Shared wisdom

hinged-steel-doorOne of the great joys of my career is seeing former students excelling in their professional roles, taking the seeds that I planted in the college classroom and growing them into tremendous skill sets and careers.

I’m extremely proud of the data management analysts, consultants and others whose early years I had a small part in as their professor, and who now represent some of the brightest and best in Health IT.

This same pride and excitement carries over to students to whom I have taught spiritual principles. Today I had the great privilege of hearing a story that is worth sharing.

One student has been sharing with me that they work with 2 fairly miserable (in attitude) people – one of which is actively unfriendly to my student.  We have talked often about the outcome of giving a lot of energy and attention to things, and so the student created a mantra and mini-visualization to address the two challenging people at work.

“<Person’s name>, I graciously bless you, and release you from my experience.”

Each time one of these individuals came into their mind, they said this (or thought it) and pictured a large, steel door closing and separating them from each other. This can be as short as 30-seconds.

Within 2 weeks of beginning this simple approach, one of the people submitted a 2-week notice and will be leaving the job site, and the other person is now telling people that they are actively seeking another job and won’t be staying there much longer.

My student smiled and went about their work duties, knowing that they were well on the way to creating the peace at work that they desired by using a simple spiritual tool.

Here are a couple important caveats:

  • stay neutral, knowing that this is simply an energetic separation
  • do not give energy to hoping they “learn a lesson” or “get what they deserve
  • once the door closes in your visualization, release it and let it go

When we remember that energy flows where our attention goes, we can effectively use this simple mantra and visualization to see our peaceful separation from whatever or whomever it is that is causing a disturbance in our lives.

I am so thankful for this student’s shared wisdom, and am certain that I will use it.

Now you can too.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path
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Going to Ninevah (the hard way)

Hebrew Jonah

Picture found at Tanakh through world art

Have you ever heard the voice of God?

Has God ever said “Get up tomorrow morning & go to Ninevah” ?

Maybe not, but I’ll bet you’ve felt that nagging feeling about helping someone out; apologizing to someone; or going the extra step on a task or project.

That’s the same voice of God – the divine “nudge” – that spoke to Jonah, telling him to arise and go to Ninevah.

Most of us feel it first in the negative, or reverse direction – often as young children and most definitely as adolescents. It’s that strong almost-audible voice that says:

Now you KNOW you shouldn’t go there / do that …”

It is also as young children or adolescents that we often learn about Jonah as told in the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament.

Jonah heard the voice of God tell him to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 

Jonah didn’t want to go to Ninevah and he made a decision to turn around and head so far away from Ninevah that maybe even God wouldn’t be able to find him. He went to Joppa and found passage on a ship headed to Tarshish.

Funny thing about people that God speaks to: they can’t hide.

God “…hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.”

Sailors are, by definition or custom, a superstitious lot. When this storm blew up out of nowhere, it was soon decided that this last-minute passenger might have something to do with it. When they cast lots (fortune telling, of sorts) the lots fell on Jonah and he ended up confessing that he was a Hebrew, and was running away from God.

They were beside themselves as the storm was tremendous and they didn’t want to be responsible for his death, but they had no idea how to survive and asked Jonah how to calm the sea. He told them that nothing short of throwing him overboard would help, so they tossed him into the raging waves.

The story might have ended here. Jonah made this disaster, he ignored God’s request and blatantly went in the opposite direction. Now he’s created a colossal mess and is about to be consumed by it. Sound familiar to anyone?

But God was not done with Jonah. Yes, Jonah had ignored God’s message, but God was not giving up on him and would not forsake him, or leave him in his hour of need.

17And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah ends up in the belly of a whale (great fish) – not a great place to hang out, I imagine but safe from drowning. Eventually the fish vomits Jonah out on dry land.

This is such great imagery, and a great spiritual lesson for kids and adults! Here are a couple of the lessons we learn from this story of Jonah:

  1. When you put your foot on the spiritual path, you can’t continue doing things “business as usual” – our actions have consequences and sometimes they’re dire.
  2. We can’t hide from the Divine.

Have you ever noticed that once you begin to read and follow a spiritual path, you can’t go back to your old ways?

This same concept – this counsel to stay connected to Source, or God, appears in many wisdom texts. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna that the way out of the cycle of karmic birth and death is NOT to avoid the tasks required of him (i.e. the instructions or nudges from the Divine) but to perform these duties without a selfish attachment.

Krishna knows that Arjuna can easily get caught up in his own life, and actions and begin to act out of selfish motives – which would keep him in the endless loop of the cycles of life and death.

