New paths

(C) 2019 Practitioner’s Path

Change is a part of life. Few will argue that point, but it’s hard not to be a little breathless at the magnitude and the pace of the changes in motion today.

The impacts are all around us – some of them helpful and positive; others confusing and even a little scary.

The paradigms we have relied on for decades are fading into obscurity even as technology makes things that were once unthinkable as close as our back pocket.

I’ve written a number of blogs on waning church and center attendance. I still meet people who tell me that “things are picking up!” and I smile. I’m happy that they are happy – but they are whistling past the graveyard. And not just because I say so. The trends are larger than any one denomination or faith group.

I still receive the local Jewish Chronicle. It’s a good read on local and world politics from the Jewish perspective and I enjoy every issue. A recent copy featured a front page, above the fold article on the relevance of the synagogue in the 21st century.

Before I share the details, let’s establish a few facts. The reason that Jews and Christians affiliate with and attend a local house of worship varies between the 2 faith traditions. While there are some shared motivations, there are also divergent ones. I know this because I have a foot in each camp. The closest comparison to Jewish practice (motivations to affiliate and attend) in the Christian tradition is Catholicism.

The reason I point this out is that this difference undercuts some of the generalized reasons naysayers give for the downward trends in church attendance (e.g. “it’s the music“, or “it’s the Sunday morning thing“). Catholics and Jews have had non-Sunday services for centuries and they’re still struggling along with the rest of the faith traditions to fill seats for their weekly services. They have vastly different holidays and still suffer similar challenges in membership and attendance. I feel confident in saying that it’s not the organist, cantor or communion wine keeping people away on Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday night or Sunday morning.

According to the article, while the local Jewish population grew by 17% since 2002; only 35% of households report a synagogue affiliation – compared to 53% in 2002.

One rabbi asked the question: “Can Jewish life be sustained without the synagogue?

A colleague answered him with an answer that we could use in the spiritual-not-religious sector: “Clearly people are living Jewish lives absent the synagogue.” (consider the 17% growth of Jewish households)

The same rabbi went on to say that the challenge will be “...to figure out what role the synagogue has going forward and how (leaders) can best meet that task.

The questions, and the answers, could be shared inserting “Center” for “Synagogue“. Clearly people are living SPIRITUAL LIVES absent the Center and the challenge for Practitioners, ministers and other leaders in New Thought is absolutely to figure out the ROLE that the Center can/could/should play in spiritual life, and how said leaders can best serve in that capacity.

Consider the brick road pictured in the photo above compared to the same section of road, freshly paved (below). The bricks are obsolete, and don’t serve the needs of travelers on the modern street – but the way is still viably traveled to reach the same homes, schools and other destinations.

Spiritual teachings are like these roads. They will remain avenues for enlightenment. The synagogues, churches and centers that once served a very important purpose are like the brick roads. In many ways they have outlived their relevance in the modern world – just as the beautiful but impractical, brick streets.

(C) 2019 Practitioner’s Path

We don’t stop traveling these streets; but we appreciate that our modern vehicles can drive on smooth, even asphalt instead of uneven bricks. Similarly, we won’t stop connecting with the Divine; praying and seeking spiritual meaning to our lives; but we connect in ways that are smoother and less disruptive to our modern lives.

The teachings of Ernest Holmes, Emma Curtis Hopkins, Thomas Troward, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ralph Waldo Trine, Malinda Cramer, Nona Brooks, the Fillmores and many, many more will live on in books, blogs, YouTube video talks and other media outlets; but the paths to learning them are in flux.

I sometimes look wistfully at the more pristine sections of brick streets in my neighborhood and wish that they could all be the quaint, throw-back style. Then, it rains (or worse, gets icy); and I remember that progress is a good thing (ice on brick roads is no joke).

In the 1940s everyone in the small town my father was born in went to church on Sunday. Many of these same people also had an outhouse instead of indoor plumbing. The good old days weren’t all that good. And while progress does bring with it a balance of good and bad; we must not get so fixated on the old days that we lose sight of the evolution unfolding in front of us.

