Week Fifteen of The Master Key System is a pivotal part of the study of this “mindset stuff.” In this section, Haanel gets deep — very deep. He not only discusses the “Natural Laws” that affect us all — and get effects for us all — but he also discusses one of the main points that we should be “getting” from the study of this work: Insight.
Insight is one of those things that is difficult to define. Even Haanel with his powerful prose has difficulty truly encapsulating what it is. Much like love or wisdom, it’s something that one only truly understands when one attains it. In many ways, it’s like describing a color to a blind person or explaining how weightlessness feels to a person who has never experienced it. We all to one degree or another know what it is, but to actually put it in terms is difficult, to say the least.
Haanel attempts to do so, though — and he does an excellent job. Attaining insight, then, is the goal of this week’s lesson and exercise.
Let’s begin at the beginning, though, shall we?
When you listen to the teleseminar (whether you do so right here on this web site, download it it to your computer, or if you get them from the iTunes Music Store), you’ll hear me say that as we progress deeper into these “later” Weeks of the “System,” I’ll be reading directly from the book more and more. That is because Haanel phrases things, in my opinion, quite perfectly many times. I will, of course, expand on things as I see fit, but in many cases, Haanel’s words will be enough.
In the “Letter of Transmittal” for Week Fifteen, Haanel informs us that we live under certain “natural laws,” which, if we allow them, will “help” us in our times of need. Haanel writes about these laws,
It will explain that these laws operate to our advantage; that all conditions and experiences that come to us are for our benefit; that we gain strength in proportion to the effort expended; and that our happiness is best attained through a conscious cooperation with natural laws.
The entire Master Key System is about getting us to work via a “conscious cooperation” with these laws. That’s why the prior fourteen weeks have built within us the ability to relax, to clear our minds, to focus, and to think.
As we do the things that Haanel instructs, these laws come into play automatically. It’s not magic, nor is it something mystical; it is life working as it always does.
That’s why I won’t be one of those people who hawks one of those sketchy ways to “take advantage of” the law of attraction. If you think properly, if you have an idea (or a goal), if you work toward your goal and take action on your plans, if you remain focused, if you cast aside irrational fears and doubts, if you do all these things and embrace the hard work of thinking and the courageous acts of doing, then these laws — like the law of attraction — will work right along with you. Automatically.
That’s the “magic spell.” Nothing more; nothing less.
The Old for the New; the Good for the Better
Let’s have a look at points 1 to 5.
1. The laws under which we live are designed solely for our advantage. These laws are immutable and we cannot escape from their operation.
2. All the great eternal forces act in solemn silence, but it is in our power to place ourselves in harmony with them and thus express a life of comparative peace and happiness.
3. Difficulties, inharmonies, and obstacles indicate that we are either refusing to give out what we no longer need or refusing to accept what we require.
4. Growth is attained through an exchange of the old for the new, of the good for the better; it is a conditional or reciprocal action, for each of us is a complete thought entity and this completeness makes it possible for us to receive only as we give.
5. We cannot obtain what we lack if we tenaciously cling to what we have. We are able to consciously control our conditions as we come to sense the purpose of what we attract, and are able to extract from each experience only what we require for our further growth. Our ability to do this determines the degree of harmony or happiness we attain.
When Haanel wrote that “Growth is attained through an exchange of the old for the new, of the good for the better,” he means two things.
First, he means that we have to move from those episodes or things in the past that continue to hold us back. We have to “let go.” We have to keep our gaze toward the future rather than either clutching to the past in a nostalgic fashion or keeping in our mind the limiting thoughts and events that trap us there.
Haanel also means that we should begin as best as possible to trade the old for the new. If we want change for the better, we have to look around ourselves and find the things we can change now and then take action on them.
In The Master Key Workbook, I included an exercise that works wonders with this.
For this week, in addition to the usual weekly exercise that Haanel outlines, let us practice a method of growing that works wonders. When you are done, you will have replaced the good with the better.
Look around your house and take notice of the things that could be replaced. Let us use as an example your drapes. If they are in need of replacing, then simply get rid of them! Do not sell them or try to make money from the transaction, merely give them to a charitable organization, such as The Salvation Army. By making the path clear for the better to enter, the better will arrive.