When Arjuna asks Krishna what binds us to our selfish ways, Krishna tells him that anger and selfish desires are the greatest enemies: they are the destructive powers that can compel us to wander away from our purpose. In the same way Jonah said “Oh I don’t think so,…” when God told him to go to Ninevah and wandered away from his divine purpose.

We learn from Jonah and the Gita that following our own self-centered urges, and ignoring the voice of God has consequences. In the 21st century – especially in America – we live in a very self-focused world. Does this mean that we are all doomed?

Not quite.

This where the rest of the tale of Jonah is instructive.

Jonah defied the instructions God gave him; he ignored that Divine urge and ran in the opposite direction.

But God did not say, “Oh well, Jonah – I ask for a little help and you run off, so good luck dealing with the consequences of your actions!

Instead, God sends a great fish/whale to save Jonah from a certain death by drowning in the raging storm – a mess that he created by running away. The greatest lesson in this story is that we are not ever cut off from the Divine – even when our selfish and foolish ways should mean the end of us.

We may cause ourselves some rough seas. We may experience a close call and spend time in a really awful place,… but we are never cut off from the Divine – and there is always a way back.

In the belly of the whale, Jonah recognizes his folly and calls out to God. We are not cut off from the Divine unless we choose – Jonah chose to reconnect.

Wayne Dyer talked about that connection using the metaphor of the trolley strap in his work on the Power of Intention. He spoke of reconnecting to Source being like reaching up and grabbing onto that trolley strap.

Whether we choose to envision grabbing the trolley strap, or praying from inside the belly of a smelly, giant fish – we are well-served when we remember what Ernest Holmes taught about the voice of God.

“… Spirit is always with us, if we would but sense Its presence”  ~ Ernest Holmes

In the New Testament, Jesus told his disciples, “…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world but there is perhaps no greater symbolism of the omnipresence of Spirit than that of the whale, or great fish that plucked Jonah from the depths of the sea.

It’s a strong story to remind us that no matter how colossal the mess we create in our lives; no matter how desperate the circumstances appear “… Spirit is always with us, if we would but sense Its presence“. 

And so it is.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

Here’s the Kids Sheet – Jonah and the Whale (kids sheets) – for the story of Jonah

Elijah and the Widow

009-elijah-widowIt is always interesting to teach children about Abundance and being “provided”. Due to their innocence and unfiltered view of the world, kids are not only great teachers of spiritual Truth, but they easily grasp the concepts of spiritual lessons when we share them.

One of my favorite stories to share with children is the story of the prophet Elijah who in his travels (he was running away from angry King Ahab), came across a widow who was gathering sticks to make a fire.

He asks the widow for some food, and she tells him that she has only enough food to feed her son and herself, and that they will likely starve after that. In other words, she has just enough for their last meal.

She offers to share it with him, but he says to her:

13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” 1 Kings 17

I have written before about the relationship between giving and the abundance found in daily bread. You can read that blog here.

This simple but powerful lesson about God’s provision is another great lesson for children. It has the wonderful imagery from the Hebrew scriptures of a dry, drought-stricken land where there is no food -AND- the appearance of a seemingly-every-day miracle. One piece of the power in this lesson is that Elijah does not promise her that a giant caravan will stop by and unload enough supplies to last her through the drought. He promises her that her jar of flour and flask of oil will not run out. He promises her “daily bread“.

This is also a wonderful lesson to share when working with young children on doing Treatment for the things in their lives. Especially in our instant-gratification, 24/7 American culture, children can benefit from learning the concept of being provided with “daily bread”.

Children as young as elementary-age can also talk about what it might be like if all the stores in our neighborhoods closed and there was no food. This is what the widow and her son were facing when Elijah asks them to feed him first. What a step of faith this widow took when she used her last bit of flour and oil to feed this man of God.

Her faith is rewarded, though and she and her son survive the long drought as God promised.

The dual spiritual lessons of giving and its relationship to receiving as well as God as the source and substance of all our Good come together to create a wonderful lesson for kids of all ages.

For older kids, the teachings of Florence Scovel Shinn may be introduced as she writes extensively in an easy-to-read style about God as our Source.

As always, these Kids sheets are free to use with attribution.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

The Widow and the Oil

Widow and oilIn an earlier blog I wrote about the role of our expectations in receiving our Good and shared the story of the widow whose husband had left her with so much debt that creditors were coming to take her sons as payment. She reaches out to the prophet Elisha for help in her hour of need.

At the core of this story, we find the important role of expectation in life. This is another great story to share with children as it has wonderful biblical imagery combined with an important life wisdom lesson on the importance of our expectations.

A quick recap:

Elisha asks the desperate woman what she has and she tells him – a little oil in a single flask; only enough oil to anoint herself.

