Every age has its great spiritual error. Here is ours.

The commonly held view in modern spiritual circles is that organised Christianity’s promotion of poverty and asceticism was a misinterpretation of Christ’s warnings against riches, and that this led to that great error of the past – thinking that money is evil and unspiritual. This is indeed a grave error, but unfortunately modern spiritual thinking involves an equally monumental mistake – which is that chasing and accumulating vast sums of money is a legitimate object of the spiritual life.

This new “abundance mindset” offered by mainstream spiritual thinking is even less in line with Christ’s words than the poverty consciousness it replaced. There is no getting around it – Christ says “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of heaven. For it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Luke 18:24 -25).

The Kingdom of Heaven represents the internal state of spiritual enlightenment. Christ plainly states here that if we view spiritual operation as a means of mere material growth, we will almost certainly never reach a state of enlightenment. Christianity’s error was to take these words as a declaration that all wealth is evil. Modern spiritual thinking falls into the exact opposite trap by declaring all wealth to be good and conveniently bypassing all Christ’s teachings to the contrary.

It’s true that Christ never teaches poverty as a requirement for following the spiritual path. But he does teach it as a requirement for perfection, as when he told the young man: “If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.” (Matthew 19:21.)

Furthermore, when sending his apostles out to preach, he instructs them not to take anything more than the bare essentials:

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils: freely have you received, freely give. Do not possess gold, nor silver, nor money in your purses. Nor scrip for your journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor a staff.” (Matthew 10:8-10).

So Christ, the most enlightened being ever to walk the earth, preached as he lived – and his life and teachings were one grand sermon on poverty. So why is modern spiritual teaching so enamoured with the idea of amassing vast sums of money?

However, here we must make a crucial distinction, and one that is missed in all erroneous teachings on the spirituality of money. The distinction is between poverty and lack. Poverty means personally owning nothing, or nothing but the bare essentials. Lack means actually suffering the deprivation of something essential – so lacking sufficient food, clothing or shelter. Christ practised poverty, but he never suffered lack. In fact Christ’s entire life could be seen as a perfect sermon on this precise topic. He lived his life in poverty, because had complete trust in the providence of the universal spirit. He did not need to stockpile money or supplies, because he knew the infinite treasury of heaven was always open to him. All he had to do was “ask and it shall be given you…knock and it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7).

Thus did he strictly charge the apostles to go on their journey in the same manner – taking no preparations for the journey, but simply trusting that all would be provided by heaven. It is not the poverty itself that Christ was teaching us, but the trust that must necessarily accompany it, and the detachment from worldly concerns that must precede any ascent to great spiritual heights.

Modern Law of Attraction practitioners often teach that the best way of getting into alignment with our desires is to act as though they are already fulfilled. With this in mind, the best way to act as though heaven will provide for your every need is to make no preparations of your own, and live entirely by trusting the storehouse of heaven. This is the true abundance mindset, and people who spend their lives stockpiling riches in unthinking rebellion to Christianity’s poverty fetish have missed the point entirely. The rejection of one error has simply led to the opposite error. As with all things in life, the truth lies at the mean between the extremes.

I must also repeat that living in poverty is one of Christ’s counsels of perfection. Christ came to make men perfect, but not everyone is sufficiently evolved to follow his path to the utmost, and of course he was well aware of this. For those of us who are not yet ready to abandon all things and live entirely off the providence of the universe, we can apply Christ’s teachings simply by becoming more neutral to money, and seeking spiritual enlightenment ahead of material gain. Paradoxically, this makes money easier to obtain anyway because too great a desire for it causes resistant energy. Thus Christ tells us: “Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33).

By this method, we may or may not end up with limitless riches – but it doesn’t matter. We will live a far more fulfilling life and will evolve our souls to a much higher degree than we ever could by making money the end goal in itself. Again, the modern error is that wealth is the only worthwhile yardstick for one’s success in life. Health, happiness, wisdom and love are fine as well, but they are not quantifiable. People judge themselves to be a success once they’ve made their first million dollars – but there’s no similar benchmark for the others.

Study after study shows that once people have their basic needs met, there is absolutely no correlation between money, happiness and love anyway. And what are we here for but the evolution of our souls? There are so many experiences a soul can have to further their evolution – many of them involve no worldly success whatsoever. Modern spiritual thinking judges this to be a failure, because it views wordly success as a sign of inward spiritual alignment.

Indeed the great teacher Thomas Troward agrees with them, up to a point. The material side of life should not be despised, he says, because it represents the spiritual. In other words, if we are in genuine material lack, then something has gone wrong spiritually – we are yet to learn Christ’s lessons about the providence of the universe. But if we go to the other extreme and live purely for the material, we’ve missed something equally important – the detachment from wealth that Christ says will make us perfect. For, as he says, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3). That is, it is not necessary that we be materially poor – only that we be detached from wealth. But this crucial distinction is almost completely absent from modern spiritual writing.

Freeing ourselves from limitation is indeed one portion of the spiritual path. There is no benefit to be gained from holding on to the outdated notion that having money is wicked, immoral, or unspiritual, and that lack is the only acceptable path. But the idea that there is nothing to be gained from any life that falls short of unbridled wealth and luxury is every bit as much a limitation as the former. It’s a fear based limitation proceeding on the false assumption that a life without material wealth must be a life of suffering.

