How groundhogs and falling leaves affect your prosperity

Years ago, a journalist friend in Washington, DC, who also had walked away from her job with a prestigious media outlet, had a suggestion: Why don’t we enroll in a free online 40-day prosperity class?

We could barely afford to wait 40 days for our ships to come in. We immediately plowed into the program and followed all the directives precisely, keenly aware that we had no margin for error.

From prosperity to prospoority

What do you mean, I'm overdrawn? I still have checks left!We joyfully and diligently did the work, fully expecting that the abundance we sought would be the abundance we’d see. A few days before the end of our journey—and just as my rent was due—someone made two $900 charges on my debit card. I was $1,800 less prosperous than when I enrolled!

I eventually got my money back. But I got a lot more: a lesson in cause and effect. Admittedly, the prosperity class didn’t cause dollars to drain from my bank account. But it also didn’t cause a cent to be pumped into it.

Been there, done it

You can imagine my reaction when another entrepreneurial journalist friend told me a few days ago that she had enrolled in a prosperity class. To her delight, she then began receiving offers for freelance work.

“Are you saying the class is the reason you’re getting work?” I asked.

“Absolutely!”

I probed further: “So, if the class hadn’t been offered—or if you hadn’t enrolled in it—your phone wouldn’t have rung?”

She paused. “Good question.”

She wasn’t totally convinced that the class shouldn’t be credited with her good fortune. After all, several classmates had shared great testimonials.

“Did everyone in the class have a testimonial?” I asked.

“No,” she conceded, getting my drift.

My drift was this: If everyone in a class becomes prosperous—and no one outside a class does—then, and only then, can we logically conclude that the class was the cause of the students’ prosperity.

Correlation, causation and coincidence

A psychiatrist recently told a story about folks who noticed a recurring phenomenon: Every year, leaves fell off the trees. After that, it snowed! They concluded that falling leaves cause falling snow.

Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog DayDon’t snicker. For more than 120 years, we’ve claimed a wacky correlation between spring’s arrival and a hapless rodent “seeing” his shadow. Statistics show no correlation between the two. I think the falling-leaves-cause-snow people get the last laugh!

Looking but not seeing, hearing but not listening

Most of us find it unfathomable that we are made in the image of Our Creator: invincible, immortal, invisible, omniscient and divine. We believe that we are merely the physical shell, and outer conditions and other humans ultimately control our lives.

Our Ego-Selves are outwardly focused, always comparing other physical shells’ possessions with our own. Ego incessantly yammers in our heads: “Let’s go here, do this. Why can’t we have that?” When it’s not dictates our desires, it’s distracting us with fear of loss and worry.

If we don’t own our egos, they will own us

Head for the future, forget the pastThose who have learned to be in this world, but not of it, hear Ego’s fear-peddling messages; but they are not disturbed or distracted. In their view, this planet is like educational theater: instructive, but not always entertaining.

They know that every lesson on Earth’s stage has the perfect setting, props and supporting cast. Human is merely a role we play, even though Ego says it is who we are.

Perspective can land you in a trick bag

Through ego's eyesPerspective is a powerful thing, and it comes with consequences attached. For example, Ego has taught us to judge situations and other actors on Earth’s stage as “good” or “bad,” and treat them accordingly. However, if we’re held accountable for how we treat others, and are treated the way we treat others, we can find ourselves in a trick bag, inflicting unnecessary pain and distress upon ourselves.

Through Ego’s eyes, adversity is bad. It should be feared, avoided, and eliminated. That’s why, when adversity enters the stage, we instantly panic. If it doesn’t paralyze us, we rush into “fix it” mode, running around with our hair on fire, looking outside of ourselves for solutions. Like classes or prayer.

Ego has taught us to pray to a “Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. How much can you grovel” God. And he cleverly placed God light years away, in outer space.

Ego’s no dummy: How fast does sound travel? How many light years away is the Ego’s God? Prayers won’t even arrive before your physical life ends.

It’s to Ego’s advantage that they don’t: Frightened humans, whose prayers aren’t always answered, are so much easier to manipulate. And much more apt to believe it when Ego says, “You can’t trust God. You can only count on yourself.”

The prospering power of adversity

Through the loving, nonjudgmental eyes of the Eternal Spirit of Love that others of us call God, adversity is the identical twin of prosperity. But most of us can’t see that because we’re bouncing around like unguided missiles, looking for something to change our circumstances—ideally, inject some prosperity into our lives.

Unguided missiles

We wonder: Didn’t someone say that God wants us to be rich? In that case, everyone on Earth should be rich!

Just as there is no correlation between groundhogs and spring—or falling leaves and snow—there is no correlation between the outer world and your prosperity.

Prosperity is as invisible as the real you, the invincible, immortal, omniscient and divine you that was made in the image of Your Creator. Your prosperity is the fulfillment of your unique life purpose. It cannot be caused, created or discovered through anything tangible.

Your prosperity lives within you, as you. Just because you refuse to look or acknowledge it or your own divinity doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Keep doin’ what you’re doin’ and you’ll keep gettin’ what you got. You have been given free will to go within, ask, listen and follow divine direction. Or you can keep following Ego’s map.

Pat ArnoldJoin me March 29-31 at “The Gold Rush” spiritual conference for women!

Come hear Iyanla Vanzant, Susan Taylor and other dynamic speakers. On Friday, have some fun in my latest Drama Queen Workshop: “Have You Lost Your MINE?” It’s gonna be a blast! For more information, click here.

Love as real as an avatar

Part Three of a three-part series

I apologize for the extended pause. Now, back to our other-worldly love story…

I recently stumbled upon a really cool nail salon in Chicago’s South Loop—a yummy combination of great price ($35 mani-pedi) and elegant decor. And the pièce de résistance: “Sex and the City” DVDs play non-stop. Take your time with those nails, please!

Yesterday’s encore episode was about judgment—more accurately, about being judgmental. It reminded me that practically every human being on Earth judges others, and it’s always based on superficial stuff: looks, job, bank account, race, religion, sexual orientation, whatever we decide is important.

Judging others is one of our favorite sports, and Ego is our defensive coach. No chump, Ego is as resilient and relentless as its invincible cousin, the roach, and apparently as ubiquitous. Wherever it goes, judgment tags along. The pair has been spotted as far away as the fictitious planet Pandora, a gaseous moon inhabited by the Na’vi, a peculiar looking breed of humanoids. (But who’s judging?)

Even on Pandora, eyes can be deceiving. Ask Neytiri, a young Na’vi maiden from the Omaticaya tribe, who spotted someone in the lush forest. He appeared to be a kinsmen: Between 9′ and 12′ tall? Check. Blue-striped? Check. Jaundiced-eyed? Uh huh. From the Omaticaya tribe? Not so much.

Actually, he was an American named Jake Sully, an imposter, an avatar cloned to look like a tribesman. Instantly, Neytiri drew her bow and arrow, aimed, and prepared to shoot.

How many of us can relate to that? Who hasn’t hurled verbal or visual arrows at perceived enemies, hoping to pierce their hearts, shatter their egos and knock them to their knees (ideally, at our feet)? When we’ve gone that far, it ain’t easy to back off. And something seemed to be telling Neytiri to do just that.

Woodsprite dances on Neytiri's bow

Neytiri aims

She struggled as we do when our intuition tells us that we’re making a big mistake, and our ego is screaming, “Destroy!” Neytiri aimed again.

Suddenly, a Woodsprite—a seed from the revered Tree of Souls—landed on her arrow, then another and another. Puzzled, Neytiri paused. The wispy jellyfish-like Woodsprites then floated onto her target, the American interloper. She eased her grip on the bow. What was going on? She wondered.

By dispatching the Woodsprites, the Omaticaya’s Divine Spirit, known as “Eywa,” was sending Neytiri not only a powerful signal, but clear direction: Inside the avatar beats a heart that is pure.

On Pandora, a pure heart is revered. The body in which is beats—even if it is flawed—is precious. Neytiri backed off.

Unlike the Omaticaya, we don’t always receive visible clues when the Divine communicates with us. We typically have to listen for a still small voice that’s deep inside. Complicating matters, our egos insist that we should dig in our heels rather than admit that we have misjudged.

