Monthly Archives: March 2014


The Reign of Terror Ends – Week 24 Supplemental

Over the last 5 or 6 days, I’ve been doing battle with fear. Well, battle may be a strong word, as I’ve not been contending with fear. Rather, I’ve been experiencing fear and “dealing” with it. I found some interesting ideas in the process.

In the MKE, the Masterkey Experience, we’ve been learning about ourselves, and we’ve been exploring the limits of personal power. Each of us is on an individual quest, and our “mileage,” as one would expect, has varied.

Where I’ve come so far is a place where I can celebrate my individual gifts and talents. I also celebrate everyone else’s gifts and talents. This is a place of abundance, love, bliss, freedom, autonomy, health, service, legacy, recognition and unending spiritual growth. Nice place? You bet.

What’s the catch? Glad you asked. Because there is one, and the price is steep. At least it seemed steep at first glance.

In answer to question 15-9, Haanel gave us one version of the key to this kingdom. “We do not have to laboriously shovel the darkness out; all that is necessary is to turn on the light.”

Most of us have experienced the idea that faith is the polar opposite of fear. If so, to use Haanel’s comparison, fear is darkness, and all that is needed to dispel darkness is to turn on the light of faith.

Marianne Williamson said it this way:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

In the Hero’s Journey motif, the hero is heralded into a new life. That new life begins by leaving the old one and entering an unknown world. On the journey, the hero, with help at first, faces danger and adversity. Ultimately, the hero comes to the abyss, where he or she must “do battle” with nemesis. In that battle, the hero’s old life dies in sacrifice to nemesis. Atonement and resurrection follow, bringing the hero a new life in which he or she re-enters the previously known world with new powers and a new role of leadership and service to the rest of humanity.
Hero's Journey
Interestingly, my experience was that every adversity along my path, with or without help, felt like the abyss of nemesis. Until now.

Until now, I believed bromides like, “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.” Or, “Do the thing, and you shall have the power.” Not that these don’t express truth. They do. However, the truth they express has a significant limitation.

The limitation is that the recommended practice presupposes the ongoing presence of fear. Until now, I believed that was inevitable, so the expressed truths made perfect sense. In fact, having practiced a little, I had personal proof that the practice worked.

Inside, however, I knew a greater truth lay waiting discovery. Until now.

My discovery? My greater truth is, “Danger is real, but fear is optional.” And, fear is not recommended. Moreover, danger, too, is largely optional. When I change the way I look at things, the things I look at change. Then I have a new heaven and a new earth.

I intuited that I was dealing with some “core” fears. These were wrapped around a couple deeply held beliefs I had layered into my DNA over many years, starting very young.

Fear 1: Money is evil, and I can’t handle or manage money.

Fear 2: I am unable to achieve at a truly high level.

I knew all along that fear is irrational and that my ultimate triumph was assured because of my faith in Christ. That cognition did not alter or banish my fear.

Until now.

In the abyss of nemesis (fear), the light of insight began to dawn. I saw that all fear is really one fear: “What if?” All the variations of fear are an extension of the basic fear. What if I fail? What if I succeed? What if _________? Fill in the blank for yourself. Even worse for me was the extended formula. What if X? Then Y? Horrors!

Whence, then, the light? Faith. Faith is a gift, free for the asking, and unlimited in its power. The price? Sacrifice.

My sacrifice is being willing to live without fear. In essence, to take up my bed and walk. In Hero’s Journey terms, to sacrifice the former dependent-on-fear life.

I now see that fear has been my crutch, my excuse, my “out.” The core of that fear? What if I’m not the hero I imagine myself to be? What then?

It’s great that our paths are strewn with concept-tools like the Serenity Prayer, the Law of Least Effort, and scriptural maxims like, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

I particularly appreciate the Law of Least Effort this week. The idea that I could just accept things as they are without resistance or rancor has been very comforting. Acknowledging the fact that I largely created my own abyss and crafted my own nemesis is empowering, even if a little troubling. The practice of defenselessness makes it more comfortable to proceed into an excuse-free world.

