'What the festival of lights really stands for today is a reaffirmation of hope, a renewed commitment to friendship and goodwill, and a religiously sanctioned celebration of the simple - and some not so simple - joys of life.' The Times of India.
The quotation above is about Diwali, the Indian festival of light. The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. It’s almost exactly the same at the mystical root as the Solstice welcoming the new year and Hanukkah, the miracle of the lighting of the menorah in Judaism.
Never is this more important than when we think about Christmas...!
The trouble with Christmas is that it’s a bit like the phrase: 'When you’re up to your neck in alligators, it's easy to forget that the initial objective was to drain the swamp.'
This time of the year people start complaining about the expense and commerciality of Christmas. This year, with the continuing belief that there is something 'wrong' going on in the world's finances, you may be dreading the expense of Christmas. But to name something is to give it power, and what have we done? We gave the financial situation in the UK a cute, alliterative name – “the credit crunch.” Worldwide it’s 'the recession.' So we have made it real.
Don't doubt for a minute the power of humanity to make thing real - a truth is only a belief held by a certain number of people and passed on to others who, in turn, believe it. By believing it, we make it real.
Yes it may seem tough to change your mind in the face of such widespread external belief but it is possible. It is our choice.
Right now we have to decide whether to give 'the situation' more energy through moaning and complaining and believing what is said on the News or we can choose to look for prosperity, health and joy in the coming of Winter. By looking for the hope and the glory we can change the world from within.
It's not them who controls our lives, whatever we may have thought, it's us.
So perhaps the real secret of Christmas this year is to use the idea of a “recession” for good. To simplify something that has got out of hand ... this is the perfect time to say 'No!' to anything you don't truly want to do at Christmas. Commit instead to something that would have meaning instead of a season of angst and worry.
Only we can reclaim the miracles and mystery that have existed at this time of the year for thousands of years - way longer than Christianity has been in place.
I’ve often wondered whether, without women, Christmas might be a much happier (albeit slimmer and drabber) affair. It is horribly likely that, without the duty and fervour of women, the majority of blokes would probably be happy to pick up whatever’s remotely turkey-like that’s still in the local supermarket freezer on Christmas Eve, some beer and a bag of party poppers.
Maybe they’re right...We seem to run ourselves ragged with all the preparations to the extent that we overspend, over extend ourselves, over-complicate things and try to live up to some incredibly unrealistic standard of hospitality and catering...not to mention the horrors of some members of the family visiting —or events that we long outgrew but are still expected to attend—and make our children attend ‘because it’s traditional.’
Don’t get me wrong, I ‘do’ the whole Christmas thing – there isn’t a single part of the ritual that I don’t love. But it took me years to learn to re-engage with the magic that does make it such a special time of year – whatever your faith.
'But I can't have a simple Christmas because of the children,' you may say.
Perhaps the worst misuse of Christmas is the idea that ‘it’s for the children.’ In a way that’s true but only in the way that we too need to be children again in order to see the miracles and magic of Christmas in us. That saying of Jesus’s about having to become a child again to enter the Kingdom of Heaven is the answer. The ‘child’ is the part of us that expects miracles and magic. It’s also the ego – and for most of us, it’s been overwhelmed with ‘duty’ and ‘shoulds’ and other horrors for so long that it simply dreads the word ‘Christmas.’
It is the ego of the child that demands the same presents as everyone else. It's the ego of we adults that thinks that we have to give those presents in order to be 'good' parents. But what about giving an experience of spirit instead?
So what is this Christmas miracle all about? It’s about the rebirth of the real you; the peeling off of the outer layers that hide the gold within; the sloughing off of all the past year that you’d like to leave behind and a commitment towards creating a better, happier life.
You don’t have to be a Christian to see the wonderful, deep inner meaning of the Winter Solstice. Nowadays, we tend to focus more on the New Year as a new start to life (and use that for a guilt trip too!) but, in fact, it’s on December 25th that we have the first, visible evidence that the sun is returning and that spring will come once again.
From the day we first started appreciating the cycles of nature, humanity has celebrated the Solstices. The Winter Solstice heralds the coming of the Light; the return of the Sun—or the birth of the Son—and I believe that there is a deep primal need in our animal soul to celebrate it whether our busy, social, disbelieving selves deem it relevant or not!
The Winter Solstice is a kind of choice between life or death. We may know that the sun returns because it happens every year. But the ancient celebrations are just as much about our willing our own inner source of light to rekindle at this time as they are about the external sun.
