Contemporary culture is plagued by the passion to possess.-- Richard J. Foster
Everyone wants to be happy, and we in the affluent U.S. have been led to believe that the happiness we are seeking can only be attained through grasping opportunities for financial and career success. So why are so many of us so unhappy? Is it because we aren't trying hard enough? Is it that we need even more new things, greater achievements, more affluence and power?
And now that we are beginning to see the steady decline of our personal and collective wealth, how are these opportunities going to continue to be available? What if they disappeared altogether, we ask ourselves as we fall asleep at night. What if the American Dream has been a myth all along? What then? I want to propose a new American Dream, one that doesn't just promise happiness and fulfillment; it actually guarantees it, no matter what the economy is doing, and no matter where we are or have been in life. It will work for everyone regardless of income bracket, intelligence, talent, religious affiliation (or lack of one), age or race.
This new American Dream is totally based on principles that anyone can learn, and anyone can put into practice almost immediately. It's not a new-age gimmick, and you don't have to dumb down your intellect or sell yourself out in any way to do it. It's also profoundly simple and easy to accomplish.T It's radical--and profoundly so--and yet it's a type of radicalism that has been embraced and promulgated by every major religion throughout history.
THE UPSIDE-DOWN HUMAN WORLD
Everything we have been taught is wrong. We have been taught that we are never enough, and that we must constantly strive to prove ourselves and gain merit by gaining wealth and influence. Living this way, we realize after awhile, makes us incredibly insecure, and it eventually robs us of our energy and passion for living. Something is missing. We feel somehow inauthentic and shortchanged, and we begin to awaken to the powerful stirrings of divine discontent.
This whole concept of craggy, rugged individualism, total and absolute self-determination, and complete personal and sole responsibility for one's station in life is a uniquely American idea that grew out of the rocky soil of the spirit of greed, domination, independence and the quest to subjugate "savages" and nature, which motivated the Pilgrims and the pioneers of Wild West frontiers--to continue forward in their settlement and conquest of the New World.
Christian Science and its New Thought offshoots, and later, the New Age "human potential" movement, sprang from this depleted soil, spawning a spiritual ethic grounded in shame, blame and judgment.
Wanting to let go of the limitations of my cultural and psycho-spiritual background, I recently asked my Inner Being how I could live more fully. Here is what I received: Let it all go. Let go all your thoughts about what could be, what it is 'meant' to be. What you accomplish in your simple daily life is wondrously spiritual and fulfilling, if you will just realize it. Let go of the consensus reality promoted by this culture, of any society you might wish to emulate; your answers don't lie there. Go deeper. This means rejecting spiritual traditions and 'paths' rooted in the past. Reject the clamor to shine and excel in the world, using thoughts as the lever to amplify your power to create and achieve.
For some, these may be worthy goals, but for you they are deadly and antithetical to your life's purpose.Look to world servers such as Peace Pilgrim, Aung San Sui Kui and Gandhi for your inspiration when you wonder how to 'be' in the world. The following KEY will fulfill you in a way that achieving success, power or fame cannot. Hold onto it and treasure it: "I AM love, joy, peace, and gratitude, and I am fulfilled through selfless service to others." You want to do something of value with your talent. You certainly can! Pray for guidance and you will be inspired and placed where you can do the most good. You think way too much. Stop reading so much. Meditate for 15-20 minutes a few times a day; pray your 'I AM' prayers of affirmation, and if you're sad or anxious, relax, breathe, and give yourself a short mental treatment, recognizing and reminding yourself of the wonderful nature of the reality that underlies all creation--yourself with the Realm of True Form. Be at peace with who and what and how you are right now. You are just fine.
As a society we have lost our way through unconsciously, unwittingly assimilating the ego-enslaving ideas of the mass culture. Perhaps never before has there been such a powerful emphasis on the primacy of the individual and the importance of the struggle to be on top, competing with others so as to stand upon some imaginary pinnacle of success far above and apart from them.The way of unhappiness is often paved with too many achievements, milestones, possessions and other worldly burdens.
