Getting even (leave it to the Law)

In metaphysical studies, we learn that what we think about or do to others, we in essence do to ourselves since we are all one. A very LOOSE and modern translation is that acting badly toward others can create “bad karma” for us. This makes it increasingly difficult for those on a spiritual path to ponder revenge against others whom we may judge as deserving of a dose.

And while “revenge” isn’t a very spiritual term, let’s face it: we’re all human and most of us have had moments (or periods) where we fantasized about scoring that verbal win, pulling the chair out from under someone or delivering the final blow to a project belonging to someone who has behaved badly and impacted our lives in a negative way. Sometimes even spiritual warriors have to walk through some revenge fantasies before they get to a place of forgiveness.

It is helpful along that journey away from revenge if we remember that no matter how creative the actions we construct  in our mind may seem; the Universe is much better at the game of getting even. And when spiritual Law levels the playing field, there’s no rebound. In other words, when we let go of those who have misbehaved or wronged us and allow spiritual Law to exact Its justice on the divine timeline; we risk no blow back.

This is, of course, ancient counsel, found throughout spiritual texts, like Psalms in the Hebrew Bible:

Psalm 37

Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!

Rewritten in a modern, metaphysical vernacular, this verse reminds us to trust in spiritual Law; to move on and to keep doing Good in our own lives while leaving the balancing of the scales to the Law.

Don’t get upset about unethical people who act in questionable ways! They will soon fade like the grass and wither like old lettuce. Trust in the Law! Do Good; go about your business, stay true to your moral compass. Be mindful of the tenets of spiritual Law; It will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Law; trust in It, and It will ensure justice. The Law will back you up if you stay on the Good path and justice will rise as the Sun does each morning.

Wait patiently for the Law to work (It will); don’t get fussed up over those who vex you – and remember that the Universe has your back!

If we believe the spiritual counsel found in countless wisdom texts on abundance, healing and more; we must also be willing to accept guidance on things like how to deal with individuals who cause us great aggravation in life.

And just in case the thought of your enemies wilting like lettuce doesn’t seem to be quite enough, consider these additional biblical verses:

  • Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly. (Deuteronomy 32:35)
  • Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all, not even enough to blush. Therefore they will fall among the fallen. When I punish them, they will collapse, says the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:12)
  • But the LORD is with me like a fearsome warrior. Therefore, my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. Since they have not succeeded, they will be utterly put to shame, with an everlasting disgrace that will never be forgotten. (Jeremiah 20:11)
  • Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

We all have dealt with people who act in ways that bring out the worst in us. If we remember that the Universe keeps a perfect balance sheet, we can more quickly return to the things in life we enjoy, and let the Law work. It always does.

Wilted lettuce

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

A Warning for New Thought

Centers for Spiritual Living, Unity, prosperity, prosperity gospelA wave of dislike is unfolding in the larger population that New Thought leaders should sit up and pay close attention to today as it hits close to some foundational and historically popular teachings in the New Thought movement.

As the country moves more and more in a direction that is anathema to the preferences of the numeric majority (think popular vote) with every decision and victory that the 45th president achieves, more attention is being given to the price that he is NOT paying for those political moves, and the reasons.

One significant reason is that 81% of White Evangelicals voted for, and still support the president. This 8-minute video is worth watching in its entirety, but the specific point of concern for New Thought, I believe, is the danger – as we look to strategic planning and building for the future of our organizations – of what many are seeing as the tie between #45 and the White evangelical community: the gospel of prosperity.

Mentioned in the above linked video as “the pernicious influence of the prosperity gospel“, it is not viewed positively by the larger population and is increasingly being linked to the negativity of the current presidency.

We in New Thought would do well to sit up and pay attention to this. This is not the first time that the negative side to prosperity teachings was highlighted – in my writing or the larger media. Now is the time to look closely at WHAT we teach, and HOW we teach it and ensure that we are not, unintentionally, swept up into being branded along with this movement.

This will not be as simple as some may think. CSL and Unity would do well to totally revamp, if not step back from, the teachings around prosperity along with the elevation and adoration of toothy teachers from the 20th century who have hawked these teachings for decades. It’s time to embrace more fully the concepts of “a world that works for everyone” as a core tenet and downplay – starting TODAY – the emphasis on prosperity.

If we do not actively and intentionally separate ourselves from teaching prosperity as a staple or core offering, we risk great damage to the brand; damage that may result in the absolute “graying out” of the movement.

To be clear: I am NOT saying that we STOP teaching people how to think more prosperously; I am NOT saying that we STOP teaching people how to shift from a lack mindset to an abundant mindset. I AM saying that we need to be careful about publicizing the old school prosperity classes as a way to attract new members and should probably step back from the programming that pushes tithing on unexpected income.

Instead, why not focus programming on reaching out to feed the hungry, support Veterans with PTSD or raise consciousness and funds for a local animal rescue group using the principles and teachings of Holmes, et al? These efforts look a lot like “a world that works for everyone” – at least more so than a millionaire telling the group that they need to tithe to the millionaire when their own hard work (spiritual and/or physical) nets them some additional money or income.

There’s an old saying: ” if it looks like a duck, has webbed feet and QUACKS,…it’s a duck“.Centers for Spiritual Living, Unity, prosperity, prosperity gospel

While I am not suggesting that we are ducks of the brand identified negatively in the video I shared; a lot of our member organizations – to an outsider’s eye – have webbed feet and quack And this is dangerous to the organization as we look at the societal and demographic challenges facing all of organized religion.