The dark days of winter are when the roots go down and consolidate for new growth. One of my sacred rituals this time of year is planting prepared hyacinths which must be kept in the dark and cool for at least a month so that they can develop roots. Then, after Christmas, they will grow and give beautiful colour and scent to herald the often long-awaited new life of spring.
Nearly all the major religions have special symbolism around this time. It’s often said that the birth of Jesus was placed on December 25th because it was the ancient celebration of Saturnalia and that Christianity ‘stole’ a great deal of the pagan symbolism.
Two main theories compete about this - one claims that in A.D. 274, the Roman Emperor Aurelian inaugurated December 25th as the pagan "Birth of the Unconquered Sun" celebration, at the calendar point when daylight began to lengthen. Supposedly, Christians then borrowed the date and devised Christmas to compete with paganism.
But William Tighe, a church history specialist at Pennsylvania's Muhlenberg College, puts forward the exact opposite theory —that Aurelian created a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Tighe says that the pagans-first theory only originated three centuries ago in the writings of Protestant historian Paul Ernst Jablonski and Catholic monk Jean Hardouin. Tighe acknowledged that the first hard evidence of Christmas occurring on Dec. 25 isn't found until A.D. 336 and the date only became a fixed festival in Constantinople in 379.
Whichever it was, there have long been a series of religious festivals going into—and out of—the darkest days and it’s a wonderful reclamation of Christmas to do something personal and spiritual to mark the ending of one year and the resurgence of the light in you for the coming year. Who knows, it might make the rest of the celebrations fun? And, even if you still think Christmas is going to be hell, perhaps one of this year’s resolutions could be to promise yourself that next Christmas you will actually do what you would like to do...
Plan a little time on your own – or with friends if they want to join you. Find something that represents the ‘old you’ of 2011 whether it’s something you’ve grown out of or something that represents a difficult time that you have gone through and then create a little ceremony of release (including burning the symbol if that is possible). Dress up in something you love to wear, light a couple of candles, and take a few deep, connected breaths. As you let go of the object, say something like ‘I release this representation of pain to the Light and move forward to my Higher Good.’
Then take a moment to ask your Higher Self, Guardian Angel or the Source of All to watch over you, protect and guide you to a happier life in the next year.
Fill an atomiser with water containing a few drops of refreshing aromatherapy oils such as lemon or grapefruit plus some Flower Remedies – such as Rescue Remedy, Walnut (protection from outside energies/help with change), Willow (dissolves resentment), Wild Oat (for uncertainty about your path in life) or Holly (anger and hatred) and spray around the whole of your home saying ‘In the name of the Source this room/house and all that is in it, is blessed, cleansed and filled with light.’
Make a prosperity wheel or dream board. This is a montage of all the things, experiences and happy times that you would like to draw to you. Instructions on my website (www.maggywhitehouse.com). This works by reprogramming the subconscious to look for what you want instead of what you don’t want.
Write a letter to a friend the other side of the world (or to someone closer if necessary - but someone with whom you only correspond infrequently - someone without email probably!). Date this letter 20th December 2012 and in it tell them of all the wonderful things that have happened to you throughout 2012. And invent everything you could possibly want from a perfect home, partner or job to living in the Maldives.
Don't worry about seeming grasping or greedy - that fear is probably what has held you back for so long. There is a reason why Luis Vuitton bags are made and houses and cars are built –so that people can enjoy them. And if you are wealthy, you can do SO much more for others. To think that you can't be rich because of the starving poor is an argument full of holes. If you are wealthy you can donate; teach and offer time to ensure that they too learn how to be prosperous like you.
And if you're now saying 'but my friend would hate me if I sent him/her a letter like that' then I’d suggest that you find a friend who wouldn't. And that's probably the best task you could set yourself this year - to be with people who allow you to be prosperous. If there's no one, then plan to send it to me, via Facebook, because I'll be SO happy for you!
The letter will work best if it's full of enthusiasm and acknowledgement of the good in your life. It's great if you can start off with something that you actually know IS going to happen. That gives you confidence.
Will it happen? Well, it's got a better chance of happening if you do write the letter than if you don't. If you put it away somewhere safe and forget all about it, the chances are pretty high that at least 60% of it will either be with you or on its way by the date you put on it. My letter last year came 65% true...no complaints about that!
Wishing you the perfect Christmas time...
Six one-hour sessions to help you understand the interior levels of psyche, soul and spirit. With Rev. Maggy Whitehouse.
See Maggy on: http://www.youtube.com/user/MaggyWhitehouse
To book your place, please email email@example.com.
Six Monday evenings from 7th November. 7pm GMT. Full details of each session at the end of this blog.
