A good reminder

“You are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars, guides you too.”

Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
TEDx Noosa 2014

In our darkest times, it can feel that we are so very alone. I sometimes see Facebook posts from people who share that they feel unmoored, adrift once their parents pass away, and others who share feelings and experiences of loss and pain.

First of all, Facebook can make the most successful among us start to question our lives – snapshots from others’ seemingly wonderful lives compared to our current struggles can seem like we’re doing it all wrong.

We’re not – it’s an illusion, but as Einstein once said: “[it’s] an illusion, albeit a persistent one!

Sometimes our current circumstances feel hopeless, helpless. And that feeling can be quite persistent! Training ourselves to know this is not the truth when we are NOT feeling the hopelessness/helplessness is the best prevention for those times when things start to degrade.

I remember once when the late Louise Hay – a successful and popular guru of self-help – mentioned that she is able to see things positively about 70% – 80% of the time. I remind myself of this when I slip into those dark places. Even with my education in Consciousness, there are days when it’s hard to put the positive spin on things. Thankfully, I have the tools I need and these periods move on quickly.

One of the tools that I use regularly, and encourage those who seek guidance and support from me to use, is to journal (or simply write down somewhere that you can find again to read). At those times when you are the beneficiary of a miracle, or what metaphysical folks would call a “demonstration” – write down what happened so in later times when things appear to be going downhill, you can recall the many times that things actually worked out.

I like the word demonstration instead of miracle because instead of seeming like a one-in-a-million happenstance; it calls these events what they are: a demonstration of the fact that we are indeed never alone or helpless. And when we’ve used the spiritual tools that are available to know this; good things happen.

While I have had many personal instances where I have been reminded that I am never alone; I was reminded this week of a most profound instance of this. My family lost our 2 year old a few years back (my granddaughter), and the Summer after that loss, her mother had a “visitation“. It came in the form of a beautiful, blue butterfly that landed on her and stayed there with her as she sat on her back porch for more than 20 minutes.

A blue butterfly of the same markings has visited her every summer since. A couple years ago when they had moved into a new house, it arrived, and fluttered around, letting her touch it, and pet its wings. Last year it found them again as they arrived home from running errands. It flew in and out of the family’s legs, let them touch it and get close enough for a photograph.

There are so many lessons in this story: but the most profound one I find is the reminder that there is much more to life than what we’ve been taught to see.

If you struggle with the burdens of life and often feel alone; the statement (above the embedded video and posted below) is one, small – but powerful – tool. Write it down; think about it. Turn your attention away from the problems of the world and spend your time and energy reading, watching videos and discussing with others this concept of unity consciousness.

The YouTube video embedded above is a great talk on Consciousness, but if you don’t have the time or patience to listen to it, here’s the gem from it: a quote from Shrii Shrii Anandamurti – guru to the man speaking (Dada Gunamuktananda).

“You are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars, guides you too.”

Ponder this truth instead of focusing on your problems. Reach out when you need help. Know that miracles happen every day and be open to how they show up (it’s often not what we expect). Keep a log of when things DO turn around for you, and read it when things start to go sour. Know that you are always loved; always important – and that you are truly, never alone. And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

All the Good Stuff

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:7-11

I stumbled on this redux from the 1970’s hit musical – Godspell – and it made me start to think about some things.

In New Thought, many lean toward the belief that we alone create our life experiences through our thoughts, beliefs and general mindset. To be clear, there is a wide continuum of belief around this in the movement – those who believe that it is mostly us, and those on the other end that are much more inclined to see the Universal Spirit as an entity that, while connected to us and expressing in, as and through us, still has some autonomy.

As I have finished my formal Practitioner training and had the great good fortune to interact and learn from many teachers and others in this movement, I have had the opportunity to think about this – a lot.

One prominent example that has been rumbling around in my head lately involves my job. About six years ago, I was in a well-paying job at a somewhat unstable company in a role where I was easily replaceable. I was doing a lot of soul searching and asking for guidance – seeking “divine intervention” or at least a hint about what I should do. I knew that I was at a point in my life and career where the right move would be a good thing and the “wrong” move could have life-long and negative ramifications.

As happens when we ask, I got an answer. It wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned: I took a significant pay cut, and went from working at home and having a Gold Corporate MasterCard to a Monday through Friday job with a commute and a hierarchy. So much for the good, right?

