I believe we are all on a path, and we have choices every step of the way. We can stop and stay exactly where we are. We can go backward. Or sideways. Or we can go forward.
Sooner or later, most of us find ourselves where we don’t want to be. Sometimes it’s through no fault of our own; other times it’s through, as Jimmy Buffet says in his song, Margaritaville, “my own damn fault.”
But we don’t have to stay there! “We all hit rock bottom; sometimes, you bounce up fast, sometimes you crawl until you can straighten up, and sometimes you have to lay there for a long time until you learn how to rise again.” (quote by J. Autherine, from Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul: Poems and Inspiration to Live and Love Harmoniously.)
To me, the biggest issue is not how fast I’m going, but in what direction. Reverend Michael Beckwith talks about how we are pushed by our pain until we are pulled by a vision. It doesn’t matter where in this mix we are, we can move forward.
Sometimes we don’t yet have a vision. But we know what we don’t want. Knowing that “this ain’t it!” is a huge start. A place where we can explore, if not this, then what?
I used to think visions were pie in the sky time wasters and wishful thinking. Until I discovered Religious Science and how the main person limiting what is possible in my life is me. Through reading and taking classes, I got to see how heavily invested I was in my limiting beliefs. These included what I was capable of doing, being or having, and what I should not get my hopes up about.
I learned that it just ain’t so!
Or doesn’t have to be. When I was in my early 30’s, I developed Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer of the lymph system. One day when I was upset because my lab results were delayed, my meticulously dressed surgeon took off his aviator glasses and said, if you believe you’re going to die, you’ll die. And if you believe you’re going to live, you’ll live. Reminding me, I had the power to declare my healing. Read more about that here:
How lymphoma changed my life for the better
Thanks to a spiritual kick in the ass from my surgeon
This was in 1983, during the AIDS epidemic. He described patients who curled up and died and others with the exact same diagnosis who lived and thrived. This was before the medication AZT became available. I don’t mean to say that folks who died had given up, I’m just relaying my conversation with my MD.
So I changed my outlook and my behavior and started imagining my healthy white blood cells gobbling up the cancer cells. My 26 radiation treatments zapped all my energy so I lay on the couch all day and had time to visualize and pray. I’ve been in remission ever since.
Along came Troward
Later, I studied the works of an English judge who wrote in the early 1900s named Thomas Troward. Ernest Holmes referenced him a lot. What he did was apply early quantum physics to spirituality. He called it Mental Science and taught folks how to use it.
His names for Spirit include Thought with a capital “T” and Atomic Intelligence, as distinct from our individual intelligence. In The Edinburgh and Dore Lectures on Mental Science, he wrote, “This distinction should be carefully noted because it is by the response of the atomic intelligence to the individual intelligence that thought-power is able to produce results on the material plane, as in the cure of disease by mental treatment” (i.e., affirmative prayer).
He taught people to clear their consciousness of any and all thoughts of what they don’t want. Then to plant the idea or seed of what they wish to create into their subconscious mind — which doesn’t know the difference between reality and imagination. Thus they’ve set a creative process in motion that creates and/or attracts their desire to them.
After sowing this idea seed, we water it by “quiet, concentrated contemplation of our desire as an actually accomplished fact…without any idea of strenuous effort on our part to make the seed grow. Its efficacy is in helping to keep out those negative thoughts of doubt…If there’s any effort in it, that’s the effort. Such contemplation should be accompanied by a feeling of pleasure and restfulness in foreseeing the accomplishment of our desires.” We make our requests from an attitude of gratitude and receptivity.
This feeling state is key. What we’re used to is — let this pain go away first and then I’ll feel great. But if the pain went away or if you had what you desire now, how would you feel?
That feeling is a vital part of the creative process, not just mentally but physically as well. We get relaxed, with endorphins flowing, imagining our good already here. That’s the creative place where we’re tuning our hearts to the higher vibration aligned with our Divinity.
It’s freeing to know I don’t have to make it all happen. I have a scientific prayer process that allows me to rise beyond current circumstances and re-create my life. Yes, I have to do some work, outer as well as inner. If I want to sell a book, I first have to write it. But when I work in divine partnership, resources show up and doors open, reminding me I am on the right track.
Nelson Mandala was in prison for 27 years. He took inspiration from the poem, Invictus by William Ernest Henley, and did not spend time cursing his fate. Instead, he spent his free time there envisioning and planning a post-Apartheid government. He said, “In my country, we go to prison first and then become President.” And that is exactly what he did!
Let this quote from writer, actress, businesswoman, Germany Kent inspire you: “Today if anything is trying to hold you back, give no attention to it. Get your hopes up, get your faith up, look up, and get ready to rise up.”
Invictus, by William Ernest Henley:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
From Wikipedia: William Ernest Henley (23 August 1849–11 July 1903) was an influential English poet, critic, and editor of the late Victorian era in England. Though he wrote several books of poetry, Henley is remembered most often for his 1875 poem “Invictus”, a piece which recurs in popular awareness (e.g., see the 2009 Clint Eastwood film, Invictus). A fixture in literary circles, the one-legged Henley was also the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s character Long John Silver (Treasure Island, 1883), while his young daughter Margaret inspired J.M. Barrie’s choice of the name Wendy for the heroine of his play Peter Pan (1904). she died at age 2.
Marilyn Flower writes political humor and satire to delight socially and spiritually conscious folks. She’s a regular columnist for the prison newsletter, Freedom Anywhere, where she writes about faith and prayer. Five of her short plays have been produced in San Francisco. Clowning and improvisation strengthen her resolve during these crazy times.