Yes, the future of the 20th century-style church/center is tenuous at best, but the answers don’t lie behind us – after all, we’re now in the 21st century! The answers we seek will only be discovered when we embrace the future (it’s here!) and look ahead with open minds and open hearts.

And so it is!

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Related blogs:

Proof in the Pudding

I grew up in an era, and to some extent within a family construct, that believed that just about everything that a white, male who wore a suit & tie, and held some title (e.g. banker, lawyer, minister/rabbi, professor) said was true, reliable and largely undisputable.

The reticence to question, or seek additional or divergent information from one of these revered people, almost took my grandmother from me early in my young life.

Much to the chagrin of many older relatives, I was born with a rebellious nature. While bemoaned by many of these relatives, this nature has saved me a lot of heartache and has proven to be not only evolutionarily protective, but predictive of the skills our culture needs very badly. I seemed to come out of the womb asking “why” and not accepting ANYONE as an expert without a lot of proof.

Today as a culture we can point to any number of scandals that have stripped the veil of mystery from once-untouchable persons and organizations. Organized religion as a whole, doctors, lawyers, bankers and ministers all have a much higher bar to meet in general society to be considered legitimate. It is no longer enough to have a title or hide behind an instutition. It’s no longer acceptable for individuals and instutitions to say “trust me” without some evidence to back up the request for our trust.

Overall, this a net positive. Self-advocacy prevents victimization and is a skill we should teach alongside reading, writing and arithmetic. It also means that those of us promoting some sort of answer to life’s problems can no longer assume that our descriptive titles or organizational affiliations will mean anything, other than to us.

In healthcare and education, this shift from blind faith in what those with status and titles say, to requiring evidence to back every claim has been formalized into processes like accreditation, quality improvement programs and patient safety measures. Today before seeking care for a specific ailment or a surgeon to perform a necessary procedure we can research the background and performance of the individuals as well as the track record of the organizations to which they belong and in which they practice.

Similarly, we can request and review graduation rates, professor’s rankings and feedback from students, past and present, before selecting where to invest significant time and money in an education.

All of this transparency has supported positive change because people and organizations making claims now have to show evidence to back up their claims.

As an educator, I am held accountable for teaching content that is relevant and applicable – AND for being able to do so in a way that students can understand, accept and apply. If my students cannot take what I have taught them and translate it into demonstrable skills and the ability to get a job – I will not have a job for long. And I shouldn’t if what I’m teaching isn’t making a difference, and some would argue, a measurable difference.

Due to these requirements, colleges and universities require educators to provide “evidence” in the form of what is sometimes called artifacts of learning. These are gathered in portfolios and presented for tenure or contractual negotiations. They are also important in the cyclical accreditation process that assures the public that their dollars are being wisely spent.

Artifacts of learning include examples of the homework assigned, in-class presentations, projects engaged and tools used to teach. We present ourselves as educators, show our educational credentials and acadedmic titles and then show how we use our time in the classroom. They also include evidence in the form of successfully-employed graduates, working and applying the knowledge they learned in our classrooms in the work world. We demonstrate evidence – not only of our teaching, but of how our teaching has facilitated learning and changed lives.

In the realm of teachers and mentors for those seeking to expand their spiritual connections, I can think of no better artifact of evidence to put forth than our own lives and life examples.

Are we living, breathing examples of wellness, contentment and abundance? Can we share stories of not only how the principles worked for people 10 years ago, or in the previous century; but how they are consistently working right here, right now? Can we demonstrate that they work and do more than simply talk about them?

I believe that there is at least some causal relationship between the decline in religious organizations and the credibility gap that arose as technology made the actions and very human behaviors of religious leaders much more obvious to the world.

Does this mean that people of faith should throw their hands up and quit?

No, but it does mean that we need to be aware of the shifting landscape and understand that the things that worked 10, 20 or 50 years ago don’t necessarily work today. And that not only what we SAY, but how we show up in the world is so very important.

