Tap the Golden App

The Golden Key
Emmet Fox
Unity

In 1931 Divine Science minister and teacher, Emmet Fox, wrote The Golden Key and gave it to his friend, Unity founder Charles Fillmore. Fox described it as “a practical guide for getting out of trouble” – and many who have applied it to some issue in their lives would agree.

Written as it was during the Great Depression, and at a time when religious practice was common in the United States, the language is formal and can make the modern spiritual seeker feel a bit queasy with all the traditional language and references.

But we are foolish if we cast it aside for this reason, as the functionality of this practice is as appropriate today as it was at the time it was penned.

Like the language used in the early 20th century, keys are quickly falling out of use in the digital age, and we find ourselves using remote access, cell phone codes and other apps to get into places once unlocked with a key. For this reason, I wonder if it’s time to revise the original Golden Key and think of it as a Life App.

Apps are designed for many reasons, including entertainment and business purposes – but most of them are designed simply to make our lives easier. It is this that makes the Golden Key a perfect candidate for evolving into The Golden App.

However, we don’t need to wait for some tech whiz to create this. We need only think about the concept in the context of a cell phone app. When we need to send a message, check our bank balance, or find out if it’s going to rain later today; we take out our phones, open the home screen and tap on an app.

Turning the Golden Key” as Emmet Fox would advise, is even simpler than that.

How do we turn the Golden Key? Here’s a summary of what Emmet Fox initially wrote:

All that you have to do is this: stop thinking about the difficulty, whatever it is, and think about God instead. This is the complete rule. If you do this, the trouble, whatever it is, will disappear. It makes no difference what kind of trouble it is. It may be a big thing or a little thing; it may concern health, finance, a lawsuit, a quarrel, an accident, or anything else conceivable; but whatever it is, just stop thinking about it, and think of God instead — that is all you have to do.

Emmet Fox

For some people this may seem a bit vague. What does it mean to “think about God“?

If we accept that God/Spirit/the Universe (how ever you describe the Infinite) is a Power for Good, and transcendent beyond what we can do and control; we can shift our thinking to what spiritual metaphysics calls the “qualities” of Spirit. These include:

  • abundance
  • beauty
  • harmony
  • health
  • joy
  • love
  • peace
  • power
  • wisdom
  • (and more!)

In other words – all the GOOD we can imagine in our lives. So to “turn the Golden Key” we simply need to pivot our thinking – away from the negative and toward the Truth of Spirit. Here are some examples.

Instead of thinking about how much money we DON’T have, how many bills we have to pay, what things we want or need that we cannot afford, we can STOP and shift to:

The Universe is abundance and provides for me always and in all ways. I know that I always have whatever I need in the perfect space and time.

Instead of thinking about the difficulty and misunderstanding in our relationships, we can STOP and shift to:

Spirit is LOVE, HARMONY and PEACE. Spirit constantly and continually expresses as LOVE, HARMONY and PEACE in every circumstance and situation. And I know that all is well in this relationship.

Instead of thinking about how much difficulty and misunderstanding there may be around our jobs or careers, we can STOP and shift to:

Spirit is Divine Wisdom and constantly expresses as this Wisdom in every circumstance and situation, including mine. I know that all is well in my job/career.

And as we look past our own personal experiences and into the world at large and notice some scary things, we can apply the same principles and tap the Golden App!

Instead of thinking about how much difficulty and misunderstanding there is in the world, we can STOP and shift to:

Spirit is Infinite Intelligence; constantly and persistently expressing in, as and through every circumstance and situation, including this national one. I know, regardless how things appear, that all is well.

No, there’s not really a Golden App that we can download for our phones. But there *is* a Golden App we can commit to our memories. We can get into the habit of knowing that regardless of the trouble that appears in our lives, the only Truth is Infinite perfection. And as we shift our ATTENTION to this Truth, the magic of the Golden Key kicks in.

Yes, the language of the original Golden Key is old school, but the process is sound enough that other teachers have stated the same thing in a different way.

Energy flows where our attention goes.

Michael Beckwith, The Secret

The truth (or the “secret”) to life is that this simple shift works, and it’s free to you and to me. It can’t be used up or worn out, and we can apply it over and over and over with no negative side-effects.

No matter what life brings our way, we have the key to a better tomorrow – thanks to Emmet Fox and his gift of The Golden Key.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

More on The Golden Key

Divine nudges, perfect timing

Practitioner's Path, spirituality, giving, charity, tithing, Goodness
(C) 2020 Practitioner’s Path

New Thought emerged in the mid-to-late 19th century in the United States, and had much of its earliest beginnings focused in the realm of healing and health. This makes sense when we look back to the history of the evolution of scientific medical knowledge. People had fewer options for healing and healthcare then as compared to now.

In addition to the interest in healing, there was still a deep religious, and specifically Christian, influence on the American psyche. This would tame all but the most radical minds who would dare to teach what would become the prosperity gospel in the next century.

