WEEK 24 – Practical Spirituality

Spirituality is … intensely practical … the Real Thing, the Whole Thing.  Matter is but plastic stuff, which Spirit is able to create, mould, manipulate, fashion to its will.  Spirituality is the only absolutely “practical” thing there is!  Haanel 23.21.

As we finish this extraordinary six-month course, it’s only right to end on the main thing (as guide Mark J frequently emphasizes): we are all of us, according to Haanel, a spirit with a body.  Thus, to live fully authentic lives, we must explore and master Universal Laws the Divine Spirit designed for us to exist and thrive within.

Our channel to omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Divine Intelligence is our inner world – our precious mind.  Having spent all these weeks being thoroughly introduced to the power of the mind, especially the subconscious and its endless range and creativity, we are in awe of and humbled by our own innate capacity.

What lies behind us and what lies before us
are tiny matters compared to what lies within.
 Emerson

Inspired by The Master Key, we’ve also utilized disciplined activity to create a new mental blueprint to enable us to begin unleashing with boldness our unlimited mental capacity.  Most significantly we’ve engaged in the Silence that we might know the Truth, as Haanel writes, and reawaken our heart’s love and vitality in order to accomplish our true purpose – to be of service to humanity.

Never have we undergone a course of study both so metaphysical and yet so practical.  We sense the substantial changes in ourself and see the changes in others, but in truth, we know there’ve been even more profound internal differences that will reveal themselves over time.

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves
after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.

Marcel Proust

We are deeply grateful to the enlightened and highly talented teachers who’ve guided us on this unique Hero’s Journey and look forward to enlarging this spiritual dialogue through both Mark’s continuation program and our personal practice.

The great object of Education should be to teach self-trust.
Emerson

How blessed we are, fellow seekers, to have learned the joy and responsibility of learning to trust our inner spiritual voice that we might truly co-create with God here on earth His wonders to perform.

Peace be the journey.

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WEEK 23 ─ Emerson’s Essay on Self-Reliance

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.  R.W. EMERSON

It’s exhilarating to return once again to an American philosopher who wrote with such conviction over 170 years ago about trusting the voice within.

This is a brilliant essay that reveals more with each reading.   Living in the 1800s when the most common exchange of ideas occurred through books, letters, and essays, Emerson expected his reader to have both the time and the desire needed to ponder all he had to say in a writing style that is dense and poetic.  (A teacher suggested seeing the film ‘Lincoln’ to help with comprehension.  Reading Dickens or Eliot is helpful, too, in understanding the Victorian style that influenced Emerson.)

First of all, what we didn’t find in his most famous essay was either the Emerson described by some conservatives ─ the stoic individualist who claims to need no one else, or the Emerson described by some progressives  ─ the universalist who accepted every perspective; his standard for truth was far too high for that.

Instead, Emerson was concerned with pursuing what he called our most sacred task  ─  thinking for ourself in order to be ourself as intended by God.  That is what he meant by self-reliance.

TRUST YOURSELF

Whosoever would be a man must be a nonconformist.  Emerson wasn’t writing here about eccentricity but a life of singularity ─ being one of a kind ─ as the highest proof of the fully evolved self.

He believed that the power in each of us is ‘new’ in nature and that only we can ‘know’ what we are to do with it ─ once we’ve opened ourselves up to God’s perfect guidance.  He challenged the reader to find and accept the place the divine providence has found for you.

A graduate of Harvard, Emerson was known to love books and had a large library.  He wasn’t afraid to ponder deeply the ideas of thinkers across the centuries as well  those of as his contemporaries.  But he gave more weight to the knowledge he gained through personal observation and experience.  On every important point, he challenged himself to distill what he really believed, especially with regard to himself.  Rather than be ultimately influenced by others ─ whether through the written page or, more commonly, from the pulpit ─ about how he was to think and to be, Emerson insisted his and our greatest responsibility was self-discovery.

For inspiration, Emerson suggested we need only look into the faces and behavior of babies: their mind being whole, their eye is … unconquered.  Who else always lets us know who they are, what they’re feeling, and what they need?  Infancy conforms to nobody.  Simply put, we each came into this world inherently trusting ourself.  So ─ what happened?

Society ─ our family, the community, religious, educational and social institutions, and nearly every adult who consistently crossed our childhood path.  In other words, our first ‘tribe,’ which felt driven and justified to make us one of them in every respect when we were still malleable and trusting, using whatever means deemed necessaryEmerson is unsparing about every society’s potential for cruelty:  For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure.

