The WHY of Empty Seats

I’ve written a number of blogs on the trends in society that are impacting Sunday morning attendance, and comparing them to the trends we’re seeing in the retail sector as well as some that are critical of the “business as usual” model I see in a lot of organizations that “do” Sunday mornings. The reasons for the empty seats and lacking offering plates are many and varied, and they are likely somewhat different depending on the organizations.

(C) 2020 R Harmon

On Patheos, I recently read a great article about the 10 Reasons People are Walking Away from Church. As a long-time church organist, I have interest and insight into this corner of the religious world, and found the article interesting from that perspective. It also has a LOT of applicability to the spiritual-not-religious world, where the same struggles are hitting the bottom lines.

The reasons this author gave resonate across the religious/spiritual spectrum. Here are my edits on his list, as I see them applied to organized metaphysical churches and centers.

Not feeling a “fit”

In the original article, this reason was listed as “Not Feeling Welcome“, and I can say honestly that in the multiple centers I have visited across the nation, feeling welcome was NEVER an issue. In observing others who came in as new to these organizations, I would argue that it’s more often an issue of not seeing the organization as a comfortable “fit” for them. Absent a divine mandate, people either feel that they’d like to spend more time with the group they meet, or not. When they fail to return, we can assume that “fit” wasn’t there.


This is in no way limited to Christian circles, but it may show up somewhat different in the spiritual-not-religious corner.

The biggest issue I have seen in metaphysical centers in this regard is that they promote themselves as having the answer to many of life’s problems, but many of the teachers aren’t able to demonstrate that THEY can use the principles.

People come, and if they resonate with the group, they’ll stay and (hopefully!) learn some things. The problem begins when the leadership wants more dedication, more tithes and gifts in the offering plate, but cannot walk and talk the principles they want paid to teach to others. After a while, people see through this, and they take what they’ve learned and they leave.

God Didn’t Deliver

I have disagreed with many in leadership roles in a large metaphysical organization who push local centers and churches to offer prosperity classes to get new members.

This is a very dangerous proposition. Spiritual prosperity works, but it isn’t a vending machine. Unless seekers show up willing and ABLE to learn the larger lessons; they’re not going to benefit and soon will feel frustrated, and many will walk away. They may not say “God Didn’t Deliver” but they will say “that prosperity stuff didn’t work for me“. And when that’s the ONLY reason they showed up; they’re done.

Life is Going Well

Here’s one that metaphysical centers and churches share one-to-one with other churches. Once people learn how to use the principles of spiritual living, there are diminishing returns to attending a service every Sunday. This becomes more challenging on a logarithmic scale when the people teaching “how to use it” aren’t able to demonstrate their own competence in using the principles. The bottom drops out of the value proposition in this case and people vote with their feet.

People’s Lives are Busier than Ever

I’ve written about this ad nauseum. Dual careers, kids’ activities requiring transport all over town on evenings and weekends, and many people working more than 1 job just to pay the bills: the return on investment for running one more place on what may be the ONLY day of the week when there are no external demands, is negligible.

The Problem of Consciousness

In the original article, this was listed as the problem of “evil“. Instead of evil, in metaphysics we have “shaming”. While I am happy to see that the “shaming” that was prevalent in earlier decades is being called out at the highest levels; there are still some people (practitioners, long-term members, and ministers) who believe that EVERYTHING is consciousness. This translates into people being questioned when things go wrong in their lives, as if they weren’t “conscious” enough to keep it away.

Yes, right-thinking and a positive attitude are helpful – but we’re impacted by the world around us and must understand that, as Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote in a book by the same name; bad things do happen to good (conscious! enlightened! evolved!) people. No one wants o belong to a group that judges their worthiness at the time when they most need non-judgment and support.

Hurt by the Church

This reason is likely universal, and shared across these disparate movements. It doesn’t require much explanation, but it is a sad fact of human interaction.

False gospel

I think this is the combination of the reasons “God Didn’t Deliver” and “The Problem of Consciousness“. People seek out a spiritual or religious community for support, truth, uplifting practices that help make their lives easier – not harder. When that isn’t happening, people leave.

Whether this is categorized as a false teaching or as something that didn’t work as advertised – the result is the same.