When the hints from Emerson, Troward (both steeped in White, Anglo-Saxon privilege) and others around humanity’s “right” to be prosperous met the triumph and power felt by the United States after World War II, it was a match made in marketing heaven.

One of the challenges inherent to the focus on manifesting things using the power of a connection to Spirit is that it tends to delude us into thinking that “it’s all about us“. Even as refrains of “we’re all one!” and “love is all there is” float around; the charitable hearts seen in some of the more Christian-leaning organizations are largely muted in many New Thought organizations. Tithing is specifically directed back to the minister or church/center and while support for charitable organizations is supported in some corners, it is specifically eschewed in others.

The teachings moved out of the star-studded streets of Hollywood and the Ebell theater and seemed to morph into the general New Thought mind as a way to get everything one wanted in life.

To be clear, the teachings based on many ancient spiritual traditions do, indeed, help us live more full lives, and experience more abundance. This abundance shows up as opportunities, peace, happiness, joy and sometimes even money. These teachings have helped MANY people turn their lives around from a perspective of negativity and lack to one of positive living, and expansion and I don’t want to skip over this deep truth.

Still, there is a tendency, perhaps uniquely American, perhaps just human nature, to think that using these principles is “all about us“. And therein lies a significant problem.

The biblical canon that is taught as one of the foundations of New Thought (Ernest Holmes was ordained as a Divine Science minister and Divine Science is openly a Christian metaphysics teaching) reminds readers over and over that it is most definitely NOT all about us. It is my belief that we would do well to teach this larger Truth more often than we do a self-focused doctrine.

What does that mean?

From my interpretation of this, and based on the results I’ve observed, this means that instead of running “Unexpected Income” programs (where people are obligated to hand over 10% of any additional income they bring in to the minister or church/center), program focus should be shifted to knowing that we are provided enough that we can devote our time and talents to giving to others. It seems particularly gauche to clap and celebrate someone finding a $10 coupon when there are so many in our communities who are not sure how they will pay their rent, buy diapers for their babies or feed their elderly parents.

True abundance comes not from the amount of money we attract into our bank accounts, but from the Good we seed in the world. Yes, we need money to pay for housing, food and clothing; but if we are clothed, housed and eating regularly – we might want to think about turning our super-Spiritual skills outward to help others who are in the most need.

I know that in some corners of New Thought and spiritual metaphysics, this is seen as anathema to doctrine. I call bull crap on that. If the tradition is built on the ancients, then what the ancients say needs to be considered, and caring for others is a consistent theme.

To be clear, I’ve written extensively on this blog about manifesting financial support, as well as my gratitude for the teaching and learning that gave me the ability to turn my thinking and my circumstances from LACK to ABUNDANCE. In fact, right now I am leading another journey along John Randolph Price’s 40-day Abundance Journey on YouTube (check out my Videos page for more information). But I continue to know that there is MORE to be learned and demonstrated from these ancient principles.

This morning I was reminded of this deep Truth in 2 ways. First of all, I received an email about a drive to collect diapers for a local Diaper Bank that supports families who cannot afford diapers for their babies. Secondly, I had an encounter – first with some lovely flowers (pictured above) and then with a dog.

As I headed out on my usual morning walk, I had an inkling to go RIGHT out of my driveway instead of the usual LEFT that I take. I generally go with these urges, considering them to be divine nudges for one reason or another.

When I got to the row of flowers shown in the photo above, I assumed that it was THIS that had nudged me right. I have wanted to take a photo of this row of free-spirited flowers for the past few weeks, and it is clear that their season of bloom is not long for the year.

I was so glad I had the urge to go this way today, and was finally able to get some photos of these flowers. That must have been the reason for my inclination to go RIGHT instead of LEFT, or was it?

As I continued my walk, I was nudged again to ignore my other usual habit of winding through the back streets, off the main drag. Even as I walked along the outer perimeter of my 2-mile path, I wondered why I was exposing myself to all the traffic noise and exhaust fumes – but the urge to follow this path did not wane.

I came to the 3rd right turn along my travels, and headed up the cross street – also busy with Saturday, late-morning traffic. I grumbled a little at the rougher sidewalk, overgrown shrubbery and noise and for a few moments wondered about my decision-making abilities. After all, if the FLOWERS were the reason for the initial right-hand turn, I could have turned into the quiet, neighborhood streets a block ago.

Not long after this mental exercise, I looked up to see a man with a lawn mower, and a dog with a clear, “cone of shame” on its head. I initially thought the dog belonged to the man mowing, and worried that the busy street and his attention on mowing his grass was a bad combination.

Then I realized that he was NOT the dog’s owner, as the dog dashed, haphazardly, down the sidewalk toward me. I’m a dog-lover (cats, too!) and can’t help but to talk lovingly to random pets I encounter, so I began to talk to this young dog who I now knew was not under anyone’s control.

A couple times the dog turned toward the busy street, and each time I was able to distract him/her by calling out in my “dog mom voice“. I was not sure what I could do, or where he/she belonged, and I was worried about the pace and intensity of the traffic on the street.

