The power of concentration is the very highest personal accomplishment that can be acquired. It is the distinguishing characteristic of every successful man or woman.
We know this to be true from personal experience.
How do we refer to those people we know (or knew) in life who were what we would call “unsuccessful”? We often referred to them as “flighty” or “ditzy” because we were noting their inability to concentrate or clear their minds for even the shortest amount of tie. We noted how they flittered from one thing to the next in reckless ways.
Contrast that with how we often refer to those people we consider “successful.” We call them “single-minded.” We note how they are “focused” and “bright.” They know how to form a plan and stick to it. They know how to follow through.
Man has accomplished the seemingly impossible because he has refused to consider it impossible. By concentration, men have made the connection between the finite and the Infinite, the limited and the Unlimited, the visible and the Invisible, the personal and the Impersonal.
When faced with a tough problem, the successful don’t give up and flitter to the next thing. They stay on task. They concentrate on the solution to the problem at hand and stay with it until they find a solution. Sometimes, the solutions come easily; other times, it takes years or decades until any advance is made.
What else did Haanel write about this power of concentration?
21. So with the power of thought: Let power be dissipated by scattering the thought from one object to another, and no result is apparent; but focus this power through attention or concentration on any single purpose for any length of time and noth- ing becomes impossible.
22. A very simple remedy for a very complex situation, some will say. All right, try it, you who have had no experience in concentrating the thought on a definite purpose or object. Choose any single object and concentrate your attention on it for a definite purpose for even ten minutes. You cannot do it—the mind will wander a dozen times and it will be necessary to bring it back to the original purpose, and each time the effect will have been lost and at the end of the ten minutes nothing will have been gained, because you have not been able to hold your thought steadily to the purpose.
If you take a magnifying glass and focus the rays of the sun, then you can start a fire. When the sunlight is scattered, nothing will happen. Focus those rays and watch out! The same goes for the mind. If you allow power to be dissipated by jumping from one thought to the next, no result will be apparent; but if you focus and concentrate on a single purpose for a length of time, then nothing is impossible.
The exercises in The Master Key System are helping us to become thinking and focusing dynamos! Keep in mind, though, that these are just exercises and not the real thing. They are essential to do and master, though! While in and of themselves they do have practical merit (such as the exercise we are about to study here), the real use will come when we begin to solve our own problems.
Look at it this way: these exercises are akin to the exercises one does when studying a musical instrument. You’ll learn scales, finger exercises, and such, but merely by mastering them does not mean you are playing music! They will prepare you to do so.
In Week Six, the exercise is
In order to cultivate the power of attention, bring a photograph with you to the same seat in the same room in the same position as heretofore. Examine it closely at least ten minutes: Note the expression of the eyes, the form of the features, the clothing, the way the hair is arranged—in fact, note every detail shown on the photograph carefully. Now cover it and close your eyes and try to see it mentally. If you can see every detail perfectly and can form a good mental image of the photograph, you are to be congratulated; if not repeat the process until you can.
This step is simply for the purpose of preparing the soil; next week we shall be ready to sow the seed.
It is by such exercises as these that you will finally be able to control your mental moods, your attitude, your consciousness.
That’s pretty straight forward. In any event, in The Master Key Workbook, I gave a few tips to help you as you practice — and perfect — this task.
This exercise is key to strengthening our powers of concentration and also recollection. As we improve this, we enable ourselves to become more receptive to the thoughts and ideas that bombard us each and every day.
Why is it, though, that a youth has no problem memorizing the lyrics to his or her favourite song, yet they can remember a poem or historical passage only with great difficulty?
The answer lies with what we have learned earlier: relaxation. When the youth is listening to music that he enjoys, his body and mind are relaxed, thus making him receptive to the input he receives. When he is asked to memorize a poem or something of similar nature, his tension rises, making his mind hard to penetrate and then only with great effort.
We should have learned by now to relax the body and mind and to let things flow from the Universal. Thus, when doing this exercise, relax.
Get it? Good.
Once again, the Question & Answers session was exceptional. I am not going to explicate much of it here as I would rather you listen to it. The question posed was
Can we heal or cure ourselves of all diseases with the power of our mind?
I’ll say two things here and then let you listen to my entire answer in full.
First, no, I don’t think that we can. Although we can influence certain aspects because of our mental and attitudinal disposition, the idea of curing oneself of life-threatening diseases is quite far-fetched.
Second, since the call, some have emailed me about my response not only to say that I was wrong, but that what I said was diametrically opposed to what Haanel wrote and taught.
I won’t disagree too much with the latter point. Haanel‘s teachings are steeped in Christian Science (Mary Baker Eddy and others). To that extent, yes, I am going against what Haanel wrote and, perhaps, believed.
On the other hand, if you’ve been listening to these Teleseminars and reading what I’ve been writing, then you’ll notice that my view is exactly what Haanel explored and taught. When one has a problem, one defines the problem and then looks for a solution to said problem. In this case, if one is very ill, then one finds the people who can best overcome his illness using methods that have been proven (to one degree or another) to help.
Much like the idea of “manifestation,” the idea of healing ourselves solely with the powers of the mind is reckless.
Listen to what we’ve been discussing on these calls. Keep in mind how things have been presented. Read what Haanel wrote. Look at it from different perspectives.
If you observed a bird and thought to yourself that you wished you could fly, would you flap your arms as fast you could whilst thinking positively? Or would you look at the problem (the goal) like the Wright brothers did and build a plane?
In all my years publishing the works of Haanel and coaching people in this philosophy, far too many face life with the former in mind. They reject the work of the doctors, researchers, scientists, and many others who have cured diseases, developed methods for treatment, and did many other things that have increased the average life span to double what it once was while making many diseases that were once death warrants obsolete.
That, I think, is foolish. That, I think, is what goes against what Haanel wrote more than anything.
Listen to this episode through to the end. I think you’ll get a lot from it. Even if you disagree, you’ll learn another perspective — another point of view — and that never hurt anybody.
Until next week, be well and get for yourself the best of everything.