Category Archives: Autonomy


The “Less Than” Button – Week 30

This is a follow-up to the last week’s post regarding leverage. I attended a networking meeting 3 weeks ago where the guest speaker was a personal coach, formerly a practicing DC.

The coach talked about helping a number of clients advance their incomes from 6 figures to 7, which caught my attention, as that is my present goal. In the process of the 40-minute presentation to the small, 2-person group, I was drawn in to the coach’s mystique.

I didn’t cop to what he did with me initially, but a series of events revealed an interesting skill he used. This might help the reader.

At the presentation, I felt inspired and empowered, and I enrolled for a complimentary one-hour personal consult. During the consult, I was again impressed by the coach’s insights, and I committed to a 5-figure coaching program, with funds to be paid later.

I continued to make great progress on my goals, and I did the assigned homework project. The coach’s response to the homework was interestingly generic and shallow, asking for a little more detail. To me, the detail requested was obvious, a simple arithmetic exercise. Essentially, busy work. Rather than immediately respond with the detail, I let the message sit in my inbox for three days.

Then, yesterday, I was seized with paralysis over the emotions of a difficult event from a couple months back. I was nonplussed by this new experience, and I reached out to my MM partner, who is also my uncle. I asked my uncle to help me process the revived emotions, which he did.

My uncle pointed out that the difficult emotions probably came from how the unpleasant experience related to me having previously resided in a “less than” place. As we talked through the actual experience and the “reliving” experience, I could see how sensitive I still was to “less than” feelings.

And then the insight: I had been drawn into the coach’s mystique because of his ability, intentional or not, to touch my “less than” button.

As I caught hold on that idea, my uncle reiterated to me some of the central ideas of the Master Key Experience (MKE), that all wisdom comes from within, and that I already had within me all the power I needed to manifest all my dreams and visions.

It was as if my internal compass brought the difficult emotions of the previous experience to the surface so I would reach out. And, in reaching out, I reconnected with my personal truths and personal power.

As you will have guessed, I canceled my “order” for coaching services. My “compass” guided me truly despite my initial mistake.

The point as to the MKE is clear, too. Our leaders exercised integrity, not only by not “guiding” discovery, but also by never, intentionally or otherwise, pressing the “less than” button. I admire them more than ever. They are true friends and true counselors.

Thank you, as always, for joining me on this journey.

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Golden Gate

John Wayne – Week 29

I attended last week my company’s annual convention, which included 4 days of meetings. My thought in attending, at least up to the week of the event, was to enjoy the sociality of friends I usually only see once a quarter and also to find ways to help some people I might meet in chance encounters.

This was the 1st event I attended since beginning to practice the Law of Least Effort, which includes 3 elements: acceptance, responsibility and defenselessness. The third aspect of the law seemed most important in this context, as I will explain below.

As the convention concluded, I had to marvel about how several “chance” encounters or events over 4 weeks combined to serve me in a very positive, though completely unexpected way.

Two weeks previous to convention, SC, one of our leaders, came to our town. He talked about obsession as a key to progress. That resonated deeply with me, as I knew the benefit of focus, the power of clearly defined intention. That power manifests through the Law of Attraction, also known as the Law of Growth.

Monday the week of convention I attended a presentation by KB, a personal coach. KB claimed to have coached a number of clients who improved their incomes, mostly as employees, from 6 figures per year ($100k+) to 7 figures per year ($1 million+).

That caught my attention. My goal is to get to 8 figures, and, having been stuck at 6 figures, I knew I needed to go through 7 figures to get to 8. KB had me riveted.

KB’s presentation was a short introduction to his work. He spoke about vision, decision, awareness and leverage. He taught these concepts from the knowledge that the subconscious mind, the sum total of all our previous decisions and experiences, drives well over 90% of our thoughts, words, and behaviors. To get real change, the subconscious pattern (or blueprint, in Masterkey Experience lingo) must change.

In that context, vision is knowing what you want. Decision is cutting oneself off from any other possibility. Awareness is knowing where you are in the process of manifesting a new reality. Leverage is the idea, goal, motivation and/or insight that propels you to actually engage in the project of manifesting your dreams.

KB also taught me that the subconscious mind has a number of deceptive feints or techniques designed to prevent radical, permanent change. One of these is defensiveness, which includes the need to restate in one’s own language the things one hears from others. Restating often masquerades as so-called Active Listening.

KB thus taught me that restatement is usually the subconscious defending itself from information that would lead to change. In essence, the subconscious, by restating the words of others, asserts, “You already know this” to the conscious mind. When that happens, learning stops. Restatement is also a defensive method to control language and social interaction. Restatement is one of any number of defensive reactions or strategies available to the subconscious.

