Thank you to each and every one of you who read this dream life, thing; and those of you who comment even when I don’t reply. And thank you to those of you who commented so kindly on my UUC post. What I write here is always representative of a journey, and I change my mind about things almost hourly. I hope you know that I never want to present myself as an authority on anything (except for possibly, chocolate eating, because I’m certainly an authority on that). The writing here is part of my quest as a seeker. The words here are simply my truth, in any given moment, as told to the best of my ability.
In the comments, Ron left links to a couple of UUC message boards (thanks, Ron!) and this:
We are also challenged with how best to embody, in everyday practice, what Unitarian leader Francis David preached (in Europe in the 1560's)...that "we need not think alike to love alike." Not always easy, is it?
Wow, do those words resonate with me. No. It isn’t easy, and maybe none of us knows exactly how to do it. But I do think we have to try.
As I told a friend earlier today, I hope that no one ever reads my words and thinks that I am in any way bashing a particular religion or church. There was another part of that earlier conversation that took place at Sam’s loving invitation that I neglected to mention when sharing with you my fantasy list and it is this:
I certainly don’t think that a church should adhere to what I think it should be and I doubt that I would ever find any organization anywhere that was always pleasing to me or always in alignment with my beliefs. The list was nothing more or less than what I would invent if I could invent it.
For a long time, I’ve thought it best to define myself as spiritual, but not religious, and leave it at that. Perhaps I always will leave it at that. Who knows where I’m headed. All I can tell you for sure, is that I’m going to keep walking and listening and finding my way, even when it’s dark, by reaching out and listening and staying true to my inner guidance, as always.
You who bear witness to this and offer your thoughts, please know how much you are appreciated.
If you are wondering why my posts have been extra long and rambling this week, it's because I've been on vacation from work and my vacation didn't go quite as planned, mostly because I got sick. I've also been struggling with anger and trying to think of what it is I really want to say about it. Instead of accomplishing any of the myriad of things I would have liked to have accomplished, I mostly sat around like a big, angry lump. My niece Emme has a thing she sometimes says about her doll, "She's mad and sad and sick!" That was pretty much me this week.
This morning, however, I had an experience that moved me into a better place.
"You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger." ~Buddha
"Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress." ~Mahatma Gandhi
"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." ~Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The quieter you become, the more you can hear." ~Baba Ram Dass
"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." ~Dalai Lama
"The kingdom of God is within you." ~The Gospel of Luke
“That which is like unto itself is drawn.” -the teachings of Abraham
“Everything is valid and everything is truthful, because Law of Attraction lets everything be. The question is not whether it's right or wrong, whether their approach is right or wrong, or whether my approach is right or wrong. The question is: Does their approach feel good to me? And if it doesn't, then I choose a different approach.” - Abraham
“There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” -the Buddha
“What makes you happier: To deal with what you want and to increase it, or to deal with what you do not want and to fight against it?” -Barbel Mohr
I’ve been meaning to write this post for the longest time. I’ve been meaning to get down my thoughts and feelings and experiences surrounding the law of attraction and the power of manifesting. I allude to these things, but I’ve wanted to go a little deeper and explain where I am with these concepts.
Finally, I think I’m ready to explore this here, with you, and let these disjointed thoughts spill all around and fill up this white space. It’s not going to be coherent, but maybe you can sift around in these things and see a glimmer of where my thinking has taken me.
Several years ago, I read a book by Barbel Mohr called The Cosmic Ordering Service. In it, the basic idea of manifesting was outlined and I paid attention and even tried to put those concepts to work in my life, but there was something about the whole idea that was missing for me, something I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around.
About a year ago, my friend Mandy suggested I read Ask and it is Given. That was the first I’d heard about Abraham-Hicks and I happily and devoured the book with gusto. It rang in me like a bell, even when I didn’t understand it. Even when it scared me.
As someone who has often felt paralyzed by fear (fear and worry and sugar being the three main ways my family expresses love), Ask was both eye opening and frightening for me. As I started to read about the law of attraction, I started to fear that my obsessive negative thoughts were going to manifest bad things and that I wouldn’t be able to stop them.
Then, I realized, I’d been alive for a number of years thinking the sorts of thoughts I think. There had to be forgiveness in there somewhere. Change is sometimes a slow process. What I needed to do, I realized, was focus on shifting my thoughts, not worry about whether or not the thoughts were shifting.
