Blessings in Passing

When I first began to study what I refer to as “larger spirituality” – spirituality not confined within a single dogma or worldview – I got a mental picture in my head when someone would use the phrase, “daily practice“.

I envisioned a room or at least a corner dedicated to their “practice” and often I immediately moved to the many barriers I had in my life that would prevent me from being able to sit in an incensed room in yoga pants for an hour every morning.

That’s not what they were saying – that was my filter. I learned down the road that while some people may have something like that going on, many others do not. A daily practice is as unique as each person, and requires no specific accessories.

In studying the works of Joseph Murphy and Neville Goddard, contemporaries in the early part of the 20th century (Goddard passed on in 1972 and Murphy in 1981); I am always struck with the sheer simplicity of their approach to prayer, or “knowing the Truth” about someone/something. It was from this perspective that I began, unintentionally, an extension of my own daily practice.

I live in a suburban neighborhood, and as I drive to work, I pass many people walking along the streest: school children, with and without parents; dog walkers; commuters walking to public transit and others. One morning I noticed a teenaged boy walking along the street. He was alone, and did not look happy. He was on the heavier side, and walked as if he dreaded arriving at his destination.

I immediately felt compassion for him – middle school and high school can be challenging places to exist – and so I held the thought for him that today was a much better day than usual. Driving past people, even on a neighborhood street, doesn’t leave much time for a long, complicated blessing. Plus, I have no way of knowing what each person would need: so my thought that day was a knowing that the blessings of the Infinite were upon him.

I am particularly moved when I see school kids walking alone and appearing to be sad; dreading the day ahead or trying to recover from whatever they experienced at home before walking out the door.

I think of the following from one of Joseph Murphy’s prayers:

I know that (individual’s name) is surrounded by the sacred circle of God’s eternal love, and the whole armor of God surrounds her/him and s/he is watched over by the overshadowing Presence of God.

Joseph Murphy
(Archangel Michael)

Since I don’t know the names of the people I drive past each morning, an easy technique is to simply accept that they are accompanied by the holy Presence and watched over in all they do.

If I am stopped in traffic I may add a visualization of a grandmotherly angel or two if the child/children are small, or a warrior-like archangel if they are teens.

Skeptics will roll their eyes (& aren’t likely to be reading this blog), but readers across the New Thought canon know that many of the teachers whose work form the foundation of the movement taught and lived this Truth: a thought held in the human mind is connected to the Infinite Mind and will demonstrate or manifest.

Over time this simple teaching has evolved into an organized religion (at least 3 versions at last count), each of which has added dogma, regulatory guidelines and complications that are unnecessary for the process to work, but that are understandable in the world of Caesar. And yet, the truth remains that the Good that is possible requires no prescribed order of words or official interventions.

In one of his most beloved talks, “Live in the End“, Neville shared the following:

“Do you know a friend who is unemployed? Well, then, see him as gainfully employed, and don’t tell him, that you may brag tomorrow. Don’t boast. Just see him gainfully employed.”

Nevill Goddard, “Live in the End”

Neville’s life work was a testament to this process. Many have studied and applied this process – some within, but I suspect most outside of formal religious or spiritual organizational structures.

There will be those who say, “How do you know it works? What if you’re just deluding yourself and wasting your time?

I know that this works when I use it for myself, and for the people around me who seek out my knowledge on such things. For the people I pass on the street, I may never know if my simple blessing thought was helpful or not.

But let’s consider this: at one point, a VERY long time ago, everything that we see (and much more that we don’t/can’t see) was part of an infinitessimally small, dense and hot singularity…and then BOOM!

An explosion and rapid expansion, heating and cooling of matter…13.7 billion years later, here we are. The fact remains that the preponderance scientific inquiry to date suggests that we all come from the same stuff. We are indeed, all connected.

I can’t single-handedly fix all the problems carried around by the people I meet or encounter each day. There are days when I’m not sure how I’ll manage my own issues, and those within my inner circle. But I can apply the principles I’ve studied and learned and used with success in my own experience.