All participants receive MP3 recording and Power Point of each session in addition to attending the live seminars online.
To book your place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To book your place, please email email@example.com.
People often speak of 'Mind, Body, Soul and Spirit' but can you distinguish between these different levels within you?
If part of life isn't working, it's likely that aspects of the ego genuinely think that they are coming from the soul. Transforming this is vitally important for living a conscious, prosperous and happy life. It is also vital for understanding your own relationship with God. The soul is the pivotal point between heaven and earth.
Poverty, both physical and emotional, begins through neglect of the soul. As it says in the Coptic Gospel of Thomas: “If you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."
Using wisdom from the ancient teachings of the Tree of Life, Maggy will explain the levels within us and how to make the turnaround we want in order to follow our heart (and soul)'s desire. Includes six interior journeys. Price: £55.
NB. Participants who are not able to attend the course live may still purchase it and send written questions for Maggy to answer each week. They will receive each session via email on the following day.
How to Understand Your Soul — course contents:
Ego - Self - Soul - Spirit - Source (God). How is each one defined according to Judaic mysticism?
What is the purpose of these distinctions?
How can we identify them?
How the Tree of Life can help us understand the levels within us.
How Astrology can help us understand the levels within us.
The Astrology of your Soul.
(all participants will receive astrological details of the Kabbalistic interpretation of their soul's formation on submission of their birth data).
Visualisation: The levels within you.
What is the Ego?
The Vegetable Soul.
How the brain functions at the Ego level.
The importance of repetition.
The pros and cons of the Ego
Dissolve the Ego or transform it?
Visualisation: Visiting the Ego and the vegetable soul and learning how they support us or not.
What is the 'Self'?
The Animal Soul
How do we individuate?
What happens when we individuate too early due to childhood issues?
Truth and Beauty - the characteristics of our Self.
Visualisation: Visiting the Self and the Animal Soul and learning their timbre; colour; strengths and weaknesses.
What is the Human Soul?
What's the difference between Soul and Spirit?
The Kiss - where Earth and Heaven meet.
Discernment and Loving Kindness.
Good and Evil at the Soul level.
Visualisation: Visiting our Soul.
Spirit: what it is and what it isn't.
Angels and Archangels.
Good and Evil at the level of Spirit
Visualisation: Contacting Spirit through the Soul.
How all the levels work together in a balanced human being - levels of 'Will'
Your Sun Angel
Your Moon (ego) Angel
Visualisation: The Inner Temple
God - your personal relationship
God - your personal relationship
Questions and summing up.
Rev. Maggy Whitehouse is the author of Living Kabbalah, From Credit Crunch to Pure Prosperity, Prosperity Teachings of the Bible and Total Kabbalah. She has taught mysticism, Kabbalah and prosperity consciousness in the UK, Europe and USA since 1993.
Read about Maggy's books on: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00288YAXA.
For more information on Maggy's work please visit www.maggywhitehouse.com.
To talk to Maggy, please visit Soul Wisdom http://www.facebook.com/SoulWisdom
See Maggy on: http://www.youtube.com/user/MaggyWhitehouse
To book your place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last month I went on a weekend retreat at Worth Abbey — the Benedictine monastery featured on BBC TV’s The Monastery and The Big Silence.
We followed the monks’ services from Matins at 6.20am to Compline at 9pm and, whatever our religious views might have been, we all found a great sense of peace from the gentle rhythm of the sounds and the movements in the rituals that the monks have been carrying out for more than 40 years (Worth is a modern Abbey).
At every single part of the Divine Office, as it’s known, the eldest of the monks, Father Charles, was present in the monks’ stalls before each service and made his way out after the other monks. Father Charles is in his 80s and very frail. The first time we watched him moving so very slowly with his stick and hobbling out of the church on his own, several of us wondered why the other monks didn’t help him. No one, not even the youngest of the monks, offered him an arm or even waited for him.
But then, as we continued through the daily routine, Father Charles’s slow and creaky movements began to merge into the whole of the liturgy. At some of the services, especially the early morning ones, we were the only congregation in the huge church. There was no obligation to do so, but we all stood, respectfully, in our stalls and waited until Father Charles had left — a full five minutes after all the other monks.
Then, Lisa, one of our group missed one of the services and she told us that she had seen all the monks waiting just outside the church for their companion.
It wasn’t a case of not helping him; it was a case of respecting exactly who he is and allowing him to take his own perfect time without patronizing or hurrying him.
It reminded me of a shaman I met at the first ever New Age festival I attended. He gave me a reading and said, “Tell me, if you saw a blind man in the street fall over, what would you do?”