The Hero’s Journey motif is consistent throughout history and across all cultures. Why? Because we are all born knowing we’re heroes and heroines. In American parlance, we’re all superheroes. The imagination of creative writers gives voice to this universal knowledge. The persistent success of comic book heroes bears loud testimony to, and gives vibrant social proof of, the underlying universal truths we all perceive.

What I did not, perhaps could not, see was it is only in the hero’s journey that I discover the type of superhero I am. It is only in facing the adversity of my life, in facing the adversity for which I programmed myself, that my real strengths emerge. It is only in following my self-directed bliss that my true greatness unfolds. And it is only in my personal abyss in which the gold of my character and persona are sufficiently refined to be of general benefit when I re-emerge into the known world.

So, what if I’m not the superhero I imagine myself to be? Shallow self-knowledge of the pre-Hero’s Journey world all but guaranties I will not be as I thought. After all, it is only in the journey that I recognize my true gifts, my superpowers.

Here’s the good news. Since I’m definitely a superhero, the worst my new world can be is with me as Aquaman. Maybe my only superpower is sea life telepathy, but that’s still pretty cool when the need arises. Good thing I like sea life and the water in general, huh? At least I’m ripped, buffed out and look good in spandex, right?

When I told a business partner today that he had a superhero within, he immediately smiled. His “Subby” resonated with the idea so fast the smile was on his face before he could finish processing the words.

What’s your superpower? Aren’t you glad you engaged in the Hero’s Journey so you could find it?

As always, I’m glad you’re with me on the journey.

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Is it I? – Week 24

As we progress towards the Easter season, my thoughts turn to the Last Supper. The accounts of that event describe Jesus telling the 12 apostles, “One of you will betray me.”

With one exception, the 12 immediately asked, “Is it I?”

As I caught hold of this idea, my thoughts turned to my new profession, network marketing. I rep a company that has as much going for it as any, and yet casual observation would cause one to believe there might be a problem.

Less than 3% of our active distributors generate enough regular, residual income to provide for their needs without supplementation from regular outside employment or other sources of income. And that result actually compares very favorably with other companies in the industry to the best of my ability to observe.

Failure hurts. One of my friends and team members told me by email recently that he was reassessing his professional life while licking the wounds he suffered in network marketing (at least two companies).

This experience gave me a chance to practice the Law of Least Effort. That law, from Deepak Chopra’s 7 Spiritual Laws of Success, recommends we practice accepting things, people and situations just as they are in the moment, practice taking responsibility for any part we may have played in creating any situation or circumstance, and practice defenselessness by abstaining from any need to defend ourselves, our actions or our point of view.

Now, to the question: Is it I? Is it my fault my team member failed? I have to answer, “No,” without defensive emotion, because others of our team are succeeding very nicely. My friend has had access all along to the same mentoring and training as the successful.

Is it the company? Did it fail my friend? I mentioned Wallace Wattles last week, and I’ll refer to him again now. In The Science of Getting Rich, Wattles correctly observes that people in almost every community are getting rich in almost every industry, trade, profession and occupation, while others are miserably failing, right alongside them. Since others are succeeding in my company, including me, it’s obviously not the company’s fault, either.

What about the network marketing industry? Is it a colossal, monumental, predatory failure as many claim? Don’t think so. First, surveys show that a significant portion of network marketers are very pleased with their experience, regardless of their level of monetary performance. Second, failure rates in business in general are high. When I practiced law, I recall to have read that 90% of businesses fail in their 1st 5 years, and 90% of those that survive fail in the next 5 years. That’s about a 99% failure rate within the 1st 10 years. My company’s version of network marketing fares pretty well by comparison, with a success rate of over 2%.

Whence lies the problem then? Mark J and Go90Grow fans know one possible answer: skills. Eric Worre fans and Big Al fans know the same thing. People who succeed at anything generally have skills that those who fail don’t. Did my friend acquire the skills? Perhaps not. Or, like I used to do, maybe he simply didn’t use them.

