Walk in the Light

Metaphysical spiritual teachings remind us that the Infinite Spirit (God) is Omnipresent. This differs from traditional Christianity where there is an accommodation for duality – often referred to as “evil“.

The examples cited most are darkness and light; heat and cold; love and hate and in today’s “interesting times“, I would add fear and peace. Metaphysically, we believe that these are not 2 opposite ends of a spectrum but instead are binary. Zeroes and ones, in the tech language. Darkness is not its own entity, but simply the state where there is an absence of light. The same applies to hot and cold, with cold simply being the absence of heat.

In the spiritual context we would apply this analogy to good and evil in the same way with evil being simply the absence of good (or God) and fear being the absence of peace.

This perspective eliminates the need to “fight” anything. There is no war between good and evil, or light and darkness: there is only the need for more good, more light.

In the world today, as we face multiple reminders that things have changed, we encounter numerous opportunities to be fearful. We can, if we choose, stream near constant updates on how many people are ill, how many are in intensive care units, how many body bags were ordered from the Department of Defense and of course the death toll.

I don’t recommend it. It only crowds out our peace.

While I am an advocate for being smart about public health issues, it doesn’t mean we need to dwell in doomsday. Instead, we can turn our attentions to better things.

In metaphysical studies we often hear phrases like: “energy flows where our attention goes“.

Joseph Murphy wrote in the previous century that “Whatever we give attention to will grow, magnify, and multiply in our experience.”

These teachers and teachings suggest strongly (& correctly) that our peace of mind is directly connected to the things we place our attention and energy upon.

The writers of the Christian canon took it a bit further, suggesting that not only will a positively-inclined attention bring us peace; but that as we “practice these things“, the Infinite abides with us.

… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4

Most of us will not contribute much, if anything, to solving this global crisis aside from cooperating with public health officials, and abiding by the expert’s recommendations to keep ourselves and others safe.

The most important thing we can do is to walk in the Light. To help us achieve this we can listen to uplifting music, read a spiritual book, listen to a streaming podcast by a favorite author or spiritual teacher, take a walk in nature, or meditate in silence. These activities (and many others) are ways to keep our feet on a path where we can “walk in the Light“.

To date there are no cures known for COVID-19, but there is a cure for fear: peace.

Let’s commit to walking in the Light, embracing calm and peace, and watching our fears dwindle into nothingness.


(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

A hedge of protection

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

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

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

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

Job 1:10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path 

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

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 

Practicing the pivot (step 4)

Learning to pivot is an acquired skill and one that can serve us well in several areas of our lives. We can learn to pivot away from arguments, pivot away from bad habits and in Joseph Murphy’s Master Key System to Wealth, Step 4 is all about the pivot.

Murphy taught that when thoughts of lack come into our mind we should catch ourselves;  never finish a negative statement about finances. If by chance we’re a little slow in the recognition as we get started on our journey, we can learn to reverse it immediately. I call this the “pivot“.

When we pivot away from a thought or statement of lack around paying a bill or finding the money for an expense, it is important that we replace it immediately with a statement of divine provision.

Here’s his suggestion:

God is my instant and everlasting supply; that bill is paid in divine order.

Murphy explained that when we see something that we desire, instead of thinking how expensive it is, or how it may or may not fit into our current budget that we should become a bit more analytical.

Using what we know about the abundance that is the natural state of the Universe (honed as our default knowledge in steps 1 and 2), he offers this rational reasoning instead:

That car / house / other item is for sale – it is a divine idea, and I accept it in divine order, through divine love.”

Seeing something that we desire as a divine idea, and accepting it as an idea that we can absolutely bring into our experience through divine love removes all thoughts of competition for scarce resources, which is at the core of the belief that is lack.

One of the things we do to ourselves that gets us tangled in the web of lack is to compare what we have in our own current experience with what others have. Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets make it easy for anyone to take a picture of a frozen dinner dumped onto a nice plate and make it seem like their lives are made up of chef-inspired gourmet meals every night.

We look at the photos, the comments and then at our peanut butter sandwich, pronouncing ourselves as “less than” and lacking.

Prior to seeing the faux gourmet meal on Facebook, that peanut butter sandwich sounded pretty good; but when we looked at what someone else had and made a comparison, we evaluated ourselves as not measuring up.

PivotPhase 2 of the pivot involves stepping back from our immersion on social media until such a time as we can observe others’ lives without comparisons and self-judgment.

Learning to pivot – first from the negative thinking to the knowing that “God is our instant and everlasting supply and that bill/expense is paid in divine order; and secondly pivoting from our near-total immersion in social media to more time in silence and solitude (or at least with some distance from all the faux Hollywood lifestyles) so that our conscious attention to the spiritual truth has a chance to make its way into our subconscious, and automatic thoughts is the 4th and final step in Joseph Murphy’s Master Key System.