If nothing else, my own knowing of peace and Good for the random people I pass on my commute helps to put me into a better space, which means I show up at work in a positive and beneficial (to me and to others) state of mind. I also believe that there is Good to be planted and blessings to be harvested when we know peace, joy, healing, love and more for those we meet along our way.

And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path 

A gift to start the week

The start of the traditional work week in the United States can be a blessing for some, while to others it seems like a curse.

It can be challenging to work at a job that you dislike; or to be at the mercy of people in the workplace who are mean and nasty; or to struggle with mental, emotional or physical challenges while still needing to navigate rush hour traffic and the stresses of a job.

It can also be challenging to face the work week without a job, or with a job that is not paying a living wage and falls short of providing what is needed to support yourself or your family.

In a previous blog, I shared an affirmative prayer for peace at work. This week I am sharing a New Thought artist whose songs are some of the best I’ve heard, musically as well as in verse/content.

I had the good fortune to hear Denise Rosier perform live at Seaside Center for Spiritual Living in Encinitas, California in 2018 and I’ve been a big fan ever since. You can check out her web page here.

This work week’s spiritual share is taken from Denise’s song, “Hallelujah Today” – the lead song on her album, Everyday.

The second verse begins with the following:

“With every mile, I’m reminded,
I never go, empty handed;
God is my strength, I’m never stranded,
I’m not alone.”

Denise Rosier, “Hallelujah Today”

I can think of no better coaching for anyone who dreads the work week – no matter what the reason. And while the words are beautiful as sung in this musical rendition, they are powerful as a spoken or written affirmation too.

AFFIRM: “I never go empty-handed; God/Spirit is my strength and I am never stranded. I am not alone.”

Regardless of the road we are traveling, taking time to remember this simple truth – whether the words are sung or we write them on a piece of paper and tuck into our purse/wallet – can make all the difference.

Most faith traditions remind us that we are never alone. We simply need to turn our attention back to this realization and know that all is well (no matter what it looks like on the outside of the situation or circumstance).

I leave you now in the very capable hands of Denise Rosier, and know that this week, the blessings that come to you outnumber the troubles – many times over.

And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Here I Am

Few stories of the biblical canon are as abhorrent to the modern sensibilities as the one where Abraham takes Isaac to the mountain to sacrifice him to this new god that he had chosen to follow.

Recall that monotheism was relatively new among the Semitic tribes in the area we know as the Middle East. Abraham, considered the father of the “people of the book” (Judaism, Islam and Christianity) was a pioneer in this regard (the one-God concept).

If your Sunday School story days are a ways back, here’s a refresher (caution – if you’re not familiar with biblical tales, this one is a bit tough to start with).

 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 

Genesis 22
Valentin de Boulogne – Abraham sacrificing Isaac

Many modern readers will shake their heads, wondering what kind of god would ask for such a sacrifice – even if it was only a test; and I’d have to agree if this was historical.

Metaphysical scholars, however, do not read the biblical canon as history but as allegory, so let’s examine this story through that lens.

Abraham and his wife Sarah wanted a child for a very long time. I wrote about the metaphysical meanings around their saga in an earlier blog post. Isaac, their son, was the most precious thing in their lives. While all children are precious, the story of how Isaac came to be underscores the seemingly rare and fragile gift that he represents.

In this story, the God of Abraham, the same God that answered his prayers for this long sought-after son, asks Abraham to sacrifice him as a way of honoring God.

Being an obedient and observant man, Abraham puts the plan in motion. He most assuredly has a heavy heart as he misleads his son on the way up the mountain, and then overpowers him to bind him, and lay him on the sacrificial altar.

Just as Abraham is about to carry out what he believes he must do, an angel stops him.

11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

Genesis 22

Many teach this story as one of obedience. I disagree, and think that the concept of obedience to a religious authority has created more problems and pain in the world than it has solved. Instead, I see it as a lesson about trust.

In the physical world, the world of Caesar, it can sometimes seem that walking the spiritual path is a one-step-forward, two-steps-back proposition. We pray, intend, meditate, chant and make some forward progress, just to have more challenges show up in our path that seem to reverse the Good we’ve just received, and then some.