In addition, I think there’s something more basic at work here. If better than 95% of business attempts fail, no matter the industry, there must be a human nature issue present. Haanel, in Masterkey System paragraph 23-9, offers some insight. He says,

“The average person is entirely innocent of any deep thinking; he accepts the ideas of others, and repeats them, in very much the same way as a parrot; … and this docile attitude on the part of a large majority who seem perfectly willing to let a few persons do all their thinking for them is what enables a few men in a many countries to usurp all the avenues of power and hold the millions in subjection.”

If Haanel is correct, and I believe he is, business failure is the natural consequence of shallow, dependent thinking. I saw this in myself until recent changes from the MKE, the MasterKey Experience.

Haanel points out in paragraph 23-8 that Morgan, Rockefeller, Carnegie and others, because of their depth and independence of thought, became, for their time, “the wealthiest men in the wealthiest country on the globe.” How? Because they each made money for a great many people.

With my newly acquired thinking skills, I could see the accuracy of Haanel’s analysis. Carnegie, for example, made money for suppliers of capital, materials suppliers, laborers, managers, customers and governments. He did so by consistently giving them all more in “value” than what they gave him in exchange. This required significant insight, that which only comes from deep, accurate thought. Significantly, Carnegie did not keep all the resulting wealth for himself, but funded museums, colleges and other institutions. Thus, society also received more in “value” than it gave Carnegie. Every successful businessman in free society follows the same general pattern.

Back to myself as a contrasting example. Until now, I had not thought through the needs of the various stakeholders in my business. Fortunately, the “micro-franchise” system of network marketing already did much of the thinking for me. Shareholders are being rewarded with significant profits. Managers are earning nice salaries. Employees seem relatively easy to attract and employ. Distributors, over time, earn checks commensurate with their efforts. Customers continue to buy products because their “use value” exceeds the price, in many cases by a significant margin. The company initiates ongoing “give back,” charity or legacy efforts in the community, open to distributor financial and time participation.

That reassuring foundation, however, did not save my friend his pain. There must be some other area of thought or belief which holds an opportunity for improvement. I believe the most likely area is beliefs about power.

I have observed that the vast majority of people only use “positional” power. Very few use real, “personal” power. Positional power is derived from a position, role, attribute, skill or talent. I have a great memory, and I used to draw lots of positional power from that advantage. For example, a great memory gives me access to a good vocabulary and many facts. I drew significant self-esteem from that, especially in comparison to others. You can easily see examples of positional power in your own life. Your parent probably said more than once, “Because I said so.”

Personal power, in contrast, is a sense of one’s innate value. With that sense, I was able to reassure another team member recently that the most significant thing he brings to a business interaction is himself. After all, we, the essence of “I” within, endure, and our relationships endure. Homes, businesses, countries and, ultimately, even planets, are temporary. When we understand our own native value, we stand on the threshold of personal power.

That brings me back to Easter. We celebrate then the Atonement and resurrection of Christ. Jesus, the archetypical hero, faced overwhelming adversity, sacrificed himself in the abyss of the Atonement, and, with life in himself, came forth from the tomb the 3rd day resurrected into newness of life. As mentioned two posts previously, He offers a new life to us on terms of faith, repentance and obedience.

And, in essence, The Lord asks me, every day, if I will betray myself by denying my personal power. Fortunately, He also offers me grace to help me hold on my way through the adversity and abyss of my own “Hero’s Journey.” Almost every day now I see another facet of my new life manifesting, which gives me greater power to serve and offers me more to give.

Will that close the gap between me and the highest achievers in my company? I don’t know. I do know that each day I better control my thoughts and my emotions. My wife is happier, my children are happier, and I’m happier. Empathy expands and love deepens. Joy abounds. I feel very blessed as I celebrate each magical day, and I intend to bless as many others as my time and days allow.

I’m glad you’re with me on the journey.

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In Search of Work-Life Balance – Week 23

I was recommended a TED talk recently on work-life balance. You can see it [] if you like.

I liked Ms. Slaughter’s conclusion that caregiving and breadwinning are both valuable, even equally valuable, but I confess to have balked at her recommendations for forced, governmentally imposed structure to “change” society. You will have noted in my last post, perhaps, my belief that intelligence, if honored, must be invited to change rather than being forced to change. I suppose I have more faith in humanity than does Ms. Slaughter. I also believe markets inspire and encourage change, all on their own. Either way, a market or a government in many respects is an amalgam of its members or participants. As we change, our institutions change.

