, but she “walked the talk” and applied her thought and feeling to believe she could be healed.
  2. Jean visualised her goal. It resulted in her dreaming EXACTLY what happened when she was healed (place, people, events) months before it took place. That divine spark in her subconscious working away to show her the solution to her predicament.
  3. The evangelist knew she was going to be healed the moment he saw her at the start of the event. It was a matter of WHEN, not if. However, it’s important to remember that the evangelist was the conduit for the effect and not the cause (which is one of the reasons I haven’t named him). As Napoleon Hill says, ”I succeed by attracting to myself the forces I wish to use and the co-operation of other people”. It is interesting to consider that when people were healed in the presence of Jesus of Nazareth, he would often tell them that it wasn’t he, or any other person that had healed them but would say, “it is YOUR FAITH that has healed you”.
  4. I believe that the crowd were a massive catalyst for this amazing occurrence. When that first lady got out of her wheelchair 10,000 people believed in miracles. Now, nothing was impossible, so when the impossible was needed, the impossible became manifest. That crowd was a mastermind alliance. What could we do together when we are all focussed on one task with the same thoughts and feelings? That, my friends, is an exciting question, with and limitless answer.

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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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Press Release

When your interviewee offers to pay you for your trip to Somerset, that’s kind. When you realise that Somerset is actually a town in Bermuda, it becomes an offer you just can’t refuse.

BermudaAfter arriving at St. David’s International airport, I still had a light plane journey and a taxi ride to get to my destination – a chance to get a bird’s-eye-view of what must be one of the most beautiful isles under British sovereignty. With its exquisite beaches of pink-white sand, crystal clear waters, brightly painted houses, historic churches and ship-wrecks, Bermuda is a fascinating mix of European quaintness and tropical splendour. Below us, breath-taking views of the reef onto which Admiral Sir George Somers deliberately sailed his ship in a storm (that is reputed to be the inspiration for Shakespeare’s The Tempest), thus saving the crew, who became the island’s first inhabitants – a veritable riot of blues and greens compete to greet the eyes of anyone so fortunate to witness the scene. As the mid-morning sun’s rays playfully skipped across the azure Atlantic Ocean, I was already smitten with the island’s charm.

I The brightness and heat changed to coolness and calm as I entered the spacious, modern-style 6-bedroom building that was the current bolt-hole of someone who rarely gives interviews because he says that if he’s not too busy enjoying his work, he’s too busy enjoying his play-time. Such is the life-style of John Somers, business-owner-turned-entrepreneur whose company has recently burst onto the scene in the Sunday Times’ “Top 100 Best Small Companies to Work For” list.

imagesSN3TN5LZ“It’s a great achievement to be recognised as one of the best 100 employers in the UK, but I’m far from finished on that count. I have more plans for expansion and in by next year our aim is to be in the top 100 big companies’ list”, came the reply from the man who, despite his successes, maintains a level-headed, even simple approach to business and life in general. “The secret is to work with the people you love to work with”, he said in his serene, matter-of-fact style as he showed me to the rear of the house – a superb pool and sunken jacccuzzi area encased in a glazed framework, adjacent to the rear reception room.

 

“As long as you put the effort in to picking the right people to employ with the right frame-of-mind, it’s pretty simple”.

“And what about your customers? Are they so easy to work with?”

“There are those clients who make work a joy and a pleasure, and there are those who, in time, will do the same.”

“Don’t you have any awkward clients?”

“They’re only awkward if you allow yourself to think in such a way, and we don’t. We treat all clients in the same way – our attitude is the same to each and every client: respect, care and commitment to their happiness regardless of their mood or demeanour at the time. As a result, we have the best possible relationships we could have with our clients, but this can only be done by having our employees cared for in similar manner. We pick the most suitable candidates and look after them. Employees are the greatest asset to any organisation.”

Such positive messages are one of the philosophical keys to the Somers’ successes in recent years, though it hasn’t always been so. As we talk surrounded by the welcome shade of palm trees next to the pool, the conversation turns to how, after twenty-plus years of working in multi-national companies, how he managed to break-free of the rat-race and end up in a superb house, knocking back cocktails with a journalist in Bermuda.

“After the initial shock of redundancy, I soon realised that this was a fantastic opportunity to live my own dreams instead of someone else’s. It took me four years to find my feet and have an embryonic plan. But there was still something missing – I lacked focus and direction. I knew I needed discipline and accountability to get me through the next stage. With perfect timing, I was introduced to MKMMA. It was like it was meant to be.”

The Master Key Mastermind Alliance (MKMMA) is a web-based, pay-it-forward scholarship course based on the original Master Keys System correspondence course created by Charles F. Haanel in 1912. Somers took the course when it was in its relative infancy and proved to be a pivotal point I his life.

“It was about five weeks into the course when it hit me: I was reading Haanel’s words on the subconscious, urging the reader to consider using the subconscious rather than to be a bystander to it. The statement ended with ‘Shall we have a vision of a destination to be reached, the dangers to be avoided, OR SHALL WE DRIFT?’ For so much of my life until that moment, I thought of myself as drifting and this was the reason. The desire to take control of my subconscious was ignited after that, all that was needed was to take control and maintain it. The course gave me all the help and advice needed to turn Haanel’s good counsel into my reality.”

From that moment, fate took its course as the course forged his fate. Client opportunities open up for John Somers that resulted in a sustainable income that doubled within a year.

“It was a time I had burned my bridges and committed everything to the plan I had created for my future. It was the most awe-inspiring, mind-boggling, surreal experience to see chance-encounters, amazing coincidences and new opportunities just opening themselves up to me. It was an exhilarating, bizzare and utterly joyful ride into unknown territory with a planned destination.”

The achievement of financial security gave John Somers the freedom to release direct control of his businesses and work with several charitable and humanitarian organisations.

“I see it as an extension of the love and care I learned to give in service to my clients. Now I can give my time and resources to those who haven’t had the opportunities that I had”.

Over 400 years ago, an Englishman by the name of Somers steered his ship through dark and stormy waters to his ship upon the reef of Bermuda, thus saving his crew. He gave those first inhabitants of the island life and hope. Today, there lives another Englishman on the same island and by the same name who has weathered the storms of his life and now gives hope and new life to many other through his businesses and charitable works.

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