Who is your Ascended Master Guide?


Whether you plan to register for the Master Guides Workshop or not, we’d like your input!

 In the form below, describe your perception of an Ascended Master Guide. This may be a being with a familiar name or one who seems purely imaginary. Let this be a spiritual being who feels particularly inspiring and uplifting to you. Feel free to submit more than one. Twelve of these contributions will comprise the Counsel of Guides we will work with in the webinar.




Working with the Master Guides…


We all have a variety of spiritual guides who are present with us for a lifetime or for periods of time to help us with specific lessons and life experiences. There are also hosts of beings who will come to our aid when we call upon them for specific purposes. The angelic kingdom is filled with beings of light waiting to assist us in ways small and large—from miraculous healing to finding a parking place.

This workshop focuses on connecting with, not the personal guides who are always with us, but what I think of as “The Great Ones”—ascended masters who serve humanity, our planet, and All That Is at a collective level. These beings include the great Master Guides whose names are familiar to us from world religions like Jesus, Buddha, and the Archangels. They may also include beings whose names we’ve never heard. (If the idea of spiritual guides is outside your belief system, you might wish to think of them as personified versions of Universal forces that support the highest good of all.)

The inspiration for the Master Class came from the Master Guides themselves. After having my own personal experience of obstacles disappearing dramatically within just four days of asking the Master Guides for help, I became profoundly aware of how much we can speed up our growth and manifestation by inviting spiritual assistance. Yet receiving help from the “Masters” isn’t just about our small, personal goals. There’s a bigger order at work by which the fulfillment of our human ambitions makes us more effective vehicles for serving the greater good. In other words, they help us so we can better help them. We can do far more good when we’re not struggling with financial scarcity, ill health, unhappiness and other road blocks.

This is the purpose of working with the Master Guides. It’s not simply a matter of asking for spiritual assistance to enhance our lives, although this will happen. It’s about joining with powerful spiritual beings in a mission greater than ourselves, in recognition that a life dedicated to loving ALL is ultimately the most fulfilling path there is.

Register for the Master Guides

The Miracles Course: First Class of The Fall Quarter

Fall: The Healing Journey

In fall, The Miracles Course curriculum begins with an exploration of physical health and spiritual healing, including a powerful ritual for miraculous healing. Also addressed in this season are topics of death and beyond, flowing with change, transcending fear and letting go, all of which lays the foundation for the spiritual transformation of the winter.


In September, the fall equinox marks the point at which darkness exceeds light for another six months and as the light fades, so does the lush growth of summer. In this transitional time, we may want to cling to the last vestiges of summer yet know we can’t keep the dark and cold at bay for long. Change and letting go are forced upon us, ready or not, and many of us catch colds in this season as our bodies struggle to adjust. September, which merely hints at the darkness to come, is the perfect time to prepare for the descent into winter by shoring up our physical well being and cultivating our power to heal.


As fall deepens, nature shows us her “dying” season. In areas where seasons are dramatically distinct, nature goes out with flashing glory before winter gives the landscape a rest. We humans are a bit more apt to go out kicking and screaming. Even if we don’t give much attention to death, even if we think we don’t fear it, death anxiety often lurks beneath the surface wearing any number of disguises that may look like fear of change, fear of endings, and fear of losing control. More people die in the darker months than any other time of year. Even when we resist consciously, we know instinctively that this is the time to let go. What if we also knew there was nothing to fear?


The spiritual work of deep fall draws us into the dark, shadowy underworld of our fears: death, loss of control, and all things denied or repressed. Just as the growing light of spring urges us to reach high for our dreams, fall’s darkening compels us to reach deep within, emerging with wisdom, power, and a life no longer defined by fear. It’s a profoundly healing journey—one that brings us face to face with our shadow and, ultimately, rewards us with many previously hidden treasures of Self.

Enroll in the Miracles Course Here

Why Would We Not Heal?

  • We’re stilling learning something from the illness/symptom. Perhaps it’s meeting a need we haven’t found another way to fulfill: for caring attention, time for ourselves, protection from risk-taking, etc.
  • Healing it too quickly would shake our sense of reality in a way that would be more uncomfortable than the illness. This level of discomfort may be unconscious until we’re faced with it. A healer I know who had successfully healed himself of a terminal heart condition, diabetes and more, decided to grow a missing tooth back after seeing this happen in his work with the dental healer, Dr. Willard Fuller. He set about it in the way he had healed so many other conditions and there was a point in the process where he actually felt a cracking sensation in his jaw, right where the missing tooth had been. Instead of embracing the sign of healing, his first impulse was a big inner, “NO!” He was very surprised at his own response and understood it to be a manifestation of his limiting beliefs: even though he had healed himself in so many other ways, this one seemed “too big!” Fortunately, the more we’re aware of these hidden agendas, the more power we have to choose and the less they control us.
  • We’re focused more on battling something painful than on pursuing something joyful. What we give attention to we magnify. If we’re giving a large amount of attention to our distress over the problem, we hold it in place. When we stop battling an illness we free up a tremendous amount of energy that can then move in the direction of healing.
  • The pain we know may feel safer than the potential risks of the unknown. If there’s a symptom or problem we’ve been living with for a long time, one that’s gotten a lot of our energy and attention, its sudden absence would undoubtedly leave a big empty place in our lives. While on the surface this might seem all good, this change could create significant stress and anxiety if we don’t know how to fill the space. A Pandora’s Box full of issues, from intimacy to life purpose, may be next in line to be addressed once the familiar struggle is no longer there.

Listen to a Guided Healing Meditation

Listen to a Guided Healing Meditation

Click to hear the meditation


Healing Prayer

God (Goddess, Creator, Higher Power, Universal Spirit),
I turn to You with all my heart.
I joyously realize Your absolute presence.
I see You everywhere-in all places, all people,
all that is.
You breathe life and light into my very soul,
YOU who are Infinite Love.
Yes, I feel Your Presence-You live in me!
Thank you for the Divine Spark within.
God, You have said “Ask and it shall be given.”
I come to You now in gratitude and love
for Your assistance that is ever present.
Receive my prayer as an offering of faith that what I ask for has already been given and received.