At one time, the title “Professor” was a lofty credential, and meant that few people questioned the perspective, opinion or what was done in the classroom by the persons holding that title. Today it’s a very different story as I have outlined above. There’s much more to being a Professor that puffing oneself up, talking for hours in front of the class and pronouncing one’s job title at cocktail parties. In fact, it’s a lot of work.

While religious and spiritual organizations are not required to report the number of lives they have changed, the prayers answered or the miracles clocked; an informed 21st century approach would undertand the culture in which we exist and the importance of answering “why” before it is asked.

I believe that the financial pinch that many churches and religious organizations find themselves in today is directly related to this issue. Absent a divine mandate, which we can agree has lost its hold over modern society; religious and spiritual organizations must make the value proposition obvious, or people will go elsewhere for inspiration, spiritual support and guidance.

Some will say “but the community is important“, and I agree, but there are many communities that provide socialization and learning but don’t ever ask for 10% of our income. Others will say that it’s about providing spiritual guidance and support. I think that’s true, but here’s where it needs to get real: we can’t advertise that we’ll teach tools that work for YOU, if we can’t get it working in our own lives.

We must not only walk the talk, but be willing to acknowledge when it’s not working.

I don’t give out relationship (love) advice, and there’s a reason. I’ve not demonstrated a lot of competence in this area across my life and don’t feel I have credibility to be handing out advice.

I do share what I have learned in the realm of attracting abundance, career success, family harmony, health & wellness, and financial stability – because I have demonstrated these principles many times over.

Perhaps it’s time for churches and centers need to dispense with the singular office of minister, and have dedicated volunteers (maybe even part-time positions) who provide guidance and support in areas where they are already demonstrating success.

I can envision small sections like a Ministry of Abundance; a Ministry of Relationships; a Ministry of Jobs & Careers; a Ministry of Health & Wellness,… and so on (Harry Potter reference almost unintentional).

Each Ministry Office would be held on a rotating basis by people demonstrating competence in the respective areas. AND, when someone began to experience challenges, another competent expert would step in to the Ministry and take over.

Let’s stop pretending that someone’s title or affiliation makes them an expert. It doesn’t and whether or not we want to accept this, we need to understand that the world knows it and is acting on that knowledge by dechurching and unaffiliating.

There’s much Good to be shared from the wisdom teachings that have spanned time and cultures. We risk not being able to uplift those who need them most when we cling desperately to old models that are woefully out of alignment with the reality of society today.

I wonder what it will take to inspire REAL change and am hopeful that the total crumbling of these traditions will not be what’s needed. I’d like to say that I’m optimistic about the forward evolution; but I’m not sure that I see any evidence for that optimism – at least not yet.

There’s still time.


(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Rinse, repeat

Now that you’ve been formally introduced to John Randolph Price’s Abundance Journey, the rest is up to you. If you’ve begun journaling the statements, continue each day until you’ve written and pondered each statement 3 more times, for a total of 40 consecutive days.

One of the many blessings I have taken from this journey are short statements of encouragment or faith that I use regularly when life gets “interesting“.

I’ve shared variations of a couple in earlier posts, but I’ll list them all here for easy access.

  • God/Spirit is lavish, unfailing abundance.
  • God/Spirit is the Source and substance of all my Good.
  • Money is not my supply. No person, place, or condition is my supply.
  • My consciousness of Truth is unlimited, therefore my supply is unlimited.
  • It is impossible for me to have any needs or unfilled desires.
  • I let go and let God/Spirit appear as abundance in my life and affairs.
  • I trust in the Divine Power to restore the years the locusts have eaten, to make all things new, to lift me up to the high road of abundant prosperity.
  • I have found the secret of life, and I relax in the knowledge that the activity of Divine Abundance is eternally operating in my life.
  • I acknowledge the Inner Presence as the only activity in my financial affairs, as the substance of all things visible.
  • My faith rests in the principle of abundance in action within me.

One important caveat to this journey is needed here. While many people reach for this book and process when money is the issue, it is critical to understand that Abundance is much more than dollars and cents.

