Friday, July 25, 2014

Make Your Heart Sing

"Everything I do, I do to make my heart sing." This is a quote by Michael E. Angier, founder and chief inspiration officer of SuccessNet. I like this quote because it makes sense to me. However, I don't view it the way you might think.

I can see how someone might interpret this quote to mean they should either feel ecstatic about everything they do or they should elect to do only that which they believe or know will make them feel that way. For me, it represents a tool for self-inspiration.

Even if it doesn't appear as such, everything we do gets done because we choose to do it. We really could choose not to be responsible so as not to deal with paying the rent or mortgage, or meeting commitments. Even if something "makes" you feel terrible like going to a job you're discontent with, you still choose to go there every day.

There are occasions when I opt not to do something based on my needs or wants at that time. Even when I choose to do something I perceive as tedious or serious, I strive to look for an aspect about it that is congruent with head and heart alignment (though, sometimes this may take a while, depending on the emotions involved and the event). Head and heart alignment makes my heart sing; it makes me feel spiritually solid. Head and heart alignment, to me, is about being on purpose. It's about being true to my Self and feeling a sense of personal integrity.

So many people struggle with self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence, and so forth. Look at those compound words. All of them begin with the Self. Everything, actually, begins with the Self. We're still healing—or need to—from the indoctrinated belief that considering ourselves first is Self-ish. It isn't, not if it’s done in the right way from the right mindset and spirit. For example, when we do something for another, or for any reason, either from guilt or fear of some kind (often of rejection), and resent doing it, we engage in a form of self-destruction. There's no head and heart alignment in that type of scenario, no way for the heart to sing, no way to feel authentic or spiritually solid.

"What's in it for me?" is the question sales motivators tell us is what is foremost in the minds of potential customers or clients. I use this question, especially when I find I'm involved in unpleasant or serious circumstances. At the very least, what can be in it for me is the opportunity to find my place of integrity; an opportunity to observe my thoughts, words, and actions; and an opportunity to see who I choose to be in each moment.

We've heard that even the most giving act is selfish because we do it to make ourselves feel good, or at least, that is the inevitable outcome. Everything we do has a symbiotic effect. There's no way to avoid that. There is a way to make it work for us. If you can approach every moment with a what's-in-it-for-me-at-a-deeper-level process, and do so with a broader purview as described above, and if your heart has seemed silent, prepare for it to sing with serenity, joy, and purpose more often. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.           
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

Friday, July 18, 2014

Go With vs. Get into the Flow

“Go with the flow” was and still is a popular thing to say and attitude to have. But what about “Get into the flow”? Is there really a difference? I say yes.

I think there is a difference, or at least, I feel one at an inner level, so trust that feeling in how I relate to my experiences. For me, going with the flow represents a couple of attitudes. One attitude is when things are going a certain way and you flow with it, say, like instead of trying to control what happens at a dinner party or picnic, you just allow the experience to unfold and are in the now with whatever happens. Another go-with-the-flow attitude is when something happens that your ego-aspect wants to resist but you release the resistance. This doesn’t mean you don’t take action, if action is needed, but you quiet your resistant ego-aspect and engage your mind and spirit instead so that you have presence of mind as needed.

What prompted me to perceive a difference between go with the flow and get into the flow was when I heard or read (I don’t recall how or who) “It’s not about what you can get from the flow, but that you get into the flow.” Often, we think of go with the flow as a way to get what we need or desire from the flow—the Universal Energy-Matching Marketplace—whether that’s a feeling or something tangible. But that has a certain passive energy to it. Get into the flow, for me, has a feeling of serene inner action that’s highly attractive to the Good that Source wants me to enjoy and benefit from. It says to me that I’m not just going along, but am engaged with aligning my energy with the flow, order, and creative consciousness of Source. It says I’m in partnership with Source. Maybe that’s just me, but I feel a true difference between the two statements. It’s the difference between having access to one or a few items you need or desire and having unlimited access to what you need or desire.

