Blessings in Passing

When I first began to study what I refer to as “larger spirituality” – spirituality not confined within a single dogma or worldview – I got a mental picture in my head when someone would use the phrase, “daily practice“.

I envisioned a room or at least a corner dedicated to their “practice” and often I immediately moved to the many barriers I had in my life that would prevent me from being able to sit in an incensed room in yoga pants for an hour every morning.

That’s not what they were saying – that was my filter. I learned down the road that while some people may have something like that going on, many others do not. A daily practice is as unique as each person, and requires no specific accessories.

In studying the works of Joseph Murphy and Neville Goddard, contemporaries in the early part of the 20th century (Goddard passed on in 1972 and Murphy in 1981); I am always struck with the sheer simplicity of their approach to prayer, or “knowing the Truth” about someone/something. It was from this perspective that I began, unintentionally, an extension of my own daily practice.

I live in a suburban neighborhood, and as I drive to work, I pass many people walking along the streest: school children, with and without parents; dog walkers; commuters walking to public transit and others. One morning I noticed a teenaged boy walking along the street. He was alone, and did not look happy. He was on the heavier side, and walked as if he dreaded arriving at his destination.

I immediately felt compassion for him – middle school and high school can be challenging places to exist – and so I held the thought for him that today was a much better day than usual. Driving past people, even on a neighborhood street, doesn’t leave much time for a long, complicated blessing. Plus, I have no way of knowing what each person would need: so my thought that day was a knowing that the blessings of the Infinite were upon him.

I am particularly moved when I see school kids walking alone and appearing to be sad; dreading the day ahead or trying to recover from whatever they experienced at home before walking out the door.

I think of the following from one of Joseph Murphy’s prayers:

I know that (individual’s name) is surrounded by the sacred circle of God’s eternal love, and the whole armor of God surrounds her/him and s/he is watched over by the overshadowing Presence of God.

Joseph Murphy
(Archangel Michael)

Since I don’t know the names of the people I drive past each morning, an easy technique is to simply accept that they are accompanied by the holy Presence and watched over in all they do.

If I am stopped in traffic I may add a visualization of a grandmotherly angel or two if the child/children are small, or a warrior-like archangel if they are teens.

Skeptics will roll their eyes (& aren’t likely to be reading this blog), but readers across the New Thought canon know that many of the teachers whose work form the foundation of the movement taught and lived this Truth: a thought held in the human mind is connected to the Infinite Mind and will demonstrate or manifest.

Over time this simple teaching has evolved into an organized religion (at least 3 versions at last count), each of which has added dogma, regulatory guidelines and complications that are unnecessary for the process to work, but that are understandable in the world of Caesar. And yet, the truth remains that the Good that is possible requires no prescribed order of words or official interventions.

In one of his most beloved talks, “Live in the End“, Neville shared the following:

“Do you know a friend who is unemployed? Well, then, see him as gainfully employed, and don’t tell him, that you may brag tomorrow. Don’t boast. Just see him gainfully employed.”

Nevill Goddard, “Live in the End”

Neville’s life work was a testament to this process. Many have studied and applied this process – some within, but I suspect most outside of formal religious or spiritual organizational structures.

There will be those who say, “How do you know it works? What if you’re just deluding yourself and wasting your time?

I know that this works when I use it for myself, and for the people around me who seek out my knowledge on such things. For the people I pass on the street, I may never know if my simple blessing thought was helpful or not.

But let’s consider this: at one point, a VERY long time ago, everything that we see (and much more that we don’t/can’t see) was part of an infinitessimally small, dense and hot singularity…and then BOOM!

An explosion and rapid expansion, heating and cooling of matter…13.7 billion years later, here we are. The fact remains that the preponderance scientific inquiry to date suggests that we all come from the same stuff. We are indeed, all connected.

I can’t single-handedly fix all the problems carried around by the people I meet or encounter each day. There are days when I’m not sure how I’ll manage my own issues, and those within my inner circle. But I can apply the principles I’ve studied and learned and used with success in my own experience.

If nothing else, my own knowing of peace and Good for the random people I pass on my commute helps to put me into a better space, which means I show up at work in a positive and beneficial (to me and to others) state of mind. I also believe that there is Good to be planted and blessings to be harvested when we know peace, joy, healing, love and more for those we meet along our way.

And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path 

Against the odds

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

Elijah prays for fire to be sent from God

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

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

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

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

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

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


1 Kings 18:36-38

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

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

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

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

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

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

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

Going to Ninevah (the hard way)

Hebrew Jonah

Picture found at Tanakh through world art

Have you ever heard the voice of God?

Has God ever said “Get up tomorrow morning & go to Ninevah” ?

Maybe not, but I’ll bet you’ve felt that nagging feeling about helping someone out; apologizing to someone; or going the extra step on a task or project.

