𝐌𝐒𝐭𝐜𝐑 𝐇𝐨𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐒𝐭𝐳 Profile picture
"Treats esoteric ideas and movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness"β€”@WashingtonPost | PEN Award-winning historian | censored in China
8 Dec 20
Friends good morning and welcomeβ€”I can hardly believe I am writing these wordsβ€”to Day 30 of the #30daymentalchallenge. It’s not overβ€”we have a full day ahead of us and you can join anytime with link in bio. What is happiness? It’s impossible to be happy without physical... 1/7
2/7 and material security, so that is an unarguable baseline. Beyond that, I venture that happiness is expressed selfhood. We seek the establishment of self in our work, art, relationships, households. The manner in which that selfhood is exercised or frustrated determines,...
3/7 more than any situational factor, someone’s happiness. β€œThe mind is its own place,” says Milton’s Dread Emperor, β€œand can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven.” I agree with that. That statement resounds throughout our New Thought literature, a literature...
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7 Dec 20
Dear Friends, Welcome to Day 29 of the #30DayMentalChallenge. As always, join any time with the article/pledge linked in bio. I woke up this morning not knowing what to postβ€”I will never feed you generalities or invent some β€œinsight” or homily suit to the hour... 1/8
2/8 But it did occur to me: aiming for greatness is no larger or smaller than aiming for ordinariness. Today I want you to aspire within, and by followup without, to utter excellence. Why couldn’t this be the greatest day of your life as measured by reversal of a depleting...
3/8 pattern, overcoming of a chronic self-limitation, usurpation of a weakness, or arrival of that one β€œyes” that is needed (I always say: it takes only one yes)? There is no ethical or practical reason why not. Just as life visits catastrophes on usβ€”often cultivated...
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6 Dec 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 28 of the #30daymentalchallenge. As always, join any time with link in bio. Today is a true return to basics. I was inspired by something posted yesterday by challenger @KaraDemetropou1 (used with permission): β€œDay 1... 1/8
2/8 of the #30daymentalchallenge was a success! Mainly just made me aware of how shockingly often my mind defaults to seeing the negative sides of life… It's been so much more powerful than I could have imagined. I'm struck by the fact that, prior to the last few days, I let...
3/8 all these negative thoughts just run rampant, unopposed in my mind. It's challenging, to be sure, but viewing it as mental calisthenics is helping…Anxiety and general feelings of being overwhelmed is one of my main mental hurdles. But now I notice when I'm in an anxious...
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5 Dec 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 27 of the #30DayMentalChallenge. As always, join any time with link in bio. I’ve written before that knowing what you want is more difficult than it may first appear. Peer culture often takes from us the capacity to self-disclose... 1/7
2/7 our wishes. We internalize values and decisions that belong to others. I have watched other people (and myself) get torn in two by divided fealtiesβ€”or rather divisions between what they say they want and what they really want. For example: do you want people to relate to...
3/7 you in a certain way? Whatever that means to you, it may be entirely valid; it may not be a psychological construct but a legitimate wish. I think we throw away or deny our desires too easily. I have a family member who harmed himself through division and a lack of...
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4 Dec 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 26 of the #30daymentalchallenge. As always, join any time with article/pledge in bio. Today’s theme is cycles. Goethe observed that days tend to go in cycles and I have observed this as true. Life is rhythmical. He also observed,... 1/5
2/5 as Emerson noted, that what you wish for when you’re very young comes upon you in waves when you’re oldβ€”so be careful. Is that also true? I ask you today to peer into your earliest conscious memories, from ages three or four, and make that consideration. I thinkβ€”barring...
3/5 extreme countervailing eventsβ€”there is greater symmetry to life than we allow. We sometimes fight this symmetry, which can leave us feeling painfully divided. There is relief, too, within this symmetry. Life visits seasonal changes upon us. It sometimes exacts prices in...
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3 Dec 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 25 of the #30DayMentalChallenge. Join any time with pledge/article linked in bio. Life deals us a difficult but transcendent truth, which is that your greatness lies in a single direction. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that the formula... 1/5 Image
2/5 for power is β€œconcentration” and β€œdrilling”—that is, focus on a single point and continual practice or effort in that direction. This is seen in nature: dispersal brings weakness and concentration brings forceβ€”it is the difference between water mist and a waterfall...
3/5 Well-roundedness is overrated. The difficulty is that life requires multiple tasks of us. We are workers, artists, caregivers, parents, etc. What to do? My gambitβ€”and ours todayβ€”is that one well-selected aim, passion, or destiny (you have one) can cover many different...
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2 Dec 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 24 of the #30daymentalchallenge. Join any time with pledge linked in bio. I was recently rewatching The Wizard of Oz (and the amazingly underrated Return to Oz) and smiled at a reference to getting β€œin tune with the infinite”...1/8
2/8 That’s the title of a hugely popular 1897 New Thought book that I am reintroducing. I love New Thought because I believe in its basic premise of mind causation. I have deep differences, however, with how most New Thought literature has approached suffering, hate, and...