I knew defensiveness was one of my typical resisting responses, impeding change, and I wanted to attend convention with a beginner’s mind. I had a clear vision of my goal, I felt aware of my progress, and I thought I had decided to progress.

Stuck, I lacked leverage, the internal power source that would provide more action. More action accelerates change. I concluded that experiencing convention would somehow provide that leverage.

As encouragement, KB taught that most people who get rich do so quickly after they get their minds right. In other words, once correct thoughts dominate one’s mind, wealth follows soon after. This is the Law of Attraction in operation.

Two foreign leaders, JA and NH, spoke twice during Friday’s convention sessions. Both don’t speak English, and I struggled to extract from the translations something useful. During their 2nd set of remarks, it struck me. NH was deeply impressed with America and its core concept of Freedom. For him, John Wayne embodied a kind, independent, free spirit, something completely foreign to his native culture.

It struck me that, for NH, the freedom of America and the independent spirit of John Wayne were symbols of the life he created for himself and desires for the people he serves. I began to see, as NH described his fascination with freedom and John Wayne, he had so keenly visualized and internalized these concepts and ideas, that he had compelled his reality to manifest his vision.

As I pondered NH further, I was struck by the visage and bearing of JA, NH’s partner. JA comes off stern and forbidding in public appearance. He’s also taciturn and terse. My overall impression of JA is as a modern version of a medieval warrior. JA is at the top of the achievement ladder of his profession, and it pays him in excess of $1 million per year.

The important thing about JA for me was the insight that he is at the top of his game because his demeanor reflects a thought process and a belief system inextricably tied to his success. If I want the same success, all I need do is think the same thoughts and foster the same beliefs. And, for JA, that serious demeanor seems to imply a serious focus on business very much akin to obsession.

So far, then, I had three elements or principles of success as the foundation of leverage. These are obsession, a focused, vividly imagined desire and real commitment, life or death, kill or be killed commitment.

At the convention, I felt attracted to SC’s breakout presentation. In it, I learned two other principles I desperately needed. SC taught the assembled throng a number of things, but two struck home and rang especially true. He taught us that success depended on learning not to accept excuses.

I immediately recognized the truth taught. I could see in my life a pattern of excuse making and excuse accepting. Within that pattern, I could see, once again, a willingness to accept, even court, a life of disability. A life of failing to claim my inherent greatness. A life of quiet or not so quiet desperation.

As with part 3 of the Law of Least Effort, defenselessness, “excuselessness,” or living free from excuses, liberates the practitioner from the tyranny of outside control and allows one to live life completely from the inside out. This liberation comes from honesty and integrity.

Without excuses, one must honestly appraise performance. Or lack of performance. One need not always perform, but one can recognize clearly the difference. And, without excuses, one can accept one’s own humanity without recrimination or evasion.

Integrity (or pleasing integrity if you prefer) flows from honesty. Acknowledging what is and what is not allows one to declare truth. And, as one consistently perceives clearly and declares correctly, one is naturally led to keep the promises one makes. Here we have a solid foundation for pleasing integrity: honesty, truthfulness, and trustworthiness.

All flowing from one simply employed trait: a willingness not to accept excuses from oneself.

And then SC helped me again by zeroing in on part 2 of the Law of Least Effort, responsibility.

With the foundation of honesty and truthfulness mentioned above, one, anyone, is prepared to accept full and complete responsibility for the totality of his or her circumstances. With that responsibility comes ownership, truly owning one’s life.

And when that happens, one really begins to live life from the inside out, not from the outside in. One becomes self-directed rather that other directed. One programs one’s own life; one allows the programming offered by others only insofar as such contributes positively towards the manifestation of one’s desired reality.

With these additions, my leverage was as a pentagon, five facets of one motivating whole:
• Clearly defined goals and objectives tied to vivid, positive emotions
• Life or death commitment evidencing real decision
• Obsession on the goal(s)
• “Excuselessness,” and
• Full responsibility

We had thought to return home from convention Saturday evening after the event concluded. Instead, we were invited by another leader, TK, to stay with him for a 2-day retreat, a retreat with no particular agenda.

I figured, with all I had gained so far, that I could, by retreat’s end, have my mind completely right and be ready to begin my journey to income transformation.

I’ll report next post on my results. Thank you, as always, for joining me on the journey.

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Mt Rainier

Commencement & Recovery – Week 25

This week we “finished” the Masterkey Experience (MKE) with Mark & Davene Januszewski. At least, Sunday last was our final webinar. We thus begin (commence) a fully self-directed life, at least in theory.

