Thursday, December 1, 2016

An Illuminating Experience



Recently, for the birthday of my wife, Carol, I arranged for her to fulfill a long-held desire—to participate in a Lantern Festival. If you are not familiar with a Lantern Festival, it’s when a gathering of people simultaneously release illuminated paper lanterns into the sky. The lanterns themselves can be quite large—as large as 3 feet tall by 2 feet wide. At the bottom of each lantern is a combustible material. And when the material is lit, it not only illuminates the lantern, but it also fills it with hot air. Eventually the lantern becomes light enough to rise up into the sky and float away—just like a hot air balloon. 

Some festivals are attended by dozens of people. Some are attended by hundreds. Our event was attended by thousands—more than 6,000, it is said. From pictures and videos I had seen, I knew that the releasing of the lanterns would be beautiful. But when the moment came to release our lanterns, I was surprised by the emotions that overcame both Carol and me. In fact, we were both touched to the point of tears.

So why did we experience such strong feelings? Well, there is something I didn’t mention about the preparation of the lanterns. Before the lanterns are inflated, each person writes upon it his or her dreams, goals, prayers, or affirmations. Some people express desires for a better house, a perfect job, or a loving relationship. Others seek abundance, happiness, or a healing. And some write down messages to loved ones who have left this plane of existence.

When each person lets go of his or her lantern, allowing it to rise high into the sky, it is a symbolic way of releasing his or her heartfelt desires and prayers into the care of a Higher Power. Imagine being surrounded by thousands of people of every imaginable walk of life, all joined by one common wish—the wish to live a more fulfilling and joyful life. And imagine being surrounded by thousands of people of every imaginable color and creed, all joined by one common faith—the faith that we live in an intelligent, creative, and loving Universe that knows what our dreams are, that hears our prayers, and responds to them.

It has been a long time since I have experienced such a profound sense of universal unity. And I suppose that is what brought tears to my eyes, and to Carol’s eyes, as well. It was truly a moving moment, which was made even more moving by the inspiring songs that were being played during the release, such as “Imagine” by John Lennon, and “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban.

If you would like to attend a Lantern Festival near you, I invite you to visit this website: www.thelanternfest.com. It will be an experience you will never forget—an experience that is as inspiring as it is illuminating.

Steven

© 2016 by Steven Lane Taylor
Steven Lane Taylor, LLC

Here’s a video of the moment Carol released her lantern:

video

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The 9th Benefit of Meditation



In Chapter 17 of my second book, “Further Down The Stream,” I list eight benefits of meditation. They are:
  1. You are healthier.
  2. You are more creative.
  3. You are more intuitive.
  4. You are more responsive.
  5. You are more present.
  6. You are more patient.
  7. You are more peaceful.
  8. You are more loving.
By no means are those the only benefits of meditation. There are more—many more. Those are just the ones that sprang to mind as I wrote that particular chapter. But as I was listening to a talk recently, I realized I missed a benefit—an important one . . . one I wish I had included in my book.

It is such an obvious benefit, I am surprised it didn’t occur to me at the time. What is it? You only have to look at the smiling face of the Dalai Lama—a consistent meditator—to see what it is:

        9. You are more joyful.

Meditation, as you know, helps quiet the mind, so you are more in touch with your Inner Divine Spirit—that Eternal Presence that exists at the core of your being. It follows that if you are more in touch with that Presence, you will exhibit more of its traits, such as creativity, wisdom, patience, peace, love, and . . . yes . . . joy.

The joy I am talking about is not the kind of joy that arises only when something outside of yourself is to your liking. It’s the kind of joy that comes from embracing all of life and living. It’s the joy that comes from appreciating life as a whole—with its ups and its downs, its peaceful parts and its turbulent parts.

Consider this: When people go to a water park, do they choose only to float along the lazy river? Or do they also choose to hurtle down the scary, but thrilling water slide? Don’t most people choose both? At the end of the day, isn’t it the overall combination of contrasting experiences that brought them joy?

Sure it is. And so it is with your Spirit. To your Spirit, life itself is one big amusement park, with a wide variety of contrasting rides and attractions that bring it joy. And when you connect to your Spirit through a consistent practice of meditation, you, too, can experience that all-inclusive kind of joy. You, too, can experience the unending joy of your Spirit. You, too, can experience the joy of just being alive and in the world. 

Steven

© 2016 by Steven Lane Taylor
www.rowrowrow.com
Steven Lane Taylor, LLC

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Lesson Learned The Easy Way



In my second book, “Further Down The Stream,” Chapter 38 is titled, “Grow With The Flow.” The idea in this chapter is that before you can successfully achieve a dream—or just live a happier, more fulfilling life—you may have to grow in some way. You may have to mature mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. You may have to heal something or learn something.

In order to bring that healing, learning, and maturing experience about, your inner Divine Spirit—in cooperation with the inner Divine Spirit of others—will orchestrate a challenge for you that will give you the perfect opportunity to heal, learn, and grow. Once the healing happens or the lesson is learned, you will no longer face that exact kind of challenge again.