This week’s Masterkey System lesson, number 23, also invites change. In it, Haanel invites us to consider how our thoughts either attract or repel abundance, and, with it, prosperity. Haanel correctly asserts that wealth follows service. The more people we serve, the more wealth follows, in proportion to the value of our service.

The basic proposition of give more, get more appears to ignore motive, at least on the surface. I took counsel, however, from Haanel’s guidance in paragraph 23-4 to examine my motives. He said, “… our problem is to keep an open mind, … to be interested in the race rather than the goal, for the pleasure is in the pursuit rather than the possession.”

I took this to mean that if I focus too much on the object of my effort (my own goal), I risk substituting attachment for intention. I read Deepak Chopra in Seven Spiritual Laws of Success to recommend intention and to avoid attachment. Having unintentionally not heeded that advice at first, I have lots of experience with the consequences of attachment. I don’t recommend that path.

Recently, I’ve been able to change. I can now better dial my attachment (or expectation for action by another) to zero, while keeping my intention (or enthusiasm) high. The results are as you might predict. Positive response is up; rejection is down.

Masterkey System paragraph 23-5 says, “You can make a money magnet of yourself, but to do so you must first consider how you can make money for other people.” As an American, I’m culturally and socially predisposed to believe more is more.
I’ve learned, perhaps paradoxically, that less is often more, and sometimes less is substantially more.

An illustration may help. In a prospecting conversation, you might think that more description about product, plan or company would encourage quicker and deeper investigation. Au contraire! That, I can tell you from sad experience, works very poorly.

What does work is for me to create interest with simple statements. When the other person expresses interest, it is almost always best for me to ask questions and listen with the intent to invite the other person to share deeply held fear, hope, pain and/or desire. In that way, I allow him or her to connect those feelings with the opportunity or solution in which he or she expressed interest. Go90Grow students will recognize this pattern, of course.

The same goes for marketing. I may have a product or opportunity that verifiably serves a non-segmented market, but it doesn’t pay me to advertise that idea. You, my reader, will likely not be shocked to hear I tried. And failed, ignominiously.

Again, less is more. I serve better when I narrow my focus. A recent coaching experience highlights the wisdom of this idea. I mostly interact with current or former professionals, self-employed and business owners. After 4 years of this, my language patterns serve that market very well. Last night, however, I counseled with a new business associate, age 19.

As I began to talk with him about my marketing process, it quickly became apparent that I knew little or nothing of his world or the world of his likely business prospects. After an hour or so, I began to get a sense of what they were going to want and need, but it took some focus and concentration to put myself in that world. Having done so, I’m looking forward to helping my new associate get his business off to a flying start.

This brings me back to work-life balance.

It turns out one of the primary benefits of the opportunity I promote is to dramatically broaden choices for work-life balance. I might not have seen this before, but I do now.
And, by helping my business associates voluntarily segment their markets, they get better results, with less effort.
Thus, the value of my service increases, my attachment stays dialed down to zero, my intention stays dialed high, and I enjoy the journey more. Natural consequences? You already know.

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

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Witness of Truth – Week 22a

This post is likely to run to some length. For that, to the extent the reader finds interest lagging, I apologize. Feel free to comment on the part(s) you find interesting, or not at all, as you like.

The topic of this post is sober and serious, at least to me. It seems likely, given the nature of our unique experiences and personalities, that at least some of what is here posted is destined to be troubling or challenging to many readers. That is not intentional.

As noted in the title, we are in week 24 of the Masterkey Mastermind Alliance experience. Week 17 had two parts, as also Week 22, hence the total time being slightly different from the title designation.

The main benefit I’ve received from the MKMMA experience so far is to begin to become a truly independent thinker. By that, I mean to indicate true independence in thought. Or, in other words, to have gained the hope of being in complete control over my own thoughts.

One of the impacts of this process has been significantly increased insight into the writing of those authors assigned and suggested.

An option this week was to read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Self-Reliance from 1841. I was struck by the similarity in tone and message to Compensation, earlier assigned, also from 1841.

