Monday, 28 April 2008

Resisting What Is

Today marks the second day of strike action at the Grangemouth Refinery here in Scotland. The employees are protesting against changes to their pension schemes. The employees return to work tomorrow. As this particular refinery provides fuel to about 80% of the country, shutting it down during the strike will have an effect on the supply chain. However, there are sufficient fuel stocks in reserve to cover ten weeks of normal petrol consumption levels. In addition, more fuel stocks can be brought in if required.

Given the information above (which I’ve tried to keep as objective as possible) how do you, as a petrol consumer, react?

Do you:
* Get upset and verbalise this in your conversations with others by saying things like “This is ridiculous! I don’t understand how this can be allowed to happen! These employees shouldn’t be allowed to strike and cause a disruption to petrol supplies!”
* Rush to the nearest petrol station to fill up your car, convinced that supplies will run out despite assurances to the contrary. As you do this, you are experiencing feelings of outrage, anxiety and fear that if you don’t act quickly others will get in there before you, leaving you with no petrol for your car.
* Watch the news footage of queues at petrol stations and reports of some running out of stocks, and feel justified that you reacted as you did, telling everyone “I knew this would happen! Thank goodness I got in there quickly!”

Or do you:
* Accept the situation for what it is and go about your normal life, leaving your petrol consumption patterns unchanged.
* Remain calm and present, unaffected by others’ panicked reactions to an imagined future event (no more fuel anywhere).
* Know that you live in an abundant universe and that all your energy needs will always be fulfilled.

The outcome of the first set of reactions to the event is the creation of a reality that matches exactly what people feared – namely competition for fuel and shortages of supplies. The irony in this situation is that these reactions created a self-fulfilling prophecy: as people panicked and changed their normal consumption patterns, demand outstripped supply. Had people not reacted blindly to an imagined future and instead continued to buy fuel at their normal rate, scheduled fuel deliveries would have more than adequately met demand levels, even though the refinery was closed for a few days.

My husband and I made a choice to respond to the event, rather than react unconsciously. Our car was due to be filled up, but it was a task that could wait a couple of days. We went about our daily life, secure in the knowledge that there were sufficient fuel supplies for the country. Sure enough, by the time we had to fill up our tank, the initial rush to petrol stations had died down and we were able to fill up our car during the normal course of our day without any bother at all. While other people’s conversations were filled with talk of “the fuel crisis”, ours concentrated on other topics altogether. While other people experienced anxiety, fear and anger over the last few days, we experienced calmness and joy.

We experienced similar polarised reactions from others when we had a burglary recently. Although we didn’t condone what had happened, we did accept it. Once it had happened, we knew that we had a choice: either stay present, and follow through with what was now before us to do, or fight against what is and add negative emotions of anger and fear into the mix. Remaining present throughout the process opened up a space in which peace and joy could remain paramount, and as a result, I could feel a very clear energetic shift inside me and a stronger connection to Source.

Quite a few people with whom we interacted during the process displayed a similar response. They were supportive (emotionally and in practical ways) without dwelling on the negative aspects of the event. In our conversations with these people, the focus was on gratitude and the continued commitment to the creation of a friendly community in our block of flats. Overall, these interactions were uplifting. There were, however, others who had a very different reaction. These interactions took the form of moral outrage and a stream of invective against these criminals in particular and crime in general. Ironically, in their resistance to what had happened, these people seemed to suffer more as a result of our burglary than we did.

Suffering is not a given. More and more, I realise that reacting blindly to an event and fighting what is causes suffering, whereas acceptance and present-moment awareness frees up energetic space to create a live filled with love, joy and abundance.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic – are you able to accept what is happening as it is happening, or do you resist and wish things were unfolding differently? Do you notice that you suffer more as a result of your reaction to an event than as a result of the event itself?

[Edit: Andrea Hess’ latest blog entry deals with this very subject, specifically around spiritual practices – please read it if you haven’t already done so! In the meantime, since this topic is obviously coming up in my reality, I’m going to reflect on it some more and see what it is in turn reflecting for me!]

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Do Things Get Worse Before They Get Better?

