A good reminder

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

Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
TEDx Noosa 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

The Answers Lie Within

Neville Goddard
As above, so below
Moonlit night, South Beach, Miami

We all make mistakes – it’s part of being human. Those of us who make mistakes and are willing to accept our role in them and work to correct things not only grow as individuals, but become valuable assets to any organization.

I have worked in management positions for much of my career. When I encounter a problem with an employee, it most often involves an unwillingness in them to understand that while I can support them, recommend additional training or provide other assistance; the solution to their challenges begins and ends with them.

Perpetual “problem” employees tend to be those people who want to blame everyone and everything for their shortcomings instead of looking at what they need to do to impact positive change in their own lives and careers. Since most of us can think of at least 1 person who acts in this manner, their behaviors and attitudes can serve as a useful learning opportunity for those of us who desire personal growth.

In spiritual studies we learn that if we want more abundance in our lives, we must avoid a mindset that sees our experience through the eyes of lack. Emerson wrote that if we want to have a friend, we need to become a friend. In medicine, doctors encourage a positive outlook for battling the most aggressive diseases because they’ve seen the difference in patients with one, and patients without one.

In short, we cannot be (externally) what we are not on the inside: the truth of who we are will out-picture in our lives.

A couple years ago a neighbor shared with me that their young child didn’t seem to have any friends at school. This worried her – understandably – and she and her husband wanted to help without micromanaging the situation.

In addition to providing the requested spiritual support, I listened to the parents’ concerns and found that their child often neglected to share invitations to birthday parties from classmates with the parents. There seemed to be a reticence to participate in parties that involved activities that may be new for their child.

American Philosopher

I shared Emerson’s counsel on finding friends with them, and the parents worked with their child on expectations around the various activities. They wanted to encourage positive growth without mandating behaviors so strictly that it backfired. They told their child that they did not need to attend every birthday party, but needed to choose and attend at least 2 parties or similar events during each semester that year.

A few weeks ago I ran into the mother in the grocery store. She excitedly shared with me that not only was her child now participating in parties, as well as extracurricular school activities; but was regularly going back and forth (at friends homes and in their home) with a handful of friends from school.

I was thrilled for her, and for her child. In pondering the unfolding events for this family I thought of the hard work the child had to do (mentally) to change their trajectory. With the parents’ help and loving encouragement, the child was able to think differently about interactions with kids at school.

Early on, I recall the child expressing that sometimes the activities didn’t sound like they would be very much fun; hence part of the reticence to attend. To move from that position to where they are now, this child had to change on the inside; to decide that they could see an upside/potential good in the parties or activities. And they confessed later that even the most dull-sounding events turned out to be fun.

The ancients taught, and modern gurus, sages and wisdom teachers remind us that the answers we seek lie within. It is phrased in different ways, but in essence it comes down to this: if we can change how we think about things, our lives will change.

We can move from being the problem employee to a valued contributor; we can change from being someone who isn’t included in group activities to someone with a robust social calendar and a circle of friends; we can move from seeing how much we DON’T have in our lives to living a life that is an experience of abundance (recognizing that abundance is much more than money).

When we pivot our thinking and plant seeds for a more positive outlook; life opens up before us providing opportunities we never expected and blessings we couldn’t have seen coming before we shifted our mindset. And so it is.

(c) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Job for the New Thought audience

One of the more prominent controversies in New Thought today is the blow back against those in the movement who teach that it is consciousness and consciousness alone that creates – and that when we are ill, or have bad fortune; we have created or even invited it into our experience.

This has caused a tidal wave of backlash, and terminology like “sick shaming” and “spiritual malpractice” has emerged to push back against this largely unhelpful interpretation.

Some New Thought “purists” may scorn the push back as being evidence of a weakening commitment to the principles of spiritual living, but a deeper dive into the ancient spiritual foundations may provide more support for the push back than the purists.

In the Hebrew scriptures, the book of Job tells a story of a wealthy and prosperous man who seemingly has everything one could desire: health, wealth, family, power and stature in his community. AND,…he had a strong relationship with the Creator.

According to the scriptural canon, God allows Satan to test this man by inflicting all measure of horrors on him. Satan believes that Job’s love and devotion to God are situational, and so to prove Satan’s error, God allows him to test Job.

Those with any biblical history in their background will recall that Job suffered the loss of his livelihood, his servants, his family and then suffered horrible physical ailments.

During the trials and tribulations that Job suffered, 3 of his friends came to him and provided comfort and commentary. They also suggested that Job has created all of his own problems through his relationship with God and encouraged him to repent – or in New Thought parlance: to get his consciousness straightened out.

