Metaphysical Finances

I came to organized metaphysical spirituality with no major life problems, and no great need for healing in any one area. I sought out the organization because I was estranged from the religion of my birth, had experienced some success in using the principles I had read about and was interested in learning about this corner of the religious/spiritual world.

To be sure, since coming into this tradition, I have grown and learned a lot. I have most definitely received great benefit from all my teachers and every subject studied, and will be eternally grateful for the twists of fate that led me here.

I do think that the way I came into this teaching has given me the ability to see things that I may not have been able or willing to see if I had come here with my life in a mess and found my way out of that mess via the teachings. It is that relatively stable entrance into these teachings that gives me, I believe, some unique insights.

Let’s take the issue of money.

I was already prosperous when I first stumbled into a Center. Still, I have learned spiritual abundance principles which have given me a much broader foundation and the ability to take steps that I would have considered unthinkable previously. Again, I am profoundly grateful.

The issue of money that I want to address is the one that I have been confused about since my initial affiliation with metaphysics. People are taught that they should tithe, and know that they are provided. They are offered prosperity classes – sometimes taught by toothy millionaires who assure students that if they hand over 10% of anything they bring in, they’ll prosper.

And while I understand the biblical origins of this claim, I also know it’s not quite that simple; but that’s not the focus of this blog (read more about my opinion on tithing here).

If “this stuff works“, then why is there a need to beg or manipulate people to give, donate or tithe? If individuals are supposed to learn spiritual principles of abundance; if they are to trust and know that they are provided as they write those tithe checks – why don’t ministers and organizations do the same?

Blind adherence to principles without being able to ask critical questions is one of the things people FLEE when they leave traditional religions. Imagine the confusion after initially feeling that they’ve found spiritual honesty, to once again be asked to “do as I say, not as I do“!?

It makes me wildly unhappy when I hear ministers and teachers who want more people to come to their classes and centers fall into a desperate posture of begging, pleading and otherwise haranguing people to give, donate or tithe. You’re taking money from people to teach them to trust the Source,… but every time you open your mouth it is obvious that you do not practice what you preach and teach!

If you DID, you’d go about your business and stop talking all the time about money because you would know that God is the Source and Substance of your supply, period.

Metaphysical spiritual traditions teach prayer that is very intentionally NOT supplication (begging). Students who are new to metaphysics are instructed that the “magic” in these teachings lies in the coming into alignment with Source, and then KNOWING. But too often, anxiety about finances seems to incite a panic and people do the very thing they teach their students NOT to do: they beg.

If I were to provide coaching to someone in this circumstance, I would say the following:

If you’re concerned about money, it’s time to look at your alignment. If abundance isn’t flowing, it’s time for less TALK to others about their money and instead, spend more time on your own INSIDE work – it’s time to work on yourself.

I would also remind them to stay out of the “how”. Too often we see a focus on bringing in money to support a specific person, program or circumstance – and while I know that spiritual Law never leaves us hanging; it also is not a vending machine that hands out exactly that for which we ask. In other words,…sometimes the answer is not what we’re hoping it will be – but that’s a topic for another blog.

If we jump off the top of a building, we’re going to fall because the Law of gravity is ALWAYS in effect.

The universal laws of spiritual abundance are also always in effect. When the finances are not working, it’s time to go back to principle – not to threaten people who ask hard questions, speak truth and hold up the mirror (I would also caution against using threats,…it usually backfires – badly).

Mitch Horowitz, in his forward to Harv Bishop’s book, New Thought (R)evolution wrote the following:

New Thought, in its churches, books, and internal dialogues, has failed to mature.”

This specific money issue is Exhibit A in terms of the failed maturity. We cannot ask people to support organizations where we teach principles that we ourselves are unwilling or unable to demonstrate a faith in, and commitment to.

It’s called integrity, and it’s a critical element in building a successful organization of any kind. It’s also crucial for effective leadership.

As metaphysical organizations, if we’re not willing to walk our talk, we’ll find that people are more than willing to simply walk away, because we’re not the only game in town.

Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and others have laid the foundation for these principles to be available, literally, everywhere. It’s no longer the case that metaphysical churches and centers hold the keys to this kingdom.

If we can’t show the value proposition of these principles by being living, breathing examples of spiritual abundance; why should anyone trust us to teach the principles to them?