In the story of Abraham, Isaac and the ram we are being taught that the blessings we have received are not being given and then yanked back in some sort of cosmic joke, as it appeared was happening with Isaac. The gifts and blessings that come from Spirit are freely given, but we too often doubt our worthiness to receive; we question whether this good fortune is “too good to be true“, and we wonder if we have been foolish to think that “an old woman could give birth to a son“.

When it begins to look like we really can’t hold on to the blessings we’ve had come into our lives, we need to stop, realign with the sacred Trust that allowed us to believe that our dream (success, healing, restoration, etc.) was possible in the first place, and look around: there’s a ram in the thicket – a solution close by, placed there in divine perfect timing and divine right order.

No matter how awful things appear on the physical plane, we need to remember that we exist on the mount of “the Lord will provide“.

Traditional religions teach of a God that is all-powerful and loving; as well as stern and prone to anger and retribution. These descriptions sound an awful lot more like an unstable human than the creator of the Universe.

In metaphysical studies we move away from this very-human understanding of God and onto one that comprehends God as a power for Good that exists everywhere, always. Omnipresence is a term that was used extensively in the Divine Science writings of the late 19th century and the quantum physics of the 20th century began to add some scientific validation to that concept of an ever present Substance, as some early 20th century teachers taught it.

Ernest Holmes is famous for many things, but perhaps none more so than the statement he opened his radio show with each week: “There is a power for Good in the Universe, greater than we are, and we can use it!

Yes, there is a Power, and yes we can use it – but not unless we’re tuned in to receive the guidance; to hear the voice, to see the ram.

The best tools we have to ensure that we are tuned in are the tools of a daily spiritual practice (meditation, prayer, contemplation, etc.). These help us to avoid unnecessary sacrifice of the Good that we have in our lives.

It can be as easy as turning off the TV, putting down our phones, walking away from drama and gossip. We can sit quietly in nature, walk outside, offer an ear to a friend in need, spend time with those who are lonely, smile at someone for no reason, do Good, be peace, live in integrity with people and the planet, strive always for the highest and best for all in every circumstance. All of these choices (as well as many others) help keep our connection to Spirit clear and open.

One of my favorite New Thought musicians, Denise Rosier, wrote a song titled “I Couldn’t Love You More“. It reads as a sort of love note from Spirit – and there’s a particularly touching line early on:

“I’ll, always be with you, I’ll – I’ll never leave you;
See, my Light here to guide you,…”

There is indeed a Power and Presence that is always with us and will never leave; a Light here to guide us out of the darkest places. It’s not hard to find, and is impossible to miss if we are willing to pause, and say, “Here I am“.

And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Faith and Patience

In this age of instant information – much of it with questionable veracity – it can be difficult to ascertain what is TRUE and what is simply horse feathers (a term used in place of “bullsh!t” by my older relatives when I was growing up)

The pace with which information goes viral is such a problem that businesses have emerged to assist people in cleaning up their online reputations.

I forget which recent story had me pondering this, but the protestations of a recent public figure, caught in a mess (not sure yet if it’s of his own making or a smear campaign) reminded me of the story of Joseph and Potifar’s wife.

Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers. He had shown himself to be a valuable asset, and was working in the employ of Potifar – an official in the government/kingdom of Egypt. Potifar trusted him and relied on him for advice, and more; giving Joseph a lot of clout in Potifar’s household and among Potifar’s colleagues and friends.

Potifar had a wife who was feeling neglected and who tried repeatedly to get Joseph to sleep with her. He refused multiple times, but the last time, she grabbed his garment to pull him to her, and he bolted; but as he ran, she held his garment.

Embarrassed, angry (or both!) at being so boldly rejected, she cried out that he had tried to rape her, and held up his piece of clothing as “proof“. Poor Joseph stood accused of a terrible crime, and was thrown in jail.

Joseph was unfairly accused of doing something when in truth he was not only in the wrong place at the wrong time; but he had actively tried to avoid the circumstances on multiple occasions. Still, he ended up in jail.