“Help him up,” I replied.
“Did he ask you?” said the shaman.
That made me think.
So often, we want to help other people because we think they are in trouble. But they’re not; and even if they are, perhaps they really, really, don’t want to be helped.
Perhaps they’re just where they are and that’s all there is to it. And perhaps they need us to respect that more than to offer our patronage; perhaps they are just not ready yet to move on; perhaps we interfere if we try to help without finding out first if they actually want our assistance.
As someone who has an in-bred tendency to jump into things without thinking, it was a wonderful reminded to ‘be still and wait’ just as it says in T. S. Eliot’s East Coker from the Four Quartets:
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
And if we, ourselves, should need help, then surely we must remember that, just like there are retreat participants and monks at Worth Abbey, there are people standing silently, respectfully in the darkness around you, aware and waiting to be asked.
I know there have always been messages of love and life (and not just the sexy stuff) in the rock and pop worlds, even though I was a bit young for the sixties scene. But now, today, even in the middle of the scanty clothing and the writhing bodies, there is just as much a message of Divine love coming through to us as there always has been. Spirit will always get through somewhere — and given the British riots of August it’s wonderful to know that.
It’s not just in songs of course, it’s movies and books like J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Terry Pratchett’s incredible work. I recommend Terry’s Small Gods, and Nation to anyone who wants to know the nature of religion and how it affects us.
But back to the music — the angels of God are singing loud and clear to us and to our children. Yes, there’s lots of pain and grief and anger in the hits too but listen carefully and you will hear the music of the spheres. And often, it’s the video that transforms the song from something secular to the work of the Divine.
There’s an article here on my blog about Lady Gaga’s “Judas” and how it perfectly defines the pull of our animal soul (the Nefesh) and the human soul (Neshamah). “Jesus is my virtue, but Judas is the demon I cling to,” she sings wishing she were not continuously drawn to the ‘wrong’ man. The Jesus figure in the video is beautiful, passive and loving but Judas is an animal man of passion.
Like Lady Gaga, we long to embrace the love and truth represented by Jesus in the video but our lower nature is drawn to the excitement, the ‘hit’ and the sexuality of the bad boy, Judas. Here’s the article – the YouTube link for all the songs is at the bottom of this piece.
Another song of spirit of 2011 is Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ about the light’s being within us all and ready to shine as soon as we allow it. But the third song of this summer is the miracle one for me. It’s James Morrison’s ‘I won’t let you go.’
The key is in watching the video and both hearing and seeing the singer not as friend, boyfriend or lover but as God calling to us while we are lost in despair. I beg those of you who are literary to forget the triteness of the poetry and read the message.
And if you feel the fading of the light
And you’re too weak to carry on the fight
And all your friends that you care for have disappeared
I’ll be here, not gone, forever holding on.
The God figure seeks out the girl, who is in despair. She is lying, hopeless and careless of her life, in the middle of a road. As she lies there, alone and lost, she is slowly surrounded by humans (angels) who don’t know what she wants or whether to step forward or step back. They can’t impose on her free will and she is giving no sign. God, in human form (yes, you could say Christ) approaches her, asks nothing of her and lies down with her. All God wants is just to be there to hold her hand so that she can turn to It if she chooses to.
And because of God’s love, the angels can also respond.
Take a look (below).
And so the message this month is to watch for, and appreciate, the love of the Holy One in movies, in songs, in overheard phrases on the street; in the X Factor (truly!) and wherever there is a space for the angels to sing.
And if there is nothing there; no spark, no inspirational light, you know what? There’s you. And that’s exactly why you’re there. God is waiting to speak, move or sing through you, just as It has through James Morrison.
One of the great theological debates about the New Testament is ‘why four gospels?’ We know that many more were written, including the famous Nag Hammadi scripts with writings by the disciples Philip and Thomas and even one accredited to Mary Magdalene. These were Gnostic gospels which had a very different ‘take’ on the world – believing in the idea of ‘external evil’ as opposed to the ‘all creation is good’ teachings of Genesis and of Jesus’ time.
However, there were other non-Gnostic gospels that were also rejected including The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of the Egyptians and the Gospel of the Hebrews.
It is very unlikely that the four Gospels selected for the New Testament were picked at random. There had to be a rhyme and reason – and something that would be useful for us to understand today.