MANIFESTING FROM THE HEART OF CREATION
We are so stuck in our heads, caught up in thoughts and images of things we want, in desires, hunger, and cravings that we have nearly lost touch with the source of all the good things in life--not the head, but the heart! Within the sensibilities of the heart, which is receptive and subjective, lies our only real safe haven of conscious creation. When we create from the objective plane, too centered in the intellect and the external world, focusing on our intense desires to have things and circumstances exactly as we want them, we ultimately come up short--dissatisfied, confused, wondering where we went wrong. It's not that all of our desires are wrong. It's just that we are miscreating when we are creating subjectively, rather than objectively. Here's how it works. There is a scripture from the Bible that beautifully embodies the truth I am trying to articulate: "Seek ye first the Kingdom, and all these things shall be added unto you." What does it mean to create from subjectively? It means to go within and meditate on the emotional states we wish to experience. Remember my "Key"--I AM love, joy, peace, and gratitude, and I am fulfilled through selfless service to others. This is my own personalized subjective treatment or statement of my highest goal and life's purpose. It also is a prayer. Yours might be quite different from the one I was given by my inner guidance. Just ask and it will be given.
Here are some other examples of word-pictures you might want to include in your subjective manifestation treatment: I AM:wonder * strength * unconditional love serenity * understanding * exhilaration patience * faith * goodness * courage passion * empathy * clarity * honesty * joyous expectation * inspired creativity appreciation * delight * inspiration. By creating desired emotional states through this creative prayer method you are actually opening the gate to the full and completely rewarding life you seek. This is your "Key'," Consider it sacred and treasure its message--your message to yourself. You might want to write or type it on a card and carry it with you or keep it by your bedside. It's different from a mantra; you don't have to constantly repeat it, and in fact this will be counter-productive. And it can't really be defined as an affirmation, for the same reason. It's a gateway to a meditation on your true state, a return to our Original Mind. The trick is to take time to relax, breathe deeply and rhythmically for a few minutes till you feel an inner calm, and then give it your attention and hold it in your consciousness. Do this a few times a day--especially when you awaken and when you are ready to fall asleep--and hold it in your consciousness, feeling the meaning behind the words, knowing that you are the embodiment of this consciousness, this inner reality that you want to express.
The beautiful secret, the gift that this sacred "Key" holds within itself and bestows upon you is this: from the subjective reality that you have created, will naturally-- with no "thought-taking"--unfold all the needed things, the right circumstances, the unexpected but "just right" opportunities, the pleasant and good things in life that seem to have your name written on them. Without having to divert your attention from your beautiful inner spiritual vista, to constantly focus your consciousness outward and bring your attention down into the realm of "stuff,'" you nevertheless will experience "the added things" which will make your life sweet and enjoyable in a way that is uniquely suited to you.
UNIFYING WITH THE REALM OF PERFECT FORM
Here is a way to enter into the inner experience of the Kingdom Within that may be practiced once or twice a day for renewal, clarity, healing, vision and inspiration.Find a quiet space where you can be silent for 20-30 minutes. Sit in whatever meditation posture is most comfortable for you. The most important thing is that you are alert while relaxed, and that your spine is straight but comfortable. Invoke the Divine presence. Ask It to fill your being, or be aware of It coming in as a radiant light, not from outside of you, but from a point within you that is near your heart. Know that this Divine Energy is always as near as your heart and your breath, but requires your conscious attention and surrender. As you surrender to the Energy of Love, let It reveal to you the World of True Form. And remember, this is not a visualization. You are actually changing your consciousness from that of the human, separated self to the One who lives and has his/her being in God and is free from the illusions of and limitations of the human world and the mass mind. Contemplate for a few moments just what this freedom means. Consider the worries and fears that appear to press upon you, and let them go, one by one, consciously realizing their nothingness, their powerlessness--their unreality. Breathe the rarified air of this freedom and joy that is your natural birthright. Feel the Spirit's Presence within you as peace, immense love, great confidence and safety. You are Home; all is well. Now let the words of your own sacred and personal mantra reverberate within your awakened heart center.
ONE FINAL THOUGHT
Are you looking for a truly worthy goal? Love is truly all that really matters. Seek after this Kingdom of Love and you'll be supremely blessed. Your life's purpose and mine is to be Love's embodiment, and the wonderful thing about it is that it's very easy, rewarding and incredibly enjoyable to give love to others. The more of love you share, the more it comes back to you while at the same time it multiplies and expands exponentially into the world, creating powerful, positive changes for all. Love is what we all really want, in our heart of hearts, and we can have all of the love our hearts can hold--it's infinite! Only one thing is required, and that is that we share Love's infinite wealth with one another, generously, boldly and totally unconditionally.