Category Archives: Helping Others

Faith is not Conditional – Week 15

As I lay pondering my life and the New Year the morning of January 1, I reflected on an article I had read in this month’s Ensign magazine.  The Ensign is a monthly periodical published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In the article, the author mused on an experience early in the management of his family business.  He inherited leadership of that business upon the death of his father.  Needing assistance, the author prayed for guidance, but he felt no particular help.

One night, he was visited in a dream by his deceased father.  After chiding him for not helping more, the father explained.  “We’re very busy here, and no one here cares very much about the business.  You see, it’s not the result of the business that really matters.  It’s who you become while operating the business.”

This idea resonated strongly with me, as I had felt a similar prompting from heaven while pondering my business.  And, yet, as I lay pondering after my study, I could see an important truth:  faith is not conditional.  Real faith has no conditions.  In other words, if I act or pray expecting a particular result in order for me to have faith in God’s care for me, that action is without faith.

Real faith would be more like this: God cares for me, and He always wants the best for me.  Therefore, every circumstance that comes to me is designed for my best good, provided I am willing to see it that way.  In articulating that thought, I can see that God is unconditional in His love and in His care for His children.  My life’s circumstances are simply a form of test to see whether I am willing to see the benefit, together with the potential grace, in whatever happens.

Not coincidentally, Charles Haanel’s Master Key system in completely consonant with this idea.  Haanel, in Lesson 15, is at some pains to explain this notion.  In paragraph 7, for example, he says, “All conditions and experiences that come to us do so for our benefit.  Difficulties and obstacles will continue to come until we absorb their wisdom and gather from them the essentials of further growth.”

Paragraph 15-3 expresses a similar thought:  “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.”

Continuing in this vein, it struck me yesterday that my plan of action was faulty in that it did not accord well with my definite major purpose.  I feel significant peace in coming to that realization and in adjusting the plan of action.  This accords well with Haanel’s paragraph 15-20 instruction to choose words carefully.

I also resonated with Haanel’s instructions in paragraph 15-36 to learn to use the power of perception to see where and how to apply knowledge.  The study of the Master Key System has been a joy and a challenge so far, and I look forward to further progress in learning how to more constantly think in accord with my expressed desires.

Paragraph 14-26 is my watchword here.  I have spent 30+ years creating my current conditions, and I’m not going to expect 15 or 20 minutes of right thinking to undo all that past effort.  Paragraph 15-26 reinforces this point reassuringly:  thoughts in accord with truth eventually, but surely and certainly displace negative thoughts, which by their very nature can contain no vitality.

And again in the study questions and answers to Lesson 15.  The answer to #9 says, “… Truth invariably destroys error.  We do not have to laboriously shovel the darkness out; all that is necessary is to turn on the light.”

My task, then, is to keep the light on.  I’m tired of shoveling out the darkness.  🙂  I heartily recommend the same for you.

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It’s a War in There – Week 11

It came to me last week that I’m in a battle of the blueprints. My old blueprint is at war with the new one, and my inner child is the battleground.

Or, at least that’s how it seemed to me at first.  What emerged from several days of treatment, therapy and meditation was a thread of enlightenment that freed me from the battle:  opposition equals choice.

There is a natural flow of energy all around us and within us.  Sometimes that energetic flow presents opportunities for us to perceive opposition, and my previously more infantile, western-trained mind perceived opposition as conflict.

The truth is far different, for those who are willing to see it.  A sense of opposition can portend conflict if that is desired or if that is a person’s default posture.  In reality, we create conflict from opposition by choice.  I learned that placing myself in opposition was usually optional and not recommended for serenity.

I will attempt to illustrate by describing briefly the sequence of events that led to this realization.

The “battle” idea came Tuesday evening.  What followed on Wednesday were two scheduled treatment / therapy sessions, one with my chiropractor and one with my massage therapist.  Here’s what transpired, to the best of my ability to articulate.

I offer that disclaimer, because all truth is spiritual truth, and one is only able to perceive spiritual truth by aligning with the Spirit of Truth.  Therefore, you’ll see in me what you’re ready to see in yourself, and no more.

In the treatment sessions, I was able to experience a sense of the ongoing cyclical flow of energy in my body and the ongoing cycle of ebb and flow of the cerebro-spinal fluid.  To get there, however, a couple blocks to the flow had to be recognized and removed.

One of the blocks seemed to be an inherited sense of the futility of action.  In other words, a number of my antecedents had internalized, unintentionally, the idea that success was impossible.  Therefore, action was futile.  A couple other related emotions were released in the same sessions.

I came away feeling jubilant, not anticipating the other shoe dropping.  Still, even the temporary sense of connection stemming from the conscious sensation of the flow of energy within me was very exhilarating.