No Longer Relevant

Prior to the advent of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms; the metaphysical church or center and the library were the only places people could learn how to change their thinking and change their lives. Today, that is no longer the case.

Thanks to technology, and some most-worthy teachers (Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer to name 3 big ones); this information is literally everywhere.

We can listen to an audio-book while working out; watch a YouTube video on a break; read endless blogs about “how to use it” and never once have to set foot in a church or center. We can, in essence, incorporate the teachings and practice into our lives without the help of someone who wants or needs us to put money into a basket every Sunday.

I take no pleasure in reporting this news, but I am frustrated with those who are angry at me because I am pointing at the emperor and telling the truth: s/he has no clothes on.

Many have written about this trend, including this article about the shrinking middle class and its impact on middle class churches, and this article on empty pews.

The answer, if there is one, is NOT to continue to do things “the way we’ve always done it“, but to look deeply and honestly at what we are offering: what people want (and don’t want); what’s working and what isn’t – and then make honest, data-driven decisions that serve everyone.

Loud prayers with hands over the offering plate aren’t going to move the needle. Smart leadership can, and will – if people are willing to make hard decisions that serve the interests of the many, instead of the few.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

A balancing act

I have been watching the emergence of the Coronavirus globally and steeling myself for the simultaneous emergence of dangerous advice from multiple corners.

A few years back, I wrote about balancing (spiritual) principle with real life.

There can be a tendency in some spiritual circles to fall into a belief that if we ignore something (e.g. don’t give it any attention), it can’t come to fruition and hurt us. This tends to be more prevalent among those who grew up in “old school New Thought“.

Thankfully, in recent years it has been called out as an inappropriate practice. But old habits die hard, and I’m starting to see hints of these old habits on social media – which concerns me as we face the uncertainty of the aforementioned global virus.

The challenge in discussing topics like this among spiritual folks is that it can quickly turn into a Hatfield & McCoy event, which helps no one and solves nothing. This blog post is my attempt at honoring spiritual principle and practice while acknowledging the facts in a way that is for everyone’s highest Good.

Since beginning my spiritual journey and studies, my motto has been stick with principle, but don’t be stupid. Here are some examples.

I work hard to stay healthy, eat whole foods, get plenty of rest, drink appropriate amounts of water, exercise regularly, avoid alcohol and cigarettes, and other generally-accepted practices for good health.

As a general rule, I don’t run to the doctor every time I get a sniffle, but I do pay attention to my body, and I read the scientific literature. If I have a cough that won’t go away, I go to the doctor. If a rash or sore on my body shows up and doesn’t resolve within a few days (or gets worse), I go to the doctor.

I recently got the Shingles vaccine (part 1, which reminds me – I need part 2 soon [ugh]), and I’ve had the Pneumonia vaccine. I’m not crazy about the flu shot, but I got one this year (first time in awhile).

I also regularly utilize spiritual principles to get over colds, ease headaches, address minor strains and sprains and I’ve got a pharmacopoeia of herbs and holistic remedies in my medicine chest (still a strong connection to my rural roots).

The key to living a long and healthy life and honoring the spiritual path in which I have chosen to invest time, money and attention: balance.

Balance in the face of a potential global pandemic means that I do not give in to hysteria and fear, but that I wisely and with a measured openness pay attention to the public health officials when they make recommendations and provide updates.

Balance in the face of public panic is making sure I understand potential problems and work to mitigate them in my own life so that instead of being a strain on the system, I can be a helper. This means that I have stocked up on essentials in the event that more than the tech sector supply chain is impacted by this event.

Balance means that I am taking EXTRA care to eat right, get rest and avoid running myself ragged. It also means that I am dialing back being out in public. I also make extra certain to observe hand hygiene and infection control practices.

Balance means that I am staying centered in my spiritual practice and not succumbing to abject fear and full-scale panic.

I am not putting my head in the sand, nor giving in to the hysteria. I am preparing in the event that this ends up being as scary as some say it could be. I am not living in fear but I am staying informed by listening to credible outlets (CDC, NIH) for important updates so I can make the best decisions for myself and my family.

Infinite Intelligence has provided inspiration for the many advances in modern medicine that we enjoy today. I see no conflict in benefiting from them and staying healthy.