Irenaeus writes in Adversus Haereses:
The Gospels could not possibly be either more or less in number than they are. Since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is spread over all the earth, and the pillar and foundation of the Church is the gospel, and the Spirit of life, it fittingly has four pillars, everywhere breathing out incorruption and revivifying men. From this it is clear that the Word, the artificer of all things, being manifested to men gave us the gospel, fourfold in form but held together by one Spirit. As David said, when asking for his coming, 'O sitter upon the cherubim, show yourself '. For the cherubim have four faces, and their faces are images of the activity of the Son of God. For the first living creature, it says, was like a lion, signifying his active and princely and royal character; the second was like an ox, showing his sacrificial and priestly order; the third had the face of a man, indicating very clearly his coming in human guise; and the fourth was like a flying eagle, making plain the giving of the Spirit who broods over the Church. Now the Gospels, in which Christ is enthroned, are like these
This idea four aspects or four worlds in prominent in the Jewish mystical tradition. Nowadays, we’ve all heard of Madonna’s studies into Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism. But Madonna’s Kabbalah is a 16th century re-write of a very old tradition which, in Jesus’ time, was known as Merkabah.
Merkabah means ‘chariot’ and the name comes from the book of Ezekiel. The tradition itself dates back to Abraham.
One of the beliefs in the Merkabah tradition was that we humans exist at four levels – physical, psychological (or soul), spiritual and Divine. Each of those levels is represented by an element – Earth, Water, Air and Fire – and we draw on all of them at different times according to how we are feeling.
If the Gospel writers knew of the Merkabah tradition, then choosing four Gospels could be a way in which Jesus’ story could be told at these four different levels – literally, allegorically, spiritually and mystically.
For those who were happy with the overview of the story, then all the Gospels could be woven together in one narrative – as in a Nativity play with both the shepherds and the Magi appearing in the same story or in a Passion Play with Jesus saying ‘My God, why has Thou forsaken me?’ and ‘Father forgive them, they know not what they do,’ in the same scene.
But for those who were looking for a deeper significance, or who were familiar with the esoteric tradition of the time, the four Gospels would provide a feast of different interpretations – and a much deeper knowledge of our own selves at the same time.
As metaphors for human development, Matthew represents the physical Jesus, Mark the psychological (soul) Jesus, Luke the spiritual Jesus and John the Divine Jesus.
Matthew represents the Earth world of ‘reality.’ Matthew writes of earthly power, tribe and leadership, including the importance of the right ‘bloodline’ in the family. He also highlights the physical concerns and challenges of everyday life on earth and refers to Jesus’ physical kingship as Messiah. Jesus’ birth is told with the emphasis is on Joseph’s genealogy and Joseph’s views, on the visit of the wise men with their physical gifts and King Herod’s fears over the birth of a physical King of the Jews and the consequent slaughter.
Here, the temptations before Jesus in the desert are all physical: turn stones into food, put his life in danger to prove that God would save him and the offer of the kingship of the world.
Mark represents the psychological world – the soul’s world. This element of Water demonstrates how fluid our thoughts and feelings are. It is at this soul level that we can choose whether or not to be separate from animals (the ‘wild beasts’ in Mark’s Temptation story) in that we can become aware of free will. It is through the soul that we decide to act for good or for evil. Jesus’ temptation in Mark is a choice between his baser self and a higher level of consciousness where he may be in touch with angels.
Luke writes of the Spiritual world represented by the element of Air. Luke is a very feminine account of Jesus’ life that strongly features his mother and his female friends. It contains nineteen stories about women as compared to four or five in all the other Gospels. Doing so emphasises that this is the Spiritual perception of life – women’s place in the physical and tribal worlds were deemed unimportant in the Jewish, Roman and Greek worlds of Jesus’ time but, at the spiritual level, the feminine in Judaism was deeply respected. The Shekhinah or Presence was the name given to the feminine aspect of God and it was believed to be present in all married women. In fact, without a wife to light the candles, a Jewish man could not perform the sacred Sabbath Eve service in his home on a Friday night. (In the Midrash – a commentary on the first five books of the Bible – it says that when Isaac married Rebekah ‘The light came back into Abraham’s tent for the first time since Sarah died.’
Luke’s Gospel focuses on Mary’s visit to Elizabeth; on how Mary feels; how she wraps her baby in swaddling clothes and lays him in a manger.
The emphasis is on family, marriage, communication and it works in tandem with Matthew’s tribal aspects, balancing masculine with feminine. For Jesus’ temptation in the desert, it offers the same challenges as in Matthew, but in a different order which is very relevant. Jesus is told to command stone to be turned into bread; given the opportunity to rule the world and ordered to challenge God to save him by throwing himself off the Temple in Jerusalem.
In Matthew, he replies with answers from the written (physical) law and in Luke he takes a different stance, replying with God’s own authority at the Spiritual level.