Thursday morning the other  shoe dropped.   I awoke with my back about as seized up as it’s ever been.

I worked through releasing some emotions using Dr. Hansen’s Emotion Code framework.  A cascade of emotions poured out, many of them what Dr. Hansen calls “inherited” emotions.  Part of the process of releasing emotions was the internal energy awareness gained on Wednesday.

That process continued Friday morning in preparation for two more treatment sessions Friday afternoon.  I came away from the treatments feeling better, if a little dazed.

Saturday morning an early appointment prevented in-depth self-care, to my benefit, it turned out.  On returning home, depression set in, and I was all but immobilized until late Saturday.  A few more emotions were released, and, late in the day, the depression passed.

This pattern continued through the next several days as my therapy sessions, emotion release ministry, meditation and personal development practices continued.

After eight or nine days of this pattern, I seemed to perceive a harmony:  it isn’t many things; it’s one thing.  In other words, my mind (or spirit, if you like), my body and my emotions aren’t separate entities.  This is an integrated system, to the extent I’m willing to allow integration.

Back to the idea of conflict.  Perceived opposition, combined with an inclination to choose conflict, activated by fear, causes emotions to “stick” to the body.  That “stickiness” binds the fascia to the muscle, in some cases, causing stiffness and pain and trapping the emotion in the body.  In other cases, the emotion lands and sticks on neural tissue or joints.

In my case, several factors were acting in concert to facilitate a release of trapped emotion: stimulation of fascia, muscles, nerves and joints via the physical treatments, stimulation of new thoughts via the Master Key System-led blueprint change, and my willingness to attend, recognize and release the trapped emotions via the Emotion Code.

I’m grateful for this experience, because it’s allowing me to see and sense in others some of the same perceived difficulty, and I now have some great tools to help them more quickly find relief.

Hence the main lesson: opposition is a constant, but conflict is optional.  With the space that awareness creates, other choices are possible.  And the best news of all?  We get to pick.

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Silence & Stimulation – Week 10

I love Charles Haanel’s invitation to gain power by going into the silence, into the stillness or, in other words, to meditate.  The invitation is interesting because weakness, in Haanel’s words, comes from “nothing.”  Therefore, silence and stillness, which yield power, are something rather than nothing.

This is easiest for me to apprehend by comparing stillness to simulation.

Stimulation is all around us, but some of us wire ourselves up to need inappropriate stimulation.  Others of us cater to “meaningless” stimulation (e.g., TV playing constantly as a substitute for white noise) because true stillness or silence is unbearable.  For some of us, even a few moments of silence is too much “alone time.”

Brain Chemistry & Addiction

We learn from reliable sources that our inner world is an interesting mix of thought, emotion, belief, action, results, and evaluation.  It is said that by 5 years of age, the dominant programs of our lives are already firmly established.  And changing those programs from the outside-in by attempting behavioral modification is all but futile.  If you get more than 6 months of modified behavior, you’re well above average.

It is now known that the cycle above referenced (thought-emotion-belief-action-result-evaluation) has a neurological component that floods our bodies with a cascade of brain-based endocrine chemicals during the cycle of any habitual experience.  Hence the addictive power of nicotine, cocaine, gambling, pornography and anger, which are common, negatively perceived examples.  On the positively perceived side, we get similar results from regular exercise, meditation, prayer, service and accomplishment.

No matter what our habits, our bodies become accustomed to the related brain chemical cascade, and that familiarity, over time, in essence becomes an addiction.  As Alcoholics Anonymous so poignantly teaches, addiction is a spiritual disorder, and attempting to conquer addiction by behavior modification alone is an exercise in futility.

Addiction Recovery

Still, every dark cloud has a silver lining.  Or, as Napoleon Hill gleaned from Charles Haanel, every adversity carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.  My life was blessed with a noxious, harmful stimulation addiction as part of a larger problem.  I know well that the path of recovery passes through a spiritual vale of tears, at the end of which we burst forth into the sunshine of a new life.

My experience with Haanel’s Master Key System has led me back down the same path as I have been brought face to face with the more generic form of my addiction: stimulation.  All that you need know about me in this context is that recourse to stimulation was a defense mechanism of the infantile mind reacting to the energetic ravages of depression.  For, as with most who are similarly afflicted, depression sapped me of the energy needed to address the task-oriented needs of my life.  Stimulation seemed a natural defense in that it lent energy today by borrowing against future reserves.  (Insane, I know, but that’s addiction for you.)

One habitual, left-over behavior, even of late, was to turn part of my attention, sometimes even during a worship service, to an electronic device.  Electronic devices with screens stimulate the reticular cortex, triggering a variety of brain chemicals.  For me, these closely mirrored the cascade created by the more negative addiction for which I sought recovery.