I love to listen to people talk when the Power Ball gets into mega territory. I hear many different stories about what they would do with lottery winnings, and what I hear is not necessarily that people want the MONEY: they want what they believe the money can bring to them.

Some of these things are peace of mind, opportunities to travel, the ability to afford things they currently cannot, and freedom (from debt, having to work, and more).

This is such an important aspect to spiritual abundance studies. We must learn to not focus on a certain amount of money, but on the end result. Although I’ve racked up more than a few, my favorite example is the demonstration of a new roof. My focus was not on the $15,000 it would cost, but on the end result(s): peace of mind from having a sound home without any additional debt.

When we make the shift from focusing on money, to focusing on the experiences or end state we desire; the Universe begins to move people and circumstances around, and miracles happen. I’ve seen it over and over.

No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, consider adding the Abundance Journey to your tool box. I can attest to its great success in transforming spiritual abundance from an abstract concept learned in a class to real wealth. Without a doubt, it has been among the best $7 spend I have ever made.

Peace. Blessings. Abundance.

And so it is.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Abundant beginnings: statement 10

I keep my mind and my thoughts off “this world” and I place my entire focus on God within as the only cause of my prosperity. I acknowledge the Inner Presence as the only activity in my financial affairs, as the substance of all things visible. I place my faith in the Principle of Abundance in action within me.

John Randolph Price, The Abundance Book

As we come to the end of the 10 statements (keeping in mind that we will repeat all of them 3 more times along the 40-day abundance journey), we close with a strong statement of purpose: our focus.

We affirm that we now keep our minds and our thoughts off of this world. Translation: we will not focus our concern and attention on money, jobs, careers, investments, bank balances, home values,…etc.

Instead, we now keep our focus on the Inner Presence, as the ONLY activity in our financial affairs.

In the early stages of making this shift in knowing, this is a significant step. Most of us were raised to count dollars and cents; to tally savings and investments; to negotiate salaries and benefits. Yet, here we are learning that these things – notably of “this world” – are NOT where we need to place our focus.

The late Wayne Dyer taught these principles so clearly and plainly. In his life he wrote more than 30 best-selling books, and came to be known as an icon of spirituality.

He was invited to participate in the movie The Secret, but declined. He taught, especially toward the end of his life, a more nuanced version of the popular meme, “you become what you think about“. He taught that we attract what we are.

In my blog on the first step of the Abundance Journey I wrote about alignment; and this is the concept he is referencing. When we are in alignment with Spirit (or as Wayne Dyer often said, living an inspired life), we attract inspired circumstances, people and opportunities into our experience.

This is why I continue to push back against the idea that people need to tithe to a church or center in order to manifest money. It’s not the tithing that’s magical; it’s the energy behind the giving – and it doesn’t matter where you give!

In a previous blog I wrote about the importance of the position of our hearts as being more important than the position of the decimal point in our gifts. This relates to Dr Dyer’s teaching – that we attract who/what we are.

If we tithe to a church or center, but we are stingy in other areas in our lives, we’re missing the boat and we’re not going to demonstrate the abundance we are seeking. We can give and give and give that 10%, but until we BECOME generosity in ALL of our being; we will not attract generosity into our lives.

And when we learn that this resource is not scarce, but ever flowing in our direction; it’s easier to relax into a posture of being generous. We need not hold tightly to our wealth, as it flows “continuously, easily, and effortlessly” into our lives from Source.

These are significant steps of faith, but once we get into alignment, the Divine flow begins and we’re the only one who can turn it off.

A few blogs ago I wrote about asking (more Wayne Dyer guidance). In that post I wrote about yet another instance where I “let go, and let God appear as the abundant all sufficiency in my life”. And did It ever show up!

I’ll be bringing home a new Jeep Grand Cherokee in a few weeks and signing my Wrangler over to my family member. A couple months ago I couldn’t make the numbers work for the new Grand Cherokee, but I used the tools I share regularly on this blog, and knew that “…it is impossible for me to have any needs or unfilled desires.”