Just then a man came out of a house, a little bewildered, sharing that his dog had bolted out of the basement door. At that moment I knew why I had felt the “divine nudge” to take a different route. The flowers were nice, but the timing of encountering a loose dog, and being able to calm him/her until their human came looking for them was a much larger Good.

After “Fido” was successfully corralled, I thought about the times in my life others have shown up for me in my hour of need. In some instances this was with an opportunity or financial support; other times it was information or kind words; and still other times something as fleeting and simple as being in the right place at the right time – such as I was for this wayward pooch and its family.

In his song, I Will Be, Michael Gott sings,

Here I am – a vessel to be used;
whatever Spirit needs of me,
I will be, I will be, I will be.
Here I stand – my heart is here to serve.
Wherever Love is leading me,
I will go, I will go, I will go.

Michael Gott

I know for sure that I was led to take a slightly different route this morning so I could show up at the divine right time for a family and their dog.

This profound Truth – brought to me on a suburban sidewalk in an unassuming American neighborhood this morning – reminded me of the critical importance of remaining true to the core teachings of spiritual Truth: that each of us is absolutely supported, provided, and loved – but that we are here to do more than TAKE. We are here to be that support and love for others, too. We are here to serve.

As we work on our own abundance, prosperity and more – let us look at how we can give more, share widely and serve in alignment with the great Good that we continually receive.

And so it is.

(C) Practitioner's Path

Opportunities to serve/share our good fortune with others:

Opening our eyes

Many years ago – in between the period of my traditional, Protestant upbringing and my affiliation with spiritual metaphysics – I was very interested in the research on religious cults. I forget what national or international news may have stirred that interest, but I had no shortage of examples around me that raised my eyebrows and interest in learning about the techniques used and characteristics of cults.

One of the things I learned is that there are full-bore cults (think Jonestown or the Branch Davidians) and there are organizations that are mostly reasonable organizations, but who engage in some practices that lean toward cult-like behavior.

This blog post is intended to focus on some of those cult-like behaviors.

Forced Giving

Tithing as a coercion or requirement is considered by those who study cults to be “forced giving” and a definite cult behavior. There is often the suggestion if not an outright statement that if you don’t give to the church or center, you can never prosper. And that is not only wrong, but provably inaccurate. We all know plenty of people who have never tithed a day in their lives, and who are quite wealthy.

In addition, the “biblical basis” for tithing is a stretch, at best. Tithing in the Hebrew scriptures was based very specifically on things grown from the land: crops, spices, fruits, and more.

The verse in Malachi 3:10 is often quoted, but how many of us have “storehouses” for grain and other harvested things? Also, there were plenty of people working for wages back then – and it does not mention tithing on their pay.

In the Christian text, the mandate to tithe is actually called out by the teacher Jesus, as being secondary to the OTHER laws.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

Matthew 23

Prosperity as a Sign of Spiritual “Favor”

Many groups, inside and outside of traditional Christianity, have latched on to the concept of prosperity as a spiritual practice. One group whose research is aimed at calling out (Christian) ministers who use ministry as a means to get rich has identified some characteristic behaviors of the ministry or minister who is primarily interested in wealth attainment as a priority over teaching spiritual (life) truths.

They include the following:

  • Building the MLM model church/center where the giving of money and “brown-nosing” (or catering to) the ministers gets you access to them and an inside track to the circles of power – including their contacts in the larger organization(s).
  • Demanding loyalty – not approving/allowing members to visit other churches/centers – and refusing to allow non-member speakers and guests).
  • Selling (pushing) books written by the minister
    • also teaching classes that require PURCHASE of book written by the minister
  • Selling tapes/DVDs/online talks prepared by the minister
  • Specialized conferences (featuring the minister and others in his/her “special” circle)
  • The speaking circuit (where those in the “special” ministerial circles invite each other to speak in various churches/centers) – I call this the “Rev-Dr club“.
    • Excerpt from How Pastors Get Rich:
    • Some speaker’s egos are so ripe that they demand business or first class flights, expensive chauffeured cars, five star hotel accommodation, gourmet dining, and the right to bring a small entourage along with them (at the church’s expense). Their fees can be enough to buy a family car, and then they have the audacity to expect a special “love offering” to be made for them. The sales of their books and DVD’s are carefully planned, and the hosting [location is] expected to hype their products.

Rigid Rules

In identifying general cult warning signs, there is a list of behaviors that may signify an organization is a straight-up cult, including the usual BIG RED FLAGS: trying to separate members from their families and friends (those not associated with the group); a single, charismatic leader; members who seem constantly happy and enthusiastic; instant friends; members are told who they can or cannot talk to or associate with; hiding what they teach.