I was also discovering Doreen’s teachings, so I leaned on the angels for support. When my thinking got too muddled, I asked the angels to help me cut cords, to take from me my negative thoughts, my worries, the results of my worries. My prayers often sounded (and still do sound) like this, Take this please; undo what I’ve done here, please; help! And the help came and continues to come.
Ask and it is Given illuminated for me a set of spiritual concepts that have been around forever. I’d read about them in Shakti Gawain’s work and Wayne Dyer’s. There was something about the Abraham-Hicks material, however, that got things to click for me.
I’d read the Seth books in high school, and have always had an interest in Edgar Cayce, so the concept of channeled material wasn’t a challenge for me, although I understand why some people are put off by it.
The truth is, I don’ t really care if Esther Hicks is channeling Abraham or making the whole thing up. If it works, it works. Now, mind you, I believe that she is channeling Abraham, I’m just saying that the question of authenticity doesn’t matter to me.
As I read, I could clearly see instances in my life when my thoughts and intentions had directed the flow of energy and as I began to work with angels, I experienced true and undeniable guidance and assistance. This was all great, but not without problems.
When dealing with my own mind and body and experiences, I could accept the suggestion that physical ailments and challenges were drawn to me through my thinking, but I had a problem applying that concept to the larger world.
I don’t think starving children are starving because of their thoughts, for instance. I don’t think abused children have attracted the abuse.
I was tripped up by this concept of “fault.” We’re a blame-based society in a lot of ways and I think as I explored the law of attraction, I went off track down this blame road that has nothing to do with the actual teachings.
I also wondered where the law of attraction left me as a fiction writer. I wondered what it would mean for me to spend entire days examining and reliving past pains and failures. Would I inadvertently draw those experiences to me again?
I tossed these things around in my head. Then, last Christmas, I watched The Secret with Mandy and Tracy. Mandy and I were disappointed as we thought Esther Hicks was going to be in it, and she wasn’t. Tracy was so disgusted by the whole thing he stomped out of the room.
The Secret had an informercial quality to it - it was slick and presented the concepts in a simplistic almost non-spiritual way that left me uneasy. I think it's great that The Secret is so popular, and I'm glad so many people have made their way to these concepts through the Secret. Personally, however, I don’t like that when I talk about the law of attraction to people who aren't already into it, they think I mean The Secret.
So, if I don’t mean that, what do I mean?
The idea that thoughts influence the body works for me because I believe that separateness is an illusion. I believe in the interconnectedness of everything and everyone. I carry around a copy of Heal Your Body and every single time I look up a physical challenge that I’m encountering, the affirmation rings true and helps me solve the problem.
I believe in the power of positive thinking because I know it works. I consistently feel my perceptions and experiences shift with my attitude and I know that (to a certain degree) I get back from the world what I put out.
But I also know that bad things happen for no good reason, that good people thinking loving thoughts doing loving things sometimes get very, very sick. I know that there are some things I can control and some things I can not.
I know that when I’m reaching for the better feelings, I often get stuck on anger.
I know that I am sometimes ill-tempered and foul-mouthed and petty. I can transform those emotions by sitting at my meditation altar, lighting a candle, and asking for help. I can, but often, I don’t.
I know that sometimes I am given beautiful, amazing, wondrous things for no reason, even though I’ve been thinking the opposite.
I believe in the law of attraction but I also believe in instant redemption, and I also believe that sometimes things just happen.
I don’t believe in randomness.
I believe in karma but I don’t believe in judgment or punishment.
I believe in signs but I don’t necessarily believe in fate.
I don’t believe, and have never believed, that there is one way or one truth that is right for everyone.
I know that it’s good to feel good.
We’re often taught that it’s good to feel bed. We’re taught it so much, in so many different ways, we start to believe it in a fundamental way. We’re scared to let go of it. Of all the things I’ve learned from the teachings of Abraham, it is the understanding of joy that I appreciate the most. It’s good and productive to be happy. Happy heals. Feel good, and good happens.
So, I struggled with all of this for a while.
I’m comfortable with contradiction, but as I worked through the Abraham-Hicks material, I wanted to understand and make sense of things.
I found, through Myss.com, an article that pulled things together for me. Unfortunately, I can’t find it now to link to it, but there were two things within it that stood out to me as important. The first was the idea that there are other universal laws, that sometimes a thing happens because of one of these other laws. The other was the concept that the law of attraction is a power that the ego can’t access if the soul isn’t willing to go along. In other words, you can’t just sit around visualizing piles of money and poof, the money appears, if you’re not doing the soul work you are here to do.
