Outrageous Joy Comes from Love

September 3, 2007

Another way I agree with the Abraham-Hicks teachings is when they affirm that you are here to experience what they call Well-Being.  As you experience this you will understand you are adored and blessed.  This is what I call love.  The Hicks also go on to express how the Universe is lining up to help you experience this energy of love so that all events you are co-creating can fulfill, satisfy and please you, giving you more joy in the moment.

In my own mystical experiences I have at times been saturated with this energy of love.  And, I have at times used salt water as a metaphor for love.  Salt water exists in our oceans, air, and even in our bodies.  Like love it is everywhere.  Ironically, when we drink salt water we have a difficult time assimilating it.  In many ways the same is true of love.  Real love, not the false love I speak about in my Beyond the Secret book, vibrates at the level of the soul.  Many people fail to recognize and access real love because like salt water they don’t know how to assimilate it.  How do we do this?  By learning to vibrate to the frequency of real love by becoming truly loving — and soulful — individuals. 

But, here is the paradox and where the Abraham – Hicks books can hit the skids and take you down a rather slippery slope.  Because these statements about Well Being are followed quickly by statements that indicate that because the Universe is loving, it is here to give you anything, yes anything, you desire or want!  If you are not getting what you want the reason is simple.  You are “holding yourself in a vibrational holding pattern that does not match the vibration of your desire.  That is the only reason – ever!”  (Hicks, 2004, Ask and It is Given, p. 15)  

My own experiences, religious, psychological, metaphysical, and spiritual training have shown me that I couldn’t disagree more!  You see when we vibrate at the level of the soul and access the energy field of love all around us, we want less, and not more!  Much like the St. Francis prayer in the Tap Into Your Feelings Chapter in my book, our whole orientation shifts and we discover a wonderful thing that many spiritual teachings reveal, it is in giving we receive!  Because as we align with source we empty out!  The more we empty, the more room we have to be fulfilled again.  That is why I state that the path to real Well Being is the path of Surrender, Align, and Contribute!  That is the path to outrageous joy and love!  But, instead of seeing how much “stuff out there” you can want, attract to yourself, and fill up with, you see how much “space in here” you can create so there is room for you to be truly fulfilled. 

And, every — yes I mean every — ecstatic experience I have ever had, hasn’t been about thinking about what I want and figuring out how to get it.  It has always, always, always, been about surrender!  Like orgasm, it is about relaxing, getting out of your mind (its plans, designs, beliefs), opening up, letting go, and taking a leap of not knowing, just BEING.  That is true Well – Being.  Many years ago I called it Well -Fullness.  You empty out your well so it can become full.  There is the joy!  There is the love!  There is so much bliss and peace.  Those who have tasted it know.  And, they will never be the same again.  May you be blessed to one day empty out enough in surrender to get one taste (which will start to raise your vibration enough that you will then get many tastes) as well.

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The Soul is the Source of Joy & Abraham-Hicks

September 2, 2007

In Beyond the Secret  I speak about the difference between happiness and joy.  Happiness is fleeting and comes from living according to the demands of the ego.  Joy is lasting and comes from engaging the soul. 

In the Abraham-Hicks teachings they also talk about living in a state of joy.  Much of their teaching really consists of techniques that can help you elevate your feeling state into a more joyful place.  In fact, this is one of the things I appreciate most about their teachings, even though I believe the teachings of Rational Emotive Therapy (which were developed in the 1950’s and I learned in the 1980’s) in many ways offer a more solid approach for working with your emotions effectively. 

What I would like to do here, however, is clarify more my views on what joy is in light of what the Hicks have to say.  To begin with the Hicks state we are here to learn how to allow Non-Physical Energy to create our world and flow through our intentions, decisions, and thoughts.  This Non-Physical Energy is also considered to be the source of joy.  This is the true “you.”  This “you” creates reality and there is nothing that this “you” cannot be, do, or have. 