John’s Gospel does not tell of any temptation; at the level of development he is writing about, humanity would have transcended worldly needs. This Gospel is the Divine World represented by the element of Fire. It tells of direct experience of God. There are no parables, similes or allegories: it is Jesus telling us straight.
For Matthew and Mark the crucifixion is full of anguish. Luke and John are focused on the mystery and the importance of a Divinely inspired right of passage.
The Synoptic Gospels write that the ‘veil of the Temple was rent’ when Jesus died. In an ordinary death, Jewish mystics taught that the veils of the two lower worlds (Matthew and Mark) are opened to let the soul though to the spiritual world. In the case of a Messiah, all three lower veils (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are opened to give direct access to the Divine.
In Matthew, the earth quakes, the rocks are rent and bodies rise from the graves; in Mark, darkness comes down during the crucifixion and in Luke the Sun is darkened.
In John there is no physical reaction to Christ’s death but there is immediate emphasis that the next day is the Sabbath – the holy day of the Jews – and that Jesus’ body must be taken down because that is a day of Divine contemplation and sacred rest.
In the lower worlds of his body and psyche, as represented in Matthew and Mark, Jesus is depicted as crying out at his betrayal – his physical and psychological bodies reacting as any ordinary man would. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
In Luke, Jesus is able to see his crucifixion as impersonal. There is no judgement of it or other people’s behaviour. Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do …, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
In John, the crucifixion is represented simply as a necessary evil on the way to new life. Without Jesus’ acceptance and acknowledgement of death, resurrection cannot occur. Jesus gives completion to his mother by giving her into John’s care and gives himself willingly to death purely as the next stage of his development as a Divine being. It is finished.
Looking at the Gospels at these four levels teaches me that I react to life at different levels myself and that comfort and happiness come from focus on the spiritual and Divine thoughts, not the daily grind of pattern and habit. The four levels of passion are also useful as tools for forgiveness. They teach me that as long as I focus on the physical or emotional pain, the harder the process is. To see the wider picture and to realise that other people probably had no idea of the level of pain they were causing with their actions is the greatest step to healing as it takes the issue out of the personal. Finally, to accept that the task is all done and dusted – whatever happened is over and in the past and it is my choice whether to call it up again and again or to let it go, once and for all – simply to die to the problem. To die to the problem means that resurrection to a new life truly will happen – even if it’s only in my mind.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Franklin D. Roosevelt said these immortal words in 1933 at the time of the Great Depression.
How right he was. Whenever we are told repeatedly that there is a problem, particularly a problem with something that carries as much emotional weight as money, we are bound to feel afraid. It is the human Ego’s natural response to negative outside stimuli. But, in the modern world, fear itself is the root of most of our problems. Fear – or adrenalin – was designed to make us either run away or to attack. Both of these are appropriate reactions if we are faced with an angry grizzly bear. Both are totally inappropriate if we are dealing with intangible matters such as love, happiness – and money.
Money is intangible? Yes indeed. Money only exists in the mind of humanity. It is less “real” today than it ever has been. When we first invented money it was a token of something tangible such as a sheep or a precious metal. Nowadays, mythical amounts of energy pass between bank accounts with the validation of a piece of plastic. Mathematics keeps a score but nothing of true value actually changes hands any more. The value is all in our minds.
One person on BBC radio who was discussing the 2008 credit situation said, “It turns out that all this prosperity we’ve been experiencing is only based on imaginary money!” He sounded really angry. But if the money was imaginary in the first place, then the problems with the money must also be imaginary. If it’s all imagination, then it’s up to us to choose what we want to imagine.
Can it really be that simple? Yes it can. But simple isn’t the same as easy.
First we need to work out why we got to think that it was complicated.
Thanks to the DVD of The Secret, the teachings of Abraham and many other best-selling authors and spiritual mentors, the idea of the Law of Attraction has become widely known. It works on the simple principle of “like attracts like” or “birds of a feather flock together.”
The idea of the Law of Attraction may only recently have become mainstream but it is not a new discovery. It is at the heart of the Hindu principle of karma (what you put out comes back; what goes around comes around) and it is evident throughout great religious texts including the Bible. Deuteronomy chapter 31 verse 19 puts it quite succinctly: “I call Heaven and Earth to record this day on your account, that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses; therefore choose life, so that you and what you sow may live.”
Judaeo-Christian mystics have also always taught what we would now call the Law of Attraction as a way of understanding how life works and how to lead a happy and prosperous life; they just didn’t call it by the modern name.