Of course, having money gives us no guarantee of avoiding suffering whatsoever – but having sufficient spiritual wealth does indeed offer such a promise.

“Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth, where the rust and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither the rust nor moth consumes, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.” (Matthew 6:19 – 21).

Humility: what it is, and what it definitely isn’t

“I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility.” Says John Ruskin.

“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds.”  Adds Saint Augustine.

So what exactly is this priceless virtue called humility? And why do deeply virtuous souls seek it out and protect it, while less advanced souls view it, at best, as a bitter necessity – and at worst, as a foolish relic of our less enlightened past?

I believe the answer to the second question is due in large measure to humility’s association with certain very well-meaning but misguided practices of Christianity. While being one of the greatest sources of truth and inspiration regarding this beautiful virtue, sadly Christianity has also been the source of many a harmful myth about the nature of it. Many faithful Christians have made the mistake of attempting to reverse-engineer humility by imitating the outward practices of the saints. The saint, seeing the enormous disparity between the divine and the purely corporeal aspect of their humanity, will often be moved to utter cries of self-loathing. Despite this clear recognition of the disparity between the divine and the corporeal, the saint understands that he is loved by the divine.

Well-meaning Christians, knowing the value of imitating the saints, will often see it as an act of virtue to take pot shots at themselves and outwardly verbalise their shortcomings. Although usually well intentioned, these efforts are faulty because they lack the saint’s glorious vision of the divine and the knowledge of its love for them. Instead of being animated by these powerful insights, they are simply reciting hollow words of negativity, which will be ineffectual at best. At worst they can cause shame and self-loathing – and lacking the saint’s clear understanding of the divine love, there can be no great flowering of reciprocal love. This is the great fruit of true humility – an increase in love for the divine and for other souls; but such faulty attempts at humility can produce nothing but a festering self-hatred.

Furthermore, the ego – being the sneaky creature it is – often hides behind our best intentions, and sometimes these seemingly pious words of self-deprecation are simply the ego’s way of showing others how special it is. “Look at me – I’m humble. I must be spiritually advanced, or at least making a darn good effort. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m one of those nasty proud people – I’m keeping my ego in check, you see?” Thus what appears to be humility is sometimes actually its polar opposite – pride.

The true definition of humility is extremely simple. It is not specifically about saying or doing anything – it is an understanding. Whatever words or actions tend to accompany humility will flow naturally from this understanding, but the understanding cannot be acquired by mechanically repeating the words or actions. The understanding is, quite simply: you are not more important than anyone else.

For many spiritual people, this is a bitter pill to swallow. Often the first awakenings of spirituality – even our feeblest, most faulty first steps – tend to be accompanied by a corresponding temptation of the ego to view ourselves as more advanced or more important than the masses  due to our comparatively advanced knowledge. Perhaps we envision ourselves somehow enlightening others by spreading our insights or healing the masses through our radiant positive energy. Such thoughts are, of course, the work of our old friend the ego – in this case, disguising itself as a disinterested healer of others. But perhaps our path in life will involve no such renown, and perhaps not even a visible impact on the world around us. Perhaps we are here to labour in obscurity, with no purpose other than to develop ourselves internally. After all, we are no more important than anyone else.

Paradoxically, the souls whose virtue has shaken the world to its foundations are the souls who deeply recognised this fact. Christ spent most of his life as a carpenter. Buddha renounced his position in the Indian royal family for a life of secluded contemplation. Laozi was basically a filing clerk, so tradition has it. None appeared to seek glory and influence, and yet all established spiritual legacies that have long outlived them.

The great spiritual masters therefore rightly prescribe humility as an essential remedy against this potentially fatal trap of the ego. Indeed, there is a certain point beyond which no further spiritual understanding can take place until the ego is subdued. One example of this is during the first stages of kundalini awakening. It is not uncommon for the accompanying insights and powers of kundalini awakening to evoke a powerful ego response, with feelings of superiority and an arrogant sense of all-knowingness – such that the kundalini actually stops in its path, and the whole process is halted until the ego is tamed.

Christianity has long taught that pride is the father of all sins. Indeed, “Pride goeth before destruction”, says Proverbs 16:18. The flip side of this is that once humility is acquired, all the other virtues become much easier to attain. When we truly appreciate that we are no more important than others, if we have any degree of love for ourselves then we cannot help but love them also – and “love covereth a multitude of sins”, says St. Peter in 1 Peter 4:8.

Rick Warren almost got it right in his famous quote: “humility is not thinking less of ourselves – it’s thinking of ourselves less.” But this is perhaps a better definition of charity and generosity than of humility. Truly, humility is not thinking less of ourselves – but it is thinking no more of ourselves than of others.

Why our opinions don’t matter…but the truth does

One of the tenets of New Age or “spiritual but not religious” philosophy that I found hard to swallow in the beginning was the idea of staying neutral to all things; not judging outcomes, not judging situations, and not clinging to dogmatic opinions. Opinions, so we are told, are simply inventions of our ego – and the universe cares not a whit for any of it.

