Thursday, April 30, 2009Enough
It's understanding that lifts the consciousness.
It's not saying understanding;
it is living understanding,
it is doing understanding,
it is where, in the midst of misery,
you still have understanding.
People say, "But I'm confused. I don't understand."
I say, "That's your concern."
For you must still keep breathing,
even if you're confused,
and you must still eat,
even if you don't understand,
for no one will do these things for you.
Oh, you might get a slave for a while,
but even slaves eventually say,
"When do I get mine?"
And the master always answers, "Later."
And so the slave revolts.
But if the slave is smart, it just evolves.
For at that point of evolution,
you find out that the one who has served you
has been your god,
and the one who has understood you
has been your light,
and the one who walks with you
has been the Beloved.
And you never had to go anywhere.
(From: The Tao of Spirit by John-Roger, DSS)
I have had two examples in the last week of people (not on MSIA staff) coming to me with not feeling they have enough. They had a good paying job, and were healthy, and one even had a great relationship yet they sought more. I advised one today, (unsolicited--there are still too many times where I need to keep my mouth shut!) to learn to enjoy where they were. Then they would have a new skill that they could apply to anywhere they went. They smiled--unknowingly.
Seth Godin's post below is about business but it resonated with my thoughts above:
Infinity--they keep making more of it
If you had a little business in a little town, there was a natural limit to your growth. You hit a limit on strangers (no people left to pitch), some became friends, some became customers and you then went delivered as much as you could to this core audience. Every day wasn't spent trying to get bigger.
There's no limit now. No limit to how many clicks, readers, followers and friends you can acquire.
I don't think this new mindset is better. It shortchanges the customers you have now (screw them, if they can't take a joke, we'll just replace them!) and worse, it means you're never done. Instead of getting better, you focus obsessively on getting bigger.
You're at a conference, talking to someone who matters to you. Over their shoulder, you see a new, bigger, better networking possibility. So you scamper away. It's about getting bigger.
Compared to what? You're never going to be the biggest, so it seems like being better is a reasonable alternative.
The problem with getting bigger is that getting bigger costs you. Not just in time and money, but in focus and standards and principles. Moving your way to the biggest part of the curve means appealing to an ever broader audience, becoming (by definition) more average.
More, more, more is rarely the mantra of a successful person.
There are certainly some businesses and some projects that don't work unless they're huge, but in your case, I'm not sure that's true. Big enough is big enough, biggest isn't necessary.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009More on Gratitude
More on gratitude. Check out this lovely article (Hat tip to Deborah). Excerpt:
There may be a positive byproduct of our troubled times: a decrease in the urge to complain. People who still have jobs are finding reasons to be appreciative. (It feels unseemly to complain about not getting a raise when your neighbor is unemployed.) Homeowners are unhappy that home values have fallen, but it's a relief to avoid foreclosure. And yes, our portfolios have plummeted, but most of us can say that at least we didn't invest with Bernie Madoff.
There is also a growing "noncomplaining" movement that touts the belief that whining doesn't work as a strategy, and that happiness can be found through rituals such as writing in "gratitude journals."
Will Bowen, a minister in Kansas City, Mo., is on a mission. His nonprofit organization, A Complaint Free World Inc., has distributed almost six million purple bracelets emblazoned with the group's name. When wearers find themselves complaining, they're asked to switch bracelets to their other wrists. The goal is to go 21 days without having to switch.
I've been a bit bemused by the amount of financial support that the Government has given the banks. I understand that it is being done to prevent the financial system from collapsing but it does bring to mind the idea that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is what is known as being crazy.
After sitting with this for quite a while I am now of the opinion that this solution is really no solution at all. Then what is the solution? I think the best thing is to allow things to fail that are not working--not as a punishment but because strength and creativity are born out of adversity and limitation. It seems to me that this path of spending beyond our means will become a burden to future generations and will feel like a punishment not of their making. I guess they are the ones that will grow strong and be creative.
Just a few thoughts.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009Health and Gratitude
I am taking off to facilitate the sixth week of the PTS Health Class. This is a great quote from John-Roger that we use in the class:
Health is not so much about the food, or the nutrition in the food, it’s more about how the cell level is energized, through clean blood and good oxygen--that’s what brings life and vitality. When that’s not happening we get sluggish, lethargic, and we start dying. Literally, we start dying. We live and die at the cell level.