It was foul-smelling. It was foul-tasting. And it was a ritual in my family when people turned thirteen. A kind of rite of passage, I guess. What it was, was a tea made from dried Leonotus leonurus leaves, something that one of my great (great?) grandparents had picked up along the way from the indigenous people of South Africa, where we lived at the time. Whether or not the rumours that the plant could be smoked as a kind of cannabis substitute were true or not, we never knew nor tried :). Instead we drank it as a “blood purifier”, and parents made it specifically for their young ‘uns entering their teenage years as a way to stave off acne.

I remember my turn only too well. I can even still smell it if I take myself back to that time in my memory! Three glasses, one every twelve hours, downed really quickly after taking a deep breath, followed swiftly by a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Luckily, those three glasses comprised the entire treatment and it was unlikely to ever need repeating!

Luckily, too, it worked! At least, I remember myself and all my cousins sailing through our teenage years with nary a pimple in sight compared to our peers, so either our family was largely genetically blessed with “no-pimple” DNA, or the brew was effective in “purifying our blood” and removing any of the toxins that would cause acne. Writing this now, I’m not too sure of the scientific merit of “blood purification”, but that’s the story that was handed down in our family and it seemed to make a kind of logical sense at the time!

The only catch in this whole process was that the brew caused any toxins that you already had in you to be pushed out… so shortly after drinking the brew, some pimples would erupt, and once the smoke and debris had cleared they would slink away, never to be seen again. For that reason, this treatment was always doled out over a weekend, so that you could stay in if things got ugly!

Regardless of the type of physical detox regime followed, I’ve often heard people report similar experiences of initially feeling worse until their system has been cleared of all toxins, after which they feel lighter and have a level of physical health that is higher than where they were prior to the detox.

This process also seems to occur when we’re going through a “spiritual detox”. I’ve noticed that when I become aware of limiting beliefs, or start focusing my energy on making a significant positive change in my life (even if I’m intending to go from good to great), things often get worse before they get better. For example, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while (for the little while that it’s been up and running, that is!), you may remember me mentioning that honouring my boundaries has been an ongoing issue for me. I’m certainly way better at this than I used to be (can anyone say “doormat”?!), but it is an issue that still crops up every now and then. It’s been cropping up lately – I’ve had two colds related to the issue, and the latest evidence of the issue was a (minor) burglary – nothing got taken, but how’s that for a clear physical manifestation of violated boundaries?!

Now, in Law Of Attraction terms, focusing on something negative can cause it to manifest in one’s life. I know this, and so when I identify a limiting belief, I use it to clarify what the opposite positive belief is, and then direct my energy towards that. In my case with boundaries, for example, whenever I identify a belief like “People don’t respect my personal space”, I use it to figure out what I do want to create, in this case “People do respect my personal space”, or “My boundaries are respected”. I don’t even stop there – those are great, but they do still focus on other people, so I look at where I might be disrespecting my own boundaries, or where I’ve disrespected others’ boundaries. This leads to affirmations like “I honour and respect my boundaries” and “I honour and respect others’ boundaries”.

So, if I’m focusing on the positive side of things, and doing affirmations, why do I still experience the temporary negativity? What’s up with that?! Well, here are my thoughts on the matter:

When we live in a state of unconsciousness, we will more than likely still have limiting beliefs about a variety of subjects, but they all blend into a kind of low grade background hum and we don’t really notice the specific effects of them on our lives. That may initially sound like a good thing… but, usually life lived at this level of unawareness is not really a life lived at all. These are people who are not very happy with their lives in general, they experience a general sense of dissatisfaction, but can’t really seem to change anything in their lives for the better.

However, when we decide to live consciously, we bring those beliefs right into the open. As we progress, different beliefs will come under scrutiny at different times, and bringing them to the forefront of our attention can temporarily manifest these into our experience. This can be seen as an opportunity – we can clearly see what we are dealing with, and make a choice regarding what we are ready to let go of and what we want to create in our lives. Like a physical detox, a spiritual one can move us to the next level of health. It may be temporarily unpleasant, but the next level of health brings with it a significant increase in feelings of lightness and vitality.

Have you ever experienced the phenomenon of things getting worse before they get better? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts and experiences!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Do You Have First Sight?