In this case, Neytiri decided to accept direction from the Divine, a decision that not only altered her life, but all life on Pandora. It was no mistake that Jake had been sent to Pandora instead of his twin brother. The eternal soul within Jake’s manufactured avatar and physical body had a destiny: Save Pandora from the American invaders. It had been his soul’s purpose since The Beginning.

Forced to spend more time together, Neytiri’s judgment of Jake, and his of her, gradually transformed into “namaste,” a Sanskrit word that means, “The God in me sees the God in you.” When they proclaimed to each other, “I see you,” they weren’t referring to visual sight. Physical eyes judge and separate. Real sight is magical: it sees the heart, the divinity, the true beauty and perfection of another.

Only those who understand that they are spirit—made in the image of God and having a temporary physical experience—can see the beauty and divinity within themselves. These are the only souls who are fearless enough and feel worthy enough to give and receive unconditional love—and can graciously release those who can’t.

After all, anyone can say, “I love you.” Few can say, “I see you.”

What to Do When Someone “Does You Wrong”

Is it the season, the recession, the stars, or something in the water? The number of “Somebody did me wrong” stories I’ve heard from colleagues, friends, even strangers in line at the supermarket is multiplying like the fabled fish and loaves.

There is an abundance of emotional immaturity wafting through the ether. Folks are dehumanizing others from one inexplicable extreme to the other: screaming at the top of their lungs or giving them the silent treatment. There are so many adult actors starring in elementary school dramas that it must be a new trend, a frightening one at that.

Almost everywhere we turn, people are treating us in ways that they wouldn’t want to be treated. These larger than life Anti-Christ visitations create imbalance; they make us feel out of control. (Double the wobble when these bad actors can clearly see the spirit of the Anti-Christ in others, but can’t see it in themselves.) Fascinating stuff.

Life really is simple, despite our beliefs to the contrary. We consistently make it complicated and painful by delaying, detouring or completely derailing our Souls’ journeys to their desired destinations. Why? Our egos have made us forgetful and short-sighted, the same combination that transforms gullible people into suicide bombers. Sorry about the imagery, but it’s true.

This is self-inflicted pain that hurts a lot of people unnecessarily. And all of these distressing dramas follow the same pitiful script template:

Somebody Has Done Me Wrong. Again.

by
Woe S. Me

Cast

You: A Soul in a human body struggling to remember that It was created in God’s divine image.

Villain: An ego-driven Soul who has lost contact with the God presence within.

Ego: The personality in every human that focuses the body’s attention on fears, insecurities and threats.

Scene: Anywhere on the planet that the ego can destroy our inner peace
Time: Day or night, in all time zones

Act One: Ego Deceives, We Believe

Scene One: Ego tells us that Life is unfair; only tangibles exist—and oh, by the way, we’re only human.

Scene Two: Ego tells us that there are villains who will make us their victims. These people will break our hearts, hurt our bodies, and (gasp!) they will steal or destroy our stuff.

Scene Three: Ego tells us that we should respond to all villains with wrath, righteous indignation and verbal or physical force.

Act Two: We Forget Core Spiritual Truths

Scene One: Believing Ego, we forget the core spiritual truth that God is within us and we are powerful and divine.

Scene Two: We forget that we should see the divinity in all humans, even if they can’t see it within in themselves—a disability that causes them to act as villains.

Scene Three: We focus our attention on what the villain did, which makes us feel victimized, forgetting that:

  1. We are not held accountable for what others do to us, only what we do to them.
  2. No one can hurt us without hurting themselves. Ultimately, they’re the victims, not us.
  3. We should compassionate about their disability, which causes them to be unkind.
Act Three: We Become Defensive

Scene One: We retaliate against the disabled Soul’s errant behavior with anger, righteous indignation, and verbal or physical force—so blind with rage that we can no longer see God dwelling inside our target, the so-called villain.

Scene Two: We reap what we sow. Our retaliation attracts others into our lives who will be as unforgiving as we were.

Scene Three: We can’t figure out why life is so difficult, and why long-term happiness always seems to elude us.

How often has this teeth-gnashing drama encored on our life’s stages? More accurately, how many times have we chosen to act in this play? When will it dawn upon us that these dramas will replay ad nauseum, until we see the divinity in all things and all people—and consistently treat each situation and person as if God dwells within them.

We’re not going to change our experience or our luck until we learn to respond more divinely to other people’s behavior, no matter how many new brushstrokes they’re painting on the portrait of crazy. (Thanks, Margo, I LOVE that phrase!)

Truth be told, at some point in our eternal lives, we behaved the same way. It’s part of our evolutionary process. Just because we’ve figured out that it’s not in our best interest to treat others like pond scum doesn’t mean that we don’t still have the potential to drag our Boogie Man costumes from the back of the closet. So let’s not get holier than thou by being judgmental.

Darkness gives us the impetus to turn on our Light. These errant behaving Souls—as crazy as they’re acting—play an invaluable role. Quite possibly, we attract these hurtful people into our lives to give us practice in looking for the Christ Light that is in every Soul.

These people are our coaches. They help us practice forgiveness. How could we become good at it if there was no one or nothing to forgive? The reward for our diligence and proficiency is that we will attract more forgiving people and other Beings of Light and fewer Princes(ses) of Darkness. I’d say it’s worth the effort.

Wouldn’t we rather surround ourselves with loving people who respect and treasure us? That requires us to be loving and respectful. It means that we have to treasure every divine Soul, regardless of their outward appearances or bad acting. That doesn’t mean we have to invite them for dinner, hang out or fall in love with them. We can love their Souls…from over here, where Light and Peace and Joy prevail.

This is important stuff: Attracting people who will not disturb your peace requires you to invite the God within you to direct all of your dramas. God is not a screamer. You must listen very closely for the “Still Small Voice” that delivers your divine instructions. You’ll be surprised by the clarity and simplicity of those directions.

Sometimes there is nothing more to learn from a situation, and the “Still Small Voice” might say, “Let go, move on.” Trust what you hear. Do what you’re told. Know that something or someone more respectful, more honorable, more supportive, more joyful, and more deserving awaits the divine you.

Other times, the “Still Small Voice” might tell you to do something to neutralize a situation that someone’s else’s ego has imbalanced. It means that your Soul has agreed to be the channel through which the matter will be resolved for the Highest Good of all concerned. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Allow God, and God alone, to work through you. You’ll know that it’s the Divine talking to you if what you are directed to do is not vindictive, involves no anger, requires no force, and no one is physically or emotionally harmed.

Whatever and whomever you need to complete your Divine Assignment will mysteriously appear. Sometimes they provide resources and information that you didn’t know existed. You didn’t need to know before that moment.

No doubt, the egos of the so-called villains probably want to maintain the status quo. But their Souls and the Divine Spirit within their Souls want their errant behavior to cease—for their own good. Egos only have control over bodies. They have absolutely no power over Divine Spirit. Game over.

What are the implications for you? Understand who you are; be curious about why you’re here. Instead of fixating on the darkness dancing in others’ errant behavior, look for their Light. And by all means, keep your Light on. Since Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time, your Light will be critical to the healing of that Soul or situation.

Who knows? Perhaps they called you onto their path to help them find their Light. Do a little over-acting: Magnify their Light. Uplift them. Bless them. Or maybe the need was yours: Maybe your Soul blessed you with the dilemma so that you could gain more “been there done that” credibility and “I know exactly how you feel” empathy for others who might reach out to you.

As Iyanla Vanzant wrote, “There Is Value in the Valley.” When someone does you wrong, thank them. They’ve stopped their own evolutionary growth to give you this opportunity to reconnect with the Divine within you, to practice acting as if you are divine, to practice non-judgment and forgiveness.

These so-called villains are not party crashers. Your Soul invited them onto your stage because they were the perfect characters to teach the lessons you needed to learn. Everyone and every situation that arises in your life serves the purpose of your Infinite Soul and Divine Spirit—the real you, the part that was made in the image of God.

You have options. You can choose to focus your attention on creating comfort and abundance for your finite physical body. You can even believe that God sent you here to wallow in paper money and luxurious material items. (Haven’t you heard? “God wants you to be rich.”) But consider the possibility that focusing on temporary possessions on the physical plane is as ego-driven and self-destructive as going into a crowded marketplace with explosives strapped to your body.