It’s no different than what I teach about spiritual abundance.

The inexhaustible Resource of Spirit is equal to every demand.

Charles Fillmore, Unity

Spirit always provides – and often, being provided shows up as a job . It’s never once shown up as a magical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or in the clutches of a disembodied hand coming out of the clouds.

When it comes to scary viruses, Spirit will ALSO show up, but very likely as good sense advice, vaccinations and social decisions that make conditions more ideal for staying healthy than getting sick.

We find ourselves in the midst of an interesting time and event. As with our financial concerns, Spirit will always provide. We just need to make sure we don’t turn into the man on top of his roof when Spirit sends the rescue boat to fetch us.

Science and spirituality cannot walk hand in hand as Ernest Holmes wrote if we line up in camps, one against the other.

We must rely on principle; practice affirmative prayer, and remember that the fervent prayers of people hundreds of years ago brought us the scientific discoveries we have today that solve big issues. Today’s information provides advice on staying well, avoiding illness and the technology and wisdom that has emerged makes medical intervention an option when we are ill.

Science is not our enemy. She is, most assuredly, the answer to our grandmother’s and grandfather’s prayers. Embrace her as a cherished miracle. Know that the scientists and front-line health workers are protected and safe – pray this Truth! Believe that the support, tools, strength, health and care you need are already here; and that all is well – regardless of appearances or the need for interventions and help.

Rely on principle. Respect the Divine gift that is science.

And so it is.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

A hedge of protection

In many traditional religious circles, the phrase “hedge of protection” is referenced to indicate the protected status religious people have in life.

The concept is derived from many verses, especially those in Psalms and Proverbs, and the specific language comes from the story of Job.

In this story, Job is a prosperous and content man, living the good life with all the trappings of that status. As the story goes, in a conversation Satan tells God that Job is only faithful because things are good; because God “put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has,…

Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

Job 1:10

This verse has generated a host of references to this “hedge of protection”, and is (understandably) comforting to people navigating the uncertainties of life.

In a recent conversation with a friend who is a devout Christian, they made a comment about this hedge of protection and that they feel sorry for non-Christians who don’t benefit from it. I try not to argue about religion so I smiled and swallowed the multiple rebuttals that were in the tip of my tongue, such as the most obvious one: Job wasn’t a Christian,…so (yeah).

The interaction made me think about the concept, but from a wider vantage point. I considered Job, the many faithful Jews, Muslims and others whose lives have surely had that same hedge of protection. I thought too about the multitudes of people whose religions acknowledge a Power and Presence but whose practices diverge from the people of the Book*.

I’d make an educated guess that devout, practicing adherents of all these religious and spiritual groups have experienced the protective benefits described in Job. And for this reason, I believe that this benefit comes, not from gaining favor from a specific deity or following certain dogma; but from living in alignment with Source. Wayne Dyer would put it this way: living “in Spirit”, or an inspired life.

Louise Hay said often that once she put her foot on the spiritual path, she began to get “green lights and parking spaces” and Joel Osteen routinely refers to God’s “favor“.

The GOOD news about this hedge of protection is that it is available to us all, regardless of our religious or spiritual affiliation. The path to this protection begins with an acknowledgment of what Joseph Murphy called The Light Principle and Ernest Holmes called “a Power, greater than we are,…” (e.g. God in traditional religion).

After a basic acknowledgement – or willingness to accept this as Truth; establish a regular spiritual practice. For some this is prayer; for others, meditation. It can be yoga, walks/jogs in nature, creating art – almost anything that allows for some quiet/contemplative and solitary time.

Once you establish your regular routine, practice seeing how Spirit shows up. This happens in ways large and small; grand and simple. If you’re not sure “how” to do this, simply decide/expect, or as the folks who do this stuff regularly say, “put out the intention” that you will RECOGNIZE instances where/when Spirit shows up.

And you’ll start to see things change in ways that feel miraculous.

