Should you take things personally?

The email was making my blood boil. I was stunned to the point I didn’t know what to think and as my fingers started to hit reply, I was already formulating a response. That’s when I realized I had unknowingly walked into ego country and I knew I needed to find a way out—and fast. The problem? I was taking the email personally.

As a society, we’re really good at taking things personally. The co-worker who is friendly and helpful to everyone except you; the driver who flips you off on the highway when you’re simply minding your own business; or the flippant remark from your spouse at the end of a long day. The benchmark of taking things personally is always the same: we feel strong emotions and they usually aren’t good. Taking things personally brings us anger, sadness, rage and depression.

New age and spiritual teachers frequently teach us to not take things personally. They teach us that developing thicker skin or turning our attention away from the problem are better psychological responses to daily situations. And in some of these cases, they’re right. However, there are some advantages to taking things personally and they mesh very well with conscious creation.

Why not to take things personally

Plainly and simply, the biggest problem in situations where you feel singled out is your ego. To itself, the ego’s purpose is clear: to help you navigate through physical reality. It helps you judge the physical landscape and make adjustments in your own thinking and behavior that it perceives are in your best interest. But the ego has become inflexible. And with that inflexibility, it has conditioned itself to think the worst of any situation.

When you’re thinking the worst, you take things personally. In my earlier email example, I was convinced that my friend had singled me out and was speaking directly to me, despite her very clear language to the contrary. The ego puts a lot of energy into protecting itself and it feels that by preparing for a worst-case scenario, it will be better off in the long run.

The other big challenge to the ego is its lack of knowledge. The ego is helping you focus your physical reality and no one else’s. The ego and the intellect are not equipped to handle great amounts of knowledge and are therefore given only small bits of information from the inner self. The hardened ego doesn’t allow you to know why your friend just cancelled your lunch plans, it only wants to make sure you’re mad as hell about it. When you don’t have all of the information, you don’t have clear insight into others’ thoughts and opinions. Your friend may be having a bad day and doesn’t want to burden you with her problems. She may be feeling ill and too embarrassed to say anything. Without that knowledge, you and your ego assume the issue is with you.

You understand that you manifest what you concentrate upon. In this case, taking things personally leads to a barrage of similar situations. In conscious creation, it’s important to align your thoughts, emotions and beliefs with the outcome you desire. Spending time and energy with “why me?” syndrome only gets you more of the same. Choose a different direction.

Why to take things personally

So if we don’t know all the answers and we’re running around with hardened egos, what good can come from taking something personally? First and foremost, it allows you to become aware of your own subjective thoughts and emotions and then gives you the chance to change them. You get ownership in the process and take an active role in transforming it into something beneficial.

Often, simply the awareness that you’ve taken something personally allows you to make a significant shift in its transformation. The recognition tells you, “I created this,” or “I attracted this,” which means you can then say, “I can move through this.” Without that conscious acknowledgement, you may not be aware of your own power.

Another critical signpost in this area is to gauge your emotional reaction to situations that cause you to feel singled out. Very strong emotions—hurt, anger, sadness, and rage—are a direct hit to your system. If the emotional nature is strong, it’s vying for your attention. It’s your inner self telling you that you seek change in this area and opens up the possibility for change. You must be conscious of that impulse.

When your emotional reaction is weaker or more subdued, you become somewhat immune to the feelings. The reaction is more of an annoyance and over time may not get you to react. Taking something personally and having a strong reaction may be your inner self’s way of getting you to deal with a particular topic, person or belief that you wish to change. A slap in the face is sometimes very effective.

Moving in the right direction

If you’re faced with a situation where you take something personally, it’s important to approach the solution with a conscious mind. First, become aware of your subjective feeling. That is, be aware of the fact you’re taking something personally. This can be difficult when the ego is involved since you may be focused intensely on the issues themselves as opposed to the realization of your reaction. It takes practice to do this.

In the next moment, decide that you won’t react to anyone but yourself until you are clear headed. That means inaction with others and interaction with yourself. Now is when you should experience your emotions fully. Acknowledge them and release them. If you’re mad, shout it to the bathroom wall. If you’re sad, cry about it. Releasing emotions prevents energy blockages from forming and doing damage to your physical and psychological systems.