So do breath deeply and get those cells oxygenated. Exhaling is one of the great and most important detoxifying systems of the body.
And, talking of health, practicing gratitude is very, very good for it. Make sure you read my latest email post that just went out.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009Gratitude
Big thanks to Ron Beimel for this:
I heard a talk by a man who followed all the commandments in the bible for a year (including tossing a pebble at an adulterer to fulfill his obligation to stone them). Although one of his conclusions was that he did not recommend this to anyone, he did make one comment when he was talking about the lessons he learned that I found interesting:
"Another lesson is that thou shalt give thanks, and this one is a big lesson because I was giving these prayers of thanksgiving which was odd for an agnostic. But I was saying thanks all the time every day, and I started to change my perspective. And I started to realize the hundreds of little things that go right every day that I didn't even notice, that I took for granted as opposed to focusing on the 3 or 4 that went wrong. So this is actually a key for happiness for me."
Monday, January 5, 2009True Luxury
How do you know your tithing works? By the results that it’s bearing. And what if it doesn’t bear the results? You didn’t do it out of your heart. God says that He loves a joyful giver. You forgot to smile as you wrote the check. You forgot to say, “Thank you, Lord, and there’s more coming. And thanks for the health and thanks for this and this and this.”
The thankfulness is like a litany, almost like chanting the spiritual exercise mantra. It will start to produce changes in us that are remarkable. And often it also produces changes in other people around us that are equally as remarkable, because with those we love and care for, we share the goodness and the bounty of our spirit.
From God Is Your Partner by John-Roger, DSS
I took a "vacation" today to complete my year end finances, bring our budget up to date, and prepare for filing year end tax returns. I keep everything on Quicken so it was all organized and I could produce a financial statement virtually with a click.
There were some surprises, our grocery bills were down over last year-I think because we did less in house entertaining. Our meals out were a lot of money despite the fact we don't go to restaurants and none of the bills were over $50--except Thanksgiving at Prana! This proves that small amounts on a regular basis really add up.
Overall, things were tighter than I thought and I therefore wondered why I had felt so abundant lately. After chatting with Shelley the key was that we are living the life we want to live. And while we don't buy luxuries and lead a simple, frugal lifestyle, we do buy what is essential to us--food, books, art supplies.
Our saying/focus/affirmation for the year is: "What we need comes forward and we give of the overflow." I like it because it reflects our values--our trust in God and our love of giving.
Sunday, November 23, 2008In Harmony With Infinite Supply
The following quote is from Timeless Wisdoms by J-R. Please read it and keep it close by you. There are so many keys here to living the spiritual principles of abundance and prosperity. Every time you read or hear anything negative about the economy or environment, instead of being caught up in what is being said, perhaps you can read this quote.
Ultimately, you can’t do anything “wrong,” because God is with you, in you as you, and is making sure that it all comes out perfectly. And that is a lot to be thankful for.
An attitude of gratitude is also a key to being in harmony with infinite supply. When you can honestly and truly thank God for what you have, for all your experiences, for all the people in your life, and for all your expressions, the sense of gratitude goes very deep. In that depth, you are open to infinite supply.
You also might think about being grateful when your desires are not being fulfilled. You might think about being grateful when your prayers are not being answered. Let those desires and prayers go, and ask only for the highest good, that you might be free of the creation of desire, that you might be free from illusion, that you might be free to know your own Soul and its perfection and glory.
Sometimes the best way to make the most out of a situation is to get out of it. The other way is to accept it and be grateful that it isn’t worse. I find that it’s much easier to just love it all. When it shows up, I go, “Wow. Another form of loving. Another face of loving. Another expression of loving. Another location of loving.” And then I get to participate in it. That’s grateful.
As you accept what you have and give thanks for your blessings, you find your life becoming happier and happier. Because, truly, my friends, you are blessed. There is not one of you who is not continually receiving of God’s infinite blessings and grace.
Monday, October 27, 2008Measuring Our Wealth
Tithing is a way of saying, “God, pour forth whatever blessing You have for me.” God is health, or lack of disease. God is always at ease, always present, always now, and is constantly creating and expanding.