What is truly fascinating about this process, however, is this: If you learn the lesson quickly enough, the challenge you are facing may dissolve before you actually have to go all the way through it. Here’s an example:

At one point in my former career as an advertising writer, I was up for a big promotion. The Creative Director of our group was leaving to head up a brand new group within our agency, and I was being considered to replace him. It would be an easy step up for me, because I had already been assisting him in leading our group for several years.

Well, I didn’t get the promotion. For reasons not relevant to this story, my company decided to hire a Creative Director from outside the company—someone with no experience in working at our agency, leading our group, or handling our particular accounts. I was disappointed, to say the least.

I thought I would get over my disappointment in time, but instead, my disappointment quickly turned into anger. Why? Because the new Creative Director—whom I will call Martin—never acknowledged my experience as an assistant director. He never asked for my opinion. He never sought my advice. And worse, I thought the decisions he was making (without my input) were hurting the quality of our work. In short, as far as I could see, he was a lousy manager.

Did I say I was angry? Correction. I was furious! And what did I do with all that anger? Nothing. Day after day after day, I just sat in it, stewing and brewing and letting my anger build. And then, something fortunate happened.  Before I exploded and did something I would regret, my former Creative Director called me and invited me to join his new group. Although he didn’t need an assistant to run this kind of group, he did need another writer to pair up with one of his art directors. I accepted his invitation immediately.

I was greatly relieved to escape what I believed to be an intolerable situation. But notice something: no healing or learning had yet taken place. And that’s where this story gets really interesting.

After happily working in my new group for about two years, one day I received some surprising news. Whether it was because of poor management, or it was due to other factors, my former group—the one led by Martin, the Creative Director I detested—had been disbanded. The company still felt that Martin was of value, though, so they didn’t let him go. Instead, they decided to move him into another group until they could find a more suitable position for him.

Well, guess whose group they decided to move him into? Of course! Ours! I was completely dumbfounded. From the standpoint of an organizational chart, moving Martin into our group didn’t make one bit of sense. Our group wasn’t big enough to be divided between two Creative Directors! Our current Creative Director didn’t even need an assistant! What we could use, however, was another art director. And since Martin began his career as an art director, that was the function he would be fulfilling.

So an office was prepared for Martin, and in advance of his arrival, he was assigned a project. The only thing he needed was a writer to work with. You see what’s coming next, right? You got it. The only logical choice of a writer to pair up with Martin was . . . me!

No! How could this be? I escaped that man years ago! Why would we have to work together again? Why? Why? Hmmm . . . why, indeed? Could it be there was a lesson I needed to learn?

Well, guess what? With my willingness to see this situation as a possible learning lesson, I had an immediate epiphany. Yes, it was true that Martin never asked for my assistance when he took the job I thought was going to be mine. But it was also true that I never offered him any help! The real truth of the matter was that I resented Martin for “taking my job,” and I had no intention of helping him be successful.

But did he actually “take my job?” Of course not. I just didn’t get the job, and he did. And there were reasons for that. In that moment of clarity, I realized what would have been the right thing to do back then. I should have simply gone into Martin’s office and said, “Let me know if you need any help. And if there is anything you need to know about our clients, or the history of our group and our work, I will be happy to fill you in.”

Now—miraculously—I had a second chance to do the right thing. And I knew just what that would be. I would tell Martin that I really looked forward to working with him on our upcoming project. And you know what? That sentiment was completely sincere. You see, I knew that before he moved into management, Martin was an excellent art director. And I truly believed that we could create a wonderful advertising campaign together.

Having had my epiphany on a Friday, I decided to put my sentiment in a handwritten note, and leave it on Martin’s desk for him to find on Monday—the day he was slated to start working in our group. I don’t know whether Martin ever got that note or not. Because he didn’t come in on Monday. Or Tuesday. Or ever. As it turned out, the company did find a better fit for Martin, and over the weekend they moved him into a completely different area of our agency.

As shocked as I was when I heard Martin was coming into our group, I was equally shocked to hear that he been moved somewhere else before he even got started. Wow! I couldn’t help but feel this whole scenario was divinely orchestrated for my benefit. And I did, indeed, benefit. By finally getting honest with myself, I was able to let go of my unfounded resentment toward Martin, and relieve myself of an emotional burden I had been carrying around for years.

A lesson had been learned. A healing had happened. And then—instantly—the very challenge that set the stage for that maturing experience simply disappeared. That’s not to say that every challenge I have faced in life has dissolved in a heartbeat. Plenty of challenges have lasted a lot longer than they probably had to, due to my resistance to them. But to this day, I remain extremely grateful that in this particular instance—and a few others like it—I was able to learn my lesson . . . the easy way.