The Law of Attraction is immutable. It means that we attract into our lives the things with which we resonate. All of life is vibration and what you think and feel dictates the level of your personal vibration. When we feel good, we have a high vibration and when we feel bad, we have a low vibration.
It follows that if thinking about having a new home, a good job or a wonderful relationship makes us feel good then we need to maintain that level of vibration to attract what we want. Lowering our vibration with thoughts of lack puts us out of alignment with anything that could bring us joy – and therefore it cannot show up in our experience.
Those of us who focus on love, prosperity and happiness attract exactly what we are thinking about – and those of us who worry, fret and beat ourselves up attract more reasons to become upset.
But how can I be attracting it if I don’t want it?
The Universe, the Source, the Chi, the Creative Force, God, whatever you want to call it does not recognise the word “not” as in “I do not want this.” When we say, “I do not want to be broke,” It only hears the emphasis (and the vibration) on the idea of being broke.
You can test this out for yourself by thinking of how much you don’t want to be in financial trouble or something else that you don’t want that would upset you. If you observe your thoughts, you’ll see that if you dwell the not wanting of a subject for just one minute, more negative and unhappy thoughts start to seep into your mind about the likelihood of exactly what you don’t want coming to pass. You get to feel worse and worse – and your vibrational level drops.
It is the same for happy thoughts too – think happy things and more happy thoughts come. But for reasons that we will examine throughout this book, in the modern world, thoughts of prosperity seem to be harder for we humans to access. Certainly they are harder to find when there is already a negative thought entwined within our mind.
Since the advent of New Thought Churches such as Unity, founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore in 1889 and the world-famous The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, first published in 1952, the idea of affirming a positive thought to create a better situation has become a basic principle for those interested in creating a better life for themselves. To affirm good for one’s Self, such as saying, “I am healthy, wealthy and wise,” is intended to re-programme the mind instead of letting it habitually focus on negativity, which leads to a low vibration.
Affirmations work – to a certain extent. They work when they do not oppose any deep inner belief or when the desire to change our life is so powerful that we feel it in the core of our being. When my first husband died and my media career as an expert on China hit the impasse that was Tiananmen Square in 1989, I was desperate enough to engage in the idea of positive thinking for the first time. I tried affirmations and found that they bought great relief. I was in such pain that I was desperately seeking anything that would help so I threw myself into the work of changing my thoughts.
However, once I began feeling a little better, the impulse faded away as my internal opposition set in. I began to think that I probably shouldn’t be too happy as it would be disrespectful to Henry’s memory; it would look as though I wasn’t grieving and I had to grieve if people were to believe that I had loved him. And it would just be preposterous to appear be happy when I was a young widow or when my whole career had gone down the pan. People would think I was crazy! I didn’t have such resistance to the idea of earning a living – after all, my Ego thought, if I was miserable enough I was bound to earn money wasn’t I?
It’s this kind of inner programming which is at the root of our habitual negative thinking and which can so easily scupper efforts to make our lives better. It is known as resistance and it is very powerful. Resistance must never be underestimated or discounted. That way it gets to win. And if it wins, we remain unhappy and broke.
In my case, my unhappiness was such that my subconscious mind felt the situation to be verging on a threat to my survival. If I died, my subconscious would die too. Therefore, it did not put up resistance to something that would rekindle the desire to go on living within me. Once that had been achieved, any more was unnecessary and could make me a target for the derision or even hatred of others. That’s the point where resistance kicked in.
Here’s an example of how our mind works:
“I want to be prosperous and happy.”
I don’t have enough money; I don’t have enough money. I didn’t have enough money when they said everything was economically sound; I’m going to have even less now there’s a crisis. What I have got will be taken away.
“I want to be prosperous and happy.”
I want doesn’t get…I can’t ask to be prosperous when there are people in trouble. Other people would hate me. It’s not fair; I never get what I want. I hate money. Why does it always have to be about money? I’m a good person. I do my best. No one appreciates me. I’ll probably lose my job in this credit crunch. It’s not fair.
“I want to be prosperous and happy.”
I don’t have enough money; you don’t have enough money. It says so in the paper. It says so on the news. We don’t have enough money. I don’t like not having enough money. You don’t like not having enough money. I must listen to the people on the radio who are complaining about them so I won’t feel alone in this. So I won’t have to blame myself. It’s always “them.” It’s their fault. They did this to me. They did this to us. We must shout against them and make them change things so that it’s better for us. There’s nothing I can do for me but I can shout about them.
By the Law of Attraction we have put out three positive desires of wanting happiness and more than thirty negative desires about lack.