My mind protested – surely truth exists! After all, even the idea that there are no absolute truths claims to be an absolute truth. Anyone who advocates this opinion really ought to be consistent and argue that there are no absolute truths besides the fact that there are no absolute truths. But then, claiming the existence of just one absolute truth tends to undermine the credibility of the entire opinion.

Indeed, there really is truth. And there really is a right way and a wrong way to live your life. Not all decisions that we make in our lives are subject to this absoluteness, but many of them are. Yes, there is an order to life – what is traditionally known as the natural order.

Diet is a great example of the distinction between the natural order and subjective opinion. Broadly summarised, the natural order of food is that we should eat enough to satiate hunger and sustain our bodily functions – and no more, and that the food we eat should be unprocessed, unadulterated by chemicals and full of nutrients. As long as the food we eat covers these basic requirements, then our diet is in tune with the natural order and will be healthy for us. Any other dietary prescriptions beyond the natural order of food are the realm of subjective opinion only. Certainly, individuals vary in their specific requirements, but any requirements outside of the natural order are ultimately traceable back to mental patterns and beliefs.

A common belief among spiritual people is that a wholly plant based diet is higher vibrational than an omnivorous diet, because meat carries the vibration of death, or something. Certainly it is true that when people switch to a vegetarian diet, they often report greater mental clarity, happiness and spiritual abilities. The trouble is, so do people on the keto diet – which consists of more meat than anything else. Provided both diets cover the requirements of the natural order, they are both capable of producing the reported results, provided people believe in them.

I’m not the first person to note this, by the way – Louse Hay observes the equal effectiveness of contradictory diet advice in You Can Hear Your Life. What do we learn from it? The natural order matters – food must be unprocessed, unadulterated and nutritious to be healthy. However, beyond the natural order, our dietary opinions do not matter at all. If we believe in it, it works. Eventually we may raise ourselves to such a level of consciousness that we transcend even the natural order – as in the well-documented stories of mystics who have completely moved beyond the need for food and drink. But most of us are bound by the rules of the natural order; because the natural order is the absolute truth that governs life on Earth – and if we live our life in opposition to it, it will crush us.

Although there is still significant debate about certain aspects of the natural order, some parts of it are accepted by virtually all. Don’t steal, as stealing leads to anxiety, remorse, escalating dishonesty, avarice, possible legal consequences and so on. Don’t lie, as it will lead to many of the same consequences and result in a tendency to be lied to. And although it is now far from universally accepted, I think most people would agree that sexual promiscuity is a violation of the natural order, which leads to guilt, loss of self-respect, addiction to gross pleasures, unwanted pregnancies, STDs, loss of spiritual aspiration, a tendency to sexualise others, escalating sexual practices and so on.  Thus, the absolute truth about sexuality that proceeds from the natural order is that sexual activity must be confined within certain strict limits, or it will spill over and cause undesirable consequences for the individual and society.

However, any further inferences that we make from this absolute truth tend to be subjective opinions. For example, the idea that there should be civil laws regulating people’s sexual conduct is not an absolute truth. The reason for this is simple: while we can know the principles on which life is based, we cannot know the grand plan that governs all things.

Allow me to explain.  Formerly, there were civil laws and expectations governing polite society that dictated our rules of sexual conduct. That all changed in the 20th century, especially with the spectacular explosion of sexual liberty that occurred in the 60s.  Comparing western world statistics for divorce, STDs, unwanted pregnancies, pornography use, extramarital affairs and, sadly, depression and suicide between the 1950s and now, it appears that this sexual liberation was disastrous for the overall order and happiness of society. Indeed, if the ultimate purpose of life is to build an ordered, comfortable, prosperous society with a certain degree of equality and a high standard of living, then civil laws and expectations governing sexual conduct appear to be a sensible and logical measure.

But since the ultimate purpose of life is actually to evolve our souls and bring the uncreated, infinite eternal into created, finite form – perhaps this temporary setback in society actually serves a greater good. Having had the scaffolding of civil laws and expectations removed, perhaps we are now being left to fend for ourselves in order that we may stumble and fall – and ultimately rise again, rediscovering the truth of the natural order in a much deeper way than laws and expectations could ever impress upon us.  Just as a child can be told not to touch a hot stove, but may only learn the lesson thoroughly after he disobeys the order and burns himself, it seems that we are learning to deeply ingrain the truths of the natural order in our souls by seeing for ourselves the nasty consequences of disobeying them.  Or perhaps this is completely wrong, and there is another equally providential reason for the scaffolding of polite society having been torn down – we simply cannot know the grand plan until its unfoldment.

Whatever becomes of society, we should remember two things: the natural order on this planet is unchanging and merciless. If we live our life in opposition to it, we will create severe consequences for ourselves – and this is an inescapable fact, not an opinion. But whatever thoughts we hold on the way things should be, or the way society should be run are nothing but our own opinions. And even though the road may get a little rocky along the way, the destination is far greater than anything we can conceive of.

Whatever stage we are at in that grand plan, let’s keep our peace and remain neutral at all times to the grand design of the all-knowing one.

How to achieve your desires by giving up completely

This is the final part in a four-part series about the misunderstanding and misapplication of the Law of Attraction, which is prevalent in modern popular spiritual teaching. If you haven’t read the other parts, I recommend doing so before diving into this one. In part one I discussed the Law of Growth, and why we should always consider the spiritual impact of any attempts to manifest. In the second part, I discussed the need for consciousness in the manifesting process. In part three, I debunked the idea that the Law of Attraction is intended as some magic formula for material prosperity.