I became aware of this similarity recently in the process of writing, reciting and implementing a new blueprint for my life.  Over several weeks (weeks 6-8 of the Master Key System), it became obvious that the good work I was doing with the Master Key System and its exercises was being undermined and partially nullified by excess stimulation from electronic devices.

In case you haven’t discerned this by now, there are good reasons electronic devices are popular, and convenience isn’t the only one.

Silence and Detoxification

With any chemical addiction, a detoxification process is essential to recovery.  Only by allowing the body to purge itself of the harmful, addictive chemicals can one come to a new place of beginning.

With a stimulus addiction, Haanel’s invitation to seek stillness and silence is particularly appropriate.  There are huge benefits to acclimating to silence.  For me, the primary benefit is enhanced spiritual communion.  Haanel points out in week 10’s lesson that thought, which can only be focused in silence, is the nexus point between our physical world and the spiritual world.

This is a direct analog to the physical world, where minerals can only be enlivened by the intervention of life via the root systems of plants and other like methods.  Likewise, our physical form can only be spiritually enlivened by inviting contact with the Infinite (God, our Heavenly Father, in my conception) by pondering positive, productive thought while being silent.  Haanel likens this to an electrical circuit where Infinite Intelligence is the positive pole and thought is the negative pole.  Without that polarity, there is no circuit.

Silence promotes or invites polarity because it creates a void space into which inspiration (or spiritual knowledge) can flow.  It provides a canvas upon which creative thought can be painted.  We are not responsible for the material manifestation process, but we are responsible for creating the space (i.e., the void) in which the manifestation can unfold.

And, as we create new habits by changing our dominant thoughts, a new, hopefully more positive, chemical addiction takes hold.  And when it does, manifestation of the new, related reality quickly follows.

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Value and Perception – Week 09

We hear many times in network marketing about picking the low-hanging fruit.  That phraseology is common to most sales efforts.  It’s common because it expresses an important life truth:  easier is better.  AT&T is running a cute and appealing ad campaign on a parallel idea:  faster is better.

The flaw I see in the instruction to pick the low-hanging fruit lies in a mindset that might underlie that wording.  Picking fruit, from one point of view, belies a mindset of taking, not giving.

Taking is a manifestation of selfishness and is evidence of an infantile mind.  Thus we see the truth about a common perception about network marketing:  that it involves making money from family and friends.  We see things as we are, not as they are.

The reality is far different, at least for long-term, reliable, leveraged, residual income.

One only gets long-term, reliable, leveraged, residual income with a company that offers a true opportunity to make money with family and friends.  And, if you’re ready to see that, who wouldn’t want to make money with their friends and family?  Who, in their right mind, wouldn’t want to benefit from geometric progression and residual income?

Thus the truth about people is easily discerned.  If, in response to seeing a presentation, the viewer objects that he or she could never try to make money off their family and friends, one or more of three things is likely true:

  • Their personal mindset about money and business is insufficiently mature;
  • They just don’t see value in the underlying business proposition; and/or
  • They are presently closed to any possible good from network marketing.

Those points of view can change, if the viewer is wiling.  However, the issue isn’t the mindset, but the willingness.  Because if they’re not truly willing, you’re not going anywhere with them.  Not only is this fruit higher up, it may not be worth picking.

Of course, to feel good about picking fruit at all, one can conclude that picking the fruit is actually good stewardship of the tree and the orchard, because it helps the tree and the orchard better manifest its ultimate dharma.  The picker does this by distributing the fruit to others who may not have access to the tree or the orchard.  He or she helps the tree disburse value to many instead of just a few.

I am beginning to see why Emerson said he’d be happy indeed if he could draw the smallest arc of the circle that is the truth about compensation.  The truth is so magnificent that words literally fail to provide adequate description.  Emerson makes a marvelous attempt in his essay On Compensation, and all can benefit from reading it.

Spiritual truths, like the truth about compensation, can only be spiritually discerned.  And such discernment usually comes line upon line, precept on precept, here a little and there a little.  If you don’t resonate with my words now, be patient.  You will, ere long, if you’re willing.

Remember, faster is better.  Easier is better.  Concentrate your efforts on helping people who see value in what you’re doing and in the company with which (or the way in which) you’re doing it.  You can continue to minister to the others, as you feel called to do so, but focus your best energies on those who are ready to help you spread value from your orchard.

That way, you’ll fulfill your dharma by doing the most good for the most people.  And your joy will indeed be full.

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Winners & Losers – Week 08

There is a basic difference between winners and losers, and I think it stems from one thing.  The one thing is a sense of basic abundance vs. a sense of basic insufficiency.

