I’m re-reading a book I’ve had in my library now for a number of years (Can We Talk to God? by Ernest Holmes). In the early portion of the book, a section reminded me of a talk I gave last year on Hot Dogs and Closets. There’s a story (I believe it first emerged in 12-step programs) about hot dogs and closets. It goes something like this:
If you’re hungry, and you go into a closet to pray for food, God isn’t going to push a hot dog in through the keyhole. You need to come OUT of there and make yourself available for your prayer to be answered, or your treatment to demonstrate. In other words, treatment (prayer) works but you must be willing to meet God halfway.
In the book, Dr. Holmes writes, “…as we recognize [God]*, [God] recognizes us. As we go out to meet [God], [God] comes out to meet us. This is the meaning of the story of the Prodigal son. Always we are met halfway.”
In other words, when you want something badly enough to seek spiritual mind treatment, or spend time in prayer, you need to consider what comes next.
Back to the hot dog and closet metaphor: if you’re REALLY hungry there’s probably not a lot of food in your closet (unless you’re in the pantry, I guess). You can’t answer the phone, or the door or email where someone may be reaching out to invite you to lunch/dinner. You can’t see an ad for free hot dogs and drink at a local business or even a coupon for a free hot dog when you buy something else, but most of all you are limiting the ways that Spirit can answer by staying in that closet. In many ways, you are saying “I believe I can be fed, but it has to come through this keyhole – ’cause I’m not moving!”). That’s what Mike Dooley calls “messing with the cursed ‘Hows’.
Opening that door and taking a step OUT signals to the Universe that you are ready to receive and that you are open to the ways your demonstration will manifest; you’re not into micromanaging but will go about your day knowing that your prayer has already been answered.
Charles Fillmore wrote: “The inexhaustible Resource of Spirit is equal to every demand. There is no reality in lack. Abundance is here and now manifest.”
When I teach prosperity principles in my Reconnecting to Source seminars, I reinforce that all we want is ours, and that all we need to do is make the demand upon Spirit (with a nod to Florence Scovel Shinn). I teach simple steps showing people how to jump-start their move from lack to abundance. These steps include cleaning out closets, giving away things you don’t need or use anymore, clearing off your desk, cleaning out your refrigerator, car or bedroom, etc. Like standing up and moving out of the closet when you’re waiting on that hot dog, clearing and cleaning send the message that you’ve made your statement of Truth (“I Am abundant!” or “I Am provided!”) -AND- you’re ready to receive, signified by the room you have made in the physical realm for more.
Are you moving in the direction of demonstration with your actions, or are you stuck in your closet with an eye up against that keyhole?
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“I need a new car!” (have you cleaned out your old one so that it is ready to be sold, traded-in, or sent to the junkyard for scrap?)
“I need a car, period!” (do you have a driver’s license? have you checked into insurance and put aside the money you will need to activate your policy when the car arrives?)
“We need more people in this congregation!” (are you serving people in your community so they know you are there? is your Sunday service one that speaks to diverse groups of people or are you “doing church” the way YOU like it and don’t care what others want?)
“I need a better job!” (is your resume up to date? have you reached out to colleagues and former employers to network? are your skills where they need to be, and if not – what are you doing to change that?)
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There’s a reason the phrase, “Treat, then move your feet” is popular in New Thought, and specifically Religious Science circles. Treatment (affirmative, scientific prayer) works, but we still have to do our part. Moving into action signals our belief that the treatment is done and our demonstration is already in motion. The eyeball to the keyhole from inside the closet signifies doubt.
The next time you go into meditation or prayer to affirm something for your life, be ready to ask yourself, “what comes next?” and signal to the Universe that you’re serious about receiving!
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* in New Thought circles God is often referred to as a neutral pronoun (It) referring to Divine Substance, Divine Intelligence and/or Divine Law. For easier reading across larger audiences, I have replaced the use of the word ‘It’ with [God] in this post.