In the previous article, we finished with a quote from the great New Thought writer Thomas Troward, where he advised us to aim all our efforts towards a higher degree of spiritual development, rather than towards material gain. The material side of life should not be despised, he said, because the external is a symbol of the internal – but it is a by-product and not the overall aim. Bypassing all the internal growth – the wisdom, the knowledge, the true experience of peace and security and seeking only the external symbols – is attempting to short circuit the process. At best, such efforts are likely to give you flaky results. At worst, you may become proficient at dealing with spiritual forces, but lack the framework of true spiritual knowledge and virtue which is required to apply such forces safely and profitably.

In times of greater religious fervour, this latter scenario was known as sorcery – and was widely regarded as one of the most perilous paths to tread. Indeed, Troward in his book Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning, sees the flood of Noah as being a partly symbolic and partly historic event which was caused by the psychic plane becoming saturated with an abundance of competing mental forces, each seeking personal gain and being completely divorced from the harmonising spirit of growth and virtue. Even if you scoff at this interpretation as though it were a miniature Harlem witch trial, nevertheless the selfish abuse of spiritual powers has been consistently condemned by a variety of traditions throughout history. Attempting to harness spiritual powers for personal gain without the virtue that entitles us to it has been unanimously regarded as one of the most wicked paths a soul can tread. But seeking the virtue first and then enjoying whatever benefits arise, spiritual and material – well, such is the highest path of all!

Again, the material side of life should not be despised and many of the legitimate requests we make during our journey will be material ones – and that is where the Law of Attraction comes in.

Indeed, Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

But the more we concern ourselves with asking for spiritual advances and insights instead of material things, the more rapid and profound our progress will be. As our consciousness ascends and we receive true spiritual insights, then the full possibilities of Christ’s words will open up to us – when we are wise enough to understand and apply them correctly. If we are weighed down with our own plans and desires instead of united to the will of the Universe, we will create resistance and suffering.

Unfortunately, the promises of easy money and the apparent successes of the prominent Law of Attraction gurus have distorted our view of this. They tell us that when we encounter resistance, it’s a sign that we need to work on ourselves, or visualise more – or cease visualising altogether and let go – or a hundred other bits of contradictory advice designed to put us in the precise mental sweet spot that will enable limitless prosperity to flow into our lives on cue.

These techniques may indeed have worked for the people teaching them, and they may work for some people who apply them – particularly if that person’s life purpose is to learn the lessons associated with material prosperity. Of course, the underpinning law never changes, but people’s aptitudes and level of evolution varies wildly. Some people are capable of generating sufficient enthusiasm and effort in order to prosper materially, while others who are more spiritually advanced simply cannot muster the motivation, the frame of mind, or the correct mindset in order to make these techniques work with the aim of material gain.

There is a huge element of self-selection at work here. In other words, the most prominent Law of Attraction teachers tend to be people whose life purpose is highly biased towards the material – whereas the people with a higher spiritual purpose and more profound spiritual insight tend to be locked away in monasteries, or at least far less concerned with self-promotion.  Hence on the major sites like YouTube, the deeper spiritual advice tends to be drowned out by the New Gospel of Prosperity.  Again, manifesting material things is absolutely possible and permitted – but such things must take their proper place in the Universe’s grand scheme for our soul.

Sadly we humans are a stubborn lot, and prone to take the path of least resistance – so when we’re promised an easy way out of suffering, we will not give up the idea willingly, even after experiencing a string of failures.  So how do we make the shift from self-seeking materialism to spiritual aspirations? Well, the only thing that has worked for me is total surrender. And I must emphasise the ‘total’ part, because there is no such thing as a partial surrender. One simply can’t say “Okay God, I give up on striving for what I want – I surrender to you, now please give it to me.” That is no surrender at all; such a person is clinging to their desires just as much as ever. It reminds me of the old joke about Murphy’s Law – it is recursive: you can’t wash the car to make it rain. And you can’t give up on your desires to make them happen – you truly have to accept that they may not happen in this lifetime. Such a genuine surrender may take a form like the following:

“Oh Universal Spirit, I have struggled and striven to attain my desires, and they are as far away as they have ever been. They have caused me nothing but misery, and will continue to do so if I hold fast to them. But what is this life in the light of eternity? When we see it for what it truly is, it will be but one night in a bad motel. If my desires cannot be attained in this life, then perhaps in the next. Or perhaps they are not good for me and will never come true. Therefore, I let them go and make way for something better. May whatever is best in the light of eternal truth be done. Now I seek only you.”

This kind of prayer, when made with complete sincerity, has the effect of pressing the “reset” button on our desires. We accept that whatever silly things we thought we needed to make us happy may actually be harmful to us. We let all of that go, and resolve to instead seek nothing but whatever is best for us – knowing with full trust and certainly that the Universal Spirit can and will provide us with our ultimate good in due course.

As I discussed in a previous article on surrender, when we truly surrender to the divine will, it has a tendency to surrender to us. But I cannot say this enough – the key is to make a genuine surrender with no ulterior motive. You must fully accept that your desire may not come true, as indeed it may not.