Steven

© 2016 by Steven Lane Taylor
Steven Lane Taylor, LLC

Saturday, March 19, 2016

About That Still, Small Voice



In Chapter 4 of my second book, Further Down The Stream, I list many of the ways we receive divine guidance from our inner Divine Spirit (the kind of guidance we commonly call our intuition). Included are:
  • A thought that suddenly pops into your head
  • A still, small voice you seem to “hear” from within
  • An image or a vision that appears in your mind
  • A particularly vivid dream you have
  • A physical sensation that gets your attention
  • A simple feeling of peace or “rightness”
  • A “Knowing”—that is, an inexplicable and unshifting sense of surety
Except for an image or vision that appears in your mind, I have experienced all of the above at one time or another. My most common experience is a feeling of “rightness” about a particular choice I am considering. But I have also had vivid dreams that have helped me heal some troubling situations. I have experienced physical sensations that have alerted me to something I needed to pay attention to. And I have had thoughts pop into my mind that proved to be miraculously beneficial. I still remember the time I suddenly thought, “I should look into that book marketing opportunity I heard about 6 months ago.” That particular thought was not connected to anything I was contemplating at the time. It just popped into my mind out of the blue. But guess what? When I heeded that thought and checked on the marketing opportunity, I discovered I had called on the very last day the offer was being made!

There is one form of divine communication, however, I have only experienced twice—both within a single 24-hour period. I am referring to hearing a “still, small voice.” Although some people claim they have heard—with their ears—an actual voice coming from outside of themselves, most people—myself included—experience the still, small voice as something that arises from within. They can’t say they actually “heard” something, but what they experienced was more than just a mental thought.

If you are wondering what distinguishes a still, small voice from a thought, it is generally this: The message you “hear” is extraordinarily clear. It is very concise. And it seems to be delivered to your mind rather than originating from your mind. For example, a thought that arises in your mind might be something like, “Hey, I haven’t heard from Sally in a while. Maybe I should call her.” A still, small voice would simply say, “Call Sally. Now.”

So what was my experience with a still, small voice? To be perfectly honest, it was a little embarrassing . . . but also kind of funny:

Many, many years ago—when I was in my thirties—I had a very big decision to make. It was such a big decision, I needed to make it very carefully and prayerfully. I had that decision on my mind when I decided to spend a week or so vacationing in Arizona.

My first stop was the city of Tucson. Tucson sits at the base of Mt. Lemmon, and I decided I would drive up to the top of that mountain and spend some time in prayer and meditation about the challenging choice I was facing.  So that’s exactly what I did. I drove to the top of Mt. Lemmon, found a big boulder, sat on it, meditated for a bit, and then asked my inner Divine Spirit, “Spirit . . . what should I do?”

I was surprised when I got an immediate response. It was clear. It was concise. And the message seemed to be delivered to my mind, rather than originating from my mind. It was a still, small voice. And it said, “Whatever you think is best for your spiritual growth.”

Whatever I think is best for my spiritual growth? I didn’t care for that answer. I didn’t know what was best for my spiritual growth, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to discern that. As I drove back down the mountain I convinced myself that the “voice” I heard must not have been the voice of my Spirit at all. It must have been something else.

I knew my next stop was Sedona, Arizona, so I decided I would ask the question again when I got there. After all, Sedona is known for it’s mystical “vortexes,” and I would probably have a stronger connection to my inner Divine Spirit if I asked the question there.

So that’s what I did. I drove to Sedona, went to one of the vortex sites, sat down, meditated a bit, and then asked the question again. “Spirit . . . what should I do?”

Once again I got an immediate response. It was clear. It was concise. And the message seemed to be delivered to my mind, rather than originating from my mind. It was that still, small voice again. Only this time, it said, “I already told you.” Oops! I felt a little embarrassed. I guess I should have accepted the first answer I received! 

Well, even though it required more contemplation and meditation on my part, I was—in the end—able to arrive at a decision I was comfortable with. And later, I realized why my Sprit answered me the way it did. It was simply because it didn’t make any difference what choice I made! No matter what path I chose, if I thought it was best for my spiritual growth, my inner Divine Spirit would help me benefit from the experience. 

Friends, have you had a still, small voice experience? Have you had beneficial thoughts pop into your mind, or experienced helpful dreams? No matter what form your divine guidance may take, here’s to being open and receptive to it . . . the first time!

Steven

© 2016 by Steven Lane Taylor
Steven Lane Taylor, LLC 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Won't It Be Wonderful When . . . ?



It’s difficult to manifest what you want in life if you are continually harboring the idea that it won’t ever happen. Effortlessly fulfilling your heart’s desires generally requires a more positive mindset—an attitude of expectancy at the very least.

