Week 23 – Silence

I went to the mountains for extended silence.  While I did achieve many hours of straight, awesome silence, an equally powerful metaphor occurred at the outset that has stuck with me as tenaciously as the experience of silence.

Winter cold temperatures had refused to yield to the spring equinox.  The week prior it had snowed all the way to the valley floor.  My destination was 1,500 to 2,000 feet elevation so there was plenty of snow up there.  The trail head I had in mind was blocked by a snow berm so I drove on up an unplowed back woods road with snow ruts to the pavement.  I continued on a couple of miles and the farther I went the deeper the snow.  I decided to turn around at the next opportunity.  I came to a wide spot in the road where there were plenty of tire tracks indicating others had been there.  The temperature was right at freezing.  There was about a foot of dense, saturated snow layered atop two inches of ice.  No sooner than I turned out of the ruts, I was stuck.  I had been driving in 4WD.  I put it in super-low 4WD.  No help.  I was on ice.

I had come to the mountains for solitude and silence.  I was sufficiently remote to have both.  I sized up the situation.  I had a collapsible spade and an ax.  I set to work digging very heavy, icy snow from behind each tire, then chopping the ice away all the way to the pavement.  There was a downed pine tree nearby from which I chopped a large pile of boughs, which I tucked behind each tire for traction.  I then backed very gently onto them and was soon back into the ruts and on my way back down the road… in reverse.

The metaphor was such a perfect reflection of the issue I was facing in my real life back in civilization.  July 1st last year I agreed to go into partnership with a couple of guys I have known for some time, who are smart and ambitious, and whose values and principles seemed to be a good match, complementary skill sets, experience, goals, etc. all aligned.  About a month ago decisions were made, money spent, and commitments agreed that I had not been consulted on, in clear conflict with sound principles of partnership and business generally.  I had turned out of the ruts, onto the ice.  I was faced with the need to carefully assess the situation, to find a way to gingerly back out of the situation without panic, using the tools and materials at hand, and escaping a dicey situation where the elements could have harshly demanded my life.

Just this very day, I extricated myself from the situation with minimal damage.  It took a fair amount of sacrificed time, energy, and some pain, but all four tires are in solid contact with the pavement and I am safely rolling down the road again.


Week 21 – He Thinks Big Thoughts

The Master Stroke of the Master Key is saving the best for last.

This particular lesson is so loaded with insight and wisdom laying in plain sight it’s like a wonderful meal, steaming with aroma,  plated and presented perfectly, challenging you to choose the first bite in the right order.

Now that we have arrived at Week 21, ideas such as #18 on how habits are formed, we simply look at it and say, “Yes, I know from experience.  It’s not a concept or a theory.  It’s not simply a good idea or a teaching.  It’s how the human machine works!”   (And, oh by the way, you should try it!)  But don’t be fooled.  It is no easy matter to change the mental attitude, but by persistent effort it CAN BE DONE!

Here’s another delicious bite.  #6.  Large ideas have a tendency to eliminate all smaller ideas so that it is well to hold ideas large enough to counteract and destroy all small or undesirable tendencies.  This will remove innumerable petty and annoying  obstacles from your path.  You also become conscious of a larger world of thought, thereby increasing your mental capacity as well as placing yourself in position to accomplish something of value.

And here is a note of gentleness and patience; If we do fail now and then, we should by no means lose hope, for the law is absolute and invincible and gives us credit for every effort and every success, even though our efforts and successes are perhaps intermittent.

Finally, the level playing field; the part I adore most.  The Divine Mind makes no exceptions, it plays no favorites.  It is unconditional.  Therefore, the more conscious we become of our unity with this mind, the less conscious we become of conditions and limitations, and as we become emancipated from conditions we come into a realization of the unconditional.  We have become free!


Week 20 – The River of Life

Life is a river, not a lake.  I like this analogy and have used it for years.  This particular river has never been mapped.  It’s a Lewis & Clark Expedition.  And while we don’t know exactly what’s around the bend, if we are mindfully and intentionally truly engaged with Infinite Intelligence, then we are creating what’s ahead we can draw the map we want (so long as it is in harmony with the whole).  We can on-board provisions, reinforce our craft and anticipate the inevitable white water, sand bars, cross currents, back-drafts, and other perils.

As we look back over the River of Life that we have navigated so far, we know that it sometimes rages, it is sometimes calm.  If our experience on the River of Life so far is simply drifting along, taking it as it comes, then we may have cause to be fearful of the rocks ahead.  On the other hand, at a minimum, we can claim some life experience and at least better understand how to navigate.  We have hopefully gained the knowledge that the danger of this set of rapids will pass.  It may not completely eliminate fear but it should provide the confidence gained from experience and the development of skills.

