This has been an emotional week for me. I haven’t yet figured out why. But the things we’ve been learning have affected me profoundly over the past few days. This quote affected me most of all:
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.
I’ve come to the conclusion that in my case it’s been a little of both.
This week’s reading focuses quite a bit on the idea of exchanging old ways for new ones. The New Year has a lot of people trying to exchange old ways of doing things for new, mostly through the use of resolutions. I’ve never found resolutions to be very useful, mainly because you’re working on changing the outside (the effect) rather than the inside (the cause). The problem seems to be that people try to get new things without letting go of the old way of thinking, but:
We cannot obtain what we lack if we tenaciously cling to what we have.
Sounds a bit like the mental version of Hoarders: people bursting with limiting and negative thoughts, unwilling to let go of them so they have room for the good things that they claim they want so desperately. But:
All conditions and experiences that come to us do so for our benefit. Difficulties and obstacles will continue to come until we absorb their wisdom and gather from them the essentials of further growth.
That we reap what we sow is mathematically exact. We gain permanent strength exactly to the extent of the effort required to overcome difficulties.
This was a bit daunting at first, but at the same time makes a lot of sense.
Haanel then goes on to talk about thought, how emotion brings life to thought and enables it to manifest into form, first by creating words (reproducing the thought to others “in the form of sound”) then eventually with action:
… whatever the action, it is simply the thought attempting to express itself in visible form. It is evident, therefore, that if we wish desirable conditions, we can afford to entertain only desirable thoughts.
This leads to the inevitable conclusion that if we wish to express abundance in our lives, we can afford to think abundance only, and as words are only thoughts taking form, we must be especially careful to use nothing but constructive and harmonious language, which when finally crystallized into objective forms, will prove to our advantage.
He goes on to talk more about words and the value of crafting your words exactly, which leads, of course, back to our old friend the Mental Diet, which helps us to craft our thoughts more exactly. He says something which I found interesting, and at first, baffling:
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.
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.
These are self-evident facts, but the all-important truth that a thought containing principle is vital and therefore contains life and consequently takes root, and eventually but surely and certainly displaces the negative thoughts, which by their very nature can contain no vitality, is one which seems to have been over looked.
This section puzzled me for quite some time, especially the last bit. It seemed to me that the whole course so far had been making the case that negative thoughts were quite vital, seeing as we put a great deal of emotion into them.
But then it dawned on me that what he’s talking about is growth and decay, energy and entropy. The “principle” he is talking about is another way to say that math works one way, but there are a zillion ways to make a math mistake. Health looks a certain way, where disease has all sorts of manifestations. You tell the truth one way, but you could be dishonest any number of ways, and so on. Something in the “Q & A” section really helped me with this:
We do not have to laboriously shovel the darkness out; all that is necessary is to turn on the light.
In other words, things with “principle”, as he puts it, lead to growth, energy, constructive action. Things without lead to decay, entropy, destruction.
This week, we have been thinking about insight, and beginning to apply the things we have learned to the problems that lie before us, which I find really exciting. 🙂