But how do you get beyond an underlying sense that the eventual fulfillment of your desire is in doubt? One answer is to take a baby step, and just begin to focus on the possibility of your desire being fulfilled. Years ago I came across a good technique for doing just that. It was in the book, “Ask and It Is Given,” which came out six months after I published “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

The technique is simple. You just ask yourself one basic question: “Wouldn’t it be nice if my desire was fulfilled?” More specifically, you might ask: “Wouldn’t it be nice if I reclaimed the healthy weight I had 10 years ago?” “Wouldn’t it be nice if I received the perfect job offer this month?” “Wouldn’t it be nice if we moved into our dream house this year?”

The beauty of reflecting on this question is threefold:

First, it shifts your attention away from what you believe is impeding the fulfillment of your desire and directs it toward the possibility your desire’s fulfillment.

Second, it takes any feelings of discouragement or frustration you might be experiencing and replaces them with better feelings—“nice” ones.

And third, it is a very gentle approach to focusing on your desire, so you are less likely to slip into a demanding or controlling frame of mind. The details for fulfilling your desire are left up to The Divine, which is always the most beneficial way to manifest what you want.

As helpful as this technique is, though, it is still a baby step—a step in the right direction, but a baby step nonetheless. Once you accept the possibility that your desire can be fulfilled, you are ready for the next step—a bigger step. That step is to acknowledge the absolute certainty of your desire’s fulfillment.

Again, there is a helpful technique for doing that. Only this time it is not from the book, “Ask and It Is Given.” It was created by a friend of mine named Joanne Patek, who has helped numerous people accomplish their goals and realize their dreams by using this powerful, self-directed question: “Won’t it be wonderful when my desire is fulfilled with ease, and I give thanks?” Whether your desire is for a wounded relationship to be healed or a long-lost heirloom to be found, I think you can see the superiority in the way this question is worded.

For one thing, the fulfillment of your desire is no longer a question of “if.” It is now just a matter of “when.” And that sense of surety puts you in a very powerful position to manifest what you want. Why? Because when you are absolutely certain your desire will be fulfilled, you automatically make the kind of choices and take the kind of actions that lead to that fulfillment. If, instead, your mind is conflicted or full of doubt, many of your decisions can be self-sabotaging.

Notice, too, the phrase, “with ease.” Many desires can be fulfilled through struggle, strain, perseverance, or pain. But why forecast that kind of difficulty for yourself? Other than having to practice a little patience, you want your desire to be fulfilled effortlessly, right?

And how do you want to feel when your desire is fulfilled? Don’t you want to feel “wonderful?” Said another way, don’t you want to be full of wonder?  Don’t you want to marvel at the manner in which your desire manifested? Sure you do! And it’s only fitting to be filled with a sense of awe and wonderment. Because when you ask yourself “Won’t it be wonderful when . . . ?” you are—in a way—invoking a miracle.

When you ask yourself “Won’t it be wonderful when . . . ?” you get the sense that the fulfillment of your desire is not something that is going to require an undue amount of planning, hard work, and determination on your part. No, you get the sense that a Higher Power will be orchestrating the fulfillment of your desire, and little—if anything—will be required of you.

When you ask yourself “Won’t it be wonderful when . . . ?” you are acknowledging that you have Divine assistance in this life, and you are fully anticipating the moment when you will “give thanks” for that celestial support . . . and that’s assuming you haven’t already given thanks in advance, showing just how confident you are that your desire is going to be fulfilled.

Here is just one example Joanne shared with me that demonstrates the power of this technique:

Joanne had traveled out of town to be a guest speaker at a church. Her host for the weekend was a woman who lived on a rural road—a road that was full of pits and peaks and potholes. The woman wanted to have the road graded, but was bemoaning the fact that getting the road graded would be a huge effort, requiring the local sheriff’s approval, securing a permit from the county, and so on. 

Joanne reminded her host that figuring out exactly how to get the road graded was not her primary job. Her primary job was to focus only on the final fulfillment of her desire, fully expecting it to be completed with ease. In other words, her job was to simply reflect on the question: “Won’t it be wonderful when this road is graded with ease, and I give thanks?”

Sensing the power in that question, the woman began to let go of her concerns, and together she and Joanne began to joyfully anticipate the grading of the road. They didn’t have to wait long for it to happen. In fact, the very next day—Sunday morning—Joanne and her host were navigating the bumpy road to church when they came across a man on a tractor. And guess what that man doing? Of course! He was grading the road! In less than 24 hours the woman’s desire was being fulfilled—effortlessly. You can imagine how filled with wonder and reverently thankful that woman must have been in that marvelous and miraculous moment.

So, my friends, do you have a desire you want to fulfill? Do you have a goal you want to accomplish or a dream you want to realize? If the fulfillment of your desire seems doubtful, then take a step in the right direction by entertaining the possibility of it happening. But don’t stop there. Take the next step, as well, by fully anticipating it happening—easily! Won’t it be wonderful when it does? You bet it will. It will be wonderful, indeed!

Steven

© 2015 by Steven Lane Taylor
Steven Lane Taylor LLC

Friday, April 17, 2015

About God, Spirit, and Mind



Since the age of fourteen I have believed that one’s True Self is—in a word—Spirit. Yes, you have a body, but that body is not the True You. You have a thinking mind, too, but that thinking mind is not the True You, either.