For me, something seemed right about that, and something seemed to be missing. I felt increasing control over my thoughts and feelings, one of the main objects of the course. And with that independence of thought, I had a clear idea of the forward path.

I knew what I should do: continue with the complex progressions I’d worked so hard to build in the last 6 months. Why? I didn’t know exactly.

A scripture struck me as I pondered. It says this:

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31: 19-20

Likening this scripture to the Masterkey Experience, I could see that continuing on with my reading, DMP (definite major purpose) recitation, meditation, gratitude, kindness, etc. would be like me pressing forward, feasting on the knowledge gained, until I reached a point of more automatic functioning.

Then it struck me. The coursework for the Masterkey Mastermind Alliance began with neural science. We learned in studying neural peptide conditioning that our habitual thought and feeling patterns in essence create chemical addictions in our cells because of the endocrine chemicals prompted by those thoughts and feelings. Addiction!

A conversation with a mentor came back to me. He said that for most addictions, a year of diligent 12-step practice would be required for each year of addiction before one could be anywhere close to secure in recovery. Again likening this to the MKE, I could see why I felt impressed to continue my readings, etc.

I am new into recovery from the old neural peptide addiction, and retrogression is almost sure if I stop progressing.

Just like with a “standard” addiction, ground gained in recovery is dearly bought, and giving it up devalues the sacrifice inherent in the purchase. To go back here is to even more painfully and significantly reject the hero within. I’d be giving up on the hero’s journey, never to fully realize the greatness I’ve felt beginning to unfold.

Giving up would be like a dog returning to its vomit, so much better is my new life than the old. That would be too big a waste.

And so, like the recovering addict I am, I will stick with my recovery structures so I can continue to progress and enjoy the fruits of a new life.

Not coincidentally, it turns out, I felt impressed a couple weeks ago to seek a new service opportunity. That makes perfect sense in the context of addiction recovery. Step 12 can be stated this way:

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

What we see encapsulated there is nothing more than an affirmation of Haanel and Emerson, whose instructions mirror the Master’s teaching. To save one’s life, one must lose it in the service of others. You only keep what you’re willing to give away.

The context of addiction recovery also makes clear why a true mastermind is required for success in realizing the life changes intended in a declaration of definite major purpose. Every recovering addict needs a sponsor. A sponsor is a confidant to whom one can turn when the winds of adversity blow, and one with whom one can move forward in perfect harmony of purpose. No sponsor, no recovery.

I feel intensely grateful for all that I’ve learned and all that I’ve won in the last 6 months. I’m confident, too, that the next 6 will be even more wonderful. I’m glad you’re still with me on the journey.

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Succeed on Your Own Terms – Week 21

February 23, 2014

I have come to believe that one must succeed on one’s own terms, or not succeed at all. After all, each of us is unique, with individual talents and interests. No one of us is exactly like another. If we’re willing, we can take that individuality and build on it to paint the masterpiece of a life well and fully lived.

In the past several weeks, we have been instructed to read each day at least one obituary with a picture from that day’s printed newspaper. This has been an interesting exercise, designed, in part, to help us internalize the reality that each day might be our last. This accords with Scroll V in Mandino’s Greatest Salesman, which begins, “I will live this day as if it is my last.”

I feel privileged to have received another benefit from my reading. No two obituaries of more than a paragraph are even remotely alike. This is natural, and it reflects what is now for me a treasured truth: no two lives are even remotely alike.

I’m a big fan of patterns, and human behavior does seem to roughly fall into a relatively small number of large patterns. However, like a fractal image, the closer you look, the more detail is revealed. And God is in the detail (contrary to the proverb).

Perhaps it is an American cultural trait to celebrate individuality. If so, well, but there’s no denying individuality no matter your race, gender or culture. Each of us is as a snowflake, no two of which, it is said, are exactly alike.


My predisposition to like patterns initially led me a little astray for a while. You see, intellectually (though not much in practice it seems) I like the idea of learning from the mistakes of others. Couple this with the tendency to live in the “less than” box, and you get an evil combination of fearing error without the confidence to understand the message of eternal truth.

The truth is that no one can succeed like I can, because no one else has my unique gifts and talents. Likewise, I cannot succeed like anyone else, because I do not have their gifts and talents. I must succeed on my own terms, or not succeed at all.

This becomes obvious when you realize that if someone else is setting the goal posts, the goal will always move just as you seem to reach it.

Does this mean I cannot benefit from the roads and bridges others build? No. All it means is that my destination is, figuratively, my own home in the city I choose. No one outside my mastermind can build my home, and no one else can live there.

Golden Gate

Thus we see the truth of the Hero’s Journey: each person becomes a hero by treading a unique path, with unique adversity and uniquely crafted assistance.