Other warning signs that are more likely to extend beyond hard core cults and into organizations that are otherwise reasonable are as follows:

  • Insisting that people must pay for [specific services] because “they will not appreciate them if they are freely given
  • Rigid hierarchies (power sits at the top, within a narrowly-defined group)
  • Shutting down any questioning of the teachings or practices – often by accusing you of having a “bad attitude” or not being a “team player
    • this has been identified as “spiritual bypass” in some organizations

One interesting characteristic of cult members is that most of them don’t think they’re in a cult and will argue vehemently against the mere suggestion that something is amiss. Another important note is that intelligence is no guarantee of immunity to cult affiliation. Over the years some deeply intelligent people have been sucked into cults!

It’s always a good idea to keep a healthy sense of self; to remain willing to ask hard questions, and to hold those in leadership positions accountable for providing truthful answers to questions about their actions, and the organization.

In most organizations, we’ll find a willingness to answer hard questions, even if it means there’s some discomfort in the acknowledgement that “things could be better“. This is a GOOD sign that we’re simply dealing with humans in groups and not an organization tilting toward cult-like behavior.

Warning Signs

The warning signs in an organization that is beginning to lean toward becoming a cult include mandates to never question; to always be positive (or else!) and when hard questions posed are met with threats to our affiliation, status or membership (this last one is a BIG red flag!).

If we can’t ask hard, honest questions about the business model, the practices of those in leadership positions or the finances (including the motivations behind pushing a particular initiative that is a money-maker); we’re dealing with cult behavior (best case scenario) and maybe the emergence/expansion of a cult mentality within the organization.

Lastly, we must remember not to let the GOOD that is taught or done by the organization cloud our common sense. Jim Jones started the People’s Temple to address the racism and segregation he saw as a problem in society and churches.

The initial goals of his People’s Temple were admirable and focused on civil rights; but Jim Jones was unstable, and the “rules” for affiliating with his congregation began to evolve.

Soon, no one was able to question him, or leave the group without being branded a traitor. In the end, he is responsible for more than 900 murders, including more than 300 children.

Bodies of more than 400 members of the Jim Jones’ sect “Temple of people” lie down, on 19 November 1978, in Jonestown, where the Cult leader Jim Jones had established the Peoples Temple. More than 900 people died, on November 18, 1978, in the largest mass suicide in American history. (Photo by – / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

Most organizations that have episodic bad behavior are not in any danger of devolving into a cult. Still, as individuals, we must remember that when we are giving our time, talents and tithes to an organization, we have an absolute right to ask questions and get honest, transparent answers in return.

If anyone suggests otherwise – we’d be wise to pay attention, and take action in our own best interests that may include leaving the organization or reporting questionable behaviors to the appropriate authorities (these will almost always be financial in the early stages of the slide into chaos).

There is a lot of GOOD that can be done in groups of like-minded people. There is also a significant opportunity for harm. The responsibility lies with each of us as individuals who are participants in these organizations to examine critically, ask honestly and hold those in positions of power accountable for their words, deeds and more.

Divine Right Action

There is an appropriate response or reaction to the realization that things are not as we imagined, especially for spiritually-inclined people who have a heart for service. This response is to give to where there is need (yes, I know – anathema in some circles, but I disagree with those circles).

Right now in the United States alone, food insecurity is a serious public health threat. It was a problem BEFORE the pandemic wreaked havoc on the world and on many businesses, jobs and careers.

If you find yourself torn about supporting an organization that is exhibiting questionable behaviors, or supporting goals that seem out of alignment with what the world needs now (i.e. more support for them and not much for anyone else), I encourage all of us to identify the food bank in our area, and start giving to them, regularly, consistently, whatever we feel compelled to give.

In most food bank organizations, every $1 donated results in the acquisition of $5 worth of food for hungry families. I can think of no better way to create a better world, to seed the example that “love is all there is” and to be the change we want to see in the world.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Becoming the Observer

As the organized religious/spiritual world of spiritual metaphysics grapples with the explosion of these teachings in the larger world (outside of their walls and control), there is an opportunity to look at both sides and see the rich gifts of wisdom in each corner.

Amidst the coaching, classes and support in spiritual metaphysics for manifestation and miracles (inside organized religion/spirituality and beyond), one of the most powerful techniques is often lost. I refer to the shifting from “participant” to “observer“.

Shifting into the role of the observer is a powerful technique, but what does it involve beyond “letting go” which is a common understanding of this, albeit not a complete one?

Miyamoto Musashi, a famed Samurai from the 17th century in Japan, is often referenced in writings about strategy (in battle and life) and the critical difference between simply seeing and intentional observing. He believed that strategy in business or in battle is best approached from a perspective of objectivity.

He studied Buddhism, as well as the Shinto religion of his region and time, and the influence of this is seen in his perspective of putting aside one’s emotions to more clearly see things.

In the book, “The Cosmic Ordering Service“, we read:

“Inner peace is the one-in-a-million super-multiplier for enhancing the effectiveness of the ordering service.”

Barbel Mohr, author

This inner peace opens the door to objectivity, and seeing things the way they are, instead of through the lens of our emotions, which are not always accurate. The challenge in this is that it is a PASSIVE act and we are a people born into and schooled on ACTION as a means to our goals.

