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The Message of a Master
A Classic Tale of Wealth, Wisdom, & the Secret of Success
By John McDonald
New World LibraryCopyright © 1993 New World Library
All rights reserved.
I am master of my own destiny, and I can make my life anything that I wish it to be.
It was Friday afternoon, and I had returned from a late lunch. The employees had left for the day and I was alone in the office. Business had been dropping off steadily for some time, and I was concerned. I had also put far too great a percentage of my limited cash reserves into a risky investment that had been a failure. All in all, things didn't look good; in fact, I was facing some of the most serious problems of my business career.
As I was sitting in deep thought trying to resolve some of my problems, the phone rang. I heard the familiar voice of an old friend, and it startled me. Less than a month earlier, he had left for Europe on the urgent advice of his physician. He had been told to take an ocean voyage, in the hope that a change would improve his health. He had been deeply worried over conditions that, strangely, were very similar to what I was currently experiencing. He became so depressed that he had a serious breakdown.
My last impression of him as we parted was particularly sad: He was miserable, beaten and defeated, and I wondered if I would ever see him again. But here he was back again, and some great change had taken place in him. He spoke with such striking power and feeling that I told him a miracle must have happened. He assured me I had guessed right.
"I know you're surprised I'm back so soon; you probably never expected to see me again! But I'm back, and I'm the luckiest man in the world. I learned something that I never knew existed. Nothing is impossible for me any more. I can do anything. I am master of my own destiny, and I can make my life anything that I wish it to be. Now don't think I'm crazy — wait until you hear my story."
I laughed, but it was a laugh of surprise and concern. I asked if he had discovered some new kind of religion.
"Oh no, it concerns no religion of any kind. But I met a man, a man who is truly a Master, a wonderful man who has developed his powers so that he can do anything. He taught me an invaluable secret.
"You know that I lost my health and my money. Well, I have regained my health, and I will have new wealth in no time."
I was anxious to hear his story, of course, and we arranged to meet at our club that evening.
"Meet me there tonight, and I will unfold a series of the most remarkable things that could happen to anyone," he said.
I sat for a few minutes like someone in a dream, completely absorbed in the possibilities of what I might be told. I had the feeling that I had suddenly grown too big for my office — that I had outgrown the little place and had to get outside and expand in the fresh air.
I was feverish with excitement. I felt there was something wonderful for me in his story, and I couldn't wait to hear it. I spent the rest of the day restlessly pacing the streets, and was greatly relieved when the hour to go to the club finally arrived.
When I entered the club, I was told that my friend had called some time before to say something had come up and he couldn't make it until the following evening. As I was leaving, I ran into three friends who had seen him. Each was excited by the great changes that had taken place in him. I left without saying much; I felt miserable and disappointed. I walked out into the night, and went home.
I spent most of the night in restless confusion, too agitated for sleep. The whole thing had probably been conjured up in his mind while he was in his weak physical condition. How completely ridiculous to allow myself to become taken in by such a fairy tale.
But somehow the fairy tale kept forcing itself upon me, and I consoled myself with the thought that I would learn much more about the whole matter the next day.CHAPTER 2
Extraordinary things like this occur frequently to most of us, but we disregard them, because of our lack of understanding, and think they are mere coincidences.
My friend arrived at the club the next evening in a new, highpriced car. We drove in luxury to a nearby restaurant and there, in a private dining room, undisturbed by the presence of others, we had the opportunity to talk.
Some miraculous change had definitely taken place in him. He glowed with health and vitality, and he was calm and poised in a way that inspired admiration and confidence. I felt perfectly at ease in his company, yet I also felt the force of some presence in him that I could neither understand nor describe.
I found it difficult to conceal the emotions I was feeling. I felt convinced he had something I sorely needed, and I had the strangest fear that something might occur that would keep me from getting it.
We were silent at first for a moment, and then he asked if he looked different than he did the day he had left. I had to admit that he was both a revelation and a mystery to me. He began telling his story.
"When I left here, I had made such a mess of my life that I seriously considered suicide, but I feared death too much. I feared life as well, and I couldn't rest. My only relief was to keep moving — I guess I was what you would call a hopeless case.
"In a theater in London, I met a man who is called a Master. I am deeply grateful for the privilege of calling him my friend.