I used to think, erroneously, that a unique path required me to travel alone. Now I know the truth. I can only succeed, even individually, with the assistance and fellowship of trusted, harmonious companions and advisers. And, yet, my journey is mine alone.

No one can live my life for me. I must do it. If my life is to become a masterpiece, it is not because someone (even God) laid a template over me and painted my life by their numbers. Good thing God doesn’t want automatons for children. We are His heirs, if we’re willing to claim His kingdom for ourselves. And part of that heritage is the freedom and obligation to craft and live a unique life.

My promise to you is that what you want wants you. The success you want, on your own terms, wants you. You’re designed 1st class, by 1st class, and you’re entitled to go 1st class as long as you live your own 1st class miracle.

I rejoice in your companionship along the journey of success. As we achieve the success we envision, we lift those around us and help make the world a better place. As we do well, we indeed do good, if that is our desire.

Name your terms, smile and pay your price.  “Take what you want,” says God, “and pay for it.”

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Bringing Your Own – Week 18 Supplemental

What if you could find the spark that would ignite greatness within you? How would you feel?

I know how I felt recently as I realized one of the things that had been missing. My performance was sporadic and not all that effective. My spirit was depressed. My belief in myself was low.

I knew in my heart I had all the tools I needed to succeed. I knew I was good enough, I was smart enough, I was sufficiently diligent and I wasn’t afraid of hard work. I had the gas, I had the air, but I was missing a spark.

And then, there it was!

Like a bolt out of the blue, I knew what Billie Holiday meant. She sang, “God bless the child that’s got his own. I’ve got my own.”

As soon as I really believed in myself, I had my own! And, as the hymn says, “We give thee but thine own.” Whatever I owned would come to me as if by the hands of angelic ministrants. If you own it, no one else may lay claim to it. It is yours by right.

Didn’t I hear Paul say it? “We are the children of God. And if children, then heirs, and joint heirs with Christ.”

But my heirship lay out of reach, awaiting my claim. My vision was distant, pushed far away by my unbelief.

Praise God for the gift of insight. Faith really did come by hearing, but only when my ears opened. The long night of mediocrity is over. The day of excellence is dawning.

My joy really is full, because not only do I have the gas, God has given me all the air I can use, He has further revealed to me the spark, and He has also provided me the perfect vehicle.

And guess what? All was within me all the time, simply waiting for me to awake, arise, and be a man.

There is a reason one of God’s names is “I AM.” He doesn’t have to “be something” to be God, He just is. As a child of God, I have the same birthright. It doesn’t have to be hard. I can let it be easy. I don’t have to be any particular way. I can just “be,” letting my actions unfold my destiny. Join me, won’t you?

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Cool Kids & Belonging – Week 17 HJ Supplemental

This is another supplemental entry. Casual readers may want to give it a skip.

Change is hard. The more significant the change, the harder it is. Our journey through the Masterkey System invites us to recognize our true selves. In doing so, we let the old self, patterned on others’ ideas, die. We are thus reborn, a new creature, fashioned on our own perception of our purpose or Dharma.

I am at this writing in my late 50s and have been gifted with strong passions, incisive thoughts and a clear mind. I invested 28 years in practicing law, and that practice disposed me to exude confidence in who I am and what I think. All of this adds up to deep ruts in the stone paths of my life.


Of late, the change process has prompted interestingly irrational thoughts, causing me at times to question my grasp on reality.

Reassuringly for me, we found out in this week’s MKMMA webinar that such things are common when facing wholesale change.

I feel blessed even so, because the flow of insight hasn’t failed. Every week has brought (or revealed) a new or deeper layer of thought and feeling ready to be layered in (or dug out). Recent weeks’ practice yielded insight that a significant portion of my adult interactions have proceeded from a place sometimes called the “less than” box.

Sunday morning this week brought the biggest insight so far. I saw clearly that I had been living my father’s life.

His father died young, when my father was 16 or 17. Previous to his death, my grandfather spent years away from his family at what today would be called an extended care facility. As a partial consequence of growing up poor and fatherless in the Great Depression, my father chose to live often seeking the approval of others, especially those with business or personal financial success.

For example, rather than spend his retirement years (few though they turned out to be) simply enjoying his family and serving in the community, to his dying day (almost literally), my father worked one unproductive business deal after another, always looking for a financial home run. You see, with financial success he would finally “be somebody.” My Dad stroked out at work, was conversant for only a short time, and never left a hospital bed again. He died about two weeks later after 10 days in a stroke-induced coma.

