Week 17 – Positive Opposites

We learn in Week 17 to focus all our concentration on what we want by using Positive Opposites.

What do I mean by that? Simply if there is a defect or shortcoming in your life, Don't waste time by trying to overcome them. According to the Law of Growth, whatever we think about grows. We attract it to us. So if we think about the defect, we make it stronger. The solution is to become identified with the positive opposite, to concentrate so intently that you are conscious of nothing else. Haanel tells us in Lesson 17 that concentration does not involve mental effort. It is simply identification with the ideal.

Would you like an example? I'm glad you asked. Take as an example a defect such as overeating. If you have ever tried to go on a diet, you will appreciate that a diet actually causes you to think about food that is not allowed on the diet. So, instead of mustering up the "will power" for a diet, try focusing on the positive opposite of overeating.See yourself as an individual who eats wisely and in moderation. Identify with the good feelings of discarding unwanted pounds by choosing healthy foods. (Notice the "discarding unwanted pounds" instead of "losing weight". The latter has two problems: 1) Nobody likes to lose, and 2) it focuses on the weight.)

Haanel gave three examples in the reading

34. If you wish to eliminate fear, concentrate on courage.
35. If you wish to eliminate lack, concentrate on abundance.
36. If you wish to eliminate disease, concentrate on health.

My trait for this week is Pleasing Personality. I am to note every time I see a pleasing personality. That raises the obvious question:

What is a Pleasing Personality?

I suppose that means many things to many people. Have you ever tried to define a pleasing personality? I'm reminded of a story from my Criterion Referenced Instruction training. The owner of a bar wanted his bartenders to be trained to have a pleasing personality. After the analysis phase, that turned out to be two things:

  1. Smile at the Customers
  2. Don't spill the drinks

Taking that approach one step further, I came up with this list:

  1. Smile
  2. Speak in a normal voice (no whispers, no shouting)
  3. Speak without profanity
  4. Make eye contact when speaking
  5. Respect the other person's space
  6. Respect the other person's humanity

It seems that identifying the traits is a common requirement, as this excerpt from Eric Snider points out.

This week my virtue is Courage. It is much easier to spot Kindness in people than courage, or at least to me it is. Even in myself, I find it easier to present kindness on a daily basis over courage. Courage has many meaning to me. I suppose I am being courageous in even typing out this blog. I’ve never looked at it that way, but as I type I think to my self that this is indeed a form of courage. Courage to continue with my business. Courage to completely throw out what is of value to me until I completed unwanted and daunting tasks. Courage to continue with my journey into myself, only to benefit my future self. Courage to even get up in the morning and complete my day, whatever the day brings. In a way, that is courage.

How to Dwell on the Positive Opposite

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

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See you next week.

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