Self Worth


“A well-known speaker started off his seminar holding up a $20.00 bill. In the packed room, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Hands started going up. He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.”

He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill. He then asked, “Who still wants it…?” Still the hands were up in the air. “Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now, who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air.

“My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We may feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.”

“Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE. You are special – Don’t EVER forget it! Count your blessings, not your problems.”

When we think or say something negative about ourselves, even if we don’t really mean it, the thought carries creative energy. EVERY thought is a cause that creates an effect. An undisciplined mind, easily tempted into faithless and unloving thoughts, is a huge deterrent to success. They sabotage the dynamic by which the universe is programmed to support us. Releasing negative self-concepts is important not simply because they hurt you; it’s important because they’re not true.

The spiritual journey is a path of surrendering our fear-based thoughts and allowing them to be replaced by God’s. The reason to embrace a positive self-image is that it describes you as God thinks of you. Such painful and negative self-concepts arise from over-identification with the material plane. Identifying with your material self rather than with your spiritual self will always leave you vulnerable to self-hating projections, because the mortal self is not who you truly are. The mortal plane is, at best an ever-changing parade of individual perceptions that lack a consistent theme. Sometimes you’ll deem yourself worthy of self-regard, and sometimes you won’t – depending on what’s in your bank account, other people’s opinions of you, and so forth.

On the mortal plane, none of us are perfect all the time. But on the spiritual plane, all of us are perfect all the time. Who we really are, perfect creations of God, unchangeable and unlimited, none of us more or less brilliant than anyone else – is the MOST POSITIVE SELF-CONCEPT POSSIBLE! To self-identify according to your spiritual rather than material reality is enlightenment. From this perspective, you see that you are the light. No thought or condition of darkness – that is, lovelessness in your own mind or in anyone else’s – has any bearing whatsoever on the truth of who you are or what the universe has planned for you. Your past, your mistakes, other people’s opinions about you, even your failures do not in any way limit who you are at this present moment or what is possible for you right now.

Marianne Williamson states through A Course in Miracles that all of us are special and none of us are special. No one has any more or less capacity than anyone else to be used as a conduit for the genius that pours forth constantly from the Mind of God. This genius pours into us as one, but is accepted by us separately. God’s greatness is a gift that is offered to all of us, but it’s our choice whether or not to receive it.

She adds that, we lack in faith what exists within us because we lack in faith Who exists within us. Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world. Each of us is assigned by God a function that only we can fill. At this level, none of us are in competition with each other, for the universe has an infinite number of pieces of pie. My piece does not take away from yours, and yours does not take away from mine. There is space for everyone’s gifts to flower. There is more than enough room for all of us.

Spiritual growth involves giving up the stories of your past so the universe can write a new one. You are not denying your past; you are simply transcending any of its negative aspects. Right now, in this moment, the universe is responding not to your past but to the truth of who you are, always were, and always will be. We’ve all got “right stuff” because all of us are meant to channel the spiritual realities of talent, creativity, and intelligence. Whether or not you’ve always known this, or practiced it, there lies within you in this very moment the latent ability to create and achieve beyond your wildest dreams.

And this never changes. It doesn’t matter what “mistakes” you thought you made, or how the economy is doing, etc. etc. It matters only where you place your thinking/consciousness now. Know who you are and connect to that Inner Source that wants you to Thrive, and moving mountains will seem small compared to what you can do!

-Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given to him?

A Course In Miracles



THRIVING with New Awareness

tumblr_lzi71sgXNl1qzgiyxo1_500A man stood at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the child stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the boy continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32.15. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. This Grammy Award winner and Avery Fisher Prize winner for outstanding achievement as a classical instrumentalist played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Bell’s instrument is a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin called the Gibson ex Huberman, which was made in 1713 during what is known as Antonio Stradivari’s “Golden Era.” Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100. He regularly undertakes over 200 international engagements a year.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: Would people distinguish between a world-class instrumental virtuoso and an ordinary street musician if the only difference between them were the setting? In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the conclusions from this experiment could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing? When life seems monotonous, it is usually an indication that there is something we need to change. Boredom can easily lead us down the path to despondency. Acknowledging our feelings and then setting the intention to alter just one small thing in our life can give us a much more affirmative outlook. This act of change allows us to step outside of ourselves and discover new and exciting things that are often already present in our everyday lives. Simple things like eating a healthier diet, taking a new class or joining a club are all ways in which we can go beyond our comfort zone and explore the wonders that exist all around us.