If this is an entirely NEW concept to you, there are a plethora of places to learn. While there are some newer resources, I have found these to be timeless:

  • How to Get What You Really, Really, Really, Really Want (13 YouTube clips from PBS special)
    • I refer to this as “Spirituality 101” and recommend it first to those interested in learning non-religious, spiritual concepts.
  • You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay (available at most libraries)
    • Super teaching and intro to several other great teachers
  • Teachings of Neville Goddard (start with Live in the End)
    • Some of this teachings are a little off the beaten path, but his concepts on spirituality are quite profound.
  • Keep It Simple (recent blog post about beginning a spiritual journey)

A hedge of protection doesn’t require an exclusive invitation, or membership in a specific organization. It’s available to anyone who is willing to take that first step.

(C) Practitioner's Path 2020

*People of the Book refers to Jews, Muslims and Christians

Spiritual Maturity

I’ve been writing this blog for almost 7 years. In that time period I have documented numerous answered prayers, or “demonstrations” as they are called in the metaphysical / spiritual-not-religious corners of the world.

As I have often shared, I came into this teaching in a state of curiosity, not desperation. Not long before, I had been given a copy of the audio book, “The Secret” and begun my journey into the world of metaphysical experience. While I knew that The Secret was a doorway to a deeper path; I also knew that some of the examples in the movie were off base, and fantastical – even if they were meant as metaphorical representations of the way “this stuff works” (and I think they were meant that way and not as unrealistic goals).

Over the years that I have studied, learned and grown in my application and appreciation of these ancient, spiritual Truths; I have observed that there is a level of maturity in our use of them.

When we are immature, expectations are high and often untethered to reality. This can and often does lead to disappointment and an undermining of the beliefs. This is described best by Mike Dooley who was in the movie as “messing with the hows“. See my blog on magical thinking for an explanation of this.

When approaching the principles with maturity, however; real magic can come into our lives. This magic happens when we are willing and able to let go of the way we want things to happen and allow the principles to work as they work.

The maturity involved in this requires a relinquishment of ego – letting go of what WE wanted, and how WE wanted things to work out, and how WE saw the best outcomes as needing to be. A mature approach is one that is open at the top (nod to Ernest Holmes) and does not insist on doing things a certain way, and is always willing to evolve, even if/when it’s scary.

The following examples illustrate the difference:

A family member wanted to buy a pair of athletic shoes, but money was short. The IMMATURE wish was for more money; the MATURE knowing led to a pair of athletic shoes that met their needs, and was affordable within their budget.

A child who wanted to play the flute in band and a family that wondered about adding another instrument payment to the budget found that the IMMATURE wish for more money coming in each month so they could afford it was replaced with the MATURE knowing that they are provided when a flute showed up.

I was set to travel in the midst of a Winter storm. The IMMATURE desire I had was for my employer to cancel all travel until Spring. The MATURE knowing I experienced was that I was provided – not only with safe travel between Kansas City and Pittsburgh, but on time with no delays.

A couple years back, my daughter and her family moved across town. A few weeks after the move, the family cat disappeared. My grandson was distraught and all of us combed the neighborhoods – old and new – for Figgy. The IMMATURE wish was that Figgy would simply wander back into the yard. The MATURE knowing let go of the HOW and held on to the knowing that the highest and best outcome would manifest.

This outcome came in a call from Animal Control, more than a MONTH after Figgy disappeared. I feel strongly that this happened to teach me about faith, trust and persistence and each time I see Figgy with my grandchildren, I am reminded of that lesson (I was able to scratch his ears and give him a couple kitty-treats just yesterday!).

I’ve written often about my need for a new roof that required $15,000 and about concerns around finances specific to my student loans. The IMMATURE desires I held around these issues were for large, windfalls of money so that I could simply write a check and be done with the worry.

The MATURE knowing allowed for the outcomes that looked a bit different, but still met all my needs: I am not paying my students loans out of my monthly budget – and instead of a winning lottery ticket, a tree blew onto my roof and a part time job came my way.

These examples, along with the many others chronicled in this blog, have worked to teach me the critical importance of a mature approach to the application of spiritual principles in my life. I have learned the crucial aspect of “keeping out of the hows” and regularly see the miracles that emerge when I do.

For these reasons, I struggle to support teachers or self-proclaimed gurus who are not demonstrating a maturity in their practice. They are, sadly, leading others astray when they keep holding their hands over their bank accounts and praying loudly for more money to roll in to maintain things as they want them to be.