So far, so good.  This is a basic metaphysical teaching, one that many, many, many people have taught in various esoteric traditions in different religious systems for thousands of years.  Only one problem that my book Beyond the Secret clearly points out.  Who is the “you”?  And, at what state of consciousness is this “you” operating from?  Because truth be told, the more “soulful” it is, the more it embodies the soul values listed in my book, and the less consumption oriented “you” (as ego) become.  This also fits with my research on what is spirituality (the post from my Ph.D. dissertation work is here on this blog).  

Though I am positive the Hicks themselves embody primarily soul values, have learned to live mainly in a state of joy, and are dedicated towards service, their teachings at times muddle and confuse different states of consciousness, which is my main difficulty with their teachings and books.  Yes, we are here to consciously connect with Source, as their books (and numerous metaphysical, spiritual, religious books) state.  But, in my extensive experience to really understand what that process looks like the Hicks books offer only a rudimentary guide towards understanding how to really access that Source, become “soul-infused,” diminish the ego, and live in a state of joy.  As a beginning step, the Abraham-Hicks books offer a very valuable service.  But, for the seeker looking to go further there is much, much, more.  


What is Spirituality?

September 1, 2007

Below is a small excerpt from my Ph.D. dissertation in Transpersonal Psychology (Copyright May 2002 by Lisa Love) summarizing the literature I reviewed at that time regarding how many authors define spirituality.  To help you sort through the required documentation in a Ph.D. dissertation, I have put the key points in bold.

Qualities of Spirituality

     What are some of the qualities associated with spirituality?  To begin with, some people (Braudy, 1997; Dunbar, 2000; Fridson, 2000, Goddard, 1995; Hill & Smith, 1995; Jagers & Smith, 1996; Kilpatrick, 1999; Niederman, 1999; Rolheiser, 1999; Roof, 1999) consider the qualities of energy, vitality, and power to be primary spiritual components. Ronald Rolheiser (1999) states:We can see from all of this that spirituality is about what we do with our spirits, our souls.  And can we see too from all of this that a healthy spirit or a healthy soul must do dual jobs: it has to give us energy and fire, so that we do not lose our vitality, and all sense of the beauty and joy of living.  Thus, the opposite of a spiritual person is not a person who rejects the idea of God and lives as a pagan.  The opposite of being spiritual is to have no energy, is to have lost all the zest for living – lying on a couch, watching football or sit-coms, taking beer intravenously! (pp. 11-12)

     Other qualities often attributed to spirituality include those of having a life purpose, or being endowed with the capacity to give one’s life meaning (Canda, 1988; Elkins, Hedstrom, Hughes, Leaf & Saunders, 1988; Frankl, 1967; Howden, 1993; McGrath, 1997; Wheat, 1991).  Still other people attribute spirituality to the belief in an Ultimate Reality (Banks, Poehler & Russell, 1984; Francis, 1986; Howden, 1993; Hungelmann, Kenkel-Rossi, Klassen, & Stollenwerk, 1985; Nagai-Jacobson & Burkhardt, 1989; Nierderman, 1999; Rolheiser, 1999; Wheat, 1991).  Niederman (1999) found in his research with over 300 people that this Ultimate Reality (or Ultimate Other as he called it) is usually made up of a “God archetype” (p. 91) of some kind, which is dependent upon the cultural and religious orientation a person holds.  The experience of an Ultimate Reality can be either dualistic or non-dualistic.  The dualistic position sees the God-archetype as a being, force, or spirit out there somewhere that can be related to for inspiration, comfort, or aid.  The non-dualistic perspective (Bailey, 1945; Brunton, 1984, 1986, 1988; Wilber, 1977, 1979) asserts there really is no other in an ultimate sense, because that other is also within us as well. 

     Another view of spirituality is that it pertains to a belief in life after death (Jagers and Smith, 1996; Niederman, 1999).  It also pertains to the capacity to contact the deceased, a view often found in indigenous shamanic traditions (Coogan, 1998; Noss, 1999, Ryan, 1999), the “spiritualists” movement of the late 19th century (Sadleir, 2000), and amongst modern day mediums and psychics (Sadleir, 2000).  Spirituality can also be associated with the cultivation of psychic powers and a cultivation of altered state experiences (Coogan, 1998; Noss, 1999, Ryan, 1999; Sadleir, 2000), which are often entered into as a means to contact the dead and access subtle realms of perception.      

