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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7 thoughts on “Silence & Stimulation – Week 10

  1. Great post. I think that you are onto something here. How have you managed to tackle that electronic screen addiction? One thing that I was able to quit is wasting time playing games on my iPhone. What I started doing instead is reading GS, MK, DMP, BPB and the 7 laws in a eReader app on my phone. I also took pictures of mu index cards, the shapes sheet and the movie poster and I browse through them from time to time.

    Mario

    1. Thanks, Mario! What I do is make sure to identify the source of the impulse for stimulation. If the impulse arises from the old blueprint, I use the law of substitution (or is it the law of dual thought?) and choose another activity. That might be to simply sit quietly for a moment, to call a friend, to reach out to a new prospect, to text one of my children, or to perform an act of service to another. Either way, I get a better result, because the substituted act feeds the new blueprint. Thank you for asking!

  2. Great observation and explanation. Noise addiction, I think I also suffered from it. I used to avoid the silence, did not like the thoughts that would arise. Now it is preferred and thanks to this post shedding a new light on it

  3. Great post David. I love your very personal example of addictive power and how your silent power trumps it. There is nothing like enhanced spiritual communion to cure what ails ya! You are definitely a thinker.

  4. David, this really made sense to me as I have been struggling recently and instead of just buckling down to get ‘er done, I would waste more time on things that didn’t matter. I will re-read this post and apply the principles we have learned that you have concisely drawn together for recollection. Sometimes I wonder if struggle comes just before a change becomes a habit.

  5. Interesting post, David. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I love to access everything on the small screen. Books, youTube, music. Everything. I like Mario’s use of the iPhone as a tool.
    This week’s continual reading about the success principles of avoiding the negative sheep people may be another place you should look, especially if you are into any of the gaming communities that share on the games that they play online. Could be a force dragging you into world of things that don’t matter.

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