It’s worth repeating that Joseph Murphy taught that “…it is impossible for any sincere person to practice this technique and not have all the wealth they want/need all the days of their life.

The 4 steps, condensed into single words for each are as follows:

  1. Recognize (the wealth of the Universe as omnipresent)
  2. Plant (thought seeds of wealth, success, abundance & prosperity)
  3. Affirm (write your story on the template of your subconscious mind)
  4. Pivot (away from negative, focusing on only the positive)

It’s simple – though not easy as it involves moving away from what things LOOK like and believing in a larger spiritual truth.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

 

Daily attention (step 3)

In continuing the exploration of a spiritual path for bringing more wealth into our lives a la Joseph Murphy, we come to Step 3. This is where we begin to make an investment of our time each day and turn our attention to where we want to be, and not where we are now.

Many of us invest a lot of time and energy each day worrying about bills, complaining about our paychecks, telling others about how unfair life is, how stingy our employers are, etc.

Step 3 of the Joseph Murphy method involves turning away from our tendencies to complain about our financial circumstances and to affirm intentionally that the wealth of the Universe is already ours – that all our needs are met.

In the previous step we learned that jumping right into affirmations that are too far removed from our actual reality can backfire, and create resistance so it is important that we work hard on Steps 1 and 2 and make certain that we are ready for Step 3 – an affirmative prayer that states unequivocally that “God’s wealth flows freely joyously and ceaselessly into our experience”. 

While the time-frame will vary person to person, a good gauge to know when it’s time for Step 3 is when our default is clearly and regularly noticing the abundance that is everywhere; and when we’ve made incorporating words like abundance, prosperity, success and wealth into our early morning and evening mantras without any flinching or excuse-making (“I don’t need that much,…” is an excuse-statement. Be bold in claiming your abundance!)

Step 3 becomes a morning and night affirmation that begins to move more details into our subconscious mind around abundance and prosperity. Here are Joseph Murphy’s words

“I am now writing in my subconscious mind the idea of God’s wealth. God is the Source of my Supply and I know God is the Light Principle within me and I know I’m alive. All my needs are met at every moment of time and point in space. God’s wealth flows freely joyously and ceaselessly into my experience and I give thanks for Gods riches forever circulating in my experience.”

Repeat night and morning and continue the work begun in Steps 1 and 2.

As we move forward, the following graphic is a good check point for where our thinking falls on the prosperity continuum: are we trending toward an abundance consciousness or a scarcity mindset?

Checking in with ourselves on a regular basis is a practice that leads to success.

abundance-vesus-scarcity

And then one day we catch ourselves thinking abundantly without really thinking about it, and we know that we’re on our way! And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

The Key (step 1)

JMurphyJoseph Murphy wrote a number of books on spiritual topics in the middle of the previous century. An educated Irish Catholic priest, he emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1922 and began his life’s work of spiritual study, teaching and writing.

I’m not sure why his teachings aren’t more prominent in mainstream New Thought – at least they’re not part of the canon I’ve been exposed to formally and that may be simply a local issue and not indicative of the larger movement. I consider it to be better late than never in terms of stumbling across this treasure trove of writings.

Murphy wrote a number of books, but this blog series is focused on his 4-step process to finding prosperity that is based on spiritual principles. I see the connections in his writings with many others from his time period as well as those that followed and were clearly influenced by his teachings.

John Randolph Price’s Abundance Book echoes the message in the 1st step of Murphy’s process in his 10 statements of principle as clearly as any and yet, as simple as Price’s Abundance Journey is, Murphy’s 4-steps are even simpler.The Abundance Book

Murphy stood firmly on principle, assured that when applied properly, they worked every time. He states without hesitation that:

“It’s impossible for any sincere person to practice this technique and not have all the wealth they want/need all the days of their life.”  ~ Joseph Murphy

That’s quite an endorsement, and it intrigued me enough to give this topic a fresh look. I have been especially interested in looking again at spiritual prosperity as I see all the financial shenanigans taking place in politics and the world, and know that this is the time – perhaps more than ever – that the world needs to understand these simple and yet not always easy principles for financial abundance.

Step 1 in Joseph Murphy’s process is as follows:

  • We must understand that God is the Source of everything we see. All the powers, attributes and characteristics of God/the Light Principle are in us and God is the one and only Source of our wealth, food, air, substance. God is the Source of the sun, the apples we eat, the money in our pockets. We must remember that it is as easy for God to become wealth in our life as it is for God to become a blade of grass or a drop of rain.

This seems so basic that it’s easy to overlook. As we ponder this concept, let’s take the time to see the abundance of grass; the abundance of rain, wind and – especially this time of year – the leaves on the trees. Look at the abundance of weeds and wildflowers; the abundance of seed pods floating on the breeze and feel the abundance of heat from the sun.