(Take a moment to bring your prayer intention to mind. Speak it out loud or silently to yourself. Imagine handing all dis-ease and lack over to God, and God lovingly receiving it. Create a vivid inner experience of already having, doing and being your prayer request. And then hand this, too, over to God asking that Divine Will be done.)

Thank you, Divine Spirit!
I have faith in reality of Miracles!
I believe in the power of LOVE!
I release this intention into Your hands.
I surrender to Your will.
May the Divine Design now manifest!
I know I am whole and perfect as You made me.
There is nothing to be healed;
only DIVINE LOVE to be revealed.

Now I join with my brothers and sisters
as we speak to You in unity.
Our hearts join and overflow with Divine Love,
And we become a powerful channel for
Your Healing Work:

By the Grace of God, Divine Love now heals and guides
all those who have prayed for Your help!

By the Grace of God, Divine Love now heals and guides
every member of our personal communities!

By the Grace of God, Divine Love now heals and guides
all life on our earth!

Divine Spirit, spark our faith, hope and love into new action this day.
Our lives fill with gratitude, wonder and awe. Miracles happen.
We receive the blessing of Your perfect love and wisdom.
And with this prayer we now embrace the call
You gave us-to be spiritual beings,
in service to each other
and to You.

Listen to a Healing Prayer Meditation

Click to hear the meditation

Potential Healing Outcomes

Along with the expectation that healing will happen for you, also be open to it taking the form you most need, not necessarily the form you expect. Healing comes in whatever way best serves us and as you prepare yourself for a healing experience, trust that it will happen in the best way for you, not just the best you can currently imagine. Typical healing outcomes include:

  1. Spontaneous physical healing where manifestations of illness disappear instantly. In my own healing services as well as the distance healing work of my prayer ministry, I’ve seen many examples of a physical condition disappearing so completely and immediately that surgery or medication became no longer necessary. These occurrences seem to happen as often over distance as in person. On a night when my weekly group was experimenting specifically with dental healing, a woman with a painful dental condition who was unable to be there, just took a moment out from her other commitment to join her mind with the group work in order to receive healing. Not only did her tooth stop hurting, but she kept her scheduled dental appointment the next day just to be safe and the dentist could find nothing wrong.
  2. Attitudinal shifts such as feeling at peace even though circumstances haven’t changed, or seeing new options where choices had seemed limited. For example, a woman who attended a series of monthly healing services with me, first came wanting to heal the chronic pain she had lived with for years. The next month she appeared quite improved and reported that her pain hadn’t gone away but she did have an experience during the healing service of feeling happy for the first time in years. This happiness stayed with her all month and so changed her state of mind that her pain slipped from the foreground to the background of her awareness. She felt able to get on with her life in a whole new way and several months later, she reported that the pain was much diminished.
  3. A slow steady course of growth and healing where results may not be noticeable for some time (like planting a seed that grows invisibly at first). For example, another woman who had attended many healing services with me reported that a chronic condition of asthma had gone away and she didn’t even know it until she found herself in a situation that would have ordinarily triggered an attack. As she tried to remember the last time she’d had an asthma attack, she realized it had been many months.
  4. Circumstantial shifts that bring new conditions, opportunities or people into our lives. It’s very common for fortunate “coincidences” to occur within days of spiritual healing work. Jobs show up unexpectedly, money shows up, new relationships form, connections are made to the perfect medical help or healing practitioner, etc. These are things we might not see as directly connected to the healing we want yet they support the totality of our well-being in a way that serves us even more than the simple disappearance of a symptom.
  5. Relationship healing where specific relationships or relationship patterns shift to create deeper love, compassion, forgiveness and interpersonal harmony. I’ve often seen this happen with great serendipity, as with a woman whose estranged daughter called her after years of silence, just days after she’d talked about this painful situation in a healing service. Because the connection between love and healing is so strong, as our relationships heal, so do we.

It’s important to understand all the forms healing can take because it’s easy to come away feeling like nothing happened if we don’t get the outcome we had in mind. While we could participate in healing work and receive its benefits passively and unconsciously, it becomes far more powerful when we consciously recognize the positive results. Firstly, as we’re able to recognize the tangible results of our spiritual work, we have more faith in it, which makes it more effective. What’s more, when we recognize the subtle beginnings of healing, we’re more apt to nurture them and allow a small healing effect to grow into a greater one. Imagine if the woman with chronic pain dismissed her experience of happiness as momentary and insignificant and left the healing service disappointed that she still had pain. She might never have nurtured that new state of mind into a more fulfilling life that ultimately resulted in far less pain. Last but not least, any time we give grateful attention to our blessings in any form, we attract more opportunities to feel grateful. Recognizing healing is, in and of itself, a healing act.

Seven Key Elements of Healing

The following are some key elements that facilitate a powerful experience of healing with any of these methods. The first two are aimed specifically at the recipient in the healing interaction but many of these are equally applicable to the healer achieving an effective state for facilitating healing.