Even if you choose that route, your infinite Soul will survive. And it will grow, despite your ego’s antics. Stretching beyond the physical plane is uncomfortable. Growing pains are real. But the Soul can handle it, and it has all eternity to patiently teach you the value of being more visionary, making more divine choices.

The next time someone does you wrong, think before you react. Remember the Law of Attraction/Reciprocity: Whatever you do will be done to you. You will attract souls who mirror your beliefs and behaviors. They will treat you the way that you treat those whom you refuse to forgive.

Take advantage of every painful experience that arises. If you don’t learn and grow from that experience, if you don’t seize the opportunity to rely more heavily on the Divine within you, the one who “did you wrong” won’t be someone else.

What to Do When Someone “Does You Wrong”

Is it the season, the recession, the stars, or something in the water? The number of “Somebody did me wrong” stories I’ve heard from colleagues, friends, even strangers in line at the supermarket is multiplying like the fabled fish and loaves.

There is an abundance of emotional immaturity wafting through the ether. Folks are dehumanizing others from one inexplicable extreme to the other: screaming at the top of their lungs or giving them the silent treatment. There are so many adult actors starring in elementary school dramas that it must be a new trend, a frightening one at that.

Almost everywhere we turn, people are treating us in ways that they wouldn’t want to be treated. These larger than life Anti-Christ visitations create imbalance; they make us feel out of control. (Double the wobble when these bad actors can clearly see the spirit of the Anti-Christ in others, but can’t see it in themselves.) Fascinating stuff.

Life really is simple, despite our beliefs to the contrary. We consistently make it complicated and painful by delaying, detouring or completely derailing our Souls’ journeys to their desired destinations. Why? Our egos have made us forgetful and short-sighted, the same combination that transforms gullible people into suicide bombers. Sorry about the imagery, but it’s true.

This is self-inflicted pain that hurts a lot of people unnecessarily. And all of these distressing dramas follow the same pitiful script template:

Somebody Has Done Me Wrong. Again.

by

Woe S. Me

Cast

You: A Soul in a human body struggling to remember that It was created in God’s divine image.

Villain: An ego-driven Soul who has lost contact with the God presence within.

Ego: The personality in every human that focuses the body’s attention on fears, insecurities and threats.

Scene:   Anywhere on the planet that the ego can destroy our inner peace

Time:    Day or night, in all time zones


Act One: Ego Deceives, We Believe

Scene One: Ego tells us that Life is unfair; only tangibles exist—and oh, by the way, we’re only human.

Scene Two: Ego tells us that there are villains who will make us their victims. These people will break our hearts, hurt our bodies, and (gasp!) they will steal or destroy our stuff.

Scene Three: Ego tells us that we should respond to all villains with wrath, righteous indignation and verbal or physical force.

Act Two: We Forget Core Spiritual Truths

Scene One: Believing Ego, we forget the core spiritual truth that God is within us and we are powerful and divine.

Scene Two: We forget that we should see the divinity in all humans, even if they can’t see it within in themselves—a disability that causes them to act as villains.

Scene Three: We focus our attention on what the villain did, which makes us feel victimized, forgetting that:

  1. We are not held accountable for what others do to us, only what we do to them.
  2. No one can hurt us without hurting themselves. Ultimately, they’re the victims, not us.
  3. We should compassionate about their disability, which causes them to be unkind.

Act Three: We Become Defensive

Scene One: We retaliate against the disabled Soul’s errant behavior with anger, righteous indignation, and verbal or physical force—so blind with rage that we can no longer see God dwelling inside our target, the so-called villain.

Scene Two: We reap what we sow. Our retaliation attracts others into our lives who will be as unforgiving as we were.

Scene Three: We can’t figure out why life is so difficult, and why long-term happiness always seems to elude us.

How often has this teeth-gnashing drama encored on our life’s stages? More accurately, how many times have we chosen to act in this play? When will it dawn upon us that these dramas will replay ad nauseum, until we see the divinity in all things and all people—and consistently treat each situation and person as if God dwells within them.

We’re not going to change our experience or our luck until we learn to respond more divinely to other people’s behavior, no matter how many new brushstrokes they’re painting on the portrait of crazy. (Thanks, Margo, I LOVE that phrase!)

Truth be told, at some point in our eternal lives, we behaved the same way. It’s part of our evolutionary process. Just because we’ve figured out that it’s not in our best interest to treat others like pond scum doesn’t mean that we don’t still have the potential to drag our Boogie Man costumes from the back of the closet. So let’s not get holier than thou by being judgmental.

Darkness gives us the impetus to turn on our Light. These errant behaving Souls—as crazy as they’re acting—play an invaluable role. Quite possibly, we attract these hurtful people into our lives to give us practice in looking for the Christ Light that is in every Soul.

These people are our coaches. They help us practice forgiveness. How could we become good at it if there was no one or nothing to forgive? The reward for our diligence and proficiency is that we will attract more forgiving people and other Beings of Light and fewer Princes(ses) of Darkness. I’d say it’s worth the effort.

Wouldn’t we rather surround ourselves with loving people who respect and treasure us? That requires us to be loving and respectful. It means that we have to treasure every divine Soul, regardless of their outward appearances or bad acting. That doesn’t mean we have to invite them for dinner, hang out or fall in love with them. We can love their Souls…from over here, where Light and Peace and Joy prevail.

This is important stuff: Attracting people who will not disturb your peace requires you to invite the God within you to direct all of your dramas. God is not a screamer. You must listen very closely for the “Still Small Voice” that delivers your divine instructions. You’ll be surprised by the clarity and simplicity of those directions.

Sometimes there is nothing more to learn from a situation, and the “Still Small Voice” might say, “Let go, move on.” Trust what you hear. Do what you’re told. Know that something or someone more respectful, more honorable, more supportive, more joyful, and more deserving awaits the divine you.

Other times, the “Still Small Voice” might tell you to do something to neutralize a situation that someone’s else’s ego has imbalanced. It means that your Soul has agreed to be the channel through which the matter will be resolved for the Highest Good of all concerned. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Allow God, and God alone, to work through you. You’ll know that it’s the Divine talking to you if what you are directed to do is not vindictive, involves no anger, requires no force, and no one is physically or emotionally harmed.

Whatever and whomever you need to complete your Divine Assignment will mysteriously appear. Sometimes they provide resources and information that you didn’t know existed. You didn’t need to know before that moment.

No doubt, the egos of the so-called villains probably want to maintain the status quo. But their Souls and the Divine Spirit within their Souls want their errant behavior to cease—for their own good. Egos only have control over bodies. They have absolutely no power over Divine Spirit. Game over.

What are the implications for you? Understand who you are; be curious about why you’re here. Instead of fixating on the darkness dancing in others’ errant behavior, look for their Light. And by all means, keep your Light on. Since Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time, your Light will be critical to the healing of that Soul or situation.

Who knows? Perhaps they called you onto their path to help them find their Light. Do a little over-acting: Magnify their Light. Uplift them. Bless them. Or maybe the need was yours: Maybe your Soul blessed you with the dilemma so that you could gain more “been there done that” credibility and “I know exactly how you feel” empathy for others who might reach out to you.

As Iyanla Vanzant wrote, “There Is Value in the Valley.” When someone does you wrong, thank them. They’ve stopped their own evolutionary growth to give you this opportunity to reconnect with the Divine within you, to practice acting as if you are divine, to practice non-judgment and forgiveness.

These so-called villains are not party crashers. Your Soul invited them onto your stage because they were the perfect characters to teach the lessons you needed to learn. Everyone and every situation that arises in your life serves the purpose of your Infinite Soul and Divine Spirit—the real you, the part that was made in the image of God.

You have options. You can choose to focus your attention on creating comfort and abundance for your finite physical body. You can even believe that God sent you here to wallow in paper money and luxurious material items. (Haven’t you heard? “God wants you to be rich.”) But consider the possibility that focusing on temporary possessions on the physical plane is as ego-driven and self-destructive as going into a crowded marketplace with explosives strapped to your body.

Even if you choose that route, your infinite Soul will survive. And it will grow, despite your ego’s antics. Stretching beyond the physical plane is uncomfortable. Growing pains are real. But the Soul can handle it, and it has all eternity to patiently teach you the value of being more visionary, making more divine choices.