Don’t doubt for one minute that the Law of Attraction will respond to that ratio. It’s not a conscious force that thinks “They don’t really mean all that complaining; all they mean is the good stuff.” It can’t do that. All it can do is give us an exact mirror of what we think and feel and with that ratio of negative to positive thoughts, our vibration cannot be at the level of prosperity.
The so-called credit crunch (I won’t give it capitals because that gives it a proper name and names are very powerful to the human psyche) came about through just such a process. We created it through toxic thinking.
For years, the world’s economy has been expanding with more building, more services, more goods to be purchased. And marketing (the modern-day magic) has thrived through teaching us by repetition that we must have this product or that concept. For example, people in the Western World have spent millions of pounds taking up carpets and laying wooden or laminate floors because they were told that those were the fashionable floors to have. Both kinds of floors work; it’s just marketing. In the same way, we have all recently changed the design of our spectacles to suit the fashion where the previous style worked perfectly well. Fashion creates desire within a tribal society that wants to be seen to be up with the pack leaders.
But in the four or five years before the economy did its downturn, people were starting to say, “This can’t go on. Houses are too expensive. I can’t afford to buy. My job isn’t paying enough for me to buy all the things that I want to buy. I will feel better if I have a Luis Vuitton bag but I can’t afford one. Oh, never mind, I’ll get it on a credit card. Now I can’t pay my credit card off. It’s not fair. Look at all those wealthy celebrities. They can afford Luis Vuitton and I can’t. I can’t pay my bills; I don’t have enough money to keep up. I must keep up. My friends all have designer handbags so I need my Louis Vuitton. In fact, I need a Chanel bag now because Felicity has three designer bags. I can’t afford it; it’s too much.”
And at the same time, the politicians and the economists have been saying, “The bubble has to burst; it’s all going to end in tears; the expansion’s too much” and journalists have been looking (as journalists do) for the negative stories.
In 1993, British newscaster, Martyn Lewis launched a "good news" campaign suggesting that the constant diet of crime and catastrophe that the News feeds to us was unhealthy and should be counterbalanced by positive stories,of happy outcomes. The press – and much of the public - heaped scorn upon him and Lewis lost a lot of work. The simple truth is that good news is no news because our Egos are more comfortable with the bad.
Nowadays, with extraordinary levels of complaint, criticism and toxic gossip skidding across the internet and a culture of blame, we are harnessing the Law of Attraction magnificently. The trouble is that we are activating it in a way that cannot help us to thrive.
Luckily, the natural state of this Universe is abundant; it is predicated towards good. It that were not the case, we would have imploded with the advent of television soap operas. But enough is enough.
How We Create “Truth”
We create everything in our own lives and the irony is that we create nearly all of it by default; simply by reading or listening to the views of others and believing them.
Strangely enough, it is belief that creates truth not the other way around. So if a number of people believe something, it becomes a truth. Enough people locked into the idea that there was a financial problem for it to come into being. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Each one of us can create or resolve a financial issue completely on our own.
Yes, of course, it’s easier if everyone else goes along with us but prosperity is a very personal thing. As long as you can raise your vibrationary level and work at the level of the Soul, not the Ego, then the outside world’s affairs don’t have to affect you at all.
Then, if you prosper, you can teach others how to do it too.
At the moment, I am more prosperous than I have ever been despite what would seem to be an outside problem. But I have had two great credit crunches of my own in the past, one of which was in line with the outside world’s thinking (the dot-com crash) and the other of which was entirely personal.
In fact I’ve used the knowledge and techniques in this book to bring me back to prosperity from widowhood, divorce, business crashes, a failed emigration attempt, loss of home, career and the beliefs that I was stupid, inadequate and unworthy of love, happiness and money.
I’m still learning – this is a life’s work. But hopefully, by using this book as one of your guides in creating a happier life, you can take a few more short-cuts than I did.
You don’t have to be affected by the outside world; it is all about you. Your choices, your vibration and your energy. And not choosing is just as much a choice making a conscious decision. Those who don’t choose, rise or fall with the state of the world because they are working from the Ego state. Those who do choose are coming from the level of the Soul. It is the Soul which has the ability to step up and over everyday conditions. But in the secular world, we barely know let alone understand the difference between Ego and Soul.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of Soul – the immortal, totally human aspect of each of us – you can substitute the idea of consciousness or Self. What is important is not the terminology but the ability to think and act consciously. It is perfectly possible to live a prosperous and comfortable life no matter what the outside circumstances might be. And that is not a selfish thing to do. Those who prosper inspire others and by learning how to live an abundant life you can teach others to do the same.