When a child hears diminishing, even silencing words from those around him, the naturally brave and authentic person inside begins to weaken and in time he ultimately loses the ability to hear his own ‘voice.’   As the dread ‘conforming’ takes him over, it begins to scatter his forces and blur the impression of his character.  Tragically, in time, his self-trust is gone, his God-given power buried.

The heart of the essay is Emerson’s perspective on how we as adults can come to recognize what is happening around us and within us in order to learn how to stand apart, think for ourselves, know the truth ─ in fact, to reclaim our self-reliance.

Self-reliance in turn allows us to uncover that special gift bestowed on us that we might give it away, something we can only do when once again we trust ourself.

He shares the exquisite metaphor of the rose ─ how, trusting its true self, it need do nothing more than give its unique gift of beauty and fragrance, in order to receive the sunlight, water and nourishment needed to live and thrive in harmony.

Emerson believed God is asking us to be as the rose and concern ourselves only with sharing our special gift that we too may live authentically, vitally, harmoniously.  Do your work and you shall reinforce yourself ─ your ‘voice’ alive once more.

 

Week 22A ─ Gift of Silence

Thinking about the power of silence and the encouragement to spend time in silence, I started considering the major role it’s played in my life.

Years ago, before most personal technology existed, it was possible in some rural communities, especially on weekends and during summer vacations from school, to exist almost entirely in a world of silence.

The largely Scandinavian community I grew up in used words very sparingly, as if we might run out someday if we didn’t limit them.  In my family, silence was the rule rather than the exception and I accepted it as normal.

My father, of Norwegian heritage, almost never talked.  My mother, English heritage, was politely social with other people, with us mostly quiet.  The phone rang maybe every other day.

My sisters and I didn’t talk a lot.  When the youngest arrived and turned out to be a major talker, some members of the family thought she was crazy.  Later, in a college psych course, I realized she was the sole extrovert among introverts.  Happily the family has many more today.  Mostly we read books when we weren’t in school or at my grandparent’s lake cottage swimming and fishing.  Other days, two of my sisters rode our fat pony and gave a good yell now and then as they cantered around.

Because my parents were grain farmers, during the summer the dominant sounds were cars, tractors, and combines, along with the sounds of nature and the squeak of our bikes.  During the rest of the year, there was also the bus full of chattering kids (school meant permissible noise for certain hours) passing along the country road.  When Mother Nature delivered an enormous winter snowfall shutting us all in, the intense silence was broken only by an occasional icicle falling off the house.

The Lutheran Church was dominant among Protestants in much of Minnesota back then – our small-town version was stark white inside and out with dark wooden pews.  The only ‘color’ permitted was the hell-fire-and-damnation preacher in the pulpit.  Sanctioned music included a few hymns for the congregation but no choir, while in Sunday school, we children were taught a few simple songs.  People mostly came and went to church in silence.

An expression children frequently heard those days was “children were meant to be seen and not heard”.  Thankfully, this attitude has largely disappeared today.

Years later I married city-bred Jason who enjoyed a good conversation (and had spent his summers at a camp by a lake).  We moved to the East Coast to live and work in the country’s noisiest city.  I still vividly remember those first months as I reeled from the constant din that existed nearly everywhere ─ thousands of people talking and yelling, the screeching of the old subways, the endless loud roar of cars and trucks, vendors and dogs, along with doors banging in old buildings, children and adults shouting and laughing in nearby apartments, and every kind of music coming out of radios  ─ sound filling the air around me.

In time, I became a more outgoing person like my husband, and we both eventually came to love hearing all the different languages spoken in the city.

Because our lives were generally so noisy, we took annual vacations on small islands.  No phone, TV, radio, CD player, or laptop meant the only sound for days was waves against the shore and seasonal birds.  Reading, thinking, walking along the water would bring a return to self ─ but not yet understanding that it wasn’t primarily the solitude but the silence that calmed our edgy selves.

Over the years, various attempts at meditation led us both to realize there was more here than we had the will or courage to discover.  Our courses with Mark have encouraged consistent daily silent discipline and we’ve both reaped the blessings.   The self is rediscovered and strengthened in silence.

While I love the dynamism and constant conversation of NYC ─ in fact, we’ve stayed in this noisy city for several decades ─ I now know a period of silence every day is essential in order to be balanced within oneself.  Of all the exercises our Master Key teachers have given to us, the daily emphasis on silence is the most important for the authentic life.

