I believe life was meant to be enjoyed. You know that phrase in the Bible, where it says to be as a child? I take that to heart. No, I am not speaking of hanging on to immaturity. I am speaking of enjoying life as children do. They move through their days in awe and wonder and joy. Sometimes I look at my life and the awe almost brings me to my knees. I move through the day and appreciate the beauty of whatever is surrounding me. I feel joy that I can do the things I like to do. A friend told me I could have fun inside a paper bag, and I can. That is joy. I have the ability to find the joy in anything because I have cultivated that joy. But sometimes finding the joy becomes a bit difficult, and that’s what this post is about. It’s about the reasons why you might also be finding it difficult to find the joy, and what to do about it.
I know why it is difficult for me right now to feel the joy. Let me see if I can explain it to you. It has to do with a phenomenon called group consciousness. This phenomenon states that since we are all connected, part of a great whole, the trend of our thinking will affect others, and their thinking will affect us. I learned about this phenomenon while studying a spiritual and philosophical way of life called New Thought, which developed by this very phenomenon of group consciousness back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. All of a sudden people in separate parts of the world were all speaking and writing about the same concepts without ever connecting with each other. One of the concepts those early New Thought pioneers were speaking and writing about is Oneness. They were convinced that we are all connected on very deep levels, part of a great One. Ernest Holmes was one of those pioneers and created a New Thought teaching called Science of Mind. It is one of several, and it just happens to be the one I follow and teach. Ernest Holmes is the one who came up with the term group consciousness, but he isn’t the only one who has studied, and strived to prove, the concept. Science has proved it. I will never forget the excitement I felt when I took my first quantum physics class in grad school and discovered that what Holmes had been saying had been proven true by science.
Quantum physics is one of those sciences and they have proven it in repeated experiments. If you don’t believe me, look up the observer effect.
Another item of proof: you may have heard of the hundredth monkey effect. Way back in the 1950s some scientists did a study and discovered that if a certain learned behavior reached 100 monkeys, all of a sudden that behavior jumped across the water and monkeys on nearby islands, who never had physical contact with the first group of monkeys, began doing the same behavior.
One more, this one from an author named Terry Patten, in his book called a New Republic of the Heart: “The popularity of ideas like the “tipping point” or the hundredth-monkey stories are not simply tall tales. As already mentioned, Ken Wilber has pointed to the claim, rooted in the historical evidence of the late 1700s and the American Revolution, that when 10 percent of the population grows into a genuinely higher structure of consciousness, the nature of public agreements and power exchanges can be restructured according to a higher set of (postmonarchical, constitutional, democratic, meritocratic, free-enterprise) rules.”
Unfortunately, that phenomenon works both ways, higher consciousness and lower consciousness. If 10% of the population is living a lower state of consciousness, guess what? We are going to experience evidence of that. Such evidence looks like anger, judgement, close mindedness, rigidity, polarity.
I believe we in America are in a lower state of consciousness right now, and those of us who are aware of such things and believe in group consciousness feel it.
It may feel like grief. I’m sure you’ve felt grief before. All those things you feel when you experience a loss. Things that Elizabeth Kubler Ross identified as stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I know I’ve felt all of these in the last couple of years. I bounce around these feelings like one of those giant beach balls being tossed about by people who don’t seem to care where the ball lands or what, or who, it bounces off of.
Now, you may be thinking that this all sounds sort of victimy. To be subject to the consciousness of the populace? Yep, victim. Fortunately, we are at choice as to how to respond to this. We can choose not to buy into the polarity, the judgement, the rigidity, the anger and the close mindedness.
If you are anything like me, you might wake up some mornings just feeling wrong. No apparent reason for it. Just wrong. There is a reason, it’s the group consciousness. Here’s where we can, and should, choose differently.