First Sight is when you can see what’s really there, not what your heid* tells you ought to be there…. Second sight is dull sight, it’s seeing only what you expect to see.” (The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett)

[*heid = head]

I’m an avid fan of Terry Pratchett’s novels, even those that are technically for children, such as The Wee Free Men quoted above! The stories are amusing and entertaining, yet Terry also has the knack for including gems of astute observation on the world around him.

I love the idea of seeing the things that are really there, and it made me think about how we usually describe the psychic realm and psychic abilities. In everyday language, people often joke about “seeing what isn’t there”. There is most likely no malicious intent behind saying something like this, but it does contribute to the prevailing view that only what is visible in the physical world through physical eyesight qualifies as reality. I think I prefer Terry Pratchett’s viewpoint, which acknowledges the reality of the spiritual world!

The idea of “First” and “Second” sight also brings up the challenges that we face in trusting ourselves enough to acknowledge what we initially experience intuitively before our so-called logical minds try to convince us that the experience isn’t valid, that it’s all in our minds. For me it has been, and continues to be, a learning process. Although I was often described as “sensitive”, I wasn’t the “psychic one” in the family – my own abilities weren’t immediately apparent and I suppressed them in favour of the “real experts” in my own family. As a result, it took me some time to recognise my own intuitive processes and to trust that they were both valid and valuable. Thinking about this, it strikes me that, while I come from a family in which there was far more openness to psychic experiences, I probably had a similar journey in terms of developing trust in myself and my abilities that someone from a more skeptical background would have :).

I’d be interested to hear your experiences with overcoming doubt about accepting intuitive information – please leave a comment and share!

Friday, 18 April 2008

Ask Mags: Vibrational Alignment And Unexpected Negative Manifestations

I have become quite good at using the Law Of Attraction to manifest things and experiences. But every now and then, something unexpected and negative crops up. The latest was an unexpected bill. I didn’t intend for this, so why did it manifest into my experience?! I get quite upset when this happens – what am I doing wrong?

The physical manifestations in our lives reflect the balance of positive and negative vibrations that we put out. Even those of us who are more practised at maintaining a state of conscious presence, thinking positively, and focusing our thoughts and feelings on specific intentions don’t always manage to keep this up 100% of the time.

Since we have a mixture of vibrations, we get a mixture of experiences back. I tend to think of it as a kind of interference pattern :). For example, say the balance of your vibrations is 95% positive and 5% negative… your life will reflect this in that things will go incredibly well for 95% of the time, yet every now and then something negative will crop up. I refer to the ones that happen in my life as “glitches in the Matrix” :). They’re not hugely negative experiences in the grand scheme of things (on the level of administrative-type things, like my bank messing up an application and me having to redo it). Obviously, I’d prefer for the glitches not to happen, but I’d rather redo a bank application than have my house fall into a sink-hole!

The glitches that you experience may not be anything that you have specifically intended. Things and experiences manifest into our lives that match the general level and tone of our vibrations – becoming more present, for example, with its attendant vibrational energy of joy and peace, will attract joyful and peaceful experiences into your life. You can further focus your energy on specific intentions, but it is important to realise that this is not necessary in order for experiences to start coming into your life. The same principle applies to more negatively toned vibrations – sending out a general anxiety-type vibration will tend to attract physical manifestations of that. We may therefore not intend specifically for an unexpected bill, but it arrives nonetheless because we are a vibrational match for it.

I understand your experience of getting upset with the unexpected manifestations! I experienced this as well a while back. I was quite frustrated, almost angry, with the glitches – my thoughts went along the lines of, I’m positive and good with the Law Of Attraction and energy stuff… how can this be happening to me?! When your life is largely positive, even a small negative thing can seem major because it is so different from the rest of your experience. But as I started to understand more about how we attract what we’re a vibrational match for, and the balance of positive and negative energy, I realised that instead of beating myself up every time a glitch happened, I should actually be congratulating myself… having glitches rather than major catastrophes is evidence that I am pretty good at manifesting positive things and experiences into my life!