Ever have one of those moments, events, or days when it appears that if something can go wrong, it seems to? That’s a time when both go with the flow and get into the flow can make a difference, and for me, they happen in that order, if I wasn’t in the flow to start with—which happens. While living in New York City, I was to set up a booth at an event. The event was one I not only looked forward to but carefully planned for. My handouts, business cards, and artificial bonsai tree were packed and ready to go in my wheeled suitcase the day before the event. It was scheduled to start at noon and last until two o'clock; which meant I needed to be at the site for 11:30 so I could set up my table. I was ready!

The morning of the event, I went through my usual meditative routine, and included my mantra, used especially when I have to commute or travel: I'm always in the right place at the right time with the right action and the right people. Using the subway on a Saturday means you have to allow extra time for a slower commute; for me, about an 80-minute ride to my destination. If I left by 10 a.m., I'd have enough time for the ride and to walk to the site. I didn't leave my apartment until almost 10:15. Pulling my weighted suitcase on the bumpy sidewalk, I made it to the subway station, a 15-minute walk without a suitcase. The entrance was roped off because the interior was being painted. I'm always in the right place . . .

I repeated my mantra as I quickly pulled my suitcase the eight blocks north to the next subway stop, also roped off. My brain went into gear: There wasn't enough time for me to keep walking north until I found an open station. I didn't have enough cash on me to take car service as far as the site, nor did I want to pay around $70 for a ride that cost $2.50 on the subway. And, that was just one way.

A note on a post caught my attention: It advised subway riders to use one of the shuttle buses they provided because of this (I hadn’t seen that sign at my original subway entrance). I crossed the street to where others stood at a regular bus stop. A woman explained what I had to do. I checked my watch; it was 10:40. The bus pulled up, I got on, and asked the driver if he was taking us to the next transfer station where I could catch the train. "It's not running there,” he told me. “You have to go to the transfer station after that one." Only 18 blocks, but to my now-getting-a-little-concerned ego-aspect, it seemed like 18 miles. I'm always in the right place . . .

I hurried down the steps to the subway platform. An express train was there and I flew through its doors and got a seat. At the main transfer station, I changed to the express train that would take me to my stop on Manhattan's Upper West Side. It was 11:20 and I was at a station in Lower Manhattan when I realized there was no express service in the city on Saturday; we'd make every local stop.

Understand, I wasn't upset or losing it, though I was bemused; then I was amused as I realized this was an opportunity to really practice what I preach. There was no way I could arrive frazzled and tout coaching to get peaceful, poised, on purpose, and empowered. I laughed to myself and believed it would all be fine. I chose to have an inner and outer experience that I'm always in the right place . . . What was happening at the inner level up to this point was I was going with the flow—until I had this realization on the train. At that moment, I got into the flow.

Remarkably, I arrived at the site at 11:45, ready to get set up and meet and greet the people. The room wasn't ready, and everyone hosting a table stood around looking not too happy. We didn't get our room until 12:15. It took no time for me to set up, so I started helping everyone who said they needed extra hands. I was the only one there who seemed to be in a good mood; everyone else seemed or was stressed. I activated my clown chakra and got some of them to smile and several to laugh. I was not just going with the flow: I was in it, a part of it.

At first blush, it might have appeared that lots of things went wrong. However, every time something seemed to go awry, something terrific followed it, because of both going with and then being in the flow. I chose to be the experience I wished to have. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.          
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mind Your Mindset

Which thoughts do you start your day with? Which thoughts do you repeat to yourself most often? How are your thoughts working for you, or do they work against you?

One of the best things we can do for ourselves is get our thoughts aligned with our desired experiences, primarily, how we feel about ourselves, life, and Source—our inner experience, which is the only one we have absolute control over. Catherine Ponder’s book, The Secret of Unlimited Prosperity, does, of course, focus on aligning thoughts with prosperity, but it does much more than that, because your mindset influences your Good—all of it. Your Good is all of your resources: mind, energy, talent, skill, health, money, relationships, information, and experiences.

