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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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.

Love or Above by Christie Marie Sheldon: An honest, non-affiliate review 2020

This is not an affiliate review, and nor am I offering my own alternative to Christie Marie Sheldon’s Love or Above audio course. Whether you buy it or not, I gain nothing either way, except the satisfaction of helping you make an informed choice. You’re welcome!

Love or Above, an audio course to help you raise your vibration, is a nice pleasant product but sharply overpriced like all Mindvalley products – even accounting for the fact that only a fool would pay the full $200 price tag instead of easily wrangling a discount. I paid approximately $130 for it, and when you think about the number of books you could buy for that, it becomes difficult to justify spending that amount to download some audio files. Of course, Mindvalley don’t want you thinking about that – they want you employing the same reasoning that all digital downloads use to justify their exorbitant price tag – “if you made full use of just half the information in this course, it’ll change the course of your life, making this a bargain at twice the price!” But how true is that really, and how true has it been for you with previous digital download purchases? Have any of them really contained life-changing proprietary information that you’d never heard before, which worked exactly as described and was easy to apply?  Think about it – you get so much less than you do with a physical product like a book, yet somehow they manage to charge upwards of 5 times the price for it, simply because the internet gives them a chance to directly appeal to their buyers and spread the marketing on much thicker than can possibly be achieved in a bookstore.

In the case of Love or Above, you could get all the information for free – and much more besides – from blogs and YouTube videos and save yourself the dosh. The only thing that could justify spending this kind of money would be if there were some secret proprietary magic in this course that you couldn’t find anywhere else – or perhaps at a stretch, if there were some kind of formal curriculum which would infallibly lead you to a higher vibrational state if scrupulously followed. A bunch of audio downloads on disparate topics and a PDF file just don’t cut it. If you know it’s possible to raise your vibration, you already have the secret proprietary information – all you need to do is apply it into your life with determination and persistence.

Many of the tracks are not even directly related to raising your vibration, such as the exercise for contacting your spirit guides. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as just following along to an audio track, but there are plenty of audio tracks you can download for free from YouTube if you really think apparitions on cue are within your grasp. Other tracks are pure filler, such as the bits about the “indigo generation” and the “rainbow kids”.

According to Dr. Hawkins’ detailed research in the bible of consciousness Power vs. Force, most people never move beyond the bracket of consciousness they settled into once their personalities were established. This is not to say it has to be difficult, but it requires persistence, repetition, constant reinforcement and a plan to bring this all together. For this kind of money, that’s what you expect – a plan. A course of study, if you like – not just a bit of a pep talk, a few nice ideas, a couple of exercises and a smattering of vaguely related topics.

If you’d never heard of this concept before and were entirely incapable of doing a basic web search on it, this could be life-changing and worth the hundreds of dollars. On the other hand, you could buy Power vs. Force in paperback for about $20 and get the same effect, but with twice the information. Bear in mind too that this course has been around for a while and many of the reviews were written before there was so much of this material available on YouTube.

The presenter Christie Marie Sheldon is very charming and really does exude the warmth and positivity of someone living in “love or above” – that is, the level 500 or above on the Hawkins scale of consciousness. Unfortunately, she is the only X factor here. There are no great nuggets of gold buried in the course that you can’t easily find elsewhere.

To be clear, this is a nice pleasant product with some useful information in it, and even just hearing the positivity of the presenter tends to put one in a higher vibrational frame of mind. My concern is purely with the cost, which is completely unjustifiable. Is Love or Above worth buying in 2020? No, not at any price I’ve ever seen it advertised for. Save the money, do your own research and climb that ladder of consciousness for free.

Turn off the news and turn on your life

One of the most commonly held dangerous beliefs in modern society is the idea that it’s important to have a source of news in your life, whether it be the TV, radio, newspapers or the internet. However, recent events have made it clearer than ever that filling your head with some corporate entity’s idea of what the news is, is not only unnecessary – it is actually damaging to our spiritual life.

The news is presently filled with nothing but negativity and fearmongering. Needless to say, filling one’s head with a constant stream of this is incredibly draining. But as soon as the TV goes off, silence still reigns. Outside, the birds still sing and the sun still shines. People are not dropping dead in the streets. Life goes on. Never was there a clearer indication that what we fill our heads with – whether be our thoughts, or the material we consume that fuels our thoughts – is what determines our reality.

