Archive for 2009
This has been called the age of information. There’s no shortage of information; in fact, there may be way too much. When a nominee was named for the Supreme Court, the Judicial Committee was given a list of every single movie that this person had rented for the past 10 years! If we look at this word information, in the very center of it there’s the word form. Form describes the world of the physical, the world of boundaries, the world of beginnings and ends. When we are in the world of form, what we get is information. But let’s shift our attention to another world which is the source of everything physical.
St. Paul said, “That which is seen hath not come from that which doth appear”—the source of everything in the world of form is not from the world of form. It’s from the world of Spirit—the world of the invisible which has no boundaries, no beginnings and no ends. When you are in the world of Spirit, what you get is “inspiration.” What we have in our world today is a spiritual deficit. We don’t have enough emphasis on the importance of being inspired and living in-Spirit.
One of the most important lessons I ever learned comes from the great spiritual teacher Patanjali: “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” Imagine that just by moving into the world of inspiration you can activate “dormant forces,”—forces that you thought were dead, that you thought were not available to you—and you can make them work for you when you are inspired. You don’t get tired, you don’t get hungry, you don’t worry about money, and you don’t worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow. You’re moving into the world of God. Being inspired is probably the most important thing you can do. Look at all the things around you and say, “Where did all of this come from?” It all came from the world of Spirit, the world of inspiration. It’s the spirit that gives life.
Among the callers to my weekly show on HayHouseRadio.com was a young man in Guadalajara, Mexico, who reported that he was able to turn his life around with the mantra “How may I serve?” He was able to make his business prosperous at a time of presumed deep economic gloom. He is one among so many who have embraced the message of love and service and is now passing it on. It’s as simple as tuning in to Spirit instead of struggling to figure things out by ourselves, and mostly moving in circles. When we shift our thoughts from fear to love, represented by the act of serving and giving, we align with the infinite abundance of Spirit.
It was Neville Goddard, a New Thought lecturer of the mid 20th century, who recommended that we “assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled” if we want our dreams to become real. Feeling good is feeling God—our good feelings align us with Spirit. Use your imagination to create an image, a picture, that will help you focus on the life you want to achieve. As you go to sleep, don’t review bad feelings, fears, worries—instead assume the good feeling of the wish fulfilled. Go to sleep with visions of what you love. Let your dream vision marinate overnight. Wake up with your positive, hopeful thoughts in place, ready to guide you through a day in which you step ever closer to the life you dream of. You align with God when you ask, “How may I serve?”
True imagination is not fanciful daydreaming; it is fire from heaven.
— Ernest Holmes
One of the huge imbalances in life is the disparity between your daily existence, with its routines and habits, and the dream you have within yourself of some extraordinarily satisfying way of living. Buried within you is an unlimited capacity for creation that’s anxious to plant seedlings to fulfill your dreams and your destiny. The absence of balance between dreams and daily routine can reveal itself in symptoms of depression, illness, or anxiety—but it’s more often something that feels like an unwelcome companion by your side, which continually whispers to you that you’re ignoring something. You sense that there’s a higher agenda; your way of life and your reason for life are out of balance. Until you pay attention, this subtle visitor will continue to prod you to regain your equilibrium.
When you live your life going through the motions, it may seem to be convenient, but the weight of your dissatisfaction creates a huge imbalance in the only life you have now. It shows up when you’re sound asleep and your dreams are filled with reminders of what you’d love to be, but you wake and return to pursuing your safe routine. Allow yourself to think about this “fire from heaven.” What are your dreams and how can you shift your thinking habits to match your dreams? Commit to thinking about what you want, rather than how impossible or difficult that dream may seem. Give your personal dreams a place to hang out so that you can see them in your imagination and they can soak up the energy they deserve. Thoughts are mental energy; they’re the currency that you have to attract what you desire. Learn to stop spending that currency on thoughts you don’t want. Your body might continue, for a while, to stay where it’s been trained to be, but meanwhile, your thoughts are being aligned with your dreams. Align your inner creative energy—your thoughts—so that they match up perfectly with your desires. Dream and you shall become.
This month you’ll have a chance to check out my friend Jorge Cruise’s new book The Belly Fat Cure. I had a chance to test the Excuses Begone! paradigm in my own life by applying some of Jorge’s wisdom. I had been carrying an extra 15 to 17 pounds around my waist for about ten years, using the excuse that “this is what happens when you get old.” It’s called “man weight,” I told myself. Then I had an interview with Jorge and he told me some startling figures about sugar consumption. In the 19th century, people consumed an average of about 13 grams of sugar a day. Today we consume an incredible 285 grams per person per day. Doesn’t it look like there’s a connection between that huge increase and the increasing waistlines of our nation? According to Jorge, reducing your waist circumference can add years to your life. Jorge recommends cutting sugar intake back to between 25 and 30 grams a day.