Elisha tells her to go borrow as many jars from family and friends and neighbors as she can. She gathers every available empty vessel and Elisha instructs her to pour her oil into the empty containers.

She begins to pour and the little amount of oil she had flows and continues to flow until she has filled every available container.

The empty containers represent our expectations. Her supply met with her expectations.

Many people who are “glass-half-empty” personalities begin this pattern as young children. Teaching our kids to see things from the perspective of Good is the antidote to lifelong negativity. This lesson is a simple one with wonderful imagery to share and plant the seed of expectation as a way to experience more good in life.

As always, these are free to share with attribution to this site.

Peace & blessings.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

 

Metaphysical Bible Lesson #3

Abraham-Sarah-IsaacPatience is one of the hardest things to learn along the spiritual path. And it’s not an artifact of our technological, digital age. Abraham and Sarah – early figures in the biblical canon – struggled with the same issue.

Teaching children how to “let go and let God” can be a challenge, but the story of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac is a great way to begin.

I’ve blogged about the larger context here. Young children don’t need to get into the mess Sarah created by sending Hagar to her husband to have a child; but they can understand that Abraham and Sarah asked God for a child, and then Sarah got in a hurry and tried to “help” God answer her prayer. The result was a situation that made Sarah sad and was NOT the answer to her prayers.

Older youth may be able to maturely discuss the implications of this action and the pain and hurt it created, which is an important aspect of this lesson.

I have also included a graphic that makes 5-step spiritual mind treatment (affirmative prayer) easy to share with kids. I learned this concept of using hands to teach 5-step treatment from Rev. Iris Sauber of the Center for Conscious Living (Thank you Rev. Iris!).

In each Kids Sheet lesson there is a summary of the spiritual Truth and an affirmation (here it is from Lesson #3):

Here’s what the story of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac teaches us:

  • When we pray (do Treatment) for something, we must release it to God and trust in the outcome for our highest Good.
  • We let God worry about the “how” – we simply know that we are provided and wait patiently for the demonstration of our Good.
  • Releasing requires faith! Don’t interfere – learn to be patient and “wait upon the Lord (Law)” – (It works!)
  • Affirmation: I let go, I let God and I know my Good is on its way.

 

You may also want to share the song below by Michael Gott (“I Will Make a Quiet Place”) which reinforces the concepts of releasing, letting go and waiting for God.

As with Lesson 1 (Daniel in the Lion’s Den) and Lesson 2 (David and Goliath), these are free to use (please attribute to this site).

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

Uncircumcised Philistines

220px-Osmar_Schindler_David_und_GoliathThe biblical canons of Judaism and Christianity are filled with wisdom lessons that ring true today as much as in any period. Today I was remembering the story of David and Goliath.

As you may recall, the army of Israelites, led by King Saul were in near-constant battle with the Philistines in the years after the Exodus from Egypt. The Philistines were aggressive and harassed the Israelites repeatedly throughout history. At the time of the story about David and Goliath, the Philistines and the Israelites were at an impasse and the Philistines sent forth a giant warrior named Goliath.

Goliath was clad in armor, had weapons and a helmet. He also had a mouth, and he used it to spew insults and blasphemy toward the Israelites, insulting their God as well as each of them.

In 1 Samuel 17 Goliath’s presentation is described as such:

 And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron.

The Philistines appear to have a weapon that cannot be matched by the Israelites: this giant warrior, Goliath, who they are offering up to fight, man to man with anyone the Israelites wish to send. But King Saul’s army is terrified, and not one of his warriors volunteers to fight this large warrior.

David is a young man who cares for sheep in the fields – a shepherd. He is the youngest son of Jesse (the Bethlehemite) and has brothers in King Saul’s army. His father sends him to take food to his brothers in the army encampment and to bring back word that they are OK (by then everyone had heard about Goliath).

David observes the stand-off, hears Goliath’s taunts and the murmurs among the men, and asks:

“… who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

David is offended by the barbarous Goliath and his negative spewing about the tradition of Israel; of God. He refers to him as an “uncircumcised Philistine” and it’s not a compliment. He is speaking to Goliath’s status outside of the Jewish religious law and metaphysically we understand this denotation to be something separate from Truth. In other words, he is identifying Goliath as something vile and unsacred. David goes to King Saul and offers to take on Goliath. Saul looks at the young man and quickly decides that’s a bad idea. He tells David that he’s no match for the warrior giant, but David isn’t hearing it and responds as such:

“[I] used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 [I] struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.”37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Saul probably figures he has few other options, so why not send this kid. He offers David his armor (recall that Goliath is clad in some impressive gear). David cannot move in the armor, and decides that he will take only his staff, and chose five smooth stones from the brook to take with his slingshot.