Even during less chaotic periods, there is very little offered by mainstream news sources that contributes in any way to the betterment of our lives. No-one should feel the slightest pang of guilt for not wishing to keep abreast of all the latest car crashes, murders, political squabbles and celebrity gossip. It’s tremendously sad for the victims of such misfortunes, but it is no concern of anyone’s except those directly involved. We have no obligation to concern themselves about these matters, and there is no benefit in doing so. It is not our responsibility to take on the grief of complete strangers. Even if some compassionate instinct compels us to do so, it will have no positive effect on the victims whatsoever.

Our responsibility as humans is to look after ourselves, our friends and family and our local community – in that order. Of course, the responsibility we hold towards our family is very similar in importance to that which we hold towards ourselves, so we should never put ourselves first in a selfish way. But putting ourselves first in a responsible way to ensure our own stability helps to ensure that we can adequately fulfill our duties to our family members.

The idea that we have a duty to be informed about the misfortunes of all others everywhere on the planet is an invention of the modern globalised world, and the mass media that helped to create such a society. The world carried on just fine for millennia using word of mouth as its only news service. Anything that’s absolutely crucial for you to know will still reach you by this method even now. If nobody comes to tell you, you probably don’t need to know.

It’s even more absurd when the news reports on atrocities or misfortunes occurring in far distant countries. A small number of folks may consider it part of their life’s work to better the conditions of those living in other countries. They are to be praised for their compassionate decision, but the vast majority of people do not share this life purpose. Furthermore, such a calling requires action – simply watching foreign atrocities and misfortunes on the TV news and taking on others’ grief serves no purpose to anyone. Again, no-one should feel guilty for refusing to burden themselves with the sufferings of those to whom they have no direct responsibility. Of course we can pray for them, or direct positive energy towards them – or whatever we feel inclined to do. But then we should simply trust in a higher power and detach ourselves from the situation. We should also remember – whilst not allowing it to stifle our compassion – that people in these situations chose to incarnate here and to experience certain things, even sufferings, in order to learn particular lessons and evolve their souls.

Disconnecting from the news can be a difficult process in the beginning, if you are accustomed to keeping abreast of things. Curiosity may get the better of you and you may find yourself taking a quick peek at the headlines online, or looking at the front page of the newspaper if you see it in a shop or a cafe. But if you persist with it, the curiosity will pass. Having less noise in your mind will make it clearer and calmer, and you’ll quickly find that you’re no worse off by not filling your head with a constant stream of negativity.

Once you’ve emotionally disconnected, you may also find that you need to make some other changes to avoid being unintentionally exposed. Certain websites you’re accustomed to visit – for example, the login page on your webmail account, or the default start page on your internet browser – may display news headlines. You may be exposed to the radio on buses or in shops. You can take some steps to avoid these too, such as changing your start page or – if you really want to get serious about it – taking noise cancelling headphones with you if you’re likely to go somewhere where the news will be on. You may not wish to walk around with headphones on all the time, as this can make it difficult to be fully present in the moment, but having nature sounds or even music available to block out the news break is quite OK.

Of course, it’s difficult to avoid all exposure all the time, and we shouldn’t be too obsessive about it, nor should we be anxious if we do find ourselves exposed to the news on occasions. But if you try at a bare minimum to avoid all intentional exposure for a few weeks, you’ll wonder why on earth you ever filled your head with such drivel in the first place. The troubles of the wider world will fade away and you’ll be much more able to focus on the real world – that is, the world you live in. Yourself, your friends, your family and your community.

Yes, your external world will become smaller; but your spiritual world will become larger. Try it and see.

Truly, all our problems are just thoughts and beliefs – they can be changed

Many people respond angrily when they’re told that all their problems are caused by their thoughts and beliefs. I felt the same when I first became aware of this concept. I had a deeply held belief – a story, nothing more – that I had been damaged by childhood influences, and that my confidence and inner peace had been irreparably damaged as a result.

Part of the reason I was so defensive of this story was because I had done so much reading about psychology, and was intellectually convinced that certain events in my childhood had caused certain neuroses. It all made perfect logical sense. I didn’t feel any emotional need to cling onto this story like some people do – because it gives them excuses, or someone to blame, or some other secondary benefit. No, I felt the need to cling onto my story simply because I was intellectually convinced that it was 100% true.