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And, I should know!  Despite wonderful gifts of intellect, work ethic, empathy, ambition and insight, my life up to now has been filled with a vague sense of insufficiency.  Reasoning deductively, if the fruit says insufficient, it must be an “insufficient” tree.

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You might think this would be a devastating revelation.  And I suppose it might be if I didn’t now know very well how to plant a better tree.  On top of that, I have Miracle Grow with which I can fertilize the new tree.  Still, to finally figure out you’ve spent decades in a “less than” box isn’t fun.  My sympathies to anyone making a similar discovery.

In case you want to know, here are some ways you can tell if you have a “basic insufficiency” mindset or belief system:

  • You often feel competitive, even where that’s not really appropriate
  • Your savings account has a negative balance
  • You love your work, but it doesn’t love you
  • Your “To Do” list is full of “should” instead of “get to”
  • You love your spouse, but he or she doesn’t show love to you the way you really need
  • You’d take on a new project, but you just don’t know if your heart can take another failure experience
  • You’ve overdrawn your bank account (or had a payment returned) at least once in the last 6 months

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.  And if you do, this little look in the mirror might be unpleasant.  Chin up!  You’re still breathing, and you have a friend here who feels your pain.  Change is always possible.

Want some good news?  There is help, and there is hope!  Take a look at this short video clip about the Cement Buddha.

You CAN use the Master Key System to help knock the cement off your Buddha.  How do I know?  Because I feel different today.  And, this post is evidence that the cement is coming off my Buddha.

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God has been trying all along to tell me His Universe is abundant, the world He created for us is abundant, and even I, I am abundant.  And, now, I’m ready to listen.  Ask Him; He’ll tell you, too, if you like.

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Week 02 – Distractions Come from Within

Last week, I opined on one of the MKMMA fora that my electronic devices were distracting me.  Then, as I continued reading the Master Key System and I realized something profound:  all external conditions are simply manifestations of one’s internal world (Master Kay, Lesson 1, Paragraph 8).  Therefore, if my devices were distracting me, it’s because I was internally distractible.

Oh no!  I had to take ownership of all the distracting elements of my current life.  They’re there because I created them.  My iPad can only distract me insofar as I desire to be distractible.  My computer or TV likewise.

This is great knowledge, but it’s a little distressing.  I mean, really!?!  I have to take ownership of every aspect and condition of my life?  I can’t just sit here and be a victim?   Well, clearly, if I really want what I say I want (achievement, success, etc.), then I have to own my life, starting from my internal world.

The good news here for me, and for everyone, is that taking ownership is the beginning of real (and relatively easy) change.  For example, I was almost instantly able to tell myself that morning is not the right time to play iPad solitaire.  And, of course, it is never time for that until the day’s work is well and truly done.

More importantly, I can now begin to improve myself in ways that will immediately improve my primary interpersonal relationship: my marriage.

Case in point: conflict.  Reasoning from the foregoing, conflict flows from the inside out, not from the outside in.

Application: as I remove (and/or stop sowing) the seeds of marital conflict, I should see a dramatic drop in the frequency and intensity of conflict in my marriage.

Conclusion: I will be immediately better off the sooner I find and eradicate in my internal world the seeds of marital conflict.

Result: I began almost immediately to perceive feelings in myself that were previously inscrutable.  For example, in a certain case, I felt put-upon by the possibility my wife would leave to me alone the execution of a planned event.  That came across in my communication.  Though the words of the communication were innocent enough, the unexpressed accusatory emotion underlying them was incendiary.

Here, then, is the key to the Arbinger Institute’s “box.”  Harmony within can never manifest in disharmony without.  And I can create harmony within by taking full ownership of my inner world.  Thank you, God, for giving me the insight to understand at least this much of the Master Key System!

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It’s a New Day!

Every day is a new gift.  We get to pick how to value that gift by what we do with the new day.

A friend, Dan, told me a couple weeks ago, “I admire you.”  I asked him why.  He said, “Because of your ability to speak in several different languages.”

I said, “That’s a gift.”

Dan said, “It’s a gift from God.”

I agreed, and Dan asked, “Are you using your gift?”

I assured Dan I often used my gift for language.  In fact, just two days before Dan’s question, I’d used my gift to hold a conversation with a young woman in her native tongue.

Then, the day after Dan’s question, another friend, Mark, sent me a text announcing  a new class.  And that was another gift.  After watching Mark’s videos about the class, I had a wonderful, confirming feeling, once again, that God is in charge.

Here’s why.  Several months ago I found a way to gain clarity of thought I’d lacked for over 30 years.  That was another gift from God.  And Mark’s new class is inviting me to increase the value I place on each new day.

My commitment to myself is to act today on the best of what I know, always valuing the gift of today and the friends God places in my path.

Thank you, Dan!  And, thank you, Mark!  And, most of all, Thank you God!

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