I recently listened to a YouTube recording of Manly P. Hall presenting a lecture entitled “The Alchemy of Attitude.” Given with his characteristic humor and insight into the human condition, it is just as relevant now as it was when he first delivered it decades ago. Hall's message can easily be summed up in a single phrase, something I have often said in one form or another myself: “Stop wasting your time on problems you cannot solve by yourself. If you want to influence the collective, then you must transform yourself into a positive force within the collective.” It is to this end that all of our activities at the Institute for Hermetic Studies have been dedicated—providing tools so that individuals can transform themselves first, and, as a result, be able to have a positive impact on their families, neighbors, communities, and the world as a whole.
Many often tell me that there is nothing significant they can do, or that they do not know what to do. My response to both of these “assertions” is the same: start small, and do what you can. Opportunities will grow from there. I hear these claims a great deal particularly in relation to charitable contributions. Many feel that if they cannot give a “large and significant amount,” then why do anything? This is really little more than an excuse for doing nothing.
Albert Einstein called compound interest the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” It is an example of how small amounts add up. The classic tale of how quickly it becomes significant can be exhibited easily on a checkerboard. To demonstrate this I encourage each of you to do the following: Take a standard checkerboard and put a single penny on the first square, two pennies on the second square, four on the third, and continue to double the amount you place on each successive square until you reach the final square. In truth,none of you have enough wealth to reach the final square. While the first square is only worth one penny, the last square of the first row is worth $1.28. The first square of the second row is worth twice that, or $2.56, the second square is worth $5.12, the third square is worth $10.24, and by the time we reach the final square of the second row, we have a single square whose value is worth $327.68—and this does not include all the wealth that went before it. (In case you're wondering, the final square of the checkerboard is “worth” just over eighteen quintillion dollars—imagine a “1” with nineteen zeros following it and you're close.) Clearly, it is easy to see how such “small amounts” add up very quickly to make a significant difference.
A less mathcentric way of looking at the question is with the price of a cup of coffee each morning on your way to work. At two dollars a cup, you spend an average of $10 a week, $40 a month, and close to $500 a year at the morning drive-through. Is that too much? Is there something better you can do with that $500? Or even just a fraction of that money? I like to think so; to help prove it, I am inviting each of you to participate in our Coffee Cup Challenge.
To show you what a difference your donation can make, I am asking each of you reading this to go one day, one week, or one month(or the equivalent thereof if you want to space it out) without your daily cup of coffee from the drive-through or sidewalk vendor, and to donate that money to the Institute for Hermetic Studies fundraising campaign, whose funds are to be used to bring the next two volumes of the IHS Study Guides Series into print. These titles are:
Child of the Sun – Psychic & Physical Rejuvenation in Alchemy and Qabala (IHS Vol. 3)
Sea of Sapphire – Visionary Techniques and Talismanic Magic with the Tree of Life (IHS Vol. 4)
That's it: $2.00. That is all we are asking FROM EACH OF YOU to help us make these two volumes containing highly specialized esoteric practices available. If EVERYONE on our lists who receive this gives us $2.00, we will exceed our goal of $4,000. Now, clearly some of our readers cannot or may not participate, so, for those who can, we encourage you to give a little more: whatever you are comfortable with—$5, $10, $15—whatever is comfortable for you.
That's it. That is all it takes to make a difference. Be it five minutes of meditation several times a day to find enlightenment, eating small meals more often to lose weight, writing two pages a day to complete a book, or investing five or ten dollars a week into your future—and one or two dollars a week into your cause of choice—small amounts add up.
Thank you, and we look forward to your support.