“All the stars are on the inside…”
- Blue Oyster Cult, Veteran of the Psychic Wars
Shortly after writing a piece for Modern Mythology on the somewhat obscured psychical basis of Napoleon Hill’s famous 1937 work on the philosophy of success, Think and Grow Rich, I noticed that he had written another book the following year which was held from publication until 2011. Whatever surprise I may have had at the contents of Think and Grow Rich was minuscule compared to my surprise at finding his follow up book contained nothing less than a sustained dialogue with an entity that he identified as the Devil.
You can imagine why this might have been considered a bit controversial in 1938, and why his family withheld the publication of Outwitting the Devil, even after his death, until the book could be properly framed to avoid too much shock. The books contents are a fascinating look at the depth and social conscience of Hill’s philosophy, which often get’s shoved into the self help category, but I must save any reflections on that topic for another article.
My inquiries into the reception of Hill’s philosophy within the business world lead to a fortuitous connection to Matthew Joyce, who was kind enough to respond to a HARO request that I sent out, and our conversations via email and over the phone opened up an entirely different understanding of the nature of intuition and the mind.
“The nature of consciousness is to explore itself.”
- Matthew Joyce, Higher Self Guides
Along with his wife, Janet, Joyce runs a Boulder based consultancy, Higher Self Guides, that focuses on practical applications of advanced mental work, as he puts it “Divine spirituality isn’t just for mystics,” it has practical, every day applications that many people are completely unaware of. As a certified outreach facilitator for the Monroe Institute, Joyce presents seminars on developing a greater awareness of the mind’s potential.
The Monroe Institute was founded by Robert Monroe, an influential Virginian responsible for starting the first cable television company in the state. He created the institute after having a series of out of body experiences that lead to questions regarding the nature of mind and reality. A similar, spontaneous, out of body experience at the age of 18 lead Joyce to search for answers, and sparked his initial interest in Monroe’s work.
Reading his father’s copy of Monroe’s book in the late 1980’s, Joyce found that the exercises didn’t help him as much as he’d hoped, and it wasn’t until a decade later, in 2000, that he was reminded of Monroe by a television show which mentioned his consciousness experiments. When Joyce finally attended the Monroe Institute seminars he was already well experienced on his own, and his training at TMI served to provide additional tools for applying his understanding.
One of the tools developed by the Monroe Institute is their Hemi-Sync technology, which uses binaural harmonics to alter consciousness through stimulating specific wave patterns in the brain.
Here’s an example of a 7hz binaural tone:
Joyce’s work with TMI is just one part of his spiritual practice, but he sees their technology as a valuable training tool, and a way to demonstrate altered states of consciousness to those eager to learn without going through years of arduous training. According to him, the Hemi-Sync is useful for introducing, and familiarizing, the altered states of consciousness necessary to achieve advanced results, but it is in learning to induce these states unaided where their true value comes in.
Joyce doesn’t hide the fact that this kind of experimentation can have it’s negative aspects. Robert Bruce, whose work Astral Dynamics provides an in depth look at the practical foundations of consciousness exploration, is very open about his experiences with negative entities, or thought forms, while exploring the farther reaches of the mind. For Joyce, however, this is a problem that is easily fixed.
First, by avoiding areas that host this negativity, as he put it “I used to live near Washington D.C. and I didn’t go to the Southeast side, why would I go to a similar place with my mind?” And second, by being aware that “you can’t hurt Light,” the fundamental basis for all reality, and that there are higher levels of non-dual, or unified, consciousness that exist above the differentiated areas where negativity exists.
This philosophy also plays a part in Joyce’s Ghost Greet seminars, which use the Hemi-Sync technology as an aid in spiritualist work. He’s very clear that “there are a lot more bad drivers on the road than there are malicious ghosts.”
Using the Hermetic maxim like attracts like, he makes sure that his thoughts match the frequency of what he wants to attract. We experience what we expect to experience. Negative thoughts can lead to attracting negative entities, according to Joyce, so by focusing on more positive thought forms he can avoid any negative encounters.
With his varied background and deep experience, it was interesting to see how Hill’s work played a part in Joyce’s understanding of consciousness and it’s applications to every day life, and to get a deeper idea about his own practical philosophy of mind.
How has Napoleon Hill’s philosophy affected your practice?
I am a spiritual teacher and explorer, but I am also a business person specializing in marketing strategy and tactics. I often use what Napoleon Hill calls the sixth sense, or the creative imagination, although I don’t often tell my clients that I am doing so. You never know who might be skeptical or challenged by such ideas. Fortunately no one seems to challenge the positive results of the process.