Examples are plentiful, but I want to deal with 2 common ones: finances and relationships.

In a circumstance of financial upset, such as not having enough money left over after payday, or feeling perpetually low-resourced; if we descend into the emotions of it, we may move into areas of blame (of ourselves or others), un-forgiveness and misery which leads to resentment, and other negative emotions.

I have written many blogs about how resentment alone blocks our Good. Instead of FEELING all these negative things about a financial situation or circumstance, the warrior stance would be to look at the situation as a fact, devoid of emotion.

This is the financial reality of this moment; I need to make some choices in light of this situation.

In my own practice, I use a visualization that sees me rising up away from the situation – and the “heat” of the circumstances feels less and less intense.

This also works well when we are dealing with relational issues, whether at work, in our families or among friends and associates. Rehashing in our minds (or to anyone who will listen) who did what and said what, and why that was wrong and we didn’t deserve it simply keeps piling logs on the fire. Accepting that someone did/said something and allowing it to stand on its own without ANY emotional attachment to it is the first step toward peace.

My paternal grandmother, who knew nothing of spiritual metaphysics as far as I know, seemed to understand this. She was famous for pronouncing, in the midst of some crisis that emerged and was not (immediately) fixable: “That’s the way it is, …” and moving on. I think we’d call that “acceptance” in spiritual language today.

Regardless of the name – it works.

Once we can get to that point of detachment and “observation“, we need to be clear on what we want. Peace in our family unit. Financial ease. Meaningful work. A new place to live. Whatever the issue, when we get clear on what we want, and then move out of the EMOTIONAL assessment of our situation, and into the perspective of the observer of events/circumstances; we will triumph over the negativity surrounding it.

In my own experience, the more I have practiced detachment and truly let things go as just a fact of things, the sooner I have attracted or manifested or demonstrated the Good I was seeking on the larger plane.

It’s like (and this is a metaphor) there is a great, parental Force waiting to see if we can learn how to behave in this world filled with people and situations that are not ideal. And when we DO figure that out, we are rewarded (remember – I used that as a metaphor).

The process is energetic and not a cosmic reward for good behavior, but the above example is helpful in understanding the importance of detaching from the emotions of unfairness, blame, resentment and more and settling into a knowing that all is well.

Deepak Chopra has also taught this concept in wonderfully accessible ways, including some of his early works with Wayne Dyer, such as How to Get What You Really, Really, Really, Really Want – which I consider to be Spiritual Metaphysics 101 (e.g. a required foundational course) for anyone new to the teachings.

When we are ready to “graduate” from getting giddy about green lights and parking spaces, and move forward into a deeper practice; the shift from active engagement to observation is the key.

And so it is.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Be a Conqueror

Sometimes those teaching the principles of spiritual metaphysics come across as privileged twits who never face any REAL life issues. Since becoming a serious student and practitioner of the principles of spiritual metaphysics, I have alternately struggled with feeling this way about others (notably some prosperity teachers) and catching myself coming across this way.

I tend to share things publicly that may seem trivial and superficial. This does NOT mean that I do not experience deep challenges and heart-wrenching problems. It only means that many of those are deeply personal and not things I share in the public sphere. Today I want to share a spiritual learning tool that I use when I need to deal with some of these deeply difficult and personal issues.

I think we all can think of a time in our lives when someone has hurt us deeply. We’ve spent our early years learning how to bounce back from these insults and injuries on the playgrounds and classrooms and in some cases, sadly, from our family experiences.

As we grow older, we navigate the stormy waters of adolescence and more complex (& painful) lessons. I was aggressively bullied in high school and it had a profound impact on my life trajectory and personality. In varying ways, we survive these experiences; we learn and (hopefully) grow from them into more whole versions of our true selves.

It would be less painful if, after adolescence, we could be assured of no more pain, but this is never the case. It appears that the adolescent years are a critical training period for life in general.

It is during times of pain and suffering that the tools of spiritual learning can be most impactful and effective. While the EASIEST application of the tools is often seen in the area of finances, some of the most IMPORTANT ones are helpful when we are facing health or relational issues. In this post I will address relational issues.

When we have been treated poorly by someone, whether we see it as intentional or just boorish, bad behavior – it hurts. Depending on how close we are to the person who inflicts the pain, we will experience a varying timeline of recovery and peace. Here’s what I have learned when navigating these difficult times.