  1. Identifying a desire for healing: Identifying a desire for anything we wish to call forth is a creative act. It directs intention and focus toward this issue and starts healing energy moving in the direction of our intent.
  2. Identifying and releasing the payoffs of dis-ease: As last week’s lesson addressed in depth, as long as we need the payoffs of a painful condition, we will subconsciously hold it in place. Giving attention to how a condition is still serving us makes any form of treatment or healing more effective.
  3. Living in the moment in unconditional love: When Lawrence LeShan studied a large group of spiritual healers, as described in his classic book, The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist, he found the experience of deep caring to be common to all. In the words of one of his healers, “Only love can generate the healing fire.” This is also the essence of attitudinal healing which is all about letting go of the past and the future and simply amplifying love in the moment. In Gerald Jampolsky’s early experiments with this, he brought seriously ill children togeter with adult helping professionals to relate as peers, practicing these principles of unconditional love. What began simply as an exercise in creating a peaceful state of mind proved to facilitate healing miracles as children defied doctors’ prognoses and healed from terminal illnesses. Dean Ornish’s excellent book, Love and Survival pulls together decades of medical research documenting the connection between all different forms of love and physical healing. He concludes that, “love and intimacy are among the most powerful factors in health and illness.” Quite simply, every time we experience even an instant of unconditional love, inner peace, compassion and forgiveness, we’re in a powerful healing state. We heal ourselves and we become a healer to others as well.
  4. Faith: Faith isn’t a hope or wish for a future outcome. Rather, it’s the feeling of certainty that the future is going to be fine, no matter what. When we have faith, we’re free to be at peace in the present and able to let go of worry about the future. With hoping and wishing, we’re focused on what we don’t have and attach our peace of mind to a specific future outcome. It then becomes easy to vacillate between hope and fear and, consequently, lose our ability to be present and at peace. Ultimately, faith isn’t about trusting in an outcome; it’s a willingness to trust God and the process of life. Paradoxically, when we deeply trust we’ll be OK no matter what, we begin to attract miracles.
  5. Surrender: Surrender isn’t the same as giving up in defeat. The kind of surrender I’m suggesting here is a lightness of being, not about losing the battle, but about stepping out of the fight. So often we think of ourselves as “battling” a health condition and even use that very word. (Choose your words carefully as you speak about illness as they describe the reality we’re creating. Would you rather be battling cancer, suffering from cancer, living with cancer or healing from cancer? Think carefully of the implications because your words help shape your experience.) I once knew a woman who “battled” melanoma for fifteen years and finally became cancer free after weeks of working with the affirmation, “Thank you, God, for cancer.” The first thing she noticed, just days into this affirmation work and before there were any noticeable physical effects, was that for the first time she felt at peace with her disease. Every condition we battle is in some way serving us. Even if we don’t fully understand how, the more we accept the truth of this, the more swiftly we can release the struggle and pain. There’s an exercise I sometimes do in workshops where I have an individual who feels hopelessly stuck in some area of life invite people from the group to represent the various limiting messages she has going on in her own head. These helpers externalize and dramatize the person’s inner dialogue and what ensues is generally a noisy debate between the protagonist and her “voices.” At some point in this drama I ask the rest of the group to call to person, now locked in battle with her own demons, and see if they can entice her with offers of love and kindness. It’s fascinating to see how many people stubbornly hang on to the fight and find it more compelling than the breath of fresh air coming from beyond. There’s never an end to these battles. They could go on endlessly if I didn’t intervene and, even though fighting in the same old way doesn’t produce any new results, people keep at it as long as I let them. When I do finally step in, the protagonist typically says, “Yup, this is how I feel stuck in my life!”Eventually, many in this exercise discover that as much as they hate the battle, it’s energizing and seductively holds their attention. Some realize that battling their own self feels comfortably familiar, and safer than being fully available and intimate with another. Those who break free from this inner war don’t do it by “winning;” they do it by losing interest in it. They shift their attention from fighting what’s wrong to embracing love. The voices don’t go away; they just fade into the background and eventually wither from lack of attention. This is the power of surrender. It requires letting go of stubbornness, of being right, of trying to control the outcome, and stepping back from fighting whatever condition we love to hate.One last important word on surrender: it’s not to be confused with the highly debilitating states of passivity and depression. There are times when achieving a “fighting” state of mind is a good thing and supports healing. “Battling” is a big step up from hopeless despair, and early studies of mental attitude and illness showed that the more “difficult” cancer patients who fought their treatments and medical caregivers had a better survival rate than passive, “good” patients who just gave up and died. Sometimes getting mad is a step toward feeling alive. Surrendering to love is a next step, if and when we’re ready.
  6. Envision healing: Instead of waiting for healing, envision it. Any time your in a healing process and may be tempted to dwell on the evidence of your symptoms still there, vividly imagine them leaving or already gone. Build this envisioning into your daily routines. I knew a young woman with cancer who attached her healing imagery to the unavoidable act of peeing. At every opportunity, she imagined herself peeing out all the cancer cells in her body.
  7. Group Agreement: The opportunity to do healing work in a group offers some powerful advantages. Some healers have even noticed a higher proportion of healings in their group sessions than when working with people individually. There’s a powerful amplification of energy created when a group of minds join forces. Excitement, faith, and willingness to believe grow exponentially in groups and create fertile ground for miraculous outcomes. Individuals are propelled far beyond where they could go on their own steam alone. Even nonbelievers are more likely to experience dramatic results as the energy of the group becomes wave-like, lifting everyone.Group intention can literally suspend the rules of the natural world as we know them. For example, if you put your hand in fire, do you believe it would burn? Of course you do, and it would! But if you were to attend a fire-walking event and spent a few hours with a group of people convincing yourselves that the fire wouldn’t hurt, more than likely you’d successfully trot across a big bed of hot coals, unharmed.States of mind-over-matter that might take years of dedicated practice for an individual to achieve alone can be realized with phenomenal speed in a group, even by those who feel doubtful of the process or of their own ability to have a positive result. When people join together in an intention that reality is going to work differently, miraculously, it does. This even happens in groups that are separated by space or by time, as with my online classes and phone-in healings services. Quantum science and relativity theory have taught us that the fixed nature of space and time are as illusionary as the apparent solidity of the physical realm.

    We all have the power to heal and even if you don’t think of yourself this way, know that your sheer intention to help adds power to the whole. As Delores Krieger describes this in the context of therapeutic touch, “…from the moment one turns one’s attention to helping or healing another, an energetic interchange between those two people has already begun… The focusing of your intention gives explicit, although perhaps unconscious, direction to your energy flow.” So as you participate in a phone-in healing service or listen to a down-loaded meditation, know that you add power to every listener’s experience.

What is Spiritual Healing?