3/8 anger. There is, I believe, too much namby-pamby denialism in traditional New Thought. In the same way that certain eastern philosophies, or their adaptations in the west, can tear seekers in two with injunctions to β€œnon-attachment,” so can America’s homegrown metaphysics...
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1 Dec 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 23 of the #30DayMentalChallenge. As always, join us anytime with link/pledge in bio. Is mind the ultimate reality? That is perhaps modernism’s most tantalizing question. The theme of modernist philosophy is the primacy of hidden...1/7
2/7 antecedents (e.g., trauma, class, evolution). Ninety years of data from quantum theoryβ€”and rejected but no less evidentiary data from academic ESP researchβ€”have placed us before the question of mind as determinant. Quantum theory requires acknowledgement that perspective...
3/7 and decision (in this case decision to take a measurement) determine when or whether a subatomic particle will localize in a given place. Before a sentient observer makes a decision to take a measurement the particle is β€œthere” only in potential. It occupies a place of...
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30 Nov 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 21 of the #30daymentalchallenge. As always, join anytime with link in bio. Today’s theme is verification. This takes two forms for me right now; maybe multiple forms for you. The first involves my commitment to this exercise...1/5 Image
2/5 For the next 24 hours I will be working very hard with you to dedicate myself to our efforts. Let us all do this together. We benefit from hidden tendrils of cooperation. The second act of verification involves my revisitation of a conviction that breaks with most...
3/5 spiritual practice: I do not believe in or think in terms of β€œinner” or β€œouter” worlds or aspects of self. I believe that concept is a formula for frustration, especially as it is acted upon in our contemporary spiritual culture. Life is a whole. Demands are a whole...
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29 Nov 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 21 of the #30daymentalchallenge. As always, join anytime with link in bio. Today begins our final 10 days. Some of you have written me asking how to stay β€œon” the program. The truth is: if you’re not falling off you’re not... 1/8
2/8 really doing it. Our minds and emotionsβ€”the amalgam of which I call our psycheβ€”are enormously conditioned toward fear, hostility, and anger. These things are not *always* negative. Fear or even anger in the face of legitimate danger can be preserving. But as in the case...
3/8 of PTSD these reactions become hyper-conditioned, habitual, self-justified, and automatic. Hence such reactions form the very danger that they seek to ameliorate. This is the psychological mechanism at the back of the Oedipus drama. Overcompensating for perceived flaws or...
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28 Nov 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 20 of the #30daymentalchallenge. Join us anytime with article/pledge in bio. Today’s theme is: Use all solutions. Too often we get hemmed into thinking not only in terms of our mind’s eye image but also in terms of what options are...1/7 Image
2/7 available to β€œspiritual” people. Often this is nothing but internalized peer pressure, unverified ideas that are hallowed by repetition, and decisions made by others. The margin notes in our books are filled with such assumptions. Become aware ofβ€”and testβ€”what truly works...
3/7 for you. Often solutions arrive in a complex of waysβ€”just as problems have a complex of causes. Hence if you suffer from anxiety, as I do, you may find a solution in an Rx, meditation, situational changes, talk therapy, prayer, chanting, in any and all varieties. If you...
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27 Nov 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 19 of the #30DayMentalChallenge. As always, join anytime with article/pledge in bio. Today’s topic is the old-fashioned but under-appreciated theme of affirmations. French mind theorist Emile CouΓ© made mantras or affirmations famous...1/7
2/7 in the 1920s with his keynote: β€œDay by day in every way I am getting better and better.” Ever since seekers have debated how or whether affirmations work. I believe they do workβ€”affirmations recondition the psyche in subtle ways. I have written elsewhere about the...
3/7 importance of using a mantra or affirmation during hynagogia, an exquisitely relaxed and suggestive state experienced just before drifting to sleep and again upon waking. CouΓ© had an early instinct for this, later validated by sleep researchers. Scholarly psychical...
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26 Nov 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 18 of the #30DayMentalChallenge. Join any time with link in bio. For those of you in the U.S. who observe Thanksgiving today may be different from previous years due to COVID but similarities and not differences are our chief concern...1/6
2/6 If you are following this challenge you likely feel unsettled with norms. For this reason holidays can seem perpetually unsettling. Holidays and family gatherings are often unsettling for sensitive people. You feel misunderstood by relatives and family members...
3/6 That’s because you are misunderstood. Who knows us less than our birth families? Who knows us less than aunts and uncles and so on who want us to be like them? To vote like them. To think like them. If you’re around such people today my message is: you are free...
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25 Nov 20
"We're speaking across a divide when we talk about the parapsychological community and the professional skeptic or pseudo-skeptic community that is all but impossible to bridge…The position of the parapsychological community,...1/11
2/11 "which is the position that I share, is that it's entirely possible to study questions of extra-physical mentality in a clinical setting. And this research is not only compelling but, in fact, has proved repeatable. Results have been demonstrated that stand up under very...
3/11 "strictly juried conditions and this research is extremely inexpensive compared to the money that gets spent on a wide range of psychological, pharmacological, social-science related experiments…So, there's no risk to the perpetuation of the scientific method...