Around this same time, I read Pema Chodron’s The Places That Scare You on the suggestion of my friend Lucy, and reacquainted myself with Buddhist concepts. At first, I thought that what Chodron was describing stood in stark contrast to the law of attraction. Slowly, however, I began to realize that it did not. Slowly, ever so slowly, the wrinkles in my brain began to deepen just enough to allow a few glimpses of understanding and I saw that the core Buddhist principles are right in line with the Abraham-Hicks teachings, which, by the way, can also be found in the Bible.
I have long surrounded myself with images of the Buddha because I find them reassuring and calming and beautiful. When I used Doreen’s Ascended Masters deck, I almost always draw eastern masters. That’s where I lean, where I feel comfortable. The imagery of Buddhism is a natural fit for me. Now with Pema’s teachings (I travel with Getting Unstuck in my CD player). I am beginning to feel brief passages of true peace. Lately, when I feel tears rise, I lean into them rather than fighting them off. I sit with my sorrow and my fear rather than, well, fearing it.
I don’t think I’m going to manifest my fears by acknowledging them. I think by acknowledging them, I can let them go.
And in this way, Buddhism has helped me build my relationship with the law of attraction, which is not simple and not about judgment or victim-blaming, but is about turning toward gratitude and joy and tending the garden of my life so that the beauty that makes my heart sing grows larger and I am no longer owned by sadness or adrift in my life waiting for the good stuff to happen.
It’s about acknowledging the gift - this gift of life that contains suffering and pain but also abundance and deep, deep happiness that everyone can experience because we were born to experience it.
So, can a person like cute pajamas, believe in fairies, talk to angels, make dream boards and still be a Buddhist? Some sort of Buddhist, yes, I think.
One who practices manifesting.
It’s been almost a year since I made my dream board using Colette Baron-Reid’s instructions. I think I’m ready to add to it, to tweak it, and turn my attention to it in a way that I haven’t done with the first one, really.
I am a deeply stubborn person. It takes me a while to begin a practice of any kind. When I first made my dream board, I still had too many questions, too much resistance. Now, I’ve read enough and experienced enough - I’ve come far enough down this path to know that these principles may be widely misunderstood and misrepresented, but they hold power for me and help me both ground myself and connect to spirit.
I recently discovered this group and decided to make a new board and participate in the 100 day challenge.
I can embrace the law of attraction now, with the understanding that it is both simple and complicated. I’m excited to see what can happen in 100 days.
BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM
These words are reproduced a lot on plaques and other gift items. I always notice this in the Signals catalog, and it is what inspired this advent stocking offering. I am not the sort of person who frequently quotes the Bible, but I find this a peaceful, comforting sentiment. Even when my own beliefs about what God is, or my beliefs about my own beliefs, become jumbled or confusing, I do believe in that which is larger than myself.
Sometimes, many times, most times even, the answer to moving forward is letting go and understanding that I don't have all the answers. As someone who has very recently begun to incororporate meditation into my daily practice, I embrace the concept of stillness and recognize its restorative powers.
Meditation has historically been difficult for me. My mind races and I grasp at all my wiggling thoughts, tumbling through a set of mental gymnastics that leaves me tired and wound-up rather than peaceful.
Recently, however, I've come to understand meditation in a new way, concentrating on my breath and allowing myself to be connected to the earth, a vessel for the air that is moving through me, and still. In stillness, I can feel the oneness.
I don't have to know everything, control everything, understand everything. Freedom is, I believe, rooted in acceptance. And acceptance of all things is easier when you know, or hope, that you are truly not alone.
I inserted the advent calendar snippets at random, and I'm pleased that this is the one that came up first. It's a good sentiment for the season of hustling and bustling-beautiful and simple.
I don’t believe there’s anything inherently evil about 666. Even so, I probably wouldn’t buy a house with that street number (because, you know, why take the chance?)
Basically, I don't really think we need to go looking outside of ourselves for forces of evil, or indications that we're riding in handbaskets, or looking for the sky to crack open; I think good and evil are within us, and we have the power to do what we will- god and the opposite of god are in us, in our hearts and our hands and our choices. I'm way more afraid of actual living people than of the unseen.
Anyway, there’s big fun today in Hell, Michigan.
This is my favorite part-
Live entertainment and a costume contest are planned. The Gates of Hell should be installed at a children's play area in time for the festivities.