Week 17 – The sweet rewards of concentration

In our daily dances with the elements of life we are oftentimes led astray by the mirage, the hologram or graven image of those things that truly have meaning. Are we pursuing wealth, or power, or acceptance, or recognition? All these are just effects, we have learned that the heart of the matter is cause. It’s not the money, but who you become along the way to earning your fortune. It’s not the power or fame or status; it is all about who we are and if we are in harmony with the universe, with what matters, then all the other things shall be added. There is no need to chase “it” ; if you do catch it, it will all be a mirage leading to another cycle of more want, want, want.

We all contain within our minds a power that dwarfs any other in the universe. No strong man, no great army, no fantastic invention can compare to the power of thought. No man became strong, no army became great, no invention was fantastically unveiled that wasn’t the product of thought.

If thought is the greatest power, then why do most people struggle so endlessly for meager results? We all think millions of thoughts, why don’t all of us have corresponding millions in the bank account? The simple answer is concentration. Concentration is the simple act of taking the multitude of thoughts, and compelling them to all turn toward one end. I shared in week 2 that thoughts are like rain drops, a rain drop in the meadow has no major effect, but all the raindrops gathered together can carve the Grand Canyon. Concentration is not beating your head against the wall or gritting your teeth to answer a question like we did during a difficult final exam. No, concentration is a much different activity. It is the accumulated, intentional, unstoppable gathering of our mental energy into a purpose backed by a burning desire. It is that “I’m the worlds best basketball player” or “I will invent an electric lightbulb” or “this will be an amazing book”…whatever you choose and focus your intention and attention on, not for an hour, not for a day, not for a month, but over and over and over again until the forces of attraction are drawn into the orbit of your concentration and deliver to your door step every necessary supply to do the thing. Concentration is putting all of your mental energy behind your purpose and when that is done, then nothing can stop the result from happening.

This is the power, the truth, the key that insures your arrival will be a triumphant celebration not an arrival at the mirage of empty striving. If we strive to be a rich and famous super star, we will find only more striving when we get there. But if we set our heart on being the best at what we do, on becoming all that we can, then the rewards will be sweet, and will quench the thirst of our hard work in a soul satisfying way.

Week 16 – How to get kindness week all backward

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven…..That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:1-4.

Accept my kind offices to Thy other children as the only return in my power for Thy continual favors to me. Benjamin Franklin

Long ago I absorbed these two lessons into my life, and have known that these truths were the foundation of any success: spiritual, emotional, social, familial, and financial success would all come to the extent that I chose to be kind to others. My friend Zig said it so eloquently: “You can have everything you want in life, if you just help enough other people get what they want.”

Something seemed amiss this week, a deep, disturbing gloom about this whole kindness project which truly left me shaken. In reading from Haanel this week, I learned that wealth is merely exchange value. In modern terms, you don’t want money so you can sleep with it at night, you want money for what you can exchange it for. Simple enough.

And then I heard it on our mastermind call…one of the women said, in a voice of confusion and uncertainty: ‘I don’t really get this, I’m always kind, it’s my default.’

That’s when it hit me. Yes kindness is my default, I dish it out regularly and have always encountered mountains of kindness in the world. Yet, I rarely accept it…almost never open my heart and my eyes to the giver and appreciate what they have given to me. It is so much easier to just give it away and slip away unseen.  What is the value if there is no exchange.

I realized in some strange way that I had been walking up to the counter of life, and paying the price, then walking away before the goods were delivered. I truly never absorb the things that come my way, preferring to go on by unnoticed and unrewarded. But this is a major blockage in the flow, it makes a mockery of Emerson. It has left me bereft of the kindness that was intended for me, and more poignantly, had denied the true pleasure of giving to those who have sought to share their kindness with me. They knocked and delivered, but no one came to the door.

This week as I delivered many kindnesses to those with whom I crossed paths, I saw the delight in their eyes, the opening of their hearts in glad receipt, and appreciation for being recognized and appreciated.  Why have I struggled so to let anyone deliver into my heart the gifts they wish to share?

