I love this time of year because most people are in the habit of taking a few minutes to look back at the previous twelve months and “see how they did.” This is a pretty healthy habit because it means that we are more than passively interested in how we are conducting our lives; we believe that we might actually have some say over how events turn out for us and the results we get. It is a hopeful time of year.
Funny thing is, not too long after we take this assessment, the old “not my fault” thought starts creeping into our consciousness and by the time we are sharpening our pencils (or fingernails for iPad users) to write out our New Year’s Resolutions, we have mentally alleviated ourselves of responsibility for the “bad” things that “happened” to us…after all, it was the other person’s fault I rear-ended them on the way to work!
Does not seem right that for someone (pick anyone) who has a hard time getting to work, losing 5 pounds, picking the winner in Vegas..can manipulate the Universe and make good things happen but then during the times we give up that omnipotent power, some other force makes the bad things happen. I mean, we would never do that to ourselves, right? Or would we?
Week Eleven of the Master Key was far and away the most difficult chapter for me to take in. It seemed as if every sentence weighed 10 pounds and I had to reread each and every one of them several times to “get” the point. If you are like me, and have at times wondered why “good things happen to bad people” and “bad things happen to good people”, you may find the following passage, located in the chapter introduction, helpful and hopeful:
“We frequently hear it said, ‘A very distressing situation came into my life, which could not have been the result of my thought, as I certainly never entertained any thought which could have such a result.’ We fail to remember that like attracts like in the mental world, and that the thought which we entertain brings to us certain friendships, companionships of a particular kind, and these in turn bring about conditions and environment, which in turn are responsible for the conditions of which we complain.”
One day in July I went to have coffee with my buddy Phil, to do a little networking and show him my income program. I knew he was already a non-believer in my business model, but he said he wanted to help me, perhaps by giving me a few referrals. He stays busy so we had to meet across town closer to him. I rushed to drop my son off at his grandparents, turn around and head in the opposite direction through Atlanta morning rush-hour traffic, in the sweltering summer heat..wearing my suit (you have to dress up around Phil). During the drive I am thinking of how I can position my program to his liking, and as I fumble with my GPS entering the Starbucks address, I miss my turn…
I finally arrive, running 10 minutes late; he is late too, so we are set. I lose my way around the mall parking lot, finally deciding to “park hear” and remember in front of what store I parked. We finally meet up at the Starbucks located in the center of the mall, sort of a kiosky-thing smack dab in the middle.
We have some nice conversation and I begin to share my program. First words out of his mouth had something to do with “fake, not genuine, and cheap.” He continued on but all I could do was hear his words repeating over and over in my head. I was pissed. I was mad. I was shaking inside.
So as I am getting back on track, he packs up his iPhone and says “walk with me, I have to get to my next appointment”, at a mall restaurant. As we briskly walk he throws out a few other insults, which in all honesty, I do not think he is even aware they are insults..and we shake hands as he walks into his other appointment. Here is where the point of all of this comes in:
As I walked back to my car, I got lost (as I often do…ask my wife, I am no “sea turtle). I got spun around, walked out of two different stores realizing as I stared into empty parking lots I was in the wrong place. I asked a retail manager for directions and she pointed “that way”, so off I went…into oblivion. I stopped at the rest room to splash water on my face. I took a wrong turn out of the rest room, walked for ten minutes and ended up…back at the restaurant where Phil was eating lunch…and I was sweating profusely. “I hope he does not see me out here” is all I could think..other than I wanted to kill him for causing me this much grief.
I got lucky and wound up at my car a few minutes later, thirty minutes after starting to leave. I called my wife and bitched to her. I called my dad and bitched to him (he introduced me to Phil). I bitched to myself that night. Had I been aware of the Master Key that day, Chapter Eleven in particular, I would have instantly recognized the following:
- I knew Phil’s feelings about my program and likely knew what the result of our meeting would be..pointless..but went anyway
- I got up late, left late, dropped my son off late…arrived late
- Agreed to meet in the most impossible part of town during rush-hour traffic
- Let his words and thoughts affect me in a negative way
- Did not focus on what entrance I parked in front of…thinking of what to say because I was late
- Wore a suit instead of loose-fitting summer clothes
- Chose the retail clerk to whom I asked directions
On and on, everything that “happened” to me really did not “happen” to me. I created each and every interaction, conversation, and result, based upon a previous action I took..and created more results. Was I happy with the results? Not really. After reading Chapter Eleven and learning that “our lives are governed by law-by actual, immutable principles that never vary”, I feel a whole lot better. Why?
By vigilantly screening every single thought, I create effects and results that attract similar ones, which in turn attract and create similar ones…I get to choose what happens to me and deep down know that directly AND indirectly, I am responsible for every single thing that happens in my life. Or that I can be in control of results that happen around me.
For a control freak like me, this is comforting. Back to the resolutions…