The next time someone does you wrong, think before you react. Remember the Law of Attraction/Reciprocity: Whatever you do will be done to you. You will attract souls who mirror your beliefs and behaviors. They will treat you the way that you treat those whom you refuse to forgive.

Take advantage of every painful experience that arises. If you don’t learn and grow from that experience, if you don’t seize the opportunity to rely more heavily on the Divine within you, the one who “did you wrong” won’t be someone else.

Why We Consistently Create Disappointment

Last week we discussed the phenomenon that prompted millions of us to buy into the claim that the Law of Attraction was a “secret.” After spending our hard-earned money, we discovered that we’d known the “secret” since childhood: You reap what you sow.

The Law of Attraction/Reciprocity has now been reincarnated, reinterpreted, repackaged and monetized as a means by which we can we sow positive thoughts and reap desired possessions, conditions and people into our lives. Thinkers: What do we know about laws? Physical or spiritual, they produce the same outcome 100% of the time for 100% of the people.

Positive thoughts, affirmations and visualizations have no impact on a law. Visualize yourself releasing a brick from your hand. Meditate on it floating into the sky. Feel the excitement of defying gravity. Now, let the brick go. Did it fall up?

How does the Law of Attraction work in its 21st Century incarnation, exactly? Does it enable us to attract our every desire 100% of the time? Shouldn’t it, if it’s called a law? What if we all want to have lots of money without working? Can we leverage the Law for that? Shouldn’t we be able to?

I read a story today about a guy in Kansas who won the lottery for the second time in a year. Last September, he won $75,000. Now he’s won nearly $900,000. Did he leverage the Law of Attraction the first time and become more proficient the second? Maybe…

“When I hit $75,000, I figured lighting struck once, it won’t ever hit again,” he said. “This one knocked me flat!”

OK, so the Law didn’t have anything to do with it. He had consciously rejected the idea of beating the odds again; but it happened anyway. I’m confused. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. Is it? Generally, when the Law doesn’t work as predicted, the explanation usually includes some tactical error: didn’t do enough this or did too much of that. I am not convinced, for any number of reasons. Let me just cite a few:

Years ago, budding actor Dustin Hoffman wanted only to enjoy practicing his craft; he didn’t want to be famous. But it happened anyway. Years later, Oprah Winfrey was scared to death when our general manager decided to move her time slot to compete directly with Phil Donahue. She was sure that Donahue would annihilate her in the ratings; her dominant thought was fear. But she became the world’s most successful talk show host anyway.

What does this say about the power of thought and the Law of Attraction? Perhaps it’s this: You’re experiencing your soul’s life, not your body’s. Your physical brain and the desires of your body cannot reroute your eternal soul’s path. If your body and soul are not in agreement, your body will not get what it wants, when it wants it, no matter what metaphysical principles you practice.

Consider the possibility that each eternal soul’s finite experience on Earth has a purpose. That purpose is sometimes lofty, sometimes not. On occasion, a soul wants to experiment, push the envelope, and explore the possibilities on Planet Earth. Other times, a soul paves a distinct path, and everyone that it is destined to meet and all of the experiences that it has designed for its pleasure or growth are awaiting its arrival. In other words, as I like to say, the script is already written. Then someone tells your body that it can write a new script. Let’s climb into the balcony and see what that looks like:

INTERIOR: GOD’S FAMILY ROOM, FLOODED WITH LIGHT AND FILLED WITH FROLICKING KIDS

God is relaxing, watching them play, when a very serious looking child who has been staring out of the window suddenly beams himself next to his Father’s side. God leans over and kisses the child’s forehead.

GOD
(smiling)
Well, hello there, my little cherub. You’re looking awfully unhappy. What’s on your mind?

BLISS
Joy needs you over there on Earth. You’ve got to go help! I know that you can hear her. Why are you ignoring her?

GOD
Ignoring Joy? I don’t think that’s possible. Are you sure?

BLISS
(impatiently)
Yes, I’m sure.

BLISS points to the window where he had been intently watching the flurry of activity on Earth.

BLISS
See? Joy’s just talking, talking, talking to you over there, and you’re over here, not paying attention!

GOD
(A twinkle in his eyes)
Bliss, listen to me carefully. You know how much I love Joy, right?

BLISS
(nodding)
Yes.

GOD lifts BLISS and places him on His knee.

GOD
I love Joy unconditionally—the same way I love all of my children. No matter what she does or what she says, she’s mine and I love her. True?

BLISS nods

GOD
(Holding Bliss’s little face in His hands)
Now here’s what I want you to do: Close your eyes and bring Joy into your mind.
(He pauses)
Can you see her?

BLISS
Yes. She’s still talking to you, but she keeps looking at the sky.
(He frowns, puzzled)
Why is she doing that?

GOD
She thinks I’m in the sky. But never mind that.
Now. What else do you see?

BLISS’s eyes pop open. He’s surprised—and delighted.

BLISS
I see YOU, Daddy! You’re right there with her. I see her Light. Joy still has her Light!

GOD
(smiling)
That’s right, son. There is no spot where I am not.
Now close your eyes again. What else do you see?

BLISS
You’re whispering to her. You’re telling her that what she wants right now will stop her from fulfilling the mission she created before she left home.
But Daddy–she’s won’t stop talking so that she can’t hear you. She’s really, really upset that you’re not giving her what she wants.

Tears begin to stream down BLISS’S face. GOD tries to comfort him with a big hug.

BLISS
Why doesn’t she just shut up and listen to what you’re trying to tell her? Why, Daddy?

GOD
Joy has simply forgot that I am there. She’s lost touch. She’s been told so many times that I am far away, in the sky. Now she believes it, too.

BLISS
(sighing)
She doesn’t know that you’re right there? Can’t she see her Light? How is she going to keep from making a mess if she’s not listening?

GOD
(nodding sympathetically)
That’s the challenge all my children face when they pass through the Veil of Forgetfulness to the domain of the ego.
You know, the ego can only survive in the physical world.

BLISS
Really? It can’t beam itself anywhere else in the Universe like us souls?

GOD
No, so you can understand its frustration. Being bound to the physical world is a huge limitation. The ego would be all alone if no souls visited Earth. He makes them want to stay longer by keeping some kind of conflict going, whether it’s in their heads or with each other.

Ego makes them believe that Earth is the real world, and they believe it. He promises them that they can have anything they want—and he’s right. But because they think that Earth is all there is, they only want physical things.

BLISS
That’s all? Just physical things? But that stuff’s not forever. It’s not real.

GOD
I know. Ego doesn’t want them to know that. If they knew that they had as much power as they do, and they knew that the Source of that power was within them, they wouldn’t want to spend as much time over there entertaining Ego.
That’s why they’re weighed down with bodies the moment they arrive over there. It doesn’t take long for them to believe that they are bodies, not souls.

BLISS
(incredulous)
No!

GOD
Yes. They’ve forgotten who they are. They’ve forgotten that they all came from the same family. They’ve forgotten their Source. They look for answers outside of themselves, when everything they need is within.

Ego encourages them to fight with each other, yearn for money and possessions, and feed the drama of Earth. They act as if Earth is the center of the Universe.

BLISS
(bursting into a giggle)
You’re telling a story, Daddy! That’s too stupid to be true.

GOD
(smiling)
We don’t judge over here, remember?
No, it’s true, son. Let me explain it to you this way: The ego has a vested interest in focusing your brothers’ and sisters’ attention on the Earth’s stage, instead of on Home.
Ego drives a wedge between us by telling them that they were born evil, and that I’m really mad at them and think they’re unworthy. It even tells them that I plan to torture most of them forever because they’re so bad. They hear it so much that they believe it.

BLISS
(alarmed)
That’s crazy! They know that you are Love, Daddy!

GOD
They knew it before they left home. But they don’t stop to ask, “Would Love do that?” Instead, they believe that I hurt people.

BLISS
But if they really believe that, why would they ask you to help them when they’re in trouble? Why would they expect anyone so mean to really help them?

GOD
Because Ego also told them that even though I’m a tyrant who demands worship, I also am a loving Father. So if they beg just the right way and do just the right things, I’ll grant their requests.

