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Randy's Master Key Journey

Week 24 – Imperceptible Progress

I breakfast with my 18 month old grandson today.  It seems like only yesterday he was much smaller.  For that matter, it seems like only yesterday his father was sitting in a high chair smiling ear-to-ear eating bacon (all right, who doesn’t smile when they eat bacon?).  As they grow older it seems impossible to see the progress as they change.  He went from not being able to hold his head up to running around, making faces and laughing.  His father before him went from a small boy who liked to wrestle on the floor to being a high-speed military operator He doesn’t speak yet, but I know that will begin without anyone noticing and we will all be bombarded with the typical question all young children ask-why?  Why? Why? Why? Jack1

This week we were asked to take the self-assessment test for the second time.  This time I had a much better score in the fact I am on my way to achieving my desires and goals.  How did that happen?  I don’t recall having any movement in my thinking.  I don’t remember any amazing “Ah Ha” moments that changed my perspective.  What happened?

For me the greatest change has been physical.  One of goals was to get into shape.  Not an easy task for one in their mid-50s.  The challenge, although manifests itself on the outside, was really in my mind.  For most of my life I have been a bit thick, but have always wanted to lean out and lose weight.  I have had good intentions and have started more diets and fitness programs than I can count.  Once I began, it wasn’t long before I had an excuse to quit.  “I’m sore, I’m tired, I don’t have time, this isn’t working, I quit.”  Sound familiar?  Somehow through the progress that was unseen, my mind has changed.   Every day I go to the garage and push the weights.  My friend calls it, “Paying the rent”.  It’s a hard program and I am finishing my 7th week.  Today, I noticed that didn’t feel like working out and started to think of some excuse to validate my decision.  Without thinking about it, I got my supplements on-board and was paying the rent before I knew what was happening.  I said all of this to say that the imperceptible progress has happened through this course without me even knowing it.  How about that?

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Week 23 – Thoughts and Feelings

As I was reading the Scroll VI, I noticed the phrase, “Weak is he who permits his thoughts to control his actions…” I must admit that I was confused.  Isn’t this contrary to the Master Keys?  We were taught from the beginning that everything starts with a thought, powered with emotions that lead to actions.  It was then that I recalled a story an old friend told me.  He was pretty old when I was just a teen.  He had been married for decades and somehow we got onto the subject of how he could stay in love for so long.  I was old enough to understand that when I got a new pet or a new toy, eventually the newness would wear off and it would not seem so desirable any longer. Having never been married, it seemed that the novelty of marriage would also wear off soon as well.  The old man, John, simply explained that he did not follow his feelings because they were unreliable.  He showed me his secret calendar where he would write down his plan of action to maintain his marriage.  Buy flowers one day, write a note another day and take her to dinner on yet another.  Although there were times when he didn’t feel like doing those things, he did them anyway.  After he did each of those kind and loving actions for his wife, often those feelings of love for her quickly followed.

I think that is what Mandino is talking about in this scroll.  The weak man follows his feelings and emotions and allows his actions to wane.  It is my friends plan, but in reverse.  When I don’t have those feelings of love, I don’t act on them.  And, of course, when I don’t act on them nothing wonderful happens and my feelings of love diminish even further until they no longer exist.  I imagine that is where most people would say they fell out of love.  Then comes heartache, misery and divorce.  Those people who follow their feelings are what the Bible calls “double-minded”.

James 1:8 New International Version (NIV)

Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

When we allow our feelings and emotions to dictate our actions, our life can become unstable in all aspects.  I think I would rather master the thoughts and feelings and guide them where I want to go.  When John died, his wife found love notes and small gifts he had planted in their home before he left.  His actions carried his love and affection to her even after he died.

Week 22 – Thinking Big Thoughts

In the Master Keys this week it gives the “secret of success, one of the methods for organizing victory, one of the accomplishments of the Master-Mind.  He thinks big thoughts”.  I took a long look at this one and saw how it would work in my thoughts and dreams.  You see, one of my PPNs  is True Health.  Health and fitness has been a struggle for my entire life.  If there has ever been a diet devised in the heart of man, I have tried it.  I have been on the Atkins Diet, the Paleo, Weight Watchers, HCG and have taken almost every kind of diet aid on the market.  Still, I have carried an extra 50 lbs with me most of those years.  Now Haanel writes that the power to change that fact is within me.  He suggests that the problem is not my thought or dreams, but that they are not big enough.  As I travel down the road on my Master Mind journey, I find that the methods are working in a remarkable, unpredictable way.  So why not.  Let’s take this journey one step further.