WEEK 22 ─ Good Vibrations

“Knowledge is of priceless value, because by applying knowledge we can make our future what we wish it to be.  If the state of our health is not all that could be desired, let us examine our method of thinking,” writes the author of The Master Key.

The entire Universe is made up of energy and all this energy manifests itself through invisible vibrations.  Everything about ourselves is alive with vibration.

Because every mental action is a vibration, if we change our thought, which functions as cause, we also change the condition, the effect.   “It is through the law of vibration that the mind exercises control over the body,” writes Haanel.  In other words, our general mental attitude determines our vibrations, which in turn determines our body’s overall health.

Moreover, he states, “Everything in the Universe is what it is by virtue of its rate of vibration.  Change the rate of vibration and you change the nature, quality, form.”

The faster our mental vibrations, the more quickly we attract all that we want, including good health, into our lives.   On the other hand, the slower our mental vibrations, the more we’ll attract what we don’t want, including ill-health.

Simple formula: positive thinking ─ good vibrations ─ have a beneficial impact on health; negative thinking ─ bad vibrations ─ have a detrimental impact on health.

So let’s get practical.  How do we actually change the rate of vibration?

Raising Vibrations
All the activities we are doing in MKMMA ─ reading, sit, exercises ─ are designed to permanently exchange our old Blueprint, which is usually mired in limited beliefs about who we are and what we can achieve generating slower vibrations, for a new Blueprint built on beliefs that generate the healthier high-frequency vibrations.

Other constructive activities, too, bring us to a higher state of vibration that can ensure or even return us to good health.  Mentally, we need only to decide to act:

Prayer & Meditation ─ talking with and listening to our Divine Source, our Cause, which can fill us with profound feelings of well-being and love, the Effect.

Expressing Gratitude ─ joyfully thanking God for everything we value, including our perfect health, is our most powerful prayer.

Visualization ─ the law of vibration is “brought into operation by the mind, the “world within.”  For perfect health, visualize “perfect images” and “the creative energies will build a perfect body,”  Haanel assures us.

Mental Diet ─ spiritual leader Emmet Fox outlined why and how to keep our mind clear of the negative so we can receive all the good we’re meant to receive as well as function fully as co-creators with God.

Associating with Positive People ─ Because thinking is cause, positive thinking will have a positive effect in our world, and because like attracts like, our positive thinking will attract other people who engage primarily in positive thinking.  We’re all aware of how much better we feel being around uplifting people!

Nature ─ sunshine, blue skies, greens of every hue, among other wonders, lift our spirits, calm us, encourage deep breathing, delight us with the endless variety of flora and fauna sharing this world with us, make us feel one with the Universe ─ all of which increase our high-frequency vibrations.

Other Ways to Increase the Good
Good Posture ─ we want positive vibrations flowing to and from the brain unimpeded by slumping shoulders.  Poor posture puts stress on the body and creates blockages.  For good health, sit and stand tall.

Winning Gestures – HUGS, as demonstrated by Mark and throwing the arms up into a VEE, definitely speed up our vibrations!

Movement, including Play ─ walking, swinging our arms, biking, dancing, yoga, swimming, gardening, throwing balls, building things ─ the list is endless.  (Using the computer or TV remote, however is not movement.)  We’re designed to move, it’s genetic; we enhance our survival genes by moving daily in whatever way possible.

Singing ─ upbeat and harmonious selections.  People who sing regularly say that it’s not just the music itself that makes them happy, but the feeling it gives them throughout their body, mind, spirit.  Listening to wonderful music sends positive vibrations to all our trillions of cells!

Smiling ─ there is some evidence that smiling can lift our emotional mood, our vibrations.  The fact is, if we love unconditionally, we do smile ─ note the always beaming Dalai Lama.   Zig Ziglar said, “If you see someone without a smile, give them yours.”  Remember Emerson’s law of compensation: give and we shall receive all that God intends for us, including good health.

Laughing ─ seeing the FUN in the world.  For example, one of the joys of having pets is that they often make us laugh.  Visit YouTube for 100s of funny animal videos.  Reading or watching comedies is powerfully good for lifting our vibrations; e.g. Norman Cousins, author of Anatomy of an Illness, famously helped heal himself of a devastating disease by watching Marx Brothers movies daily because they made him laugh!  Proving again the old saying, laughter is the best medicine.