This behavior demonstrates a lack of depth and expertise – especially when they insist that they’ll not move off their current path (“I’m not changing the way we spend our money!”) even in the face of an obvious need to make drastic changes.

This is, I believe, spiritual malpractice. Not because I said so, but because teaching spiritual Truths to help people with hard life challenges is a sacred duty and our desire for money, position or power should NEVER outrank that responsibility.

In the Christian canon, the teacher Jesus taught that leading people astray was a big problem:

but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:6

The word sin is interpreted metaphysically to mean “missing the mark“. From this perspective, this counsel could be rewritten as:

  • Whoever causes someone new to these teachings to miss the mark – or use the principles ineffectively, which can create the perception that they are useless and lead people to abandon them – is committing malpractice, and should immediately cease and desist.

Does this mean that anyone not demonstrating immediate results is incapable of leading?

Not at all.

It DOES mean that to be effective and sustainable; leadership requires maturity – as evidenced in a willingness to be wrong, self-awareness, being open to ideas that conflict with one’s own, and the ability to let go of long-held sacred cows.

In other words, it means being able to understand the spiritual principles enough to LIVE them, and not just talk about them. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

 (C) 2020 Practitioner's Path 

Changing Times

In the early 2000s, I was the Dean of Allied Health in a community college. One of my programs was Medical Transcription. The enrollment in this program had declined precipitously and the Return on Investment (ROI) for maintaining faculty and other expenses to teach less than 3 students a year was just not there. In addition, the emerging technology that enabled voice recognition was decimating the profession nationally. I knew that very soon, there would be no jobs for Transcription professionals. I also knew that we needed to shift our resource investment into training that led to decent jobs for graduates.

As it turns out, I was right. There are plenty of things I’m not good at; but looking around at the world and what’s happening; seeing the writing on the wall, and making appropriate hard choices is something I’ve got a darn good track record on.

It’s not rocket science. I read industry journals, keep up with the news, pay attention to trends in the culture and remain open and willing to see realities – even those I might not want to see. It’s a skill, but it doesn’t always make me the most popular dinner guest at industry conferences or in circles of people who squeeze their eyes shut and hope that things will be different when they open them again.

I recently had an experience at a car dealer that highlighted the continued evolution we are immersed in today. In a previous blog I wrote about my demonstration of a new car. Earlier this month I took ownership of it, and had an up-close-and-personal experience with the changes we are experiencing as a society.

Our total transaction at the dealership took less than 45 minutes. In chatting with the salesperson, we shared some less pleasant experiences that we had with OTHER dealerships. He told us that in today’s world, customers come to the dealership knowing prices, aware of the vehicle specifications, and with multiple options to buy – including ordering online and picking up at a car vending machine (CARVANA) or having the car delivered to their home (CARSENSE).

Dealerships that insist on doing “business a la 1995” where the manager sits up behind a glass wall and there is haggling and an exhausting back-and-forth are in danger of becoming obsolete. Consumers today simply won’t put up with those games because there are other options that work better for them. What worked in the last decade or so will not work today – in car dealerships and in other organizations.

In our conversation we discussed the inevitable demise of those dealerships that are clinging to the old ways. It’s hard to tell how long they’ll hold on, but one thing is for sure: they are losing large numbers of customers to the dealerships that are willing to evolve.

Today’s buyers have other options than the old school way. And the proof was right in front of our eyes – we experienced how different and EASY it can be to buy a car.

There were multitudes of customers in this dealership on a random Saturday afternoon. The owners clearly understand that as the population shifts, and technology (& other) factors impact society, they have to change; they must “evolve or die“.

This quote is often attributed to Einstein, but it matters little who said it: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I would add that doing the same thing – in the midst of a changing culture and demographics – and (still) expecting the same results qualifies you for bat-guano crazy status!

  • Developers aren’t building new mega malls
  • Retail businesses aren’t staking all their bets on brick & mortar
  • Car dealers aren’t hiring sales personnel who can’t navigate the online car markets

The world, and especially American culture, is changing at a breath-taking pace. You don’t need to be a venture capitalist to know that if a business model from the previous century hasn’t shown viability for more than 20 years, it’s not going to suddenly turn around – especially by continuing to do the same thing over and over and over and over and…

Absent walking away; the smart money in circumstances like these is to harvest what you can, and radically change the model.

