“You can be anything you want to be, if only you believe with sufficient conviction and act in accordance with your faith; for whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”
– Napoleon Hill
The first book that sparked my spiritual journey was The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. For those who are unfamiliar with this book, it is all about the Law of Attraction (LOA). The LOA put simply states that “like attracts like.” What you put out into the Universe is what comes back to you and you attract to you things that are of a similar vibration/energy as you. I read it during my freshman year of college and it completely changed my outlook on life. Prior to reading the book, I felt rather powerless. I believed that I would always be a victim of circumstance and that some people were dealt better hands (lives) than others. But reading this book empowered me and helped me to realize that I am creating my life every step of the way consciously and subconsciously. We are always creating our realities whether we are aware of it or not.
You may be saying, “I would have never created this illness that I have.” Or “There’s no way I created that situation that got me laid off.” The truth is that you did. Of course, not consciously, but on some level of your being you energetically allowed this to manifest in your reality. The thing to keep in mind is that all challenges serve as lessons for us to learn and all things happen for our highest good. Therefore, what appears to be a setback is really a blessing in disguise. I share this with you not to blame you for anything that you have created, but to offer you to come into acceptance of that truth. By taking responsibility for the things that we have created in our lives and by not blaming others, we can change our lives for the better. You must trust that whatever you have created in your life in each NOW moment is there to awaken you and serve as a tool for your growth.
As referenced in The Secret, the creation process follows the simple steps of “Ask, Believe, Receive.” Ask for what you want, believe that it is already yours, and be open to receive it. I’d like to breakdown this process a little further.
The three tools of creation are thoughts, words and actions. Everything begins with a thought. Before you do anything, you always think to do it. You can use your thoughts to get clear and focus on that which you’d like to create. One such way to focus thoughts is through creative visualization. Creative visualization is a process that uses the imagination to mentally picture ideal outcomes and circumstances. The more clearly and vividly you can imagine it in your mind and the more energy you give it in thought, often times the more easy it will be to manifest it into physical reality.
Words are influential because you can use them to speak things into existence. One of the greatest tools you have for creation is the phrase “I am…” It is the strongest creative statement in the universe. Whatever follows “I am…” is what becomes of you. When you say things like, “I am tired” or “I am so dumb” you get more of that energy drawn to you. Use the phrase “I am…” to draw to you and create positive circumstances and situations. Affirm positive things with it. Some of the “I am…” affirmations that I use are: “I am in perfect health.” “I am a divine expression of life.” “I am light and love.”
Actions are often the clearest way that people can see creative power. If you get up and do something, then you’ve changed your reality right in front of you. However, all three components are equally important. When our thoughts, words and actions are all in alignment, we have a greater ability to manifest things into our reality. It is important to be mindful of all the components because you are always in the process of creating something. Speak only that which you wish to be true and focus only on that which you want made manifest.
In partnership with thoughts, words, and actions is belief/faith. This is a key ingredient in the creation process. You cannot create something that you don’t believe that you can create no matter how focused your thoughts, words and actions are. Belief is everything. You need an unwavering certainty that your desire will be made manifest. No doubts. No second guessing. You must know that it is already done. With this knowing comes gratitude. Be thankful in advance for what it is that you’d like to create and feel gratitude for it as if it is already there.
If there is something that you have created that you do not enjoy, own it and do not condemn it. Simply send it love and create a new thing. To reject any part of it is to reject a part of yourself. While you cannot control everything that happens to you, you always have the choice to see it how you wish. By following the creation process, you can create the life that you always imagined. From there, you can use your abundance and well-being to serve the world by helping others create and live their best lives.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
– Lewis B. Smedes
Sometimes in life we have the experience of being hurt by someone else. This hurt is often the result of perceived dishonesty, betrayal, disappointment, etc. When dealing with strong negative emotions that cause hurt and pain, it can be easy to get wrapped up in them. One powerful way from which we can escape that emotional suffering is through forgiveness.
One of the most important (and sometimes one of the most difficult) ways that we can extend our forgiveness is towards ourselves. We all have had errors in our thinking which have led to mistakes in our actions. Many of us still hold our wrongdoings against ourselves. We feel guilt for our actions and their effects. However, guilt is a wasted emotion. There is never a reason to feel guilty about anything. ANYTHING. Let me explain…
Guilt blocks forgiveness. You cannot forgive yourself and feel guilty at the same time. Just as you cannot hold a loving thought and a fearful thought at the same time.
When you stay stuck in guilt long enough, it can transform into shame. This means that you move from feeling guilty about your actions to shameful about the person you are. If guilt becomes an emotion that defines you, then you may start to believe that you’re no longer a good person that made a mistake. Instead, you have become a bad person who can do nothing right. It only serves your ego to stay stuck in guilt. It does not honor the divine nature of the loving spirit that you really are. Guilt keeps you from fully loving yourself and from being able to truly forgive.
What is important is the acknowledgement of the error. The realization that you may have acted in a way that was not loving is all you need to make a different choice the next time. As we grow, so do the choices that we make. Reflection of our past mistakes can help us understand that we were acting under a more limited consciousness than what we currently have in our present state of awareness. In the moment of our mistake, we acted/reacted as best as our consciousness would allow. Understanding this concept can save us from a lot of self-inflicted guilt and shame.
Just as we should not judge others for their actions, we also should not be so harsh in judgement of ourselves. When we recognize an error in someone’s thinking, we should send that person love. And if it is us who has made the error, we should send love to ourselves.