My method is a slightly different from Hill’s since I developed it prior to reading his ideas about sexual sublimation/transmutation. To me the real gist of that chapter is that “The creative imagination functions best when the mind is vibrating (due to some form of mind stimulation) at an exceedingly high rate.”
The actual sexual urges, or desires to channel the creative impulse into procreation, are of relatively little account in my method, but I think Hill made some good points about them. To me the primary focus is shifting the mind to the higher rate of functioning which gives me access to information beyond that available from my physical senses or my conscious mind.
When I work I shift my awareness into a higher state of consciousness with an activating thought. I’ve been doing it so long now that it only takes a single breath to make the switch in consciousness. Moreover, I now maintain a dual awareness of normal consciousness while engaging my higher creative imagination. This means that I switch back and forth while on the phone with the client or in meetings without them noticing.
Where I go in consciousness and what I do after that shift depends upon the circumstances. Sometimes I use it solve problems, posing the question and then reaching out for the answer which appears from the ether. Other times I use it to access new creative ideas for products or strategies or to glance into the future for scenario planning.
It’s also helpful when I am not sure what to say next. In those cases I open myself up and just allow the ideas to flow. The right thing to say always seems to emerge, be they questions to ask the client, comments about the present situation, or even impromptu speeches I need to give.
You mentioned that you developed your technique prior to reading Hill, was this under the direction of a specific spiritual discipline?
No. I have always been driven by my own curiosity and the belief that experience is the best teacher.
What are the main influences of your practice?
My spiritual practice began when I was a child so the list of influences is long, yet none stand out as being significantly more influential than others. When some people go out to eat, they order from the menu. Others want to go to the buffet so they can try a bit of everything. I’m a buffet type when it comes to learning about and exploring consciousness.
I started reading spiritual books when I was 11. My first spiritual book was Illusions by Richard Bach. By the time I’d finished reading it I knew my spiritual path. From there I began to read the Seth material and from there I moved on to all sorts of things from the Bible to the Bhagavad Gita. Within a few years I’d read scores of books, practiced the I Ching regularly, learned to tarot cards, and more. My parents taught at Esalen Institute and we had a regular list of psychics, mystics, and body workers coming through my house as a kid. All of them influenced me.
My eclectic practice continued for years, incorporating Buddhism, Kashmir Shavism, Sufism, Native American shamanic studies, Joseph Campbell, the Monroe Institute, quantum physics, psychology, etc. But I never found one practice that worked for me. Instead I looked beyond the dogma to the practical advice and strove to find out how to use the ideas and techniques to explore for myself. I let experience be my guide.
Do you practice any Eastern forms of meditation or yoga?
While I have studied numerous forms of mediation and both physical and spiritual yoga I don’t adhere to any particular spiritual discipline. I regard my mind and body as tools for my use and decide how to use them as each occasion arises. Sometimes a particular visualization or mental clearing technique is helpful. Other times certain types of breathing can be useful. I don’t limit myself to any one practice.
Have you had any “land fall” successes or coincidences that lead to success that seemed surprising at the time?
Because I started so early in life I have a difficult time remembering the early successes, but I do recall a few along the way.
The first time I manifested something I had just finished reading Illusions at age 11. I decided I wanted a motorcycle and my parents would not let me have one. There was no point in discussing it for 5 years until I was old enough to drive. So I set about manifesting one instead. I never mentioned it to them again. I just trusted the process. It took a number of weeks and then my grandfather showed up at our house. He was a car dealer and he had just purchased a truck for resale. The truck came with a kid size Honda motorcycle. He gave it to me without even asking my parents. They were not happy. But I was. That was when I knew this stuff really worked.
The first time I recall accessing guidance for advice I was also 11 years old and my parents were divorced. I needed to decide which parent to live with. A very mature inner voice spoke to me and helped me make the decision. The sense of comfort and trust were remarkable. I still hear that voice on a regular basis. It knows many things that I have no access to as a limited physical being.
I first started using the cast the question into the ether technique when I was in high school and I needed to get my homework done. I studied hard and was an A student, but sometimes the grind-it-out method was less than convenient. In those cases, I’d simply tell myself I knew the answer to a test question and the answer would be there. Or when I needed to come up with an idea to write about, the concept would arise fully formed for me to write it down. At the time I never considered this to be remarkable and I never really made a system out of it. That didn’t come until I was older and bit more seasoned.