Student loans. A new roof. A new car. A pension, and much, much more. I AM provided – always and in all ways; and not because I’m smarter, more spiritual or luckier than anyone else.

I Am provided because I have learned to keep my mind and thoughts off “this world” and place my entire focus on God within as the only cause of my prosperity.

I Am provided because every moment of every day I acknowledge the Inner Presence as the only activity in my financial affairs, as the substance of all things visible.

I Am provided because I place my faith in the Principle of Abundance in action within me.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God/Spirit is the Source and Substance of ALL my Good.

And so it is.


(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Abundant beginnings: statement 9

When I am aware of the God-Self within me as my total fulfillment, I am totally fulfilled. I am now aware of this Truth. I have found the secret of life, and I relax in the knowledge that the activity of divine abundance is eternally operating in my life. I simply have to be aware of the flow, the radiation of that creative energy, which is continuously, easily, and effortlessly pouring forth from my divine consciousness. I am now aware; I am now in the flow.

John Randolph Price, The Abundance Book

Although this journey is a serious undertaking, I can’t help but think of old gangster movies when I get to this statement. It’s a humorous thought, as I am reminded of scenes where the boss’s henchmen tell the hapless victim: “we can do this the HARD way, or we can do this the EASY way – it’s up to you!

Life is kinda like a gangster. Whether we do things the hard way or the easy way is very much up to us. We need only “… be aware of the flow, the radiation of that creative energy, which is continuously, easily, and effortlessly pouring forth from my divine consciousness.”

The beauty of this is that when we learn the principles of spiritual abundance such that they are the default for our lives, we are able to feel an acute difference when things are IN alignment and when they are OUT of alignment.

This 9th statement is our acknowledging that we have learned the Truth; that we accept it and have incorporated it into our lives. We affirm in this statement that we are aware and in the flow – capping off our understanding and realization from the previous declarations in this journey. In other words, we’re doing things “the easy way“.

In this statement we write that we have “…found the secret of life” and that we can now “… relax in the knowledge that the activity of divine abundance is eternally operating in [our] life.

When we get to the point where we KNOW this, we truly can relax, because there’s not anything to worry about. We stay in tune with the Infinite, knowing that our alignment with Principle will direct our path.

In the Hebrew scriptures book of Proverbs we read similar counsel:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3

Metaphysically we use the word Law (as in spiritual Law) in place of Lord, and we generally avoid gender-specific pronouns, so we could be inspired to say the same thing in this way:

Trust completely in Divine Law and don’t rely on your own intellect. In all your thoughts, words and actions – acknowledge your connection to the Infinite Presence, knowing that your path is always illuminated.

As Louise Hay often said; these principles are simple, but they’re not always easy to implement. If we’re willing to put in the time, effort and commitment, however; we can move from swimming upstream against the currents of life to being “in the flow“.

It’s that simple!

And so it is.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Abundant beginnings: statement 8

My consciousness of the spirit within me, as my unlimited source, is the Divine power to restore the years the locusts have eaten, to make all things new, to lift me up to the high road of abundant prosperity. This awareness, understanding, and knowledge of Spirit, appears as every visible form and experience that I could possibly desire.

John Randolph Price, The Abundance Book

In preparing the post for this statement, I struggled. I felt (still feel) that nothing I could write in this series could compare to the inspired post I recently wrote about this same statement, titled “Restoration“.

The message of this 8th statement is restoration, and it’s a balm for the downtrodden and wounded spirit.

How many of us have regrets? I’ll venture a guess that every person reading this has at least a few. The promise of spiritual abundance is that no matter what we’ve missed, lost, or allowed to pass by; it’s never too late.

In many classes, we are asked: “What would you do if money was no object?

I change this slightly when considering the concept of Restoration: what can we forgive/release if we accept that all can be restored?

[The] awareness, understanding, and knowledge of Spirit appears as every visible form and experience that I could possibly desire.”