I had been harboring the notion, the excuse, that my 17 pounds of belly fat would be very difficult if not impossible to get rid of. After all, time had put it there! I decided to test my excuse by reducing my sugar intake down to about 20 grams a day. In 30 days, that 17 pounds had melted off my waist. And it wasn’t all that hard to do.
The fact is we can do this with anything—from belly fat to any excuse-bound situation that is blocking our health and/or happiness. Once I decided to believe that I could release the weight that had accumulated around my middle, I let it go. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.” Why not believe you can?
The 77th verse of the Tao Te Ching suggests thinking about the surpluses we can put back into circulation to decrease deficiencies that exist elsewhere in our world. Lao-tzu asks you and me to put the wisdom of this verse to work in our personal lives by seeing what we have but don’t need as an opportunity to be “Tao people.” Lao-tzu isn’t asking our government, political leaders, or captains of industry, but us personally: “What man has more than enough and gives it to the world?” The answer is, only the man or woman of the Tao. When there are enough of us, there will be a pool from which we Tao-centered people emerge to govern. Then we’ll put into place the way of living offered in this verse.
It’s fairly simple to understand a surplus of money or possessions, but the word actually symbolizes much more. For example, there’s the surplus of joy you feel that you can offer to yourself and your family. Then there’s the excess of intellectual prowess, talent, compassion, health, strength, and kindness you can share with the world. Whenever you see deficiencies in joy, abundance, educational opportunities, perfect health, or sobriety, make your own surpluses available. Lao-tzu urges you to look at what’s deficient and be an instrument of increasing, rather than a collector of more, which marginalizes and divides the oneness that is all of life.
Reduce what’s in excess in your life and then offer it where it can be utilized. Begin with your stuff: clothing, furniture, tools, equipment, radios, cameras, or anything that you have too much of. Don’t sell it; rather, give it away (if you can afford to). Don’t ask for recognition for charitable acts—simply behave in harmony with the Tao by reducing your surplus. Then think about your intangible abundance of health, joy, kindness, love, or inner peace, and seek ways to offer those glorious feelings to those who could benefit from your bounty.
Just as nature fills voids by maintaining the cyclical balance necessary to our world, be an instrument of increasing where you observe deficiencies. Practice giving by dedicating a portion of your earnings to be used to ease deficits, for as Lao-tzu points out, “The master can keep giving because there is no end to his wealth.” If you can’t offer money to those who are less fortunate, say a silent blessing for them. Offer a prayer when you hear an ambulance or police car siren. Look for opportunities to fill the empty spaces in other people’s lives with money; things; or loving energy in the form of kindness, compassion, joy, and forgiveness. Be a man or woman of the Tao!
One of the most important decisions you’ll ever make is choosing the kind of universe you exist in: is it helpful and supportive or hostile and unsupportive? Your answer to this question will make all the difference in terms of how you live your life and what kind of Divine assistance you attract.
Remember that you get what you think about, whether you want it or not. So if you believe that this is an unfriendly universe, you’ll look for examples to support this point of view. You’ll anticipate people attempting to cheat, judge, take advantage of, and otherwise harm you. You’ll blame the antagonistic, inhospitable cosmos for not cooperating with you in the fulfillment of your desires. You’ll point the finger at belligerent people and bad luck for the kind of world we all live in.
I implore you to see the universe as a warm and supportive one because you’ll look for evidence to support this view. When you anticipate that the universe is friendly, you see friendly people. You look for circumstances to work in your favor. You anticipate good fortune flowing into your life.
My favorite affirmation when I feel stuck or out of sorts is: Whatever I need is already here, and it is all for my highest good. Jot this down and post it conspicuously throughout your home, on the dashboard of your car, at your office, on your microwave oven, and even in front of your toilets! Remind yourself: I live in a friendly universe that will support any thing or desire that is aligned with the universal Source of all.
I’ve found that by shifting my belief about the nature of the universe, I attract whatever I desire into my life. I desire love. I desire peace. I desire health. I desire happiness. I desire prosperity. When I pray, I do so in the spirit of Saint Francis, who beseeched God to “make me an instrument of your peace.” In other words, “Let me be like the Source from which I originated, and then I will rest in the knowing that my desires must be here, on their way, and for my highest good.”
