Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Spontaneous Mystical Experience

October 17, 2014

Dear Friends,

When I was fourteen years old, my family lived in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Our house was surrounded by an acre of pine trees, but right in the middle of all those pine trees was a large oak. This oak tree had one unusual branch that stuck straight out from its trunk, and one day I decided to hang a rope from that branch to make a rope swing.

Most rope swings have a wooden plank at the bottom on which you sit. But I didn’t have a wooden plank, so I just doubled the rope back on itself to form a loop at the bottom. It was fun to nestle into that loop and swing back and forth. But I soon discovered something that was a lot more fun than that. I would nestle into the loop, walk around the tree as far as I could go—wrapping the rope around the trunk of the tree as I went—and then I would push off from the tree with my feet.

Whenever I did that, I would swing out in a wide arc, spiraling out and around the tree until the rope wrapped itself around the trunk of the tree once more. Then I would push off from the tree again, but this time I would spiral out and around in the opposite direction. The only challenge was making sure I always landed against the trunk of the tree with my feet—and not my back—but that turned out to be very easy to do.

I got so good at this routine, I soon added a little trick to it. While spiraling out and around the tree, I would do one or two quick spins before landing. I became a one-man Cirque du Soleil! I enjoyed doing this so much, I would do it over and over and over again. And that’s when it happened.

What I didn’t know then, but came to understand later, was this: When you do a repetitive body motion over and over and over again, it is possible to induce an altered state of consciousness, or even precipitate what some people call a mystical experience. And that’s what occurred.

I got so involved in this repetitive physical activity, I achieved what the popular author, Eckhart Tolle, calls “a state of no mind.” In other words, I stopped thinking. I stopped reflecting on the past, projecting into the future, or even analyzing or judging the current moment. I was just experiencing the now moment—fully and purely—without any thought at all.

And guess what you discover in that “state of no mind?” You discover the True You. You discover that there is a Consciousness behind your thoughts, and behind your mind—a Consciousness that some people call the Soul, Spirit, Higher Self, or God Self. In that moment, I experienced the Divine Essence that exists at the core of my being.

Mind you, this wasn’t an out-of-body experience. No, I was aware I was in a body . . . but I knew I was not that body. I was aware I had a mind . . . but I knew I was not that mind. I was even aware I had a personality . . . but I knew I was not that personality. All of those aspects of me—body, mind, and personality—were temporary and superficial, similar to the clothes one puts on each day. The True Me was an Eternal Spirit. I had always been, and I would always be. I was in this world, but I was not of this world. I was an eternal spiritual being having a temporary physical existence.

I don’t know how long I was in that mystical state—probably just a few minutes. But when you are truly in the now moment—truly—it feels like an eternity. And that was more than enough time for the Divine Knowledge of my inner Spirit to make its way into my mind. Although this was a good thirty years before the term “downloading” came into being, that is close to what I experienced. I instantly “downloaded” a great deal of information about the nature of Spirit, the nature of God, and the nature of physical existence and its various dimensions.

I’m sure you would like to know more about the information I received that day. But adhering to the focus of this blog—which is about learning how to recognize and cooperate with the divine flow of life—what I learned during that experience is not nearly as important as what I did not learn.

For whatever reason, I simply didn’t grasp the fact that my inner Spirit not only had the answers to any questions I might have about the nature of the Universe, it also had the answers to any questions I might have about living life more successfully. It never occurred to me that my inner Spirit could guide me through my daily life, suggesting courses of action that would make my life more satisfying and fulfilling. It never occurred to me that my inner Spirit could help me live a life of joy and ease, rather than a life of stress and struggle.

In short, once my mystical experience was over, it never occurred to me to call upon my inner Spirit for assistance or direction. And so, I spent the next twenty years living my life the way many people do—relying solely upon my own innate talents, developed skills, and intellect to get by.

I’m not going to tell you that those years were unbearable. No, the fact is, through hard work and determination I managed to achieve a fair amount of “worldly success.” But the stress and strain of trusting only myself, and trying to control every single outcome in my life, took such a toll on my mental and emotional well-being, I was finally “forced to my knees” at the age of thirty-four. Life at that point seemed far too difficult. I was far too fearful, far too frustrated, and far too unhappy. And I was making my friends and family miserable, as well. It was only then that I became willing to live my life differently.

It was only then that I became open and receptive to the idea that there is such as thing as celestial assistance in this world. It was only then that I came to see that this Universe of ours is not only intelligent, but it is responsive to our needs and wants. It was only then that I got quiet enough to hear that still, small voice within, and realize that my inner Divine Spirit was right there to guide me . . . and had been all along.

Friends, there is no need for you to wait twenty years like I did. There is no reason you can’t experience the beneficence of the Universe today . . . and every day from now on. It will require your attention, true. And it will require your trust, too. But little more than that will ever be asked of you.


© 2014 by Steven Lane Taylor
Steven Lane Taylor, LLC

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Just A Bend In The Stream?