When the immediate emotions have passed, take some time exploring your thoughts and beliefs. The situation may be causing to you identify strongly in a particular area: do you feel left out, taken advantage of, ignored, misunderstood? If the thoughts and beliefs fall into areas that you’ve struggled with before, you may need to work through your feelings in a more structured environment. Taking time to do a belief exercise or journal your feelings may give you insight into your own mind and help you work through the issues.

If the situation genuinely feels outside of you, that is, if you feel you are relatively innocent in the situation, it’s time to confront the other person (nicely). Communication is the only way to clear the air when you’ve taken something personally. If your friend cancelled lunch plans and you still don’t know why, ask them about it. Tell them it made you upset or angry and ask for clarification. Communication gives your intellect and your ego the missing information it was denied earlier and may help you understand that it’s not all about “you.”

Finally, there’s an important conscious creation step that helps more than anything. Bring positive affirmation to the forefront of situations where you take things personally. Convince and remind yourself that uncovering emotional triggers is a good positive step. Have the expectation that this process is empowering and that what you are experiencing is a lesson. If you consistently expect a positive outcome, that’s what you’ll get.

Remember, it’s not all about you and yet it is all about you. Your reactions, your understanding and your choices can lead you to a more fulfilling existence. Start with yourself, realize your role(s) in life and allow yourself the courage to address anything that needs your attention.

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What’s pulling you in the right direction?

My dog Bloo is a bit headstrong. And nowhere is this more evident than when we are on a walk. When we first step out the door, his excitement is always evident, as he pulls me down the driveway, running to experience the world outside. And as I watched him on our walk today, I realized how faithfully he follows one of the best spiritual practices: he follows his interests.

For Bloo, those interests involve investigating particular smells and sights. Every few yards he locks down and puts his nose to the ground, uncovering information on what dogs and other wild animals have been nearby. Similarly, when he sees a dog or person he wants to meet, he immediately starts heading in their direction. And of course, whenever he does these things, he pulls heavily on the leash, not caring that my hand and arm are attached. He acts not only on instinct, but also on impulse—just the way we need to approach life.

As humans, we’ve conditioned ourselves out of following our impulses. Fear, obligation, duty and a lack-of-trust are responsible for this phenomenon. How many times a day do you feel the urge to do something, only to tell yourself instead, “I should be doing that”? Over time, those “shoulds” build up a cloudy haze over our natural impulses and leave us feeling spiritually opaque.

A return to impulse seeking is necessary for finding purpose and meaning in our lives. Natural impulses are directly tied into our own best interests, yet most people believe that following them is akin to distraction or, worse, that allowing those interests will lead to destruction or dead-end.

It’s important to know where impulses come from so that we can learn to trust and follow them regularly. Impulses are sent to our conscious mind from the inner self. The inner self is the part of you that is connected to All That Is–the cosmic framework that connects everything in the universe and beyond. Your inner self resides in this framework and has at its disposal all of the information needed to move you in the right direction. It knows how to piece together and orchestrate all of the minute details of any given situation so that you reach fulfillment.

It’s the intellect and the ego that put the breaks on impulses. The ego is that part of you that allows you to interact in the physical world. Its job is to be the watchdog of daily living, keeping you conscious of your environment and giving you the flexibility to react to circumstances as they arise. The intellect tries to make sense of your daily life and shares information with the ego to determine what it considers to be your next steps.

The ego and the intellect are not built to process more information than they can comfortably handle. They must be given information in bits and pieces from the inner self so as to not overload the mind. The inner self acts as a director and decides which pieces are important enough to cause the ego and the intellect to respond effectively.

But two things have happened to man that prevent impulses from taking center stage. First, our egos have become hardened. The ego now thinks that it must protect the body and conscious mind at all costs. It believes it has all the answers and has trained itself right out of alignment with the inner self. Likewise, the ego overreacts to negativity and therefore believes that any “bad” situation is bound to get worse. In this hardened state, it has a hard time distinguishing between “good” and “bad” and assumes the worse.

Second, our intellect stands in the way of information that comes from the inner self. This is a result of our modern society. We are trained from an early age to ignore or invalidate information that comes from non-traditional sources, such as intuition, “hunches,” dreams or the imagination. A once crystal clear bolt of information from the inner self is then deemed invalid by the intellect and subsequently dismissed.

Modern spiritualists often call for the annihilation of the ego, claiming that it must be destroyed in order to connect with the divine. This is, of course, an overreaction but we must learn to make the ego and intellect flexible again if we want to return to a life of purpose and meaning.