My insight this Sunday allowed me to see how many, if not most, of my personal, professional and social interactions were for the subliminal, subconscious purpose of gaining approval from, and/or access to belonging with, the “cool kids” in my life. Of course, this never happened in any significant or lasting way. I, too, sought the symbols of power and wealth, thinking, if you can call it thought, that those things would add enough to me to make me something.

In that way, as in others, without conscious forethought, I lived my father’s life.

Sure, I had a degree and license he never earned. I had skills he never possessed. I learned to network as he never did. But fundamentally, I was his son, through and through.

Lest the reader misunderstand that this was all bad, my father was a person of amazing good will, charity, and good character. He was admired for those things by all who knew him. His work ethic was all but legendary. His love for his family was beyond doubt. I also possess a fair measure of such positive traits. His example and teaching were instrumental in my adoption of that positive programming.

And, now, action beckons. Haanel’s promise that meditation would liberate me from the chains of dysfunctional beliefs is coming true.

I have gained insight into my true self, and I feel the heavens inviting me to give that man wings.

But, first, a funeral is in order. My old man of sin died and was buried with my watery baptism and subsequent, ongoing repentance. Now, my approval seeking, “wanna be” financial and professional adventurer has stroked out and will soon be comatose.

I had the courage to honor my father’s wish to not be artificially kept alive without any hope for a vibrant, quality life, and I can summon that courage again. I had the courage of my subconscious convictions to live a dysfunctional life in honor of my father’s pattern.

I here declare the exercise of courage needed to embrace vulnerability, pull the plug on “other directed” life, let that old life die, and experience every day the bliss of living by the internal, God-given compass of my divine purpose.

How appropriate that this week’s Ben Franklin value for me is courage. I chose that value three weeks ago, and my “subby” delivered me the prime opportunity and the power needed to display that virtue, right on cue. It will be fun to watch courage manifest, over and over again.

The power is within me now to live a life of effective, joyful, productive service.

I easily see patterns. That has served me exceptionally well as I work the current process of change. I easily see cause and effect. I discern with incisive facility. I infer with surgical precision. Humans are as habitual as any animal, and both success and failure leave tracks easily followed.

My experience of adversity gives me deep empathy. My years of advocacy yielded facile communication skills. I lived a good story, and I easily remember the good stories of others.

I am sensitive to my personal, pivotal needs, and I believe I can coach others to gain sensitivity to their own.

Most of all, like Frank Herbert’s Paul Atreides (Dune) or the Wachowski brothers’ Neo (The Matrix), my sleeper has awoken. Like them, I am initially reluctant to believe in my intrinsic greatness, but I, too, have great help and wonderful companions. I can learn to be one with them and with the world, living in perfect harmony.

It will be fun to watch me soar. My life is full. I have opportunity beyond the value of the treasures in Smaug’s hoard or the legendary Cave of Wonders. After all, I am made of God stuff, and trinkets, baubles and other shiny objects are of no eternal value.

Unlike most people, I have felt the power of a true mastermind. I know its potential, and I’m learning my own.

I revere my father’s sacrifices for me and my family. It will not honor him, however, to continue on his path when I can now walk my own. I promise, dear reader, to tread my own path. And, I always keep my promises.

Walk with me, will you please? Or, maybe you’d rather ride? We get to pick, after all.

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Self-Guided (vs. Other-Guided) – Week 17 HJ

George Carlin has a great monologue on self-help. It’s a little rude, like much of Carlin’s work, and here it is:

Carlin’s basic point, if you don’t want to watch it, is it’s only self-help if you do it yourself. If you use a resource, whether book, person, video, etc., it’s no longer self-help. It’s just help.

I love Carlin’s literalism. He lives the inherent external and internal social contract that we call language. Externally, we agree with others on the meaning of word symbols. That allows interpersonal communication. Internally, we do the same thing. That allows awareness.

The misuse of word symbols, whether intentional or not, creates misunderstanding externally and confusion internally.

Now, think for a minute about spirituality. One dictionary defines my intended context of the word as “… of or pertaining to sacred things or matters; religious; devotional; sacred.” Query: who gets to define spirituality for you? Is it a private matter between you and God, as you conceive Him? Or is spirituality defined for you by your minister, church or some other person or entity?

And, if another gets to define spirituality, what then, is faith? Can you have faith without some independent sense of what is sacred? The answers to these questions are matters for your private devotion, and I shan’t more overtly here insert my personal beliefs.

Query second: if you espouse faith in God, do you let any person, institution or incident dissuade you from your faith? I espouse faith in God through a particular denomination, one of the nominal adherents of which was Theodore “Ted” Bundy, the noted serial rapist/killer. Does Mr. Bundy define my faith, even if his name means “gift of God”? I trow not. I confidently assert, “No!”