Funny thing though – that move – though not something I went looking for, or even welcomed early in my tenure there (especially on the bleak paydays) turned out to be the very best thing for me, long term. I now have a pension based on my time in the military and at this job; and some unique and solid experience that makes me a little harder to replace.

I can’t take credit for the incredibly good fortune that I landed in – not in the least. I didn’t visualize it; chant it in, or do affirmations for it to arrive. It came out of nowhere – literally. I got a call, and even then I was not aware of the tremendous long-term benefit that was involved.

It is this kind of demonstration that gives me pause on the “we make it happen” theories in New Thought. I’m not saying that they’re wrong, and others are right – I’m simply suggesting that it seems to me that I had someone/something looking out for my best interests when I wasn’t able to, and didn’t know which way to turn. I literally fell into a pile of mud and came up smelling like a rose with this job situation.

Is it possible that I was subconsciously “asking” for the help, and that this energy attracted the job and circumstance to me? Yes. And maybe it doesn’t need to be either/or. Maybe it’s both.

If we are connected to the Divine, as individualized expressions of the One – it would make sense that deep concern would extend into the Infinite Mind. Still, as challenging as this job was initially (in many ways), it felt like one of those things in life that our Mother tells us we need to do because it will be good for us in the end.

I don’t know which it is.

What I do know that this “good gift” of a job circumstance came from Spirit. Whether I attracted it, or the prayers of my mother and grandmothers sent it – I may never know. I do know that I am grateful, humbled, and blessed to have this retirement circumstance as a part of my portfolio – sent seemingly, from “heaven above“.

And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Tools for scary times

Today’s headlines inspire unrest

Each day I think that the national news surely can’t get any worse,…and then the nightly news proves me wrong. We are clearly living in tumultuous times, where long-standing norms are being upended left and right. There is a great temptation to consider the possibility of moving overseas, but that’s more complicated than it seems with multiple generations of family to consider.

Mulling over several disturbing news reports that have emerged over the past few weeks, I began to think about what I should be doing about things. Should I be protesting, running for office, setting up a non-profit? What is it that I could or should be doing?

During this time, I’ve also been diving deep into the teachings of Neville Goddard. The intersection of these 2 subjects finally came into focus for me and I realized what my work is to do: I need to keep teaching.

In his most popular lectures, Neville outlines examples where he used spiritual principles to change things for the better in his life. He recounted multiple times how he secured an honorable discharge from the US Army during WWII, as well as securing passage on a transport ship back to the USA from the West Indies within a day when all passage was booked for months ahead.

As I listened to Neville recount his story of the trip back to New York, I recalled a story that Wayne Dyer told about a time he and his wife were trying to fly out of Istanbul (1974). A military incursion had begun to brew and the airport was in full-blown chaos. The political unrest had rendered their airline tickets invalid and there were few alternative options.

In “I Can See Clearly Now” Dyer recounted how, as everyone in the airport was panicked and frightened, he kept his thoughts and his intention laser focused on getting on a plane that morning and flying out of the region. He refused to give into the fear, and held on to the vision of himself and his wife boarding a plane that morning that he says he “stuck like Super Glue” in his imagination. As it turned out, he and his wife were able to get the last 2 seats on a military transport and leave the area. The day they arrived back in the United States, Turkey invaded Cyprus – they had made it out just in time.

One of the most important skills we can learn in these politically unstable times is how to use the spiritual principles taught by Wayne Dyer, Neville Goddard and others that can shift time and space to make seemingly impossible things happen in our favor.

I’ve blogged about things less intense than escaping a war zone, such as finding a part time job when I needed money for a roof; finding an answer to paying my student loans; being in the right place at the right time for someone in need; and more. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this works – and I have seen that the more I study and apply these principles, the more things come together for me in perfect (Divine?) time and space.

Important to consider: the time to learn these skills is not when we’re facing a crisis – but in times of low stress. Learning and practicing on small things, and then expanding our ability to use the tools to larger things builds spiritual muscles. The “muscle memory” we are creating will kick in and work when the stress of a situation or circumstance threatens to throw off our concentration. When we learn and consistently use the principles, we are able to use them no matter what is taking place around us.

If ignoring the news isn’t a likely occurrence for you; you can counter the feelings of terror or helplessness. See these times as a call to arms – as the nudge you needed to inspire you to knuckle down and really learn the spiritual principles that can help you alter time and space when you need it most.