It’s time to walk the talk, or walk away.


(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Healing our politics

In studying the principles of spiritual living – universally, and not attached or branded by any one particular group – I have been concerned since 2015 about the amount of attention and finger-pointing that has gone on as the nation and the world gasps in horror at one corner of the political theater that is playing out in the United States.

Fellow spiritual travelers whom I know to be skilled and knowledgeable in the Jedi ways have spent years posting rants about the problems they see in politics and people in power. While I understand their concern, and sometimes even get drawn into it: this is the polar opposite of what we know to be the effective approach when there is the appearance of trouble in our lives.

I am a US Navy Veteran and spent a good portion of my youth in service to this country (United States) and the ideals that were laid down by the founding fathers and mothers. I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies – foreign and domestic. And to in ALL things, adhere to the principles of this democracy where the balance of power lies equally between the Congress (representing the people’s power), the Judiciary (representing the laws) and the Executive (representing the leadership). It is this BALANCE of power that was the radical new idea in the New World in the 17th century – that instead of family ties, power or money – the people decided the fate of their government and the structure of this balance of power kept that in check.

I AM concerned about the trends I see in Washington, DC – especially those that unfolded in this past week. In fact, I am sick to my stomach at what I perceive to be detrimental to this democracy that so many fought and died to protect and defend. BUT,…I know from years of study that the answer is not more energy and attention on the problem: but a turning inward by all people of good faith and conscience to a knowing of the Truth.

There is more power in a mass meditation on the Truth of this democratic nation and democracy than in any demonstration against the current circumstances. To achieve this we must turn our attention to what we know to be the Truth of this country, its ideals and people. The following is a meditation that I have written to help myself redirect these energies. Feel free to use as is, or write your own!

I know that there is a Power for Good in the Universe. It is known by many names: God, Infinite Wisdom, Great Spirit, Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah and many more. I Am born of this Power, and one with It – a child of the Divine.

From this perspective I can turn my attention to the Truth and reject all appearances of error. I give my full energy and focus to knowing that Love is the most powerful force in the Universe. This realization allows me to turn away from what appears to be, and toward the Truth; that good people doing the right thing are in positions of influence at the national, state and local level – right here and right now.

I hold on to this knowing, and the examples show up everywhere that I turn. Inspired by their actions, I make a difference in my own circles of influence: doing good, speaking peace, uplifting others. sharing generously with my family, community, nation and the world.

Grateful for the ability to SEE the truth of all the Good in the world, and knowing that this Good is more powerful than all the negativity combined; I release my word into the Infinite Law – knowing that it will return to me whole and fulfilled.

I speak it. I know it! I let it go – and so it is.


(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Omnipresence

Spiritual truths have come forth from the hearts of humankind for as long as we’ve walked this earth. In the American tradition, some of these truths have come forth in the metaphysical traditions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Divine Science emerged in the Western regions of the United States, and is attributed to Malinda Cramer, Nona Brooks along with significant contributions by Fannie Brooks James, Alethea Brooks Small and Kate Bingham. In my study of the principles, I have come to believe that the one word to define the focus of Divine Science must be omnipresence.

Omnipresence, the concept, is taught in the basic Divine Science texts, and was the core concept of the early healings noted, as well as the teachings that emerged. Here is one definition from Short Lessons in Divine Science:

There is one word that I would write upon the hearts of (humanity)–Omnipresence. Omnipresence! Repeat it to yourself; say it often; get the fullness of its meaning. It can never grow old; it will never become threadbare; it can never wear out. I prefer it to faith, hope, and love, because it is greater than these. Omnipresence is beyond hope; it is fulfillment. It is greater than either faith or love, because it includes these, and more within itself. Omnipresence, the All-Presence, the Presence that is always present!

Nona Brooks, Short Lessons in Divine Science

What is omnipresence?

The best modern description I have found came from an Indian philosopher, Spiritual guru, author and teacher, Sri Sri Anandamurti and it is a phrase I share widely:

We are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars, guides us too.

That is the modern definition of omnipresence.

Understanding the concept of omnipresence is, as Nona Brooks and others in Divine Science noted, the only concept we need to understand!