Your True Self is a spiritual energy that continues to exist apart from your physical body, and continues to exist apart from your thinking mind. It is an energy that is eternal, and it is an energy that is awake and aware. Said another way, the True You is an Eternal Spirit that will always be, and, in fact, has always been. Your current body and mind are just temporary, outward aspects of the Eternal You—much like the clothes you put on each day. 

This description of one’s true nature is not something I heard or read and then adopted. It is something I instantly understood when I directly experienced my True Self during a spontaneous mystical experience I had when I was fourteen years old. I experienced myself being a Spirit in this world, but not of this world. And even though I can easily get caught up in my thinking mind, and totally preoccupied with daily life, since that day I have never lost the sense that behind my thoughts and behind my actions there is a Spiritual Essence enjoying the experience of just being alive and in the physical world.

The true nature of one’s own being, however, is not the only thing I came to understand during my brief, but profound experience. I also came to understand something about the nature of God: Namely, that God is not a “being” per se, but is a creative, intelligent energy that permeates every corner of the universe and everything in it. What I didn’t completely grasp as a fourteen-year-old, though, was the exact nature of the relationship between my individual Spirit and that Divine Energy we call “God.” I guess you could say my mystical experience was somewhat incomplete, because I didn’t have what many people call an experience of “oneness” . . . a sense that everything in the universe—including the energy of God and the energy of my own individual Spirit—is intimately intertwined.

It wasn’t until many years later that I came to see that relationship more clearly, through a series of simple diagrams that—in a moment of divine inspiration—suddenly occurred to me. What follows is how I have personally come to picture the relationship between God, Spirit, and the thinking mind.

Let’s start with a simple diagram illustrating the relationship between God and one’s own individual Spirit:


In this diagram, the large circle represents God. Of course, God has no borders. That’s why the circle is composed of dashes instead of a solid line, indicating that the energy of God cannot be contained. Throughout the universe—and all of its various dimensions—the energy of God is ever-present and everywhere-present. As one ancient philosopher put it:

“God is an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere,
and whose circumference is nowhere.”

The smaller circle represents your individual Spirit. As indicated in this diagram, your Spirit exists within the energy of God . . . and naturally so. Where else could it be? Nothing exists outside of God, for God—as some spiritual teachers put it—is “All-That-Is.”

Notice, too, that in this diagram your Spirit is also composed of dashes instead of a solid line, indicating what is perhaps the single most important aspect of your true nature: The fact that there is absolutely no separation between the energy of your Spirit and the energy of God. Your Spirit is as inseparable from God as a wave is from the ocean. In effect, your Spirit is an individual expression of God—a concentrated point of God’s consciousness.

In my talks, workshops, books, and posts, I am constantly talking about the importance of getting in touch with your Spirit if you want to stay “in the divine flow.” And now—via this diagram—you can literally see why. When you connect with your Spirit you are also connecting with the all-encompassing, all-knowing Mind of God, and can benefit from its wisdom and its guidance.

But something is missing from the above diagram. What about that part of you that “seems” to be you even more so than your body? I am talking about your thinking mind, with its nonstop thoughts and ever-growing collection of memories. Where does your thinking mind fit into the picture? To answer that question, I present a second diagram:


Just as God contains an element that is part of God, but not all of God (your Spirit), your Spirit contains an element that is part of your Spirit, but not all of your Spirit (your thinking mind). Your thinking mind—your conscious mind, or what is sometimes referred to as your ego mind—is the part of your Spirit that experiences the physical world through the body and its five senses. To your mind, the physical world seems to be a world of separation. This mountain is separate from that mountain. This flower is separate from that flower. This person is separate from that person. But notice that in the above diagram, your mind is also surrounded by dashes instead of a solid line.

This indicates that your mind is not meant to continually experience a sense of separation from everything it perceives. Your mind is also meant to experience “oneness” with your Spirit, and thus, oneness with the All-That-Is that is God. Unfortunately, very few people experience that kind of spiritual unity with any regularity. Most people are so engrossed in their own thoughts, and so preoccupied by both the delights and the demands of the sensate world, they tend to forget there is another dimension to their being—a higher, spiritual dimension.

For most people, most of the time, the diagram of the relationship between God, Spirit, and the thinking mind looks like this:


Notice that in this diagram there is a solid line around the mind. Not that such an impenetrable barrier actually exists. But when there is no attempt by the mind to consciously connect with the Spirit, the effect is the same. The mind is cut off from the Spirit, and thus, cut off from divine wisdom, from divine guidance, and from the sense of well-being that comes from being connected to something greater that one’s self.  