October 12, 2014

Dear Friends,

Before I came to understand that there is a divine flow in life—a flow that is continually guiding us toward our highest good—I had the same reaction to almost everything that occurred in my life that wasn’t obviously beneficial. My immediate reaction was almost always, “Oh no! This is bad. What am I going to do?”

Notice two things about that reaction: First, I assumed that whatever was occurring couldn’t possibly be to my benefit. And second, I believed there was something I needed to do about it—some action I immediately needed to take to remedy the situation. 

When I began to learn more about the divine flow, however, I discovered that a so-called “bad” situation is often just a “bend in the stream”—a bend that might lead you in an unwanted direction for a while, but will later prove to be the best way for you to reach your chosen destination. If you interfere with that flow—if you try to take control of the situation too hastily, and try to force things to go the way you think they should go—you might undermine the miracle that was in the making.

The following story is a good example of a time when I consciously decided to accept an undesirable situation and “row with the flow” . . . and it paid off beautifully:

I had recently been transferred into a new group at the advertising agency where I had spent many years writing television commercials for clients such as American Airlines, Long John Silver’s, and JCPenney. My new assignment was to create commercials for another one of our clients—Subaru automobiles. 

I enjoyed everything about my new assignment, except for one thing: my interactions with the creative director of the Subaru group were always strained. I began to get the feeling that upper management had placed me in the Subaru group against this creative director’s wishes.  

One day, the creative director came into my office and told me he didn’t want me to write television commercials for Subaru anymore. Instead, he wanted me to develop newspaper ads. Newspaper ads? Sure, there can still be a lot of creativity in doing print work. And I was good at it. In fact, my entire career began 25 years earlier writing newspaper ads for Neiman-Marcus. But in the advertising world, all the prestige and glamour is in television—not newspaper! Going back to that kind of work felt like a huge demotion. 

Naturally, my first thoughts were, “Oh no! This is bad. What am I going to do?” And you know what? There was something I could do. I was highly respected by the president of our agency, and I firmly believed if I complained to him about my “demotion,” he would either restore me to my position as a television writer or put me to work creating TV spots for one of our other clients.

But I didn’t do that. At that point in my life I had been practicing the principles for living life in the divine flow for quite some time, and I had learned how to respond instead of react. So, even though this circumstance didn’t line up with what I thought was best for me, I hesitated before taking action. I got quiet, went within, and asked myself this one simple question: “What is my next right step—my divinely guided step?”

Based on my inner guidance, I sensed that—in this particular instance—the best action I could take was to take no action at all . . . at least, for the time being. For now, I would just wait patiently and see how things played out. Well, the blessings began to bloom almost immediately. 

In no time at all I rediscovered how satisfying it can be to create print ads. I impressed myself with the number of clever headlines I could come up with for any given subject about Subarus. Plus, I enjoyed the immediacy of it all. Within days of having a great idea and selling it to the client, my ad would appear in print. Conversely, to conceive, sell, and produce a television commercial could take weeks or even months.

I also quickly realized that the creative director of the Subaru group wanted nothing to do with the newspaper portion of the business. I was now essentially my own boss, and I rarely had to interact with the creative director anymore, which was something we both liked.

And then the biggest benefit appeared. Our agency had lost some significant business over the years, and there had already been two rounds of layoffs. A third layoff was announced, and upper management looked closely at each department to see who was expendable. Guess what? When they examined the Subaru group, they determined we didn’t need all the television writers we had, and several were laid off. But my portion of the business was earning the agency a good income, and they weren’t about to sacrifice that . . . or me.

So, was my “demotion” a bad thing? Of course not! It was because of my new position that I was able to stay with the agency for another year or so, doing work that was creatively, as well as financially, rewarding. What appeared to be an intolerable situation at first, turned out to be just a bend in the stream.

Now, does this example mean that every single unwanted circumstance that occurs in your life is just part of the flow—a simple bend in the stream? No. Many undesirable events that occur in your life are not part of the divine flow at all. They are, instead, the unfortunate consequence of freewill choices you and/or others have made that are unguided or misguided—the kind of choices that are not in alignment with the guidance of The Divine. Fortunately, it’s not important to know whether an unwanted situation you are experiencing is part of the divine flow or not. Why? Because the flow will continue to guide you to your highest good from wherever you are in life . . . no matter how or why you arrived at that point.

That means the best way to respond to any undesirable situation—no matter what brought it about—is always the same: Instead of hastily judging the situation as “bad” and then rashly acting on that judgment, simply reaffirm the following: “This can be a stepping stone to my highest good.” That little bit of positivity is all it takes for your mind to be more open and receptive to divine guidance . . . so you can more easily discern what part, if any, you are being divinely directed to play in the unfolding of that good.

No matter how detrimental you perceive a situation to be, avoid the temptation to immediately take matters solely into your own hands. Instead, be patient and give the divine flow some time to work things out on your behalf. You will be amazed by the miracles that can manifest whenever you let go of what you think you know . . . and row with the flow.


© 2014 by Steven Lane Taylor
Steven Lane Taylor, LLC