The businesses and organizations who want to remain standing as the 21st century rolls forward must understand this and be willing to make some hard choices, sacrifice some sacred cows. and make significant changes.

Those who refuse will be relegated to the pages of history.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

New Thought Unicorns

There’s an old tale about a man on top of his roof as flood waters swirl below him. In desperation he prays, begging God to save him from certain doom.

Soon after, a rescue boat comes by, throws him a life jacket, a rope and encourages him to jump.

The man throws the life jacket back, and tells them he doesn’t need their help – God is going to save him. Shaking their heads, they steer the boat downstream to other stranded folks.

A few hours later, a helicopter comes along and lowers a rope ladder to the man. A search & rescue officer comes down the ladder to help, but he refuses; once again telling his would-be rescuers that God is going to save him.

The Search & Rescue crew leaves, heading out to retrieve other, more willing stranded folks.

Throughout the night, the flood waters rose beyond the top of the roof and the man, having no where to go, drowns.

He arrived at the pearly gates and as St Peter checked him in, he asked why God hadn’t answered his prayers in the flood. St Peter shook his head.

God sent you a boat, and a helicopter – what more did you want?

In understanding spiritual principles, there is a tendency in some corners to believe in the existence of sparkly unicorns, or engage in what is often called “magical thinking“.

The adage shared above is a perfect example of “magical thinking” and it stands in stark contrast to applying spiritual principles to solve life problems.

Prayers get answers. In this tale, the prayer was answered first by a rescue boat, and then by a helicopter. The spiritual principles worked.

But the man had it in his head that he wanted something specific,… he had a particular idea of what it would look like for his prayer to be answered, and he turned away 2 very viable options.

Neville Goddard, Wayne Dyer and others taught that we should live in the end to manifest what we want or need. In this (fictional) man’s case, living in the end would have been getting safely off that roof. Instead of living in the end, or focusing on the end state that he desired; he was very stuck in the “how” – and it didn’t end well!

I have experienced this tension between magical thinking and living in the end, so I understand how easy it is to fall into the trap.

Not long into my present job, I was miserable and surrounded with some not-very-nice people. In addition, I had taken a significant pay cut and I was sick of that, too. I wanted my good salary back, I wanted nicer colleagues, and I wanted the esteem I had enjoyed in previous jobs. This was awful, and I wanted OUT!

I chanted, prayed, treated, meditated and intended all kind of ways for this to happen: I waited for a call from a head hunter, the winning Power Ball ticket and the discovery of a long lost relative with the deed to a silver mine, … and everything in between.

But none of that happened.

If I had given in to that magical thinking, it could have resulted in me leaving in a huff, or digging in, growing resentful and eventually pronouncing the principles as a bunch of hooey.

But I had some experience applying spiritual principles in my life, and I knew that I had to do the work. I continued to read and study, and to focus my attention and energy on what I really wanted in the end: a job where I was respected, could be successful, made decent money, and could enjoy the work as well as the people I worked with.

And all of that manifested – but not in a rainbow flurry of Prize Patrol visits. It manifested when I began where I was, working the principles and living “in the end“. It came when I settled down and accepted that everything in life is a trade-off and when I got clear on what I was willing to sacrifice (adjusting how I interacted with the mean girls) and what I was not (walking away from a pension).

When we’re struggling to get things to go our way, it’s usually due to being mired in the “hows“. It’s then that we need to take a step back and look at the end result that we desire; letting go of the details and how we think it needs to look.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say we’re building a business, and we want it to work in a certain way, and customers to interact with us in a specific way. We want them to buy exactly what we’re selling, and pay us a certain amount of money because we want/need that amount of money, and …

First of all, that’s a LOT of “hows“, and it’s all about us. It totally leaves the rest of the world out of the equation – and it doesn’t work that way.

I’ve written a lot about the Retail Apocalypse, and the changes in that industry. I am certain that many of the people working in retail have prayed for a resolution to the decline. And answers to those prayers have come in, but in different ways, shapes and forms – NONE of them being a return to busy malls and swarms of traditional shoppers “like it used to be“.

