A Full Review by Clifford Hurt
I made two mistakes in reading this book.
First, I started by reading chapters at random, as I like to do with books of this kind. Wrong. Syd Kessler builds his book in a sequence, and it is best to start at the beginning.
Second, I told Syd that I would have this review written within a week. Wrong again. Here I am three and a half months later.
By conspiracy of events, I had to give greater attention to some other projects, which at the time, seemed to take me away from completing this review. But then, by conspiracy of events once again, while going through Toronto airport one day, I realized that my mission was not to review this book at all, but rather to review the “experience” of this book.
Specifically, a series of irritating encounters inside the terminal building gave me an opportunity to practice the principle or the technique of Restriction, as Syd calls it. This is a method of delayed reaction for insulating oneself in adverse situations or for disarming hostile individuals, much like keeping the flow of energy between two highly charged electrodes from sparking. I did it so well, that by the time I boarded the aircraft, I was cracking jokes with the cabin crew, much to my complete surprise. The transition from Anger Level 3 to Mr. Comedian was so spontaneous, I scared myself, and I realized that Syd’s book was going to give me a workout. Fortunately, I had Syd’s book in my briefcase for my trip. More about my briefcase later.
Syd spends a lot of time on the universal principle of Cause and Effect. Simply put, nothing is truly random. However, the time lag between cause and effect may sometimes be so long, that we forget to see the connections. Or, we simply fail to see the connections. Our five senses are limited, so therefore our perceptions of “reality” are also limited. Hence, some causes and effects – indeed a lot of causes and effects – may escape our notice, but they do exist.
Once I started to concentrate on Cause and Effect, almost on an hourly basis like a mantra, some remarkable things started to happen. I noticed that I was suddenly able to reduce the amount of paperwork and emails that were on my desk. I now get less occupied with trivial details, or so it seems to me. A week after this “shift in consciousness”, I was suddenly seized with the desire to clean out my filing cabinet. Five days later (and another delay in writing this review), the files were gone. So was the cabinet. Oddly enough, as I went through the physical exercise of deleting files, I found I was also going through a mental clean up. I now feel lighter and brighter.
Syd also discusses the concept of Fulfillment or gratification. He explains the distinction between what a person wants versus what a person needs, and the trap of hollow short-term self-indulgence. So what are we working for? The military would call this the selection and maintenance of the aim.
At this stage, I started to notice that time had slowed down, or rather I had slowed down and time had expanded. No longer being in a rush, I started to see more options than I would otherwise have noticed – part of seeing a bigger picture.
We all like to be liked. We are gratified by the recognition and approval we receive from others. So how accurate is your self-image? How accurate are your friends to describe you? How accurate are you to describe you? Are the two views congruent?
We now know that the rational mind is not so rational after all, and common sense is not so common. Fears and past sorrows, hatred, greed, and envy prevent us from greater achievements in the here and now – leading to a cycle of repetitive failures. We can become prisoners of our own mind. Quick now. What was your self-image?
How difficult is it to change our behaviours, attitudes or image to build a “new line of experience”, that is a new line of cause and effect, when others may disapprove of such action?
This book will change who you are and your sense of being. You will (if you so wish) become more alert to the moment… where you are… who you are with… and what you are doing.
This is not a book you will read once and assign to the bookshelf. My copy was either on my desk or in my briefcase. Each chapter is short enough, you can read one or two throughout the day. I have re-read the book several times – not because I’m a slow learner – but rather to get beyond a superficial understanding, the repetition and practice helped me to “internalize” the principles and concepts. A personal transition.
The universe exists. It operates on some well-established principles – a perfect system shall we say. Once we learn those principles, we can gain greater control over our lives, and greater satisfaction. The Perfect System is tested and true. Thanks Syd.