  • Allow yourself to grieve
    • Often when someone hurts us, we realize that the relationship we THOUGHT we had is not the relationship they agreed to. This means that we will need to reeducate ourselves on the parameters of the relationship and say “goodbye” to the expectations we once had and the vision we once held for the relationship if it is one that we expect or want to keep around in some form. This will require us to grieve the loss of what was (or what we thought it was).
  • Forgive yourself for missing the signs
    • Often when someone with whom we’ve been generous, kind or loving acts in a way that is hurtful, we can feel FOOLISH for not earlier seeing the signs that our generosity was not appreciated or even wanted. We acted out of love, or at the very least out of a desire to help and should never feel foolish or naive for giving generously of ourselves. We should never feel badly for caring about others or having a generous heart.
  • Learn the lesson
    • While we don’t want to punish ourselves for NOT seeing that our presence, generosity or other support was unappreciated; we do want to learn to see the signs so we can avoid being hurt again (or at least get away from the situation sooner). Here are a few examples:
      • Someone who is always too busy or overworked to come to our end of town, but who regularly comes to the same area to hang out with friends is sending us a message (we’re not important enough to them to come that far; others are but we are not)
      • Someone who is perpetually miserable when we’re around because they “hate going to (name a venue or activity)” but then spends time and money to go to the same venue with others is sending a message (our wants/needs are not important to them or they don’t like spending time with us)
      • Someone who makes us feel guilty when they do something for us by reminding us repeatedly what all they’ve done or given to us (people who give out of love or generosity don’t act this way)
  • Acknowledge our past actions
    • All of us have hurt someone with our words or actions at some point. Remembering that we are not only wounded, but have been at others times the one who caused pain, helps us to see the person who has hurt us as more human, and this is important for healing, forgiveness and eventually peace (for us – we have no control over anyone else’s peace).
  • Distance
    • When we step on a glass shard and cut our foot, healing cannot take place if we keep stepping on broken glass. We need to remove the thing that is CUTTING our skin so we can heal. Similarly, we cannot heal from a painful personal encounter by continuing to expose ourselves to the hurtful behaviors or words. This means we need to immediately and significantly separate ourselves from the situation and person(s).
    • Wisdom dictates that we should not return to these situations or circumstances until the things that were not right have been changed. In some cases this will mean that we must move on permanently and, depending on who it is that has hurt us, this may be easy. It may also be one of the hardest things we have to do in our lives.
    • Distance includes not talking about it to all of our friends and anyone who will listen. Spiritual teachers remind us that “energy flows where our attention goes“. We must not give any more energy to a person or circumstance that has hurt us – we need to let it go.
  • Forgive the person
    • Forgiveness isn’t approving what happened. It’s choosing to rise above it” (Robin Sharma). And in rising above it, we give ourselves the gift of peace. Here are some things to remember that can help to ease this process (and it is a process).
      • People who treat others badly will receive “retribution” in a way that is commensurate with their actions. The Universe keeps perfect records, and what I call “garden variety karma” is very real. It’s also much more appropriate than anything I could come up with. I have learned not to gloat when I eventually hear the news – that’s bad for my karma – but it does feel good to know that like Newton taught, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
      • Hurt people, hurt people. Anyone who is treating others badly is hurting on the inside. This doesn’t make us feel better in the now, but in retrospect if we can see that the big, bellowing bully is really just a scared, cowering kid; it can help us feel at least some compassion.
      • Resentment (and unforgiveness is a form of resentment) is the biggest block to receiving our Good. While forgiving others is good for us in terms of our own peace of mind and ease; it is a critical component to staying in the flow of life. It keeps our channels clear and open to receive all the Good in life that is coming our way. We don’t need to compound our pain by holding on to anger and resentment and blocking more Good.

Spiritual principles can help us financially, which is great when things are tight – but some of the best applications of ancient spiritual Truths come when we are experiencing emotional pain. If we are willing to do the heavy lifting and the “hard work” – we can conquer the pain and hurt; we can rise up to that higher place where peace of mind, happiness and more become ours, once again.

And so it is.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Pearls before swine

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Matthew 7:6

Since the world entered the age of social media, I have thought of this verse many times. While I’m as game as the next person to counter an ignorant post, or attempt to correct just-plain-erroneous statements; there comes a point when any further engagement is nothing more than “giving that which is holy to the dogs” – with all due honor and respect to my canine friends.

The wisdom of this verse extends well beyond the typical chatroom brawl, however and into the non-digital aspects of life. It is also provides guidance when deciding which organizations to support with our time, tithes and talents.

The language of throwing pearls before swine conjures an extreme image, and this may cause the core message to be lost on the modern, metaphysical audience. The wisdom in this simple phrase makes it worth a second look.

In the biblical canon, jewels are referenced often and the pearls in this verse represent things that are precious to us – mostly non-physical things. These would be our time, talent or care and concern.

Outside of the spiritual canon, we can easily see the utility of this advice in relationships. If we are consistently giving, supporting, caring for and showing up in peoples’ lives and they’re not giving us even a casual consideration – we are throwing our “pearls” before “swine“.

As a parent, we would counsel our young children to stop spending time with people who treated them poorly and our older children to leave romantic relationships where there was all take and no give – or where the balance of the relationship was negative and not positive or even neutral.

This same advice applies to the organizations we affiliate with, whether as a volunteer, employee or client/customer. The universal energy of Life is one that operates most efficiently when there is both give and take. Similar to friendships and relationships that are one-sided, organizations can take on a similar lop-sided tilt. Our role is to stay clear-eyed and self-aware so that we can honestly evaluate the cost/benefit of continuing our relationships and support of organizations.

