I am often asked by people who find out that I am studying spiritual metaphysics about the difference between that and religion.
As often happens for me, the Universe provides an excellent, real life example.
I’m sitting in the airport terminal waiting for a flight that has been delayed for more than an hour. Tensions are running high and people aren’t happy.
A “religious” person with a lot of energy is sitting at one of the device charging stations and making a scene that I’m sure she thinks is appropriate; but judging from the look on everyone else’s face, she might be alone in that assumption.
She’s been putting her hands in the air and proclaiming Jesus is in charge of this situation and the delay would soon be resolved… so far, Jesus appears to be on the same schedule as the airlines (delayed).
The difference between that awkward and unnecessary display of religiosity and the spiritual (but not religious) perspective is significant.
The spiritual/not religious person will quietly know that all is well – regardless of the circumstances. They will be kind to airline employees who are simply doing their jobs and have nothing to do with the delay. They bring peace to the surroundings by smiling at exasperated mothers, helping elderly travelers or even just sitting in the corner and knowing that regardless of the news from the boarding desk – All.Is.Well.
No one knows whether the spiritual/not religious person is spiritual OR religious; and lets face it – in these circumstances, no one cares.
It’s no wonder church membership and attendance is in decline.
I understand that some people have traditions and beliefs that don’t align with mine – and I get it that evangelizing is a tenet of Christianity; but inflicting oneself on others shouldn’t be a part of that marketing plan (& p.s. I don’t think it’s working,…).
Now I’m going to work on knowing that the preacher and her entourage are NOT in the seat row with me,…and so it is!
(adapted from Ernest Holmes’ Science of Mind, IV: How to Use It)
I reside in the center of the Divine, a point of God-conscious life, truth and activity. I am always divinely guided in the direction of right action and optimal results.
My words have power; perfect flow and continuous right action is present in my life and my affairs; any/all negative beliefs are immediately neutralized.
Infinite Spirit animates everything that I do, say or think. Divine ideas come to me regularly; they direct and support me without effort. I am continuously guided and compelled to do the right thing at the right time, to say the right word at the right time, to follow the right course with the best motives at all times.
Any suggestion of age, poverty, limitation or unhappiness is eliminated from my thinking. I am happy, well and overflowing with Life. I live in the Spirit of Truth and know that the Spirit of Truth lives in me. My word manifests according to the Law, and there is no unbelief, no doubt, no uncertainty. Every thought of doubt vanishes from my mind – I know the Truth and I am free.
I recently had an experience that highlights a point I made in a previous blog. The Cliff Note’s version is that spiritual people (those who walk an intentionally spiritual path) have just as many life challenges as everyone else; but often when their peanut butter & jelly sandwich falls to the floor – it lands face up.
My latest experience with this involved money. In the insanity that has been the past couple weeks, I neglected to keep track of my bank account and last night – while several other issues were emerging for me to deal with, I logged into my bank account to find that a deposit and a check had crossed paths in the wrong order and I had sustained a $36 overdraft fee.
I was angry, initially, because they both posted to my account within the same hour. And $36 isn’t chump change. But I’ve been walking that spiritual path I referred to above and I know a couple things.
The first thing I know is that there’s a purpose to everything. Perhaps I needed a $36 reminder to slow down, plan ahead, stay focused,…etc.
The second thing I know is that “money is not my Source“. This means that no matter what it might look like on the physical plane,…I always have what I need.
Number 1 and 2 make it easy for me to let go of anger – at myself or the bank – and be at peace. I was in this state of peace late last night when the thought occurred to me that I could ask the bank to reverse the charge.
I logged into my online banking app and sent a note. I explained that I’d had a hectic month; that I rarely experience this and asked if there was any way they could waive the fee. I also said that if they could not, I understood and thanked them for their consideration of my request.
This morning I received a notification that the $36 had been returned to my account and a nice note from the bank.
I don’t claim any supernatural occurrence here but I do know that my “spiritualorientation” allowed me to quickly reach a level of acceptance of the situation, and be in peace about the $36 before I had the thought of asking them to reverse the charge. I am also quite certain that you get more bees with honey than vinegar, and so coming from a place of peace, I asked and remained unattached to the outcome. In other words – I was at peace about the circumstance whether I got the $36 back or not.
In addition, I understand that the Universe keeps perfect records. I have a responsibility to take care of business; to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” which means to pay my bills on time, and take care of my bank business in a respectable manner. This spiritual aspect of the reversed charge was also clear: I was not demanding from the Universe something I did not “pay for” in mental and spiritual coin. I had been responsible in the preponderance of my business dealings with them and so it was a balanced transaction.
While I have experienced and witnessed many instances where space and time have been altered in miraculous ways through the application of intention, affirmative prayer and other spiritual tools; I have also experienced the real benefits of being in the world in a state of peaceful knowing that “all is well”. When in this state, more often than not, things work out – my sandwich lands jelly-side up 🙂
The best thing? I didn’t need to take years of classes to learn this: I learned the basics of being responsible and being courteous at home, before I went to public school. A lot of coarseness and just plain nastiness exists in the public discourse right now. It can be hard to rise above it at times. Walking a spiritual path helps keep me aligned with my core values – no matter what is going on in my life. It’s a win-win all around.