In conclusion, if faced with health challenges, rather than focus on them, Haanel instructs us to change our method of thinking:  Start by using our imagination to visualize an exact picture of the health we desire, be as detailed as possible, visit this ‘picture’ daily, infuse it with the emotion of joy at ‘achieving’ our perfect health.  Fill the rest of the day with thoughts and actions that effortlessly lift our vibrations!

WEEK 21 ─ Power of Prayer

PRAYER DOES NOT CHANGE GOD BUT IT CHANGES HIM WHO PRAYS.  Kierkegaard.

The intro to Chapter 21 of Haanel’s The Master Key states ─ “Everything we hold in our consciousness for any length of time becomes impressed upon our subconscious and so becomes a pattern which the creative energy will wave into our life and environment.”

It goes on to say ─ “This is the secret of the wonderful power of prayer.”  Just as there are natural laws governing the world, there are spiritual laws that are definite, scientific, exact, and operate with immutable precision.

Here is an amazing way to look at prayer ─ not as a plea from a supplicant at the foot of the Almighty, hoping that someday God will listen and grant his desire ─  but instead as an entirely reliable method given to us in order that we might communicate with and be enlightened by our power source, the Creator.

Wanting to consider this idea further, we examined the writings of spiritual writers Emmet Fox and Florence Shinn on The Lord’s Prayer, the prayer we know best.  Shared by all Christians, this prayer is repeated daily or weekly by most of us, so that it must indeed over time establish a profound pattern in our subconscious out of which limitless creative energy can flood our lives that we might do His work.

This great prayer perfectly illustrates not only our relationship to God, but also lays out in simple terms the right understanding and actions required of us here on earth.  By praying it, we are acknowledging our purpose on earth is to express, each in our unique and magnificent way, God’s divinity.

The key is to recognize what we are saying and reaffirming each time we pray.  Rote prayer is ineffective and enervating.  Engaged prayer is powerful, effective (though we might not know precisely in what way), and inspiring.

Our Father
God is Father to all creation ─ to each of us.  God is divine; as His children, we each then must necessarily be like Him, and thus the spirit within us is also divine.  The word ‘our’ directs us to recognize:  as His children, we ─ everyone of us ─ are equals.

Which art in heaven
God is Universal, we are individuals.  Haanel calls Divine Intelligence the cause and all of us His effects, His manifestations.

Hallowed be thy name
Consecrated and Holy, Divine Intelligence can only produce good.  Out of His complete goodness, He must grant us free will.  We must recognize that we have it and that we are to choose which path we’ll walk ─ goodness or evil ─ with Universal Law or against it.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
As God’s children, our role is to bring about His Purpose, to manifest His Ideas.  Thy will, not ours.  Most of us are challenged by this and need to learn how to discipline our ego, which always mistakenly thinks it knows best, in order to allow God to direct our lives here on earth, so that we might shine with His truth and light.

Give us this day our daily bread
This simple statement reflects the Father – Child relationship perfectly.  By ‘bread’ we mean that we are asking our Father for everything we need for a happy, healthy life.  We are not to dictate how they are to come to us or when.  This is a very freeing idea, as we watch sources of wealth come and go.  The ideas and channels for God’s riches are His business, not ours.   If we trust Him and listen to Him, he will give us the ideas we need to fulfill our divine purpose, along with power and resources.

Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us
Sin comes about because we believe in error we are separate from God and from other people.  We’re convinced we are alone and must fight for what we need, harming ourselves and others.  The truth is that we are all connected to God and to each other.  Our mind and heart must be open to all, the channel clear, flowing.  Therefore, nothing in our life will work as it should until we have forgiven all.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
A
s we advance spiritually, new and subtle forms of temptations meet us on the path, temptations to achieve our purpose for the glory of the self, rather than for God.  We’ve all been stunned by the sudden fall of someone who had seemingly reached great heights of spiritual development.  Great success can blind us and we stumble.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever
We are reaffirming God is in charge, for always, and everything exists for His Glory.

Haanel has helped us see that The Lord’s Prayer directs us exactly in the way we should live as spiritual beings.  Saying the prayer in full recognition of what we are affirming, on a daily basis, brings and keeps us in alignment with God, with Divine Intelligence.  He alone raises our consciousness.

It’s clear we have been precisely designed by the Master Builder to meet with Him in prayer.  Moreover, like all the laws running the universe, the law underpinning prayer is systematic.  Thus, whichever prayer we choose, it works best if we engage in it daily, always attending to our words, in order to keep the channel open to God’s love and power at all times.