The experience this week has been the hardest by far. A look into the mirror, into eyes so familiar yet so closely guarded…who am I keeping out. It feels like someone in there is dying, and my rational mind says ‘good, let her go’ but my heart cries out for mercy. So hard to put into words, so I will continue to sit, and hope that clarity comes. Perhaps all the cement falling off so fast has just rocked my world and it is so hard to see that something better, much better is emerging.

Week 15 – exchange the good for the better

Chapter 15 in the Master Key is a treasure trove of ideas and insights, a chapter of such great value and profound concepts; it makes me want to stop the clock and spend another month (or year!) studying these riches.

The first burning coal that jumped off the page and into my consciousness is in paragraph 3: Difficulties, inharmonies, and obstacles, indicate that we are either refusing to give out what we no longer need, or refusing to accept what we require.

Haanel further elaborates on both halves of this equation as follows:

If I am refusing to let go of what I no longer need

  • Have not exchanged the good for the better (What a beautiful thought!!!)
  • Tenaciously clinging to what I already have
  • Obstacles will continue until I learn the lesson

If I am refusing to accept what I require:

  • We receive only as we give (Yes Mr. Emerson…you are right!)
  • Become aware of the purpose of what I attract
  • Extract from each experience only what I need for further growth
  • Use my insight to know what I need for futher growth, then I will be able to attract its presence and absorb it.

Now for the insight part: can I use my insight* to see what I need to give out or let go of, and to see what I need to accept or receive?

I am giving up my worries about what others think, my concerns about getting it right, being perfect, about controlling the outcomes. I am accepting the discipline to ‘do the deal’, to become the leader that my team needs.

As Marianne Williamson teaches, If I let my light shine, it gives other permission to shine as well. My success is the HIGHEST and BEST thing I can give my team.

In my sit this week, it became crystal clear that the universe is indeed a grand conspiracy to give me everything I need, to take me from the good to the better in a never ending cycle of growth and manifestation and giving…repeat, repeat,repeat.

What an amazing life!

*(15:37 The Master Key System: Insight is a faculty of the mind whereby we are enabled to examine facts and conditions at long range, a kind of human telescope; it enables us to understand the difficulties, as well as the possibilities, in any undertaking.)

Week 14 – perfect harmony

C, E, G, C…major chord, simple harmony. Anyone of us could sit down at the piano and in a minute discover the simple harmony of a major chord. And it would please our soul.

Our bodies consist of 37,200,000,000,000 cells by scientist’s best guess. Ok, let’s simplify: about 37 trillion. How many is that? A whole lot of cells! But just like the C major chord with only three different notes, the cells operate in a harmony that is inconceivable, undeniable, and absolutely awe-inducing. And every bit as satisfying and concordant as that chord.

We are to meditate on harmony this week: “concentrate so deeply, so earnestly, that you will be conscious of nothing but harmony”. (Haanel 14:31) What does harmony mean in this study and in my life? It is easy to hear the harmony in a chord. It is even easy to see that in spite of it’s inconceivable complexity, the cells in our body attain a degree of harmony that is beyond human comprehension, in a symphony of processes, functions, replication, and replenishment that makes the head spin. But I can stand back and see it works. It works in my friend’s one day old baby, and it works in my 100+ year old aunt. Sweet harmony.

So what about my thoughts? We learn that all thought has the power to create, not just some of my thought. If I think one way all day, then spend an hour doubting and negating all the good thoughts, then what? Are we moving forward or backward? Or are we, like so many we see, just going in circles?

So how are we to develop harmony in our thoughts, to strike the perfect chord? Haanel tells us that the cells all share a common purpose. There is our DMP again, a life by the compass, moving always in one direction. “thought must be clear cut, steady, fixed, definite, unchangeable” (Haanel 14:26)

Each week we are focused on this mastery, this study of bringing our thoughts and feelings into a perfect harmony with our purpose. And when we strike that sweet chord, and all our thoughts flow together into a beautiful river going one direction, then we shall know, and know that we know, that all our dreams are right in front of us.