The River of Life will keep on flowing all the way to the ocean. The good news is that I  have dealt with everything that the River of Life has brought me so far. I must have dealt with it successfully because I am still here to navigate another day.  Whether today’s navigation is through raging, dangerous waters, or it’s a sunny day in beautiful, calm waters, this too shall pass.  And I will make it through without sinking or crashing. I have always done so, and I will continue.  This too shall pass.

Week 19 – The Power

What is this mysterious vital force we call power?  Haanel poses, in Part Nineteen, this simple but fundamental question.

What, really, is energy?  We don’t really know what are power and energy, any more than we know what is electricity or light.  But we know how to use power and  energy.  Our very existence hangs in the balance.

Energy is in constant motion.  The interplay of physical and mental, visible and invisible, becomes fascinating at the point where energy is transferred.  Paragraph 15 notes that “man cannot think without eating.”  This is where the material and spiritual worlds intersect.  Material transforms into spiritual.  This activity is constant, non-stop, and eternal, yet we so take it for granted as to never give it a second thought.

Transforming food into energy is almost observable.  However, this could not happen without the intermedation of blood and oxygen.  Oxygenated blood is the result of breathing.  Our fragile yet constant, lifelong vital connection to earth and all of its gifts, is our breath.  From the moment of birth to our final gasp, we are breathing, breathing, breathing.  Stop the breath and life is over.

What is breath?  In English it is mammalian respiration; a very finite meaning.  In Hebrew, however, the word for breath is “ruakh”, which has a breadth of meaning.  Ruakh translates as breath, wind, spirit; the emanation of life-force.  This is truly energy and power.  We can’t see it, but we can certainly feel it and observe its effects.

I was present at the births of my three children;  the first to see and touch them.  I saw them each take their first breath.  Into their tiny flesh and blood bodies flowed the breath of life.  It is the same breath, or ruakh, that animates me and every breathing creature that lives and moves on planet Earth.

Similarly, the wind that moves trees and clouds is the same energy that keeps me alive.    I can’t see the wind, I can’t see my breath, but they’re connected with the invisible  energy and power that animates things and makes them move.  This invisible presence and power is the very essence of Infinite Mind, our eternal divine creator.

Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.   — Genesis 2:7


Week 18 – The Power to Create

This week concentrate upon your power to create…  This thought experiment is so phenomenal I can’t begin to describe the flights of fancy to which my mind has been launched.

This MKE course has been so expansive for me in this arena that it excites me to near exhaustion.  The human mind is indeed fantastically creative, there can be no denying.  On the other hand, the raw material we have been given to work with is infinitely more fantastic.  And it was created.

I know it’s impossible, because it is infinite, but try to imagine the creativity of a Universal Mind that has existed for so long and is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.  This unfathomable mind brings into being an endless universe that is  spectacular beyond words.  It then brings into being an environment where its mind can be installed into physical beings, called humans, who are created to create and have at their disposal this same Infinite Mind, which invites us to tap into and share it.  With that kind of gift, our power to create is literally infinite.

“He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.  Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”  Psalm 147:4-5

Image result for hubble telescope

Week 17HJ – Newspapers

There was a time when I read a newspaper every day.  In fact, over the course of a week, I read several newspapers from national to local publications.  Along with actual print magazines.  Imagine!

This week I have found it a true challenge to take the extra steps to go find a newspaper so I could look at real, hard copy obituaries.

I know there’s a lesson here somewhere.  There’s a reason to actually go to the physical newspaper to read obituaries instead of looking them up on this very screen I’m using to blog this comment.  Hope I find that reason before my obituary appears!  😉


Week 17 – Radical Generosity

We have to be reminded over and over again about the power and impact of mastermind, prayer, or whatever form of harmonious thought.  I could kick myself for having to relearn these fundamental truths so many times.  Especially with my experience and years on the planet.  I have experienced the results of practicing kindness, I know that focusing positive is the only way to live, that treating others well, operating with right motivations, going for wealth v. riches, serving v. position, power v. symbols, is where the true joy in life reside.

Embracing the process and lessons in the MKE has led me to vistas and insights that I would have achieved no other way.  I am grateful.