As I was driving my daughter Sommer to the airport for her return to college after a long weekend home, she was admiring my new watch. This was the first new timepiece I’d had in at least a decade. I really enjoyed looking at its shiny steel-and-black face, and as I did, I’d think about how this was my favorite watch of all time. Yet I knew in my heart that Sommer would love to wear it, since men’s watches seemed to be the current craze for young women.
As I dropped her off at the curb and assisted her with her luggage, I was prompted to remove the watch and give it to her, even though it was my most prized possession (particularly since I have almost no possessions any longer that I even care about, let alone prize).
Sommer’s response was, “No, Dad, you love this watch!”
I insisted, telling her that I’d feel greater joy by giving it to her and knowing she’d treasure it. I also felt that it would symbolize our staying together in time, even though we’d be thousands of miles apart. She boarded her plane glowing, and I left feeling that I had grown immeasurably as a person, since such a compassionate act would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for me several years ago.
Sommer called me in Maui a few months later to tell me that she was sending me a present, stressing that it was a very, very special gift. It turned out to be her all-time favorite painting that she’d created and had hung in her apartment for a long time. As she told me later: “I really learned something the day you gave me your beloved watch, and I wanted to give you something that’s my single most precious item. I’m giving it to you, Dad, even though it’s difficult to part with, because I want you to have a piece of me that I love with you.”
The painting hangs proudly on my wall as a symbol of the beauty and perfection of reaching out compassionately in response to a felt moment. By being and living compassion, you invite and encourage others, just by your example, to choose to do the same.
Here’s a favorite quote: “The law of floatation was not discovered by contemplating the sinking of things.” Think about this observation by the great mental-science practitioner of the early 20th century, Thomas Troward. In the early days of shipbuilding, ships were made of wood, and the reasoning was that wood floats in water and iron sinks. Yet today, ships all over the world are built of iron. As people began studying the law of floatation, it was discovered that anything could float if it’s lighter than the mass of liquid it displaces.
The key word in Troward’s quote is contemplating, or what you’re placing your thoughts on. You can’t discover the law of co-creation if you’re contemplating what’s missing. You can’t discover the power of awakening if you’re contemplating things that are still asleep. The secret to manifesting anything that you desire is your willingness and ability to realign yourself so that your inner world is in harmony with the power of intention. Every single modern advance that you see and take for granted was created by someone contemplating what they intended to manifest.
The way to establish a relationship with Spirit and access the power of this creating principle is to continuously contemplate yourself surrounded by the conditions you wish to produce. Dwell on the idea of a supreme infinite power producing the results that you desire. This power is the creative power of the universe.
The Wright brothers didn’t contemplate the staying on the ground of things. Alexander Graham Bell didn’t contemplate the noncommunication of things. Thomas Edison didn’t contemplate the darkness of things. In order to float an idea into your reality, you must be willing to do a somersault into the inconceivable and land on your feet, contemplating what you want instead of what you don’t have.
Peace isn’t something you ultimately receive when you slow down the pace of your life. Peace is what you’re capable of being and bringing to every encounter and event in the waking moments of your life. Being peaceful is an inner attitude that you can enjoy when you’ve learned to silence your incessant inner dialogue. Being peaceful isn’t dependent on what your surroundings look like. It seldom has anything to do with what the people around you think, say, or do. A noiseless environment isn’t a requirement.
St. Francis’s famous prayer states it better than I can: “Make me an instrument of your peace.” In other words, St. Francis wasn’t asking God to provide him with peace. He was asking for guidance to be more like the peace he trusted was his Source. Being peace is different from looking for peace.
This principle isn’t about merely choosing tranquil thoughts when you’re feeling frayed and anxious. I suggest picturing a container deep within yourself out of which all your thoughts flow. Inside of this container, at its very center, imagine a candle flame. You need to make a commitment that this flame in the center of the container holding all your thoughts will never, ever even flicker, although the very worst may go before you. This is your container of peace, and only peaceful thoughts can fuel the burning candle. You don’t need to change your thoughts as much as you need to learn to be an energy of peace lighting the way and attracting serene, harmonious thoughts and beings. In this way, you’ll become a being of peace.
As a being of peace, you make a huge impact on those around you. It’s almost impossible to be totally stressed out in the presence of someone who has opted to be peace. Peace is a higher and faster energy—when you’re being peace, just your presence alone will often nullify the uneasiness and tension in those around you. The secret of this principle is: Be the peace and harmony you desire. You cannot get it from anything or anyone else.