A further option was to read (or hear recited) Wallace D. Wattles’ 1910 work The Science of Being Well. That short work is apparently the sister text to Wattles’ The Science of Being Rich.

Charles Haanel, who authored The Masterkey System, wrote contemporaneously with Wattles, as also did William Atkinson, who wrote The Law of Attraction, or Thought Vibration in the Thought World.

Wattles, Haanel and Atkinson were all proponents of “New Thought,” which seems another term for the Transcendentalism of Emerson and his contemporaries.

I am a very casual student of these authors, and I feel, like Emerson, entirely free to express my opinions without feeling the least compulsion to ascribe my reasoning to authority figures nor to be bound by my conclusions in later musings. I suppose that is either the height of naiveté and ignorance or the epitome of independent thought. I leave discernment to the reader’s discretion.

That being said, I write with compassion for the humanity expressed in what I consider sincere attempts at expressing personal gifts of enlightenment. These gentlemen (our authors) apparently wrote with the intent to share gifts of light and knowledge they found personally useful and valuable with the world. A person can only express the light he or she perceives. Even then, spiritual truth is hard to express in words, as these truths are spiritually discerned, and a variety of words can easily be crafted to express the same perception.

Part of my compassion for the writers above named stems from a consciousness that the 21st century in which I write is a far different world from that of the 19th or early 20th centuries in which they wrote. Knowledge and information is essentially instantaneously available in our world. Not so in theirs. Their world was bound by different traditions and social strictures than ours, too. In some cases these were more liberal; in some cases not.

Unfortunately for us, however, the education common to the 19th and early 20th centuries has been replaced with a command of information. Thus, they generally had a greater capacity to “think” whereas we often have a greater knowledge of “facts.”

I may herein refer to all or some of these authors as “our writers” or “our authors” to designate that their texts have been incorporated in the MKMMA coursework either explicitly or by reference.

Now, on with the thinking. Please buckle your seatbelts and keep your arms and legs inside the conveyance.

I Regarding Jesus of Nazareth

Each of the authors cited above refers, with approbation, to the words of Jesus of Nazareth, as the same are reported in the New Testament of the Bible. And, yet, each author denigrates the same Jesus by referring to Him as a teacher or by some other title.

Clearly, they’re confused or uncertain.

It is impossible to read the accounts of the life of Jesus with any degree of care and miss His central message. The central message is this: “I am the Christ, the Anointed One, the promised Messiah of the Jews, the Son of God made flesh, the Mediator of the New Covenant, and the Savior of mankind.”

C.S. Lewis, whom I have also not well studied, does a masterful job in Mere Christianity in exposing the perfidy of the practice of approving Jesus’ words while denying His divinity. Lewis points out that a fair reading of the accounts of the life of Jesus leaves us only two choices. Either Jesus was a kindly, benign lunatic, or He is who He claimed to be.

If a lunatic, one may not logically cite His words approvingly. If divine, one may not logically refer to Him only as a teacher.

Emerson, et al. as noted above make these logical errors. For the same, they ought not to be excused. Some of our authors’ words may have beneficial application, but their core intellectual integrity must, as a result, be questioned.

II Regarding Creation

Each of our authors refers to a creative force, power or influence. However, the sum total of their descriptions is comical, even farcical. In Compensation, Emerson pokes fun at the Greeks for embodying the creative force in Zeus (Jupiter) while ascribing to him ill intended caprice and whimsy, and restricting him so that he must go to Minerva for lightning bolts (power). Emerson’s comment is that the tradition of the Greeks witnessed of truth by tying the hands of so bad a conception of God.

Again, our writers were confused.

A fair reading of Emerson, Haanel, Wattles and Atkinson leaves one with the impression of a consistently expressed concept of God.
• Incorporeal, impersonal, and insubstantial, without body, parts or passions
• Universally present
• All Powerful
• All knowing
• Capable of Thought
• Author of Creation

And, yet, each author, betraying an unvoiced yearning, cannot resist referring to the creative force as God, and, at times, by the masculine personal pronoun. The use of the masculine personal pronoun at once affirms personality or personhood, together with gender, directly contravening the basic assertion of impersonality.