Goliath roars with laughter when David approaches, mocking him, insulting God and claiming that he plans to “… give [David’s] flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord‘s, and he will give you into our hand.”

Most of us know what happened next. David shot a single stone from his sling and it hit Goliath in the forehead. He fell to the ground, David killed him, and cut off his head to take to King Saul.

The Philistines scattered and the victory belonged to the Israelites. A gory story, but one rich with metaphysical meaning.

Many of us have these loud-mouthed, uncircumcised Philistines in our lives. They taunt, belittle and insult us. Sometimes they are external (other people or situations); other times they are the thoughts in our own head. To conquer them we must become like David.

David did not take elaborate armor, or fancy devices when he faced Goliath. He took the tools with which he was familiar and comfortable.  David was grounded in Truth, and he spoke his word: “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head.”

Remembering that metaphysically we substitute the word Law for Lord, we can see that David relied on spiritual law – not heavy weaponry. He remained calm, he used the tools and techniques that were as familiar to him as his own hands and feet, and he spoke his word; then BOOM – down came the belligerent giant.

David also was able to overcome the common belief that this giant was unbeatable. David did not accept the consciousness of the others, and looked only to what he knew – that the Lord who delivered him from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear would deliver him from the hand of this Philistine.

The lesson for us is clear: we, too can approach a well-armored enemy and win. We can be victorious over whatever belligerent giant or uncircumcised Philistine taunts us. We need only remember the story of David, and his takedown of Goliath.

 – – – – – –  – – – – – –  – – – – – –  – – – – – –  – – – – – –  – – – – – –  – – – – – –  – – – – – –

This story of David & Goliath is story #2 in my Metaphysical Bible Stories series (here’s the link to story #1). I am still using “free clipart” – found on Pinterest & Google – and continue to work with an illustrator to create originals (coming soon!).

These are ideal for elementary age youth lessons and help to bring the rich biblical stories into a metaphysical context that can be applied at any age.

Kids Sheet #2:

 

As always, these are free to use with attribution.

Enjoy!

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

Occasional contact

 31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.  [Isaiah 40:28 – 31]

The book of Isaiah, chapters 40 and beyond, documents the exile of the Hebrew people who were scattered out from Jerusalem and the land of Israel. Known as the period of the Babylonian Exile or Captivity, this period was quite difficult for the Hebrew people and is taught in traditional religious traditions as God’s punishment for their idolatry and rebellion; for their casual and “occasional contact” with God. The Babylonian Exile is historically accurate, and it also provides an important spiritual lesson.

In Joel Goldsmith’s book, “Practicing the Presence” he states that “…occasional contact with God, like the proverbial grain of truth, will work wonders; but we cannot expect a complete and perfect spiritual existence simply because once in awhile we remember to turn to God, or to devote a few hours to the study of spiritual books.”

Goldsmith writes in Chapter 2 that to “make a life of continuous good” we must pray without ceasing (advice similar to that given by St Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians) and goes on to explain that when we adopt this spiritual posture, “…the divine omnipotence and omniscience…goes before us to provide those things necessary for our existence.

Modern religion, traditional and metaphysical, has often wandered into what some have called “vending machine spirituality” in that we inadvertently (and unintentionally) set up learning spiritual principles primarily as a way to get stuff.  I happen to believe that prosperity teaching is especially vulnerable to getting off track in this way.

And I get it – it’s easier to teach complex spiritual principles when we can tie it to something immediate and concrete. In this modern era, people are easily distracted and often quite interested in learning how to get more of the stuff we think we’re lacking. Why NOT teach people how to manifest more money? It’s exciting, it gets people’s attention, it’s easy to add up the successes and it turns skeptics into believers in short order.

Except,… without the deeper spiritual foundations, the tools can quickly become items of occasional use, resulting in that occasional contact which falls short of the “complete and perfect spiritual existence” which will eventually result in spiritual bondange and exile; not the elevated experiences we were seeking when we first sought out a higher answer to life’s challenges.

In his Abundance Book, John Randolph Price included the following as one of the statements of principle:

I keep my mind and 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.

We can avoid a Babylonian exile of our own making if we follow the counsel of the prophet Isaiah (who was warning his people for years), Goldsmith, Price and others who remind us to o-BALD-EAGLE-facebookacknowledge the Inner Presence; to pray without ceasing; to wait upon the Lord (be cognizant of and abide in spiritual Law).

And when we do, we will, with ease and effortlessness, mount up with wings like eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint as “…the divine omnipotence and omniscience…goes before us…” providing all that we need.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path