BLISS
And they believe THAT? Are tyrants loving? Does a loving Father torture? That’s stu— I mean, that doesn’t make any sense!
So how do they get what they want? And what if the thing they want isn’t the right thing for them? They expect you to just say yes? That must be the tyrant part, not the loving Father part, right?

GOD
I know it’s confusing. But that’s what happens when souls rely on human brains for understanding, instead of seeking Divine Guidance. It’s a challenge. In fact, Joy and I talked about this before she left.

BLISS
(concerned)
But, Daddy, she forgot! Wha-what’s going to happen to her now? Look at her; she’s working so hard to make things go her way. She’s so sure that this is the right thing.

GOD
(nodding)
I know.

BLISS
It’s not right for her, is it?

GOD
No, son, it’s not. But she has free will. She controls her outcomes, not me. There’s a natural consequence for every decision she makes. If she keeps doing what she’s doing and keeps meeting disappointment and heartache, she may decide to be still and listen to the still small voice within her.

I am not going anywhere. I’ll be there whenever she wants to talk to me, and I will give her guidance whenever she wants to listen.

BLISS
(gently leaning his head on God’s chest)
Thanks, Daddy. What would we do without you?

GOD
(leaning over to kiss BLISS forehead)
You’ll never have to find out, son. You’ll never have to find out.

LIGHT FADES, CURTAIN FALLS

Why We Consistently Create Disappointment

Last week we discussed the phenomenon that prompted millions of us to buy into the claim that the Law of Attraction was a “secret.” After spending our hard-earned money, we discovered that we’d known the “secret” since childhood: You reap what you sow.

The Law of Attraction/Reciprocity has now been reincarnated, reinterpreted, repackaged and monetized as a means by which we can we sow positive thoughts and reap desired possessions, conditions and people into our lives. Thinkers: What do we know about laws? Physical or spiritual, they produce the same outcome 100% of the time for 100% of the people.

Positive thoughts, affirmations and visualizations have no impact on a law. Visualize yourself releasing a brick from your hand. Meditate on it floating into the sky. Feel the excitement of defying gravity. Now, let the brick go. Did it fall up?

How does the Law of Attraction work in its 21st Century incarnation, exactly? Does it enable us to attract our every desire 100% of the time? Shouldn’t it, if it’s called a law? What if we all want to have lots of money without working? Can we leverage the Law for that? Shouldn’t we be able to?

I read a story today about a guy in Kansas who won the lottery for the second time in a year. Last September, he won $75,000. Now he’s won nearly $900,000. Did he leverage the Law of Attraction the first time and become more proficient the second? Maybe…

“When I hit $75,000, I figured lighting struck once, it won’t ever hit again,” he said. “This one knocked me flat!”

OK, so the Law didn’t have anything to do with it. He had consciously rejected the idea of beating the odds again; but it happened anyway. I’m confused. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. Is it? Generally, when the Law doesn’t work as predicted, the explanation usually includes some tactical error: didn’t do enough this or did too much of that. I am not convinced, for any number of reasons. Let me just cite a few:

Years ago, budding actor Dustin Hoffman wanted only to enjoy practicing his craft; he didn’t want to be famous. But it happened anyway. Years later, Oprah Winfrey was scared to death when our general manager decided to move her time slot to compete directly with Phil Donahue. She was sure that Donahue would annihilate her in the ratings; her dominant thought was fear. But she became the world’s most successful talk show host anyway.

What does this say about the power of thought and the Law of Attraction? Perhaps it’s this: You’re experiencing your soul’s life, not your body’s. Your physical brain and the desires of your body cannot reroute your eternal soul’s path. If your body and soul are not in agreement, your body will not get what it wants, when it wants it, no matter what metaphysical principles you practice.

Consider the possibility that each eternal soul’s finite experience on Earth has a purpose. That purpose is sometimes lofty, sometimes not. On occasion, a soul wants to experiment, push the envelope, and explore the possibilities on Planet Earth. Other times, a soul paves a distinct path, and everyone that it is destined to meet and all of the experiences that it has designed for its pleasure or growth are awaiting its arrival. In other words, as I like to say, the script is already written. Then someone tells your body that it can write a new script. Let’s climb into the balcony and see what that looks like:

INTERIOR: GOD’S FAMILY ROOM, FLOODED WITH LIGHT AND FILLED WITH FROLICKING KIDS

God is relaxing, watching them play, when a very serious looking child who has been staring out of the window suddenly beams himself next to his Father’s side. God leans over and kisses the child’s forehead.

GOD
(smiling)
Well, hello there, my little cherub. You’re looking awfully unhappy. What’s on your mind?

BLISS
Joy needs you over there on Earth. You’ve got to go help! I know that you can hear her. Why are you ignoring her?

GOD
Ignoring Joy? I don’t think that’s possible. Are you sure?

BLISS
(impatiently)
Yes, I’m sure.

BLISS points to the window where he had been intently watching the flurry of activity on Earth.

BLISS
See? Joy’s just talking, talking, talking to you over there, and you’re over here, not paying attention!

GOD
(A twinkle in his eyes)
Bliss, listen to me carefully. You know how much I love Joy, right?

BLISS
(nodding)
Yes.

GOD lifts BLISS and places him on His knee.

GOD
I love Joy unconditionally—the same way I love all of my children. No matter what she does or what she says, she’s mine and I love her. True?

BLISS nods

GOD
(Holding Bliss’s little face in His hands)
Now here’s what I want you to do: Close your eyes and bring Joy into your mind.
(He pauses)
Can you see her?

BLISS
Yes. She’s still talking to you, but she keeps looking at the sky.
(He frowns, puzzled)
Why is she doing that?

GOD
She thinks I’m in the sky. But never mind that.
Now. What else do you see?

BLISS’s eyes pop open. He’s surprised—and delighted.

BLISS
I see YOU, Daddy! You’re right there with her. I see her Light. Joy still has her Light!

GOD
(smiling)
That’s right, son. There is no spot where I am not.
Now close your eyes again. What else do you see?

BLISS
You’re whispering to her. You’re telling her that what she wants right now will stop her from fulfilling the mission she created before she left home.
But Daddy–she’s won’t stop talking so that she can’t hear you. She’s really, really upset that you’re not giving her what she wants.

Tears begin to stream down BLISS’S face. GOD tries to comfort him with a big hug.

BLISS
Why doesn’t she just shut up and listen to what you’re trying to tell her? Why, Daddy?

GOD
Joy has simply forgot that I am there. She’s lost touch. She’s been told so many times that I am far away, in the sky. Now she believes it, too.

BLISS
(sighing)
She doesn’t know that you’re right there? Can’t she see her Light? How is she going to keep from making a mess if she’s not listening?

GOD
(nodding sympathetically)
That’s the challenge all my children face when they pass through the Veil of Forgetfulness to the domain of the ego.
You know, the ego can only survive in the physical world.

BLISS
Really? It can’t beam itself anywhere else in the Universe like us souls?

GOD
No, so you can understand its frustration. Being bound to the physical world is a huge limitation. The ego would be all alone if no souls visited Earth. He makes them want to stay longer by keeping some kind of conflict going, whether it’s in their heads or with each other.

Ego makes them believe that Earth is the real world, and they believe it. He promises them that they can have anything they want—and he’s right. But because they think that Earth is all there is, they only want physical things.

BLISS
That’s all? Just physical things? But that stuff’s not forever. It’s not real.

GOD
I know. Ego doesn’t want them to know that. If they knew that they had as much power as they do, and they knew that the Source of that power was within them, they wouldn’t want to spend as much time over there entertaining Ego.
That’s why they’re weighed down with bodies the moment they arrive over there. It doesn’t take long for them to believe that they are bodies, not souls.

BLISS
(incredulous)
No!

GOD
Yes. They’ve forgotten who they are. They’ve forgotten that they all came from the same family. They’ve forgotten their Source. They look for answers outside of themselves, when everything they need is within.

Ego encourages them to fight with each other, yearn for money and possessions, and feed the drama of Earth. They act as if Earth is the center of the Universe.

BLISS
(bursting into a giggle)
You’re telling a story, Daddy! That’s too stupid to be true.