You can go even further and do a thorough house cleaning. This will unburden you of much of your baggage and clear the way for new and better things. It is not advocated to dispose things of value, but the general rule is that if you haven’t looked at a thing in many years, then it can go.
Get it? Got it? Good.
Action & Commitment
In point 13, Haanel reminds us of something I say in every episode.
Thought may lead to action of any kind, but whatever the action, it is simply the thought attempting to express itself in visible form.
Remember, things won’t fall from the sky into your lap. This philosophy requires us to take action — to be a “mover and shaker.” Or, as Haanel would say, it is in the “application” that we get results.
In point 29, Haanel reminds us not only of the actions we must take, but also that we must be committed to seeing our action through to the end.
29. In the physical world there is a law of compensation which is that “the appearance of a given amount of energy anywhere means the disappearance of the same amount somewhere else,” and so we find that we can get only what we give. If we pledge ourselves to a certain action we must be prepared to assume the responsibility for the development of that action. The subconscious cannot reason. It takes us at our word; we have asked for something; we are now to receive it; we have made our bed, we are now to lie in it; the die has been cast; the threads will carry out the pattern we have made.
Remember commitment? Do you remember how important it is?
By not following thorough with what we propose, by not seeing something to the end, we plant bad seeds in our subconscious.
Think about it this way. Have you ever joined a gym in order to work out and get into shape? (If not a gym, then something similar. It could be you wanted to learn to dance so you joined a dance studio. Perhaps you wanted to learn a language, so you started taking classes.) You well know that in the beginning, you enjoyed going. You looked forward to it. You studied what was taught and gave your best effort.
Then, something happened. For whatever reason, you had to miss a class.
What happened after that? Didn’t it become easier and easier to skip classes? Didn’t the siren song of your couch or your friends become stronger than the lure of the goal that you set for yourself?
Pretty soon, you found yourself missing more classes than you attended until the day came when you weren’t going at all. That goal became a memory and when in a social situation, you say “Oh, I took some French lessons, but I just didn’t have the time for them. I can say ‘Bonjour’ now, though!”
We blame quitting on many things: life interrupting, not having time, losing interest, wondering why we’re doing what we’re doing … Countless things. The truth is that it all comes down to one thing and one thing only: We failed to honor the commitment we made to ourselves.
This is the beginning of the bad habit of not following through.
It’s time to change the habit. That is, if you truly want to become successful — if you want to change the conditions in your life. If not, then carry on. If you do — and I strongly believe that you do — then endeavor to make the change. Commit and follow through, come hell or high water.
You can do it. Lesser people have and they’ve become successful. If they can do it, then why not you? For that, there is no answer, because you can!
The Narrow Pathway
The pathway to salvation is as narrow and as difficult to walk as a razor’s edge.
Let’s look at those points as Haanel wrote them.
24. There is a principle of Mathematics, but none of error; there is a principle of health, but none of disease; there is a principle of truth, but none of dishonesty; there is a principle of light, but none of darkness; and there is a principle of abundance, but none of poverty.
25. How shall we know that this is true? Because if we apply the principle of Mathematics correctly we shall be certain of our results. Where there is health, there will be no disease. If we know the Truth, we cannot be deceived by error. If we let in light, there can be no darkness. And where there is abundance, there can be no poverty.
What does this illustrate? In life, it is the positive that can be proved by a certain, definable method or way. If you ask me for directions to my house, then I can give them to you very easily. I can also tell you how not to get here, but that would take considerably longer.
Likewise, you can tell me a plethora of ways not to bake a cake; whereas there is only one way to make a certain kind of cake. Your recipe is your way, your method, for baking the cake. Any other way I bake the cake will not result in your cake.
As you read The Master Key System, keep this principle in mind. This is the method by which one will accomplish wonders and seeming miracles. You can do whatever you may to escape debt or build a relationship, but without these principles to support your efforts, you are building a castle of sand on a beach where the tide is quickly rising.