That’s when your life becomes more difficult than it has to be. Without divine knowledge and divine direction, you end up making choices based on information that is incomplete at best, or entirely inaccurate . . . often with unfortunate results. Plus, when you have the feeling that you are all alone and on your own in this world, fear invariably sets in. It may be a low level of fear, but it is fear nonetheless. And fear can generate a host of unproductive behaviors . . . often with unwanted consequences.  

So you can see your goal here, right? Your goal is to always keep your thinking mind open and receptive to the energy of your Spirit, so you can benefit from the peace it brings you, the wisdom it offers you, and the guidance it provides you. And the best way to keep that line of communication and communion open is through a daily practice of meditation.

That doesn’t mean meditation is the only way to connect with your Spirit, and thus, with God. Sometimes a connection happens automatically. For instance, it can happen when you are deeply in love with another person, and you get that extraordinary feeling that you and your beloved are “one.” It can also happen when you are awestruck by something profoundly beautiful in nature, and for an instant you have a pure experience of the now moment without any thoughts about it.

Still, though, meditation is the best way to consistently establish and maintain contact with your Spirit. A daily practice of meditation opens up gaps between your incessant thoughts, so the insights and inspiration of your Spirit can make their way into your conscious mind. You may not receive that divine counsel during the meditation itself. But if you practice meditation regularly, whenever your Spirit does speak to you, you will be able hear its still small “voice” much more readily . . . whether it’s through a thought that suddenly pops into your head, or just a subtle, intuitive “knowing.”

But what if you have trouble meditating on a daily basis, or meditating at all? What if you are never able to quiet your mind long enough to connect with your Higher Spiritual Self? Does that mean you will never, ever receive divine direction in life? No. When it comes to divine direction, there is more than one way it can be delivered to you. It can also be delivered through divine signs and synchronicities. Or, it can be delivered to you through other Spirits. Which brings up one final diagram:


This diagram reminds you that you are not the only Spirit in this world. There are other Spirits all around you—Spirits you know as your family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. And those Spirits—as illustrated above—are all equal parts of one Divine Whole. When one Spirit assists another Spirit, it is in effect just helping another part of itself. So, when you need divine guidance in life, it is not at all unusual for someone close to you—or even a complete stranger—to be suddenly inspired by his or her Spirit to share something with you that you really need to know. I’ll never forget the time an idea popped into my wife’s mind completely out of the blue, and when she shared it with me, it turned out to be extremely instrumental in fulfilling my desire to get my first book published.

So, my friends, there you have it—the relationship between God, Spirit, and your thinking mind. It’s a relationship where your mind and your Spirit dwell within God, and God dwells within your Spirit and your mind. Here’s to the peace, purpose, and sense of worthiness that comes from knowing you are a precious and indispensable part of it all . . . of All-That-Is, that is.

Steven

P.S. Four months after I posted this message, I was given a copy of a book called “The Impersonal Life.” I was gratified to discover that much of what I illustrated above is corroborated by this important, inspired work. For more about "The Impersonal Life," click here.

© 2015 by Steven Lane Taylor
Steven Lane Taylor, LLC


Thursday, February 26, 2015

About Subconscious Self-Sabotage



Have you ever noticed a pattern in your life that seemed detrimental to you? I’m talking about the kind of repeating experience where you are likely to say to yourself, “Why is this always happening to me?”

The fact that you want to know “why” is a good thing. If you understand why something is happening you are in a better position to do something about it. Right? Right. There’s a problem, though, with the way your question is stated. It’s the “to me” part. That’s a victim position. If something is happening to you—if the world is doing it to you, or God is doing it to you—how are you going to change that? Change the world? Change God?

If you really want to do something about an adverse experience you keep having over and over again, a good first step is to be willing to take personal responsibility for its occurrence in your life. The fact is, repeating experiences are usually something you—yourself—are creating through your choices. And those choices are often influenced by the beliefs you harbor deep within your subconscious mind—beliefs about life, the world, and your role in the world that you developed at a very early age.

Many of your subconscious beliefs are simply the assumptions and misunderstandings of a child. They are flawed, faulty, and based on information that was incomplete at best. And yet, even though you are no longer consciously aware of those childhood beliefs, they still have enough influence to affect your life in ways that are not beneficial to you.

For example, if you subconsciously believe you will never be wealthy—or simply don’t deserve to ever live a luxurious life—you will consistently make decisions that will limit your ability to thrive financially. Time after time you will set monetary goals, but then make choices that sabotage your ability to achieve them. The choices you make will seem perfectly reasonable to you. But their self-sabotaging nature will be quite obvious to others.

The good news is this: Since you are the one creating this pattern—even if you are doing it unconsciously—you also have the power to change it! The trick is to discover the subconscious belief that is fostering a repeating experience, so you can dispel it and replace it with an idea that serves you better. And I have found one quick and easy way to do that. It doesn’t work for all people, all the time, in all situations. But it’s a simple technique that has instantly worked for me on several occasions, so it’s certainly worth sharing.

To set the stage for this technique, allow me to tell you a long, but entertaining story about the first time I employed it, even though I wasn’t aware of what I was doing at the time. It’s a good example of how this method works.