The process begins by recognizing when you are fueled by something and then allowing yourself to act on that impulse to the best of your ability. This must be done throughout the day, whenever such impulses arise. Often people beginning this journey deduce that impulses must be gigantic and clearly defined before acting. This isn’t so. It starts with small, sometimes even hazy feelings of interest to pique the conscious mind into action.

What interests you? What excites you? Quite frankly, what sounds better in any given situation? Would you rather go take a walk or re-grout the bathtub? It takes a conscious awareness of your choices to then make a decision based on how you feel in the moment. If you feel good, excited or even just “moved” in a particular direction, you’re allowing the sensation of an impulse to take hold. When you become aware of that sensation, take action.

This is a learning process and, like everything else, you must learn to follow your impulses within the framework of your own beliefs (see my blog post on beliefs for more information). Before you decide to chuck work for the day and take that walk, it might be better to start with smaller decisions that you can implement at a more open time. Then, as you become comfortable with the process, you can ease yourself into bigger decisions such as changing jobs or starting a relationship.

Like a dog on a walk, your inner self is guiding you—sometimes gently and sometimes forcefully—toward beneficial, positive actions that help you find your purpose and meaning in life. The trick is to let go of the leash and allow your inner self to take you to new and exciting areas.

Peyton, Tim and the rest of us

Denverites are football crazy. This is nothing new as Denver has always been a huge football town. However, all eyes this past week have been on the impending–and now complete–acquisition of Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Peyton Manning and the subsequent trade of Denver’s Quarterback Tim Tebow. So what does this have to do with spirituality?

During the trade talks, I sat back and watched social media and the thousands of posts written on the subject. If you’re not a football fan, you may not know the background of the two men involved. Peyton Manning is a veteran quarterback, having taken the Colts to a Super Bowl win in 2007. For the past year he has been on injured reserve and was let go by the Colts in early March. Tim Tebow, on the other hand, is a rookie back-up quarterback who got his big chance mid-season 2011 when he helped turn around the Broncos’ dismal season as the starting quarterback. Tebow is equally known for his religious views, openly displaying affection and admiration for God and the Christian faith. The short story: they’re both good men, on and off the field.

Fan reaction to the trade talks shouldn’t surprise me or anyone else. There’s a reason why both Peyton and Tim are admired. They’re great athletes and good guys—a rare combination in today’s professional sports world. Both players exhibit the desired qualities in sportsmanship: they’re humble, they give credit to the entire team, they take their jobs seriously and they approach each day with an enthusiasm that gets others around them fired up. Its no wonder people are impressed.

But what strikes me the most in watching fan reaction to the trade is the height of the pedestals fans have put both of these men on. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself—people do it all the time with athletes, actors and celebrities. Still, people’s reactions at times seem out of proportion to their own spiritual significance. When will people start to see their own magnificence and their own contribution to society as much as they do their heroes?

When we look to others for fulfillment, we diminish ourselves. The constant search for meaning in others’ careers and accomplishments is then no longer intrinsically good, it instead becomes an unattainable model for existence. It was easy to see this with the trade talks as people were more attuned to what was happening with the Broncos and the Jets than they were with their own lives.

Interestingly, it’s the very qualities of Peyton and Tim that people should emulate to help garner a more fulfilling existence. Both quarterbacks love what they do. They obviously enjoy playing football and being part of a team. They have clear ideas about how they want their careers to go; yet both have been malleable in allowing the universe to take them in new directions this past week. They have stayed away from negativity and openly praised each other for their individual contributions to the sport. They are both looking forward to the next chapter of their careers and not publically crying about loss. And at the end of the day, each are still playing football and being greatly compensated for it. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

Every single one of us on this planet has strengths and qualities that make us undeniably unique. Each of us, simply by being ourselves, affects the world in known and unknown ways. We are powerful forces that shape and better the world through our contributions. To put it another way, we are all a Peyton Manning or a Tim Tebow. It’s time we raise our individual pedestals up a notch and meet these men on equal footing.

When we take time to celebrate our selves, we actively promote a healthier climate and we grow our own fan base. As we begin to see our own heroic qualities, we automatically create space for other heroes to come into our lives and help complete our spiritual selves, rather than work against them. And as each of us begins to honor our own spirit, we return to the safety and beauty of All That Is. What team wouldn’t like that?

