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December 13, 2010 – Week Seventeen: Symbols & Reality in the Master Key System – Master Key Coaching Teleseminars #21

Week Seventeen — “Symbols & Reality” — is a very important chapter in The Master Key System. It’s so important and so poignant that one caller (our friend “John in Orlando”) said that if he had to choose only one chapter from the book to read for the rest of his life, he would choose Week Seventeen.

There is a lot of insight and philosophy in Week Seventeen. We’ll do our best to get through as much as we can. I can’t implore you enough, though, to take the time yourself to really study this week — as well as all of the weeks. Remember that you’re not only looking for knowledge, you’re also looking for understanding.

I hope that my explication of this week’s teleseminar helps you to understand more.

The Letter of Transmittal

Haanel writes in his Letter of Transmittal for Week Seventeen:

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.

I want you to do a favor for me. I want you to refer to the very first episode of these Master Key Coaching Teleseminars. Recall what I said — and wrote.

On that very first call, I listed the five things you should really be getting from studying The Master Key System and Haanel’s philosophy of success. As you know, many people talk about how the book is all about the “law of attraction.” I disagreed. The five things I listed were:

  1. You will learn how to focus.
    To be able to focus is the ability to dedicate your mind (your thoughts) to one problem (or goal) for an extended period of time. By mastering this skill, you’ll far outreach most people, who flitter from one thing to the other without result.
  2. You will learn how to achieve mental clarity.
    Instead of a brain and thoughts beset with “noise,” you’ll see things clearly — rationally. You will rid yourself of the “shibboleths” of your mind.
  3. You will se the things in the world for what they are rather than what they appear to be.
    Instead of seeing symbols and perceptions, you will see things truly — objectively.
  4. You will learn the greatest skill of all: how to THINK.
  5. You will learn that the Master Key System is really about solving problems.

Now, please look at #3.

That is a huge part of this book and Haanel’s philosophy of success. I would go even further and say that it is a huge part of living a successful life.

You see, as a person moves from their perceptions of the world — the shadows and shibboleths — to seeing the world and everything in it for what they are, that person gets a clearer picture of things and gets a better grasp on things. No longer are they a victim of errant thoughts and skewed views. They are instead masters of reality.

So, how do you get this level of understanding, this clearness of vision?


Another item on the list I provided on the first episode was that you should be learning how to focus. In other words, you will learn to concentrate. You should be able to direct your mind — your thoughts — toward any problem and hold it there until you solve it.

The exercises in The Master Key System are geared to making you a “focusing machine.” If you’ve been practicing the exercises, then you should be able to concentrate now. As you practice more, you’ll get better and better.

This week, Haanel writes 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.

If you can’t concentrate, then learn how. It’s a matter of will power, more often than not. One thing is clear, though, it is essential.

Isn’t concentration just thinking? Don’t we do it all the time?

11. 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.

The answer to the above question is no.

It’s more than that. It goes deeper than just thinking about something. It’s about completely — or as completely as possible — understanding something.

Get it? Good.

What If You Fail?

Haanel wrote in point 12

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.

Perhaps our thoughts — our goals — are too lofty. Perhaps we aren’t ready to reach them yet. Perhaps we’ll fail in our pursuit of them.

So what?

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.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

No matter what you do, how hard you try, how easy something seems, sooner or later, you will fail. You will lose.

It happens.

As Haanel avers here, though, you try again.

As you endeavor more and more and as you practice and learn, you’ll get better and better.

Keep that in mind.

The Most Important Idea You Can Take Away from Week Seventeen

Here is the heart of Week Seventeen.

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.

That’s a powerful group of sentences.

Not only are they inspirational in the sense of “it’s not always all about the money,” they highlight the true source of where wealth originates.

Please keep in mind that Haanel is not saying that money is bad or wrong here. Nothing can be further from the truth.

He is stating that we — each of us — should have a goal higher than simply making money. Our vision should instead be something grander. That grand vision will more than likely be the “source” of that wealth that we desire.

Regarding premature wealth, Carlon Haas posted an amusing article on his web site Don’t Step in the Poop. It is entitled “Why Getting Rich Quick Sucks.” I recommend reading it not only because it’s funny, but because it is poignant.

The point of this week and of The Master Key System in general is that we should see things clearer. We should be looking behind “the curtain” of life. We should be removing our focus from the facade.

It’s a difficult process. It’s difficult to explain. It’s difficult to learn. And it’s difficult to understand.

When you do understand it, though, the world looks different. It feels different.

And what you achieve and accomplish in it is different.

You can only get that understanding by studying The Master Key System.

Do it.

The Exercise

33. For your exercise this week concentrate as nearly as possible in accordance with the method outlined in this lesson. Let there be no conscious effort or activity associated with your purpose. Relax completely and avoid any thought of anxiety as to results. Remember that power comes through repose. Let the thought dwell upon your object until it is completely identified with it, until you are conscious of nothing else.

34. If you wish to eliminate fear, then concentrate on courage.

35. If you wish to eliminate lack, then concentrate on abundance.

36. If you wish to eliminate disease, then concentrate on health.

37. Always concentrate on the ideal as an already existing fact. This is the Elohim, the germ cell, the life principle which goes forth and enters in and becomes, sets in motion those causes which guide, direct, and bring about the necessary relation, which eventually manifest in form.

There is not much to add to this. If you have any questions, please email me. I will answer your questions as best I can.

Until next week when we explore Week Eighteen, I wish you and yours the best of everything.

Also, I wish you Happy Holidays!

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