Applying spiritual principle absolutely works. But it’s not a vending machine that gives us the item we plugged into the menu board after inserting our money. It’s not “treatment in – miracle out“.

It’s also not strenuous.

If we find ourselves praying, and praying and straining to make something happen – the answer isn’t longer, louder prayers while we hold our hands over our wallets.

When we catch ourselves in this posture, it’s time to take a step back, get out of the “hows“, get clear on the end, and let go.

Things started lining up in divine right order when I let go of my focus on wanting a call from the head hunter with a perfect job; the winning lottery ticket, and the rich relative. That’s the way spiritual principle works.

Answers to our prayers don’t ride into our lives on glittery unicorns – they come to us in ordinary ways, involve work on our part, and very often, unfold in ways we never imagined.

We can experience magic, if we are willing to let go, and let the Infinite Spirit show up “…as the abundant all sufficiency in [our] life and affairs.”

And so it is.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

A basic tool

I’ve been in a management/leadership position for many years now, and have had (and continue to have) the opportunity to sit with people who need advice, some coaching or more (sometimes counseling for disciplinary reasons).

Often, people come to me because they’re miserable about their career prospects, their current job assignment, someone they work with, or their boss. My studies in metaphysics have helped me become a better listener, and that alone has added great benefit to my ability to assist people. Beyond that, however; I employ some simple tools that not only get results in the workforce, but would find a comfortable home in most metaphysical churches or centers.

One favorite technique of mine is to take a small, dollar store notebook and use it as a journal. Let’s take the person who comes to me because they dislike their job, but are stuck because they need the money, and aren’t having any luck finding a new job.

I hand them one of these mini/pocket notebooks (I keep a stash in my office for just these times), and ask them to take a few minutes each morning and date the top of a page, and write down 3 things that they appreciate about their current job or employment situation.

Each day they need to come up with 3 new things. I tell them to start with the things closest to them: the paycheck, the people they DO like, the free parking. I recommend this exercise at the beginning of the day because as they work, they will recognize OTHER things for which they are thankful, and they can keep a running list to use over the next days.

This activity first thing each morning also helps to reset any feelings of misery or resentment, making a way for a better experience throughout the day.

This process is so simple it seems like an impossible “fix” for anything, but I can tell you that it works. Appreciation in any circumstance is a healing balm, and this exercise helps us to return our attention to the whole host of little things that make a good life.

This works for a relationship, a job situation, neighborhood issues, family challenges and more. I’ve written before about the way I turned a miserable job situation into one that I truly enjoy by focusing on a ~$2 cup of fruit and the ability to take a walk around a suburban campus in the afternoon. Some weeks I struggled to find anything else to appreciate, but I stuck with it, and before long I had a long list. Free parking (I paid more than $100/month to park in my job at the University), time to listen to audio-books on my commute, a list of good and decent people who were also fun to work with, reasonable expectations, great benefits, interesting work, support for continuing education, generous vacation package, relaxed dress code,… and much more.

There’s not really any “magic” in the mini notebooks. They’re simply a hands-on tool for practicing gratitude; for changing our thinking so we can change our lives. I’ve found in working with people over the years that giving someone a concrete tool to use works much better than quoting sometimes-obtuse spiritual principles.

This time of year finds many churches and centers offering prosperity classes. If you’re struggling with prosperity, this tool can be a help to you as well.

Go get a mini notebook (you can get 4 or 5 of them for $1 at most Dollar stores). Each day write down 3 things about your financial situation that you appreciate.

Think broadly: remember when you 1st got the job or the benefits that are coming in now. Feel the relief and appreciation you felt when this money first came into your life.

If you are not working, and wish that you were; look at the things you can do without a job that would be hard if you were going into work every day. Sprinkle appreciation all over your days and activities. Bless the help you get from benefits or others and be grateful for it all.

The key to any of this is to look for the Good – no matter how difficult it may seem. It’s here, now – even if it appears to be hiding. Stick to it and keep looking, keep SEEING it all around you.

Finding the Good in whatever situation we’re in is a life-changing exercise, and it’s as close as a 25-cent notebook.

Give it a try – you’ll be glad that you did 🙂

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path