GOD
(smiling)
We don’t judge over here, remember?
No, it’s true, son. Let me explain it to you this way: The ego has a vested interest in focusing your brothers’ and sisters’ attention on the Earth’s stage, instead of on Home.
Ego drives a wedge between us by telling them that they were born evil, and that I’m really mad at them and think they’re unworthy. It even tells them that I plan to torture most of them forever because they’re so bad. They hear it so much that they believe it.

BLISS
(alarmed)
That’s crazy! They know that you are Love, Daddy!

GOD
They knew it before they left home. But they don’t stop to ask, “Would Love do that?” Instead, they believe that I hurt people.

BLISS
But if they really believe that, why would they ask you to help them when they’re in trouble? Why would they expect anyone so mean to really help them?

GOD
Because Ego also told them that even though I’m a tyrant who demands worship, I also am a loving Father. So if they beg just the right way and do just the right things, I’ll grant their requests.

BLISS
And they believe THAT? Are tyrants loving? Does a loving Father torture? That’s stu— I mean, that doesn’t make any sense!
So how do they get what they want? And what if the thing they want isn’t the right thing for them? They expect you to just say yes? That must be the tyrant part, not the loving Father part, right?

GOD
I know it’s confusing. But that’s what happens when souls rely on human brains for understanding, instead of seeking Divine Guidance. It’s a challenge. In fact, Joy and I talked about this before she left.

BLISS
(concerned)
But, Daddy, she forgot! Wha-what’s going to happen to her now? Look at her; she’s working so hard to make things go her way. She’s so sure that this is the right thing.

GOD
(nodding)
I know.

BLISS
It’s not right for her, is it?

GOD
No, son, it’s not. But she has free will. She controls her outcomes, not me. There’s a natural consequence for every decision she makes. If she keeps doing what she’s doing and keeps meeting disappointment and heartache, she may decide to be still and listen to the still small voice within her.

I am not going anywhere. I’ll be there whenever she wants to talk to me, and I will give her guidance whenever she wants to listen.

BLISS
(gently leaning his head on God’s chest)
Thanks, Daddy. What would we do without you?

GOD
(leaning over to kiss BLISS forehead)
You’ll never have to find out, son. You’ll never have to find out.

LIGHT FADES, CURTAIN FALLS

Who’s gonna nab the real burglar in Cambridge?

The furor over the arrest of renowned Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has been painful to watch, even from the balcony of Life’s dramas: Scenes littered with suspicion, mistrust and accusations of racial profiling morphed into outrage, defensiveness, retaliation and, alas, some unfortunate mug shots. None of it—not the incident, the race-based commentary or what was really happening behind the scenes—was spiritually enlightening or positively evolutionary.

If you resisted the urge to jump onto this stage and fuel the flames of racial bigotry, if you maintained some distance and climbed into the balcony of the mayhem, then you had the benefit of being detached enough to see the character stealing each scene. You could almost hear him chortling. Uh huh, it was our devious friend Ego, the Anti-Christ, gleefully yanking everybody’s chain. Yes, I said it: Your, my, our ego is the Anti-Christ.

I didn’t think that I was the first to link the two; but just to make sure, I Googled “Ego Anti-Christ.” The numerous results included books such as Real Jesus, the psychology of anti-christ, and articles. One, “How to Recognize the Anti-Christ Within” leaped from the page. There was even an Oprah.com Community post, “The anti-Christ is NOT a person.”

Millions are waiting for the Anti-Christ to arrive, but it’s been here all along. It sits where we sit, stands where we stand, walks where we walk. And all too often, it speaks when we speak. It prods us to do and say things to others that we would not want done or said to us. It picks fights, fuels dissension, and causes us to choose angry force over peaceful power. It justifies righteous indignation over effective conflict resolution. It’s like a magnet, spinning our moral compass out of control.

Ego is the antithesis of the Christ spirit. It upstages maturity and intelligence. It stirs up mess, and through mass and social media, engages millions in divisive bickering that keeps us mired in the drama of Earth, distracting us from the greater reality of who we are and what Life is. Heaven forbid that we should choose peace, bliss out, and discover that we are more powerful than our egos led us to believe!

Ego is winning its battle for our souls, though not on merit. We’re forfeiting without even showing up.

Ego has a vested interest in highlighting our differences rather than our unifying divinity. It tells us that others are less human, less intelligent, less prosperous or not as beautiful as we are, and we should treat them offensively. We obey. It tells us that someone thinks they’re better than we are, and we should be offended. On cue, we shake our fists in rage, hearts pounding, glands sweating, blood pressure rising, literally making ourselves sick.

Ego doesn’t care whom it hurts. After all, hurt people hurt people. Hurt people also create more drama, so the ego’s manipulative mission has been accomplished. Ego will act a fool and make a fool wherever humans allow: in the opulent offices of global government and business leaders, in the squalor of tent cities, refugee camps and urban ghettos, and in quiet upscale neighborhoods such as Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In every case, the human mind makes a conscious decision to relinquish control to the devilish ego. We are not as conscious of the corresponding consequences, but that can change. At any moment, we can choose to act in our own best interests.
“I can be changed by what happens to me.
I refuse to be reduced by it.”
Whenever we let the ego force us to focus on the superficial, we volunteer to be reduced—sometimes in front of huge gawking audiences. Whenever we handcuff and book someone for screaming at us, we reduce ourselves to mere ego. Whenever we ask, “Is it because I’m Black?” or retort, “I’ll talk to your mama on the porch,” we’ve let the ego win. Whenever we label ourselves as anything other than children made in the image of the Love that is God, we’ve bought into the ego’s false claims that we are only humans, defined by our differences.

Situations often arise to help us remember who and whose we are. These teachable moments allow us to practice calling on the Light of God within to anchor us to our seats so that we won’t leap onto the stage of someone else’s ego-driven drama. These are times when we can work on perfecting the art of seeing the omnipresent God Light in everyone, no matter how they’re acting.

Truth has its rewards. Without these challenging or confrontational situations, when would we have an opportunity to demonstrate our values, stand firm in the truth of our own divinity, and refuse to be diminished by anything said or done?

Whatever your reaction to the lamentable drama in Cambridge, did you observe your own values on display when you spoke or wrote about it? Others certainly noticed. While responding to my comment about the incident on Denrique Preudhomme’s blog earlier this week, a woman declared that she didn’t believe that we should turn the other cheek and let God handle our problems. Furthermore, she said, God would not want us to back down from a fight with our tails tucked between our legs.

If she had not written that, the rest of us would not have known that she, like George W. Bush, perceived God as pugnacious rather than the Prince of Peace. I didn’t argue. We must give loving allowance for folks to believe what they believe. However, I did acknowledge my awareness that there are many who, like her, do not believe in the teachings of Jesus. (OK, so I also added that this is why we create, nurture and repeat these hurtful dramas. I admit that it might have been a bit judgmental. I’m working on that—mean it. Hey, if my soul was fully evolved, it wouldn’t be wearing this body.)

That brief online exchange was just another of my many self-awareness tests. Sometimes I pass, sometimes I fail. The most difficult part for me is maintaining conscious awareness that many times each day I will encounter these opportunities to speak and act from my empowering Divine-Self or my destructive Ego-Self. Each decision has its corresponding consequences, which should be incentive enough. And it is, when I remember instead of getting caught up in the drama.

It’s infinitely easier to detect these growth opportunities when I watch other folks’ dramas from the balcony of their lives. Recently, several friends have approached me for support after encountering dehumanizing individuals who hadn’t simply hidden their God Light under a bushel; they had buried it in a different zip code.

One friend wondered if the vile nature of her client’s in-your-face communication warranted an equally caustic and profane response “to show him who he was dealing with.” After all, she was no chump!

Because she was no chump, I suggested, wouldn’t it be a greater demonstration of her strength if she refused to allow him to blow out her Christ Light with his belittling rants? Any chump can throw verbal garbage or physical blows. Any small person can try to feel bigger by diminishing the worth of others. Only the strong can turn the other cheek, knowing that the power of the Almighty is within them. She liked that idea and accepted the challenge to flex that muscle.

A few days ago, another dear friend and mentor, a phenomenal manager in the business world, demonstrated that he is also an awesome leader in the real world. His boss, frustrated that he did not have the authority to fire my friend, spewed venomous, demeaning language in his face.