I kept clinging on to that story until I made an important discovery that changed everything. That discovery was this: perhaps it was all true, exactly as I had believed it. Perhaps my psyche really had been damaged exactly as I believed. Perhaps these kind of bad experiences and poor parenting have similar effects in everyone who experiences them, just as the textbooks say. It’s not that the story is necessarily untrue; it’s that I don’t need to have a story at all. The truth is, I did experience some traumatic events in my childhood, and they did have an effect on me. But it’s not true that I’m stuck with those effects. The idea that the damage is permanent, or that it requires years of energy work or – God forbid – talk therapy to clear it is just that – an idea. A story. A fairy tale. It is true as long as it continues to be believed.

Many enlightened individuals prove that these stories and all their ill effects can disappear in an instant as soon as the soul fully grasps the truth that it is whole and complete, and it does not need to cling to its baggage. However, like enlightenment itself, it’s a truth that tends to be obscured by its very simplicity.

Sydney Banks is one such gentleman who had many of the personal, emotional and financial problems we all face. Chief among them was troubles with his marriage. In 1973, he and his wife went to a marriage counseling retreat to try and sort out the problems, but it didn’t appear to be helping. Sydney was confiding all his problems to one of the other attendees – coincidentally a therapist by trade – and the man responded by telling Syd: “I’ve never heard such nonsense in all my life!”

Though the therapist was fully unconscious of the consequences of his words, somehow they sunk in on a deep spiritual level. Instantly, Banks knew that all the problems he’d just been describing were figments of his imagination – like the plot of a virtual reality video game, if you will. For that’s what life really is, in essence – a virtual reality simulation where we can’t possibly lose the game. We are really here, for sure – and so are the people around us. But it is an artificial state of disconnectedness from the Source, which we take on in order to rapidly further our evolution.

Banks spent the rest of his life bringing his message to the world. Distilled down, his message was essentially that there is nothing wrong with any of us. Life consists of three principles: mind, consciousness and thought. The first two are entirely whole, perfect and complete as they are, and our task on earth is simply to make our thoughts whole, perfect and complete also. Once this happens, the artificial stories we have sustained with our thoughts disappear, and along with them goes all of our imagined problems. It’s like typing an invincibility code into the video game – suddenly there are no dangers, no problems, no inconveniences. We realise that the video game is forever giving us exactly what we need to learn the lessons we came here to learn. All is well. All of this can happen in a single instant once we truly, deeply realise the truth of it.

Judith Sedgeman, a teacher of Banks’ three principles, describes her experience in a profound post on her website:

“SEEING is fluttering briefly into the emptiness before thought where you KNOW the power of thoughts forming, your own power to form thought, as a spiritual gift before form. I realized that I had previously memorized, pondered about, and repeated the definitions of the Principles as they were always described, thus innocently focusing on the formed word to understand them, rather than awakening to the formless, the true Principles, the spiritual energy of all life in creation, before the words. I had been reading the notes, but missing the music.  That was one of the most exciting insights of my life, and it was a point of transformation…”

“The point is beyond words, in Universal energy we all share and through which we become our formed selves. Seeing the pure energy at the source, though, we have certainty that anything we see or know now could change, simply with the formation of new thought. Access to that reality is through stillness, through quietude, not thinking harder…”

“For me, in the instant I caught a glimpse of that, I SAW and KNEW the absolute absurdity of taking any thought seriously. No matter what. It’s no more possible to hang onto really beautiful thoughts than to drive away really ugly thoughts. They all pass naturally as the flow of formless energy continues to power us through life. We have to re-think them to “keep” them. When we SEE that for ourselves, we cannot possibly harm ourselves with our own thinking, any thinking. Because we KNOW we are living a dream brought to us by our unique imagination and the creative power of life. We know the dream is fleeting, evanescent, just images we create, passing across the screen of our minds, signifying nothing but the beautiful power to keep creating them.”

For most people, it won’t come as instantly and easily as it did for Syd. But until it comes, we can meditate on the truth of it, and live our lives knowing that all the three principles are sacred. Mind and consciousness are sacred because they are the essence of the divinity within us; the eternal, perfect creative force that existed before we came into mortal, physical form. Many of us have no trouble accepting this, but we have trouble realising that thought is equally sacred. Our task on earth is to make our thoughts whole, perfect and complete like the other two principles – and when we’ve achieved this, we’ve won life.  All our problems are over and we’ve found heaven on earth.

So our minds should be like a sacred altar – purged of everything unclean, with no place for anything less than pure, holy, positive thoughts.  Of course, this should not be read in any sort of dour, puritanical way, and we should certainly not berate ourselves or panic if we fall short.  We can simply adopt the sacredness of the mind as an attitude to help us realise the true importance of taking control of our thoughts.  The mind is truly sacred – take care of it.