When I was in my 30s I recognized a pattern in my life that was extremely frustrating. I was the person who was constantly forgotten. If I was in a meeting of 10 people, and sometime later a list was made of everyone who attended that meeting, I wouldn’t be on the list. If I signed up for a seminar in advance, when I arrived at the check-in desk to pick up my name-badge, there wouldn’t be one for me. It was as if I didn’t exist.

This hurtful pattern came to head when I turned forty. A magazine advertisement I had created for American Airlines was up for an award. I went to the awards show, and when the Master of Ceremonies got to my category, he announced, “And the winner in this category is . . .” and my ad appeared on the overhead screen. I won! I began to rise up out of my seat as the MC called out the name of the person who created the ad, “Joe Thornton! Joe, come get your award!”


Joe Thornton? Who’s Joe Thornton? I created the American Airlines ad! Not Joe Thornton! But wait. Is it possible that Joe actually did win in this category, and they just showed the wrong ad? 

As I half-stood, half-sat, trying to figure out what was going on, Joe Thornton looked at the screen, assumed they had simply put up the wrong slide, and stepped onto the stage to accept the award.

Oh no! What happened here? Did my ad win, and the MC called out the wrong creator? Or did Joe win, and they showed the wrong ad? I slumped back into my chair, confused and dejected.

When the awards show was over, I sought out the awards committee and explained the situation. I told them I was the creator of the American Airlines ad, but they had called out Joe Thornton’s name instead of mine. “So who actually won?” I asked. “Did I win for the American Airlines ad, or did Joe Thornton win for some other ad?”

They looked at their paperwork and replied, “Whoever created the American Airlines ad won. We have Joe Thornton listed as that person.” 

“No!” I exclaimed. “I created that ad . . . me . . . Steve Taylor.”

“Oh! Sorry, Mr. Taylor, but we don’t have your name listed here . . . or anywhere.”

Once again I had been left off the list. They told me I could come by the office on Monday to pick up a duplicate award, but that was little consolation for missing an opportunity to finally be recognized.

This experience really hit me hard. I was so despondent, someone at my office suggested I talk to a therapist about this issue. I agreed that would be a good idea, so I asked for a recommendation of a good therapist, and I was given the name of a woman named Charlie.

I called Charlie and made an appointment for 2 o’clock on a Tuesday. When Tuesday arrived, I went to Charlie’s office and knocked on the door. There was no reply. Hmmm, I thought, perhaps Charlie is conducting another session that isn’t over yet. So I waited five minutes and knocked again. Still no answer. Ten minutes later, no answer still. This was before cell phones were commonplace, so at 2:15 I finally left and went back to my office to call Charlie.

“Charlie,” I said, “I thought we had an appointment at 2 o’clock today. Did I have the wrong time or wrong day?”

After a long pause, Charlie responded. “Mr. Taylor, I am so sorry. You are right. We did have an appointment for 2 o’clock today. But I forgot you! This has never happened to me before.”  (It’s happened to me before, I thought.)

Charlie then said, “Please let me make it up to you. If you will come tomorrow at 2 o’clock, I promise I will be there. And there will be no charge for our introductory session.”

Hmmm, I thought. No charge? That’s nice. “Okay, Charlie,” I said. “That sounds good. I will be there at 2 o’clock tomorrow.”

You know what’s coming next, right? I go to Charlie’s office at 2 o’clock the next day, knock on the door, and once again there is no answer. I wait five minutes and knock again. Still no answer. Ten minutes later I leave and drive back to my office to call Charlie.

“Charlie,” I said. “I am certain we rescheduled my appointment for 2 o’clock today, but you weren’t there. Was there a reason you couldn’t make it?”

There was an even longer pause this time. Then Charlie finally said, “Mr. Taylor, I don’t know what to say to you. I am so, so sorry. I forgot you again! To forget you one time is one thing, but to forget you twice?” Then Charlie said something extraordinary. “Mr. Taylor, I would like to suggest something to you. Would you be willing to consider the possibility that you have something to do with me not showing up?”

What? I couldn’t believe what I just heard. What would I have to do with her not showing up? Do I have some kind of magical power that makes people forget me? “Sure Charlie,” I replied half-heartedly. “I’m willing to consider it.” And I hung up.

Well, guess what? My half-hearted willingness to accept personal responsibility for this pattern was enough for me to experience a dramatic revelation right on the spot. The moment I was willing to consider the possibility that I was at the root of this issue, several things happened:

First, I remembered that my brother was 20 years old when I was born, and my sister was 17. Obviously, I wasn’t planned for. And I always knew that. But that’s no big deal, right? Lots of children aren’t planned for.

But suddenly, along with that memory, a deeply seated belief sprang into my conscious awareness. It was a young boy’s conclusion about not being planned for. And it was a big deal. Because this is the belief that immediately came up: “I am not supposed to exist. I am not supposed to be in this Universe at all.”