WEEK 20 ─ Miracles Everyday

More than 20 weeks into the Master Key program and we are watching in awe as the ‘miraculous’ starts coming our way, day after day.

Recent surprises:

→ The exact business we were searching for shows up.

→ An old acquaintance unknowingly directs us to the perfect sponsor.

→ A medical professional once hostile to network marketing asks us about our industry, saying he now accepts it.  In fact, he announces he was wrong to dismiss our invitation some years ago to join us in an earlier company.

→ Our insurance agent tells us it’s a slow period for him and then, without prompting, asks us about our latest business.

→ Friends have begun to ask us, without prompting, about our new business ─ particularly notable is a retired banker who had been resistant to any mention of it.

→ Customers tell us, again without prompting, why they want our products, and then order them.

→ Our adopted nine-year-old English Bull Terrier becomes a ‘product of the product’ in just two weeks ─ eliciting continuous comments on his youthful playfulness followed by questions about what we are doing for him.

→ Nobody raises objections because there are no objections in our universe.

→ Dealing with a complex legal issue, an unknown concept announces itself with little effort.

→ An inspiration to give up a large caffeine drink every afternoon and start a White Tea Ritual introduces a serene break that, to our astonishment, genuinely energizes us!

Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist.
David Ben-Gurion

To say that the MKMMA course along with the Go90Grow course have ‘changed our lives’ reveals how inadequate words can be to capture the extraordinary.

We know these ‘miracles’ are proof the Universe runs on laws, and that our increasing understanding and mastery of these laws is leading to an expansion of good in our lives.

We find ourselves looking at each other in disbelief  ─ then in shared recognition ─ and then laughter filled with mutual happiness!

So… this is what Mark has been talking about from the beginning ─ the possibility of this effortless flow in our lives and work.  All it took was changing our minds!

Naturally, we still have much to learn, to master.  Students forever ─ we finally have the tools that matter.

Miracles everyday.

Our gratitude cup runneth over.

WEEK 19 ─ “Finding Joe” A Film

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”  Author and professor Joseph Campbell.  

The documentary, Finding Joe, features interviews with Campbell, one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th Century, along with several well-known authors and seekers talking about the profound effect his teachings had on them, especially the powerful hidden pattern that Campbell discovered in each of the world’s great myths  ─ The Hero’s Journey.

We first heard Campbell talking about the HJ many years ago during an interview with Bill Moyers.  Campbell says that in addition to reason, there’s a different, richer way to transmit and understand fundamental truths about the human condition ─ through the seemingly simple stories found in every culture.  Moreover, throughout all recorded history, within each culture he studied, Campbell found in their myths the same underlying story again and again.  Each was yet another a version of The Hero’s Journey.  Well-known examples include the Search for the Holy Grail, Star Wars, and The Wizard of Oz.

As noted in a post last month, we’d both been on an earlier version of this difficult journey, when as newlyweds we felt compelled to leave the Midwest ─ the known ─ for NYC ─ the unknown.  We wanted an adventure and certainly got one!

The Hero’s Journey story appears everywhere hidden in the myths of the world because every civilization has in a sense been shaped by it.  Each human is confronted at some point in life with the possibility of going, or not, on this transformative adventure.  We can accept it.  Or we can turn away from it.  One Finding Joe commentator said that most people resist the call.  Whichever we choose, the effect on the rest of our lives will be substantial ─ making it easily the most important decision we will ever make on behalf of ourselves.

In other words, taking the HJ isn’t just one option we humans have for how we spend our time on earth.  We were all put on this earth for a unique purpose and, until we find that purpose, however successful we might be, we may not be happy or fulfilled.  Most tragically, we may not discover our authentic self.  Consequently, being confronted by and ultimately accepting our own HJ is desirable ─ this life-changing journey introduces the Hero to him or herself and launches the individual on their true path.

Because we both accept ─ often while dragging our feet, kicking and screaming! ─ that growth and change are essential to authentic lives, we now find ourselves on the HJ once again, this time understanding how intrinsically it is interwoven in the special industry we have chosen for our ‘second chapter.’  Go90Grow, Mark J’s brilliant network marketing course which we took in 2013, showed us how profoundly important The Hero’s Journey is not only to living but also to doing each step of business at the highest spiritual level.

WHAT SPECIFICALLY IS THE HERO’S JOURNEY?