If you say every word in the prayer above and mean it, you truly are letting go of your own desires and putting yourself at the mercy of a higher power. The inevitable outcome of such a surrender is that you will either get the thing you originally desired, or you will get something you never desired, but which is even better. If you have truly, deeply given it up and detached from it, then maybe you will get that ten bedroom mansion – but you won’t even care if you don’t. And it’s more likely that such extravagant desires won’t be fulfilled, but the inner peace and joy you will feel will make up for it many times over.

Many Law of Attraction teachers teach this same principle by stating that we need to remain neutral about our desires in order to attract them. But this de-spiritualises the process and turns it into a mechanical formula, whereas the neutrality you are seeking is a deep, complete trust and hope in whatever the Universe decides to send you – without the ulterior motive of attracting anything specific. We are seeking to become something, rather than to attract something.

Distilled down, this is the essential basis of all Christian, Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu teaching – we find true peace and happiness by raising our minds and hearts to higher states of virtue and purity. Seeking material prosperity as a means of happiness is a stark departure from centuries of consistent spiritual teaching. Of course, once we are in a higher state of vibration then material prosperity is easier to come by – but it won’t have the same chokehold over us as it once did.

So fill your day with thoughts of security, peace, love, fun, confidence, happiness, and any other spiritual influences you feel the need of. Note that I said spiritual influences – you want to feel the essence of the energy back of all your desires. So if you desire more money, for example, please don’t listen to those people who tell you to breathe in the scent of money or imagine counting out hundred dollar notes in your hands. No doubt this works for people who approach it with exactly the right mindset, but for the majority of people it will simply inflame more desire and cause more fruitless searching and book-buying when it doesn’t work as advertised. Instead, ask what you are really searching for through money. Is it security? If so, feel a deep sense of solid, grounded safety. Is it knowing that your needs will be taken care of? If so, feel a deep sense of providence and provision. Feel the truth of Christ’s words in Matthew 6:30-31:

“And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not concerned therefore, saying: What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed?”

Begin to truly feel all these energies. But here is the crucial part: feel them for no other reason than because they feel good, and place you in a positive frame of mind.

Please take a moment to understand this correctly. We are not doing this to attract anything into our lives. We are doing this to feel like a secure, peaceful person who is taken care of by providence. By incorporating these feelings into our daily life, we are creating a new framework – a spiritual reality – that is based upon thoughts and feelings of a high vibration, instead of the limiting, low vibrational thoughts and feelings that created our previous reality. By stepping into this new framework, we open the door to new and positive influences to be attracted into our life. But anything we may attract is merely the icing on the cake – we are seeking a positive spiritual framework for its own sake, and nothing else.

If all this is confusing, please read it again and meditate upon it until it begins to make sense. At first, this may seem like an impossible tightrope walk – trying to counteract the opposing forces of non-desire and achievement while remaining upright and poised. But the truth is so much simpler – give up the tightrope act altogether. Give up the desire, accept that your life is what it is and ask the Boss to show you the way. He’s only waiting for your surrender to give you a peace and a happiness far beyond what all those silly childish desires could ever give you.

Just be Glad by Christian D. Larson – Free complete audiobook

“All things respond to the call of rejoicing; all things gather where life is a song.”

So begins this charming 1912 classic from Christian D. Larson.  It is a short read, clocking in at just over half an hour.  But its every page resounds with poetic charm and inspiration.  Never has a book more potently and gracefully pleaded that our reality does not create our thoughts, but rather our thoughts create our reality.  So just be glad, and see what wonderful results arise.

Download Just be Glad by Christian D. Larson

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Why lottery winners so often lose all their money – the reasons no-one ever talks about

You’ve probably head the strict Law of Attraction-based explanation for bankrupt lottery winners, which is that they were in subconscious resonance with winning the lottery, but not with having money. They are stuck in a poverty mindset, so even when a gigantic wad of money lands in their lap they feel the need to subconsciously rid themselves of it to make their programming come true.

While there may be some truth in that, it doesn’t adequately explain how they got the money in the first place if they’re not in resonance with it. In fact their good fortune seems to rather contradict this theory. Nevertheless, while not denying the possibility of it contributing, a more detailed explanation is needed. Here is mine.

G.K. Chesterton once wrote that a balanced life must involve a certain amount of dissatisfaction as well as satisfaction, because without the dissatisfaction it’s impossible to appreciate the moments of satisfaction. If you quit your job, you’d better make sure you’re pursuing some deeply edifying, fulfilling purpose in your free time. If you spend every day at the beach instead, you’ll soon get bored of it. This explains why many older people voluntarily return to the workplace a year or two into their long-awaited retirement.

In short, there’s no Friday without Monday. It is possible to live a deeply enjoyable life, but it needs to be a life of purpose, not a life of endless leisure. Chesterton’s observation does not apply to people in states of advanced enlightenment, but to the average person living a purely natural human existence and relying on natural experiences for fulfillment, one cannot live forever in a state of untempered ease. Counter-intuitively, it leads to a state of ennui and a desire for greater thrills – because basing your satisfaction on purely natural, physical stimuli instead of the deeper, more fundamental desire to evolve spiritually can never satisfy us deeply or permanently.