The wisdom of ancient texts is too often lost in religiosity (to our detriment). This advice is timely in the 21st century as much as it was in the time of the first century of the Common Era (BCE). The very-human tendency to use people for selfish reasons, and take advantage of peoples’ generosity as long as they are willing to be generous, are only checked by extreme self-awareness on the part of those who are acting badly (less likely) or the realization by those being used/mistreated that there are other options and that they can walk away.

We’ve all been on BOTH sides of this in varying degrees in our lives whether on a small stage, such as among our siblings or family members, or on a larger scale in business or professional organizations. It’s not a crime to be self-focused, or absorbed in our own needs, goals and desires; but we will not grow emotionally, intellectually or spiritually until we realize that there is a balance required for success – a give and take that allows the highest and best for ALL involved to emerge.

When we recognize this, from either side of the equation, and begin to live in the awareness, recognition and respect of this universal Law; our lives simply work better.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Foundation of Faith

“The Power that created you, is sustaining you.”

Divine Science Practitioner curriculum

I began this blog more than 6 years ago as a sort of journal of faith. I wanted to document each time a blessing was bestowed, a prayer answered, a demonstration realized.

This has become in many ways a primer on the great Goodness that is available to us when we walk the spiritual or inspired (in-Spirit) path as Wayne Dyer would often call it.

Each small blessing, each answered prayer, each demonstration realized has laid down another layer in my foundation of faith. No matter how small and seemingly insignificant, each time I step forward in the knowing that I am provided, my faith is strengthened.

Regardless of the appearance of things, the “expert” advice, the “common” knowledge; I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a Power for Good in the Universe – greater that I am, and greater than any circumstance that I face – and It is working, always, on my behalf.

I know that I am never alone or helpless; that I am provided – always and in all ways.

I know these things because I have built a foundation of faith by practicing the Presence, and standing firm in the knowledge that the Power that created me is, in every moment, sustaining me.

It’s a good place to be – a place of strength. But this strength and knowing cannot be purchased, stolen, borrowed temporarily or acquired via shortcut. It can ONLY be attained through consistent, regular and intentional application of ancient spiritual principles that have been taught across cultures and time.

The peace that accompanies such a foundation of faith is available to all who are willing to put in the time, attention and INTENTION to spiritual learning; to those committed to practicing the Presence every day, in every way.

It’s simple, but not easy – mostly because the world will say “that’s a bunch of baloney“. But for those willing to ignore the world, and keep their attention and focus on the Infinite Possibilities that exist, your Good is waiting!

And so it is.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Related blog posts:

Identifying our connection

In my previous post, I wrote that the process of prayer has been overly complicated by institutions over cultures and time and suggested that getting the Divine assistance we need is much simpler than most of us have been taught.

I suggested that there are only 3 steps, and a letting go that are needed to find or RECOGNIZE the help we need in life. Here’s a recap of those 3 (active) steps:

  1. Recognize that there is an Infinite/Divine Spirit that is the foundation of all life (ALL life).
  2. Understand/believe that you are not only connected to this Spirit but are made from the same Divine “stuff” as Spirit.
  3. Accept that the truth of #1 and #2 means that you are always (ALWAYS!provided with what you want and need.
    • understanding that sometimes these things show up looking a little different that we expected but that it always works out for our highest Good!

In this post, I want to focus on how to get grounded in the knowing of step #2 – a step that some struggle with when new to spiritual metaphysics.

Dragonfly visit – OBX 2020 (R Harmon)

I believe that the very BEST way to understand and BELIEVE that I am not only connected to Spirit, but made from the same Divine “stuff” is to make the connection to nature.

It has been my experience that nature is a common and regular medium in which Spirit communicates Its presence to us. Our “assignment” in seeking to adopt the most effective manner of connection to Spirit (or prayer as I have described it) is to quiet down, look around, be still, be open and listen.

I have had so many of these experiences, including a number of very up-close and personal visits by dragonflies, such as the one that landed on my hand and stayed for a few minutes (documented in the photo above).

Last week at work, I was experiencing some work-related stress. Thankfully, I am blessed by the ability and space to take a walk on my break in a lovely, natural environment. As the challenge in my work day began to impact me negatively, I decided to get up from my desk and take a walk. Walking in nature I experienced a meditation-like peace, and I knew I would return refreshed, renewed and ready to tackle the issues anew.

Only a few minutes into this walk, I came to a bend in the path and out from the bushes came 3 monarch butterflies. They fluttered there in front of me, briefly flew around me, and then went on their way. It was brief but powerful.

I’ve seen many monarch butterflies, but I have never encountered 3 of them at the same place and time – especially in a suburban neighborhood environment. In the 6+ years that I have been walking this route, I have never seen more than 1 at a time and even those were not daily occurrences.