What about a well-meaning but under-informed associate? Does his or her bigoted, benighted, unduly limited, and/or under-confident view get to define for me what it means to be a Christian? Of course not. That is between me and Christ, Himself.

What about your life, your mission, your purpose, your destiny? Who defines you, your limits, your mission, your destiny?

This is also a matter for your private meditation and devotions.

What about your goals, your dreams, your search for meaning in your life? Are you going to let some bad example, a misinformed person, your own history of achievement (or lack of same) define what you can or can’t be, do or have?

Now that’s a much harder question for most of us. As infants, children, adolescents and young adults the vast majority of us were offered beliefs, ideas and other programming by our family, teachers, friends and others that invited us to believe in personal limitations well below our actual potential.

If true, what’s next? I believe true answers lie within. Carlin had it right. If I, or anyone else, tells you what to do, that’s not self-help. That’s just help. And, no other person can tell you what your truth is. No other person can know your purpose or your destiny.

What I can tell you is the search for purpose is worth it. When you find it, life gets way easier. I recommend the journey and the search. You needn’t worry about the “how.” Resources and other help will find you as you need them.

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Walk Around in That! – Week 17 Supplemental

For my readers, thank you for reading at all. For MKMMAers, especially, this is a supplemental post, and it’s very long. If you’re game, I’d love your feedback, as always.

Recently, my craniosacral therapist, Steve, once he had me aligned properly, said, “I have some homework for you. You feel the communication and the flow within you?”

When I answered, “Yes,” he said:

“Now, just walk around in that,” meaning that state of being at peace while being completely present.

“OK,” I thought, “I’ll give that a whirl.” I knew from experience how difficult the exercise would likely be, but I was game anyway.

During the next week, I failed miserably at walking around in a place of peace and communication with my body. My next visit to Steve saw me more misaligned than ever, together with being frustrated. The treatment helped, but it left me wondering what I was missing.

I knew I had attached effort to a non-effort process, but that didn’t seem to really address the core of my difficulty.

Enter my daughter Janel, who, for me many times, is my Hero’s Journey’s true spirit. She, seemingly coincidentally, often points me right back on track. This week was a good example.

Sunday, I interacted with her prior to her leaving for church (we attend different congregations of the same faith) about her upcoming presentation of a lesson. She said she didn’t know what she was going to do, and she felt distant from the lesson material. I offered some reassurance, then went about my duties.

On returning from church, Janel announced that her lesson had been a big success because she’d found a hook upon which to hang an appropriate classroom objective. It came from a TED talk she’d recently viewed about connection and vulnerability by Dr. Brené Brown, PhD. She gently insisted my wife and I view the talk, which we did.

[You can see it here, if you like. Its sequel, here, is also wonderful.]

Monday, as I reviewed Haanel’s Masterkey System Lesson 17 and meditated upon the same, the light really dawned.

In paragraph 17-6, Haanel says, “Concentration is much misunderstood; there seems to be an idea of effort or activity associated with it, when just the contrary is necessary.” My experience attempting to “walk around” in the still point is evidence of my previous misunderstanding. I don’t think I’m alone here, and my experience lends me empathy and compassion for similar mistakes others might make.

Haanel continues, “The greatness of an actor lies in the fact that he forgets himself in the portrayal of his character, becoming so identified with it, that the audience is swayed by the realism of the performance. This will give you a good idea of true concentration; you should be so interested in your thought, so engrossed in your subject, as to be conscious of nothing else. Such concentration leads to intuitive perception and immediate insight into the nature of the object concentrated upon.”

Haanel goes on in Lesson 17 to encourage one to make one’s desire part of the subconscious and, by meditation, to intuit the essence, echt or spirit of the thing. This is because once the essence is so intuited, one may own the concept, thing or virtue, awaiting only the full manifestation of the same as people, ways and means are attracted to make it so.

And, contrarily, obtaining a thing before one so “owns” it will make one’s possession temporary because he or she did not “earn” it by internalizing the essence or the spirit. Thus, there is no permanence in something for nothing, as lottery winners so often demonstrate.

Emotionalization of thought, especially of an “ideal” in Haanel’s language, is vital. And that is a practice which seemed largely to elude me. Without emotionalization, there is literally no way to effectively transmit an idea from the conscious to the subconscious.

As I pondered this, my intuition led me back to Dr. Brown, who states emphatically that we cannot selectively numb emotion. Therefore, when we numb any emotion, we numb them all.

And then I had it. An incident in early childhood had invited me, unintentionally, to believe that strong emotions were dangerous. And, further, that strong passions were difficult, if not impossible to control. You may recognize that some of the programming you’ve been offered is of the same type.