(From: God Is Your Partner by John-Roger, DSS)
I love to measure things. My breakfast alone consists of about a dozen carefully measured ingredients. So it’s natural that I would want to find a measure for wealth. If I look to dollars to measure my wealth, I might as well pack up my marbles and go home now—the volume just isn’t there at this point in my life.
Still, I feel extremely abundant and wealthy. So how do I measure it? Happiness is difficult to measure and seems to fluctuate too wildly to be reliable. But one thing is a constant in my life and it is what I use to measure my wealth--my blessings. I can truly count my blessings, and when I do I am wealthy beyond measure.
Money has its place in our world and must be handled responsibly, but it is not something I look to for wealth. Perhaps you can start to count your blessings, even write them down and see how wealthy you are. It also immediately puts the times we are living into the correct perspective.
The true harvest of my life is intangible -
a little star dust caught,
a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.
--Henry David Thoreau (Thanks to Lisa Boone’s Heart-thoughts for this one)
And in that vein here is the Smile/Zen Moment of the Day:
I shall never forget the picture of him saying his prayers on a bare ledge just beyond the cabin, looking toward the west. He went out each evening alone after supper, and I can see his black silhouette kneeling there. If ever a man exuded a sense of wholeness, it was he. He knelt for a long time, part of the North he had become, of many expeditions by canoe, snowshoe, and dog team, of the bitter cold and near starvation, but also of the serenity that comes when one knows he has given all and asked for nothing.
Serenity comes from wholeness, and one finds it in strange places. Once in a large city, while I was riding a subway, a woman took a seat just opposite mine. She was neither young nor old, but for some reason the profile of her face struck me, and it was not until she turned and smiled briefly that I saw the serenity in her eyes. I wanted to talk to her but did not dare, and although this happened many years ago, I have never forgotten the look on her countenance. She got off shortly and I watched her go with regret, but her serenity left itself with me. What gave her a sense of peace and wholeness I shall never know.
Sigurd. F. Olson from Reflections from The North Country
Still no one knows. Financial Quote of the Day from Floyd Norris, the chief financial correspondent of The New York Times. And if he doesn’t know....
Now we have hedge funds, which have accumulated, without regulation or disclosure to anyone, huge positions with high leverage. The rumors say they are being forced to dump, further depressing prices. Are the rumors true? Who knows? How much more selling do they have to make? Another good question.
Thursday, September 25, 2008Are You the Man or Woman of Abundance?
As we shift our focus to precipitation and manifestation I thought this passage from What’s It Like Being You? is worth contemplating.
We’re always drawn to people who demonstrate abundance. They’re the ones whose shoulders we cry on. Abundant people know we all go through times of stress when we’re growing, when we’re breaking out of old patterns into the new, and they give us an abundance of understanding. They see past our mistakes and love us anyway. Their abundance gives; it doesn’t take.
A person in lack will fulfill your lack. It’s like the old saying “misery loves company.” We come to a point, however, when we hit bottom and say, “Well, I don’t have to fear failure. I’ve got an abundance of it. Now I’m carefree. I’ve got nothing to lose. I might as well go for everything.” And that’s the manifestation of abundance: to not be afraid of losing it all; to not be afraid of failing. You’re free because you know that fulfillment is inside of you. Your wealth is your true self.
When we look at manifesting abundance, it is important that we don’t fall into the downward spiral of never being satisfied. An attitude of gratitude is essential. I’d rather have a telephone that’s hard to hear on than no telephone. I’d rather have fluoridated water than no water. You can learn to appreciate even your irritation and negativity. Then, no matter what happens, you’re a grateful person. That grateful feeling has a wonderful, protective quality to it. Gratitude is a higher state of consciousness that keeps you free of opinions, thoughts, and feelings that do not have the quality of being grateful.
I’ll be building on the theme of abundance and I’ll also do a post on success and failure in the next day or so.
Thursday, September 18, 2008Precipitation
In 1972, J-R wrote a booklet that was printed in the MSIA office on a Gestetner machine on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. I was 22 years-old and living in London at the time and when I acquired this flimsy booklet with its paragraphs that ran on for a page, and its faded type, I was less than impressed. Plus it was called “Precipitation.” What the hell was that? I only knew that precipitation was snow or rain. I read through the book and never gave it another look.