As many spiritual seekers and practitioners have realized, abundance, prosperity, health, and every other effect in our life is always influenced by a particular cause: Our mindset. To help you with this, I’m going to share with you a mix of Ponder material from this book, sometimes slanted with my preferred lingo and some personal comments. What I’m offering to you is a “formula” of sorts that you can read every morning as part of setting your mindset at the start of each day. To this end, I’m not going to use quotation marks to indicate what’s quoted—that could become cumbersome. Just know that most of what you’re about to read is from her book, with some personal alterations of mine, such as using Source rather than God, and is written in article form. Here we go.

Begin now to open your mind to the unlimited supply of the universe that is yours by divine right. Affirm often: I do not depend on persons or conditions for my supply. The One Source of Infinite Love is the source of my supply, and Source is constantly opening new channels of abundance and prosperity to me. I am open and receptive to my highest good now. There is no numbering of the avenues through which supply may come to me. My resource is as far-reaching as the universe. I expect my supply through all avenues of contact with life. Not from one specified point, not from two or more specified points; but from all points of the universe, unlimited supply is crowding upon me now. Source, I thank you for my unlimited increase in mind, energy, money, and affairs.

Your supply can come to you through expected channels, in expected ways, and it should. But your supply can also come to you through unexpected channels, in unexpected ways. From all points of the universe, your good is constantly crowding upon you. Give thanks that the universal spirit of abundance and prosperity is providing richly for you now.

The simple formula to use if you are not receiving the good you want in life: Ask what you can give to make way to receive your good. Then freely and quickly give it. There are those pious souls who believe that when they give, they are not supposed to expect to receive. And so, of course, they do not receive. Their very attitude blocks their good. State thankfulness every day for the benefit you can provide to one or more others, in ways appropriate for them and you. Your abundance and prosperity is from Source. Your abundance and prosperity is omnipresent. You give, through tithes of money and or of yourself, so you have a right to receive immediate abundance and prosperity. You choose to now allow this and receive all the good Source has for you and wants to give to you.

When you LIVE (not just know) the law of attraction, you never need to go seeking—your own always comes to you. This has been my personal experience. When I relax, trust, and allow Source to work in my behalf, it’s a very different experience than when I struggle and strain, and it is or can be the same for you. This is a key point: It’s not about what you can get from the flow, but that you get into the flow. Dwell upon the goodness of Source in yourself and others. Think about and expect success, whatever that means to you, and for any or every area of your life and how you feel about yourself. Radiate the attracting mental atmosphere that draws success. As Emerson wrote, “Great hearts send forth steadily the secret forces that incessantly draw great events.”

Dr. Ernest C. Wilson said this about the law of mental attraction: “…when you dissolve the barriers of repellent thought and substitute a receptive attitude of mind, good things come to us in unexpected and wonderful ways, and sometimes with a promptness that is astonishing.” How do you clear up mental resistance which has repelled your good? You must begin by picturing the best for yourself and for others. Stop picturing yourself as weak or misunderstood. Stop dramatizing yourself as a martyr. If you want to be thought of as long-suffering, you will always have something to suffer about. Begin anew picturing the good and expecting it.

When we change what we think, we change what we attract. Although we cannot force good into our life, we can invite it by dwelling on it. When we do this, our good appears sometimes in amazing ways. Practice this statement: I invite the powerful, loving action of Source into my life, and every need is met. I expect the best and attract the best in every experience.

Psychologists say that when you think you have been rejected (by others, life, and even yourself), you have subconsciously rejected something. Your good never rejects you. If you cannot accept your promised land mentally, you cannot enter it. This explains why some people demonstrate Truth and some do not. Those who get results are those who have released the past and have accepted mentally the possibility of new good. Those who hang on to the past, reject their good, and reject Source’s help in trying to give it to them, never do get the good they seek.

Your good has not rejected you, but you may have rejected it by holding on to someone or something of the past or present. You may be holding on because of resentment, hate, un-forgiveness, criticism, or emotional attachment. That which you complain about keeps you out of your promised land; that which you possessively hold on to keeps you out of your promised land. If you continue to hold on to it, you will never realize the greater health, wealth, and happiness that are your divine right.