Keep in mind that the moment that we do something different from our usual routine, the more fresh energy, hope, and blessings we will manifest in our life. What this means is that we’ll no longer see things as being tedious but will instead realize the preciousness of everything.

Being able to integrate these subtle changes on a daily basis allows us to recognize the miracles that are our lives. Even though we may think of change as doing something life-altering or drastic, gentle transitions from our habitual ways of doing things and an appreciation and awareness of all life offers us will truly bring about positive and lasting transformation.

-You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the roses along the way.

Walter Hagen


Our Inner Sunrise


Today, January 1 of 2013 I awoke to a stunning sunrise over the beautiful Chicago skyline winterscape where I currently reside. It was befitting that amongst my daily early morning readings, the Daily Om ( topic today was “Inner Sunrise” as today is most definitely a Brand New Day in a Brand New Year!

Throughout our history, the sun has been revered as the most important aspect of life since it provides the energy for the nourishment and growth of all living things. When the sun shines, the heart is at peace. We can start fresh in this very moment, even if today is a “bad hair day” and it’s tempting to focus on tomorrow as a blank slate with all the possibilities that newness provides. But we don’t have to wait until tomorrow to start fresh, we can start fresh at any moment, clearing our energy field of any negativity that has accumulated, and call this very moment the beginning of our brand new day.

There is something about the sunrise and the first few hours of the morning that makes us feel cleansed and rejuvenated, ready to move forward enthusiastically. As the day wears on, we may lose some of this dynamic energy and the inspiration it provides. This may be why we look forward to tomorrow as providing the possibility of renewal. Many traditions consider the light of the rising sun to be particularly divine in its origins; this is also why so many people in the world face east when performing ritual. We too can cultivate that rising sun energy inside ourselves, carrying it with us to light our way through any time of day or night, drawing on its power to awaken and renew our spirits.

One simple way to do this is to carry an image or a photograph of the rising sun with us in our wallet or purse. We can also post this image on our wall at work or at home, or have it as a screensaver on our computer. When we feel the need to start fresh, we can take a moment to gaze at the image, allowing its light to enter into our hearts. As we do this, we might say out loud or to ourselves, “I am ready to let go of the past and start anew.”  We might visualize anything we want to release leaving us as we exhale, and as we inhale, we can take in the fresh energy of the eastern sun, allowing it to light the way to a brand-new day.

-The sun, the hearth of affection and life, pours burning love on the delighted earth.

Arthur Rimbaud

-excerpts taken from the Daily OM “Brand-New Day” on 1/1/13 written by Madisyn Taylor.


Thriving through Prayer into 2013!


As we bring this year to a close, I reflect on what a ride life has given me the past 12 months! Through it all, the unwavering support, love and encouragement of my family, friends and acquaintances brought out the best in me. With belief that all would be well, acceptance of my diagnosis, and trusting the process through prayer and wrapped in the name of love it indeed prevailed for the greater good for me.

Prayer is essential to well being and happiness. Through prayer we recognize a spiritual law that has always existed, and we put ourselves in alignment with it. Prayer has stimulated countless millions of people to higher thoughts and nobler deeds. That which tends to connect our minds with the Universal Mind lets in a flood of It’s consciousness.

Ernest Holmes, the illustrious founder of Science of Mind, states that with prayer we learn to go deeply within ourselves, and speak as though there were a Presence there that knows; and we should take the time to unearth this hidden cause, to penetrate this inner chamber of conscious intelligence. Whatever intelligence we have is this Spirit in us. Prayer is its own answer. As we consciously pray that our good is at hand, we impress this truth onto the Universal Law that says, “Your wish is my command.” This is the meaning behind Jesus’ words, “Pray believing that you have, so that you may receive.” In another instance, we read, “It is done unto you as you believe.” Pray with authority, knowing that what you say must be manifested. This is the Law.