Oh, the folly of youth. In going back, I can tell you that the book is SOLID GOLD! Fortunately, most of it is reproduced in Wealth and Higher Consciousness. Nevertheless, going back to the original I re-read this gem:
We can, by working through 'Grace', alter and change physical patterns. The Law of Grace has been demonstrated so many times in every one of your lives. I'm going to tell you many things that you may already know but, again, you may not be aware of it until you hear it consciously. I have looked ahead at some of the things that have been coming my way and realized that I could through this Law of Grace that is given us by the Holy Spirit, bring about and precipitate down into this physical reality that looks completed, a re-creation. And the joy is unfathomable to think -WOW! It's all completed but through the Holy Spirit or the Supreme God, through moving myself into that God-consciousness, I could precipitate down whole new patterns on top of the "possible" or "probable” things, and completely and entirely change the old prophetic pattern - absolutely change it. When you move into this type of an action, you are confronting and overcoming all karmic conditions and reincarnation patterns and are now creating in a God consciousness; throughout all universes where you travel. These actions take place through the power of Grace, or through God saying, "You may do this because you and I are one and you are working as a representative for me: in that movement that you represent me, all must come under your dominion. All principalities, all laws, all forms of nature are now yours to command, if you so desire to command, if you wish it into being, it will be done. If you desire it, it will manifest itself and before you even need it, it will be there." (From: Precipitation by John-Roger, DSS)
Wow, what more can I say. In fact, I am not going to say anything more.
Monday, August 11, 2008Grace Tithing
Tithing is one of the ways that I experience my relationship with God, my knowing that God is walking with me and being with me bodily, all the time. John Morton, DSS
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that my recent seed brought in a return far in excess of my expectation. It appears that seeing myself in the picture really made the difference. Grace did the rest.
Which brings me to the point of this post. What do you do when the harvest you have seeded for, far exceeds your expectations? The answer is Grace Tithing. Since my seed was for a tangible, financial return, I will of course be tithing on it as that has been clearly spelled out by Spirit. However, in acknowledgment of the abundance of the harvest, I am also going to place a grace tithe.
A grace tithe has no obligation with it, it is giving to God out of pure gratitude--in thanks and in acknowledgement of the grace and blessing of the harvest.
The amount is purely up to the individual. It is a pure and ecstatically joyful process, and when I do it, it opens my eyes to seeing even more grace in my life. It starts to appear everywhere.
Sunday, August 3, 2008The Silent Saints
The news in the media is so full of what’s “wrong” with the world, it is easy to get discouraged or sometimes downright depressed. A friend of mine was very concerned and emotionally upset about the ways that animals were treated in certain settings. I asked them whether they were bothered about the Eastern European sex slave trade. Nope, not bothered at all. Global warming didn’t do it for them either; neither did the tragedy playing out in Darfur. It confirmed what I have found with most people—we are highly selective about what we are concerned about.
However the reason I write all this is that for me, the miracle that I see before me every day is how things work remarkably well and, in fact, that they work at all! Every time I bite into a peach or have a good meal, I am aware of that miracle. And when I turn on the tap, I am still in awe that fresh, clean water emerges. My theory is that the reason it works so well is that the world is implanted with silent saints—ordinary people who go about their day helping others, without any fanfare, award ceremonies, and in many cases any recognition at all.
Such a woman is described in George Eliot’s novel, Middlemarch, written in 1872. Her name is Dorothea Brooke and Eliot goes out of her way (yes, George was a woman) to emphasize that one does not have to be widely recognized to achieve greatness and that an ordinary woman living a simple life can be as saintly as St Teresa of Avila.
Her finely-touched spirit had its fine issues, even though they were not widely visible. Her full nature spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent upon unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs.
So today I am in gratitude for the unheralded silent saints that walk among us.
Monday, July 21, 2008More Paradoxes
“It's very hard for people to shake you loose from your spirit if you've done both tithing and seeding.” Dr. John-Roger, DSS
(This follows on from yesterdays post.)