I believe we have a responsibility to choose differently. Because to give in to the group consciousness means to accept the shit that is going on, and that I will not do. And neither should you. If you believe that life is meant to be lived in joy, then you will also take responsibility for being one of the hundred monkeys. Or one of the 10%. Do not buy into the group consciousness. Refuse to live from a base of fear. Instead contemplate what it could be like, feel like, to live a life based in love. Refuse to wrap yourself in a cocoon of suspicion. Instead, realize that all that suspicion simply shuts out any possibility of joyful living, and strive to be vulnerable. Yes, I said vulnerable. There is a way to be vulnerable without opening ourselves up to harm. The vulnerability I’m speaking of is a sort of open mindedness. A willingness to explore a different way to be, so as to experience a better life. Refuse to judge, condemn, belittle. Instead cultivate compassion for yourself and others. Deny the sadness that you feel and replace it with happiness. Refuse to judge anyone, for anything. Refuse to shame other people. Refuse to claim a side. Refuse to be angry. Refuse to be close minded. Instead, cultivate compassion. Nurture open mindedness. Actively pursue an attitude of gratitude. Explore different ways of communicating so that you can have healthy conversations with people who think differently than you do.
If enough of us do these things, we can and will change the world.
Yesterday was Chinese New Year. It is the year of the pig. Unfortunately I have no pig photos for you. I even know a pig. His name is Winston. Winston apparently likes his belly scratched, but he is also a bit wary of strangers, so I have yet to experience the pleasure of scratching his rather large belly. The last time I saw Winston, his mama had put him on a diet and Winston was not a happy pig.
However, it is said that most pigs are happy, as well as good tempered, kind hearted, positive and loyal. And prosperous. I guess that accounts for Winston needing to go on a diet. He has an abundance of food!
If you are wondering whether this is going to just be a rambling about pigs, not to worry. I’ve got a point; two actually. It’s just taking me a while to get there. First point: You get a do-over. It is New Year’s all over again. How are you doing on those resolutions which never work? Take the do-over. Or did you take my advice and set intentions instead of resolutions?
Either way, you get a do over. Thank the Chinese for it.
The other point of my post is the prosperity piece. Pigs are a symbol of prosperity. Now, I did a bit of research, as I like to do, and discovered that this prosperity thing only applies under certain conditions. If if you were born in a year of the pig, watch out. Apparently, not so much prosperity coming for you. What are those years you say? According to Wikipedia, they are: 1947, 2031, 1995, 1971, 1923, 1935, 2007, 2019, 1983, 1959. Don’t ask about the 2031. I have no clue.
But here’s the thing. I’m a Science of Mind New Thought kind of person. This means I believe in the power of thought and the Law of Attraction. This means that if we set an intention for prosperity, then prosperity we shall have. Of course, there is a lot of other stuff that goes into that, but I’m just going to leave that right here for you.
Today, you get a do-over on New Years, and you can rely on the pig. Go for it. Prosperity.
I've had so many people ask me about a workbook or class to accompany my book A New Thought Journey through the 12 Steps. I've done numerous workshops on the key elements, but nothing I've done up to this time is as thorough as this workbook.
Designed to do either on your own, or with a group, this workbook will facilitate within you changes that lead to freedom, joy and happiness in your life, unlike any you've ever known before.
Get the workbook, get the book if you don't already have it, and begin.
And let me know what you are thinking and feeling as you move through it!
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I hope you enjoy the interview!
All around me people are announcing that mercury is in retrograde. Admittedly, I'm not hearing these announcements, I'm seeing them in print. But the impression I am getting is that if they were saying this, it would be said with the same feeling tone as that old ditty: "THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!"
I wasn't sure why, so I looked it up. Now I know why I didn't know what it meant that mercury was in retrograde: it's astrology.
Now, before you think this is going to be an attack on astrology, it isn't. I think the human habit of attacking something we don't believe in or disagree with is abhorrent. But that is the subject for another blog post.
I've never been a fan of astrology, even though I know a lot of people who are. Here is why I've never been a fan of it: because it is one more example of basing our decisions on something outside of ourselves. I feel the same way about anything that tells us to ignore our own truth and instead follow the dictates of another. Traditional religion as it is currently taught does this. So does most of the New Age stuff. I love New Thought because it teaches us to go within, know our own truth, and proceed accordingly. And by the way, I love candles, scented oils, and even crystals and all sorts of other New Age gimmicks. But I'm not going to base my decisions on them. They are just nice things. And sometimes excellent reminders of my own truth, which I discovered by going within.