Enough of the complicated prayers, practices and rituals: the answers to so many of life’s problems are as close as the understanding that nothing that we have done, or can ever do (or fail to do) will ever separate us from our Source. We can FORGET that we are immersed in, surrounded by and enfolded in the Power and Presence; but we can never be separated from it.

Divine Science tenets hold that “The physical evidence of any teaching lies not in the authority or history of an organization, but in the ability of an individual to prove the teaching.”

In other words, talk is cheap! We can talk about principles, talk about the POTENTIAL for healing, talk about the right way to do this or that; but at the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding. The evidence of the teaching lies in the ability of the individual – any individual – to prove the teaching.

One’s title, status in an organization or length of tenure in an organization are of no consequence to the Truth. The principle of Light shines always in all ways. It is we who shift from seeing the Light to missing it, and in demonstrating the ability to prove the truth in the teachings; we share the Light with the world.

Rev. Dr. Joseph Murphy reminded his congregants and students that “Truth never changes“. The Infinite is never gone away from us. In this understanding lies the essence of all healing, restoration, peace and harmony.

I strive in my writings and teaching opportunities to show the simplicity of these principles. In a recent blog post I wrote about the steps anyone can take to improve a circumstance or situation in their lives. I share demonstrations of my own use of these Universal principles to encourage study, practice and application, because I know that you can do this, too! Sometimes all that is needed is some guidance and a little encouragement.

While the culture seems to be moving away from overtly religious practice and language, it can be easy to dismiss the formal language and biblical references in some of the early Divine Science publications, but I encourage patience and understanding: there is deep wisdom and power in the words penned over 100 years ago by these pioneers.

In closing I want to share words attributed to Malinda Cramer.

“It was early one morning in the year 1885, during an hour of earnest meditation and prayerful seeking, that I asked the following questions in faith, believing that they would be answered, with a willingness to abide the decision, whatever it might be. ‘Is there any way out of these conditions? Is there any power in the vast universe that can heal me?’ The answer to my earnest inquiry was an all absorbing realization of a presence not heretofore realized. This presence was more than personal; it was omnipresence, and was so real, and so vivifying and illumining, that I became It. I realized It to be my Life, my Being, my health, knowledge and power. It was a “consuming fire,” in that all things became It, and were this Presence manifested. That hour was the beginning of my realization of the oneness of Life, for a gleam of its truth flashed across my mental vision at that time which I now understand to be the at-one-ment of the whole – of the Creator and creation.”

Malinda Cramer wasn’t chosen, anointed or special in any way that you or I are not. The healing she experienced in 1885, like the healings documented in the biblical text, are accessible, available – today and always – and the key to them begins with embracing the concept of omnipresence.

And so it is.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

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No Free Lunches

We’ve often heard the phrase that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. It comes from, (according to legend), habits in the American West during the late 19th Century where saloons would offer a “free lunch” to customers who purchased at least one drink.  

They served a “free lunch” of salty ham, cheese and crackers which all but guaranteed that the thirsty patrons bought a lot of beer, and of course, more than covered the cost of their “free” lunch.

In spiritual context, we know that nothing comes to us without our payment in mental and spiritual coin. In life outside of formal/organized religion, it is often known casually as “karma” and on the playground it is known as “what goes around, comes around“.

What this means is that we cannot expect to manifest things into our lives without putting out the requisite balance in effort (attitude, spiritual work) or other work.

I often write about manifesting, and describe incidents where truly miraculous happenings took place that allowed people to buy homes, fix a roof, pay for student loans and more. The “catch“, if you will, is that never once did a disembodied hand come out of the sky and hand the person a fist full of money; and the prize patrol never once knocked on the door.

In all of these situations, the miracle demonstrations came to and through regular people and circumstances. And this is GOOD news, because it’s how it should work. It’s good news,…unless we’re in a circumstance where we’re benefiting from something without paying our fair share or contributing up to the level that is needed.

In one job situation that I had a few years back, I was making a lot of money. The benefits were very good and the work was easy – in fact, a little too easy. I enjoyed the work, the environment and the perks – but as I understood the way that the Universe works, I knew that “something wasn’t right“. I knew that the amount of time, expertise and energy that I was expending was not at all in alignment with the compensation I was receiving.