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25 Nov 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 17 of the #30daymentalchallenge. As always join any time with link in bio. Today’s focus is based on β€œHabit 13” from The Miracle Habits. Few things are more depleting of your happiness and sense of self than internalized conformity...1/6
2/6 I do not exactly mean outer peer pressure, which I’ll address tomorrow, but rather the limitations that we internalize as a matter of rote and thus limit our senses, large and small, of solutions, possibilities, and avenues of expression. I do not suggest a...
3/6 go-it-alone approach to life. We are all connected and relationships are at the basis of everything. But you will naturally attract more of the people with whom you want to be connected when you stop acting β€œlike them” and ask yourself: what do I truly want? In that vein,...
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24 Nov 20
Friends, good morning and welcome to Day 16 of the #30DayMentalChallenge. Join any time with link in bio. How do you conceptualize yourself? While it is true that we all have our natural aptitudes, affinities, and areas of relative strength/weakness, the narrative that...1/4
2/4 we self-condition around these things plays a seismic role not only in self perception but in determining the very nature of experience. William James made the observation that act precedes and determines mood, not vice versa. In every possible instance, assume the gait
3/4 of construction, frame yourself in the strongest possible terms, and that act itselfβ€”even if beginning as an inner movementβ€”will impact self-perception over time. And sometimes in remarkable ways even in a moment. This is our experiment for today...
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22 Nov 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 14 of the #30daymentalchallenge. As always, join us any time with link in bio. Do you know what would make you happy? I ask because your life may hinge on that question, which belongs to you alone. It seems so simple. But only in...1/8
2/8 appearance. We are conditioned to use words and markers in place of experience. Today choose hard-won experience over concept. Trust your experience. When I was 12-years-old and riddled with anxieties (for which I was hospitalized) I thought to myself: β€œIf I could just go...
3/8 to bed and wake up feeling contented I’d be happy.” (A spiritual teacher I later admired said the same thing.) I no longer feel that way. Much later in life I was flying home from a vacation (save us from vacations) and felt burdened, anxious, and depressed. I got a...
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21 Nov 20
Friends good morning and welcome to Day 13 of the #30daymentalchallenge. As always, join anytime and find link in bio. Yesterday was a tough day for meβ€”you?β€”and today I am back on. Friction is part of lifeβ€”it’s the only part of life that fosters creation. Without an unmet...1/4
2/4 need we would remain inert. That is why I feel the snake in the garden emancipated rather than misled. In his magisterial book Meetings with Remarkable Men, spiritual teacher G.I. Gurdjieff includes an addendum, β€œThe Material Question.” He tells the story of how he...
3/4 and a group of students fled the Russian Revolution and found themselves desperately without money in Constantinople. They tried and tried to procure resources but their efforts failed. Just at the moment when everything seemed about to collapse a forgotten resource...
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20 Nov 20
Friends, good morning and welcome to Day 12 of the #30daymentalchallenge. As always, join any time with link in bio. Many of you have written to me with really moving storiesβ€”we’re doing this seeker to seeker and it’s important to exchangeβ€”and also with grueling challenges...1/7
2/7 I often say that we experience many laws and forces, including those of physical limitation. This is why I eschew the term β€œlaw of attraction.” I don’t like the implication that we live under one mental super law. While consciousness may be (and I believe is) the ultimate...
3/7 arbiter of reality we do not, the vast majority of the time, dwell in that sphere. Kick a rock and you will feel massβ€”and pain. That is as much a law in its effects as any other. Yet we also dwell within the extraordinary. The mind is the medium for experience that exceeds...
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19 Nov 20
Dear friends, good morning and welcome to Day 11 of the #30daymentalchallenge. Join any timeβ€”with link in bio. What is β€œpositive thinking?” I eschew terms like β€œmanifest”’and β€œLaw of Attraction.” (I write instead about β€œselection” and the existence of numerous laws... 1/5
2/5 and forces.) But I hang onto this β€œgolden oldie” of positive thinking. I like its historicism, I like its plainnessβ€”and something more. To me, positive thinking means deliberative thinking. It means constructive, directed, and determined thought. It does not mean rosy...
3/5 or myopic thought. It does not necessarily mean loving of neighbor or enemy, or denying of opposition or evil. (In terms of the psyche, I define evil as spite, a trait I despise). It does not deny concepts like victoryβ€”when pursued with ethics and reciprocity...
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18 Nov 20
Friends, good morning and welcome to Day 10 of the #30daymentalchallenge. As always, you can join anytime and find the link in bio. Today may be our most important day together. Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that we often look back on the difficulties of the past... 1/5 Image
2/5 with a kind of serenityβ€”relived that certain challenges are safely tucked into prior years and that we successfully emerged from them, perhaps with benefit and refinement. This act may be more than just memory: it may be creation. The philosophy of Neville Goddard...
3/5 was described to me this week as β€œremembering from the future” (thank you @duncantrussell). This framing captures one of Neville’s key methods, which is to β€œremember when” you occupied a lesser or more difficult state and to feel in the present the satisfaction of having...
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