     A number of other authors take issue with this view of spirituality.  Aurobindo (1948, 1958; Satprem, 1993), Bailey (1942), Brunton (1984, 1987b) and Underhill (1955) warn that psychic powers and altered state experiences divorced from a moral base can inflate the ego and therefore impede spiritual growth.  Alice Bailey (1942) even goes so far as to assert that this kind of pursuit can really be a digression from cultivating what she calls the “higher psychic abilities” that include qualities such as a refined intellect, a calm emotional state, and other surprising words like discrimination, healing, active service, spiritual discernment, response to group need or vibration, and perfected knowledge to name a few (pp. 559 – 563).        

     Aurobindo (1948, 1958), Bailey (1922, 1937, 1942, 1945), Brunton (1984, 1988), Fowler (1981), Marion (2000), Satprem (1993), Underhill (1955), Wade (1996), and Wilber (1977, 1979, 1995, 1996, 2000) are a few of the leading thinkers who talk about spirituality as emerging primarily after an ego stage of development.  Spirituality occurs only when a certain developmental level of consciousness is reached, which Bailey (1922, 1937, 1945) refers to as undergoing the first initiation, Brunton (1984, 1986) speaks about as the beginning of the spiritual quest, Wade (1996) calls the level of transcendent consciousness, and Wilber (1995) refers to as the centauric, vision-logic, or psychic (1981) levels of consciousness.  At this point the ego begins to dissolve, or transcends itself (Elkins, Hedstrom, Hughes, Leaf, & Saunders, 1988; Frankl, 1962; Jackson, 1980; Jenkins, 1995; O’Brien, 1994; Niederman, 1999), and the life emphasis shifts from what one gets out of life for oneself, to what one can increasingly give to others (Banks, Poehler, & Russell, 1984).  Bailey (1942) refers to this as the shift from acquisition to contribution.

     For a number of authors (Lane, 1987; McGrath, 1997; Shafranske, 1984, Zumeta, 1993) spirituality exists when there is a sense of community, or when someone becomes other oriented (concerned about others and not just oneself).  This sense of other can extend from simply a concern for one’s own family, to a broad concern for environmental and planetary welfare, which some authors believe only takes place when the individual has sufficiently transcended the ego (Bailey, 1937, 1945; Brunton, 1984, 1988; Wilber, 1995, 2000). 

     Finally, spirituality for many authors has to do with the cultivation of a number of traits that are often viewed as moral in nature (Beversluis, 2000; Kornfield, 2000; Teasdale, 1999, Walsh, 1999).  Both Wayne Teasdale (1999) and transpersonal psychiatrist Roger Walsh (1999) believe the emphasis on morality should be less on outer injunctions of how to live, and more upon behaviors derived from an inner realization of what Walsh (1999) calls the “direct experience of the sacred” (p. 3) which include the following qualities:  a) a reduction in cravings for material goods; b) a cultivation of emotional wisdom that manifests as compassion; c) the living of an ethical life; d) a concentrated and calm mind; e) the ability to see and recognize the sacred in all things; f) the cultivation of spiritual intelligence resulting in wisdom; g) and the desire to put spirit into action, through the embrace of generosity and the joy of service.      

     This view that spirituality is dependent upon the cultivation of certain qualities fits with the research study conducted by Niederman (1999) who found his participants equated spirituality most often with qualities that included: love and compassion; the ability to sit with mystery and not have all the answers; honesty, self-evaluation, positive thinking, patience, self-acceptance; good nutritional habits and exercise; forgiveness, self-disclosure, risking, touching, self-improvement; activities such as meditation, prayer, imaging; a desire to fashion one’s life into a life of holiness; inner strength; joy, peace, awareness, centeredness; release, gratitude, humility, tolerance, faith, commitment, surrender; an ability to see beyond the present reality; discipline, trust, love, commitment to spiritual practice, a sense of well-being, and a greater sense of connectedness and relatedness to others; and a sense of harmony with self, others, and the environment.