As it turned out, the organization was out of alignment, and after I left (my choice as I knew that change had to come and wanted to leave on my terms, not as part of a layoff), they had several reorganizations, changed all the positions, and salaries came way down to be more in line with industry standards.

This is a perfect example of the “no free lunch” concept and a demonstration of the Universal Law requiring balance and the payment of mental and spiritual coin.

I have mentioned at various times that I have worked over the years as a church musician (traditional religion). In one organization, the senior minister was not held in high esteem, because while the church membership and tithes were waning, he was still pulling in his regular salary, but was not visiting shut-ins (discovered when the family member of one called a Board member after the long-time member passed away), or people in the hospital, and it appeared that his only activity each week was giving the sermon.

That was bad enough, but then one of the most ornery members of the Board decided to look up his sermons and found that he was downloading sermons that he found on the internet and presenting those as his own – often verbatim from the text found online.

While there, I was (unfortunately) privy to many staff meetings and congregational gatherings where this was hotly contested. In the end, the minister was forced out and left a rather cushy gig with few requirements and even fewer time constraints on his weeks.

In truth, he cooked his own goose. He was being paid a full-time minister’s salary, and was not doing much to earn it. In other words, he was not paying enough in mental and spiritual coin to receive that salary – and so it was taken away.

We must be cognizant of these Universal spiritual principles as they are at work in our lives at all times whether we want them to be, are aware of them – or not.

We can get into trouble when we start to think that a company or organization is “lucky to have us“. While our families and loved ones view us as one-of-a-kind; our employers know that each and every one of us is absolutely replaceable.

As Wayne Dyer taught in his focus on “Living the Tao” – if we want to manifest an abundant life, we must position ourselves in service; asking NOT “what’s in it for me?” but instead, “how may I serve?“.

And this brings me to the point that inspired this post to begin with: I’m beginning to question whether or not we’re supposed to be “selling” things related to spiritual principles.

After the movie The Secret came out, Law of Attraction (LOA) gurus began to multiply like rabbits. They lined up 10-deep to “teach” people how to be prosperous, and manifest money. While I do not want to paint with too broad a brush, there have been more than a few questionable outcomes from their rise to fame (see blogs linked below).

Similar to the prosperity teachers, of whom I am also critical, these LOA gurus seemed to be best at manifesting money by promising other people they’d teach them how to manifest money and charging for that training. Call me a critic (I accept the label), but if you’re an expert at manifesting money, why don’t you teach people for free? Otherwise, you’re just an old-fashioned huckster, who is selling the hot item of the day.

I get a cross-eyed feeling when I’m told that I need to give money to someone who’s selling themselves as an expert on making money – so they can teach me how to make money. I have no beef with paying educators – I’ve been a college professor for many years – but something is out of whack in this equation. If you’re such an expert on making money appear, show me how you do it absent picking my pocket!

This particular corner of spiritual teaching (around manifesting money) has opened the door for me to question if the whole money model for religion has been wrong all along.

No one person or organization OWNS these teachings. This means that no one person or organization has the sole right to make money off of them. And if we’re all children of God, or a Unity of One,… don’t we have an obligation to share what we know with others, period?

I believe that the time of salaried church employees is over. It’s time to move to a model where the expenses of the organization are published monthly and consist of the basics: keeping the doors open and basic programming (internet access, liability insurance, etc). Here’s an example of a transparent schedule where potential monthly EXPENSES are listed across the top and the # of members are listed at the left (from 10 members to 30 members).

The numbers at each intersection represent what each member would need to contribute based on the level of expenses. For example, in a church or center where basic expenses are $4,000 each month, and there are 15 regular members; each member would need to contribute $267 every month to support the organization.

When members believe that the expenses are too high, they can vote to address them with a change. But this way, everyone knows finitely what is needed to “keep the doors open” and the lights on.

Anything above and beyond basic expenses should be a love offering.

  • Classes? Love offering
  • Morning meditation and lesson/talk? Love offering
  • Workshop on applying spiritual principles? Love offering

Those who want to monetize a particular angle on these things are always welcome in a capitalistic society to go out into the open market and write a book! There’s also the option of getting invited to speak at conferences by being a dynamic speaker and effective teacher. There’s no crime in selling your wares on the open market; but when we brand ourselves as religious or spiritual organizations, we step into different territory.

Why?