My friend didn’t react, no matter how disrespectfully the man behaved in this professional setting. He refused to relinquish his power. He refused to allow the out-of-control being on the other side of the desk to force him to abandon the refuge of his Christ-Self.

He calmly observed his boss’s tantrum. In fact, he said, he felt sorry for the man—and with good reason: Despite his considerable education, this man did not know what he was doing to himself physically or spiritually. He did not know that his fury was creating a chemical time bomb in his body. He did not know that this is a reap-what-you-sow world: Whatever you do will be done to you. He also did not know that your anger cannot control others’ bodies, minds or behavior unless they allow.

Luckily, most of us can exist an entire lifetime without being subjected to scenarios with this level of toxicity. I can’t say with certainty that I would have responded appropriately if I had encountered this situation before my mentor modeled—with a capital “M”—how to exude sheer power. If he can do it, we can do it.

He didn’t simply accept the opportunity to be Christ-like, he owned it. He was like the proverbial tree that’s planted in the water: He would not be moved. Despite his boss’s numerous attempts to drown him in darkness and goad him into responding insubordinately, my friend stood strong and tall in the Light, knowing that Darkness and Light cannot occupy the same space at the same time. By making this choice, he and the Light actually became One.

The irony here is that one man was a Christian minister. The other wasn’t. Guess which.

It was Ego who walked off that stage with his tail tucked between his legs—a defeat that did little to spoil its high batting average in many other places in the world, including Cambridge.

Perhaps we can further diminish its influence and impact if we simply shed light on other instances in which we held the Anti-Christ at bay. (Now wouldn’t that be a Revelation?)

What challenges have you faced that you’ve overcome in a powerful way? Or if you missed an opportunity, with hindsight, how would you have handled it more effectively?

Who’s gonna nab the real burglar in Cambridge?

The furor over the arrest of renowned Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has been painful to watch, even from the balcony of Life’s dramas: Scenes littered with suspicion, mistrust and accusations of racial profiling morphed into outrage, defensiveness, retaliation and, alas, some unfortunate mug shots. None of it—not the incident, the race-based commentary or what was really happening behind the scenes—was spiritually enlightening or positively evolutionary.

If you resisted the urge to jump onto this stage and fuel the flames of racial bigotry, if you maintained some distance and climbed into the balcony of the mayhem, then you had the benefit of being detached enough to see the character stealing each scene. You could almost hear him chortling. Uh huh, it was our devious friend Ego, the Anti-Christ, gleefully yanking everybody’s chain. Yes, I said it: Your, my, our ego is the Anti-Christ.

I didn’t think that I was the first to link the two; but just to make sure, I Googled “Ego Anti-Christ.”  The numerous results included books such as Real Jesus, the psychology of anti-christ, and articles. One, “How to Recognize the Anti-Christ Within” leaped from the page. There was even an Oprah.com Community post, “The anti-Christ is NOT a person.” 

Millions are waiting for the Anti-Christ to arrive, but it’s been here all along. It sits where we sit, stands where we stand, walks where we walk. And all too often, it speaks when we speak. It prods us to do and say things to others that we would not want done or said to us. It picks fights, fuels dissension, and causes us to choose angry force over peaceful power. It justifies righteous indignation over effective conflict resolution. It’s like a magnet, spinning our moral compass out of control.

Ego is the antithesis of the Christ spirit. It upstages maturity and intelligence. It stirs up mess, and through mass and social media, engages millions in divisive bickering that keeps us mired in the drama of Earth, distracting us from the greater reality of who we are and what Life is. Heaven forbid that we should choose peace, bliss out, and discover that we are more powerful than our egos led us to believe!

Ego is winning its battle for our souls, though not on merit. We’re forfeiting without even showing up.

Ego has a vested interest in highlighting our differences rather than our unifying divinity. It tells us that others are less human, less intelligent, less prosperous or not as beautiful as we are, and we should treat them offensively. We obey. It tells us that someone thinks they’re better than we are, and we should be offended. On cue, we shake our fists in rage, hearts pounding, glands sweating, blood pressure rising, literally making ourselves sick. 

Ego doesn’t care whom it hurts. After all, hurt people hurt people. Hurt people also create more drama, so the ego’s manipulative mission has been accomplished. Ego will act a fool and make a fool wherever humans allow: in the opulent offices of global government and business leaders, in the squalor of tent cities, refugee camps and urban ghettos, and in quiet upscale neighborhoods such as Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In every case, the human mind makes a conscious decision to relinquish control to the devilish ego. We are not as conscious of the corresponding consequences, but that can change. At any moment, we can choose to act in our own best interest.

“I can be changed by what happens to me.
I refuse to be reduced by it.”
                                                                       Maya Angelou

 Whenever we let the ego force us to focus on the superficial, we volunteer to be reduced—sometimes in front of huge gawking audiences. Whenever we handcuff and book someone for screaming at us, we reduce ourselves to mere ego. Whenever we ask, “Is it because I’m Black?” or retort, “I’ll talk to your mama on the porch,” we’ve let the ego win. Whenever we label ourselves as anything other than children made in the image of the Love that is God, we’ve bought into the ego’s false claims that we are only humans, defined by our differences.  

Situations often arise to help us remember who and whose we are. These teachable moments allow us to practice calling on the Light of God within to anchor us to our seats so that we won’t leap onto the stage of someone else’s ego-driven drama. These are times when we can work on perfecting the art of seeing the omnipresent God Light in everyone, no matter how they’re acting.

Truth has its rewards. Without these challenging or confrontational situations, when would we have an opportunity to demonstrate our values, stand firm in the truth of our own divinity, and refuse to be diminished by anything said or done?

Whatever your reaction to the lamentable drama in Cambridge, did you observe your own values on display when you spoke or wrote about it? Others certainly noticed. While responding to my comment about the incident on Denrique Preudhomme’s blog earlier this week, a woman declared that she didn’t believe that we should turn the other cheek and let God handle our problems. Furthermore, she said, God would not want us to back down from a fight with our tails tucked between our legs.

If she had not written that, the rest of us would not have known that she, like George W. Bush, perceived God as pugnacious rather than the Prince of Peace. I didn’t argue. We must give loving allowance for folks to believe what they believe. However, I did acknowledge my awareness that there are many who, like her, do not believe in the teachings of Jesus. (OK, so I also added that this is why we create, nurture and repeat these hurtful dramas. I admit that it might have been a bit judgmental. I’m working on that—mean it. Hey, if my soul was fully evolved, it wouldn’t be wearing this body.)

That brief online exchange was just another of my many self-awareness tests. Sometimes I pass, sometimes I fail. The most difficult part for me is maintaining conscious awareness that many times each day I will encounter these opportunities to speak and act from my empowering Divine-Self or my destructive Ego-Self. Each decision has its corresponding consequences, which should be incentive enough. And it is, when I remember instead of getting caught up in the drama.

It’s infinitely easier to detect these growth opportunities when I watch other folks’ dramas from the balcony of their lives. Recently, several friends have approached me for support after encountering dehumanizing individuals who hadn’t simply hidden their God Light under a bushel; they had buried it in a different zip code.

One friend wondered if the vile nature of her client’s in-your-face communication warranted an equally caustic and profane response “to show him who he was dealing with.” After all, she was no chump!

Because she was no chump, I suggested, wouldn’t it be a greater demonstration of her strength if she refused to allow him to blow out her Christ Light with his belittling rants? Any chump can throw verbal garbage or physical blows. Any small person can try to feel bigger by diminishing the worth of others. Only the strong can turn the other cheek, knowing that the power of the Almighty is within them. She liked that idea and accepted the challenge to flex that muscle.

A few days ago, another dear friend and mentor, a phenomenal manager in the business world, demonstrated that he is also an awesome leader in the real world. His boss, frustrated that he did not have the authority to fire my friend, spewed venomous, demeaning language in his face.

My friend didn’t react, no matter how disrespectfully the man behaved in this professional setting. He refused to relinquish his power. He refused to allow the out-of-control being on the other side of the desk to force him to abandon the refuge of his Christ-Self.