Marianne Williamson, author, lecturer and voted by Newsweek as one of the most influential baby boomers; defines prayer as a conscious request that our thoughts be shifted by a power greater than our own. She adds “The universe is like a house wired for electricity, but too often we’re like unplugged lamps. Prayer is the way we plug in to the divine, aligning our thinking with the love that infuses all things.”

Prayer is the medium of miracles. A miracle is not magic, nor is it the suspension of natural law. Rather, it is the operation of a higher law when faith is unwavering. Marianne also adds that “faith is not just a theological principle; it is a mental and emotional muscle. When faith in love and and its miraculous authority becomes a thought form that guides our thinking, it turns into an extraordinary power that transforms our lives.”

Now, in this moment, standing in the field of miraculous possibility, you can disenthrall yourself from the limits of your past. Nothing binds you except your thoughts; nothing limits you except your fear; and nothing controls you except your beliefs. Think God, think Jesus, think Love, think whatever form of divinity calls to you. And all else will fall away.

Happy New Year!

-Prayer is the formulation of an idea concerning something we wish to accomplish.

Joseph Murphy

-I am the captain of my fate: I am the master of my soul.

William Ernest Henley



Birth of Dec 22, 2012

33_1321421693_1341060075_1341060093_1341060107_460x460A visionary futurist for more than fifty years, Barbara Max Hubbard is now a planetary elder at the age of 82. She has been called the “voice for conscious evolution of our time” by Deepak Chopra and according to noted American systems theorist Buckminster Fuller “the best informed human now alive regarding futurism and the foresights it has produced.” A prolific author, visionary, social innovator, evolutionary thinker and educator she has written numerous books and is co-founder and chairperson of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution.

Futurism is defined by Wikipedia as “an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It emphasized and glorified themes associated with contemporary concepts of the future, including speed, technology, youth and violence, and objects such as the car, the airplane and the industrial city.” The future that was envisioned by Hubbard and other great thinkers is now arriving. December 21, 2012 has long been described as the ending of a phase. December 22, 2012 now known as Birth 2012 according to Hubbard, “has been selected as a day to encourage, connect, and celebrate what’s being born through all of us. It’s a day to identify what’s good, what’s loving, and what’s able to create a future that works for us all.”

Something is truly ending, she says, “Whether it be from the Mayan prophecy, the environmental problems, or a series of other crisis, a certain form of growth and consciousness has been increasingly destructive to human and earth life. As there is a time of things coming to an end, there is also a rising up of human creativity, consciousness, love and wonderment. So we’re simply celebrating that emerging quality of humanity and calling it the birth of the next phase of human evolution. It’s the celebration of our birth as a universal species.”

Birth 2012 will be a 24 hour global event, live in each time zone starting in New Zealand. The intention is to reach 100 million people awakening to our oneness, wholeness and potential. Everyone is being invited to celebrate their unique gifts toward a convergence greater than the sum of our parts. Hubbard likens the celebration day to D-Day: “Eisenhower, Churchill, and de Gaulle all had to decide to say ‘Go!’ with all the fleets and the fighting to defeat the Nazi’s on a particular day. We’ve identified December 22 as a due date for convergence. If it’s done correctly, everybody’s gift is amplified through converging.”

According to Hubbard, “In the Sacred Story of Creation are numerous turns of the spiral of life: Earth, Life, Animal Life, and Human Life. The Wheel of Cocreation is us, now, going around the next turn of the spiral. After Human Life -us- comes Universal Humanity and then Infinite Potential. We’re facing breakdowns in many, many systems, whether in health, environment, economics, and so on. On the other hand, we have a vision of a more sustainable, peaceful, evolvable world. It’s filled with what’s already emerging and loving and connected. When you feel yourself as part of that momentum and direction, and then place yourself on the Wheel wherever you’re called to create, you become empowered. One of the great purposes of Birth 2012 is to alert people to the realization that so much good is happening.” The Shift Network ( is being introduced by Hubbard with others to do just this, and it will include positive-news publishing, television, and radio. Hubbard states “I’m hoping that Birth 2012 TV will do an ongoing story of what’s being born. I’ll bring people on who are expressions of what’s being born in their lives and ask them, ‘What are you giving birth to in your life, in your work, in your whole movement that you feel contributes to the shift on planet earth?’ And each of us who wants to participate in the greater whole becomes more uniquely who we are by joining than not. When we come together in synergy, each person or group gets celebrated, amplified, and empowered.”

In Hubbard’s previous book, Emergence-The Shift from Ego to Essence, she articulates that making this shift is vital. And it’s not difficult: “The simple practice  that we can all do is to create an inner sanctuary and place your attention on the feeling of experiencing your own higher intuition, higher self, essential self. Just experience the oneness of that aspect of your being that is Spirit. When you put your attention on it, a shift actually comes into your heart. In very simple language, you start identifying with and then becoming your own higher self.”

After making this shift, there are three steps each of us can personally take, right now, to ensure that we make a leap towards a new world that is sustainable, collaborative, and compassionate. “The first thing,” Hubbard says, “is to place your hands on your heart and experience love and appreciation. Feel that experience in your nervous system and allow it to rise to your brain until you become more unified internally and experience that love. The next step is to shift your sense of identity from the separated local self, the egoic self, to the essential spiritual essence of your being. Just shifting attention to this essence brings forth the emergence of the more universal human and creates that internal shift. The third step is to identify your deepest soul’s calling, your vocation, your life’s purpose from the point of view of your essence, and say the big Yes.” This step is what Hubbard refers to as vocational arousal: “It’s allowing that deeper calling to be aroused in you and then seek out partners because none of us can do it alone. Saying yes to your deeper life purpose may not be the job that you have right now. It may not be just a traditional profession; it may be a more unique calling. Saying yes to the expression of your life’s purpose and soul’s calling leads to a natural desire to connect.”

Hubbard adds, “Everything that rises converges. Nature creates the convergence of what is emerging. We’re living through a time now of conscious choice to connect and to converge the good that is happening all around us. That doesn’t mean everything will work, or everyone will respond. But those who do will have a positive effect on which way the ‘tipping point’ tips – toward breakdown or breakthrough. We have the great opportunity to be conscious of our effect on evolution and consciously evolve. That’s conscious evolution: evolution by choice, not chance – evolution by participating in the design through a choiceful expression of your own essence.”

The convergence is here: December 22, 2012 with 100 million people. She adds “There is some intuition that a certain number of us are feeling and experiencing a global heart within – connecting heart to heart, affects the whole consciousness field. The Earth is out of equilibrium right now. It’s also true that by connecting what’s loving and positive, we can help shift the field of consciousness toward a more ongoing birthing of the next phase of civilization – a planetary civilization.”

To learn more about Barbara Marx Hubbard, visit her website,


-excerpts taken from the December 2012 Science of Mind article “Birthing a New World 2012” by Ann Crawford


The Risk and Reward of Change

Lobsters teach us about risk and change. As a lobster grows, it gets to a point where the hard shell encasing its body cramps it. It just can’t grow anymore. The lobster must find a relatively safe place, shed its shell, and then wait while a new and larger shell grows. Of course, while the shedding and new growth occurs, there is considerable risk to the lobster. It is vulnerable and in constant danger while its protective shell forms. The lobster must risk its life in order to grow.

Have you felt your life start to feel too limited and restrictive? You may hear your inner voice telling you that you’ve learned the lessons needed in the present environment and that it is time to move on. Dr. Ernest Holmes, founder of the worldwide Religious Science movement, says “There is an inner urge in our minds to grow, to expand, to break down the barriers of previous limitation and to ever widen our experience.” In other words, it is quite natural to experience this desire to grow beyond where we currently reside in our thinking/consciousness.

Growth requires moving through uncomfortable and sometimes even painful situations. We have to risk leaving the old, familiar ways and jump into the unknown future good that is calling to us. Like the lobster, we can fully commit to our growth, which propels us forward to a new reality.

Be willing to grow through the changes in your life, knowing that only good is ahead for you.

-You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

-A Man sooner or later discovers that he is the Master-Gardener of his soul, the Director of his life.

Jean Paul Sartre


Following Your Heart

Actor and comedian Steve Martin tells the story of how he got started in show business. When in his twenties, he was employed at the Knotts Berry Farm amusement park in the entertainment theater. What he really wanted to do was stand-up comedy. He thought about making the leap, but hesitated. Finally, he decided to go for it. Martin said, “If I could talk to myself in my twenties from my vantage point now, I’d tell myself, ‘Just relax and go for it. Everything will work out just fine.’ ” When we follow the heart, everything does seem to work out just fine.

We are not here to simply exist. We are here to THRIVE! Playing it safe might need to be sacrificed to create the life of our dreams, for the journey stretches us, grows us, expands us, and uplifts us. And as someone wise once said, “We don’t pray for safe passage. We pray to be a good captain.”

We have within us a homing beacon. Like the magnificent birds that I am currently witnessing beginning their annual migration south, when we listen to our heart that calls to us, our life unfolds with ease, grace and sufficiency. Joel Goldsmith stated that this is the true meaning of grace – being so tuned in to the God within that life unfolds exactly as it should, and we are provided with just what we need at the moment we need it; to have entered a period of life called Living by Grace.

Following your heart also means that sometimes you will be led to do things that don’t appear to be logical. Well intentioned friends and family may say, “What are you doing? Are you crazy?” This is the moment that defines you: when you can stand firmly in the truth of who you are and step forward in the faith that your heart will never steer you wrong. Let us tune in to the infinite wisdom that resides within us today and have the courage to follow that wisdom.

-What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

– Oliver Wendell Holmes


The Tipping Point…It’s You

“The Tipping Point” definition is, in a nutshell ‘the crisis stage in a process, when a significant change takes place.’ I had such a tipping point last September when cancer suddenly appeared in my life (Please read My Story for more detail). It’s a kind of critical mass that breaks out into something entirely new. It’s there for a definite purpose, to awaken you and open a new consciousness and a new way of doing things. When the unexpected becomes expected or, perhaps a form of radical change.

Of course we’ll fight it tooth and nail at first, not all roads to Rome are neat, orderly and transparent! I often felt like Alice in Wonderland back then, once, I knew who I was, but I began to change so much that I was not sure who I was becoming! Progress can be “messy and opaque” and often follows a herky-jerky path that evolution sometimes follows. This is where my simple “BAT” philosophy comes to my rescue that I mention often in earlier posts. Belief, Acceptance and Trust. Besides the love of my family and friends, it was my only savior, along with my firm belief that The Universe Knows and is there to support, nurture and assist you through these changes.

Changes do not always unfold comfortably, and our minds can feel like they are growing out of old clothes. Ernest Holmes, the illustrious and dynamic founder of the Science of Mind thinking explains, “We know that thought is constantly changing, forever taking on new ways of expression. It cannot possibly remain permanent.” The Dalai Lama, one of our most revered spiritual leaders, recognizes that people want to be happy and avoid suffering. However, often our minds seize on “addictive emotions,” default positions of fear, anger, hatred and dismay as immediate responses to what lies before us.

When at that tipping point, know that you are never alone. Your perfect outcome is never in doubt. Put yourself in a position of thinking that this good IS coming to you with your firm Belief, Acceptance and Trust in the process. You hold great power, and this power of self and knowing your Oneness with the Universe always brings quiet calmness to a turbulent situation. The Dalai Lama always brings Love into any situation, for love cannot fail to affect the mental atmosphere. When he enters a room, he brings the strength of his love for others, the thoughtful discipline he has forged for decades, and the humor that awaits the opportunity. Love shines the way.

In the end, Tipping Points are a reaffirmation of the potential for change and the power of intelligent action, to feel certain that your future in this moment is in the hands of a greater power. Believe, Accept and Trust the process.

The purpose of our lives is to give birth to the best that is within us. It is only through our own personal awakening that the world can be awakened. 

-Marianne Williamson


Finding Answers…

When you realize that you always have the answers within yourself, you can stop searching outside of yourself.

Many of us seek the answers to life’s questions by looking outside of ourselves and trying to glean advice from the people around us. But as each of us is unique, with our own personal histories, our own sense of right and wrong, and our own way of experiencing the world that defines our realities, looking to others for our answers is only partially helpful. The answers to our personal questions can be most often found by looking within. When you realize that you always have access to the part of you that always knows what you need and is meant to act as your inner compass, you can stop searching outside of yourself. If you can learn to hear, trust, and embrace the wisdom that lives within you, you will be able to confidently navigate your life.

Trusting your inner wisdom may be awkward at first, particularly if you grew up around people who taught you to look to others for answers. We each have exclusive access to our inner knowing. All we have to do is remember how to listen. Remember to be patient as you relearn how to hear, receive, and follow your own guidance. If you are unsure about whether following your inner wisdom will prove reliable, you may want to think of a time when you did trust your own knowing and everything worked out. Recall how the answers came to you, how they felt in your body as you considered them, and what happened when you acted upon this guidance. Now, recall a time when you didn’t trust yourself and the results didn’t work out as you had hoped. Trusting your own guidance can help you avoid going against what you instinctively know is right for you.

When you second guess yourself and go against what you know to be your truth, you can easily go off course because you are no longer following your inner compass. By looking inside yourself for the answers to your life’s questions, you are consulting your best guide. Only you can know the how’s and why’s of your life. The answers that you seek can be found when you start answering your own questions.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had to go within, deep within to trust the guidance that was there for me to follow through with. With my mind racing along with all the “What If’s” and countless appointments at Northwestern Hospital, that process was indeed, not easy! In fact, my life was so consumed at that time and with the need to drive 60 miles each way  5 days a week, I found that my only quiet time was in the car as I drove to my treatments. There I could focus on my own version of a driving “meditation/affirmation” style of instructing my mind and body of the ongoing treatment process and complete belief that I was going to get through this treatment with no lasting effects.

The following I find very helpful with this process:

* Train your mind to think with “What If Up Thinking” – such as “What if the current situation in my life is EXACTLY what I need to grow through?”*

* Feel and Say what you are grateful for. State it aloud and let that gratefulness sink in.

* Smile as often as you can, no matter what!

* Laugh too, frequently. It’s such a healthy way of releasing anxieties and concerns.

* Read/Listen to other success stories and inspirational speakers knowing that if that person can do it, you most certainly can too!

As always, feel free to contact me for any comments, questions, advice. I would love to hear from you and most certainly, THRIVE!!

Thriving Consciousness

Five or six centuries ago, when the Church was burning scientists at the stake as heretics, a deal of sorts was struck in order to stop the slaughter: the Church would retain primacy over the internal world, while the Science would take charge of the external. The split between inner and outer became only more entrenched with the work of learned people such as Descartes and Newton. They proclaimed that the Universe and everything in it operate like a machine. They also believed, as did the Church, that mind and body are separate entities, and that the pure, lofty intellect was vastly superior to the frail, disgusting body. Taken together, all these forces created the belief in separation, which became entrenched in their time and continues today, still driving much of what we do and believe.

This Western scientific belief in separation has led to many tragedies. On the global scale, they include environmental destruction and climate change. On the individual scale, the tragedies include situations such as war and healthcare as something done to us from the outside.

Unlike Western science, however, Eastern spiritual systems have for millennia proclaimed Oneness, the unity of all things, rather than separation. This includes the belief that mind and body are one inseparable entity, together forming the whole of who we are.