I recall the first time I tried remote viewing. I was trying to locate a pair of missing sunglasses. I projected my awareness beyond my body and saw a pair of sunglasses and a pack of Pall Mall cigarettes on the dashboard of a car. They were obviously not mine.
I moved on and saw my sunglasses sitting on a table where I had left them. I was ready to dismiss the event as simply remembering where I had put them, but then I walked out into the parking lot and saw the sunglasses and Pall Mall cigarettes on the car’s dashboard. I definitely did not know they were there before. In fact, I had never seen the car before.
Could you elaborate a bit more on your technique? Where do you think these ideas come from?
I see the field of my awareness as existing in a constant state of here and now. Most of the time I project onto that awareness my thoughts and emotions, as well as the perceptions from my five physical senses which provide me feedback about my world. But I don’t limit myself to them. I know that using my active imagination I can access anything anywhere at anytime. Bringing it into my awareness is a matter of believing it is possible and learning to shift my awareness from the physical world to the nonphysical world beyond space and time. Once there I think of what I want and send my awareness to it (or more accurately call it upon the field of my awareness). My successes have been enough that I trust the process. Aside from the sunglasses, I have found other missing objects, learned “unknown” information from dead people and ghosts, remote viewed people and events, astral traveled to visit people, healed people with energy, etc. But I consider these skills to be byproducts of my practices. I don’t seek to be a professional psychic, remote viewer, etc. And in the normal world of business I would never mention any of this.
Have you ever encounter individual, recurring, personalities during your sessions?
I connect with and access other personalities all the time. I access my own guides, nonphysical friends and teachers, angels, ghosts, beings on other planets and in other realms beyond the physical, etc. There are many worlds besides this one and I can visit them at will.
But when I am doing business client work, such as marketing strategy or copywriting, those types of access are rarely applicable. In those cases I often mentally ask a question or seek an idea and in my imagination I cast my request into the ether. The response comes back to me moments later. Many times in words. Sometimes in images. Occasionally as a knowing or a feeling.
Over the years I have come to trust this process and I can “channel” ideas in a meeting with no advance knowledge of what I will say next, although I know it will be on topic. No external personalities seem to be involved in that process.
However, I also do spiritual guidance counseling, and in those cases I often hear from the client’s spirit guides or loved ones who have messages they want conveyed. In those cases I hear ideas with my nonphysical ears (the equivalent of the nonphysical eyes you use to see in your imagination or in a dream) and translate those ideas into English words that are meaningful to the client. In those instances I feel less like a channel and more like an interpreter converting from one language to another.
Could you elaborate a bit more on the concept of mental vibrations?
Napolean Hill talks about mental vibrations. For me it’s really more about frequency. I consider physical reality to exist on a range of frequencies that can be perceived with our physical senses. Our physical eyes pick up certain wavelengths of light.
Our ears hear certain wavelengths of sound. Touch perceives still others. Those frequencies or vibrations that exist beyond the range of our physical perception are like stations on the radio that we can’t hear. But if we learn to shift our perception then we can perceive new frequencies. This is what I do using the power of my active imagination. I reach out and perceive other frequencies that are not available to normal senses.
I think it worth noting that many people give imagination a bad rap. They say “It’s not real. You’re just making that up.” My response is, where do you think your imagination got it from? I think the confusion arises because people confuse the creative function of imagination with the perceptive function of imagination. In perception mode, imagination is the way that you can perceive things beyond your physical body.
Napolean Hill’s techniques for accessing active imagination as as valid as any other. But I don’t see them as necessary. If you know how to access your imagination you can use it actively. It is really a matter of opening yourself up and trying it.
Have you read any other success literature from the early 20th century?
I was introduced to Ernest Holmes by my grandmother when I was 11. (It was a pivotal year for me.) She was a Science of Mind practioner and she had a definite influence on my life outlook. Later I read quite a bit of Neville Goddard, although you might characterize him as mid-century. I also read a number of Science of Mind authors such as Dan Custer and Frederick Bailes. I’d heard of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich for years, but I never got around to reading the book until a few years ago. I’m not sure why, except it never made it to the top of the reading list.
For more information on Matthew Joyce and Higher Self Guides you can visit his website at: www.higherselfguides.com
And see his article: How to Explore Inner Worlds with Active and Passive Arising
For more information on The Monroe Institute you can visit their website at: www.themonroeinstitute.com