Other inconsistencies in the writing about supernatural power and creation include:
• The only creative power is thought, and God, having thought, created the Universe. However, having once thought, God suddenly lost the power of thought and ceded the realm of independent thought to His creations, becoming their slaves, willing to be impressed at any time with their will.
• Despite having the power of thought sufficient to create the Universe, God apparently had no central purpose in our creation, except to gain life by living through us. As if an entity with sufficient power to create life had no life of His own and needed to become the slave of the experiences of His creations. Talk about tying the hands of a bad God!
• God, having sufficient grace and power to create the universe, has no power of communication, and is willing to let His creations wander around their world with no central direction or guidance on good, evil, right or wrong. Each author affirms the contrary in his own way, admitting that there is a “right” way to be, and asserting that it matters. The only way it would matter whether one did “right” is if there is an arbiter or judge. Our authors again admit, by inference, that there is a judge. And the only fair judge is God.
• We individually have an unrestricted power of creation, but, yet, we must “align” our will with the divine in order to be assured of manifesting our creation. Clearly, God cares what we do, and He has a purpose or purposes with which we’re not allowed to interfere, despite inferences in these texts to the contrary.

This could go on a while, but these examples suffice me. And, if our writers were expressing religious beliefs instead of purporting to expound philosophy, one could excuse them these gross inconsistencies. After all, religious beliefs are faith based, and no religion of which I’m aware purports to answer all logical questions. Neither do religions feel the need to apologize for logical inconsistencies.

Philosophy, on the other hand, purports to be “the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge or conduct.” The key difference between religion and philosophy is the difference between faith and reason. Therefore, when a philosopher is irrational, his philosophy is subject to question, and logically so. That it is all but impossible for a human to be completely rational is no excuse.

III Regarding Sin

Emerson and Haanel find themselves at pains to condemn the apparent inconsistency of the mainstream Christianity of their day because God created beings capable of sin, and then punishes them for sinning.

Again, they’re confused.

Do we or do we not have free will? Our authors find themselves at some pains to assert the power of choice inherent in each individual. What is that power of choice but free will? As noted above, every man, including our authors, knows that there is right and wrong, and that it matters which we pick.

When you pick up one end of the stick, you automatically pick up the other. Choice is inexorably bound up with accountability. Emerson knows this, paradoxically in this context, as he explains in detail in Compensation, teaching us that there is no way to detach the sensual sweet from the moral sweet, etc.

The unasked and unanswered question, which is perhaps a failure of inquiry by our authors, is “Why?” Why does God judge? The answer is easy and obvious. God, being just, must promote justice and punish injustice. As Emerson points out by inference in criticizing the illustration of Zeus, if God were not just, He would cease to be God.

Our authors knew, however, even if mainstream Christians of their day did not, that the essential element of creation is intelligence. And intelligence, if treated justly, cannot be coerced. It must be invited. Therefore, God could not “use” intelligence to create. He must, by necessity, invite intelligence to cooperate in creation. And, intelligence, being intelligent, would only cooperate in creation if there was an immutable promise of justice.

And we, also being intelligent, let alone partaking of the Spirit of God as our authors correctly assert, also cannot be used or coerced. We must be invited. And, God, being kind, loving and just, must provide us with the essential elements of choice. These are knowledge of good and evil, the power of choice, knowledge of the consequences of choice, actually having options from which to choose, and the manifestation of the consequences of our choices.

“Wrong” choices are thus “sin” when knowingly in contravention of “right” because such choices must, of necessity, separate us from God. No unclean thing can enter into His kingdom.

Thus we see that our authors are correct to encourage us to use our powers of choice, especially the power of controlling our thoughts, while simultaneously being incorrect in ignoring or disclaiming the role of God in holding us to account for the consequences of those choices. All debts to justice must, in the end, be paid. Either we’re free to sin, as we are, or there is no God because there is either no justice or no choice.

IV Regarding Atonement

Now we come full circle to Jesus of Nazareth, my Christ.

God does have life in Himself, and He need not live through us to gain knowledge, glory or experience. To the contrary, His purpose in creation is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1:39, Pearl of Great Price

In other words, God has a perfect, exalted existence, and His purpose in creation is to make the same existence available to us, His children.