In Finding Joe, Campbell explains the HJ is a pattern of experience with 3 parts:
Separation ─ the hero leaves his or her family, community, or tribe and goes on a quest down a path not traveled before

Initiation ─ the hero goes through difficult trials and obstacles, often with the help of mentors; there will be great revelations changing the hero in every way

Return ─ the hero, having ‘shed’ his earlier self, returns a different, wiser person and shares his discovered ‘gifts’ with those around him.

HOW DOES THE HERO’S JOURNEY COME ABOUT?

Campbell says it can come about when a person is powerfully drawn to something and goes after it, however impossible it seems ─ such as a cause (Gandhi).  Or it can come about in an intentional way when someone seeks a certain career for which they undergo life-changing training.  Or it can come about unintentionally because life has suddenly thrown a person out of their customary existence ─ e.g. through losing a career or home or spouse or becoming seriously ill or being thrown out of a country or finding themselves in a war.

WHAT IF WE REFUSE TO TAKE THE HERO’S JOURNEY?

What may happen is that an individual will end up living a life mostly of quiet desperation, to paraphrase Thoreau ─ however it may appear on the outside.

This is often the fate of those who never uncover their greatest selves.  Campbell claims that, instead of looking for meaning, most of us are looking for the ‘experience of being alive;’ so if someone can’t live it directly, he’ll be drawn to live it vicariously.  Without an authentic purpose of their own, many live primarily as consumers joined together in mass hypnosis ─ obsessively watching TV sporting events and popular movies and playing videos games that often feature characters, however limited, who are, ironically, on some version of The Hero’s Journey.  This is particularly evident in the enormous ‘attraction’ sporting events have, where many spectators ‘bathe’ in the reflected glory of winning athletes and in the reflected agony of their defeat.  Tragic ─ all that human potential literally sitting on the sidelines.

Campbell points out that some world myths feature a ‘snake shedding its skin’ ─ a snake that cannot shed its skin perishes.  Humans must evolve, too.  As a result of the great recession during the last decade, all of us have seen people reinvent themselves through self-reflection, hard work, and risk-taking, finally moving on to a NEW FORM, a more authentic self.  We’ve also seen others who have refused to change, determined to make the OLD FORM continue to work, often feeling like a victim, and possibly, sadly, in time, “surrendering to victimhood” as a new identity.

WHAT DOES THE HERO’S JOURNEY GIVE US?

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Campbell

Divine Intelligence designed each of us to evolve to magnificence.  The largest part of the HJ is internal, and we either must go through a ‘death’ to what was and, through the ensuing struggle and darkness, awaken to our greatest self, to the light within ─ or, if we resist change, in time, to die with our music still inside us.

Campbell says the important thing to recognize is that everyone reaches a point in their lives in which their old way of being has simply played itself out.  For some, it happens early on.  For others, it may not happen until midlife or later.  It may occur more than once!  We each must ultimately be the HERO of our own life, to be responsible for our own adventure and go forth with courage.

All the myths clearly show, Campbell claims, that once we answer the ‘call’ and launch ourselves into the unknown, we begin to sense our authentic power.  If we use that power to follow our bliss ─ our definite major purpose ─ the Universe will open doors for us where once there were only walls!

We thought the ‘Finding Joe’ documentary so inspiring we added it to our library.  Highly recommended to MKMMA members.  If you haven’t seen the film, it can be rented or purchased online.  Campbell’s most accessible book is the compilation of interviews with Bill Moyers, “The Power of Myth,” available in pb. 

Week 18 ─ To be or not to be

Assigned by our master key teachers to read obituaries in the newspaper every day, we found ourselves rebelling.

We’re in our 7th decade ─ impossible, we insist, yet nonetheless true ─ and now we’re reading daily about folks our age and even younger who have passed on.

The ‘Janus Team’ wants us to dwell on death every morning?  Good grief!  We both still have too much to do, so please don’t make us face again and again the fact that we’re of a certain age.

Along with that dark task came the assignment this month to read a new scroll from the Greatest Salesman featuring the theme, “I will live this day as if it is my last.”

GOOD GRIEF!!!

Really, this post should end here, courtesy of fellow Minnesotan Charles Schulz.

Calm down … deep breath … thank the ego for sharing and say ‘so long’ …

As our teachers have made abundantly clear, only by accepting complete responsibility for every element of our life, and that includes our death, can we truly live.  Death is not to be feared, but respected.  We’re not to let the idea weaken us, but focus us.