Some recommended resources:

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Neville’s Gifts

Neville Goddard
Neville Goddard

One of the most popular and compelling metaphysical teachers in the early to mid-20th century was Neville Goddard. His lectures were well-attended and he distinguished himself from the numerous preachers who were making rounds in New Thought circles by his strong command of the biblical scriptures – both the Hebrew and the Christian texts – as well as his preference for the academic lecture over the church service.

His lectures live on today and through the wonders of technology (YouTube), we can hear his teaching in his voice. I encourage all students of metaphysics to study Neville and ponder his contributions to the larger body of metaphysical spirituality.

He told many stories to illustrate the power that we have and one of his favorites, perhaps for the strength of its message, was the story of how he got himself out of active duty in the Army after being drafted.

From the site linked above:

In 1943, he was drafted into the U.S. Army at age 38, which he did not want, especially since he felt he was too old to become a soldier and had a wife and daughter at home to take care of. Through the power of imagination, as Neville told it in his March 24, 1972 lecture, he was honorably discharged after just a few weeks of training. One consequence of his brief Army training was that he received full United States citizenship, having been a British citizen up to this point.

Neville Goddard Wiki

Neville emphasized the role of our imagination in manifesting the things in life and the lives that we want. He used his own imagination when he found himself in the Army and unhappy with the circumstances and his method is worth a closer look.

He spoke of not fighting or resisting that which we don’t want, but that we should “submit to Caesar” – a biblical reference to the verse in the Christian text where Jesus is asked by the Pharisees about paying taxes to the government (ruled at the time by Caesar) and Jesus replied:

20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Matthew 22:20-22

Neville used this to explain that when we want to manifest things, we don’t fight against the physical realities in front of us; we are not to resist, but we must focus our mind, attention and intention on what it is that we want.

He went to sleep every night in the Army barracks imagining that he was back home in his apartment in New York with his wife and child. After about a week, he had a vision where he was told that his application to leave the Army was changed from DENIED to APPROVED. Later that morning, the Captain called him into his office and signed off on his discharge from the Army, and Neville went home with an honorable discharge.

Neville Goddard
Neville Goddard – later years

We learn when we study meditation as a spiritual practice that it is difficult to train the mind. Neville is referring to a discipline with the mind in the concentration on what we want and especially at night as we are falling asleep.

One way to help ourselves get into this habit at night is to use a log. Since Neville spoke of his results in about a week, I created a grid where I can document what I desire, and log the date each night when I go to bed. This helps REMIND me at the end of a busy day, and provides me a way to document what is taking place, including the outcome.

Here’s a copy of the one I created:

I have found Neville’s perspective and great knowledge of scripture to be an enlightening adjunct to the studies I have undertaken this far. He is
at times as obtuse as Ernest Holmes, but in some ways, much clearer about the processes we can use to create lives that we truly want using ancient spiritual wisdom and techniques.

YouTube has a rich treasure trove of Neville’s lectures. Most are around 45 minutes long and all are worth the listen. Once you bring Neville’s teachings into your orbit, I know that you’ll find things changing for you in ways you may have thought unlikely if not impossible.

If you find your freedom, or your “honorable discharge” using the grid I have shared, after you stop running around and telling people that you can’t believe that it worked (smile); I hope you’ll pass on your experience (& drop me a line!).

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Extraordinary faith

Practitioner's Path
Woman touches Jesus’ garment and is healed

The Hebrew Scriptures are rich with stories and imagery of a powerful God – the God of Israel. Crafted around the life events of Adam, Eve, Noah and the descendants of Abraham, the man with whom God made the first covenant, these stories highlight the great power of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is the God that parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape the pursuing Egyptian soldiers; the God who helped a teen slay a giant that had thwarted an entire army; sent food and water to a prophet on the run; closed the mouths of hungry lions and protected 3 young boys from the flames of a furnace and there are many more stories.

Judaism – the religion at the heart of the Hebrew Scriptures – is often seen by those on the outside of it as a religion of Laws. It is in truth, so much more. Traditionally there are 613 commandments, or mitzvot that are to be kept by religious Jews and the Talmud tells us that of those 613 commandments found in the Torah (Bresheit (Genesis), Shemot (Exodus), Vayicra (Leviticus), Bamidbar (Numbers), and Devarim (Deuteronomy)), there are 248 positive ones (do this) and 365 negative ones (don’t do that).

In traditional Christian circles, the connection between the Hebrew Scriptures (what Christians call the Old Testament) and the teachings of Jesus is often described as Jesus coming to “perfect” the Law-based religion of Judaism so that ALL people have an option for salvation. This presumption forgets the teaching within Judaism that the righteous from all nations have a share in the world to come, but that topic is for another blog post on a different day.