I’ve discovered deep truths and principles from scriptural teachings that I never before realized.  For example, how the protection and feeding of widows orphans, immigrants, and vulnerable are woven into Old Testament laws, that tithing and giving was deeply, culturally ingrained in the society.  Then, with Jesus’ arrival, tithing was abandoned in favor of radical generosity! Not the legally mandated tenth!  Caring for the vulnerable of our fellow humans is our highest obligation.

MKE has shined a light on the idea that giving generously, pursuing honor and harmony and true character is our ultimate purpose.  Being generous, with the ulterior motive that I will be enriched or materially rewarded because of generosity, is folly.  That joy and reward is in simply BEING a kind, caring, generous, abundant, loving human being.  I am LOVING doing kindness and generosity and promoting it at every turn.  I feel a fresh wind of life and spirit blowing through my space.

I’ve learned that my beliefs can and should be challenged, that if they are built on truth and fact they will stand.  If not they SHOULD be dismantled.  If I’m afraid to look at my beliefs and why I hold them, there’s a something amiss.  If beliefs are built on bedrock they will withstand any challenge, they will be supported by conviction, and followed by faith and action.  There is nothing to fear.

Yes, I have learned these things before and again and once more.  I am committed to remaining focused, to keep fueling the burning desire, to keep experiencing the rewards that continue coming from week after week of practicing and building MKE principles.

Thank you for all you’re doing to bring these ideas to life and for challenging me out of my reverie!  Thank you, thank you.

Week 16 – Kindness

I admire and appreciate kindness.  I love it when it comes my way.  I am not unaware of it when it is shown to me.  I even reciprocate very readily.  However, this week has shown me that I have not developed the habit over time of naturally being the initiator of kindness.  I believe that I am GENERALLY a kind person, but I don’t proactively think about how I’m going to manifest kindness today.  I’m not a “random acts of kindness” natural.  And even if I am a GENERALLY a kind person, it doesn’t mean I won’t break bad if someone initiates unkindness toward me.

This is a slippery slope.  We know that negative thoughts, by their very nature, contain no vitality or life; just the opposite.  In order to create, to grow life, to add vitality, we must displace negative thought with positive.  It’s that simple.

Here’s an example of how powerful positivity can be in even the smallest things.  Thirty years ago I was running up Terwilliger Boulevard in Portland when I met two middle-age women walking toward me.  One of them gave me a spontaneous, warm, beautiful, genuine smile. It was brief, probably a second, no more than two.  I had never seen her before and have never seen her since, but her gift of a simple smile that day lives on in my memory all these years later.  Of course she has no idea of that.  It was, and is, just a small thing.  But it is enormously powerful.

Image result for genuine smiles

Week 15 – Insight; The Human Telescope

This feels like the point in the course where the dots get connected.  We get to fly up to a vantage point where a telescope will come in handy to survey the entire landscape that has formed over the past 14 weeks of study, practice, learning, firing and wiring new neural pathways, trying on new ideas, breathing fresh air, and expanding possibilities.  Some of the ideas presented have been common-sense, not entirely new; others have been iconoclastic, cataclysmic, earth-shaking, mind-bending, WOWs!  It’s from this menu we get to connect the dots.

Yin and yang, light and dark, negative and positive, vitality and no-vitality face off in this Lesson 15.  Haanel points out that Principles, which are are essentially rules or laws, are inherently positive or affirmative of the things to which they apply.   He applies this trait to the Principle of thought, and that positive thoughts are the exclusive domain of vitality or life.  Negative thoughts, by their very nature, cannot contain vitality.

In part 26 he extrapolates the idea that if given the chance to take root, positive thoughts will crowd out negative thoughts.  Connect part 26 to the thread of “Insights” in parts 31-35.  Insight is 31) a kind of human telescope, which 32) enables us to prepare for and overcome obstacles, to 33) plan ahead and direct our thoughts down a right path to 34) explore and possess ANY mental field.

35) Insight is a product of our inner world, accessed via concentration.

Finally, part 36 suggests that the reader identify his or her own particular problem or challenge.  It reminds us that knowledge does not apply itself.  Sit with the collection of knowledge accumulated through the previous 14 Lessons.  Contemplate and assimilate all the insights that have come from these meditations.  Fly up high enough to see the whole landscape.  Consider what problems or challenges you have to face in order to manifest your DMP.  A determined CONSCIOUS effort must be applied to the knowledge you now possess in order to formulate a program to solve what stands between today’s reality and the picture painted by your DMP.  The Insight includes the fact that your conscious mind can now easily work with your subconscious mind, with the resources of God’s entire universe, to bring this picture into physical reality.

These are some BIG dots to connect!  Gotta make sure I’m looking through the right end of the telescope.