Easterbrook goes on to outline two other reasons why we are not as happy as we might be, given the abundance we live in. I think these will give you a good, knowing chuckle.
The first is "Choice Anxiety." We often get stressed and unhappy by the number of options we have. If you think about it, it actually makes sense. Sometimes when we have only one choice, we take it, live with it, and get on with our lives--and are often happy about it. When we have many choices, not only can we create a dilemma about what to choose, it's also very easy to second guess ourselves once we have chosen, wondering "what if?" we'd made that other choice.
"Time Anxiety" is another reason. This also makes sense since I have dealt with this one myself. I have so many wonderful interests and projects to do, I can easily get frustrated about not having the time to do them.
Finally, my favorite is "Abundance Denial." This is where despite being in the midst of plenty, we develop mental rationales for considering ourselves deprived.
Okay this is personal confession time. Often, unless I really need to, I won't go to friends' and acquaintances' homes on the "rich" side of Los Angeles. The reason is that I am very happy and content with my circumstances and life, but often when I see what others have, particularly peers, I start feeling inadequate for my choices. I do turn it around, but it is a process, and I rather not have another process.
How do I turn it around? Like I do with most challenges, which you will read time and time again on this site, gratitude. Grace and gratitude have the same root word, gratus. When I move into the sacredness of gratitude, not just giving it lip-service (although that can work if it is all that I've got in the moment), I move into grace. Simple and effective. The gratitude brings me back into spirit, which is why I do tithing and seeding.
Sunday, July 20, 2008The Progress Paradox
"(This) returns us to William James' emphasis on the role of expectations in determining levels of happiness. We may be happy with little when we have come to expect little. And we may be miserable with much when we have been taught to expect everything." Alain de Botton Status Anxiety
My July 7 post mentioned Gregg Easterbrook author of the book The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse. I had read the book a couple of years ago and was fascinated by the paradox that we live in the most prosperous times ever, yet many of us don't feel that way. For example, just 100 years ago, life expectancy was just 47 years-old and people were likely to die not from heart failure or cancer, but from an infection (penicillin had not yet been invented). Instead of being grateful, we are now into anti-aging and stressing over not looking our age. Oh, the money being spent on elective surgery and botox!
Easterbrook gives several reasons why we are still not content. One of them is that we have "Satisfied Expectations" where because current society has so much, it is hard for folks to expect that the future will bring even more. Which, according to Easterbrook, leads to "Collapse Anxiety," where we think and worry that it is only a matter of time before things collapse.
Oy, what a world! If only we can take a moment to look around and take in all the abundance around us. Even if you are stuck in traffic, appreciate your car, appreciate that you are safe, be grateful you have gas in it, and that you arrived at your destination well. And, despite everything you read and hear, be thankful that it's a miracle that things run as well as they do.
Monday, July 7, 2008Life Is Good
The antidote for lack is gratitude. Gratitude is a choice, an attitude, an approach towards life. My gratitude for this moment does not depend on what is going on in this moment; it is the moment, regardless of what is going on, that I am grateful for. My gratitude for this breath is not about the breath. It's that I am breathing, that I recognize it comes from a higher source, and that I am alive. Gratitude is a moment-to-moment celebration. The Rest of Your Life: Finding Repose in the Beloved by John-Roger with Paul Kaye
A recent article in the Wall St. Journal by Gregg Easterbrook (author of The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse) on June 13, got me thinking (my bold below). Gregg writes:
"The relentlessly negative impressions of American life presented by the media , including the entertainment media, explain something otherwise puzzling that shows up in psychological data. When asked about the country's economy, schools, health care, or community spirit, Americans tell pollsters the situation is dreadful. But when asked about their own jobs, schools, doctors, and communities, people tell pollsters the situation is good.
"Our impressions of ourselves and our neighbors come from personal experience. Our impressions of the nation as a whole come from the media and from political blather, which both exaggerate the negative. The latter has never been thicker."
At the Blessings Fest at Prana today I went around interviewing people for GPTV and their personal experience of tithing was a joy to behold. When I look out into the world to find my reference points, before long I am projecting some kind of concern or worry about the future. When I look inside of myself, check my own experience and take a quick inventory of my blessings; life is good and I bask in gratitude.