The perspective that Jesus came not to condemn the Law of Moses, but to fulfill the Law has as many different interpretations as there are diverse religious streams. But if we look at it through the metaphysical lens, the relationship between the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament can take on a balanced and logical perspective – one without a win/lose or right/wrong orientation.

In the early 20th century, Ernest Holmes articulated what other New Thought teachers knew: that there is a Power for Good in the Universe, greater than we are, and that we can use that Power.

From this perspective we can look at the stories in the Hebrew Scriptures as tales that illustrate that great Power through the stories of people like Abraham and Sarah; Isaac and Jacob; Rebecca, Rachel and Leah; Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (also known as Shadrach, Meschach and Abednago), Elijah, Elisha and many others.

The stories of Jesus in the Christian Bible’s New Testament teach about how we can use that Power for Good. There are many stories in both wisdom texts. Today we’ll look at the story of the woman in the crowd from the book of Matthew (New Testament).

The teacher Jesus had begun his ministry in earnest and was drawing great crowds from around the region to hear him talk and teach. He was surrounded by a throng of people one day when a woman who had been sick for many years pushed her way toward him. She could not get his attention, but she pushed on, believing from all she had heard about him that if she could only touch his garment, she would be healed.

20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Matthew 9:20-22

The lessons from the life and teaching of Jesus repeat this theme throughout the Gospels:

“Be of good comfort – thy faith has made you whole.”

Matthew 9:22

28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

Matthew 9:28-29

The stories of the heroes and heroines of the Hebrew Scriptures weave tales of circumstances where they dealt more closely with God than the more modern people of the Common Era (A.D.) Think of the many stories of prophets hearing God’s voice; Moses on Mt Sinai; the burning bush; the firestorm from the heavens that burned the offering at Mt Carmel, as examples.

The teachings of Jesus built on the Power described so perfectly in the Hebrew Scriptures and laid out a framework for using that Power in a world where the interface with God was more nuanced. Instead of needing a Moses to stretch his arm out over the Red Sea to summon the wind and part the waves; in the New Testament Jesus taught the world that any individual could tap into that same Power and that all it takes is a belief in that power, and as with the woman in the crowd, the faith to accept it.

I suspect that when we hear a booming voice from the clouds or a voice coming out of a burning bush that it’s easier to expect a miracle than when we have to settle for touching the bottom of the robe of the prophet or teacher. That’s what makes the story of the woman in the crowd so extraordinary. She took a brief encounter, blended it with extreme faith and achieved results that had eluded her for more than a decade.

Jesus summed this up later in Matthew:

“…For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20

The synergy between the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian New Testament comes down to this metaphysical Truth:

  • God is that Power for Good in the Universe, greater than we are,… (documented in detail throughout the Hebrew Scriptures);.
  • and we can use it! (the teachings of Jesus in the Christian New Testament).

If we are willing, we can learn incredible lessons from both the Judaic and Christian perspectives and live lives that are transformed on every level. And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Kid’s Sheet for The Sick Woman & Jesus & other Metaphysical Bible Story kids sheets are free to use with attribution

Against the odds

The story of the showdown between King Ahab’s idols (Ba’al & Asherah) and Elijah, prophet of the God of Israel is a story of prevailing against all odds. I mentioned it in a previous blog, and have added it to my collection of Metaphysical Bible stories.

Elijah prays for fire to be sent from God

As the story goes, there had been a great drought in the land of Israel and things were getting desperate. Elijah, whom King Ahab had been hunting for some time, came out of hiding and challenged Ahab’s belief in the idols.

Perhaps it was the extended drought; maybe Ahab was intrigued with Elijah’s boldness – we don’t know why but instead of capturing Elijah and imprisoning him, Ahab agrees to meet him at Mount Carmel and bring 850 prophets of his idols for a showdown of the gods.

The Ba’al prophets went first and prepared an altar, laid wood on it and the sacrifice (a bull) on top of the wood. They “… called upon the name of Ba’al from morning until noon” but to no avail. There was no answer from the gods of Ba’al.

Elijah jeered at them, and as it became obvious that no fire was forthcoming from Ba’al or Asherah, Elijah prepared his altar.