These principles and practices don’t belong to anyone – they belong to us all. AND – the world just works better when more of us are living in the flow.

All of which makes me wonder about the decline in church attendance, membership and tithing: perhaps it’s just the Universe moving those who profess to be “spiritual teachers” to this much more equitable model of living and sharing these ideas because we’ve missed the boat, the message and the Truth principles all this time.

Only time will tell.


(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Four Virtues

In the latter years of his teaching, Wayne Dyer delved into studying the Tao te Ching. This ancient text, attributed to Lao-tzu, is a revered wisdom text and offers wisdom that transcends space and time.

Lao-tzu is also credited with laying out what he called the “Four Cardinal Virtues“. According to Dr. Dyer, when we practice these 4 virtues, we are in alignment with our Source energy and have access to the power that alignment brings with it.

These 4 virtues can be found in the core teachings of most major religious traditions, and by themselves (outside of the constraints of the religious organizations) are free of limiting dogma and divisiveness.

Here are the 4 cardinal virtues as outlined by Lao-tzu:

  • Reverence for all life
  • Natural sincerity (honesty)
  • Gentleness (kindness)
  • Supportiveness (being service-oriented)

In addition to teaching these four cardinal virtues, the central theme of the Tao is often said to be self-awareness. A worthy goal, it is something that took me some time to develop. Looking back over my life, I see that even at times when I thought I had figured it out; I still had some growing to do. I suspect that I will continue that practice, which means I will be continuing to grow and evolve – and that’s a good thing.

Becoming self-aware is a lot like becoming a former smoker. We end up being able to spot the actions of UNAWARE people from 50-paces (or more). I take these opportunities, not to correct the person (this is not my job), but to make a note of the person in the event our interactions might cause any difficulty (such as in any work or business dealings). I am also reminded in these instances to check in with myself and my own self-awareness.

I was pondering self-awareness recently in reference to some work-related circumstances, and realized that this is applicable to individuals as well as organizations.

Am I creating an organization that is self-aware? Are the interactions I oversee and encourage implemented in a way that considers the larger picture, and not narrowly focused on my needs/our needs, preferences or outcomes?

Wayne Dyer believed that we manifest abundance (of all types) effortlessly when we are in alignment with Source, which he often equated with living by these virtues. He emphasized the importance of the 4th one most of all: being in service to others.

In manifesting, he taught that when we say to the Universe, “how may I serve?”, the windows of heaven open.

The decisions we make, as individuals and as organizations, set the tone for not only how others see us, but for how we receive. When things aren’t going quite the way we want them to, the first place to look is inward.

In his seminal work, The Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes wrote the following:

Every [person] must pay the price for that which s/he receives, and that price is paid in mental and spiritual coin. An avenue must be provided through which the Law may work as a law of liberty, if It is to free us.”

Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind

Paying the price in “mental and physical coin” means doing our inner work as well as our outer work. One of the things I have learned that is so very important in using these principles is remembering that there is no free lunch!

Disembodied hands don’t reach down from the clouds to hand us money; rich benefactors don’t wander into our lives with the checkbook answer to our prayers. Those of us on this side of religion and spirituality teach OTHERS that we attract to us what we are; what we think, and therein lies the important crux of this issue – the one that keeps quietly showing up in teachings across cultures and time. If we want to receive, we must give of ourselves. Then and only then will we receive.

When we are mired in financial difficulties, it is not uncommon to descend into desperation and become laser-focused on getting. However, the wisdom of the ages teaches that we need to shift that focus away from what we need, and onto how we can serve the world – no matter what we have going on.

In the example I have shared of the great blessing of my student loans being paid, I did not focus on getting out of paying them so that the lending organization or anyone would be “stuck” with the debt. I sought a reasonable, fair solution that would be the highest good for all. I did my inner work, made sure I was in alignment with the principles of Good, and let it go. This great blessing came to me, I believe, because I understand these principles, and was open to the answer coming through them. I paid in mental and spiritual coin – understanding how to align my desire and thinking so to manifest this gift.

We must also remember that most of the time the things we are working to bring into our lives will come to us looking VERY different than we imagine that they could, would or should! Quantum physicists tell us that this is due to nonlinearity (a concept I’ll leave to the physicists to explain).