This isn’t mean to be an anti-sports rant. It’s about marveling in our own self-worth as much as the people we love to cheer. It’s about idolizing ourselves equally with our favorite athletes and realizing that the whole of the universe is enhanced when we appreciate each other for our own uniqueness. That’s a tall order but one which we can certainly start to fulfill.

Oh, yeah: go Broncos!

 

 

The irony of faith

Even when you think you don’t have it, you do.

Growing up in a secular household, the topic of faith, to the best of my memory, was never discussed. We didn’t discuss things like God, religion, life after death and so forth. The only questions I remember asking about these topics would come after the occasional visit to church for a funeral or a wedding. To the pious, it appeared I had a lack of faith.

But this lack of faith, or more appropriately this lack of knowledge about faith, was never a problem until my later years. Certain touchstones would cause me to pause and reflect on faith: my father’s death, the events of 9/11, the feeling of emptiness that would frequently overtake me. Those events, while trying to elicit a faith-response within me, simply clouded my understanding of faith and religion. To add fire to the brimstone, I’m reminded every four years of my lack of faith by presidential candidates who deem any religious experience not consistent with their own to be a moral sin upon the Earth. Those precious candidates at least taught me one thing: you can’t guilt someone into faith.

So without an organized concept of faith, god or religion, I stumbled upon spirituality in my late 30s. The concepts felt warm and comfortable. After all, most spirituality puts the person at the center of the universe instead of God—I liked that. I also liked the intellectual pursuit of spirituality, researching the great teachers and their lessons and studying them with a philosophical lens. Yet hundreds of books and seminars later I found myself still aching for an understanding of faith.

What does one have faith in? Certainly for most people it’s a faith in “Almighty God.” Having thrown that concept in the trash, I needed something else. “Faith in myself” sounded better, but still didn’t feel right as I struggled with life and didn’t still trust myself. We are told that faith is a belief not based on proof, which makes acting on faith all that much harder. If you can never quantify such a belief until perhaps after death, what good is it to hold such faith?

When I read Jane Robert’s The Afterdeath Journal of An American Philosopher: The World View of William James, I was particularly taken with James’ view on faith. He defines it as a growth medium, turning the tables on our traditional view of faith “in” something.

“This brings us to faith, of course, which as I now perceive it is a physical, biological condition of growth and a psychic or spiritual condition as well. It is as if faith were the agent that developed a negative into a definite picture in the darkroom of the mind; and without faith, the events will not “take,” Roberts writes.

My intellect started processing this concept immediately. This view takes it for granted that faith is a constant presence in the universe, an active substance that makes life possible. Faith grows the body. Faith nurtures the seedlings. Faith turns the invisible wheels of the Earth and points us at the sun for just the right amount of time every day. Faith is a process.

My need for proof of faith’s existence then became palpable for its existence is now definable everywhere. The things we take on faith become faith itself. No one needs to tell his or her body how to digest food. Breathing is automatic. The miraculous ability for life to happen in the present moment is proof of faith’s presence.

What we term “bad” or “negative” things aren’t bad or negative at all. Those definitions are only defined when we turn our heads away from faith and ignore the evidence to the contrary. We are constantly being supported by the universe through the process of faith itself. Nature, unimpeded, is always seeking growth, balance and fulfillment, so trusting in that process means that nothing is ever wrong unless we take faith out of the equation.

Faith in this case becomes an understanding of the way the world works. As a growth medium, it is not only life giving but also life sustaining to every bit of consciousness on the planet. Faith helps us understand the support available to us and assists us with reframing unwanted or undesired circumstances. It allows us to perceive the magic of consciousness where every act leads us gently toward a greater understanding of ourselves.  Accepting this definition means we either accept faith on its terms or fight against it. Honoring Your Spirit means going along for the ride, assuring that faith will allow life to unfold perfectly.

Perhaps it’s only a matter of semantics, for now I’ve started having “trust” in “faith.” It’s a trust in the process of life including my own unique stamp on the world. It’s a trust in my own thoughts, impulses and beliefs and knowing that faith will coalesce those actions into objective reality. This new reality of faith allows me to see I’m never without it, only sometimes temporarily disconnected from it. And rediscovering that connection gives me direct experience with the divine.

Thinking your way out of the box (or the forest)

If you’ve ever wandered into a dense forest, you know how easy it is to get lost if you’re not paying attention. One minute you’re in deep thought and the next you look up and wonder where the heck you are. The spiritual path often leads us into these kinds of situations and leaves us discouraged and looking for a way out.