Furthermore, most of us feel a certain sense of excitement when contemplating the future because we expect that our future will hold many exciting experiences. These experiences may be spread thinly over a long period of time, but the anticipation of exciting things to come tends to give most people a sense of optimism and hope for the future. Most of us have things we want to experience and achieve, and knowing that the happy day will eventually come reassures us that our time here isn’t wasted. Lottery winners may find that they have reached the end of their entire list within the space of six months or a year. What’s left to look forward to? Why are they no longer living in daily ecstasy like they were immediately after their win? Why have their unhappy souls – yearning for true spiritual fulfillment – reasserted their true miserable state?

This is when the spending often starts to escalate. Bigger houses and cars, more luxurious holidays and more lavish food and drink are all common ways of attempting to plug the god-shaped hole in their souls. I needn’t bother to tell you the success rate of such attempts. Suffice it to say, the desire to be reunited with our true infinite nature can only be satisfied by cultivating a deep connection with the infinite. Attempting to satisfy infinite desires with money would make a person spend an infinite amount of money, if it were available. Alas, the money eventually runs out and the desire remains unfulfilled.

While many lottery winners hold the belief that spending an infinite amount of money is the answer to all of life’s problems, many billionaire businessmen seem to think that making an infinite amount of money is the answer. Why else would they spend their entire lives in the pursuit of more money, despite having more than enough for 10 lifetimes already? With that amount of wealth, any conceivable life path is open to them – they have the means to spend their lives doing literally anything they’re physically capable of. But out of all the available options, they choose to spend their lives sitting around in boardrooms making more money. This demonstrates that we love the thought of money and the dreams that it brings much more than the reality of it. The dreams represent that ineffable something that our soul yearns for, and the more money we have, the more we get to share in that dream. But most of the time the chase is better than the catch, because money can only make us happy if it is used to cultivate our purpose. If it is used purely for self-indulgence then it has the ability to distract us from our purpose, destroy our bodies and even destroy our lives.

I like to think that winning the lottery has absolutely nothing to do with luck, and everything to do with learning these precise lessons. Perhaps at some stage in our evolution we all win the lottery, or inherit a fortune, or amass millions by starting a business. If you’re already on a spiritual path, you’ve probably already learnt that lesson. So save your money by not buying lottery tickets. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can attract a lottery win with your thoughts, and don’t fall into that trap of thinking “But I have so many wonderful ideas I could carry out with the money! I could help others and pursue my worthwhile passions. Why should others get millions just to waste it, when a more worthy recipient like I misses out?”

Worthy as you may be, people with these ideas never seem to be the people who win the lottery. Perhaps they are and we just don’t hear about them, but I suggest that people with bigger ideas are ready for the bigger lessons. Chief among these lessons is to plan the big ideas first, then trust in the infinite intelligence of the universe to bring them to fruition. Dream big and wait for the money to arrive when it’s needed – rather than chasing money with some vague pretenses of good to justify it. When we do the latter, what we’re really seeking is a life without lessons. A life where everything comes easily and without effort is a life of stagnation, not evolution. If that were the best thing for us, we would never have come here in the first place.

Reconnective Healing vs. Reiki: What’s the difference? Which is better?

As a Reconnective Healing practitoner, one of the questions I get asked frequently is: “oh, Reconnective Healing? Is that like Reiki?” The answer is a resounding “not really”.

Qigong, Reiki, Pranic Healing and others share many similarities – usually to do with a practitioner activating their own energetic system and then transmitting the energy to a client, either through touch or purely through intention. Each modality varies in its approach, but the basic concept and the effectiveness of each is roughly the same.

Reconnective Healing may look superficially similar, but the differences are immense. The biggest difference is that in RH, the energy does not go through the healer before it reaches the client. The Reiki practitioner uses his body like an energetic cauldron, cultivating and strengthening the energy and then transmitting it to the client. The RH practitioner simply steps out of the way and connects the client directly to the energy field. The healer is merely a catalyst, not a conduit.

The first reason that makes such a big difference is obvious – the energy is not filtered through the healer’s energetic system, which means it’s immensely more powerful. In fact the difference in the strength of the energy is palpable to the client as well as measurable by science. See, for example, Dr. William Tiller’s experiments measuring the amount of thermodynamic energy in the room at a Reconnective Healing seminar.

The other important advantage of receiving the energy directly from the field is that the client cannot pick up anything negative from the healer’s energy field. Such an occurrence is rare because the healer will typically cleanse the energy before performing a healing; however this introduces additional complications that further reduce the effectiveness of the energy.

Early in the development of Reconnective Healing, the founder Dr. Eric Pearl consulted with some well known healers in his area. He was advised by the healers that he needed to use a cleansing ritual when dealing with this strange new energy – which was reasonable advice from people who had only ever dealt with more traditional healing methods. As Dr. Pearl had not yet discovered the true infinite nature of the RH energy, he followed their advice and began to include elaborate cleansing procedures in his healings. He has some amusing stories about the absurd rituals he was expected to perform. But however absurd, he tried them all – and the effectiveness of the healings decreased.

The conclusion is obvious – when you’re dealing with the infinite energy and intelligence of the universe, there is nothing that can be added to it. Dr. Pearl likens it to a jug that’s full to the brim with water – there is absolutely nothing more that can be added to it – and attempting to do so can only mean that there’s less room for the water. So adding cleansing rituals, intercessors, crystals, or specific intentions to our healings simply means there’s less room for the intelligence to do its perfect work. Nevertheless, the Reiki practitioner is forced into performing these rituals because of the possibility of transmitting negative energy to the client. The Reconnective Healing practitioner is not.

While all of this sounds nice in theory, it’s meaningless unless there’s solid evidence to support the increased effectiveness of RH over other modalities. In addition to Dr. Tiller’s research mentioned above, controlled studies on patients with frozen shoulder, and a study of severed leaves kept alive in a lab compared RH to other modalities. Reconnective Healing was the most effective modality by a considerable margin.

Dr. Pearl likes to say that if Reiki is R, Qigong is Q and Pranic Healing is P, Reconnective Healing is the alphabet.

Evil is just the shadow we cast in the infinite light of the universe: James Allen

“Evil has always been symbolized by darkness, and Good by light, and hidden within the symbol is contained the perfect interpretation, the reality; for, just as light always floods the universe, and darkness is only a mere speck or shadow cast by a small body intercepting a few rays of the illimitable light, so the Light of the Supreme Good is the positive and life-giving power which floods the universe, and evil the insignificant shadow cast by the self that intercepts and shuts off the illuminating rays which strive for entrance. When night folds the world in its black impenetrable mantle, no matter how dense the darkness, it covers but the small space of half our little planet, while the whole universe is ablaze with living light, and every soul knows that it will awake in the light in the morning. Know, then, that when the dark night of sorrow, pain, or misfortune settles down upon your soul, and you stumble along with weary and uncertain steps, that you are merely intercepting your own personal desires between yourself and the boundless light of joy and bliss, and the dark shadow that covers you is cast by none and nothing but yourself. And just as the darkness without is but a negative shadow, an unreality which comes from nowhere, goes to nowhere, and has no abiding dwelling-place, so the darkness within is equally a negative shadow passing over the evolving and Light-born soul.

‘But,’ I fancy I hear someone say, ‘why pass through the darkness of evil at all?’ Because, by ignorance, you have chosen to do so, and because, by doing so, you may understand both good and evil, and may the more appreciate the light by having passed through the darkness. As evil is the direct outcome of ignorance, so, when the lessons of evil are fully learned, ignorance passes away, and wisdom takes its place. But as a disobedient child refuses to learn its lessons at school, so it is possible to refuse to learn the lessons of experience, and thus to remain in continual darkness, and to suffer continually recurring punishments in the form of disease, disappointment, and sorrow. He, therefore, who would shake himself free of the evil which encompasses him, must be willing and ready to learn, and must be prepared to undergo that disciplinary process without which no grain of wisdom or abiding happiness and peace can be secured.

A man may shut himself up in a dark room, and deny that the light exists, but it is everywhere without, and darkness exists only in his own little room. So you may shut out the light of Truth, or you may begin to pull down the walls of prejudice, self-seeking and error which you have built around yourself, and so let in the glorious and omnipresent Light. By earnest self-examination strive to realize, and not merely hold as a theory, that evil is a passing phase, a self-created shadow; that all your pains, sorrows and misfortunes have come to you by a process of undeviating and absolutely perfect law; have come to you because you deserve and require them, and that by first enduring, and then understanding them, you may be made stronger, wiser, nobler. When you have fully entered into this realization, you will be in a position to mold your own circumstances, to transmute all evil into good and to weave, with a master hand, the fabric of your destiny.”

James Allen is one of those New Thought authors that sometimes gets dismissed for being a little too cute or a little too simple. But paragraphs like this, from chapter one of From Poverty to Power ring with truth, and a deep spiritual understanding. There is no darkness in the universe, no evil – nothing to make us suffer except ourselves, and the shadow we cast through misuse of the faculty of thought.

Sydney Banks: The dream state is more real than our waking experience

Sydney Banks was a minimally educated Scottish labourer who, in the 1970s, had a spontaneous and inexplicable spiritual awakening. He truly was an enlightened man – a master wilfully reincarnated into a lowly station, no doubt – and shortly after his experience he quit his long term labouring job and, with no plan, embarked on his life’s work of spreading the truth about the nature of reality. He founded the Three Principles philosophy and spent the remainder of his life lecturing. He repeatedly taught that enlightenment could not be communicated through words – because words are form, and enlightenment entails understanding the true spiritual reality, which exists before form came into being. It is formless. That is why in the below quote, he says that the problems of the universe can be solved “only from here” – that is, only from within.

I found his words about the dream state being more real than the waking state to be particularly striking. With only a superficial understanding of their meaning, the words may sound like a vacuous Instagram quote – but with a deeper understanding, they become powerful fuel for meditation. With a true spiritual understanding, they contain the essence of all there is to be known about the true nature of life. This is one of my favourite sections from all of Banks’ lectures. Its true meaning will reveal itself with multiple readings, and some meditation.

Read on for the enlightened words of a truly humble, generous man – a true master, Sydney Banks:

“What everybody searches for lies within their own self. It’s an identity that you’ve lost. That’s what it is – it’s an identity that you’ve lost. It’s you – you’re lost. Not you the body; not you the little mind; but the energy – the true you – the true self. That thing that lies inside is a spiritual reality that lies within. And if you can see past what you see now and look within, and find a spiritual reality then the reality that you now see changes. Because the reality that you now see is the illusion – it is a dream. It’s called life. And it’s perfect. It’s a perfect dream. And nothing in this dream can be wrong. Nothing. It only appears wrong to the mind because only from the mind are there wrongs. And it’s the same mind that has created the life that we now see. It’s the creator of its own fear; but if you look within, there’s a greater creation. There’s the very essence of life. There inside you lies the place of the space where the dream is dreamt. And all you have to do is wake up. It’s like when you’re having a nightmare – and it’s real. You feel the pain. You feel the fear. You feel the hate. You feel everything in the nightmare – and it’s true. What you see is true; it really is – it’s as true in that reality as it is now. As a matter of fact, in the dream state, you are closer to the true reality of life than you are when you’re awake focusing only from your mind. But if you’re having a nightmare and you wake up, you know the feeling – you say ‘thank God it was just a nightmare.’ And this is the same as waking up spiritually. You start to wake up. The second you see your first spiritual fact – your Christ consciousness is touched. And at that second, that is when you start to wake up. And if you ever truly wake up, you’ll wake up from the nightmare to the beautiful, absolute truth of the inner self – the oneness; the realisation that all things are one single divine thought, broken up into pieces via Christ conscious states and the illusion of mankind. We have forgotten how to wake up to see what is instead of what isn’t. Because what we see really – really – isn’t real. The true reality lies within. And if you can go within, from here – and only from here – only from here can the troubles and the problems of the universe be solved.”

Is Reconnective Healing evil?

I find it somewhat flattering that the title of this article is one of the most googled questions about Reconnective Healing. No-one asks the same questions about reiki or qigong, because neither of those modalities have RH’s reputation for instantaneous, seemingly miraculous healings. Given that the old spiritual paradigm only allowed for such healings to occur when some conscious spiritual or divine entity granted leave of the rules of nature, it’s not entirely surprising that Reconnective Healing’s incredible record of instant, profound healings has caused some people to ask – who or what on Earth is behind this?

Let me reassure any concerned readers that one of the main factors that attracted me to Reconnective Healing in the first place was its complete avoidance of intercessors and rituals. There are no spirits invoked or prayed to, no incantations or talismans – not even crystals or gemstones. Not only are all these things completely superfluous when performing Reconnective Healing, they are expressly forbidden to any certified practitioner. That’s right, every practitioner must sign an agreement before they are given their practitioner’s certificate agreeing that they will not perform any rituals as part of the healing process.

The reason for this is because, firstly, intercessors and rituals are unnecessary when performing Reconnective Healing. The healing is not the work of some entity – it is the work of the infinite intelligence of the universe. More to the point, the founder of Reconnective Healing Dr. Eric Pearl discovered early in the development of the modality that invocations and rituals actually decrease the effectiveness of the healing. The energy we access when we perform a healing is the infinite energy of the universe – therefore, there is nothing that can be added to it. Dr. Pearl likens it to a jug full to the brim with water – anything we add to the jug can only reduce the amount of water; it cannot make the jug more full. If the healer adds rituals and precise techniques of his own devising, he’s bringing his ego into the equation, leaving less room for the energy in the process. If he invokes intercessors, he’s bringing the collective consciousness energy surrounding that intercessor into the equation. In both cases, there is less room for the energy to do its work. All of this is to say that the invocation of any evil entities is strictly out of the question when performing Reconnective Healing work.

But another aspect of RH that sometimes concerns potential clients is anecdotal reports of flickering lights and electrical equipment malfunctioning after a client receives a healing. This does happen on rare occasions, which is understandable given that Reconnective Healing has been scientifically shown to increase levels of thermodynamic energy in the room where it is performed. It should come as no surprise that when these levels reach a certain point, electrical equipment can be affected by it. It’s also understandable that this could be frightening to the person experiencing it – but to date there have been no reports of any genuinely inexplicable supernatural phenomena occurring due to healings. We also lack any logical explanation for why an evil entity would wish to physically and spiritually heal a person and then fool around with their washing machine while it’s in the middle of the spin cycle. If frightening the client is the end goal, why would the entity choose electrical appliances as its sole method of terror? Why not apparitions or noises? And if Reconnective Healing is an insidious means of hijacking a person’s soul, why scare them off it?

In short, Reconnective Healing is not evil. The healing energy is simply there – all the practitioner does is tune into it and convey that energy to the client. If there were anything evil about the energy then we ought to be very concerned, because the energy is everywhere. The practitioner does not need to consecrate a sacred space to perform a healing – it can be done at a bus stop, in an aeroplane or down a coal mine.

Reconnective Healing truly is a quantum leap in healing, and all discoveries of such a magnitude are fated to meet with suspicions of evil. I could write pages more on this topic, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. To date there have been countless reports of healings from every affliction imaginable – arthritis, depression, ADHD, cancer, PTSD – if you name it, Reconnective Healing has probably cured it. Has there been a single report of a demonic possession, a haunting, or anything more sinister than some electrical appliances turning off? Certainly not to my knowledge. But rather than taking my word for it, why not try it for yourself and see?