Are we in touch with what we desire? It’s not too late, now or ever.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Abundant beginnings: statement 7

The Divine consciousness that I am is forever expressing its true nature of abundance. This is its responsibility, not mine. My only responsibility is to be aware of this truth. Therefore, I am totally confident in letting go and letting God appear as the abundant all sufficiency in my life and affairs.

John Randolph Price, The Abundance Book

The impulse to pray and then micromanage the results can be hard to overcome; but it is essential if we want to experience the flow of Good into our lives.

In an earlier blog post I wrote about the biblical tale of Abraham and Sarah’s quest for a child. In this well-known story, they ask God for a child, but years pass and no baby comes. Sarah begins to doubt that it could happen, even though God had promised them that they would indeed have a child. In her limited vision, believing that it was up to her to fulfill God’s promise to her, she sends her maidservant to Abraham to lie with him and conceive a child.

It doesn’t take much of an imagination to see what a mess followed. Sarah prayed for her miracle, and then instead of remaining “aware of this Truth“, and being patient; she took matters into her own hands, and created chaos for her family, and some argue, for the world.

Our responsibility in living the principles of spiritual abundance is to be aware that the principle works, and to let go, and let God. It is NOT our responsibility to micromanage the outcome.

This is tricky because there is a fine line between “treating and moving our feet” and micromanaging.

The key lies in remaining open and receptive, which is a different energy than pursuing our own idea of how things need to unfold. When we learn to feel the difference between these 2 energies, we are on our way to becoming aware of our responsibility in the process.

Micromanaging feels desperate, tense and uncertain. Being in the awareness that “[t]he Divine consciousness that I am is forever expressing its true nature of abundance” feels like peace, patience and a quiet knowing that all is well.

This perspective allows us to discern when an opportunity comes along that may be a door to our Good. In my experience, this has always come from a place external to me, and not after I went searching.

For example, someone initiates contact with me about teaching as an adjunct, or with an opportunity to develop curriculum for a grant as opposed to me applying for a position in an active, seeking posture.

Another example would be when information comes to me in a passing conversation, such as happened with my student loans. There’s definitely a nuanced difference between micromanaging (desperately seeking something) and allowing; and the more we practice, the easier it is to recognize these two disparate energies.

As we practice this Jedi-like awareness, we become more and more confident in “letting go and letting God appear as the abundant all sufficiency” in our lives and affairs. And when we get to this point, there are few things that can rattle us. Challenges that appear along the way in our jobs, careers, bills and expenses can be viewed through the lens of peace when we know – when we are aware – that regardless of external appearances, “…Divine consciousness …is forever expressing Its true nature of abundance” and that “[m]y only responsibility is to be aware of this truth.”

Learn. Practice. Be still and know. And so it is.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Abundant beginnings: statement 6

My inner supply instantly and constantly takes on form and experience according to my needs and desires, and as the principle of supply in action, it is impossible for me to have any needs or unfilled desires.

John Randolph Price, The Abundance Book

The essence of the 6th statement is realizing that taking control of our needs and desires as they are expressed in our WORDS, ACTIONS and THOUGHTS is critical!

The “principle of supply in action” fulfills the needs we are emitting in our very being. Or as one of my early teachers liked to remind us, “the Universe always & only says Yes!

If we go around complaining about not having enough, the principle of supply in action/Universe says Yes – and we experience a lot more of “not having enough“.

It is impossible to have any needs or unfilled desires, but we must take care to pay attention to the way we are communicating our needs and desires.

The best way to recalibrate our needs emissions is to practice gratitude. In a blog post that I wrote about following my bliss I discussed the great power that I found in blessing/feeling grateful for a $2.17 cup of fruit. The transformative, downstream power of that initial act cannot be dismissed. That act opened the door to more little blessings, and then a regular current of larger and more significant blessings.

As we journal this statement, we can know that it is indeed impossible for us to have any needs or unfilled desires, and at the same time – accept OUR responsibility for communicating/emitting the true nature of our desires in all we do. #JustDoIt

And so it is.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path