Something Oh-So Rare: Insight
The major lesson of Week Fifteen is Insight. Let’s look at points 30-36.
30. For this reason Insight must be exercised so that the thought which we entertain contains no mental, moral, or physical germ which we do not wish objectified in our lives.
31. Insight is a faculty of the mind whereby we are enabled to exam the facts and conditions at long range, a kind of human telescope; it enables us to understand the difficulties as well as the possibilities in any undertaking.
32. Insight enables us to be prepared for the obstacles which we shall meet; we can therefore overcome them before they have any opportunity of causing difficulty.
33. Insight enables us to plan to advantage and turn our thought and attention in the right direction, instead of into channels which can yield no possible return.
34. Insight is therefore absolutely essential for the development of any great achievement, and with it we may enter, explore, and possess any mental field.
35. Insight is a product of the world within and is developed in the Silence—by concentration.
36. For your exercise this week, concentrate on Insight. Take your accustomed position and focus the thought on the fact that to have a knowledge of the creative power of thought does not mean to possess the art of thinking. Let the thought dwell on the fact that knowledge does not apply itself. That our actions are not governed by knowledge, but by custom, precedent, and habit. That the only way we can get ourselves to apply knowledge is by a determined conscious effort. Call to mind the fact that knowledge unused passes from the mind, that the value of the information is in the application of the principle. Continue this line of thought until you gain sufficient insight to formulate a definite program for applying this principle to your own particular problem.
Does this make sense to you?
Insight is part wisdom, part seeing things for what they are rather than what we think they are; it is understanding rather than knowing; it is working with what things are rather than our fantasies of what they are. As I wrote at the beginning of this essay, insight is somewhat difficult to define.
Haanel wrote that “Insight is a faculty of the mind whereby we are enabled to exam the facts and conditions at long range, a kind of human telescope; it enables us to understand the difficulties as well as the possibilities in any undertaking.”
In working with Master Key Coaching clients, we practice this intensely. You see, it’s not enough to have the goal in mind and to entertain the fantasies of what may happen, but to also visualize the difficulties that may occur in order that we are prepared for them should they occur.
This confuses some people. Aren’t we taught to only think about the good and to not think about the bad?
To a point that’s true — if the “bad” thoughts we are entertaining are irrational bad thoughts. In life though, if we undertake something, there will be rational difficulties that may come into play. Risks. Hazards. If we set into action without taking into account those risks, those hazards, those difficulties, then we may be dooming ourselves to failure.
Imagine that you are going to be like Clark Griswald and drive cross-country. Wouldn’t you get your car checked before you embarked on the journey? Wouldn’t you make sure you had a good spare tire? Your cell phone? Maps? Spare cash for emergencies?
Of course you would! That’s the smart move! If you didn’t, you’d be flirting with stranding yourself somewhere. You’d be putting yourself at the mercy of chance.
The same goes for starting a business. Switching careers. For buying a house or a car.
For just about anything in life.
Needless risk-taking is dumb. It has become fashionable to look at entrepreneurs and business people and say that they are risk-takers. That is generally not quite true — and oftentimes it is the furthest thing from the truth.
Entrepreneurs and business people actually work very hard to minimize risk, to put things in place so that in the event that the venture fails the don’t lose everything. Sure, the story of the entrepreneur risking it all and coming out on top is very romantic, it’s not true. Entrepreneurs aren’t placing bets on a roulette wheel and hoping for the best. They use their minds — their insight! — to make the best moves and keep the level at risk at a minimum. If the risk is too great, they don’t play. They leave that to the fools. If the risk is reasonable, they play, but cushion their “bets” and try to limit their “exposure.”
Read books about successful business people and entrepreneurs. Get the truth.That will give you some insight into what works, what doesn’t, and how the world really works.
Practice this Week’s exercise. Take your goal and concentrate on what it will take to attain it. See the good and the difficulties. Imagine yourself going through the actions. Realize what you’ll have to learn. Come to grips what what you are endeavoring to do.
This will give you a certain amount of insight, that wisdom that is oh-so rare and is often the differentiating factor between those who succeed and those who fail.