From the vantage point of our ‘ancient selves,’ we can assure you, fellow seekers, there is nothing that brings home the transient nature of physical life and the valid urgency of Mark J’s “Do It Now” mantra like the recognition we have less time remaining on the earth than we’ve already spent here.  Time is running out.

The good news is we are designed to live in the present ─ not in the past, nor in the future, although both arenas may teach us much about the human condition.  We can only be in the present.

How are we to do this? Haanel writes that every living thing is sustained by Omnipotent Intelligence and thus the quality of our lives, in the present, depends on mastering and obeying Its laws.  Wonderfully, this “Mind, the source of all power, will obey us precisely in proportion as we first obey it.”  The greater our recognition of the Natural Laws that govern all of life, “the greater the power we can possess” to be all we are meant to be.

As we have heard throughout the course, thought is the invisible link between the individual and the Universe.  Thought is our Magic Wand by which we each are “transformed into a being who thinks and knows and feels and acts.”  Thought is cause.  While the Universal Mind is the source of all energy and substance, it is our individual power to think that channels that energy into specific forms, each of them brought about through the law of vibration.

Our entire world works like a perfectly balanced Energy Exchange functioning under the Law of Attraction.  In order to receive something, such as love, we must first give love.  In order to receive more of anything, such as wealth, we must first give equal value.  It’s Emerson’s perfect Law of Compensation.  The Universe is entirely harmonious and thus every interaction must be in harmony.

Haanel cautions us that our vital inner power “depends upon consciousness of power; unless we use it, we shall lose it, and unless we are conscious of it, we cannot use it.”  He assigns us the critical exercise of attention, a key characteristic required to bring about any significant achievement, in order that we will increase that consciousness.  The Law is clear: what we pay attention to grows.

Like Emerson, Emmet Fox, and the Master Teacher himself, Haanel clearly saw human beings as co-creators with the Universe, co-creators with Source.  Thus, what need do any of us have to live ‘sadly in the past,’ as many folks do, or to be ‘anxious about the future,’ as many folks are ─ in fact, to choose not to be?  If we remain attentive to our right work of loving and serving others each day during our remaining time on this blessed earth, our life will be magnificent in the present!

Re last week’s Hero’s Journey post, here’s a HJ book recommendation: “Warrior Pose: A War Correspondent’s Memoir” by Brad Willis.  This may be of particular interest to anyone who has faced or still faces major health challenges.  It will certainly be of interest to anyone who practices yoga and is curious about its healing potential.  Janatha

Week 17a ─ The Hero’s Journey

Everything in this life-changing course of study works to re-awaken our authentic sense of self – to go back to that child who did so many miraculous things once upon a time, when we were learning to walk and talk and see and understand the world around us.  Most everyone of us was brave without hesitation.  Smiling, reaching, grabbing, standing, tripping, falling, crying, laughing, making noises that eventually turn into our first word.

Whether introverts or extroverts, we each had our unique version of being open to the entire world.   Magnificent.

In our earliest years, we neither questioned our right to our POWER nor our right to exercise it for what we needed and wanted.  If we were fortunate, there were adults around us who responded positively to that power and loved us all the more.

Who doesn’t want to be that trusting, fully engaged being once again?

The two of us have discovered that one joy (and there are many) of taking this course ─ with all its intentional disruptions to chip away the years of cement and uncover the magnificence that was once ours ─ is having a sudden intense childhood memory from a time when we experienced the universe so directly.

Colors, aromas, tastes, sounds, and especially emotions ─ everything remembered suddenly seems so much more immediate, as if we’ve peeled off an unwanted layer of experience to expose the original sharp memory.  That’s ME our soul exclaims!

MKMMA is clearly changing us.  In our 60s, we are surprised to find that life is beginning to seem brighter, lighter, more unexpected in wonderful ways.  We’re starting to surprise each other again.  Could changing and freeing our minds be the real fountain of youth?

We both grew up such serious people ─ old heads on young bodies for decades.  What a pity to have lived so long mostly in shades of gray.

We each took our first version of the Hero’s Journey over a decade or so ago ─ unfinished though they both were.  Now we’re each struggling through it again but in a much more conscious and focused way to unleash completely the TRUE SELF ─ one who is wholly comfortable with all the gifts of the Universe, including prosperity.

To our frustration, vestiges of our Old Blueprints still secretly shame us with the false belief that creating wealth is bad ─ a false belief that interferes and causes guilt, literally making us feel physically and emotionally weighted down.