An Overview of Spiritual and Energetic Healing
There are countless methods for spiritual and energetic healing and the following offers some explanation of the different broad categories most healing approaches fall into. Some modalities require many sessions, some take just seconds. Many use different hand positions and specific manipulations, some involve no touch at all, and others are practiced over long distances. Some are designed to treat specific symptoms and some are aimed at changing our very DNA. Some are steeped in religious dogma, ritual and ancient traditions while others are founded in science. Here are a few basic styles of healing and what characterizes each of them.
Energy Healing

Energy healing works with an energetic field that permeates and extends beyond the physical body. Signs of illness show up in this field before manifesting as physical symptoms and with a little practice this “aura” can be experienced, even by a novice. While the awareness of an energy field has been an integral part of mainstream medicine in the Eastern hemisphere for thousands of years (with medical systems such as acupuncture being every bit as precise, specialized and effective as Western medical techniques), it’s a relatively new addition to Western ways of thinking.

Energy healing generally operates in much the same way as conventional medicine, by addressing symptoms, identifying energy blocks and areas of dysfunction, and moving energy around in specific, mechanical ways. The healer often visualizes transferring or channeling healing energy to the recipient, using energy in much the same way an MD uses medication, surgery and other treatment. Therapeutic Touch, a technique developed by nurse, Delores Krieger, Ph.D., R.N., is a well-known example of this approach that has become increasingly integrated into mainstream medicine since she introduced it into New York University’s nursing curriculum in the 1970’s. Her book, The Therapeutic Touch is an excellent introduction to the practice of energy healing.
Spiritual Healing

With spiritual healing, instead of moving energy around to address specific problem areas, the healer goes into a powerful state of unconditional love and has an experience of becoming one with the healing recipient. Rather than focusing on illness, the healer joins with the person’s spiritual self, where there is no illness. This powerful attention to the recipient’s intrinsic wellness helps call it forth. I think of this style of healing as “repatterning” rather than repairing.

Faith Healing

Faith healing doesn’t require that the healer “diagnose” energetically, direct energy, or be versed in a particular methodology. There may still be a focus on symptoms and on disappearing signs of illness but healing is performed by invoking the power of a higher spiritual source, as in Christian faith healing. Faith healers often describe their work as “prayer.”
Attitudinal Healing

Attitudinal healing is simply a shift in perspective that assumes illness to be illusionary and the spiritual essence of our being to be eternally whole and complete. Thus, by identifying with our spiritual wholeness rather than our physical dis-ease, we can feel at peace regardless of outer circumstances and often release physical symptoms of illness as well. The term “attitudinal healing” was coined by psychiatrist, Gerald Jampolsky to describe a philosophy he drew from A Course in Miracles and applied in his work with children and adults experiencing illness (there are now many Centers for Attitudinal Healing around the world based on Jampolsky’s modelÑGoogle “Center for Attitudinal Healing” to find out more) but there are numerous approaches to healing that give attention to attitude rather than illness. Some metaphysical paths even discourage healing practices altogether on the premise that the act of “healing” affirms the reality of illness and is counterproductive to achieving the greater reality that we are already perfectly whole.

The Common Denominator: Healing Follows Intention

All of these methods are very good at facilitating a peaceful state and all have been known to facilitate the spontaneous healing of physical illness, sometimes quite miraculously. Is one method better than another? I tend to think they’re like apples and oranges, different and useful in different ways. The key principle that makes them all work, even ones that seem to contradict one another, is that healing follows the intention of the healer. While healers may be using hands or voice in very specific ways to direct energy, invoking higher powers, using elaborate ritual or working within a framework of specific religious dogma, it’s their expectations, beliefs and envisioning of the healing process, along with their heart-felt caring, that are bringing about a healing response.

Creating Prosperity in Changing Economic Times Part 2: Breaking our Addiction to Money

Once upon a time (say, in the Reagan years) we were taught that it was desirable to use our wits to do more, have more and be more than our fellows. There was no such thing as too much. Now, as it all falls apart, we’re seeing the end result of a strategy that raised a few at the expense of many. Where we once took pride in “separating ourselves from the herd,” we now find some meager comfort in knowing “we’re all in the same boat.”

Money is a heady drug and there are countless books, seminars and methodologies out these days that feed our addiction for accumulating wealth, ranging from financial strategies taught by investment gurus to metaphysical techniques using the “law of attraction.” Before we make money our goal, however, it may serve more in the long run to understand why we want more. Addiction results when we use any activity or substance to try to fill a void that can’t be filled that way. We wind up needing more and more and there’s never “enough.” When inwardly we feel lack—something that has nothing to do with money—we’ll never be satisfied with what we have. No matter how much money we make, we’ll create debt, struggle, and worry out of it.

This isn’t meant in any way to moralize on the virtues of poverty. It’s consuming and debilitating to struggle with financial survival, even if it’s a six-figure income we’re struggling on (I heard a report on the life style of bailed-out Wall Street bankers describing how difficult it would be for them to manage on a $500,000 salary cap). It limits our ability to thrive and to be of use to the world around us. But, regardless of our income, don’t we all personally know someone with a bigger income that we have who struggles to make ends meet, and another who seems at peace with less? (Think about that.) Prosperity is a state of mind and when we have it, we automatically program our lives to work financially. Whether we have a lot or a little, we have our needs and wants fulfilled. We have the ability to attract money, without compromising ourselves in the process, and we also are able to create an abundant life without an abundance of money.

True prosperity is available to us without limit. We can have all we need to fulfill our highest purpose and live our highest joy. For some this takes a lot of money and for others it requires much less. My own personal role models of prosperity include the well-known spiritual teacher, “Peace Pilgrim” who owned only what she could carry on her person and felt freer having less, as well as a wealthy couple who have given great gifts to their community through their philanthropy. Falling in the middle of these extremes is an individual I know who simply practices kindness and generosity and always seems to easily manifest the trappings of a happy, gracious, materially comfortable life without a terribly large income. As we unhook the idea of “prosperity” from the prerequisite of “a lot of money,” it suddenly becomes easier to create a happy, abundant life with or without money, whether or not it looks like our neighbor’s version of wealth. This point is often missed, even in popular metaphysical teachings on prosperity, that it doesn’t necessarily take a large income to live prosperously.