The corollary to that belief is pernicious. That if I possessed strong negative emotions or passions, I was a bad, dangerous person. Enter guilt, and then, upon the recurrence of such emotions, shame. Neither of those self-condemnatory practices was or is warranted, but my human nature succumbed even so.

Guilt is like this, per Dr. Brown: “I’m sorry; I made a mistake.” Guilt can be healthy, because it leads to positive change. Shame, on the other hand, is not. Shame misinferred from a childhood experience is often called toxic shame, and for good reason. Shame, per Dr. Brown again, is “I’m sorry; I am a mistake.”

All this made perfect sense as I knew from addiction recovery work that I had a tendency to numb or suppress difficult emotions.

Fortunately, Dr. Brown’s talk also offered a remedy. I could continue my Hero’s Journey by embracing vulnerability and learning to live “whole heartedly.” The essence of what I needed to do was to give myself permission (sound familiar?) to experience my life’s full emotional content. Not so easy, but possible.

Further pondering allowed the insight that, while my inner child could not easily deal with strong emotions and passions, as an adult, I could. I knew, for example, that fear is exhilaration deprived of oxygen. Thus, by being willing to assert control over naming my emotions, especially while breathing freely, I would be easily able to experience strong, vibrant emotional content and not be overcome. [Carolynn Sokil drew a similar conclusion, artfully expressed here.]

Not only would I not be overcome, my life would gain depth, texture and color. [Bill Knox expresses similar thoughts here.] And, by doing so, my inner child would more often feel invited out to play, and he would bring energy, vitality and a genuineness that might otherwise stay hidden.

My first couple days of this new life have been interesting.
• My subconscious demanded that I release some previously trapped emotions, though with an interesting twist. Instead of having to release one discreet emotion at a time, I was allowed to release two and three emotions simultaneously.
• Courage has been required. When my ankle complained (still healing from an Achilles tear), I said to myself, “I’m willing to experience all the pain of this experience.” And, surprisingly, the pain all but vanished.
• I can tell this is a practice, not a one-time change. But the change is totally worth it. As I open up to experience fear, anxiety, worry, etc., these emotions quickly dissipate, to be replaced by an amazing childlike wonder about the beauty and splendor of the world around me, including the people in it.
• Case in point about the people. A group meeting saw a suggestion for a tool to be created, and I was able to help the group easily reach consensus about the basic form the tool would take. In the discussion, no one seemed hurt, and everyone seemed pleased with the outcome. Harmony, anyone?
• My server at lunch announced she was in a contest to win a Keurig coffee maker. All I had to do to help her cause was complete a brief online survey. Normally, this idea would have been annoying and vexing, but this time was different.

Haanel finishes the lesson by encouraging the student to concentrate on a desired virtue, thusly, in 17-37. “Always concentrate on the ideal as an already existing fact; this is the germ cell, the life principle which goes forth and sets in motion those causes which guide, direct and bring about the necessary relation, which eventually manifest in form.”

I immediately knew how to focus my meditation. I wanted abundance, so I pondered about its essence or spirit. I wondered how I could find that essence. Intuition came almost immediately: “Just walk around in it.” I knew just what that meant.

Abundance, as all other virtues, lies within. To see it manifest, all we need do is to give ourselves permission. Last week’s kindness mastermind gave me great experience observing the law of growth’s effectiveness as I gave myself permission to see kindness, do kindness and be kindness.

Therefore, to manifest abundance, all I have to do is see abundance, as in the profligacy of nature (the evergreens in Seattle are amazingly beautiful), do abundance, as in gleefully adding an extra $1 to my server’s tip, and be abundant, as in the group meeting example above. I just “walk around” in the sense of abundance, and abundance manifests without stress or specific effort.

It’s nice knowing that I’ll get better at seeing abundance each day, and I know the spirit of abundance will very soon infuse my life so fully that I’ll be Haanel’s actor, unconsciously concentrating on my ideal. Join me, won’t you?

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Longing, Symbols & Substance – Week 17

Haanel’s Part Seventeen of his Masterkey System warns against running after symbols instead of internalizing substance. This message spoke strongly to me as I pondered why I had trapped emotions of failure and longing.

For those of you unfamiliar with the idea of trapped emotions, please have a look at Dr. Blaine Hansen’s work on The Emotion Code.

My self-awareness is tied into the concepts of linkages, connection, and being whole-hearted. Here’s what I learned:

• I had tied success in my mind to achievement and/or acquisition, accretion in Haanel’s Part One language;
• I had felt myself a failure (toxic shame) for not achieving and/or acquiring;
• I had, in too many respects, opted out of the flow of giving and receiving by effectively not being willing to share my gifts with others; and
• I failed to see that I had accepted the world’s enticements to pursue symbols rather than substance.