And in recent decades, quantum physics has demonstrated that this unity is, in fact, the truth of our existence. From the tiniest atomic article to the largest planet, from the smallest cell to the most immense galaxies, everything exists together in an infinitely intricate web of interconnection. Furthermore, with the work of organizations, it is being clearly demonstrated that the mind/body split does NOT exist.

With this expanding knowledge coming from rigorous scientific study as well as personal experience, it is becoming obvious to growing numbers of people that true, solid solutions to the major challenges we face today do not come from the outside. Rather, the lasting solutions must come from within: to change the world, it is necessary to first change our consciousness. When Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell flew to the moon, he was part of a highly scientific and technological program designed to explore outer space. He was, and is, a scientist and engineer who demands proof of any hypothesis. Yet, heading home to Earth after his walk on the moon, he had a mystical experience of an intense sense of universal connectedness. It was his epiphany in which he realized, without question, that Earth is part of a living system that embraces EVERYTHING and that we all participate in a “Universe of Consciousness.”

Seized with the conviction that the most important work for the human race in the twentieth-century and beyond was not to be found in space or any other external realm, he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) soon after his return. ION’s mission is “supporting individual and collective transformation through consciousness research, educational outreach, and engaging a global learning community in the realization of our human potential.”

According to Marilyn Mandala Schlitz, PhD, immediate past president and CEO of IONS, “people assume that the solutions we’re seeking come from outside ourselves, but it’s important that we shift to an internal recognition that problems come from within ourselves, as do the solutions.” In other words, it’s all about consciousness. No one yet has fully defined consciousness or know its origin or even why it exists. But, like another unexplained phenomenon called “gravity,” we know it’s there, and we can describe it at least in general terms.

Schlitz thinks of it as a “process, and it’s not just about humans. It’s about the great unfolding of the nature of reality. It is a process by which we have self-reflection, awareness, and are able to self-correct.” Consciousness exists in various levels, according to Schlitz. For instance, our bodies are conscious because they can self-correct without our being aware of it – and they do so all the time by regulating our temperature, fighting off microbial invaders, and so on. Yet, when we become aware and use intention, we can direct consciousness through our mind-body for our HEALING. One of the most fundamental tasks facing society in this century, according to Schlitz, is “encouraging people to explore consciousness in ways that invite them to become more balanced, compassionate, appreciative of difference, and oriented toward pro-sociality,” or caring about the welfare and rights of others, feeling concern and empathy, and acting in ways that benefit them.”

However, “people are distracted, bombarded by ‘weapons of mass distraction.’ We don’t take mindful action, or if we do, it’s in circumscribed ways that are limited,” says Schlitz, “such as going to church one day a week and not living in that same spirit all the time. The question is, how can we become aware and break free of this cultural hypnosis rather than just being victims?”

The answer: transform our worldview so that new possibilities can emerge. For example, it is common to view Nature as something humans are meant to dominate. However, a transformation in worldview that leads to seeing how we are one with Nature makes us more likely to protect the environment and exist in harmony with it. “If there’s something yearning in us, it often comes because of a noetic experience (an inner knowing). We can have a positive experience that rocks our steady state, but more often it’s negative. Yet it can make us curious and move us into exploration rather than keeping us entrenched,” explains Schlitz.

We must build a practice to sustain and incorporate it into our lives. Your practice can be anything meaningful to you. It can be something as structured as formal meditation or yoga. Or, says Schlitz, it can be “anything where you’re bringing intention to your attention.” There are five elements to the process of changing our consciousness:

First is the intention to make positive, life-affirming changes. Second, is building spiritual practices out of our exploration, and shifting our attention from external to internal forces. Third, is repetition of our practice to build new behaviors to create a new habit. Fourth is guidance, which can come from many sources, such as a trusted teacher, reading an article, or a book that rocks you. Finally, all of these elements are wrapped in the arms of surrender. “It’s all about yielding to potential,” Schlitz says.

A growing chorus of voices, including many from science as well as spirituality, is calling for transformation of our worldview so that we can not only survive but THRIVE!!

-Excerpts taken from the Science of Mind October, 2012 issue of the article “The Ground of All That Is” written by Barbara Stahura.