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

Brush with a parallel world

a parallel universe?

My reading across the spiritual curriculum of late has drifted into the area where sages and scientists overlap most often these days: consciousness.

In listening to some of the brightest stars on both sides of this issue, I’ve had exposure to a number of the current theories being floated on the impact of the quantum world on the human experience. One theory is that of the existence of multiple co-existing universes.

WARNING: this will make your head hurt if you think about it too much.

The simplistic version or explanation (because I’m not a scientist) is that each time we make a decision, a spin-off reality, in which the non-choice remains a reality, results. For example, if you make a decision to leave your current job and take a new one, according to this hypothesis, a parallel universe exists where you remain at your current job while you exist now in this universe where you work in your new job.

I don’t know enough about either side of the scientific argument to weigh in but with this information floating around in my head, I had a recent experience that was “interesting” if not a little weird.

About 3 decades ago I was married with 2 small children. My husband had an opportunity to consider a job in a small town at the edge of State College, PA – the home of Penn State University.

Decades later I found myself in State College for a professional conference. As I drove around the area on Day 1 of the conference I began to have an experience that I can only describe as a brush with a parallel universe.

The path I had begun all those years ago eventually led to the demise of my marriage, and my move to a city on the other side of the state. As a Veteran with few marketable job skills I knew I had to go back to school, so I enrolled in the local urban university. I went on to earn my Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree. I ended up working as a Dean at the local Community College, and later a faculty member at that same University and felt great pride and gratitude for the institution(s) I attended and those where I worked.

Years later my son followed me to the same institution and this Fall my nephew will enter as a Freshman. Our history is tightly woven into the fabric of this urban University.

And yet, as I drove around the Penn State campus and looked at the grounds, observed the students and buildings, I felt the pull of this place in a way that is still difficult to explain.

I felt a strong connection to the campus and community as well as a deep sense that I belonged there. Perhaps I felt my own potential attachment to the brand had my life taken this turn so many years ago. Whatever the cause, I felt an unnatural fondness for, and attachment to the symbols and structures of this university. This is even more unusual when you realize that my family connection is to the University of Pittsburgh – one of Penn State’s biggest rivals.

The connection I felt was so strong that I felt a deep sense of sadness when I left the campus at the conference end.

I will never know for sure what it is that I experienced that week. What I DO know is that I will remain seriously curious about the quantum theories surrounding parallel universes.

In recent years a radical new interpretation of the parallel universe problem has emerged: the Many Interacting Worlds (MIW) hypothesis. The basic concept is that many interacting worlds have existed side by side for many years – AND – they subtly influence the worlds closes to them.

So, a couple notes: #1) I’m not a physicist, #2) the MIW model is still speculative – and – (did I mention that I’m not a scientist?).

The problem with people like me who read enough about science and technology to be conversant at dinner parties but not enough to perform the complex mathematical computations is that we tend to make assumptions about things based on connections we think we see and theories we think we understand (and let’s be honest, there are worse habits).

While I fully recognize this, I can’t help but wonder if the parallel universe where my husband took that job and my family moved to State College; where my kids and I became dyed-in-the-wool Nittany Lion devotees was crossing over into my current universe causing the “disturbance in the Force” that I felt so keenly.

Who knows what scientists will discover about the nature of reality into the future? In the 1960s, Star Trek tricorders were pure Science Fiction – and yet today, I have one such device sitting here on my desk, where I could reach out and talk to my friends across town, across the country or across the world. If I had the number, I could even talk to the International Space Station!

It’s unlikely that I’ll solve the mystery of my strange experience in State College, but I know that the nature of reality as we know it continues to be challenged. So I’ll remain curious and open to the possibilities – and that’s much more interesting that assuming that we know all there is to know!

For more information (from real scientists!) on parallel universes, check out this YouTube video:


(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Balance, harmony, success

color wheel
spiritual balance
practitioner's path
Michaels crafts
Color Wheel (Michaels.com)

A few years ago I had the opportunity to do some very basic graphic design work and was able spend some time learning a few things about this skill set.

I still consider myself an amateur, and bow humbly to those educated as graphic design professionals. Still, I enjoy keeping my fledgling design skills in play and maintain an Adobe subscription to support my habit.

I was viewing some training on color theory and the basics of this theory struck a chord with me about life and nature; our spiritual selves and spiritual communities.