The hidden blessing, and perhaps higher purpose, underlying the financial crunch shared by so many of us is that it’s forcing us to break the easy habit of money addiction. As we face, head-on, the void that money could never fill we discover that it doesn’t take money to nurture our spiritual lives and intimate relationships, and that the experience of joy is completely free. Here’s an experiment that might help break some of your spending addictions and rewire your thinking about money.

For a month see how many days you can go without spending money. Also, consider letting go of small purchase routines that you don’t really need. Take a snack or beverage with you so you can let go of the purchased coffee or snack habit, for example. Notice ways you’ve become dependent upon money for recreation, self-nurturing or socialization and be creative in finding less costly alternatives. Take the money you save and put it toward some sacred purpose. It might be a gift you give away, or you could use it as seed money to fund a cherished dream, or even to buy yourself something that usually feels too extravagant. See if you don’t start noticing a difference between “spending” and living prosperously.

Creating Prosperity in Changing Economic Times Part 1: Cultivating True Wealth

“The Law of Attraction” has become a mainstream topic of talk telling us that anything is possible if we just change our mind. Meanwhile the world is undergoing the worst economic downturn in most of our memories. Never before have such widely divergent realities of hope and fear pulled at us. Those of us willing to entertain New Thought ideas of limitlessness may still find ourselves drawn into the collective experience of scarcity as the crashing economy and mass panic make “changing our mind” no easy feat. Practicing popular prosperity techniques without addressing the season of growth our world is in can backfire, like trying to plant a garden in the middle of a snow storm.

There are ways to work with times of apparent scarcity that aren’t rooted in fear and actually help build energy for a leap into new abundance and growth. What’s more, when we successfully rise above the collective wave of fear, not only do we create personal prosperity, but our increase is rooted in love. Then, instead of prospering on the backs of others, we create a healing ripple that raises others up with us.

There are ways to work with times of apparent scarcity that aren’t rooted in fear and actually help build energy for a leap into new abundance and growth. What’s more, when we successfully rise above the collective wave of fear, not only do we create personal prosperity, but our increase is rooted in love. Then, instead of prospering on the backs of others, we create a healing ripple that raises others up with us.

But, while there is a plethora of New Thought teachings on how to separate ourselves from the collective experience and create our own personal prosperity, I believe it’s important first to acknowledge how we’re part of the collective, and as such, had a part in bringing about the current experience of financial crisis. It’s not hard to see how the attitude of “Me first” got us into our current situation but it may be harder to recognize that “Me” consciousness isn’t the exclusive purview of billionaires and corporations. Neither is it simply a matter of overt greed and malevolence. Its more subtle manifestations include all the ways we get so caught up in ourselves that we have nothing left for the world around us. It might look like depression, or getting absorbed in worries and survival fears, or becoming so busy with the demands of life that there’s no attention left for kindness or caring; it might look like stubborn self-sufficiency that forgets others might be there to help if we could just bring ourselves to reach out.

As “Me” consciousness got us into crisis, “We” consciousness will take us out. Just as the 1980’s made personal ambition and wealth chic, I foresee the next decade will bring into vogue compassion and relatedness, not dollar signs. The New Age success techniques that were popularized in the eighties, from affirmation work to creative visualization need some updating. These times call for something more than simply locking ourselves away with our vision boards and copies of The Secret, intent on achieving our personal wealth. I think the strength of the collective experience right now is calling us to have a collective experience. Prosperity in this era must come through cooperation, collaboration and community rather than through personal advancement. Interdependence is the new path to prosperity.

Having a network of support and interdependence requires the investment of timeÑsomething many of us in today’s fast-paced world believe we simply don’t have to give. When individuals believe they have no time for quality-of-life priorities, they may well unconsciously “resolve” the dilemma by manifesting a physical illness that forces new choices and a slower pace. On a macrocosmic scale, when we collectively can’t find time for the human interaction that nourishes heart and soul, perhaps we’ve unwittingly “solved” the problem by disappearing jobs and other financial supports that keep us locked in self-sufficiency, so that we have no choice but to rely on one another.

An obvious payoff to the financial downturn is that it’s inspiring people to appreciate what we still have without money. Over the 2008 Christmas holidays, I was surprised by how many people I encountered, including those whose finances haven’t been directly affected, who chose to dispense with lavish gift-giving traditions and, like “the Who’s down in Whoville” created a holiday based simply on being together.

That we all had a part in creating the circumstances of today isn’t a cause for shame but a call to action. As a move toward prosperity, instead of focusing on your wealth and self-sufficiency, consider the richness of your personal community. What is your experience of interdependence? Who’s there for you emotionally, spiritually and in times of need? Who’s there when you celebrate? Who can you rely on? Who are you there for? If self-sufficiency has triumphed over interrelatedness in your life, consider giving your greatest resource, your time and caring, toward nurturing relationships. Find those people with whom you can give and receive, accomplish more together than separately, have fun without spending money; and be fully yourself. It may seem costly to find the time and not relevant to the goal of prosperity at all yet, in the long run, it may be the wisest investment of your life.

Making Sense of Spiritual Emergencies

Making Sense of Spiritual Emergencies


(An Excerpt from The Miracles Course)

More and more, I find people approaching me in distress and confusion over an experience that’s becoming increasingly common: a kind of spiritual energy surge that Stanislav and Christina Grof have named “spiritual emergencies.” Signs of a spiritual emergency may include an ecstatic and overwhelming experience of God, a too-much-energy feeling and various physical symptoms. Spiritual emergencies may also include experiences of clairvoyance or clairaudience (seeing or hearing aspects of nonphysical reality) or out-of-body experiences where conscious awareness separates from the physical body. There may be a sharpened intuitive knowledge of things without any physical way of knowing them.