In addition to the wood, and the sacrifice (another bull), Elijah dug a trench around the altar, and soaked the wood on the altar with water, 3 times so that the excess water flowed off of the wood and into the trench. Then Elijah prayed to the God of Israel.

“O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 3Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”

1 Kings 18:36-38

According to the story in I Kings, as soon as Elijah had finished his prayer, fire came down from the heavens and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and dried up the water in the trench.

The metaphysical lesson in this story is the lesson of not believing false prophets. False prophets, or false beliefs about who we are; the power we have over our own lives and our core goodness.

The false prophets are the beliefs that we are victims; that we are helpless and at the mercy of others. The story of Elijah and the prophets of Ba’al reminds us that when we know who we are, and walk an inspired path – or as Wayne Dyer would say, we walk “in Spirit” or in the recognition that Spirit is ever present – miracles happen.

The story is one of triumph of Truth over false beliefs and it is a powerful reminder that regardless of what “everybody says” (the 800+ false prophets versus Elijah) – God has the last word. It can be an especially powerful lesson for children who can feel ostracized by classmates, or are struggling with dysfunction in their family or home life.

Whether child or adult, we can all use a reminder that God is all there is; that there is indeed a power for Good in the universe that we can use for Good in our own lives, and that when we walk in Spirit, truly – all things are possible.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Elijah and the False Prophets kids sheet is free to use with attribution.

The Christmas blessing

As a part time church musician, I once again had the good fortune to be immersed in the music of the season this year as I played for another church who had reached out to me several months ago (just after I completed my time with the Christian Science folks).

As I listened again to the Christmas story, I was reminded that the birth of the Light of the Christ consciousness was announced to lowly shepherds and not to the kings, queens or noble people of the time. I wrote about the significance of this Light in an earlier blog and as I re-read that blog, I remembered an incident that happened last week.

I work in healthcare in a large, integrated delivery system. My office is on a campus where a long-term care facility in our system is located, and so any given morning when I walk from my office to the Starbucks to get some coffee, I pass a number of older Veterans (almost always male) sitting in wheelchairs in the central area of the building.

One morning last week I was feeling heavy of heart for a number of reasons, and as I passed by one fellow, he raised his hand to me, made the sign of the cross and said, “God be with you“.

He was dressed in pajama pants, slippers with no socks and a zip up flannel sweatshirt. He had long, unruly white hair and wore wire-frame glasses and a ball cap that said “Vietnam Veteran” on it.

I was deeply touched by this unexpected and sacred encounter and tears welled in my eyes as I hurried along to my office after thanking him and wishing him a Merry Christmas.

Almost immediately my cynical side popped up and I told myself that he sat there and blessed everyone that walked by – that I wasn’t special so I should stop trying to make something out of nothing.

Interestingly, as if in response to my own harsh thoughts, a couple days later I was passing through the same building and looked down the hall and saw the same man. There were many people around him, and walking past him; but when our eyes met, he straightened up a bit in his chair and once again made the sign of the cross in my direction.

It was at that time I remembered a verse from Hebrews that reminds us not to dismiss strangers as insignificant.

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Hebrews 13:2

I’ve seen enough this past year alone to stop discounting such encounters. And when I thought about it, how truly apropos this seemingly random Christmas blessing was in its entirety.

Christmas Eve marks the end of Advent – that time of preparation for the coming of the Christ. One of the most haunting and beautiful Advent songs is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Emmanuel translated means “God with us“.

Is it not told that lowly shepherds spread the news of the Christ child? Shabbily dressed, at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum and certainly not members of the privileged classes, it was the shepherds that were tipped off by the angels to the great gift of the Light; it was shepherds who spread the word throughout the land.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”

Luke 2:16-18

Is a blessing given by an educated, ordained holy person in a freshly pressed, ornate robe a higher blessing than one given any other way? Do we garner more holy favor lined up in our wealthy suburban houses of worship, surrounded by the sounds and sights of the season?

The telling of the Christmas story every year reminds us, gently but persistently, that the Light of the Christ consciousness was sent through a homeless family; that the first news given by the angelic beings passed to lowly shepherds. We are reminded of the Truth of this Gift – that the Light belongs to the world – not the wealthy, the powerful, the prominent – the entire world from the least of us to the most exalted.

As I ponder the random blessing I received in what I now think of as my shepherd encounter, I know that I received a gift from an angel, appearing very much in the garb of a shepherd. This gentle, disheveled older gentleman reminded me of the important meaning of this holiday on a tough week; assuring me that God is with me – always and in all ways.

And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path