The “sameness” of daily life often leads us to our own dense forest. Work, errands, commuting and chores take on a sense of familiarity that keeps us hidden from the life we want to lead. So how do you break out of your routine? It takes a commitment to thought awareness and redirection, a flexing of your spiritual will to put you back on the path to a new future.

Lately I’ve been using the following steps as my “re-directing” formula. The steps are designed to take me out of negative and limiting thoughts and remind me where I’m trying to go. It’s an oversimplification of the conscious creation process, but the steps are a good general reminder that short-circuits any self-limiting thoughts. When I become aware of a limiting/negative thought, I stop and take a few moments to work the process:

  1. THINK IT. This is a reminder to think a new thought. Often it’s a restatement of a goal that I want to achieve or it’s the opposite of the old thought I was just thinking. Restating the new thought gives it clarity and puts it directly in the forefront of my mind.
  2. FEEL IT. This is a hard step to perform on the fly, but it’s important to try. I strive to quickly get the feeling associated with the new thought (feeling abundance, for example). If I can’t access the direct emotion to the new thought, I close my eyes for a moment and remember a happy scene to help steer my emotions into a more beneficial direction.
  3. BELIEVE IT. The belief is in the process as much as it is a belief in the new thought. Beliefs are built upon the repetition of thoughts and emotions, so this step reminds me that I need the repetition to anchor the new belief into my consciousness. At the same time, I remind myself that I have a belief in my ability to change.
  4. LIVE IT. Now it’s time to act out the thought. I make some small step toward the new thought/belief. If I’m working on abundance, I may buy myself a cup of coffee. If I’m working on feeling safe, I may put fear out of my mind and make a determination to move ahead as if there is nothing to fear. No matter how small it seems, any effort helps to solidify the new thought or belief in my conscious mind.

With practice, these steps take only a few moments to work through. The real value here is in gently moving old and outdated modes of thinking and directing the consciousness to a new place. It’s a way of clearing the fog in that dense forest and cutting down a few trees in the process.

Above all else, taking the time—even just two minutes—to work with thoughts and beliefs is a strong indicator to your inner self that you’re willing, able and ready to Honor Your Spirit.

Hurry up and wait: spiritual impatience as a sign of progress

I hate to wait. I don’t like waiting in lines; I’m not a big fan of waiting for company to arrive. As a child, the wait on Christmas morning was almost unbearable. How can I just sit here when there are tons of great presents sitting right in the living room, ready to be unwrapped? But as an adult, I find an even more difficult beast plagues me: spiritual impatience.

Spiritual impatience is the result of putting your foot on a spiritual path. It’s a sign that you’re beginning to understand the lessons that are important to you and that those lessons are starting to sink in. Impatience is a clear sign that you now see what is possible on the horizon…and that you’re not there yet.

You know that a better, more fulfilling life exists and that there are steps you can take to get there. You’ve read about them. You’ve seen examples of others who have arrived at a new plateau after years of struggle. You’ve been inspired by readings, by teachings and by endless examples. Your mind starts churning new concepts and sprinkles ideas upon your consciousness at various times throughout the day and in your dreams.

Up until this point, you’ve been working with inspiration. Inspiration usually follows a period of sadness, confusion or longing that prods you into the search for something better. Whatever it is that has caused you to ask for more: health issues, relationship problems, spiritual emptiness, has pushed you over the brink and set you on a journey filled with promise. Those first few days, months, or even years are an exciting part of your transformation. The learning fuels you. It’s like you’ve stepped on the accelerator and flown up the highway at top speed. But suddenly you look around and wonder where the hell you are.

Now, you start to compare your current experiences with your daydream experiences. You become acutely aware of the gaps. You’ve unknowingly adopted a new model for yourself, one that’s very solidified in your subconscious, yet barely recognizable in physical reality. That’s where anguish and longing come into play. Spiritual impatience has made itself known to you and it is a good sign.

Impatience is the handmaiden of the ego. As the part of your consciousness that interfaces with the physical world, the ego wants to be in control. Working with the intellect, the ego sees the goal ahead—the “new” you—and thinks its job is to get you there. It feels it must do this alone, or at least with some general feedback and information from the intellect. The ego’s purpose is noble; its methods are not. What it forgets is the fact that it doesn’t know everything. In fact, the ego knows very little. It’s not its fault; it has simply succumbed to the conditioning you’ve placed on it for years and years.