Here it goes.  Like many of you I am in a network marketing company and mine just happens to be in health and wellness.  Mine has a transformation challenge where they invite people to take photos of their before and after, then compete for prizes as to who had the most dynamic change.  The top prize is $25,000, but the company offers $200 just for completing the challenge.  Honestly, I have always signed up for the challenges just to get the $200 in product when I was done.  That has worked, but without motivation I have not seen much success.  I still carry the extra 50 lbs.  The Master Keys has given me courage to dream bigger and to think bigger.  If I align my thoughts to the Universal Thoughts, I can do amazing things.  I’m in a new challenge for 16 weeks.  I have invested in home equipment, supplements and programs, but this time I’m bringing my big thoughts.  I no longer just want to finish the challenge, I want, no, I am the Grand Champion.  I just finished my third week of daily gut-wrenching workouts.  I am sore most days and sometimes I think I’m going to die!  Each workout when I reach that moment when I usually quit, I look to the symbol (the red circle) and it renews me.  I find that I don’t want to quit-I can’t quit.  My mind no longer allows the thought to quit.

I am well on my way to the Champions Circle.  I will win.  I am the Grand Champion.   When I win, it will mark the beginning of a larger more amazing challenge.  The size of that dream is only limited by my imagination.

Week 21 – The Difference Between a Rut and a Grave

This week in the Master Keys it reads, “To become inspired means to get out of the beaten path, out of the rut, because extraordinary results require extraordinary means.”  It’s been said that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.  I have always liked this saying and it always reminds me when I don’t do the things I should do.  I have been in a rut about maintaining my health.  One of my PPNs is True Health.  When I began this course I had a red circle that proudly displayed my goal of reaching a healthy body weight.  I set it up that I would reach that goal by February 1, 2017.  I didn’t make my goal.   Why? I’m in a rut.  Obviously, I’m not in a muddy hole, but sometimes it can feel that way.  I spent some of my time sitting and thinking about why being healthy is so hard.  Why is it that for most of my life, my weight has been an issue in the back of my head?  I was in a rut.  If I had to bet on it, I’d bet I’m not alone in my muddy hole.

So, I began again.  First, I needed to set the date in my red circle out a few months.  I was tempted to set it out a few years (you know, not to put too much pressure on myself), but chose to put it out until the first of July-this year.  That was not so monumental because I had done that before.  How was now different?  The Master Keys tell me that if I think about it and concentrate, the universe will show me the way.  Well, let’s just give that a try.  I again spent some of my time thinking about how I wanted to look and just how would I get there?  Then Mark said, “What would the person I intend to become do next?” Hmmmm.   Who exactly is the person I intend to become when it comes to fitness?  That perplexed me and even more so when I realized I had no idea what I would look or feel like as a healthy, fit person.  I began to capture that person in my minds eye.  I set up a workout program and purchased the equipment for my home when I could not get to the gym and would try to use that as an excuse.  I am finding that the sides of the rut are wet and slippery, but if I don’t escape, it becomes my grave.  A grave I am digging with a fork.  If you are like me, the changes along the road in this journey are very subtle.  They don’t seem to be making a difference until suddenly there is the slightest change.  Is there sunlight outside of the rut?  I believe so.  I have not made a huge amount of progress as of yet, but changes are afoot.  I have an idea in my mind of who I want to be.  I see the future me as a fit, healthy man.  I no longer see the equipment as a nemesis that I try to avoid, but a friendly helping hand toward the person I am becoming.  A shovel to escape the rut before it becomes a grave.  Time working out is like spending time with the future me.  I’m starting to like him and miss him when we don’t spend time together.  This is a new, strange and wonderful feeling.  Thought when attached to a feeling…

Wish me luck-or happy shoveling.