However, sin would be a problem but for the perfection of God’s Plan of Happiness. As noted above, all debts to justice must be paid, and it is not possible for the unclean to share God’s presence. John clearly tells us, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” 1 John 1:8

The harmony is found in the concept of Atonement, where a qualified benefactor may expiate the sin of another by enduring the suffering which would otherwise be required of the other. And Jesus of Nazareth, in performing his role as Christ or Messiah, having lived sinlessly and having life within Himself, being the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, was a qualified benefactor. Christ suffered once for all, that He might draw us unto Himself on conditions of repentance.

Thus we, in confessing Christ through faith, on the conditions of repentance and a covenant to follow Him, gain access to grace via The Atonement. Our debt to justice is paid in the sacrifice of the sinless Son of God, and His mercy claims us on the conditions noted.

Thus we also see that the “Hero’s Journey” is in fact a pale reference to Christ’s Atonement and not the other way around. I’ll explain the various pre-Christian motifs of the same in the next section. Christ is the archetypal hero, and we are, indeed, called to take up our crosses and follow him, proceeding in faith to face adversity, conquer the abyss through grace, and be resurrected into a new life of discipleship where we can lead others to follow a like path of purpose, service and happiness.

Some things are true, whether you believe them or not.

V Regarding Revelation

Our authors visibly yearn for ongoing communication with God. One who knows what they want can sense the angst of knowing real communion is possible but not being able to find it. What our authors desired might be called revealed religion.

This is different from random insight or intuition that comes regularly as a result of meditation or otherwise embracing what Haanel calls “the stillness.”

The type of communication to which I refer is the sensitive, sacred whisperings of God’s Spirit to His child or children.

Historically, if you believe the Bible is at least part history, God provided guidance to His children through prophets. A prophet is a person chosen by God to be His messenger on earth. And in each age or epoch there was at least one prophet who had face-to-face communion with God. Noah, Abraham, Moses and Elijah are all examples of this calling or role and the corresponding experiences.

At the beginning of each age, God revealed himself fully to the chosen representative who would then have knowledge, not just faith, of God’s existence, His attributes and His purposes. And that knowledge was published as far and wide as the messenger’s sphere of influence extended.

Another aspect of the role of a prophet is the receipt of divinely granted authority to administer holy rites and ordinances. In those ordinances, supplicants and disciples may be granted the gift or privilege of ongoing fellowship and communion with the Holy Ghost, whose role it is to witness of the Father and the Son and act as conduit for revelation from heaven.

Thus, any and all faithful persons having access to divine authority through prophets had the privilege of direct communication with heaven in a way far deeper and more significant than the previously mentioned random insight.

This gift of prophecy and revelation, as it is sometimes called, continued with adherents from the dawn of history through the early ministry of the New Testament apostles. The so-called dark ages followed a universal apostasy, and a restoration of knowledge and authority followed in God’s due time in the early 19th century.

Thus, the saving mission of the Messiah was known to God’s children from the earliest days of the world, and His sacrifice was prefigured in various rituals, including the sacrifice of paschal lambs.

As mentioned above, free will is a fact of human existence, and part of that is the presence of more than one choice. Therefore, there must needs be a voice of opposition. God does not originate or restrict that voice, but it serves His purposes. And the voice of opposition began to make itself known also from the earliest days of human existence.

Where God would say, “I AM. Worship me and prosper,” the opposing voice would constantly affirm, “Believe it not.” The methods of opposition include deception and twisting, half-truth and counterfeit. One twist is to call history allegory; one half-truth is to treat the Atonement as an example of a theme rather than the archetype of that theme. From this opposing influence flowed all types of deception and error.

Christ alluded to the sweetness of ongoing companionship of the Holy Ghost when He uttered the parable of the Pearl of Great Price. In that short parable Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a merchant seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one of great value, sold all that he had to obtain it.

VI Conclusion

Up until this week, I understood the parable of the pearl of great price from a commercial point of view, but I never understood the emotions of the merchant. As I pondered the topic of this post, I was initially miffed by having to wade through half-truth, supposition and error as part of the MKMMA experience.