This is rejected in the telling of the story: we read that the reason was Satan’s desire to prove Job as a “fake” and we see in the end that Job remained steadfast in his devotion to God throughout the ordeal, and was restored and increased – no repentance or consciousness change needed.

This same Truth is reiterated in the teachings of Jesus in John 9, where Jesus and his disciples come across a blind man who was begging.

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” 

John 9:1-3

The lesson here is clear: the blindness was NOT due to a lack of consciousness on the part of the man, or his parents – but presented instead as an opportunity to show the power of Spirit to heal.

The spiritual tools taught in New Thought are indeed powerful and life-changing. However, adherents and practitioners without an in-depth knowledge of the historical spiritual canons (Hebrew scriptures, New Testament, Bhagavad Gita, Dao de Ching, etc.) must take care to study beyond the counsel of a limited circle of teachers before pronouncing the truth as they know it and teaching it to others.

The challenges in our lives, and the lives of others, present a grand opportunity to tap into the rich spiritual history of humanity and to use the refined and modern tools of 21st century spirituality to do good works in the world.

New Thought practitioners – and their clients – benefit greatly when the perspective of first do no harm is practiced throughout the spiritual guidance process. The counsel to “first do no harm” is taken from the writings of Hippocrates and used today in the oath taken by medical professionals (physicians) upon entrance into professional practice.

Seeing lack, illness, misfortune and other trials as an opportunity to shine the Light of Spirit is a noble undertaking. Pointing out that the person experiencing these challenges has invited them into their lives is not only cruel and unusual and often harmful; it’s unsound spiritual practice and well-documented in the historical spiritual canons as wrong.

The healing benefits of spiritual living are accessible to all, but there is a responsibility for those who put themselves forward as professionals in the art that extends beyond passing the tests, paying licensing fees and hanging out a shingle. There is a responsibility to own the wisdom we are sharing and ensure that it is based on sound principles that stand the test of time and align with the teachings across the ancient wisdom canons.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Spiritual copyrights

Contact (Ellie)

It is often said that art mimics life. Across the centuries, from primitive artistic renderings on cave walls to those that grace the frescoes of great cathedrals, life has been depicted at its most basic level, and at its most majestic.

We can construct the truth of life in the earliest periods, long before written language, based on archaeological findings in combination with artistic renderings from the period (e.g. cave drawings). As humankind progressed, art became not only an expression of dreams, but a documentation of life and its many Truths.

Today, art takes on many more forms than sculpture or drawings. Our technological advancements have given rise to art in the form of movies that offer not only beautiful visual representations, but echo profound truths in their underlying messages.

I have written before about the presence of metaphysical teachings in the movies, and a chance re-viewing of an old favorite revealed a new addition to my list of movies that teach powerful metaphysical lessons.

One of my favorite movies, Contact, is based on the book by Carl Sagan. While many have commented on its lesson around the intersection of science, politics and faith; there are deeper Truths hidden in plain view in this powerful story.

One of the most compelling lessons for me in this latest viewing was the lesson around divine right and the perfect balance of the Universe.

In the movie, young scientist Ellie Arroway chose to make finding life beyond Terra Firma (earth) her career focus. This is her dream, her passion; she has put all of her time, energy and focus into this goal.

But a senior scientist – someone with enough connections and power to control her destiny at some level, and someone with a much more limited vision – has his own plans.

David Drumlin is an “expert” in the field, and with years of experience, he feels that he knows what is best. He pulls the plug on Ellie’s team, in essence pulling rank and saying “I am the senior scientist here – I get to decide which direction we’re going.”

Ellie persists because the dream inside of her is bigger than she can contain, and when she and her hard scrabble team of scientists locate what turns out to be a discernible signal from a star system; Drumlin suddenly becomes interested in Ellie’s dream.

The movie shows how he uses his connections, his standing in the community and good old-fashioned manipulation to wrest Ellie’s dream from her and make it his own. While some may think “that’s just politics“, the larger Truth comes a little later.

This Truth – that the Universe keeps perfect records – comes as Drumlin smugly tells Ellie that he wishes that the world was a fair place. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what happens next.

The spiritual Truth taught in this dramatic scene is that no matter how justified we may feel based on our tenure in an organization, our education or experience – we are not excused from Universal, spiritual law. When we steal, takeover, or usurp something that is not ours, we will not find success and in fact, we are destined to fail.