I think of these as spiritual power surges and they’re often triggered by some type of spiritual work—such as prayer, meditation or spiritual healing—but can also happen to people who aren’t doing any spiritual practice. For many of those who’ve come to me in the midst of this experience, it was precipitated by a heart-felt wish to be of spiritual service or to step more fully into their spiritual power. And—surprise!—their prayers were answered by a bigger rush of energy than they had ever experienced before. Even though this can be an exciting, even ecstatic rush, such overpowering experiences of God can feel overwhelming and frightening. Especially because the experience doesn’t always stop right away. It can feel like a faucet has been turned on full force with no way to turn it off. It may be difficult to sleep for several days or more, and some may forget to eat or have trouble maintaining daily functioning until the “surge” evens out. There may even be a delusional component—a feeling of being specially chosen by God for a spiritual mission.

As the pace of life speeds up in just about every way, it’s not surprising to see this type of experience on the increase. Our time and place in history is requiring us to adapt to inner and outer changes at an ever-increasing rate and these spiritual power surges are just one more manifestation of this.

I prefer not to define their purpose too specifically as I believe there are many levels of significance and reasons why one person has a dramatic spiritual emergency and another doesn’t, and much of it is difficult to discern from the level of our personality. One person may be spiritually advanced enough to assimilate higher vibrations of energy without the drama of a “surge” while the next may not have developed spiritually to the place of needing one (and it’s risky to assume we can tell the difference—it’s easy to confuse our ego’s judgment with wisdom). One person having a surge may be ready to open quickly to new energy while, for another person, it may reflect a personality tendency to live in the extremes of life. This latter person’s true spiritual growth might ultimately be better accomplished in the mid-ranges of life, between the highs and lows. It’s safe to assume that we can make no assessments of our own or another’s spiritual evolution based on the experience of a spiritual emergency and to feel inadequate because you haven’t had one or special because you have (or vice versa) is just your ego’s interference in your spiritual growth.

Without needing to define precisely what it means to have a spiritual power surge, there are a number of things we can do to make it into less of an “emergency.” The following offers insight into why, exactly, a spiritually ecstatic experience can become such a potentially challenging one.


The Potential Challenges of Spiritual Power Surges


They’re mind-boggling.

These emergencies take us beyond the realm of the familiar, beyond what we fully understand. To normalize the experience, often a fist impulse is to try to process a nonrational experience through the too-small filter of our rational mind, which leads to doubts (“Was this real?”), disorientation (“What is real?”), fear (“Am I out of control?”) and even identity crisis (“Who am I in the context of this new reality?”).


They may challenge the limits of what we believe we can or should receive.

Often when we receive something we’ve wanted in a sudden and overwhelming way, along with (or instead of) rejoicing, we contract in fear. Thoughts come up that say we’re unworthy, or that having received so much, we now have more to lose. It seems nonsensical to recoil from receiving something good, yet many of us have this instinctive response that we don’t even realize is there until we’re faced with an unfamiliar abundance of some sort. A minister colleague, Jinjer Stanton, illustrated this in a story she once told in a Sunday Sermon about one of the biggest traumas of her childhood: shortly after going to live with her Aunt, for the first time in her life, she received a huge abundance of Christmas presents! Instead of being delighted, she was horrified and carried the shock of it with her long into adulthood.


It’s a responsibility.

Spiritual energy is a form of power and with power comes the responsibility of making a bigger mark on the world. This is true of all forms of power regardless of whether it comes through an abundance of money, or the heightened visibility of achievement, or in the form of spiritual energy. Suddenly we have more choices to make and people may expect more from us. We can’t help but have a bigger impact on the world around us for better or worse, which can feel like an unwanted burden if it’s unfamiliar.


The ego tries to turn the experience of Oneness into one of separateness.

The ego, as I’m using the term here, is the part of us that believes we are defined by the limits of our physical body and, thus, are vulnerable and separate. The ego only believes in the reality we can fathom with our physical senses. It operates from a place of fear and tries to control the external environment to maintain order and safety. The ego looks at the world through a filter of judgment where everything is either better than or lesser than everything else.

As we have a big experience of going beyond the confines of our ego, as we do in moments of spiritual opening, our ego automatically responds protectively to restore order and control by bringing things back into the realm of the familiar. This is normal. Expect to have big ego reactions of one sort or another following big spiritual experiences.

Typically, when we have a powerful spiritual experience, the ego’s response is “I’m weird” and “I’m special.” The “I’m weird” voice tells us we’re crazy, no one will believe us, maybe we shouldn’t believe ourselves, we’re different (and separate) from everyone else, there’s something wrong with us, etc. The “I’m special” voice tells us we’re more evolved than others, we are specially chosen, specially gifted, elevated, know more, etc. Paradoxically, these two go hand in hand. A person will probably be more aware of one of these voices than the other, but the opposite will be lurking just under the surface. The dark side of feeling “specially chosen” is a fearful awareness of responsibility and aloneness. Along with the disconcerting feeling of being “weird” invariably, somewhere in the background, lies a deep-down pride in having a “special” condition. Of course, the truth in the “delusion” of being specially chosen is that we are specially chosen for an important spiritual mission only we can do. This awareness ceases to be delusional when we recognize that everyone has been specially chosen for their own unique mission.


Bringing Spiritual Experience Down to Earth


The following are some practical steps for what to do in the midst of a spiritual power surge. These suggestions are to help ground, reframe and make use of these potentially wonderful experiences, and avoid some of the more unpleasant side effects.

Some of you may have had spiritual emergency experiences and can identify with much of this. But, even if you never have a spiritual emergency, much of this information is also applicable in a non-emergency way to differentiate spiritual practice from true spiritual growth and spiritual experience from spiritual power.


Steps for Grounding a Spiritual Power Surge


Work with your thoughts.