"As I look back on that evening in London, I now realize that my total despair and my intense longing to find something to relieve me drew me and my friend together. I had purchased an inexpensive seat at the theater, but discovered that for some unexplainable reason I had received an expensive box seat instead. Extraordinary things like this occur frequently to most of us, but we disregard them, because of our lack of understanding, and think they are mere coincidences. But I know differently now.
"I could feel that he was aware of my uneasiness, and also that he was an unusual person, for he seemed to have a wonderful kind of radiance about him. I felt an instinctive urge to open my heart to him. Something told me that I had the good fortune of being in the presence of one of those great spiritual people I had read about years ago. Believe it or not, I felt almost immediately at ease just being in his presence.
"After the performance, he invited me to accompany him to a nearby café. I noticed that the attention of those in the café was drawn to him as we entered, and that the management was especially respectful and courteous toward him. I had the feeling this man possessed some sort of magical power, and I was determined to ask him every question I could think of and — with his permission — take notes of his answers.
"He told me he was taking a cruise ship to New York the next day; I asked if I might accompany him, and he agreed. At the end of our talk, he merely wrote his initials on the bill. As we stepped outside to call a taxi, I asked him if he came to that café often. He said it was his first visit to the place, but assured me that the bill would be paid, saying 'I only initialed it just to show you that with the right attitude you can control every situation.'
"I was puzzled by what he meant, and hoped it would all become clearer to me later.
"That night, as I was halfsleeping in bed, the events of the evening kept passing through my mind. At times I had difficulty believing that my good fortune was real rather than a dream. I was able to sleep peacefully that night, for the first time in months."CHAPTER 3
Believe me, you can have anything you want — and in abundance — when you learn to tune into the power within, an infinitely greater power than electricity, a power you have had from the beginning.
"I got up early the next morning, eager for what the day would bring, and immediately applied for a reservation on the cruise ship. They told me that the passenger list was full, but as I turned away to leave, almost heartbroken, they called to me and said that a reservation had just been cancelled and that I could have it. I felt sure this was more of my friend's 'magic,' as I called it at the time, and I was right, for he later admitted that he had made a place for me.
"At that time I didn't understand how the thing works. But I do now, and it is so simple that its simplicity causes it to be overlooked.
"Anyway, I boarded the cruise ship. My friend arrived with his assistant and, as usual, was surrounded by people eager to help him. I spent most of the voyage with him, and he seemed to enjoy my company.
"The first evening out, I visited him in his stateroom. It was luxuriously furnished — he has the best of everything wherever he goes. He told me about the wonderful forces that we all have, the forces we have let lie dormant within us, because of our lack of understanding. He gave several demonstrations of the powers he has developed. He did things that were actually astonishing.
"He asked, 'Why can't you do what I do? Why can't everyone do as I do? I have no powers that you are not endowed with. Here is my answer: Everyone could do as I do, if they had knowledge of Universal Law. I have developed the powers within me, while you have been dissipating and scattering yours, simply because you didn't understand the principles involved. All people use the same power, for in all the universe there is but one power. This rule is self evident, as you shall see.'
"He continued: 'Most people use the Law destructively, or at least partially so, and the scales are balanced against them. Here and there we occasionally find outstanding people who have achieved success, or greatness. Some of them are considered lucky, some are considered geniuses — but both words are erroneous. Luck and genius actually have very little to do with their success. The fact is they have made use of the Law — whether knowingly or unknowingly, it doesn't matter — sufficiently enough to have the scales balance in their favor. How plain this is to one who knows!'
"He gave me an interesting example: 'Before the discovery of the law governing the use of electricity,' he said, 'this great force was lying dormant throughout the universe, at least as far as humanity was concerned. We first had to discover the law before we could use it to our advantage. It is just the same with the Universal Law.
"'Happiness is humanity's rightful heritage; it is the summit of all aspirations. Our souls cry out for happiness, but so many of us misunderstand and think that our ultimate satisfaction can be reached only by making enough money. Why is this? Money is but a means to an end. It is the motivation that drives us on in our quest for the ultimate, which is happiness. In this world, it is true, there cannot be fulfillment and happiness without a certain amount of money — the occupation of acquiring money, therefore, is a worthy and commendable one.
"'Why do so many people suffer all sorts of lack, misery, and unhappiness? It is ridiculous, when you think about it, for people — no matter what their position in life — to believe it is their destiny to lack anything that will contribute to their happiness or that of their families.