Sometimes in life, we end up “in jail” for things we did not do. We may end up in financial distress, even though we’re working hard, doing all the right things, and striving to do better every day. Other times we may find that we are disliked and ostracized at work, even though we go in every day with a positive attitude, treat everyone around us with kindness, and contribute at a high level, helping others whenever we can.

Whatever the unfair circumstance that we find ourselves in, we can look to the story of Joseph and Potifar’s wife for some good news.

20 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.

Genesis 39

Although being in prison was a hardship, it was made better by the fact that Joseph had special treatment by the prison keeper, and had special privileges. Genesis accounts for this as the favor of God; metaphysically we would interpret that favor as being someone who understood the concept of Omnipresence.

Spiritually-aware people understand that no matter how things appear on the outside, Spirit is right there in the middle of things, and it’s going to work out. It may not work out the way we want it, or on our timetable; but ultimately things are going to be OK.

While in the prison, Joseph interpreted dreams for 2 new prisoners, both of which came true. One of the prisoners was freed and had access to Pharaoh, who, some 2 years later, had a troubling dream that none of his wise men could interpret. The former prisoner remembered that Joseph had interpreted his dream accurately, and shared this with Pharaoh.

Pharaoh summoned Joseph, who interpreted the dream, and – long story short: Joseph ended up not only being freed from prison, but being put in a position of power and status in the land.

41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. 43 And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!”[e] Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”

Genesis 41

The big picture story of Joseph is easy to recall, but we must not gloss over the part of the story that outlines the path he walked before he was given Pharaoh’s signet ring:

  • betrayed by family/sold into slavery
  • falsely accused of something he didn’t do
  • several years in prison

I have written about the life work of Neville Goddard in several previous posts (Pray Like Neville and Neville’s Gifts), including one where I outline his regular reference to the world of Caesar. While we can absolutely count on spiritual Law to work in our favor when we are walking in alignment with principle; it often works for us within the context of the world we live in – Caesar’s world, or the physical world we all know and inhabit.

The story of Joseph is the telling of this Truth. Joseph was indeed spared and sustained by Spirit; but he had to walk to his freedom through the world of Caesar, which in his case was slavery and prison.

Like Daniel who had to spend the night in a den of Lions, and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago who had to go into the fiery furnace – Joseph had to accept his miracle within the context of this world.

Also like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago; Joseph was never alone. And neither are we.

I opened this post with a mention of the pace in society today (seemingly instant everything). To tap into the miracles experienced by Joseph, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednago and others we must channel their faith and their patience.

When we’re standing in a prison, unfairly accused and sentenced, are we singularly focused on finding the escape hatch (lottery ticket, new job) or can we relax and look patiently for the signs all around us that we are not alone?

It’s not easy to react patiently and peacefully when facing lions, fiery furnaces or an unfair prison sentence. The story of Joseph reminds us that the game of life is a long game. It invites us to live in faith, connected to Source and with patience, knowing that – regardless of how things appear – all is well, and working out for our Highest Good. And when we learn to walk this way, we will find more peace along the path of life.

And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

30 Days of Healing Prayer

In Barnes & Noble last year, I found a book on the clearance table: 365 Prayers for Healing.

In it I found pages and pages of prayers And poems from all over the world, across time and cultures.

In my Facebook group, “Spiritual Learning Pittsburgh”, I posted 1 prayer every day for 30 days to guide members on a journey of healing contemplation.

This weekend, in celebration of the birthdays of my daughter and granddaughter; I’m kicking off that journey again in honor of the healing power that is the collective generations of women in a family – in my family.

Like the differences between the many women in my family tree, the beliefs and traditions shared on this journey will be diverse. They will also, like the women in my lineage, share a common core strength and connection to Spirit.

I know that each person will find a blessing in the words shared and the sentiment underneath each post.

Here’s the healing meditation/prayer for Day 1:

And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner’s Path

“May God, the Giver of all wisdom, beauty, and well-being, bless all who love Her with these gifts, and grant that Her blessings may be generously shared.”

~ Marchiene Vroon Rienstra

Caution – politics (sort of)

I’m an unabashed supporter of the left side of things in American politics. I believe that when we help the most vulnerable, we all do better.