Stop trying to process your spiritual experience. Stop trying to understand it all at once. Give your mind a rest. Know that in order to assimilate new ideas and especially new paradigms of thought, a period of confusion is necessary. Don’t fight it. You don’t need to analyze the experience in order to assimilate it. If you try to force understanding prematurely, your interpretations are likely to fall short of the whole truth. Trust that clarity will come to you in time.


Instead of trying to interpret your experience, focus on gratitude.

If, through your spiritual work, or even through your unconscious intentions, you have asked God to open a door and finally the door opens, instead of being shocked, say thank you! Rather than allowing fearful thinking to take over, turn your attention to the gifts in your life and the blessing of your spiritual experience. Practice gratitude as a conscious discipline. Practices such as keeping a gratitude journal, writing affirmations of gratitude or saying prayers of thanksgiving will be helpful disciplines at this time because they’ll shift your mental activity from over-processing your experience to a more peaceful frame of mind that will facilitate assimilation. Gratitude will help you stay in the open-hearted devotion of your spiritual experience instead of distancing yourself from it through mental analysis.


Pay attention to your body.

We’re very conditioned to shut down when we experience intense feelings, be they painful or ecstatic ones. This can lead to unpleasant side effects from blocked energy. Without interpreting the feelings through your ego (as in, “I’m crazy, I’m special, I’m out of control…”etc.) just notice the physical sensations. Many of these are likely to be pleasurable. Enjoy them and let them get bigger. Out of control feelings are more the result of our fearing and resisting these sensations than of any real danger of losing control. Imagine the difference between standing clenched and rigid while a wave crashes against you and then becoming soft and flexible, riding the wave. It’s the same wave, but the first experience is harsh and battering while the second is smooth and flowing.

You can have a smooth and gentle experience by letting the energy moving through you “have its way.” Ask your body what it wants to do. You may want to shake or jump for joy or scream out loud or go for a run. Allow these things. These physical manifestations are simply normal responses to intense feelings and are helping your body rewire itself to accommodate a greater movement of energy.

So what can you do when it truly is inappropriate to jump up wherever you are and scream? Do it later! Even if you no longer feel in the mood, do the physical expression of the feeling anyway. Do it in as safe and private a way as you want, but allow the physical energy to come out. If we do the action of a feeling, often the feeling will soon follow, simply because feelings are essentially physical body experiences. When we put our body through the motions of a feeling we can often “shake loose” the feeling so we become aware of it at an emotional level.


Work lovingly with your ego.

None of us particularly like admitting we have an “ego,” especially those of us who are spiritually inclined. But we all do, along with smelly poop and morning breath! It’s part of our human condition. Unfortunately, the more we pretend to ourselves and others that we’re free of ego fears and flaws, the more likely they are to sneak up on us from behind and bite us in the butt! The more we try to hide our ego, the more visible it becomes to everyone else. The best way to work with the ego is with a big sense of humor and a large dose of compassionate self-love.

With this in mind, and without judging yourself, notice all the many ways your ego’s filter is coloring your experience. Reframe any perception that your experience makes you different. You are neither specially chosen, specially gifted, or weird. Your spiritual experience is simply the result of your conscious or unconscious request for more energy.


I am God…

One of the most overwhelming aspects of a spiritual power surge is the profound experience that we are God. This experience, when interpreted through the filter of our ego becomes, “I am God… and you’re not!” Without this coloring of separateness, the experience is “I am God, and so are we all!” The ego’s influence can be so subtle we may not even realize we’re broadcasting the “…and you’re not” part. One sure fire way to tell, however, is through other people’s reactions to us. If we tend to have a little following of people who look up to us and think we’re more “advanced” than they, and/or have another little following of people who judge us as being full of bull, most likely our ego is running the show.

People who are truly enlightened are well-loved but not worshipped. People just naturally feel good in their presence because what they broadcast is “I see the God in you,” rather than “I am God” (or “My group is more Godly than the rest.”) This translates across lines of differing spiritual beliefs because the unconditional love of enlightenment creates joining with others in a universal way, not just among special groups of “believers.”


Don’t make spiritual phenomena your goal.

Again, this is your ego distracting you from the point. Think of it this way, if you’ve been living in a darkened room and suddenly a light bulb goes on, instead of being overtaken by the wondrous nature of the light bulb, give attention to what is now illuminated and all you can do with more light. Don’t be “blinded by the light” by just sitting and staring at the bulb. You’ll become useless as well as blind.


Focus on how you can use this new energy.

Shift your focus of attention from the strangeness/specialness of the spiritual phenomena to the question of how this new energy, awareness or ability can serve you and help you to serve others. What are you feeling drawn to do with this energy? Doing something will help you shift out of self-absorption. Creativity is a great outlet for spiritual energy. Paint a picture, make music, dance, create a beautiful altar space, write a poem or journal about your experience. Do a service for someone. Pray for people. Send a silent blessing to everyone you meet. Do some reflection and journaling on your life purpose. Imagine what you would like your life to be like in five years. These are just a few ideas for directing spiritual energy toward your highest good. Find the outlet that brings you the most satisfaction.


Stay grounded.

There are many grounding techniques for bringing spiritual energy down to earth. Spending time in nature can be helpful. Long walks, gardening, anything that literally puts you in touch with the earth beneath your feet can help you feel more grounded. Food is grounding. Don’t forget to eat, especially heartier, substantial foods. Sea salt baths, swimming, even long showers are often recommended for cleansing and grounding. These are just a few ideas for staying grounded and there are many others.

The most grounding thing we can do, however, is to simply trust that our experience is a normal one. Our most powerful grounding tool is the choice we make in how to interpret what happened to us. Yes, our spiritual experience is a gift and a blessing—as miraculous as the sun rising every morning or a baby being born—and just as natural. Sometimes, even getting too absorbed in grounding techniques can feed into the ego’s voice telling us we’re different, we have a special condition, are fragile… and so on.


Are you crazy or enlightened?