Drumlin’s vision was much smaller than Ellie’s. He could not see what she felt and knew in her heart and he dismissed it out of hand, believing that he knew more – he knew better. After all – he had all the paperwork that indicated he was senior to her in the hierarchy. But the Universe doesn’t care about credentials.

The idea, the strong belief that there was life external to the earth belonged to Ellie. It was hers by right of Divine consciousness. When Drumlin saw that her idea would fit nicely with his ideas for his own career and decided to ride on her coattails and then steal it from her; he was writing the script for his own failure.

Contact is a work of fiction, but like the art that humans have created since the beginning of time, it tells the story of life – of universal Truths.

We are all well-served by examining our own lives and the projects we are involved in. If we are struggling to build something, or grow something and facing challenge after challenge and roadblock after roadblock; we need to examine the energetic fingerprints of the original idea – the spiritual charter.

Was it really ours to mold and make as we choose, or did we steal, finagle, manipulate or bully someone into taking it over and making it ours?

Spiritual Law is absolute. If it is ours, we will find success. If, however; the dream we are pursuing belongs to someone else, we will not find success. The success we saw through the eyes of the original dreamer is not ours by right of Divine consciousness. Understanding this Truth can help us know when to hold ’em, and know when to fold ’em.

Energy is indeed everything. If we had a small, limited vision and someone else had an expansive, growth-oriented vision – and we followed them, hoping they were on to something; we can absolutely find success as long as we remember who birthed the dream, who held the vision. And we must make sure that we are not trying to edge them out and take over the momentum they started for our own purposes – no matter how noble we believe our goals to be.

From the other side of the equation, if we are the person who was wronged, we must remember that the Universe keeps perfect records. The character Ellie in the story Contact provides a perfect model for our next steps in this context. Stay in peace, look for the lesson and know that our dream – our original vision that came from our heart – belongs to us. It is ours to share with the world.

In the same way that I continue to be amazed when my words manifest into form, I am in awe of the perfection of spiritual law as it works to preserve our spiritual copyrights.

I have learned to look hard at things that aren’t working in my life to make sure I have not stolen someone else’s vision; taking care to give credit, support, acknowledgement and room/space to the person who birthed the idea. I also know that I can sit in peace when I have had a dream or vision usurped, assured that my copyright is protected; my vision and dream secure. Balance (2)

Just as water continually seeks the lowest point, the Universe seeks fairness and balance. This I know to be true. And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

Divine Right

When we teach the use of the Golden Thread to find lost items, we remind people that when something is ours by right of divine consciousness; it must return to us as that is the spiritual law.

Something that is not often discussed in this context is how this principle applies to more than lost money, jewelry or keys. It also applies to ideas, businesses and other forms of intellectual property.

I discovered this in an unintentional way a couple years ago. I had been asked to present to a local business group at the last minute, and decided to share Will Bowen’s Complaint Free World concept. It was instantly popular and for the next 2 years I was invited to speak at local, state and national conferences to share the Complaint Free concept.

I always presented it as Will Bowen’s idea, and described how I had seen it work in healthcare and other workplaces. Still, as popular as the talks became, it never felt “right” and it always ended up costing more money than I ever received for the talks. Even though I was being open about whose idea it was; sharing his website and encouraging people to get the Complaint Free World purple bracelets, the “energetic fit” was not there because the Complaint Free World energetically belongs to Will Bowen. It is his by right of divine consciousness.

I finally put it all together when I presented a new topic at another conference – a topic I developed in its entirety. It earned great accolades and an invitation to be a keynote speaker the following year. I realized that as wonderful as the Complaint Free World concept is, and as generous as I was in giving Will Bowen the credit; it was not my topic. There was an energetic mismatch between that idea and my success as a speaker, so while I could continue to go around and present Will’s topic; I would never succeed as I had done when I presented content, ideas – intellectual property – that was my own by divine right.

We are watching something similar happen “bigly” on the national scene. A person now inhabits 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and it is becoming clearer every day that he used questionable means to secure that address for himself. It is obvious to everyone with any kind of spiritual knowledge that the position he holds is most certainly NOT his by divine right because things would be going much differently for him if it were.

When we take something that very clearly belongs to someone else and we try to make it ours – even if we are being upfront about it – it’s like trying to pull off wearing someone else’s tailored suit. It’s either going to fit sloppily – like a child wearing his father’s suit – or we’re going to pop buttons and bust out the seams.

The pattern that guided the creation of that clothing was not made for us, so the fit will never be there. We can pin the suit, get it hemmed, or take it to a tailor to let out the seams but it will never really be our suit. It will be someone else’s suit that we are wearing.