Most of us learn the basic color wheel in grade school. The primary colors: red, yellow and blue. The secondary colors: orange, green and purple.

One of the first things we notice, aside from the colors, is that there is an ORDER to them. The primary colors are positioned equidistant in a triad. The secondary colors are also comprised of equal portions of 2 primary colors and the triad that is their placement lies in an exactly opposite triangle.

I’ll save the Dan Brown symbology references for another blog but the simplicity and the order are impossible to miss.

This pattern of patterns continues as we expand beyond the primary and secondary colors to the tertiary colors.

The genius of the patterns that we see in the color wheel are the foundation of what is known in art and graphic design circles as “Color Theory” and it is these principles that determine whether something is pleasing and balanced to the typical eye, or harsh and unpleasant.

My exploration of the intersection of color theory and spiritual learning took an interesting turn when I discovered that Sir Isaac Newton is credited with the development of the first circular diagram of colors in 1666. Long-time readers of this blog may recall that I often compare Newton’s Laws of Motion to spiritual laws so this discovery about Sir Isaac and the color wheel was exciting!

My research on color theory for beginners led me to a terrific website, where I found this explanation:

Harmony can be defined as a pleasing arrangement of parts, whether it be music, poetry, color, or even an ice cream sundae.

In visual experiences, harmony is something that is pleasing to the eye. It engages the viewer and it creates an inner sense of order, a balance in the visual experience. When something is not harmonious, it’s either boring or chaotic. At one extreme is a visual experience that is so bland that the viewer is not engaged. The human brain will reject under-stimulating information. At the other extreme is a visual experience that is so overdone, so chaotic that the viewer can’t stand to look at it. The human brain rejects what it cannot organize, what it cannot understand. The visual task requires that we present a logical structure. Color harmony delivers visual interest and a sense of order.


In summary, extreme unity leads to under-stimulation, extreme complexity leads to over-stimulation. Harmony is a dynamic equilibrium.

Basic Color Theory

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • harmony as a pleasing arrangement of parts
  • inner sense of order, balance in the experience
  • non-harmony means boring or chaotic
    • extreme unity = under-stimulation (yawn)
    • extreme complexity = over-stimulation (Eeeeek!)

If we use this basic framework to think about our spiritual communities, what can we learn?

BALANCE and ORDER

A balance of perspectives, opinions, talents and skills is needed for any community to not not only survive, but to thrive. A balance of focus and programming is critical as is a sense of order about the ways things are done. Reactionary programming and last-minute deployment result in as much chaos as poorly balanced programming.

I travel regularly and visit different New Thought centers and churches, and it is obvious to me, often upon entrance into the building, where this principle is understood and where it is not. A narrow perspective and tight control over everything that happens in the organization results in a boring, and monochromatic place. A frenzied “we must (financially) survive” orientation where anything goes, from psychic fairs one weekend to spiritual healing, book clubs, classes and rummage sales in between Sunday services creates chaos.

A blending of complementary knowledge, skills and ability with careful attention to the balance of power among these results in a pleasing arrangement of parts; in harmony. And the energy of harmony (or disharmony) can be perceived almost immediately by those who visit a business, community group or church/center.

Successful spiritual organizations don’t emerge from nothingness. They are born out of a holy intention that is followed by careful and focused attention to the important aspects of organizational growth and maintenance. Strategic planning efforts that include careful consideration of the wisdom inherent to the color wheel are better positioned to reap sustainable harvests and not because *I* say so, but because this lesson is hard-coded throughout nature.

Whether we study scientific principles, such as the Complementarity Principle which posits that we “cannot exhibit both wave-like behavior and particle-like behavior at the same time”; or Newton’s 1st Law of Motion (every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force); the principles of Color Theory or the wisdom texts from across the ages – the foundations are clear. There is a method and order to Life. If we can observe, learn and incorporate the guidelines of this method and order into our thinking and perspective, we are much better positioned to achieve our goals and will likely begin to see our dreams unfold in front of us like palm fronds laid down on our path.

As with most of the things I have learned along my own spiritual journey, these are very simple concepts however; they are not easy to implement. This is mostly due to the complications laid on top of them by us – the people involved. And so we study, we experiment, we keep moving forward and we (hopefully!) continue to learn and grow and perhaps someday, will indeed achieve that pleasing arrangement of parts – that order and balance that create a true harmony in whatever it is that we have built.

And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path