I’ve written much more about this in this week’s supplemental post. I invite you to read it if you feel drawn to hearing more about my journey.

As a consequence of the gift of awareness, I am changing in several ways:

• I embrace strength through vulnerability;
• I honor myself by living substantively, which means to always seek the true spirit of my objectives rather than to be distracted by shiny symbols;
• My primary goal is connection: to myself, to God, to people and to the world around me. After all, I am one with all these. How can I love without connection?
• My motivation for connection is love, service, sharing and empowerment. I know now that success is in living, receiving and giving in the spirit of abundance. Acquisition, achievement and accretion are only symbols, and they are unimportant, if many times enjoyable, and they can never more distract me from the truth, which is;
• I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy. I was conceived in love and brought forth with a purpose. And that purpose is to be a true mirror and a true lens, reflecting and focusing for all the Light of the World.

This is a path and a practice. Each day I draw closer to the measure and stature of the fullness of my ideals as I tread the path. Please feel free to help me be true to my ideals as you see my needs. Thank you for traveling with me!

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Needs and Wants – Week 07

The light dawned mentally this morning as the dawn manifested outside my home. Here’s the story. ID-100144268

6 weeks ago I started studying Charles Haanel’s Masterkey System. My object in studying was to make dramatic progress towards achieving the potential I felt within me. Locked within me, it seemed. I had read Haanel’s work a year ago, but the words seemed to bounce off my mind like ping pong balls off a table.

This time, the words seemed to come alive. My heart was ready for the message.

And yet, progress lagged. And lagged, and lagged.

In week 3, I perceived that progress would be the natural consequence of faithfully performing simple exercises, sometimes deceptively simple. And some progress did manifest in the form of inspiration, shedding light on previously perplexing problems, showing the way to proceed.

And still, the progress I thought needed seemed yet far away. The perceived delay invited discouragement, though now I know I just lacked understanding. Even so, I continued the exercises out of a sense of obedience to the hope of progress, rather than acting with the vibrant enthusiasm of faith and vision.

Truly, faith and obedience precede miracles and revelation. And this morning, additional light dawned on my poor, benighted mind.ID-100158083

People say it’s not what you don’t know that gets you; it’s what you know that ain’t so. So it was with me.

English is an interestingly facile language; words carry meaning and connotation that is often flexible and even ambiguous. And I natively love to live in Literalville. My life, up ’til now, has run by default on the meanings I ascribe to the words I encounter rather than being run on the truths underlying the words.

An aware person knows sometimes the truth is exactly counter to the plain meaning of the words.  (Yeah, right!)  At other times, our assumptions, experience and perceptions (i.e., subconscious programming) assign meaning to words that wasn’t intended by the author nor is connoted by the underlying truth.

So it was with me.

Think about the word, “need.” My experience led me to define that word in terms of the 1st level of Maslow’s hierarchy. If it wasn’t necessary to sustain life and provide safety, it was a want, not a need.

The truth, no disrespect to Maslow intended, is exactly opposite. That is a need which we decide is a need.  We get to pick what is a need and what isn’t.  And it matters not a trice what needs another may select, so long as what we choose, in its full context, contributes to the greatest good for the greatest number.

Anguish! Tragedy! Remorse! For an unnecessarily long time, my decision about the definition of “need” deprived me of the energy required to manifest the life I declared I wanted.

Now I know the truth. As long as I only “want” a thing, I will never have it.  After all, life can only bring me “my own.” And I can never “own” something I don’t really need.

The good news is I now get to pick what I need, knowing that I will pay full price for that item or situation. That remittance is often in the form of service to others free of emotional attachment to a particular reward.  My need manifests as I pay whatever price is required.

It works like this. As I define my sincere, positive goals as needs, I get to demand from my subconscious practical means and easily available tools with which to manifest my need. Through this method I take ownership of the estate or circumstance I have envisioned. And until I do take ownership, not much will happen. I remain in status quo ante, a victim of my unchanged inertia.ID-100167261

Thus we see that Napoleon Hill’s “definite major purpose” means the same thing as having a “burning desire,” which really translates to identifying a definite need and articulating that need via auto-suggestion.  The need manifests in the physical world when we take ownership, “demand” of our subconscious that it produce the means and the methods necessary to such manifestation, and pay the attendant price.

With today’s new light, I can see that my subconscious only responds to necessaries and never to wants or casual desires. Necessity really is the mother of invention. Go figure. 🙂

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