All of these examples and more are very present reminders that God is ever-present, and ever giving of Itself to life, and to us. Pondering the prolific abundance of nature, and then allowing ourselves to make the connection that this Divine expression comes forth with ease in nature, and can come forth with the same ease in our lives, takes some practice.

For the next few days, let’s look around and see what John Randolph Price wrote in his Abundance Journey’s 7th step :

The Divine Consciousness that I am is forever expressing its true nature of Abundance. This is its responsibility, not mine. My only responsibility is to be aware of this Truth. I am totally confident in letting go and letting Spirit appear as the abundant all sufficiency in my life and affairs.”  ~ J.R. Price

Relax and let go, confident that Spirit is already appearing as the abundant, all-sufficiency in every aspect of our lives, including our finances. This is the (important!) 1st step in unlocking the abundance that is our birthright.

Power_Key

 

Coming up next: Step 2 (retraining our default thinking about our finances)

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

Caution! words have power

CautionSeveral years ago I was working in a job that paid me a very nice salary, was remote (I worked from home in sweats and flip-flops every day) and I was only required to travel into an office in Boston or Kansas City every couple of months.

Each on-site visit included nice dinners out with colleagues and stays at Marriott hotels which helped me bank a significant number of Marriott rewards points that I was able to use for my own travels. I also flew enough on United that I had special status, which meant I didn’t have to sit in the cheap seats anymore.

It was a nice gig.

Imagine my confusion when I began to grow weary of this position and look to leave it. I had long conversations with myself – questioning my sanity and thinking processes; still – I felt a deep discontent and need to move on. My family thought I was nuts when I finally took a position at a lower salary that required me to put grown-up clothes on and go into an office Monday through Friday.

I had my reasons, certainly but I never really put 2 and 2 together until recently as I was reading some of Joseph Murphy’s writings.

At the time, I was very interested in public speaking: talking about some of the things I had learned along the way and how my life lessons could help others. I had self-published a book on Amazon about finding your way in terms of a career, and I felt that I had a viable message.

So I did what every spiritual guru and teacher would coach you to do: I spoke my word!

I said affirmations, I visualized and affirmed what I wanted. Now – I wasn’t quite as well-versed in the raw power of this or the nuances of spiritual law as I am today, so I did affirm some things from a limited perspective. But to my own great surprise (why are we surprised when this stuff works!?) less than 3 months after making that move I found myself presenting my first talk in front of a large group who loved the content. Two months later I was at a meeting where I was asked if I could please present at an upcoming conference, as they had a need for one more speaker and no one available.

I said “Yes!” and for the next 3 years I traveled regularly, presenting at meetings and conferences. I enjoyed paid airfare and hotels in some very nice venues and met a lot of super people. Everyone was receptive to my messages and I had the satisfaction of building a decent following. I have dialed back my conferences for the past year as I have been concentrating on my writing, but am pleased to report that my national following and popularity in my own professional circle has resulted in me being invited to present at another national conference this September in Miami – all expenses paid.

Now – as much as I know I have learned along the way, I had to laugh at myself when I realized recently that I took that cushy job away from myself when I started affirming that I wanted to be a public speaker.

Forgetting that spiritual law is impartial, and precise: I neglected to specify whether or not I wanted to keep my job. And so the Universe went to work, moving people, places and processes to open up the opportunity that would look to me to be the right opportunity at just the right time – all within the confines of my ability to receive.

Looking back I clearly see the hand of the Infinite moving things around to make room for the declaration I had made for my life. We nod our heads in classes, and buy book after book written by people who tell us over and over that our words have creative power,… and then we are surprised when we make a declaration and things in our lives begin to move.

Denise Rosier’s song, “Just Like That” reminds us that “all that gloom and doom – [is] really just life making room

I am tickled and fascinated at the way speaking my word has, over the years, resulted in things like me teaching as a Professor at a university, finding a job where I work from home and much more. And this latest realization has been a wonderful reminder for me that we are so much more powerful than we realize, on most days.

This is not unique to me by any means. We are all creators! Look back over your own life, and remember your words, your declarations to the Universe and then track what began to move and shift in ways that may have surprised you at the time (I know I was surprised).

In a previous blog I quoted the book of Job:

“…stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.” Job 37:14

It does us well to “stand still” and consider the power of the Infinite, and our connection to Spirit.  In closing that blog post I wrote:

Court the Presence. Feel It in your consciousness – stand still and consider the wondrous works. Use the Power. And when you do, you cannot help but change your life. 

I look back over my life and can point to time after time when my life has been changed by my tapping into that Power for Good in the Universe – greater than we are, that we can use.

Learn this; use it and prepare to stand still and consider the wondrous works unfolding in your life!

“Once you convince your deeper mind that you have the thing you want, it will proceed immediately to bring it to pass.” ~Joseph Murphy

And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path