I’ve not been shy about sharing my opinions on the standard prosperity teachings found in many New Thought churches and centers. While I find them to be wonderfully inspirational when first encountered, I have also found that many places are not teaching the follow-up curriculum that is the magic pixie dust that makes prosperity truly work in our lives.
It is this lack of transparency in the initial learning that I believe a) fails new members who come into a center or church to learn prosperity and b) fails long-time adherents who never move beyond the surface teachings.
In my version of the ideal world of teaching metaphysics, prosperity would always and only be taught with a disclaimer and requirement that students understand/sign off on knowing that this is spiritual warrior work, and not a magical incantation that they can learn in less than a few weeks. AND it would come with something I’ve not seen in spiritual prosperity teaching (disclaimer: what I am about to reveal may already be part of what is taught in some New Thought corners that I haven’t encountered)
In my previous blog I wrote about the wisdom of the story of Job and how it applies to something debated quite hotly in the New Thought arena: the role of consciousness in life’s difficulties. Today I want to address the wisdom found in Job that just so happens to be echoed in some modern-day research.
10 And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.Job 42:10
To recap Job’s experience: he had suffered the loss of family, wealth, stature and health. His friends, being steadfast in their care for him, began to offer advice to him that was out of alignment with the truth. As the story goes, the Almighty was angry with Job’s friends for their error-filled advice and Job – even in his own misery – prays for mercy to be shown on his friends. Job was able to look past his own very present problems to pray for goodness and mercy for his friends.
In doing so, Job’s fortunes were restored, and he ended up with twice as much as he had before. Metaphorically presented, as the biblical canon is, the language is not meant to be precise in terms of measurement but impact: our own needs are more than met when we stop begging for our own good and lift up the needs of others.
In Lynne McTaggart’s latest book, The Power of 8, she documents the healing power of group intention. Built on the findings from her book, The Intention Experiment, The Power of 8 is a handbook on how to bring real healing out of the realms of the miraculous and into everyday practice.
In her body of work on intention and healing, that included reviewing research from many other similar studies, McTaggart highlights the significance of “the rebound power of praying for other people“.
Referencing a study by Dr. Sean O’Laoire (Irish Catholic priest and psychologist), and another by Karl Pillemer of Cornell University , McTaggart peels back the layers on intention to reveal something that was shared – in just 2-sentences – in the Book of Job: when we take our intentions and focus off of ourselves and turn them to the care and support of others, we are restored.
McTaggart writes of one participant who, after closing a business in 2013, struggled to regain her footing and was working hard to shift her prosperity consciousness. This participant’s experience did not move, and she was struggling with how to remove her limited thinking and realize more prosperity for herself. Then she was invited to participate in a healing circle that was focused on a young man who had experienced a terrible injury and whose recovery was complex.
McTaggart reports that after only two days of shifting her intention away from her own prosperity needs and instead focusing on the healing for the young man, the participant got an unexpected offer for paid work in an area that she loved. It is important to note here that McTaggart acknowledges that these research findings have been documented in many studies – she is not claiming all of these from her own research.
The powerful message from McTaggart’s shared wisdom along with the counsel found in the Hebrew scriptures Book of Job are a wake-up call for prosperity seekers and teachers everywhere: if you want more for yourself, give of yourself.
This is not new content for New Thought as Karen Drucker’s song, “If You Want More,…Give” lays it out nicely.
I have always wondered why, if this is such old, established wisdom, we aren’t teaching more prosperity classes that start with the focus on GIVING the extra that comes in to an external community need – with no thought to how the teacher or church/center gets paid?
Some will say “But we have BILLS to pay, and EXPENSES to meet, …” but this misses the point entirely.
The lesson is clear from the ancient story of Job. The research is evident – in McTaggart’s writings and beyond. The rest is up to us.
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