This encounter with what I call “winged spirit” is all I needed to course-correct that day; to reconnect with the Truth that no matter what it LOOKS like on the outside, all is well – and – I am not navigating any of this alone.

An added benefit to the practice of noticing small blessings like a visiting dragonfly or trio of butterflies is that while we’re engaged in NOTICING these pleasant happenings, we are – almost imperceptibly – strengthening our connection to Spirit; grounding ourselves in the knowing that we are supported, protected, loved; never alone and always provided.

This aspect is not always as obvious in the moment as is the delight or joy, but it is every bit as real and present.

As we work to build our faith in and reliance on the One Presence, this practice of noticing the whispers of Spirit in nature is a simple way to strengthen and fortify our practice.

Lastly, journaling about these encounters is a wonderful way to make the impact of the moment extend for a longer period of time. In this YouTube video “Mini Master Class” I share a method I use for turning around a difficult situation or period in my life. The same process can be used to document these brushes with Spirit.

Whichever way we choose; we can experience, enjoy and embrace the way that Spirit shows up to remind us that we are never alone or helpless, and that the Force that guides the stars, guides us too.

And so it is.


(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path 

Prayer for Mere Mortals

One of the greatest gifts that spiritual metaphysics gave to the world is the decoupling of prayer from favors. In too many corners of traditional Christianity, answered prayer is tied to being good enough (worthy); and in some cases to the method of the praying. This second issue extends itself beyond Christian circles and into some corners of spiritual metaphysics where the FORMAT and sequence of the prayer is dictated and critiqued.

There’s an element of control inherent in the prescriptive prayer process that I’m not crazy about as it sets up a concept of “us vs. them” – or those who “know how to pray” and those who need to ask for prayers. It’s all a bit too much like the pre-Reformation Church for me!

My studies of the larger spiritual metaphysics movement has led me to the belief that it matters very little what we say in moments of prayer: it’s what we KNOW and believe.

A few years back I wrote about how a young family manifested a flute for their daughter who wanted to be in the band. I talk about this in one of my latest talks on my YouTube channel, Reach for Healing.

In this demonstration of a flute, there was no elaborate prayer work done, no outreach to a prayer practitioner or intentional focus on the acquisition of a flute. There was simply the KNOWING that they are connected to the Divine, and a BELIEF that they are always provided.

In one of his later books, the late Wayne Dyer wrote about being so aligned with Spirit that when he wanted or needed something enough to put his attention on it; it would simply show up. He illustrated this many times including the story of a special wrench that he needed to extract a broken light bulb from its socket that appeared at the end of his driveway, still in its packaging, as if dropped from an Amazon drone. It had apparently fallen out of someone’s bag as they walked by his property and was the exact tool he needed for that task.

This is one of those “Wow!” stories that always got a response from the audience when he shared it, but it’s not an exotic or rare occurrence for those who understand the spiritual nature of life.

The “secret” – although it’s not a very well-kept one – to living a life where things just start to show up is as simple as this:

  1. Recognize that there is an Infinite/Divine Spirit that is the foundation of all life (ALL life).
  2. Understand/believe that you are not only connected to this Spirit but are made from the same Divine “stuff” as Spirit.
  3. Accept that the truth of #1 and #2 means that you are always (ALWAYS!) provided with what you want and need.
    • understanding that sometimes these things show up looking a little different that we expected but that it always works out for our highest Good!

Living in/from this perspective means that we don’t need to worry about if “this” will happen or “that” might happen. We know that all is well, period. We know that we are provided, always. We know that no matter what it looks like externally, it’s all going to be OK.

In the Christian canon, this is taught in the following way:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

I prefer the metaphysical spiritual angle, which doesn’t suggest as much of a quid pro quo but we are all saying basically the same thing.

So for me, this breaks the concept of prayer into this simple box:

  • Recognize the Infinite
  • Understand our connection
  • Accept that we are provided
  • Relax and allow it to happen (let go & let God!)

No fancy words or reverberating oratories are necessary; no need for a specific set of steps or order of words and no need for an intermediary to say the words for us or interpret. We really just need to be still,.. and know.

And so it is!


 
(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path
  • be sure to read the follow-up on this post here

Angels Among Us

Today I spoke and expanded on a blog I had written a few years back titled “Help in Times of Need

Click here to listen.

We are never alone. The mystics, ancient wisdom texts and wise old men and women have repeatedly shared this Truth with us. Most of us have also experienced this for ourselves, including the late Congressman, John Lewis who recounted many times the day he narrowly avoided being clubbed to death in a protest around voting rights when “divine intervention” saved him for the important work he would do for our nation.

The video that accompanies the song I closed my talk with is a bit dated (hairstyles & clothes) but well worth the watch. I’ve added it at the bottom of this post.

I am knowing that each one of you reading this is blessed with an obvious, loving, divine reminder that you are never out from under Spirit’s protective care.

Ain’t it kind of funny, at the dark end of the road,
Someone lights the way, with just a single ray of hope.

Alabama “Angels Among Us”

Peace & blessings.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path