You may be saying, “But this person intentionally tried to hurt me! How can I forgive him/her? How can I love him/her?” In these situations, I try to always remember the saying, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Only a person that is suffering through a lot of emotional pain could intentionally try and inflict hurt upon another. A person who is full in love would not seriously entertain the thought of trying to hurt someone else. When you come across a person who is in the midst of such hurt and pain, compassion for them is a helpful and loving response.
Some people also hold the notion that forgiving means that you’re allowing acceptance and approval of the mistake that was made. That’s not at all what forgiveness does. Forgiveness allows you to release the anger/frustration/blame/hurt that you have been holding so that you can return to the peace and love that is of your natural state. A lack of forgiveness does not hurt the trespassers, it only affects the one holding the animosity in their heart.
I have found that prayer can be effective in fostering forgiveness. I heard Marianne Williamson mention the practice of praying for your enemies for 30 days straight and it is something that I recommend to my friends when they are having difficulty forgiving someone. Embarking on such an honest devotion towards forgiveness can help to create new peaceful circumstances and new loving perceptions. I recommend praying for peace in the relationship, forgiveness in your heart, and well-being for him/her.
When we can allow ourselves to forgive, then we can move into a space of sincere love for the person we felt we were betrayed or hurt by. Forgiveness is a tool that allows us to shift our perception from fear to love. It allows us to see past the human imperfections and see the perfection in each divine soul. And if we all exercised forgiveness and allowed love to guide our perceptions, imagine all the beauty we would see in ourselves, in each other and on our planet.
“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
― C.S. Lewis
One of the biggest things that I have come to understand is the power of perception. Our perceptions shape our world based on the lens through which we view it. To take that a step further, situations in and of themselves are in a sense meaningless. Yes, meaningless. It is you that brings the meaning to it. The Universe shapes and moves itself according to the way in which you perceive it. This is much like how two people can witness the same event and have very different experiences of it.
For example, two people might witness a concert by a music artist at the same place and at the same time – side by side. One person could see the show and think that the artist did very well, was entertaining, and full of energy. The other person watching the same show might think that the artist was underwhelming, a little dull, and uncaptivating in their delivery. The first person might have left the show feeling like he had a great time, and the second person might have left feeling as though he didn’t get his money’s worth. How is it that they could have two different stories to tell from the same concert? Because, it is all subjective. If life’s situations themselves held all the meaning, we would all get the same thing from it, but we know that is not true.
The meaning that we give to life is based off of the beliefs and values that we hold. It may be hard to truly see how some things are not intrinsically good or bad. It is because we have such sure understandings of our morals and values, that it can be difficult to imagine someone else seeing what we judge to be bad, as a good thing. For example, many of us would agree that harming or killing children is a very bad thing. However, there are some societies and groups of people that will kill a newborn baby girl, for the simple fact that she is not a boy. This practice is known as sex-selective infanticide. For many of us, their actions would be bad/wrong. For them, it makes sense as the right thing to do.
We do not see things as they are, instead we see them as WE are. It is through who we are as a person that we determine what a situation or event means to us. As we change as people, so do our perceptions and our ideas of things. There was once a time in the United States of America, where formal slavery was acceptable. Not only was it acceptable but it was written law in our country. Now we have a law that states that the exact opposite is permissible. The same can be said for women’s voting rights, equal education, and other political and social issues. As we have progressed as a society, we have formed new ideas about right and wrong . What was right for us two-hundred years ago, is no longer what is right for us today. Through our personal growth, we will also find that old habits, behaviors, and beliefs that we were once accustomed to, no longer serve the truth and vision of who we are now and who it is that we choose to be.
I am currently enrolled in a poetry course and I am seeing how the interpretation of the conversations we have with one another throughout our lives, is similar to analyzing poetry. In class, we closely review various pieces to see what we notice in terms of symbolism, structure, and meaning. The great thing about it is that each reader can notice and gather significance from the poem in whichever way best sits with them. The author had a purpose and meaning behind the way he or she crafted their poem. The reader might be able to take away from the poem what the author intended or the reader might interpret a different meaning that was developed through their own unique perspective. The same is true for when we interpret the words and actions of others. We can choose to see them with love or with fear. Often misinterpretations happen because communication was received and then filtered through a lens that altered the meaning from one person to the other. The best way to avoid misinterpretations is to not make assumptions and to ask questions to clarify and be sure that both parties understand the information that is being shared.
This ties in with expectations. When you go into a situation expecting to see a certain thing, you probably will. If you open up and allow the greater good of all possibilities to flow, you never know what great things you could perceive.
This all reminds me of those eye illusions in which you can look at a picture and see a dancing couple or see a tree. Both are there. Like Oscar Wilde says, “The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole.” Again, both are there. It’s all about what you allow yourself to see in it. Sometimes you see one or the other and sometimes you can see both. Just because you cannot see the good in the situation, does not mean it is not there. It’s like how there are never truly any days when the sun is not shining. The sun can sometimes be blocked by the clouds, but if you were to board a plane and shoot above them you could see that the sun was there all along. Shining bright as ever.
So even in situations when you cannot SEE the good, KNOW that it is there. KNOW that it hasn’t left. KNOW that your situation is part of a greater divine plan that was set in order for you to experience and grow in the ways that you need to.
One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Wayne Dyer who said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” The freedom to give meaning to the situations in life is empowering. You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control how you choose to see it. Choose to look through a lens of love and of positivity. Choose to give each situation a meaning that is uplifting. Trust that everything happens for your best. And allow yourself to see that the good is there, patiently waiting for you to invite it in!