There’s a flip side to the ego’s valor: fear. In addition to wanting you to move ahead at warp speed, the ego also fears what will happen if you don’t get there. Now you’ve got two opposing mechanisms fighting for control of your whole identity. Your ego wants you to become this perfect, whole person and yet it fears more than anything that you won’t get there. It’s time to help out the ego.

There are two main tools to help fight spiritual impatience and put the ego at ease, allowing it to assist your whole identity in Honoring Your Sprit.

The first tool is presence. Developing presence is akin to eating an apple a day for your health. It’s one of the easiest ways to access your inner being and return you to a state of wholeness. Your intellect has a hard time focusing on two things at once, even though we’ve become a multi-tasking society.  Returning to the present moment shifts your perception to the immediacy of your self and the environment and automatically puts space around your ego.

To return to the present moment, stop and direct your focus. First, look around at your surroundings. What do you see? Notice small details, such as the leaves on a nearby tree or the way the light reflects off the blender on the counter. Next, employ your ears—what are you hearing? Can you detect the hum of the refrigerator? Can you hear the children playing down the street? Listen also for the sounds you don’t hear and you’ll sink into the present moment. Now, what do you feel physically? Can you feel the chair beneath you? What’s under your feet? Is there a breeze on your face? Can you feel sunshine on your eyes? Use all of your senses: what do you taste right now? What sensations are meeting your skin? Gently move back and forth between the senses to immerse you into the present moment.

When you get good at developing presence, even for just a few moments, you’ve begun to train your mind into “allowing.” When you get your mind away from your thoughts and when your ego isn’t swallowed up in progress reports, you begin to allow space to flow into your spirit. That space is important for your inner being to flex its spiritual muscles. Your intuition, telepathy and clairvoyance skills sharpen with the allowance of the present moment. That allowance is key to combating spiritual impatience.

The other important tool in combating impatience is trust, and that’s a biggie. Trust is a necessary part of any spiritual practice; you can’t proceed without it. The good news is that you already have trust if you’re experiencing spiritual impatience. Part of the impatience stems from knowing that something better exists “out there.” If you can’t see or believe in a better life, you can’t trust that it will manifest.

As I mentioned earlier, the ego always wants control and there’s no exception when it comes to trust. The ego wants to dictate how and when you move ahead and the pace you’ll need to get there. Trust doesn’t have any of that. Trust is also a practice of allowing: allowing the universe to deliver your dreams to you in the best way possible and on a timeline that works for everybody. It’s about allowing things to unfold without unnecessary resistance and it’s about allowing room for change.

Trust is a difficult trait to cultivate and it demands frequent check-ups by your conscious mind.  One of the most effective methods for developing trust is simply to remind yourself of trust through affirmations. “I trust that life will bring to me exactly what I need at the right time.” Or, “I trust my inner being to direct me in my life.” Find wording that feels comfortable and is memorable and repeat your affirmation many times throughout the day.

Let impatience be a good reminder that you’re moving in the right direction. You are developing spiritually and that’s precisely why you are feeling resistance. It’s there to serve you and while it may be a little annoying, take comfort in the fact that it’s signifying some great things to come. When you find yourself immersed in spiritual impatience, first get present and then gently remind yourself of your trust in the process.

 

 

 

Using emotion to power your manifestations

Lately I’ve been trying to better understand the use of emotion in the conscious creation process. We know that our thoughts, emotions and beliefs create the world we live in, but how do you begin to consciously blend those ingredients into concrete, objective reality?

Seth tells us that intense emotions can speed-up the creation process ten-fold. Again, it’s a relatively simple statement that appears to have much validity. Emotions are comprised of energy, so any intense emotion would, in theory, seek out and attract like energy, leading to a manifestation–the stronger the emotion, the quicker and more powerful the result. Like many of us on this path, I’ve been fascinated by this and began working with it purposely to affect my manifestations.

During mediation and belief exercises, I’ve tried to put as much emotion behind my thoughts as possible. If I want to experience peace, I try to imagine my favorite beach scene, using my imagination to help “feel” relaxation. I imagine the feeling of the beach sand on my feet, the waves lapping at my legs and the sun beating down on my brow. Then I turn my attention to my mental state and try to capture what the “emotion” of peace and relaxation is like. Having been to the beach many times, this has been an easy one.