Letting go of how we want things to show up, staying in a posture of service (big-picture service) and being willing to accept the answer to our prayers when it shows up looking like something we DIDN’T want – these are the true keys to the kingdom and the purchases we make with the investment of our mental and spiritual coins.


(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Keep It Simple

The principles of spiritual living are not new, but they came roaring back into the public discourse in the late 20th century as the work of Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer rose to popularity.

A student of organized metaphysics, I’ve always appreciated the simplicity of the teachings of these 3 teachers, especially. It has been my opinion that, like the King James version of the Bible, organized metaphysical groups cling to the teachers and language of years past to teach principles that are, frankly not that difficult.

Meister Eckhart is widely quoted as saying if the only prayer we ever say is “thank you“, it will be enough. If that’s true, why all the complicated methods and convoluted rules?

What is really necessary to demonstrate a better way of life using spiritual principles?

Here’s a simple guide.

  1. Believe that you deserve a better experience
  2. Spend time connecting to Spirit
  3. Change your default thinking from one of negativity to expectation of better outcomes
  4. Pay attention to your chronic (repetitive) thinking AND what you say – especially in response to things that happen to you
  5. Speak positively over your life and experiences
  6. Avoid self-sabotaging behaviors
  7. Give generously to others; your words, time, talents and money
  8. Be quick to forgive – yourself AND others
  9. Know that there is ALWAYS an opportunity for redemption and renewal of situations – no matter how doomed they appear

Believe!

You must start with the basic premise that you are worthy of experiencing life in a better and more full way. Regardless of what your challenges are, start with loving yourself enough to believe – truly KNOW – that you deserve better.

Connect

Spending time connecting to the Divine will vary with each person. Some people prefer to connect by walking in nature; others use meditation and still others will make deep and lasting connections pondering art, or great works of music. Many people spend time in prayer as well. It does not matter HOW you make the connection – only that you cultivate the connection. Do what works for you.

Change Your Thinking

Wayne Dyer (and many others) have taught that when we change our thinking, our lives change. Most of us have chronic thought patterns that we have carried around for many years. If you’re not sure which ones YOU carry around, look to the challenge areas in your life, and then examine the default thoughts you have.

Examples may include thoughts around money: “People like us don’t get jobs that pay good money“, or “People with lots of money are crooked“, or in terms of relationships: “Men can’t be trusted“, or careers: “Working for (company name or industry) is a path to a dead-end job“,… (you get the picture). It may be something personal about yourself like “I’ve always been overweight” or “everyone in my family is heavy”.

What messages do you carry around in your head about things that are negative? Identify these, and start working to change them by writing them down and then REWRITING them in a positive way. Here’s one example:

“Working for (company/industry) is a path to a better life. I am grateful for the opportunity!” or “I make healthy choices in food and activities and my body lovingly responds!”.

As you make the shift away from chronic negativity, begin to allow your mind to turn toward the experiences you would like to have in your life. Some teachers encourage specifics, but I have found much greater success with a focus on the feelings around what I want.

A great example is a new car.

If we dig in and insist on a new, red Cadillac, for example – will we be able to see the new SUV that comes our way? We risk missing it if we’re too focused on the details.

My counsel is always to focus on what you will FEEL with the experience you want. The end game and your desired outcome are better focal points than the color, make, model and other details (using the car example).

In this example, I would focus on updated amenities (as come in a newer car); reliable transportation; affordable; something I would enjoy driving; etc. This has recently worked for me so I’m teaching from experience, not theory.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

I have often seen people trying to change their experience in abundance/prosperity shoot themselves in the foot by spending money they didn’t have in order to “feel prosperous”.

Do not (DO NOT!) spend $200, $500 (or any amount) that you don’t have on something that you think will make you feel prosperous. That feeling is FLEETING and too soon after your initial excitement, the knowledge that you are now deeper in debt or now don’t have money you need to pay bills will overtake your elation. This also adds to your own self-loathing as it is an action you took, and that now is making things harder in your life.

The key to prosperity lies in learning how to feel prosperous with what you have. If you must purchase something, make it small. As a single mother with very little money I would sometimes buy a rock or a small item from a store in the mall called “Natural Wonders”. I never went into debt and never spent more than the cash I had in my pocket. This allowed me to feel that I had the ability to buy things that I wanted, but never put me in a bad way, This is a CRITICAL piece of this process.