Are you so attached to old patterns of living that you cannot get along comfortably without them? Are you emotionally attached to lack and illness? If you truly want abundance, prosperity, and health, do you still gain satisfaction from self-pity over your financial or health problems? You must give up something to make way for health, abundance, and prosperity—probably self-pity and bitterness; probably the belief that you have had a hard time. Source can only do for you what Source can first do through your mental attitudes.

When we’ve reached the point where we take only the good in each experience and let the rest go, how swift and joyous will be our progress toward the realization of a happy, harmonious life. Start thinking about your life the way you want it to be. The way to accept mentally your promised land is simply to change your point of view. Recognize another set of circumstances or events as possible; then dwell upon that possibility. When you have accepted your good mentally, it will quickly appear. Suddenly it will all be done, and with one bold stroke you will find yourself in your promised land.

Realization precedes manifestation. A realization of Truth will banish every ill, and the prayer or affirmation through which realization comes is the prayer or affirmation that asserts the Truth, and is mentally accepted as Truth. Take only the good from each experience and let the rest go. Begin now to recognize another set of circumstances as possible, and refuse to be hypnotized by appearances. Mentally accept and claim your highest good now, and allow your progress to be swift and joyous. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.          
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

Friday, July 4, 2014

Mental Attitude, Beliefs, and Faith: A Foolproof Way to Shift What You Believe in Your Favor

What do mental attitude, beliefs, and faith have as a common denominator? Self-talk—that great self-saboteur. Ready to take your conscious and subconscious self-talk to a whole new level?

Often, the topics of mental attitude, beliefs, and faith can feel like something outside of us. Let’s place these firmly within us, where they belong, and as the power generators they are intended to be for us.

How can you know for certain what it is that you really believe? Well, what you really believe is what you practice, consciously (objectively) or subconsciously (subjectively). What you practice is what you have faith in; but, this is a statement that’s more involved than you might think. Ernest Holmes said this about faith in his book, The Science of Mind: “When you analyze faith you find that it is a mental attitude against which there is no longer any contradiction in the mind that entertains it.” What often happens is that we aren’t aware of the subjective contradictions hidden within our mental attitude, sometimes in plain sight. What if there’s a way to shine the light of Truth on subjective contradictions in a way that empowers you as never before? A few paragraphs from now, I’m going to show you how you can do this.

What are some of the things we typically have faith in, when we consider faith to be a mental attitude absent of contradictions? Well, some of them are supportive and some of them are not. As a non-supportive example, we have faith in fear. Do you immediately feel you want to contradict that statement? How’s this for evidence, then? Keeping in mind that faith is a mental attitude about something your mind has no contradiction with: Do you have faith that your job security is not secure? (More about security in a moment.) Do you have faith that you’ll never be financially serene? Do you have faith that you’ll never have the quality relationship (with whomever) that you desire? Do you have faith that you’ll never experience health and well-being in the way you desire? Do you have faith that your strength, support, and/or supply come from others? What else might you add here that your mental attitude has no subjective contradiction with, no matter what you affirm and know you desire?

Still keeping in mind that faith is a mental attitude about something that your mind has no contradiction with: What about your faith in your talents, skills, creative abilities? Do you have faith that you can do or perform well anything you’re good at? Do you have faith that you can learn new things? Do you have faith that you can handle well the tools of your trade you are familiar with? Do you have faith that you can do the everyday things you usually do?

There are many, many things about you and what you do that you do so naturally and automatically that you seldom give thought to them or, perhaps, ever feel and express your appreciation about them. Anything, no matter how small or large or significant or seemingly insignificant that you do (and maybe take for granted) is always a demonstration of a mental attitude (belief, faith) that your mind has no contradiction with. How did you reach this attitude?

You demonstrated it to yourself; and more than likely, this demonstration had you start from where you were, whatever your age was or means were at the time, and involved practice until whatever it was you were learning became natural and automatic for you. Even if there sometimes were challenges about it, you still felt sure enough about yourself and your abilities to meet each challenge. Maybe it even felt like a creative challenge, and you felt good and took pride and enjoyment from meeting it.