The second I identified that old, underlying, subconscious belief, my whole life flashed before my eyes, and I could clearly see how it not only influenced my choices, it influenced every aspect of my behavior. I would go into a room full of people, and immediately hide in a corner. My demeanor and body language would clearly broadcast the message, “Don’t pay any attention to me. I’m not supposed to be here.”

I lived life in the cracks, disappearing into the woodwork. I would even refrain from asking people for help or special favors, because I felt that I might be interfering with some kind of divine plan for their lives—lives that were supposed to happen . . . unlike mine.

I was so good at making myself invisible, I once ran into a man I knew from a weekly share group that both he and I had been part of, and this was our conversation:

“Hello,” I said.

“Excuse me,” the man replied. “Do I know you?” 

“Yes,” I answered. “Steve Taylor.”

“Who?” he asked.

“Steve Taylor . . . from the weekly share group.”

“Not ringing a bell,” he said.

“There were only six of us!” I responded, incredulously.

“Sorry,” he replied. “I just don’t remember you being there.”

So, I have identified the subconscious belief that was influencing my behavior and limiting my life. But that’s only half the battle. The next step is to dispel that detrimental belief and replace it with an idea that is more beneficial.

Dispelling a subconscious belief is not as difficult as it seems, because in most cases, the belief you identify is obviously flawed. Like I mentioned earlier in this message, it is often the inaccurate belief of a child. And as an adult, the childish nature of that belief is usually quite apparent.

Replacing the old belief with a new one is another matter. It may take some time for you to identify a new belief you can whole-heartedly adopt. In my case, however, it was incredibly easy for me to replace my old belief. Why? Because I already had a replacement idea waiting in the wings.

You see, as a result of a mystical experience I had at the age of fourteen, I have long believed in reincarnation. That’s not an idea I am asking you to buy into. What’s important here is that reincarnation is true for me. And as part of the reincarnation process, I believe you choose your parents. Their personalities, convictions, and lifestyle create a springboard for your life . . . a jumping off point to propel you towards the kind of life you want to live this time around.

So, based on that idea, is it true for me that “I am not supposed to exist?” Of course not! What’s true for me is that I chose to be here! I chose my parents! I might have been a surprise to them, but I wasn’t a surprise to me! I knew exactly what I was doing when I decided to come here. And my life has purpose and meaning, just like everyone else’s.

Unfortunately, as a child, that’s not what I concluded to be true about my place in the world. And that demonstrates just how influential a childhood subconscious belief can be. Because the idea that I wasn’t supposed to exist continued to influence my behavior up to the age of forty, far beyond the age I came to believe in reincarnation.

So, you might ask, how did things change once I was able to see the fallacy of my subconscious belief, and replace it with a more beneficial idea?  Simple. I was no longer left off of lists. In fact, in some instances, I was placed at the very top of the list. And the reason was this: From that point on, whenever I walked into a room my demeanor and body language no longer said, “Don’t pay attention to me.” Instead, it simply announced, “I am here. And I have a divine right to be here, just like everyone else.” And no one ever forgot me again.

*****

So, my friends, as loosely illustrated by my story, what follows is the technique I promised you for bringing subconscious beliefs to light, so you can dispel them and replace them more productive ideas.

1. Look for a pattern in your life that seems detrimental to you.

2. Don’t ask, “Why is this always happening to me?” Instead, turn that question around by saying, “At some level I must be creating this experience. Why would I?”

3. Having taken personal responsibility for what you are repeatedly experiencing, the reason why—often in the form of a subconscious belief—may pop right up.

4. If it does, identify the fallacy in that belief, so you can let it go.

5. Replace your old subconscious belief with a new belief that serves you better.

6. Continually reaffirm your new belief, so it can consistently influence your choices in new and better ways.

That’s it. I know it sounds simplistic, but as I mentioned earlier, it has instantly worked for me on more than one occasion . . . and I know it has worked for others, as well.

But, as I also stated, it does not work for all people, all the time, in all situations. So here are two more suggestions to help you reveal subconscious beliefs that may be sabotaging your life.

1.  Try the White Light Meditation I offer as a free download on this page of my website: www.rowrowrow.com/Downloads.html.

2. Check out a book called, The Key. In this book, author Joe Vitale describes ten other techniques for revealing and dispelling subconscious blocks.

Here’s wishing you a life that’s rewarding and fulfilling . . . and free from any belief that might get in the way of that.

Steven

P.S. I should point out that a subconscious belief is not the only thing that might come up when you state, “At some level I must be creating this experience. Why would I?” Sometimes it’s the realization that you are recreating a detrimental or abusive situation from your past—a situation you were not able to effectively handle or heal from back then. But now you have the opportunity to do what needs to be done, or say what needs to be said, so you will no longer experience that kind of situation.  

© 2015 by Steven Lane Taylor
Steven Lane Taylor, LLC