Give!

Prosperity teachers in many traditions teach that to realize abundance in our lives, we must tithe – or give 10% of all that comes in to the church or center or teacher where we are affiliated or studying the principles. Many of these same teachers also tell us that giving to charity doesn’t count.

Horse-feathers.

These same traditions teach that we are all one – that there is a unity to life. If that’s true, it shouldn’t matter where we give, as long as we’re living generous lives, and sharing our good fortune with others whenever we can.

Being generous is the requirement for attracting prosperity – not giving a specific % to a specific place. Practice being generous with servers in restaurants; with your family; with colleagues and co-workers; with people in traffic; with local charitable organizations; with your church or center and any other place that speaks to your heart.

I have demonstrated over and over in attracting abundance using spiritual principles; the position of your HEART is more important than the position of the decimal point on your check.

Forgiveness

Learn, study and accept forgiveness as a daily practice. There are many good resources available – Colin Tipping’s RADICAL FORGIVENESS and RADICAL SELF-FORGIVENESS are 2 good places to begin.

And like the counsel I shared on generosity; use forgiveness in traffic, with servers, in your family and at your church/center. Make sure you are spending time as well forgiving yourself and allowing this to become a default response.

This does not mean that you are no longer accountable for anything – it does mean that you accept that when you know better, you do better. Don’t judge yesterday’s action using today’s lens.

Redemption & Renewal

Lastly, learn that there are no lines in the sand. Life is a journey, and we can always take a different path. You can always start over and choose a new thought, a new way of being, a new belief.

One of my favorite reminders of this is the 8th statement in John Randolph Price’s Abundance Journey, and I wrote about the concept of Restoration recently.

You can start wherever you are, whoever you are. Right here, right now – make the decision to step forward, and walk from darkness into Light.

Start with the first step, and move ahead one step at a time. You didn’t take on all your challenges overnight, and you won’t undo them overnight. Be patient with yourself and the process.

It’s never too late, and you can – no matter what you are facing – find peace; find abundance; find love and acceptance; find stability; find happiness. It’s a close as your next thought.


(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Proof in the Pudding

I grew up in an era, and to some extent within a family construct, that believed that just about everything that a white, male who wore a suit & tie, and held some title (e.g. banker, lawyer, minister/rabbi, professor) said was true, reliable and largely undisputable.

The reticence to question, or seek additional or divergent information from one of these revered people, almost took my grandmother from me early in my young life.

Much to the chagrin of many older relatives, I was born with a rebellious nature. While bemoaned by many of these relatives, this nature has saved me a lot of heartache and has proven to be not only evolutionarily protective, but predictive of the skills our culture needs very badly. I seemed to come out of the womb asking “why” and not accepting ANYONE as an expert without a lot of proof.

Today as a culture we can point to any number of scandals that have stripped the veil of mystery from once-untouchable persons and organizations. Organized religion as a whole, doctors, lawyers, bankers and ministers all have a much higher bar to meet in general society to be considered legitimate. It is no longer enough to have a title or hide behind an instutition. It’s no longer acceptable for individuals and instutitions to say “trust me” without some evidence to back up the request for our trust.

Overall, this a net positive. Self-advocacy prevents victimization and is a skill we should teach alongside reading, writing and arithmetic. It also means that those of us promoting some sort of answer to life’s problems can no longer assume that our descriptive titles or organizational affiliations will mean anything, other than to us.

In healthcare and education, this shift from blind faith in what those with status and titles say, to requiring evidence to back every claim has been formalized into processes like accreditation, quality improvement programs and patient safety measures. Today before seeking care for a specific ailment or a surgeon to perform a necessary procedure we can research the background and performance of the individuals as well as the track record of the organizations to which they belong and in which they practice.

Similarly, we can request and review graduation rates, professor’s rankings and feedback from students, past and present, before selecting where to invest significant time and money in an education.

All of this transparency has supported positive change because people and organizations making claims now have to show evidence to back up their claims.

As an educator, I am held accountable for teaching content that is relevant and applicable – AND for being able to do so in a way that students can understand, accept and apply. If my students cannot take what I have taught them and translate it into demonstrable skills and the ability to get a job – I will not have a job for long. And I shouldn’t if what I’m teaching isn’t making a difference, and some would argue, a measurable difference.