For now, then, while I’m still learning about the Law Of Attraction, I’ve decided to relax about my glitches. Instead of focusing on them and how terrible they are compared to the rest of my life, I accept them when they happen, and use them as an opportunity to learn even more about the Law Of Attraction. Then I take my focus off them and look instead at the things that are going well, sending out deep gratitude for the wonderful parts of my life.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Deepak Chopra: SynchroDestiny

For someone who loves reading books on metaphysical and spiritual topics, I have hardly read any of Deepak Chopra’s work – apart from one of his fiction books, SynchroDestiny is the first of his books that I’ve delved into! Luckily, it was a good introduction to Deepak and his style of writing, so I’ll definitely be investing in some more of his books soon :).

This particular book focuses on the phenomenon of synchronicities – those apparent coincidences that illustrate the larger forces at work in our lives. As the book’s blurb states, “…there is no such thing as a meaningless coincidence.”

The first part of SynchroDestiny focuses on the science that lies behind synchronicities and the Law Of Attraction. If you’re looking for a simple, clear explanation of some of the principles of quantum physics and nonlocal intelligence (the field), this is it. Deepak is definitely very skilled in explaining complex concepts in a very user-friendly manner! This section of the book also goes deeply into the concepts of coincidence and intention.

The second part of the book is devoted to the practical exploration of the concepts. These exercises are centred around the process of meditation, using mantras to focus the mind. I found these exercises interesting and useful, although I altered the process of meditation described to fit with my own style of meditating. Deepak’s methods may work for him and for others, but I found them to disruptive to my own rhythm, and I therefore had much more success when I integrated his techniques with my own. Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit to find what works for you – there is no “one size fits all” style of meditating!

Throughout the book, Deepak makes reference to the ancient Eastern wisdom of Vedanta, which describes much of what quantum physics is only now discovering regarding how the universe functions. In this respect, it is also incredibly interesting to read SynchroDestiny’s Appendix A, in which Deepak outlines the principles of the Hermetic tradition, which has its origins in ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, to illustrate how these principles match those of the Vedanta. Reading these ancient teachings demonstrates clearly that the Law Of Attraction is not new!

Monday, 14 April 2008

Have Angels Ever Incarnated?

As with his descriptions of the Archangels, Emanuel Swedenborg’s reports on the issue of whether angels have ever incarnated differs substantially from most current literature, in which angels are presented as a separate category of being who have never incarnated into physical form.

In contrast, Swedenborg asserted that all angels have incarnated at some point in their existence. The reason why many people perceive angels as a different type of spiritual being with no physical experience lies in the fact that there are different layers, or planes, to the spiritual world. Those angels who dwell on a plane closer to the physical are what we would call spirit guides, and we are easily able to see that they have had prior physical incarnations. However, those angels who dwell on the highest planes are so far removed from the physical plane and their prior incarnations that they seem to us to be another race of beings entirely.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Archangels: Swedenborg’s View

Those of you familiar with the work of Abraham-Hicks will know that Abraham is described as a group of spiritual beings who present as a single consciousness when communicating through Esther Hicks. Interestingly, this is reminiscent of the way in which Emanuel Swedenborg (1688 – 1772) described Archangels.

Swedenborg was a Swedish scientist and mystic who reported extensively on his experiences with the spiritual world. In contrast to most current literature on angels, in which Archangels are described as single beings, Swedenborg reported that each Archangel is in fact a group of angels who all have one specific function. These angelic societies form a group consciousness and present as a single entity when communicating with us.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Archangels Raguel and Sariel

I had never communicated with Archangels before reading Sonia Choquette’s book Ask Your Guides. However, a little while ago, I had the perfect opportunity to communicate with a couple of them.

It was a Saturday night, and instead of being out on the town enjoying ourselves, my husband and I were at home, primarily because I had a Really Bad Cold. I was not a happy chappy to say the least – congested and feeling quite depleted energy-wise. As a result, despite sleeping most of the day, I was looking forward to an early night.

And then the party started. We currently live in a block of flats, and are fortunate to be blessed with friendly and considerate neighbours. The people living upstairs from us had moved in a couple of months earlier – with their two teenage sons! So far, any fears that we had had of continuous loud music had thankfully not materialised. But when I heard a loud bass rocking through my ceiling and the squeals and screams of teenage girls on the balcony above, I realised that my need for sweet dreams was rapidly becoming a nightmare.