Week 20 – Black Belt Level

Many years ago I was very much into martial arts.  I took lessons at the YMCA downtown.  I do mean DOWNTOWN.  I was raised in a very conservative, small town and had to drive for a short while to get to the city.  I would park in a vacant parking lot and walk the two blocks to the YMCA completely oblivious of the dangers that lurked in the streets.  I was so unaccustomed to the dangers that I would casually walk back to my car in the dark without a care in the world.  Why should I worry, I was taking karate lessons!  It never dawned on me why the black belt instructors were all putting straight razors in their shoes prior to leaving.  I think you get the point, but I digress.  I always went to those lessons with the primary objective of attaining my black belt.  For me that was the pinnacle of training and then I could sit back on my laurels and bask in the glow of being truly dangerous.  When I get there I will have accomplished my ultimate goal and could move on to other journeys.  Our wise instructor once sat us down and explained that once we earned our black belt, that was the beginning of our education.  That only meant that we had learned the basics and that real learning would then commence.  What a devastating blow.  Instead of being the end, the summit of the mountain, it was only the beginning.  I felt defeated and, honestly, just quit.  The idea of dedicating my entire life to this pursuit was far more than my small mind could conceive.  I sometimes look back and wonder where I would be had I just put my head down and did the work.  That is the life not lived.

As I go through the Master Mind, I sometimes get discouraged because changes are not happening as fast as I thought they would.  Oh, changes are happening and they are happening in places I could not have foreseen.  Then I heard Mark say that this is only the beginning.  There was that word again, Beginning.  These few weeks are just to get the basics down and then set the stage for the rest of our lives.  You mean to tell me that the few months I spent here is not good forever?  It was karate lessons all over again.  Mark and Davine have mentioned several times that they have been doing the exercises for decades.  Decades?

This time will be different.  Instead of working for a goal out in front of me, a black belt I could use to impress my friends, I am working to build the greatest thing in my life, me.  I can now see the possibilities and a future I previous would not dare to dream of.  I have the ability to choose my destiny and push towards it, even if it takes the rest of my life.  In that sense the MKMMA is much like getting a black belt in life.  Just like in martial arts or any other great endeavor, it discipline must be tended to each day.  Once the basics are understood I have to implement and employ them every day.  I probably won’t get a black belt from MKMMA, but then again, I won’t have to put a straight razor in my shoe.

Week 19 -Getting hit in the face

Mike Tyson famously said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”  He went on to explain his famous quote, “If you’re good and your plan is working, somewhere during the duration of that, the outcome of that event you’re involved in, you’re going to get the wrath, the bad end of the stick. Let’s see how you deal with it. Normally people don’t deal with it that well.”  This week I feel like I got hit in the face.  I would love to tell you that I am gliding through this course like an eagle on a warm, summer day, but that would be a lie.  I’m sure many of you have felt it too.

Like Tyson’s statement, it all has to do with how you deal with it.  I have to overcome the double shifts and the mental exhaustion and just keep pushing on.  The resistance continues in the back of my mind, reminding me of how easy it would be to just quit.  But, like most of you, I have seen too much and come too far to stop now.  I’m here writing to you, whoever you are, and just reminding you that no matter how tall the mountain is you are climbing, there will always be the temptation to look down.  Sometimes, on that mountainside you’ll need to take a moment and catch your breath.  Do that.  Then, look up toward the summit and continue to climb.  I’ll see you at the top.

Week 18 -The Power of Rational Thought

This week while reviewing week 10 in the Master Keys I read, “…the man who understands that there is no effect without an adequate cause thinks impersonally.  He gets down to bedrock facts regardless of the consequences.  He is free to follow the trail of truth wherever it may lead.  He sees the issue clear to the end, and he meets the requirements fully and fairly, and the result is that the world gives him all that it has to give, in friendship, honor, love and approval.”

I really like that phrase.  Each day I see people who are led by their emotions.  They are unclear who they are and where they are going.  In the Bible in the book of James, he talks about believing and not doubting.  He goes on to say that the one who doubts, “is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

I think that doubt is fear in disguise.  When we look at our future, the road we are traveling or the challenges in our way and fear rises; we begin to doubt.  I like the Master Keys and the ability to think impersonally.  How wonderful it would be to live in a world where everyone was not offended by everything!  Many in our society are so offended because they take things so very personally.  Our current generation cannot have a discussion, God forbid, a debate, without taking it as a personal attack on them as a person and thus being offended.  Culture has even drawn up a name for those people-Snowflake.  snowflake-4

Unfortunately, those people never grow or see any vestige of truth in their lives.  How sad for them.  BUT, to those who have put their feelings aside, think impersonally and are willing to follow the trail of truth to the bitter end and there confront what they fear most-they win.  The world opens its vast coffers and pours out its riches upon those brave souls.  The are able to see the world with a clarity that few will ever know.  And as the text reads that the world gives “all it has to give in friendship, honor, love and approval.”  Isn’t that what we all really want?