I support strengthening Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and want to see accessible and affordable health care for all (citizens and others) – even if it means I pay higher taxes to support it.

I am appalled by the actions the US Government is taking pertaining to immigrants and I’m no fan of the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But what can I do that will change anything?

I think a lot of us have this same, helpless thought when the latest news story seems to up the ante as the party in charge continues to defy all manner of American values.

At the beach this week, with a lot of time to ponder what is “my work to do”, and to ponder it in the context of this political mess in the USA, I got a couple ideas in my morning, sea shore meditations.

Duck, NC 2019

The idea was sparked by something I read on Facebook that reminded me of a previous post I had written. In essence, spiritual people know the Truth about what happens when we put a lot of energy or attention on something. We need to use that in reverse of what we’ve been doing: we need to shift our focus to what we want to hear on the news, see on TV and know to be happening in our government.

To that end, I’ll be posting a series of focused topics as suggested daily meditations or visualizations. I recently read an article about the power of mass action that cited research indicating that all we need to initiate change in a culture is 3.5% of the population.

If only a quarter of “spiritual, not religious” individuals – which a recent Pew Forum estimated to be 27% of the U.S. population – began to focus on what most mainstream progressives would like to see, things would begin to change, and quickly. So what are we waiting for!?

There are few challenges with the current administration more heart wrenching than the issue of immigrants, and especially children, being housed in horrendous conditions at the border.

The first visualization exercise is to be focused on seeing those detention centers EMPTY; seeing feel-good reunion stories on the news; feeling relief and gratitude for reading headlines that announce that the family separation policy is now defunct.

Each and every time we hear a bad-news story, we can stop and SEE the reality we want in our mind – and know in our hearts that this is already true.

Some may say “this is as good as sending ‘thoughts & prayers’ for school shootings“.

While I get the general sentiment of that argument, most of us can’t physically do anything to stop what is happening at the border (except at the ballot box); but we can hold a new vision for these children and families; the immigrants that our country has welcomed since before its founding.

This can take the form of a brief visualization, or a longer and more intentional meditation focused on the positive outcomes. It can be long or short; on the fly or scheduled. The when, where and how don’t matter – what matters is that we commit to knowing the Truth and turn our attention away from the breaking news to hold a higher vision.

Remember – it only takes 3.5% of us to initiate change. This isn’t hard and costs nothing to undertake. And we can do it anywhere, at anytime.

Affirmative prayer for resolution of the crisis at the US Southern border:

Breathing into this present moment, I know that there is only one Power, and one Presence. This Power and Presence is the beginning and end – the alpha and omega. I know that this Power and Presence expresses in, as and through all of Life, and in, as and through me. And as I accept this for myself, I accept it for each and every person in custody at the US southern border.

I know that regardless of appearances, there is peace, there is hope, and there is resolution. In the midst of this circumstance, Divine Wisdom is at work; cells are opened, doors are unlocked, and detention centers are permanently closed. Families are reunited, and the wounds of separation begin to heal.

As the nation unites around a return to humane and ethical treatment of asylum seekers and immigrants, my heart swells with gratitude. From this perspective of thanksgiving, I release my word into the Law, knowing that it returns fulfilled. I speak it, I know it, I let it go – and so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

An Affirmation

(adapted from Ernest Holmes’ Science of Mind, IV: How to Use It)

I reside in the center of the Divine, a point of God-conscious life, truth and activity. I am always divinely guided in the direction of right action and optimal results.

My words have power; perfect flow and continuous right action is present in my life and my affairs; any/all negative beliefs are immediately neutralized.

Infinite Spirit animates everything that I do, say or think. Divine ideas come to me regularly; they direct and support me without effort. I am continuously guided and compelled to do the right thing at the right time, to say the right word at the right time, to follow the right course with the best motives at all times.

Any suggestion of age, poverty, limitation or unhappiness is eliminated from my thinking. I am happy, well and overflowing with Life. I live in the Spirit of Truth and know that the Spirit of Truth lives in me. My word manifests according to the Law, and there is no unbelief, no doubt, no uncertainty. Every thought of doubt vanishes from my mind – I know the Truth and I am free.

And so it is.