Recently, a Canadian friend told me about taking his kids to a concert put on by a big name, hugely successful rock band. My friend was delighted with the heartfelt gratitude the musicians expressed to their fans, thanking them for making possible a life of creative joy and opportunity. The fans were wildly grateful, too, for the enjoyment the band provided.
Most of the people I’ve met or observed who are at the top levels in their chosen fields have these attitudes of gratitude and “radical humility.” After all, when so many high achievers reach for their statuette or championship trophy, they say, “First I’d like to thank God.” It’s almost as if they can’t help themselves—they’re so grateful for their accolade, but even more than that, they know that there’s a Force in the Universe way bigger than they are that allows them to act, sing, write, compete, or design. And if we adopt this kind of an attitude, we’ll inspire others to do the same. If we practice gratitude as opposed to maintaining an attitude of entitlement, we’ll automatically extend inspiration wherever we go. Being grateful helps remove the influence of our egos, which is certain that we’re better than everyone else. An attitude of gratitude allows us to adopt the radical humility that’s very persuasive in helping others connect with the Spirit that unites us all.
Without exception, I begin every day of my life with an expression of gratitude. As I look in the mirror to begin my daily ritual of shaving, I say, “Thank you, God, for this life, for my body, for my family and loved ones, for this day, and for the opportunity to be of service. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Gratitude and humility send signals to all who meet us that we’re all connected to something larger than life itself.
Before merging into form, we were a part of God, with all the inherent qualities of a Creator who sends forth abundance, creativity, love, peace, joy, and well-being. The spiritual dimension calls to us in this material world of beginnings and endings. When we listen and allow it to, Spirit guides us to something greater than our life as a physical being. When I let myself align with Spirit, I have a feeling of contentment, but more than this, I experience joy. I’m able to receive the vibrational energies of my Source—call them voices, messages, silent reminders, invisible suggestions, or what have you—they’re vibrations of energy. I’ve learned to get my “self” out of the way and remove resistance to the free flow of this spiritual energy.
Spirit doesn’t dwell on the impossibility of anything—that is, it doesn’t focus on not being able to create, on things not working out, on expecting the worst, or on being stuck in place. When I’m in-Spirit, I want my present moment and thoughts to align perfectly with what I desire to share. I want to offer an experience of inspiration to my audience, so I don’t give a speech thinking, I’ll probably disappoint them. I choose to think that if I stumble or forget something in the middle of my talk, the inspiration to get me through it will be there. When I sit down to write, my desire is to invite Spirit to express through me, and I encourage ideas to flow freely. I’m connected in-Spirit, expecting to be the instrument of my spiritual Source.
When we remember that we’re always connected to Source, we can summon the well-being of God. Each and every one of us represents God or Spirit revealing Itself here on our planet. Experiences of being in-Spirit are available to all of us. Remember that your life is bigger than you are. Dedicate your life to something that reflects an awareness of your Divinity. You can begin by committing to at least one daily experience where you share something of yourself with no expectation of being acknowledged or thanked. For example, before I begin my daily routine, I go to my desk and choose my gift for that day. Sometimes, it’s just a phone call to a stranger who’s written to me, or perhaps I order flowers or send a book or present to someone who has helped me in a local store. It doesn’t matter if this activity is big or small—it’s a way to begin the day in-Spirit. Make a silent dedication to encourage and express your Divine nature.
Are there any life problems that seem beyond our power to overcome? Let’s think about that for a minute. In the face of life-threatening problems like alcoholism and drug addiction, excuses for feeling powerless like “It’s too difficult,” “It’s too big,” and “I’m not strong enough,” might spring to mind. Yet we know people who have beaten even these deadly and crippling problems. Two years ago, I had dinner in New York with Patti Davis, daughter of President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan. Patti had just published an essay on Newsweek’s “My Turn” page about her struggle with cocaine addiction and how grateful she would have been for the rehabilitation programs that celebrities today so often treat with utter disrespect. It’s one of the most honest essays I’ve ever read. At our dinner, Patti was celebrating five years of freedom from drugs. She acknowledged how powerful the comfort and pleasure of cocaine had been in her life, but she knew she would never go back to using it. How did she manage to stop? It wasn’t a reluctance to continue disappointing herself or her parents that finally made the difference. She stopped because she no longer wanted to disappoint God, that highest part of herself that all of us share as our connection to the Divine. We all have a place of well-being, bliss, joy, and perfection within us. We are called to be there and from that empowering place we can reach out as Patti has done to help others find it, too. With God, nothing is impossible, and when we align with Spirit, no excuses are needed.