Week 17-Moving Mountains

This week has been difficult, just like that last few.  It seems at times  they get a bit harder each week.  The things that get in the way seem larger each week, almost like mountains.  This week has been about discipline and a couple of weeks ago it was about persistence.  It seems like the harder I push towards discipline, the more I fail at persistence.  Can I do both at the same time?  Can I move mountains?

Meet Dashrath Manjhi.  He was a poor man in India that worked farming another man’s field.  Each day as he worked, his wife would make the trek around the mountain to bring him food and water.  One day in 1960, his wife was making the trek to bring him supplies when she slipped and fell down the mountain.  She was severely injured, but the only way to get her to medical help was around the mountain – 70 kilometers.  The laborer from Gehlour Hills in Bihar, India wanted his people to have easier access to doctors, schools, and opportunity. Armed with only a sledge hammer, chisel, and crowbar, he single-handedly began carving a road through the 300-foot mountain that isolated his village from the nearest town.        tools

I can imagine that there were those who did not believe and would criticize his desire to improve their lives.  He would start early in the morning, chip the mountain for a few hours, then work on the fields, and come back to work on the mountain again. He would hardly sleep. The villagers gradually began to respect him, and started donating food to his family. He eventually quit his wage job, and started spending as much time as he could, breaking the mountain.  When his wife fell ill, he was not able to make the 75 kilometer journey and she died.  The loss made him more determined than ever to complete the road through the mountain.  After 10 years the villagers were able to see a cleft forming and some of them began to help Dashrath. cleft

After 22 years, Dashrath Das Manjhi, the common man, the landless laborer, had broken the mountain: he had carved out a road 360 feet long, 30 feet wide. Wazirganj, with its doctors, jobs, and school, was now only 5 kilometers away. People from 60 villages in Atri could use his road.road

I find Dashrath’s story supremely encouraging.  With the constant din of the doubters, naysayers and those who were eager to see him fail, what made him go on?  A lot has been said about love throughout the course and I understand that love brings sacrifice.  We sacrifice for our children, for our wives and for our futures.  Dashrath sacrificed for his wife and for those who lived on his side of the mountain so that they would never have to live through a tragedy like his.  At the end of the day, those “mountains” that are in my way are not so large and formidable.  I want to remember Dashrath who took down a mountain using only a hammer and chisel.  I want to push on using the discipline and the persistence that this man possessed.   Down the road of my life I will see the cleft in the old life and new inroads to the future in my dreams.

Week 16 – Drifting

There have been many movies about street racing and the ability to drive a car around corners at high speed.  This technique requires the driver to use the vehicle acceleration to keep it from spinning out.  For the novice, when we drive around a corner and find we are going too fast, we simply apply the brake.  The problem with this is that the weight of the vehicle is shifted to the front of the vehicle and lowering the amount of traction the rear tires.  A professional uses the acceleration to maintain the weight on the rear tires and holding traction.  As they go around the turn and they begin to lose traction, instead of panicking and hitting the brakes, they hit the accelerator.  This technique is called drifting.

This week I have done a different type of drifting.  I’m sorry to say that this week I dropped the ball.  As the weeks go by, life has a way of getting in the way.  Some days after working 12-16 hrs, I just don’t do the things I need to do.  I begin to drift from my desires and goals.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that when I begin to drift, I need to drift.  Let me explain.  When driving on an unsteady platform, like sand or ice, we often begin to drift off of our chosen path.  Fear often kicks in and we slam on the brakes.  This shifts the weight of the vehicle to the front and we spin out.  Drifting from our goals is just like drifting from our vehicle’s path. This week I panicked and hit the brakes.  I spun out and came to a full stop.  And just like when we drive, when we drift from our goals we don’t hit the brakes, we punch the accelerator!  This week I’m getting back into the car and I’m going to punch it.

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