The pattern that guides the creation of a tailored suit is like the energy someone puts into a project, a business or an idea. It is unique. And when we take someone else’s idea, business or concept and we try to make it our own – the results are the same. We look like we’re wearing someone else’s clothes – maybe not terrible, but not terrific either.

Apple (rainbow)There is an energy to ideas. There is power in the excitement that is generated as plans are made and things are built. So if we take someone else’s ideas and try to run with them as our own, the results never pan out.

There is no better example of this than the ouster of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who was fired by the Apple board in 1985. He was brash, unpredictable, and they didn’t like his style. They thought they knew better.

But by 1997 Apple was losing the race to Microsoft and operating at a loss. The board realized that as unconventional as Jobs was in the corporate sense, they were on the fast track to failure without him. They re-hired him in August of that year, and the rest, they say, is history (you can read about that here).

If you know anything about Steve Jobs and Apple, you know that it was his energy that inspired the original computer that was built in a garage; his energy that brought the company forward, made it great, and ultimately saved it from becoming a footnote in history. Apple made great products; but they were unable to be successful without Steve Jobs, because the ideas were his by divine right.

When we find ourselves struggling with a project, a business idea or other endeavor and by all outward appearances, things should be working much more smoothly; the first thing we should do is an energetic assessment. If it’s ours by divine right of consciousness,…we can’t fail. And if we’re failing, we’ve taken ownership of something that wasn’t ours in the first place.

(C) 2017 Practitioners Path


Rain falls on us all

UmbrellaAs I outline briefly in my Bio, I have traveled a few different spiritual paths in my life. At one point I was an itinerant organist/choir director and ended up with a regular gig in a part of town that had undergone great changes over the years.

In the decades of my childhood, one of these churches had been a place of power. The families of executives in the busy industries all around the city filled the Sunday School classrooms and pews of this church. Its building and amenities – though dated by the time I was working with them as an organist – told a story of robust giving, deep support and a once-thriving congregation. It now sat in the midst of a neighborhood in decline as the demographics of the area have shifted significantly since this church was a centerpiece of power in the community.

A few years after I had wandered into New Thought, I encountered one of the friends I made during that time. She had grown up in that church, and rubbed elbows with the children of the industry titans. Like me, she also had an academic-level curiosity about the drastic changes taking place in the church and neighborhood.

The clergy and members of that church, she shared; thought that holy righteousness was on their side, and that they were invincible.

People forget,” she said to me, “that rain falls equally on the just AND the unjust.”

One of the hallmark moments of Jesus’ teaching life was his Sermon on the Mount, recounted best in the Christian Bible in Matthew (chapter 5). While many teachers recall the lessons of the salt and the light as well as the popular and multi-interpreted beatitudes; the statement toward the end of chapter 5 is sometimes lost.

44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

New Thought and spiritual metaphysical teachings have done a stellar job on the first part of these verses: the concept of openness, acceptance and love is a strong suit of the movements that align with New Thought philosophy and they have a lot they could teach traditional Christian (& other) religious groups.

It’s that last part of verse 45 where I begin to see a challenge to some New Thought teachings. In this verse Jesus says very plainly that [God] makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

In metaphysical parlance, this reads as follows:

The sun will shine on those with and without a right consciousness and it will rain on those with a right consciousness as well as those without one.

In other words, regardless of our consciousness, we are all going to experience good things in life as well as things that are hard, painful and unfair. In the same holy book that we point to when teaching tithing, an ancient truth lays out very clearly that a good consciousness and a not-so-good consciousness are going to bring us a variety of ups & downs in life.

Rain” is going to fall on us at times, regardless of our consciousness.

This is not to say that we should entirely give up on consciousness: a positive attitude, and an orientation toward things working out for the highest benefit to all is a good thing. It does mean that as teachers and leaders, we must not slip into a position where we counsel people experiencing some of life’s “rain” that it’s their consciousness that needs to be fixed. Instead we must learn how to simply “be” with someone when they are hurting.

Holding a hand, giving a hug, saying nothing other than “I’m so sorry for what you are going through” and asking how we can support them through the challenge is how it’s done right. Most people aren’t looking for a quick fix to their troubles; they just want to know that they’re not alone.

People in pain need support, compassion and (if they desire) spiritual tools that can help them walk through the rain that will fall on us all – not a reminder that they just aren’t “getting it (consciousness) right” when it comes to spiritual things.

So let us continue to teach the many benefits of metaphysical principles while walking compassionately with others through all of life’s challenges. Strong spiritual communities are built on a foundation of caring for each other when the sun is shining, when it’s raining, and all the days in between.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path