What about other kinds of manifestations? What does financial security “feel” like? How do you imagine the joy you’d experience paying off your credit cards? Does it really work? Are beliefs and imagination the most important pieces to conscious creation? Where does emotion fit in? These questions have circled my head for the past few weeks, which meant I was subconsciously working on accessing the answer. Last night, my inner being set up a real life example for me to experience.

I was working on an assignment for a writing class I’m in. The assignment asked us to write about fear. I thought for a while and decided to draw upon a real life example from a few years ago. The story is set in the mountains at a family retreat and I told the story of spending my first night alone. Here’s a sample:

The effects of a weighty spaghetti dinner and wine were beginning to take effect and I was getting sleepy. It was only 9 p.m. but in the mountains, your body takes its cue from the sun and he had gone to bed hours ago. I let Pepper dog out to do one last visit and to sample the warm summer evening.

Millions of stars looked down on me as I gazed back in quiet awe. With no lights around, the mountain sky is pitch black yet dotted with the most amazing views of the constellations. The Milky Way looked almost palpable: its semi-opaqueness floating right above my head. No wind tonight; the air was impossibly quiet. A subtle ringing formed in my ears – that kind you get when its so quiet it feels like the air wants to create something to hear. Even my thoughts seemed to be vacuous in the night air as I tried to take in the surroundings.

About 20 yards away, Pepper began to growl. The sound startled me and immediately turned my lucid state into high alertness. Despite the lone light bulb attached to the back of the house, I couldn’t see anything. Where was he? What was he growling at? I whispered to him, “Pepper-come here.” His growl grew audibly louder as if whatever was out there was coming closer. “Pepper: COME HERE!” The words were loud and firm this time and I heard the jingling of his dog tags coming up the road. He gave me a puzzled look as if to say “what the hell is wrong with you?” as he turned and trotted back into the house. As I carefully walked barefoot across the rocky dirt, I heard the faint sound of coyotes barking a few miles away. “That must be it. No danger here,” I thought and shut the door.

As I continued to work on the story, I was vividly transported back to that night many years ago. I could sit for a moment and recall exactly what I was thinking during each moment of the night and then write down my experience. I found myself feeling—in my body—the emotions that plagued me that night. Using my imagination and memory, I was experiencing my heart racing and the panic that would sometimes overcome me. In some ways, I was amazed at how fresh the experience still lived in my mind.

Pleased with my work, I finished my assignment and decided to take my dog Bloo out for an evening walk before bed. During our evening walks, I try to let my consciousness blend with the environment around me, attempting to become a part of nature as we walk. Of course, that means instead that I spend a lot of time deep in thought wondering why I haven’t won the lottery or found my dream job.

As we rounded the last corner toward the house, Bloo stopped dead in his tracks and started growling. Trying to regain my bearings, I looked around to see what was causing the disturbance. A growl usually means someone else is walking his dog close by and Bloo wants to play. But this growl was different. He was showing teeth and his stance was aggressive. I looked to my left and saw the culprit: about 20 feet away stood a large coyote. I’ve grown up in the mountains of Colorado, so wild animals don’t usually scare me. This one at first simply startled me.

But as we stood there for a moment, I noticed the coyote wasn’t moving nor was he running away. We stood our ground for a moment and watched him when he started slowly moving toward us. When you’re faced with a wild animal (or even some domesticated ones), the last thing you want to do is have them moving toward you. I yelled at the coyote and looked beyond him as we slowly backed away from him. He stopped for a moment and we continued on our walk…my heart racing hard in my chest.

I didn’t even walk a block when the realization hit me: here was an immediate manifestation of fear that I had created. The feeling was unmistakable. The writing exercise put me directly in touch with the emotion of fear and now I was experiencing, almost verbatim, the fruits of that labor.

Now in some ways the experience is pretty cool, although I’d prefer the lesson not be centered on the emotion of fear. Nevertheless, it does validate what I’d set out to find. Intense emotion does, indeed, have a direct effect on conscious creation.

As with life, you need direct experience to fully appreciate a concept. The experience becomes a ‘knowing,’ a ‘truth’ that you can hold onto and use. It’s a skill that can be developed and it’s one that’s absolutely crucial to creating your own reality.

Tomorrow I’ll be back to my belief exercises and meditation, searching for ways to bring positive emotion into my imagination. I know it’s possible and when I get it, the results will be amazing.