Then, later, I understood better. I could see clearly that our authors were well intended, and they did their very best to enlighten the world. Indeed, I have been well served by my study, casual though it may be by academic standards. I can see clearly the benefit of independent thought, and I’m grateful for the sacrifices of our authors.

And, most recently, I’ve become empathetic with their searches and their individual journeys. I just did not see at first that for which they really yearned. They all sought knowledge and experience that have been common in my life for decades. Net result: I can see better the life altering value of that which I had too frequently taken for granted.

If they saw in the gifts with which I’m conversant the value I now see, they would be just like the merchant, willing to sell all to gain that value.

It is my witness to you, dear reader, that God lives. He did create us, and His purpose in doing so is to invite us to return to His presence and enjoy with Him the blessings of eternity. He cares about us enough to send messengers, and we have the option to listen and, if we will, embrace the message. Jesus, His Only Begotten Son, is our Savior and Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost is His emissary and our available companion.

Intelligence is the basic building block of creation, and we, being intelligent, are invited to participate in the ongoing process of creation, not for God’s benefit, but for our own.

Thank you for joining me in making the world a little better, one day at a time.

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A Life Orchestrated Around Fear – Week 22

How big is fear in your life? In mine, fear was the primary driving force behind much of the programming. You probably know some people like that. Maybe it’s you sometimes.

I feared the future, failure, success, commitments, not committing, poverty, wealth, feasting and famine. Most of all, I feared not being “enough.”

Always something more was needed. More education, more training, more information, more money, more time, more fitness, more suits, more titles, more achievements, more skills. Never enough, never sufficient.

Unknowingly, I had given power to some nebulous event or person or circumstance or business or system to make me good enough, smart enough, organized enough and/or attractive enough to succeed.

Mind you, I didn’t originate much of this programming. I learned it at my parents’ knees. Extended family taught me. Teachers taught me. Society taught me. And I learned and I bought and I internalized all the lessons of inadequacy, limitation and lack.

And, recently, I unlearned them. I first created a desirable life vision. Then I read edifying truths about how to profitably think. Then awareness dawned.

Consciousness precedes change.

I now know that the only way for me to experience growth and positive change is to create the desired conditions inside, in the subjective. Then, over time, conditions outside, in the objective, manifest in conformity with the vision within.

Another example might help. Several recent experiences demonstrated the power of enmity. In one, a friend called with exciting news about finding a new company with which to apply his skills and talents. As he described his new “love,” I chided him for being the “message” rather than the messenger. I apologized later, but the damage was done. Healing will hopefully mend the breach over time.

The impact of these experiences caused me to ponder how they were all related, and the answer came easily. In each experience I manifested a sense of enmity or competition. And I easily discerned the source: insecurity. The source of insecurity? FEAR. Same song; different verse.

I feel grateful for the consciousness of fear as it manifested in insecurity. I know from recent study in the Masterkey Mastermind Experience that fear, guilt, anger, hurt feelings and unworthiness frequently accompany expansion of one’s comfort zone. Thus, my awareness of these feelings allows me to simultaneously feel reassured in progress, despite the pain of unintentionally straining relationships.

Given the foregoing, you won’t be surprised that close friendships have been rare, and that a sense of impending doom was a frequent companion until recently. Praise God for a new day!

A month’s reading of Mandino’s Scroll V from The Greatest Salesman has taught me that mourning yesterday’s failures darkens today’s joy and diverts energy from making today the best it can be. I can, however, make amends today as well as possible, and I can remember to connect.

You see, enmity fosters a sense of “other.” We’re learning from Haanel’s Masterkey System that “other” is an unnecessarily limiting illusion. The truth is connection. Connection with God above, connection with God within (myself), and connection with God all around (nature, people, etc.). With connection, enmity vanishes.

We have, each moment, a privilege. That privilege is choice. For me, the best choice is conscious connection. Eventually, with practice, connection will be automatic and require no further conscious choice. I will have changed the music and the orchestra will play a more pleasing tune.

Until then, I am humbled and grateful for loving, forgiving friends, companions and fellow travelers.

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