As I sat on the couch feeling quite dejected, I remembered that Sonia had mentioned a couple of Archangels that she had called upon to keep her own children in check. Couldn’t hurt to try it with the teenagers in the flat above me, right?! I looked up the relevant passages in the book: “Raguel – the police officer on the Archangel force – who makes sure that others behave” and “Sariel – keeps things in order.”

I called upon the two Archangels, and asked them to please ensure that the teenagers upstairs remained considerate of others. As this was the first party they had had in the two months that they had been living upstairs, I stated that I was happy for it to continue for a little bit (it was now about 9pm, and the party had been going since about 8pm), but then I’d appreciate it coming to an end. As I felt a bit bad calling a complete halt to the teenagers’ fun, I asked if a compromise was possible – perhaps they could leave this party soon and all move on to another. Talking to the Archangels felt a bit like communicating with my spirit guides – I was “talking” in my head, and receiving replies back the same way. It’s not like hearing a voice external to me – the thought arrives fully formed in my head, and it’s more of an impression than hearing specific words. In this case, I “heard” the Archangels reply that the teenagers would all leave at 10:30pm.

I got into bed at about 10pm, and was reading a book when I heard a door slam upstairs. Then I heard lots of feet and the block’s external door open and close. The music upstairs had stopped, and the teenagers were all moving on to somewhere else. The time? 10:30pm exactly! I had a fleeting worry about whether they would all come back again in the wee hours of the morning. But then I heard in my head “No, they won’t be back. Sleep tight!”. I did indeed sleep tight that night – in the arms of the angels :).

Luckily, I’ve not had to call on Raguel and Sariel for a while. But yesterday I had a chance to renew my acquaintance. Outside our flat (we’re on the ground floor) is a piece of ground that is technically communal, but since it is at the end of the block and isn’t a through route to anywhere else, hardly anyone uses it. The developers of our block, in their wisdom, decided that pebbles would be a good way to fill in much of the space, and on the odd occasions that kiddies do wander down there, these are irresistible to them. They haven’t done any major damage yet, but they do like to throw the stones at each other as well as into the parking lot to see how far they’ll go. For the most part, kiddies run away when they see us coming to find out what is going on, but yesterday a group of teenagers (not the ones from upstairs!) decided to congregate there and throw stones. Rather than confronting them, I called on Raguel and Sariel!

It was 3:25 pm when I made my request that the teenagers move on from this piece of ground. I “heard” the response that I was not to worry, they would leave by 3:30. Five minutes?! That would be cool, I thought, but wondered how this was going to happen. But Raguel and Sariel did it – five minutes later, the teenagers just suddenly stopped what they were doing, and trooped off quietly! I, in the meantime, did a little Dance Of Joy :). Thank you Raguel and Sariel!

Monday, 7 April 2008

Can You Change The Past?

If we can change the future by the choices that we make today, is it possible to change the past? Can we unsay some of the hurtful or thoughtless things we said? Can we take the paths we should have taken, but didn’t?

The idea of changing the past is known as retrocausality, and it isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound. In fact, within the field of quantum physics, retrocausality is perfectly possible, although it has yet to be demonstrated.

For retrocausality to work, the past, present and future all have to exist simultaneously. In Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, they do. Many metaphysical and spiritual writers have also commented on the fact that our perception of time is an illusion, and that it is more accurate to describe the universe as functioning by means of state or intent rather than linear clock time.

The idea of retrocausality brings some troubling paradoxes to light, the kind that movies like The Butterfly Effect have portrayed so vividly. Is it really possible to change the past to such a degree that our present changes completely? Would we even want to? Sure, I have things that I might wish had happened differently in my past, but I am who I am today and have the life that I have because of everything (good and bad) that’s happened to me so far, and I quite like my life :). Who will I become if I go back and tweak things?! Even more scarily, what if I somehow changed things in a way that resulted in my parents never meeting, and I never “became” at all? It’s enough to blow your mind!