We all make mistakes – it’s part of being human. Those of us who make mistakes and are willing to accept our role in them and work to correct things not only grow as individuals, but become valuable assets to any organization.
I have worked in management positions for much of my career. When I encounter a problem with an employee, it most often involves an unwillingness in them to understand that while I can support them, recommend additional training or provide other assistance; the solution to their challenges begins and ends with them.
Perpetual “problem” employees tend to be those people who want to blame everyone and everything for their shortcomings instead of looking at what they need to do to impact positive change in their own lives and careers. Since most of us can think of at least 1 person who acts in this manner, their behaviors and attitudes can serve as a useful learning opportunity for those of us who desire personal growth.
In spiritual studies we learn that if we want more abundance in our lives, we must avoid a mindset that sees our experience through the eyes of lack. Emerson wrote that if we want to have a friend, we need to become a friend. In medicine, doctors encourage a positive outlook for battling the most aggressive diseases because they’ve seen the difference in patients with one, and patients without one.
In short, we cannot be (externally) what we are not on the inside: the truth of who we are will out-picture in our lives.
A couple years ago a neighbor shared with me that their young child didn’t seem to have any friends at school. This worried her – understandably – and she and her husband wanted to help without micromanaging the situation.
In addition to providing the requested spiritual support, I listened to the parents’ concerns and found that their child often neglected to share invitations to birthday parties from classmates with the parents. There seemed to be a reticence to participate in parties that involved activities that may be new for their child.
I shared Emerson’s counsel on finding friends with them, and the parents worked with their child on expectations around the various activities. They wanted to encourage positive growth without mandating behaviors so strictly that it backfired. They told their child that they did not need to attend every birthday party, but needed to choose and attend at least 2 parties or similar events during each semester that year.
A few weeks ago I ran into the mother in the grocery store. She excitedly shared with me that not only was her child now participating in parties, as well as extracurricular school activities; but was regularly going back and forth (at friends homes and in their home) with a handful of friends from school.
I was thrilled for her, and for her child. In pondering the unfolding events for this family I thought of the hard work the child had to do (mentally) to change their trajectory. With the parents’ help and loving encouragement, the child was able to think differently about interactions with kids at school.
Early on, I recall the child expressing that sometimes the activities didn’t sound like they would be very much fun; hence part of the reticence to attend. To move from that position to where they are now, this child had to change on the inside; to decide that they could see an upside/potential good in the parties or activities. And they confessed later that even the most dull-sounding events turned out to be fun.
The ancients taught, and modern gurus, sages and wisdom teachers remind us that the answers we seek lie within. It is phrased in different ways, but in essence it comes down to this: if we can change how we think about things, our lives will change.
We can move from being the problem employee to a valued contributor; we can change from being someone who isn’t included in group activities to someone with a robust social calendar and a circle of friends; we can move from seeing how much we DON’T have in our lives to living a life that is an experience of abundance (recognizing that abundance is much more than money).
When we pivot our thinking and plant seeds for a more positive outlook; life opens up before us providing opportunities we never expected and blessings we couldn’t have seen coming before we shifted our mindset. And so it is.
My reading across the spiritual curriculum of late has drifted into the area where sages and scientists overlap most often these days: consciousness.
In listening to some of the brightest stars on both sides of this issue, I’ve had exposure to a number of the current theories being floated on the impact of the quantum world on the human experience. One theory is that of the existence of multiple co-existing universes.
WARNING: this will make your head hurt if you think about it too much.
The simplistic version or explanation (because I’m not a scientist) is that each time we make a decision, a spin-off reality, in which the non-choice remains a reality, results. For example, if you make a decision to leave your current job and take a new one, according to this hypothesis, a parallel universe exists where you remain at your current job while you exist now in this universe where you work in your new job.
I don’t know enough about either side of the scientific argument to weigh in but with this information floating around in my head, I had a recent experience that was “interesting” if not a little weird.
About 3 decades ago I was married with 2 small children. My husband had an opportunity to consider a job in a small town at the edge of State College, PA – the home of Penn State University.
Decades later I found myself in State College for a professional conference. As I drove around the area on Day 1 of the conference I began to have an experience that I can only describe as a brush with a parallel universe.
The path I had begun all those years ago eventually led to the demise of my marriage, and my move to a city on the other side of the state. As a Veteran with few marketable job skills I knew I had to go back to school, so I enrolled in the local urban university. I went on to earn my Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree. I ended up working as a Dean at the local Community College, and later a faculty member at that same University and felt great pride and gratitude for the institution(s) I attended and those where I worked.
Years later my son followed me to the same institution and this Fall my nephew will enter as a Freshman. Our history is tightly woven into the fabric of this urban University.