Both in the midst of a spiritual power surge and in the more long term assimilation of spiritual experiences, we often begin to question what’s real. Having perceptions of things most people aren’t aware of can leave us with the question: are we crazy or enlightened? The answer to this lies not in the intensity of our spiritual experience, but in how well our lives are working. Specifically:


Are you taking care of yourself in terms of basic needs?

Are you sleeping and eating adequately and attending to personal hygiene? It’s not unusual for people to go without sleeping or eating much for a day or two during a spiritual power surge. If this continues for much longer, however, it’s a serious danger sign. While spiritual experience is normal, I don’t want to minimize the potential dangers. In rare instances, I’ve seen people go from an ecstatic spiritual experience into a full blown manic episode complete with hospitalization and medication. So be mindful of basic self-care. Too long without sleep in and of itself can make us crazy. Don’t be deluded into thinking that in your heightened energy state sleep and food are not important. Seek medical attention if you’re unable to function in basic ways.


Are you adequately performing the necessary tasks of living?

Are you taking care of business: your job, your family, the daily chores of life? There’s a certain amount of common sense that can easily fly out the window when we’re in the midst of an uncommon experience. If we believe we’re specially chosen by God to perform a sacred mission but we can’t attend to the minimal tasks of life, we probably aren’t going to fulfill our “sacred mission” very effectively either. This is common sense.


How Well Is Your Spiritual Path Working for You?


How is your quality of life?

To assess, in a more general way, how well you’re assimilating and using the fruits of your spiritual life, look at your overall quality of life. Are you enjoying life? Do you like your job? Do you have meaningful relationships? Do you have enough money to take care of yourself? Do you live from crisis to crisis or is there a more or less even flow to your life? As we step into spiritual power, we begin to have a heightened quality of life and an experience of peace, regardless of outer circumstances. We’re less likely to live from crisis to crisis. Having many spiritual experiences doesn’t necessarily result in spiritual empowerment and spiritual empowerment isn’t necessarily accompanied by dramatic spiritual experiences. When our ego takes charge, it’s easy to confuse these two.

Is your spiritual path leaving you feeling more connected or separate from others?

As mentioned already, enlightenment creates joining rather than separateness. Separateness comes from the ego. Spiritual growth enables us to find commonality with more, not fewer people. If your practices, beliefs or spiritual community is resulting in your feeling less able to accept, appreciate, and relate to those not in your group, it may be time to assess whether your spiritual path, or the way you’re participating in it, is truly supporting your spiritual growth.

Are you making a difference in the world?

Are you helping others? Do others feel good in your presence? The most enlightened people I know may alienate a person here or there, but for the most part are people magnets. They are well-loved and they truly make a difference in the world, sometimes through obvious channels of service work, and sometimes in very humble ways simply by leaving everyone they meet feeling better as a result of the encounter.

Look to your results rather than your intentions to show you how effectively you’re working with spiritual energy.

If you’re constantly absorbed in the drama of your life, or receiving a lot of negative attention from people, or wanting to serve but never actually manifesting this, then you’re not living from your spiritual power. A life lived in discord, isolation and dysfunction is a sign that the ego, not our higher self, is in charge, no matter how many spiritual visions and other phenomena we experience. A life that “works” according to the above criteria is a good sign of spiritual power, whether or not it’s accompanied by any dramatic spiritual phenomena.

The Power of Love

A truly spiritual life can better be measured by our love than by the intensity of our spiritual experiences. As we make love our spiritual goal—love of God, love for other living beings, love for ourselves, love for all of creation—our spiritual awakenings make more sense. Our spiritual faculties open in service to our love, to help us love more. Love quiets the fearful voice of the ego and love gives meaning to mind-boggling spiritual energy surges.

Alternately, when we aspire to spiritual adventure, working to open our spiritual faculties simply for the achievement and rush of it, we’re more easily knocked off center by the spiritual phenomena we seek. They’re more likely to diminish rather than enhance our effectiveness, power and purposefulness. We’re more apt to be seduced by the ego’s messages of specialness and separateness.


Working with Our Resistance to Spiritual Power

Having a big experience of our spiritual power can trigger an automatic contraction in fear even when we have prayed and prepared ourselves for it. A man in one of my groups once shared a story of asking God to grow back a missing tooth. Having worked with the world-famous dental healer, Dr. Willard Fuller, he had seen this happen before for people and knew it to be possible (for more on this, see www.willardfuller.com). As he prayed and opened to this healing, he suddenly heard a cracking sound in his jaw in the area of the missing tooth. Rather than relaxing and saying, “YES!” his immediate reaction was fear and to shut the experience down. Another man in this same group meeting followed up with a similar story of feeling on the brink of a dramatic physical healing—and when it started to happen, his automatic reaction was, “Not now!” Most of us don’t realize we have these built-in fear responses until we are faced with them.

We can work with these reactions and prepare ourselves for bigger leaps into our spiritual power. One of the people who was most disturbed by her first experience of a power surge reported feeling much more at peace when it happened again. Use the following questions to help you explore where you might have hidden fear responses to your spiritual power.


Some Questions for Thought

  1. What demonstration of your spiritual power would feel like too much for you to receive? This may include spontaneous healings and various spiritual phenomena, it also may include manifesting personal goals more quickly than you believe possible. For example, what if you awoke tomorrow with a phenomenal capacity to heal others? Or unexpectedly manifested great wealth? Or developed clairvoyance or other psychic abilities you don’t currently have? Ask yourself, how would these experiences:
      1. Boggle your mind and upset your belief systems?
      2. Challenge the limits of what you believe you can or should receive, or of who you believe you are?
      1. Create new responsibilities?
    1. Cause you to feel separate?
  2. Are there any ways you’ve noticed yourself feeling separate (less connected to others—not just different) as a result of your spiritual experiences or following your spiritual path? If so, what fearful ego messages do you see at work creating this illusion of separateness?
  3. With all of the above in mind, what is it you want in terms of stepping into your spiritual power? How much, how big, how fast…? In particular, how do you intend to use heightened spiritual power? How would you use it for your own highest good and for that of the world around you?