He calmly observed his boss’s tantrum. In fact, he said, he felt sorry for the man—and with good reason:  Despite his considerable education, this man did not know what he was doing to himself physically or spiritually. He did not know that his fury was creating a chemical time bomb in his body. He did not know that this is a reap-what-you-sow world: Whatever you do will be done to you. He also did not know that your anger cannot control others’ bodies, minds or behavior unless they allow.

Luckily, most of us can exist an entire lifetime without being subjected to scenarios with this level of toxicity. I can’t say with certainty that I would have responded appropriately if I had encountered this situation before my mentor modeled—with a capital “M”—how to exude sheer power. If he can do it, we can do it.

He didn’t simply accept the opportunity to be Christ-like, he owned it. He was like the proverbial tree that’s planted in the water: He would not be moved. Despite his boss’s numerous attempts to drown him in darkness and goad him into responding insubordinately, my friend stood strong and tall in the Light, knowing that Darkness and Light cannot occupy the same space at the same time. By making this choice, he and the Light actually became One.

The irony here is that one man was a Christian minister. The other wasn’t. Guess which.

It was Ego who walked off that stage with his tail tucked between his legs—a defeat that did little to spoil its high batting average in many other places in the world, including Cambridge. Perhaps we can further diminish its influence and impact if we simply shed light on other instances in which we held the Anti-Christ at bay. (Now wouldn’t that be a Revelation?)

What challenges have you faced that you’ve overcome in a powerful way? Or if you missed an opportunity, with hindsight, how would you have handled it more effectively?

Puttin’ a hurtin’ on ourselves

Perhaps you noticed the fear-peddling headlines about the growing number of ‘lone wolf’ terrorists who have assigned themselves the duty of killing those whose behavior, looks or ideologies don’t align with theirs. I was in the news business for more than 20 years, and I confidently declare that this is not news.

The reports are focused on the past three weeks, but who are they kidding? Lone wolf terrorists have been on the prowl for centuries. Just today, thousands of these terrorists committed dehumanizing acts in homes, workplaces, churches, schools, college campuses, online–in fact, any location where at least two are gathered is susceptible to terrorist attack.

Terrorists don’t always commit murder; the overwhelming majority take pleasure in annihilating humans’ freedom of thought and movement, basic rights, or our most cherished possession: self worth. If we don’t do what they want us to do, when and how they want us to do it, they attack: verbally, physically–or my favorite, in prose.

Somewhere these folks learned that assault is an appropriate, mature, effective and transformative response to a problem; some even consider it professional. Now that’s deep.

In every case, the attackers are laser-focused on their victims, determined to force victims to conform to or comply with their wishes–or face the consequences of their wrath. This is a technique with an ancient precedent. (See my earlier post: “Solving problems by killing people: A Divine idea?”) Because they’re not looking inward, they not only lose their connection with the perfect solution, they become their own victims. In other words, the hunter gets captured by the game.

Can you remember the last time you were angry? Do you remember what it felt like: heart pounding so hard you could hear it; your armpits were dripping, and your chest felt as tight as a clenched fist. Your veins were bulging at your temples and your breathing was shallow–even the steam coming from your nostrils was in short bursts. Remember that? You kept telling yourself (and telling anyone who would listen) how furious you were, and you thought a lot about retribution–getting even, showing them what a bad idea it was to mess with you.

Science tells us that these angry feelings changed your body chemistry; you actually created harmful poisons inside you. Metaphysics suggests that your negative emotions might have even left an imprint on your soul that will come back to haunt your body in the form of disease. Anger, they say, eats up your ethereal body and creates diseases that do the same to your physical body.

Who was the real victim? And who orchestrated it all? Your ego. Heck, it was the ego who told somebody to tell you that some dude named Satan was The Enemy, and that God was in some far off place.

The ego will always tell you that whatever happened is someone else’s fault, and that you should attack. It will never mention that God is waiting peacefully within you, waiting for you to ask for a more enlightened way to solve your problems.

“The ego is  master illusionist. From your birth, it diverts your attention by giving you–and this calls for a drumroll, please–problems.”

The Disappearance of the Universe, Gary R. Renard

Anger, resentment confrontation, retribution, violence are the ego’s tricks, and we fall for them every time. Our egos make us think that we’re showing others how powerful we are by verbally or physically beating up on them: “I’m mad! And I’m going to make you suffer!” In reality, we’re only beating up on ourselves. All of the negative energy we create harms our physical bodies and makes us weaker, sicker and slower to heal.

The ego also convinces us that we were right, and it gives us justification for whatever we did. Like parrots, we repeat it as if it’s true. The man who murdered the abortion doctor justified his actions, as did the young man in Alabama who fired shots at the military recruiting office and the white supremacist who killed the guard at the Holocaust Museum. In their minds, they were right–and, scary as it may seem, each believed that they honored God by killing their victims. That’s because they read somewhere that God solves problems by brutally killing people.

Our egos can only take us where we agree to go. Our egos don’t want us to remember one vitally important fact: At the end of the day, we will not be accountable for what others did to us—only for what we did to them, no matter what they did to us. And so we agree to forget.

We will only be held accountable for our actionsEvery time we fixate on and react negatively or punitively to what someone else did, we jump into the ego’s trick bag, yank the drawstring and tie a knot around our necks. We deliberately inflict these wounds on ourselves and we cannot blame anyone else.

Life is a teacher, and it gives us numerous opportunities to become stronger than our egos. It sends negative, ego-driven people into our space to taunt and to teach. It gives us plenty of opportunities to practice neutralizing their negative energy so that it doesn’t hurt us.

The most potent neutralizer is forgiveness. Think of what a bucket of water did to the Wicked Witch of the West–an evil, power-hungry woman who stopped at nothing to get what she wanted (like some of the people we know). Forgiveness is your bucket of water. It restores the power your own ‘lone wolf terrorist’–your ego–has stripped from you.

Your ego has convinced you that forgiveness is something you give to someone else. Furthermore, it insists, you should withhold forgiveness to punish them. It’s a power trip, a survival technique. But it’s not ours; it’s the ego’s. If we forgive, our egos die, melt into nothingness like the witch.

Expect your ego to fight for survival if you start forgiving others. It will send a battalion of petty, nasty people to make you lose your cool and relinquish your power to them. Some of us actually become stronger from these challenging exercises. Others succumb and become part of the embittered battalion. We always have a choice in determining our outcome.

I have a friend who was being verbally accosted by a client, of all people. The attacks were vicious, condescending, profane and abusive. Because they were so extreme, she felt that she had to stand up for herself—even though he was a client and could impact her livelihood.

She considered giving him an earful of what he had given her. Instead, she gave me a call. If she was looking for affirmation that a good cussin’ out would neutralize this clown, she dialed the wrong number.

My response: Don’t let him blow out your Christ Light. Hold onto the Christ within you and don’t let It go. Don’t empower this man to make you act anything but Christlike. Don’t let him force you to be less than who you are.

We’re tested with scenarios such as this all the time. While walking home earlier this evening, past the Blues Fest, I saw a man jump out of his car at the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Monroe, and accost the man in the car behind him. First, the attack was verbal; then he began to punch the driver through his open window. A second man jumped out of the car in front and joined the attack as about a dozen of us watched, speechless.

My eyes darted about, surveying the surrounding area for shelter, just in case one of the fools had a gun. In all these years, I had never noticed that the boathouse was so dangerously far away from the curb.

It was one of those “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do (to themselves)” moments. Most times, we allow the darkness to overpower us because we’ve lost sight of our Light. We forgot that light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time. The only way to remember is to practice, practice, practice until it becomes an instinct to see and to be the Light within. Once we’ve grasped that, instead of falling into someone’s dark vortex, we will instinctively forgive them, no matter what they do.

Forgiveness is not for the weak. Like everything that benefits us, like exercise and healthy eating, it requires a strong resolve–and lots and lots of practice. But you can do it, if you really want a more joyful life.

I was speaking with a colleague the other day, and she surprised me by mentioning that she seeks inspiration on my www.dramaqueenworkshops.com website when she encounters negativity. On that particular day, she had also downloaded a Forgiveness Coupon from the site, and she said that it instantly empowered her.

I invite you to do the same. Forgiveness Coupons will fully support your practice. They are totally free and absolutely priceless. As indicated on each coupon, they are also fully transferable and duplication is highly encouraged (or simply download more). And, did I mention: They never expire.