In her wonderful blog, fellow student Jude Davis shares her brilliant idea of treating her Old Blueprint like an earlier self, one she appreciates for all that it’s done to get her this far, but now recognizes it’s time to let it go.  We really responded to this idea ─  referring to ours as Old Blue anytime it rears its head.  We thank it and bid it goodbye, again, knowing that one day it won’t return.

On this ‘trip’ through the Hero’s Journey, thanks to MKMMA, we have the creation of new selves in progress, designed and strengthened by our New Blues, under the direction of Divine Intelligence.  With the ‘I’ increasingly in charge ─ lives in progress ─  we’re confident this time our BPs are entirely EQUAL to all our dreams.

Week 17 ─ True Wealth versus Wealth Addiction

A stunning Op-Ed was published in The New York Times on Sunday, January 18, 2014 ─ a powerful admission by a former hedge-fund trader called “For the Love of Money.”  Click to read.

Everyone knows about common addictions such as smoking, gambling, drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, among the most prominent.  There are also ‘acceptable addictions’ such as perfectionism and workaholism, misunderstood failings because of our country’s long tradition of celebrating the work ethic, yet still destructive in the long run.  There’s another addiction, too, that can often look positive from the outside, one that hasn’t gotten much attention until recently ─ wealth addiction.

This post is not about people who work hard and smart, bringing true value to the marketplace, and over time eventually achieving a high net worth.  We have millionaires in our family and are proud of all they do.  This is about folks with an unrelenting compulsion to make enormous amounts of money in as short a time as possible, not by creating real value (e.g. building a lasting business), but by using any method available to pursue enormous wealth far beyond any actual need with complete indifference to any resulting destruction of people, businesses, communities, the environment, or even a nation.  Complete indifference to the real possibility of harming someone else in pursuit of their ‘fix’ is of course one hallmark of an addict.

Apparently people can ‘catch’ wealth addiction like any other bad habit just by hanging around with money addicts.  Recovering Wall Street trader Sam Polk is a perfect example of giving in to the herd mentality.  When we arrived here some decades ago, managers working for financial institutions made income similar to other corporate managers; similarly they saw their business role as serving companies as well as individuals.  Today, neither is true.

Today’s financial industry is rewarded all out of proportion to what it actually contributes to the economy, and their lobbying influence in Washington is all out of proportion to their actual representation of the American public ─ yet increasingly they influence all areas of American life.  What’s even more insidious is that pointing out any of the growing and dangerous distortions due to wealth addiction is often rebutted with the riposte “you’re just envious!” or “you’re a loser” which too often stops legitimate questions of how an individual is acquiring staggering wealth.  (Polk does a brilliantly devastating job of describing this toxic attitude.)  There are still a few financial leaders with integrity, but they have fewer and fewer followers.

Sadly, this addiction is spreading to other arenas.  The most visible example ─ some CEOs and other executives demand salaries, bonuses, stock options, and other perks worth tens (sometimes hundreds) of millions of dollars ─ even if the company isn’t paying all its employees a living wage.  Wealth addiction completely trumps conscience.

Why are we writing on this topic?  Because Network marketing doesn’t just offer industrious men and women a vehicle to achieve lasting financial independence for themselves and their families in an era of shrinking job markets everywhere, it also offers them the only economic model that truly treats everyone as equals and requires that we put service to others first in order to have lasting success. 

We once ran into a wealth-addicted ‘sponsor monster’ in our upline who pushed for really big checks and ever higher pin levels by using manipulative methods to bring people into his org.  He created a real mess.  We know there are others like him.  But in our industry, wealth addicts don’t get as much respect, so they usually move on.  It’s the enlightened leaders we tend to celebrate.

Today it’s clear that millions of Americans don’t want to continue to be part of increasingly unfair workplaces (not necessarily the fault of every employer in our global economy), where more hours are expected every year, yet salaries haven’t kept up with inflation for decades.  And there are increasing numbers of employees who are being pushed into independent contractor roles by their own companies, with no financial preparation and no training for their sudden status as ‘unintentional’ entrepreneurs.  Recent statistics reveal a 1/3 of working Americans now work for themselves, and most economists believe this number will only grow.

There are millions of men and women who do successfully work for themselves and lead balanced lives.  There are millions of others, however, who truly need to be introduced to the alternative path that network marketing offers for financial independence.  Finding the right opportunity in our industry, coupled with taking the outstanding training Mark J offers, creates the potential for a balanced, joyous, spiritually driven career that can bless a family for generations with true wealth.