Holmes also wrote this about faith, which he wrote in all capital letters, but that was before the electronic age we enjoy today, when All Caps are now associated with shouting at people: “Faith is a mental attitude which is so convinced of its own idea—which so completely accepts it—that any contradiction is unthinkable and impossible.” There are things you believe about yourself, life, and Source that you completely accept—subjectively (subconsciously). You can see how this can work against you or for you.

A unique, powerful way to assist you whenever you need to shift your thoughts out of a negative mental attitude is to insert the words “I have faith that” before any negative thought you’re holding. For example, let’s say you’re anxious about an upcoming meeting. Your ego-aspect is fearful that it won’t go well. How does it feel to make that a statement that proclaims “I have faith that this meeting won’t go well for me.” That’s a whole different energy, when you put specific words to what you’re feeling, isn’t it? If you preface any fearful, negative, or non-supportive statement with “I have faith that…,” such as in this example about the meeting, how will you behave differently than if you don’t have that mental attitude, that “faith” that it won’t go well for you?

Imagine saying the following, or give it a try now, as you read these statements, and see how it feels to proclaim them:
·         I have faith that I don’t have Self worth.
·         I have faith that I don’t deserve the good Source wants me to have.
·         I have faith that finances are a struggle for me.
·         I have faith that health is a problem for me.
·         I have faith that success is hard or impossible.
·         I have faith that I won’t recover from this experience I’m having.
·         I have faith that negativity (anger, bitterness, sorrow) is my path, and that I’ll never get over this or release this.

Every time you have and hold a negative thought, you’re actually making an opposing “faith” statement—a proclamation, without realizing it. You could keep going with more of these statements of your own, but you see how a part of you really wants to go in another direction from such opposing “faith” statements. Somewhere inside you, a voice shouts, “No! No! No! That is NOT what I want or want to believe.” Or maybe the voice shouted, “I absolutely DO NOT believe that, nor do I choose to!” At least, I hope that’s what you experienced. Whenever you make a positive affirmation but don’t put it into practice as a mental attitude, you’re being guided by a subjective opposing “faith” statement, and that’s what you practice, without realizing it.

How does it feel to make these statements?
·         I have faith that Source loves me unconditionally.
·         I have faith that Source supports and supplies me, and is my only True resource because ALL is Source; ultimately, there is ONLY Source.
·         I have faith that I am a good person, worthy of all the good things Source has made available for me to use and enjoy.
·         I have faith that I can make wise and/or appropriate choices on my behalf.
·         I have faith in my particular talents, skills, and abilities.
·         I have faith that I have the resources I need and in right timing.
·         I have faith that with Source, which is ALWAYS on my side, my True security in any area of my current life and my eternal life is always assured.

What else might you add to this regarding what you have faith in about you, life, and Source? What would you like to add or choose to add? If there’s a statement you want to add but feel a contradiction about it, practice the opposing “faith” statement first so you can feel the “No!” then shift it to a statement you have no contradiction with.

Maybe you currently have health issues, financial issues, or any other kinds of issues you’re contending with. Having any issue, no matter your attitude, is not a sign of failure: You must look with larger vision at this. You must keep in mind or re-Mind yourself, as Catherine Ponder wrote, not to be hypnotized by appearances. Having a particular mental attitude may or may not quickly shift your experience or even shift it in the way your ego-aspect prefers, but it will shift YOU in the ways that benefit you most as a Spiritual Being, and be long-lasting.

Use the faith statement method offered above to assist you with this. As Holmes wrote, faith “is a dynamic fact.” This means your mental attitude is a dynamic fact. With faith and mental attitude practiced in this way, the number and level of fears and negative beliefs you may have carried for years begin to diminish and are replaced with serenity, joy, enthusiasm, trust; and the good you’ve been waiting for begins to show up, whether as an outer manifestation or an inner one that you feel. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.          
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer