Power vs. Force: the great level 500 barrier – getting past the mind

This is the second article in a series on David Hawkins’ landmark work Power vs. Force. I’m assuming that all readers who continue past this point have a basic acquaintance with Hawkins’ scale of human consciousness, in which 1,000 represents the highest possible ascension of human spirituality, and 200 represents the critical line in the sand separating spiritual empowerment from slavery.

Last week I wrote about the most common barrier to spiritual ascension, which is the level of Pride – the final hurdle before the soul reaches spiritual empowerment. When a soul on a mission to raise their consciousness breaks through the pride barrier, progress through the 200s and 300s is relatively free and easy. I say “relatively”, because – of course – any progress still requires a tremendous amount of commitment. Learning, reading, listening, self-observing, meditating, clearing – all of these things are an essential part of the journey of a soul ascending upwards through the 300s and into the level of the 400s. Learning in particular becomes a very important part of the journey as the soul enters and ascends the 400s – the level of Reason. As the soul reaches the higher levels of Reason, it begins to appreciate spiritual truths on a deeper, soul level. This is what the Three Principles founder Sydney Banks was referring to when he drew a distinction between knowing and KNOWING. Knowing is simply an intellectual appreciation of spiritual truths. KNOWING is accepting these truths on a deeper soul level – understanding them to be so true that you almost feel them, you might say.

This second kind of knowing is the realm of the higher 400s – the apex of the human intellectual state. Of course, there is no limit to the amount of knowledge that we can acquire, spiritual or otherwise. But knowledge is simply not enough to ascend past the point of 500. In order to do that, we must begin to love. As St. Paul says:

“If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

In verses 4 – 7 he continues to describe what this charity consists of, and it is a perfect word portrait of someone at the level of the 500s:

“Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

So how do we begin to love? Part of it is quite practical: we work on the heart chakra through clearings, meditation, yoga and so on. This begins the process of activating and opening the heart and clearing the path for its full awakening. And then, for the fire to be ignited, we must actually begin to love. Heart chakra work sets this process in motion, but it does not necessarily complete it.

One of my yoga teachers recommended reading spiritually inspiring books of saints and holy people who lived their lives in a state of love. This is a highly beneficial practice that can help ignite the flame and help us get over the crucial barrier of knowledge based progress, and into higher states of spiritual ascension. Refraining from negative thoughts, criticisms or judgments of others is another part of the equation. Replacing these with positive, loving thoughts and doing good works for others all play their part. It is not difficult to do, but it is a different mode of operation to that which we have been using in the lower levels of the spiritual scale.

We simply can’t think our way into the 500s.  With that in mind, it’s not surprising that so many well-known intellectual figures top out at exactly 499 in Dr. Hawkins’ calibrations.  Although they may only have been one point of consciousness away, 500 is truly a spiritual Rubicon – difficult to cross, but once a soul has experienced life on the other side, there is no turning back.

Power vs. Force: The great pride barrier

If you haven’t read Dr. David Hawkins’ seminal work Power vs. Force, I strongly encourage you to do so. Spoiler alert: using applied kinesiology (muscle testing) Hawkins discovered that the scale of human consciousness can be mathematically plotted on a logarithmic scale of 1 to 1,000. Therefore, for probably the first time in human history, we have a way of mathematically gauging a person’s level of spiritual understanding. The title of the book refers to the critical level of 200 – below which, a person is in the state of Force, or spiritual disempowerment – and above which, they are in varying degrees of Power.

In a series of articles over the next few weeks, I will be examining some of the crucial barriers that people hit as they attempt to ascend up the scale. We’ll start with the most common barrier, which is the level of 175, or pride. This is the highest level of Force, and a very, very common level that people in civilised countries find themselves in.

However, I must begin by pointing out that Power vs Force is an extraordinary work, but not an infallible one. It does contain numerous errors, which I will also be attempting to unwind in the course of this series. The first one concerns Hawkins’ reported calibration of the United States. Hawkins reports the country as a whole having an average consciousness in the 400s. My own testing confirms it. This is an absolutely extraordinary result, and one which seems at first glance to be an anomaly. Although someone at the level of 400 has barely even set up base camp on the mountain of spiritual growth, it is still a formidable level of consciousness, and implies that the person has gained at least an intellectual understanding of spiritual truths, and a great deal of self-control and personal power. I don’t know of any country where this describes the average person. Sadly, most people in most countries are despiritualised wage slaves, with aspirations to higher things, but who are shackled by their emotions and limiting beliefs.

This is perhaps a fair description of the level of pride (175 – 200). In fact if we recalibrate the question, we’ll find that the majority of people in the United States fall into this level. We also get the same result if we ask for the average level of consciousness, excluding people over the level of 500. This is a fair question given the extreme rarity of attaining the level of 500. If we exclude these extraordinary cases, we find that ordinary people are far more likely to top out at 180. So we’ve found a tremendously common “glass ceiling” of consciousness in the level of pride.

The first reason why people get stuck at this level is simply because it’s the first level that begins to feel in any way good. However, it is the false fleeting satisfaction of having achieved hollow, ego-based desires. It’s the level of material worth and worldly status – indeed, the level of pride, as the name indicates. It is the first level where the ego has some material with which to build its delusions of grandeur. These delusions severely impede the search for truth, and the ego is far more likely to make up stories about how great life is than to face up to the deep spiritual void that exists under the surface. These stories, however, are deeply unconvincing. They are like a paper moon on a cardboard sea. The decisive factor at this stage of evolution is whether the soul will continue to ask questions, go searching for the answers, and be honest in its own self-assessment, or whether it will choose to drown out the deafening silence of the great spiritual void with a chorus of self-congratulation.

When that inner voice of dissatisfaction is heeded, and the questions it raises are followed up with honest enquiries, new avenues begin to open. Fresh spiritual enquiries are made; new solutions are sought; old faulty assumptions are cast away.

Clinging to organised religion beyond its usefulness can also be a culprit here. Please note, I am no fan of the irrational criticisms of organised religion that are so common in today’s world, and I believe many aspects of organised religion are highly beneficial to society. Nay, I believe much of organised religion has played an extremely important role in the spiritual journey of the world. But eventually, most souls on the evolutionary journey cast it off like a cocoon. Given the threatened consequences of such apostasy, it’s no surprise that certain souls formed under its influence find it difficult to escape. The collection of limiting beliefs associated with organised religion – in other words, the “only if it’s God’s will” mindset – can make the shift from slavery to personal power – that crucial jump from Force into Power – a difficult one to make. Still, it is absolutely possible to ascend to tremendous spiritual heights within the bounds of religion. But the mind must recalibrate from “I’m not sure…Only if it’s God’s will” to “God absolutely wills great things for me.”

As Hawkins points out, very few people actually make such a shift. The soul’s journey is a slow evolutionary process requiring many lifetimes to complete, and if a soul is simply not ready for the next step, it cannot be forced. The understanding must be acquired through experience and a gradual unfolding of spiritual knowledge. However, Hawkins also points out that just becoming aware of the fact that the scale of consciousness exists often has a profound impact of a person’s ability to move forward through it. The pride barrier is a common one, and indeed a formidable one, but absolutely not an impenetrable one.

Next time: the barrier of the 400s – getting past the mind.

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).

Why does God allow suffering and evil? The answer at last!

One of the biggest philosophical questions of all time – which has been a great stumbling block to many on their spiritual journey – is the problem of why an all-powerful, all-loving god allows suffering and evil to exist in the world. The usual reply supplied by explicitly religious sources is that God gives us the capability of free will, and if he were to impose limits on our will it then it would cease to be free at all.

But this then gives rise to the equally infathomable questions: is free will really so much more important than the creation of a wholesome society? Couldn’t God at least have created us with morally superior natures, to enable us to freely choose more wisely than we do?

One of the great minds of the 20th century, Thomas Troward, gives us the answer, in his book The Word and the Law. The following is a substantial quote and may seem overly philosophical or intellectual to modern readers. I urge you to read it nevertheless, as it is the only satisfactory answer to the question that I have ever come across. My own very brief summary will appear at the end.

“Then the question very naturally suggests itself: Why did not God create us so that we could not think negative or destructive thoughts? And the answer is: Because He could not. There are some things which even God cannot do. He cannot do anything that involves a contradiction in terms. Even God could not make twice two either more or less than four. Now I want the student to see clearly why making us incapable of wrong-thinking would involve a contradiction in terms, and would therefore be an impossibility. To see this we must realize what is our place in the Order of the Universe. The name “Man” itself indicates this. It comes from the Sanskrit root MN, which, in all its derivatives, conveys the idea of Measurement, as in the word Mind, through the Latin mens, the faculty which compares things and estimates them accordingly; Moon, the heavenly body whose phases afford the most obvious standard for the periodical measurement of time; Month, the period thus measured; “Man,” the largest of the Indian weights; and so on. Man therefore means “The Measurer,” and this very aptly describes our place in the order of evolution, for it indicates the relation between Personal Volition and Immutable Law.

If we grant the truth of the maxim “Nature unaided fails” the whole thing becomes clear, and the entire progress of applied science proves the truth of this maxim. To recur to an illustration I have employed in my previous books, the old ship-builders thought that ships were bound to be built of wood and not of iron, because wood floats in water and iron sinks; but now nearly all ships are made of iron. Yet the specific gravities of wood and iron have not altered, and a log of wood floats while a lump of iron sinks, just the same as they did in the days of Drake and Frobisher. The only difference is, that people thought out the underlying principle of the law of flotation, and reduced it to the generalized statement that anything will float, the weight of which is less than that of the mass displaced by it, whether it be an iron ship floating in water, or a balloon floating in air. So long as we restrict ourselves to the mere recollection of observed facts, we shall make no progress; but by carefully considering why any force acted in the way it did, under the particular conditions observed, we arrive at a generalization of principle, showing that the force in question is capable of hitherto unexpected applications if we provide the necessary conditions. This is the way in which all advances have been made on the material side, and on the principle of Continuity we may reasonably infer that the same applies to the spiritual side also.

We may generalize the whole position thus. When we first observe the working of the Law under the conditions spontaneously provided by Nature, it appears to limit us; but by seeking the reason of the action exhibited under these limited conditions, we discover the principle, and true nature, of the Law in question, and we then learn from the Law itself, what conditions to supply in order to give it more extended scope, and direct its energy to the accomplishment of definite purposes. The maxim we have to learn is that “Every Law contains in itself the principle of its own Expansion,” which will set us free from the limitation which that Law at first appeared to impose upon us. The limitation was never in the Law, but in the conditions under which it was working, and our power of selection and volition enables us to provide new conditions, not spontaneously provided by Nature, and thus to specialize the Law, and disclose immense powers which had always been latent in it, but which would for ever remain hidden unless brought to light by the co-operation of the Personal Factor. The Law itself never changes, but we can specialize it by realizing the principle involved and providing the conditions thus indicated. This is our place in the Order of the Universe. We give definite direction to the action of the Law, and in this way our Personal Factor is always acting upon the law, whether we know it or not; and the Law, under the influence thus impressed upon it, is all the time re-acting upon us.

Now we cannot conceive any limit to Evolution. To suppose a point where it comes to an end is a contradiction in terms. It is to suppose that the Eternal Life Principle is used up, which is to deny its Eternity; and, as we have seen, unless we assume its Eternity, it is impossible to account either for our own existence or that of anything else. Therefore, to say that a point will ever be reached where it will be used up, is as absurd as saying that a point will be reached where the sequence of numbers will be used up. Evolution, the progress from lower to higher modes of manifestation of the underlying Principle of Life, is therefore eternal, but, in regard to the human race, this progress depends entirely on the extent to which we grasp the principles of the Law of our own Being, and so learn to specialize it in the right direction. Then if this be our place in the Universal Order, it becomes clear that we could not occupy this place unless we had a perfectly free hand to choose the conditions under which the Law is to operate; and therefore, in order to pass beyond the limits of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, and reach the status of being Persons, and not things, we must have a freedom of selection and volition, which makes it equally possible for us to select either rightly or wrongly; and the purpose of sound teaching is to make us see the eternal principles involved, and thus lead us to impress our Personality upon the Law, in the way that will bring out the infinite possibilities of good which the Law, rightly employed, contains. If it were possible to do this by an automatic Law, doubtless the Creative Wisdom would have made us so. This is why St. Paul says: “If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law” (Gal. iii, 21). Note the words “a law given,” that is to say, imposed by external command; but it could not be. The laws of the Universe are Cosmic. In themselves they are impersonal, and the infinite possibilities contained in them, can only be brought out by the co-operation of the Personal Factor. It is only as we grasp the true relation between Jachin and Boaz, that we can enter into the Temple either of our own Individuality, or of the boundless Universe in which we live. The reason, therefore, why God did not make us mechanically incapable of wrong thinking, is simply because the very idea involves a contradiction in terms, which negatives all possibility of Creation. The conception lands us in a reductio ad absurdum.”

In summary, as Troward has already explained at length in his other philosophical tomes – primarily The Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science – we must firstly understand the true nature of God in order to understand man’s place in creation. Troward explains that God or the “Universal Spirit” is not only infinite, but entirely impersonal and undifferentiated. It is infinitely intelligent, infinitely powerful, infinitely loving and so on – but it is without any personal volition of its own. Because it is life in itself, it seeks only one thing – the communicating and increasing of that life. This is in its very nature, but to attribute any other specific motives to it would be to place a limitation upon the limitless. We cannot therefore talk about “God’s will” in any manner other than the communication of itself in new forms of life, and the eternal evolution of that life. The Universal Spirit cannot be said to make decisions in its infinite form, because to prefer one course of action would mean that it must repudiate the opposite course of action. Doing so would lead us to the conclusion that God prefers one thing to another – this would, of course, be placing a limitation on the infinite. Anything which is limited in any way cannot be infinite, therefore the Universal, unmanifested Spirit cannot be partial in any of its dealings.

The only way in which the eternal limitless can make such decisions is by becoming limited – that is, by taking on physical incarnation. After various incarnations through the animal kingdom, eventually a soul becomes sufficiently evolved to take on human incarnation. It is at this point that it the soul is invested with the capability of free will, rather than the pure instinct that drives the lower beasts. By being granted this new ability, we become the decision making faculty of God. As the Universal Spirit cannot limit itself by making decisions while in infinite, unmanifested form, it delegates the role to its creation, man – the measurer. If man’s faculty of free will were taken away, he would be no man at all – but would be effectively still in the realm of the animals. His entire mission – that of being the decision-making faculty of God – would be nullified by removing the faculty of free will.

A soul’s transition from animal to human must come in the relatively early stages of its evolution, because a necessary part of attaining human perfection is to be incarnated multiple times in a human body. To impose human perfection as an entry requirement for incarnation would be a contradiction in terms – it would be like trying to improve academic grades by refusing anyone entry to school until they had already graduated.

If you did not fully appreciate the Troward quote, with this summary in mind I urge you to go back and read it again for a deeper understanding of the matter.  Search all the philosophy of all the world and you’ll never find a better explanation than his.

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

If this is your first visit to the site, take a look at my distance healing sessions!

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.