That’s the same voice of God – the divine “nudge” – that spoke to Jonah, telling him to arise and go to Ninevah.

Most of us feel it first in the negative, or reverse direction – often as young children and most definitely as adolescents. It’s that strong almost-audible voice that says:

Now you KNOW you shouldn’t go there / do that …”

It is also as young children or adolescents that we often learn about Jonah as told in the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament.

Jonah heard the voice of God tell him to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 

Jonah didn’t want to go to Ninevah and he made a decision to turn around and head so far away from Ninevah that maybe even God wouldn’t be able to find him. He went to Joppa and found passage on a ship headed to Tarshish.

Funny thing about people that God speaks to: they can’t hide.

God “…hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.”

Sailors are, by definition or custom, a superstitious lot. When this storm blew up out of nowhere, it was soon decided that this last-minute passenger might have something to do with it. When they cast lots (fortune telling, of sorts) the lots fell on Jonah and he ended up confessing that he was a Hebrew, and was running away from God.

They were beside themselves as the storm was tremendous and they didn’t want to be responsible for his death, but they had no idea how to survive and asked Jonah how to calm the sea. He told them that nothing short of throwing him overboard would help, so they tossed him into the raging waves.

The story might have ended here. Jonah made this disaster, he ignored God’s request and blatantly went in the opposite direction. Now he’s created a colossal mess and is about to be consumed by it. Sound familiar to anyone?

But God was not done with Jonah. Yes, Jonah had ignored God’s message, but God was not giving up on him and would not forsake him, or leave him in his hour of need.

17And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah ends up in the belly of a whale (great fish) – not a great place to hang out, I imagine but safe from drowning. Eventually the fish vomits Jonah out on dry land.

This is such great imagery, and a great spiritual lesson for kids and adults! Here are a couple of the lessons we learn from this story of Jonah:

  1. When you put your foot on the spiritual path, you can’t continue doing things “business as usual” – our actions have consequences and sometimes they’re dire.
  2. We can’t hide from the Divine.

Have you ever noticed that once you begin to read and follow a spiritual path, you can’t go back to your old ways?

This same concept – this counsel to stay connected to Source, or God, appears in many wisdom texts. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna that the way out of the cycle of karmic birth and death is NOT to avoid the tasks required of him (i.e. the instructions or nudges from the Divine) but to perform these duties without a selfish attachment.

Krishna knows that Arjuna can easily get caught up in his own life, and actions and begin to act out of selfish motives – which would keep him in the endless loop of the cycles of life and death.

When Arjuna asks Krishna what binds us to our selfish ways, Krishna tells him that anger and selfish desires are the greatest enemies: they are the destructive powers that can compel us to wander away from our purpose. In the same way Jonah said “Oh I don’t think so,…” when God told him to go to Ninevah and wandered away from his divine purpose.

We learn from Jonah and the Gita that following our own self-centered urges, and ignoring the voice of God has consequences. In the 21st century – especially in America – we live in a very self-focused world. Does this mean that we are all doomed?

Not quite.

This where the rest of the tale of Jonah is instructive.

Jonah defied the instructions God gave him; he ignored that Divine urge and ran in the opposite direction.

But God did not say, “Oh well, Jonah – I ask for a little help and you run off, so good luck dealing with the consequences of your actions!

Instead, God sends a great fish/whale to save Jonah from a certain death by drowning in the raging storm – a mess that he created by running away. The greatest lesson in this story is that we are not ever cut off from the Divine – even when our selfish and foolish ways should mean the end of us.

We may cause ourselves some rough seas. We may experience a close call and spend time in a really awful place,… but we are never cut off from the Divine – and there is always a way back.

In the belly of the whale, Jonah recognizes his folly and calls out to God. We are not cut off from the Divine unless we choose – Jonah chose to reconnect.

Wayne Dyer talked about that connection using the metaphor of the trolley strap in his work on the Power of Intention. He spoke of reconnecting to Source being like reaching up and grabbing onto that trolley strap.

Whether we choose to envision grabbing the trolley strap, or praying from inside the belly of a smelly, giant fish – we are well-served when we remember what Ernest Holmes taught about the voice of God.

“… Spirit is always with us, if we would but sense Its presence”  ~ Ernest Holmes

In the New Testament, Jesus told his disciples, “…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world but there is perhaps no greater symbolism of the omnipresence of Spirit than that of the whale, or great fish that plucked Jonah from the depths of the sea.

It’s a strong story to remind us that no matter how colossal the mess we create in our lives; no matter how desperate the circumstances appear “… Spirit is always with us, if we would but sense Its presence“. 

And so it is.

(C) 2017 Practitioner's Path

Here’s the Kids Sheet – Jonah and the Whale (kids sheets) – for the story of Jonah