Back to this current retrograde Mercury thing. Instead of just ignoring it, I decided to ask, what is it all about? And got this link for an answer: https://www.astrologyzone.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-mercury-retrograde/
I read the article. Seems we aren't supposed to make important decisions, sign contracts or have elective surgery during this time.
Sigh. Really? Ok. Here's the deal about important decisions: I know that I shouldn't be making them under duress. In other words, don't make decisions when angry, grieving, sad or excited. Settle down, go within, meditate, know your truth. Then make the decision.
Here's the deal about contracts: If it is time to sign a contract, I am certainly not going to tell the other person involved in the deal that I need to wait until mercury is out of retrograde to sign it.
And I don't believe in elective surgery, so that is a no brainer for me.
My point here is this: We have an entire culture of people who seem to base who and what they are on outside things. Everything from doing what your peers do to blindly following religious dogma to allowing what the planets are doing to effect your life. I love the empowering message of New Thought: go within...find that part of yourself that knows...and be and do that.
Everything I do, from my ministry to my counseling, from workshops and retreats to my book (www.newthought12steps.com) is a variation on this one thing: I teach people tools that they can then use to go within and find their own truth.
Bottom line: I'm not going to base my life on someone else's interpretation of something outside myself, including whether or not mercury is in retrograde. How about you?
I just finished teaching a class called Prosperity Plus at the Center for Spiritual Living in Carson City. This incredibly powerful material was put together by Mary Morrissey, and my students experienced many shifts in their thinking, some were subtle, some were more like the "wack-upside-the-head" variety.
I also experienced a shift that I want to share with you.
As a minister in New Thought, one of the things I get to do is take ancient wisdom, such as the Bible, and translate it metaphorically so that people can hear and understand the lessons, and apply them in their lives. The Bible was written by many people, in the language of their times. Back then they taught in metaphor. The Bible was never meant to be taken literally, the mistranslations have not served us well. I'm not an expert on the Bible, I learn new things all the time, and I learned something new in this class.
Mary Morrissey told us about the David and Goliath story in the Bible. You know, the story of the little shepherd and the giant? David ended up slaying the giant, but what isn't often told is the inner process he used to do that.
See, we live in what is called a "condition based world." This means we place more importance on our outer conditions, and we base our decisions and our actions on those conditions.
There is an inner world, which is so much more important than the outer. This is the world of our thoughts, beliefs and dreams.
David was able to slay the giant in spite of the outer conditons: Goliath was huge, powerful, mean and had a lot of weapons. He was also arrogant. David was small, had only one weapon, and he refused to buy into the common fears of the time, that the giant was too big to slay and he certainly couldn't do it with his one little weapon, a sling shot.
But David wasn't into condition based thinking. He knew the power of his thoughts. He had heard that the king would give a castle, freedom from taxes and the princess to anyone who slay the dragon. David heard about the princess and kept his eye on the prize. All he could think about was the princess. He kept his eye on the prize. He would listen to the naysayers who told him it couldn't be done. He kept his eye on the prize.
And he slayed the dragon.
Have you ever had anyone tell you it can't be done? I have. Very recently as a matter of fact. I listened to them tell me it couldn't be done, for a little while, then I told them I didn't want to hear it anymore. See, I've got my eye on the prize and someone telling me it can't be done is not the direction I want to take my thoughts. I've got my eye on the prize.
Conditions would indicate that what I am trying to do can't be done. But I don't live in condition based thinking. I keep my eye on the prize, and my thoughts are more powerful than conditions. So I keep my thoughts tuned to the prize.
And I know that if I keep doing this, what some told me wasn't possible will happen. It already is beginning to happen! I just need to keep my eye on the prize, just like David did.
Are you living in condition based thinking? Do you think you can't do that because you were told, or because conditions would indicate you can't? Or are you keeping your eye on the prize, knowing that your thoughts are much more powerful than any conditions?
I'd love to hear your stories about how you got the prize!