Due to these requirements, colleges and universities require educators to provide “evidence” in the form of what is sometimes called artifacts of learning. These are gathered in portfolios and presented for tenure or contractual negotiations. They are also important in the cyclical accreditation process that assures the public that their dollars are being wisely spent.

Artifacts of learning include examples of the homework assigned, in-class presentations, projects engaged and tools used to teach. We present ourselves as educators, show our educational credentials and acadedmic titles and then show how we use our time in the classroom. They also include evidence in the form of successfully-employed graduates, working and applying the knowledge they learned in our classrooms in the work world. We demonstrate evidence – not only of our teaching, but of how our teaching has facilitated learning and changed lives.

In the realm of teachers and mentors for those seeking to expand their spiritual connections, I can think of no better artifact of evidence to put forth than our own lives and life examples.

Are we living, breathing examples of wellness, contentment and abundance? Can we share stories of not only how the principles worked for people 10 years ago, or in the previous century; but how they are consistently working right here, right now? Can we demonstrate that they work and do more than simply talk about them?

I believe that there is at least some causal relationship between the decline in religious organizations and the credibility gap that arose as technology made the actions and very human behaviors of religious leaders much more obvious to the world.

Does this mean that people of faith should throw their hands up and quit?

No, but it does mean that we need to be aware of the shifting landscape and understand that the things that worked 10, 20 or 50 years ago don’t necessarily work today. And that not only what we SAY, but how we show up in the world is so very important.

At one time, the title “Professor” was a lofty credential, and meant that few people questioned the perspective, opinion or what was done in the classroom by the persons holding that title. Today it’s a very different story as I have outlined above. There’s much more to being a Professor that puffing oneself up, talking for hours in front of the class and pronouncing one’s job title at cocktail parties. In fact, it’s a lot of work.

While religious and spiritual organizations are not required to report the number of lives they have changed, the prayers answered or the miracles clocked; an informed 21st century approach would undertand the culture in which we exist and the importance of answering “why” before it is asked.

I believe that the financial pinch that many churches and religious organizations find themselves in today is directly related to this issue. Absent a divine mandate, which we can agree has lost its hold over modern society; religious and spiritual organizations must make the value proposition obvious, or people will go elsewhere for inspiration, spiritual support and guidance.

Some will say “but the community is important“, and I agree, but there are many communities that provide socialization and learning but don’t ever ask for 10% of our income. Others will say that it’s about providing spiritual guidance and support. I think that’s true, but here’s where it needs to get real: we can’t advertise that we’ll teach tools that work for YOU, if we can’t get it working in our own lives.

We must not only walk the talk, but be willing to acknowledge when it’s not working.

I don’t give out relationship (love) advice, and there’s a reason. I’ve not demonstrated a lot of competence in this area across my life and don’t feel I have credibility to be handing out advice.

I do share what I have learned in the realm of attracting abundance, career success, family harmony, health & wellness, and financial stability – because I have demonstrated these principles many times over.

Perhaps it’s time for churches and centers need to dispense with the singular office of minister, and have dedicated volunteers (maybe even part-time positions) who provide guidance and support in areas where they are already demonstrating success.

I can envision small sections like a Ministry of Abundance; a Ministry of Relationships; a Ministry of Jobs & Careers; a Ministry of Health & Wellness,… and so on (Harry Potter reference almost unintentional).

Each Ministry Office would be held on a rotating basis by people demonstrating competence in the respective areas. AND, when someone began to experience challenges, another competent expert would step in to the Ministry and take over.

Let’s stop pretending that someone’s title or affiliation makes them an expert. It doesn’t and whether or not we want to accept this, we need to understand that the world knows it and is acting on that knowledge by dechurching and unaffiliating.

There’s much Good to be shared from the wisdom teachings that have spanned time and cultures. We risk not being able to uplift those who need them most when we cling desperately to old models that are woefully out of alignment with the reality of society today.

I wonder what it will take to inspire REAL change and am hopeful that the total crumbling of these traditions will not be what’s needed. I’d like to say that I’m optimistic about the forward evolution; but I’m not sure that I see any evidence for that optimism – at least not yet.

There’s still time.


(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path