And yet, as I drove around the Penn State campus and looked at the grounds, observed the students and buildings, I felt the pull of this place in a way that is still difficult to explain.
I felt a strong connection to the campus and community as well as a deep sense that I belonged there. Perhaps I felt my own potential attachment to the brand had my life taken this turn so many years ago. Whatever the cause, I felt an unnatural fondness for, and attachment to the symbols and structures of this university. This is even more unusual when you realize that my family connection is to the University of Pittsburgh – one of Penn State’s biggest rivals.
The connection I felt was so strong that I felt a deep sense of sadness when I left the campus at the conference end.
I will never know for sure what it is that I experienced that week. What I DO know is that I will remain seriously curious about the quantum theories surrounding parallel universes.
In recent years a radical new interpretation of the parallel universe problem has emerged: the Many Interacting Worlds (MIW) hypothesis. The basic concept is that many interacting worlds have existed side by side for many years – AND – they subtly influence the worlds closes to them.
So, a couple notes: #1) I’m not a physicist, #2) the MIW model is still speculative – and – (did I mention that I’m not a scientist?).
The problem with people like me who read enough about science and technology to be conversant at dinner parties but not enough to perform the complex mathematical computations is that we tend to make assumptions about things based on connections we think we see and theories we think we understand (and let’s be honest, there are worse habits).
While I fully recognize this, I can’t help but wonder if the parallel universe where my husband took that job and my family moved to State College; where my kids and I became dyed-in-the-wool Nittany Lion devotees was crossing over into my current universe causing the “disturbance in the Force” that I felt so keenly.
Who knows what scientists will discover about the nature of reality into the future? In the 1960s, Star Trek tricorders were pure Science Fiction – and yet today, I have one such device sitting here on my desk, where I could reach out and talk to my friends across town, across the country or across the world. If I had the number, I could even talk to the International Space Station!
It’s unlikely that I’ll solve the mystery of my strange experience in State College, but I know that the nature of reality as we know it continues to be challenged. So I’ll remain curious and open to the possibilities – and that’s much more interesting that assuming that we know all there is to know!
For more information (from real scientists!) on parallel universes, check out this YouTube video:
The more I study ancient spiritual principles and listen to modern lectures on the discoveries (& differences between) the quantum & classical views of reality; the more I know that we are fast heading to that place that described by Ernest Holmes in his seminal work, The Science of Mind.
“We all look forward to the day when science and religion shall walk hand in hand through the visible to the invisible. “
Each day I think that the national news surely can’t get any worse,…and then the nightly news proves me wrong. We are clearly living in tumultuous times, where long-standing norms are being upended left and right. There is a great temptation to consider the possibility of moving overseas, but that’s more complicated than it seems with multiple generations of family to consider.
Mulling over several disturbing news reports that have emerged over the past few weeks, I began to think about what I should be doing about things. Should I be protesting, running for office, setting up a non-profit? What is it that I could or should be doing?
During this time, I’ve also been diving deep into the teachings of Neville Goddard. The intersection of these 2 subjects finally came into focus for me and I realized what my work is to do: I need to keep teaching.
In his most popular lectures, Neville outlines examples where he used spiritual principles to change things for the better in his life. He recounted multiple times how he secured an honorable discharge from the US Army during WWII, as well as securing passage on a transport ship back to the USA from the West Indies within a day when all passage was booked for months ahead.
As I listened to Neville recount his story of the trip back to New York, I recalled a story that Wayne Dyer told about a time he and his wife were trying to fly out of Istanbul (1974). A military incursion had begun to brew and the airport was in full-blown chaos. The political unrest had rendered their airline tickets invalid and there were few alternative options.
In “I Can See Clearly Now” Dyer recounted how, as everyone in the airport was panicked and frightened, he kept his thoughts and his intention laser focused on getting on a plane that morning and flying out of the region. He refused to give into the fear, and held on to the vision of himself and his wife boarding a plane that morning that he says he “stuck like Super Glue” in his imagination. As it turned out, he and his wife were able to get the last 2 seats on a military transport and leave the area. The day they arrived back in the United States, Turkey invaded Cyprus – they had made it out just in time.
One of the most important skills we can learn in these politically unstable times is how to use the spiritual principles taught by Wayne Dyer, Neville Goddard and others that can shift time and space to make seemingly impossible things happen in our favor.
Important to consider: the time to learn these skills is not when we’re facing a crisis – but in times of low stress. Learning and practicing on small things, and then expanding our ability to use the tools to larger things builds spiritual muscles. The “muscle memory” we are creating will kick in and work when the stress of a situation or circumstance threatens to throw off our concentration. When we learn and consistently use the principles, we are able to use them no matter what is taking place around us.
If ignoring the news isn’t a likely occurrence for you; you can counter the feelings of terror or helplessness. See these times as a call to arms – as the nudge you needed to inspire you to knuckle down and really learn the spiritual principles that can help you alter time and space when you need it most.
Some recommended resources:
Neville Goddard lectures on YouTube (here are 3 to get you started)