Perhaps this is a far too literal view of the subject. Scientists and philosophers alike have debated whether there are any limits to retrocausality, with some arguing that, while actual physical changes to events may be impossible, it is possible and sometimes beneficial to change one’s present perceptions of a past event. This may sound like a more wishy-washy view of changing the past, but it can be immensely powerful and liberating, especially when we consider this argument in the light of teachings by people like Eckhart Tolle. He reminds us that the only moment that exists is “now”. The past and the future are always only in our heads. When we remember the past, we remember it now. When we think about the future, we think about it now. And when we get to the future, it is just another “now”.

In addition, let me throw another thought into the mix… if you sit ten people down who have all supposedly experienced the exact same event and ask them to tell you about what happened, you’ll pretty much get ten different stories! Each person’s memory of the event is dependent on their perceptions of the event. Given this, can we even say that an objective past exists? All that actually exists is people’s perceptions of the past. Change those, and you seemingly can change the past as well as make a tangible difference in the present.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Sonia Choquette: Ask Your Guides

In this book, Sonia not only discusses the various angelic influences on our lives, but also goes into detail regarding the different roles that spirit guides can play in our lives, from “runners” who help us with practical details (yes, like finding a parking space!) to those who help us in a teaching capacity to transcend our egos and become more consciously aware.

I bought Sonia’s book about a year ago after a psychic reading in which I was introduced briefly to one of my guides, and it was extremely useful in helping me meet and interact with the various spirits who form my guide team. I would certainly recommend it as an excellent overview of this subject. However, I’d also recommend that you read a variety of sources in this regard. This is mainly because interacting with spirit guides can be like interacting with people on the physical plane – we all have different ways of communicating with others, and what works for one person may not work for another. I certainly found it helpful to read about the different approaches that others have used, and to integrate these into a system that works for me. Ultimately, what matters is developing a strong and clear connection with your guides, and this can be achieved in multiple ways. Apart from Sonia’s work in this regard, I’ve also benefited from the wisdom of Andrea Hess, Slade Roberson and Erin Pavlina. Currently, only Andrea has a book available, but I would encourage you to also visit her blog, as well as those of Slade and Erin.

When it comes to making the decision to buy a book like Sonia’s and invest the time and effort into making a connection with your guides, possibly the most important questions needing answering are: Does it “work”? And is it worth it? The answers are: yes. And yes. It may feel strange at first to attempt to connect to your guides, especially since many people worry when they start whether they are really connecting or just making it all up. It is important to remember here that, because our minds bridge the physical and spiritual worlds, our guides use our thoughts and imaginations to connect with us. We have also been used to our guides presence since they’ve been communicating with us all along – we’ve just called it “a feeling”, or “intuition”. At the start, it can then definitely feel like we are making it up because it seems so “normal” to us – there are no big booming voices from above! As you persevere, though, you will be able to tell the difference between communication from your guides and your own thoughts as they do have different energy signatures. As you learn more about guides from books like Sonia’s, you’ll have personal experience that convinces you that it “works”. And in terms of it being worth the effort… well, the proof is in the pudding! Your life will be enriched by having access to a group of spiritual beings who love you, support you and guide you towards your highest path and purpose.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Are Skeptics Their Own Worst Enemies?

The experimenter effect, or the effect that the observer has on the observed (whether that be people or atoms), is well known in many areas of science. The field of parapsychology is no exception. Certain researchers seem to be psi-inhibitory – their presence consistently prevents the appearance of any evidence for psi. On the other hand, psi-conducive researchers consistently obtain results demonstrating evidence for psi. While research into the characteristics of the two groups is ongoing, it does seem as if psi-conducive experimenters are in general more positive in their attitudes towards psi than their psi-inhibitory counterparts.

Does this imply that it is possible that an attitude of skepticism towards the paranormal and metaphysical can actually block any such phenomena from occurring? I would argue that it can. The sceptical view, however, raises the question whether some researchers consistently don’t find psi because it doesn’t exist. Like any other scientific field, parapsychology is judged on replicability of results. Although all scientific fields experience some inconsistency in findings, parapsychology has perhaps had the most difficulty in overcoming this and establishing a credible knowledge base. It remains one of the field’s most vexing problems.