This is a very important chapter, there is a lot of insight and philosophy. I promise to do my best in sharing with you as much as I can. If you are a student of Haanel’s system, please take the time yourself to really study this week — as well as all of the other weeks. I don’t know about you, but in my case, I am not looking just for knowledge, I’m also searching for a deeper understanding.
The last paragraph of the letter of transmittal for this week’s lesson is quite interesting. Haanel wrote: “The student who masters the contents of Week Seventeen will not mistake the symbols for the reality; he will be interested in causes, rather than effects. He will concentrate on the realities of life and will then not be disappointed in the results”.
The Greatest Enemy of Observation is Familiarity
When we think we know something, we stop paying attention to it. For example, how many stairs are there in your house? What is your license plate number? Name three left-handed people you know. I believe is was Sherlock Holmes who said to Dr. Watson in “A Scandal in Bohemia,” “You see, but you do not observe.”
One good example is that while all the media propaganda machine is pushing their agenda that “the sky is falling”, that everything is bad, and evil surrounds us, the Master Key Experience community managed to increase our awareness of all the goodness, and kindness around us, by being intentional observers and doers. I liken the “river of dreams” to a mirage, an illusion that distracts us from reality.
I could go on. My point is not that any single observation is the silver bullet that unlocks attaining insight or a higher level of intuition. Instead, I’m suggesting that the way forward is always to keep observing. We must be willing to focus, exercising concentration to a degree we don’t just see, but we observe. Let’s not just see. Let’s observe.
One major takeaway for me from this week material is how vital, important it is to see the things in the world for what they are rather than what they appear to be. Instead of seeing symbols and perceptions, raise our awareness to be able to see things truly — objectively. I believe that it is a essential part of living a successful life.
I want to escape, unplug if you will from the “Matrix”, away from the false perceptions of the world — the shadows and mirages — and see the world and everything in it for what they are, to get a clearer picture of things around me. I want to free myself from errant, foreign thoughts and skewed views, that do not serve my interests or help the fulfilment of my true purpose in life.
How do I get this level of understanding, this clarity of vision? Through CONCENTRATION
This week, Haanel shares in points 3 to 7 that the key to seeing reality is concentration.
3. We are accustomed to look upon the Universe with a lens of five senses. From these experiences our anthropomorphic conceptions originate, but true conceptions are only secured by spiritual insight. This insight requires a quickening of the vibrations of the Mind and is only secured when the mind is continuously concentrated in a given direction.
4. Continuous concentration means an even, unbroken flow of thought and is the result of a patient, persistent, persevering, and well-regulated system.
5. Great discoveries are the result of long-continued investigation. The science of mathematics requires years of concentrated effort to master it, and the greatest science — that of the Mind — is revealed only through concentrated effort.
6. Concentration is much misunderstood. There seems to be an idea of effort or activity associated with it, when just the contrary is necessary. The greatness of an actor lies in the fact that he forgets himself in the portrayal of his character, becoming so identified with it that the audience is swayed by the realism of the performance. This will give you a good idea of true concentration; you should be so interested in your thought, so engrossed in your subject, as to be conscious of nothing else. Such concentration leads to intuitive perception and immediate insight into the nature of the object concentrated upon.
7. All knowledge is the result of concentration of this kind; it is thus that the secrets of Heaven and Earth have been wrested; it is thus that the mind becomes a magnet and the desire to know draws the knowledge, irresistibly attracts it, makes it your own.
Isn’t concentration just thinking? Don’t we do it all the time?
In Point 11, Haanel wrote: “Concentration does not mean mere thinking of thoughts, but the transmutation of these thoughts into practical values; the average person has no conception of the meaning of concentration. There is always the cry “to have” but never the cry “to be;” they fail to understand that they cannot have one without the other, that they must first find the “kingdom” before they can have the “things added.” Momentary enthusiasm is of no value; it is only by unbounded self-confidence that the goal is reached.
During my participation in the Master Key Experience there have been times that life happens, interruptions occur, unexpected things have taken my attention away, and I asked myself: What If I Fail?
I am grateful, and very encouraged for what Haanel wrote in points 12 and 13:
12 “The mind may place the ideal a little too high and fall short of the mark; it may attempt to soar on untrained wings and instead of flying, fall to earth; but that is no reason for not making another attempt.”
13. Weakness is the only barrier to mental attainment; attribute your weakness to physical limitations or mental uncertainties and try again; ease and perfection are gained by repetition.
This reminds me of the main phrase from scroll III of Og Mandino’s book: “I persist until I succeed”. I know that even when I suffer a setback, or find a roadblock in my way, the more I practice and learn, I get better and better. And you can too. Keep that in mind.
Wrap It Up Manuel!
I know, this blog posts are getting longer. I still have not addressed what I think in the heart and soul of Week Seventeen. That is brilliantly expressed in the following points:
28. You may be pursuing the symbols of power instead of power itself. You may be pursuing fame instead of honor, riches instead of wealth, position instead of service; in either event you will find that they turn to ashes just as you overtake them.
29. Premature wealth or position cannot be retained because it has not been earned; we get only what we give and those who try to get without giving always find that the law of compensation is relentlessly bringing about an exact equilibrium.
30. The race has hitherto been for money and other mere symbols of power, but with an understanding of the true source of power, we can afford to ignore the symbols. The man with a large bank account finds it unnecessary to load his pockets down with gold; so with the man who has found the true source of power: He is no longer interested in its shams or pretensions.
These are powerful sentences, they point to where true wealth comes from, and that “it’s not always all about the money,” I don’t think Haanel is saying that money is bad. He is stating that we — each of us — should have a goal higher than simply pursuing riches. Our vision should instead be something bigger.
There is not much left for me to add for now.
Until next time, I wish you the best.
I persist until I succeed, I always keep my promises.