"'Somebody discovers the law governing the use of electricity, and we have radio. Millions of people are now enjoying it. They tune in to what they want, and they get it. There is a great lesson in this, for believe me, you can have anything you want — and in abundance — when you learn to tune in to the power within, an infinitely greater power than electricity, a power you have had from the beginning.
"'The captain of this ship could just as easily own it as run it. One position is no more difficult to attain than another. He tuned in to the captaincy successfully. Ownership may have seemed out of reach. That's all. The actual difference in the two positions is merely the difference in two words — nothing more, as you shall see very clearly when we get a little further along.'
"Each night I went back to my room and sat up until early morning, reading my notes and preparing questions for the next day. He told me that I was very receptive, because of my eagerness, sincerity, and trust, and that it was a pleasure to instruct me. I felt full of gratitude; no price was too high, and no sacrifice was too great, for the knowledge I was receiving.
"I asked him when and how he discovered such a secret, and he said, 'I discovered nothing, and to me it is no secret. This knowledge had been in our family as far back as our records go. I use it because I know it to be the easy, certain way of accomplishing a purpose. You have known only the difficult, uncertain way, like most others.'
"He never seemed to want to take credit for anything, always claiming that no credit was due him."CHAPTER 4
There are no limits to your possibilities! Your successes will multiply and increase in proportion to your mastery of the Law.
"I was rapidly regaining my health and strength, and I was becoming fired with an irresistible ambition to get back and start all over again. I reprimanded myself for having wasted so many valuable years in the fruitless efforts of my old way, and I was eager to start in a new way.
"The voyage passed so quickly! I was soon to part from someone I had become deeply attached to, someone I owed so much. I handed him my card, and asked for his. He said, 'I have no card, no name, no address. I am like the wind. I come from nowhere and I go everywhere. As for my name, just call me Friend.' I said I would rather call him Master, but he said, 'No, no, not Master. Just Friend. That will do.' He glanced at my card and said, 'I turn up at the most unexpected places. I may be out to see you soon. I will write to you.'
"I'll never forget the instructions he gave me as we parted. I felt like a child leaving his parent. He said, 'You are truly fortunate. Just think of the millions of gifted, highly talented people — many blessed with great abilities for success and leadership, whose achievements would mean so much to so many people — who do not know what you know. They go on striving and straining, wasting their precious life force, only to find themselves dissatisfied, discouraged, disheartened, crushed as you once were. Although they are spurred on by that divine spark, that irresistible urge by which they instinctively realize there is a way, they cannot find it, and they find themselves failures after years of effort.
"Now you can avoid all this! Go home; you have learned all that you will need. If you follow the instructions I have given, you can reach any heights. You can accomplish any worthy purpose easily and quickly. There are no limits to your possibilities! Your successes will multiply and increase in proportion to your mastery of the Law. With each success your faith in the Law will grow stronger, until you reach the point of total conviction. Then you will be invincible.
"'Keep in mind the warning I have given you: Reveal nothing of this to even your closest friend. To do so before you are powerfully fortified with the Law will only interfere with your plans; it will result in the scattering of your forces, and weaken their power for your good. So keep your secret locked within your heart. You will never be able to work out someone else's problems, nor will they be able to work out yours. This is strictly a matter for each individual. Accomplishment of anything, in any line, is the result of discovering the operation of this inner force and setting it to work, and this must be done individually. There is no other way.
"'I have no doubt that you will succeed, in every way you wish. The time will come when you will retire from material pursuits, and devote your life to humanity, helping to free it from the bondage of want, misery, and unhappiness.'
"I parted reluctantly from my benefactor. He entered a taxi with his assistant and gave directions to his hotel. I walked down the street, unconscious of the crowds, feeling such a sense of exaltation that I seemed to be floating along rather than walking.
"On the train home, I carefully avoided all unnecessary contact with the other passengers. I kept to myself; I wanted to be alone and think. I couldn't think of sparing any of my precious time for idle conversation — how useless it seemed to me now, when there was so much to be accomplished.
"I was filled with one compelling purpose — to try out my new teaching — and not another day could be wasted. Nothing else interested me and nothing else mattered.
"And that's as much of my story as I can reveal at this time. I hope you find it encouraging, and I hope you will discover more, eventually."
Excerpted from The Message of a Master by John McDonald. Copyright © 1993 New World Library. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
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