We would be wise to understand the emerging political discourse, evaluate our perspective and practices; and think clearly and intentionally about how we want to present ourselves to the world. Then it’s time to make the right pivot for the times we live in today.

This will not be easy, but it really is simple.

A world that works for everyone is much larger than money or material wealth – and CSL/Unity leadership – ministers, practitioners and lay leaders – (should) know this more than anyone else.

The time is now to teach THIS Truth.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

 

Entitlement

The political atmosphere in the United States is at a fevered intensity this morning as the country lines up on one side or the other around the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice.

Beyond the political implications of whether he is confirmed or not, I was struck by the energy of entitlement that was on full display.

Mr. Kavanaugh asserted with vehemence in his Senate testimony that he was being railroaded; over and over again putting forward his position – that he is entitled to the position, and entitled not to be judged negatively – no matter the evidence.

I have never cared for those with a sense of entitlement. It is the energy of spoiled frat boys; the energy of executives who feel justified in quietly dumping their stock while preventing other employees from moving retirement money out of the same falling stock (e.g. Enron); the energy of a board member who looks the other way on tax reporting requirements for his golf buddy, the board president.

When these entitled individuals get called out, they inevitably get an innocent look on their faces, turn their palms up and claim that they are innocent, made a mistake or are caught up in a witch hunt.

“I didn’t know,…”

“I trusted [insert convenient scapegoat],…”

“I honestly did my best,…”

and then there’s this jewel – most often used when the accuser is female,…

“She’s overreacting.”

In some cases, this may be true. We can all make mistakes and none of us is perfect.

The best way to tell the difference between an honest mistake and the acts of an entitled jerk who got caught is to see if there’s a pattern or if it’s truly a one-time event.

An honest mistake by a genuine person will be followed by a life that demonstrates their core integrity. An entitled jerk will show his or her stripes again (& again).

Aside from the politics of the situation, it’s harder to believe Mr Kavanaugh’s protestations of innocence as more women come forward with eerily similar stories.

Likewise, the “I didn’t know” defense loses all its steam when it is followed by a 2nd misstep – one that is not owned up to until it is discovered by someone else (a pesky, overreacting female, perhaps).

As I prepare to fly out of the tropical paradise that is Miami, I’ll hear snippets of the continuing Supreme Court saga. I have opinions certainly, but mostly I have a bad taste in my mouth as I’ve been reminded by this very public spectacle of the clear pattern that emerges when someone is an entitled jerk as opposed to a fallible human that made “an honest mistake”.

As we attempt to discern right from wrong in situations and circumstances that are personal, local and national; we would do well to remember that a one-time mistake is very different from repeat behavior.

While actions may not rise to the level of rape, bank robbery or embezzlement – they are most certainly an indicator of abject arrogance.

The world needs more compassion and caring; not entitlement and arrogance. When we see it, we need to call it out, hold people accountable and refrain from apologizing – no matter where it occurs.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

Opportunities

South Beach, Miami

After 3 days of conference sessions and evening schmoozing, I finally made it to the beach here in Miami’s South Beach. The familiar sounds of the waves and gulls greeted me as I made my way down to the water and began to walk along the shoreline.

After walking some distance, I decided to find a place to sit and simply meditate with the sea and birds as the backdrop. Rows and rows of empty hotel chairs lined the beach – it was supper time by now and the beach mostly emptied of its sunbathers, so no competition for any of the seats was to be found.

I had been seated for about 5 minutes when a young man came by & politely asked me if I wanted to rent a beach chair. I said “No thank you – I’m just stopping here for a few minutes.”

He proceeded to tell me that I couldn’t sit in any of the chairs unless I paid. Now, I was not packing a bag, sunscreen – I didn’t even have a towel so it was pretty obvious I wasn’t here for the duration, and I thought he was being pretty picky.

But I didn’t want to argue so I thanked him and got up and walked further down the beach, deciding to sit in the sand.

I was initially irritated – but quickly decided that his boss’s rules weren’t going to ruin my late afternoon at the beach. It’s late September, I live in Pennsylvania and have no plans to return to a beach until my trip to San Diego next Summer. I intended to enjoy every moment I have here.

Everyday life is very much like this: we encounter things that are irritating, make no sense and can set us off – if we let them. It was easy for me to see the choices and trade-offs here at the beach. To live a more peace-filled and intentional life, we need to be able to do the same in common circumstances.

Life is wondrous in every aspect, whether we are at the beach, shopping for groceries or sitting in traffic on our way to work.

I’m here to feel the sand beneath me; to let the rhythm of the sea wash over my soul and to feel the breeze on my skin.

I’m here to reconnect with Spirit by sitting in the midst of Nature and experiencing my connection to the Divine with all my senses.

I’m here to simply enjoy this second trip to the beach in less than 4 months and to be grateful for the ways that I am provided these sacred interludes.

Soon I will return to my regularly-scheduled life in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic and the feel of Autumn that is already in the air.

As I listen to the “peepers” in the trees on and around my property late in the evening, I know that I’ll be glad that today I was focused on gathering the sights, sounds, smells and sensations of the beach.

To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner’s Path