05 October 2014

spirituality research: ask and it is given

I don't even know where I came across this book title, but I requested it from my library just to see if it would be interesting.

Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks is probably too new agey for many of my intellectual friends, but I'm trying to be open to everything and learning what I can from it all.

So, the basic premise of this book is that your feelings are your compass-- if something feels good, then you are on the right track (because we are designed to be joyous creatures in this world), and if something makes you feel bad, you need to recalibrate (or recalculate, as our GPS always says).

Here is the scale of emotions:

1. Joy/Knowledge/Empowerment/Freedom/Love/Appreciation
2. Passion
3. Enthusiasm/Eagerness/Happiness
4. Positive Expectation/Belief
5. Optimism
6. Hopefulness
7. Contentment
8. Boredom
9. Pessimism
10. Frustration/Irritation/Impatience
11. "Overwhelment"
12. Disappointment
13. Doubt
14. Worry
15. Blame
16. Discouragement
17. Anger
18. Revenge
19. Hatred/Rage
20. Jealousy
21. Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
22. Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness

(These words may not match your personal definitions exactly, but you can get a general feel for what they intend and can adapt it to work for you.)

So, if you can locate where you are on the spectrum, the goal is to move up towards 1. Joy/Knowledge/Empowerment/Freedom/Love/Appreciation. So, you seek out the path along the thoughts that can move you up the scale. For example, if your grandfather passes away, you can move from grief (I'm too heartbroken to think) to blame (it's the doctor's fault for...) to frustration (everyone's trying to console me, and I just need a little quiet time) to appreciation (I was lucky to be so close to my grandfather). This process can be quick, or it can take years—it just depends on how far down the hole you are.

I also like the philosophy that you create your reality, and you are thus 100% responsible for everything you choose, including your experiences and feelings. This book says your thoughts manifest themselves into reality—for better or worse. There is no one to blame but yourself for your misfortune, and when things go well, it just means you aren't blocking all the good that is in the universe (for you and everyone else). I also agree with the philosophy of abundance rather than a zero-sum world: we can all be healthy, for example, and you're being sick doesn't make someone else healthier.

Language often makes me feel drawn to or repelled from something, and the book uses the word, desires, in a very positive way, which is a very different from the Buddhist texts I've read recently which state that our desires are what lead us to disappointment and unhappiness. In this book, desires are seen as a way for us to grow, both ourselves in fulfilling of our potential and the universe, as people strive to do and create greater things.

This book says the three steps towards becoming, doing or having anything are simply to ask, the universe answers (you do nothing for step 2), and you receive this answer. This third step is the crucial step many of us seem to botch, as we have difficulty allowing things to happen and not trying to meddle everywhere we go.

They outline 22 processes (or "games," so you can relax and not take it too seriously) for moving up that emotional scale towards well-being, and the general idea is that the higher numbers are for when you have a long way to go/the lower numbers are for when you're pretty close to being where you want.

1. Rampage of Appreciation
Focus on something that pleases you, then something else, then something else...

2. The Magical Creation Box
This is similar to Anne Lamott's God Box, but instead of something you want to let go of, this box is for things you hope to manifest, so you fill it with your dreams (photos of places you want to go to, etc.).

3. The Creative Workshop
You take four pieces of paper, using headings like My Body, My Home, My Relationships, and My Work, and then write down everything you want (I want to return to my ideal body weight, I want to get a great haircut...). Then, write down why you want each of those things. The goal is to help you figure out what are the most important and immediate areas of your current life experience and then to focus your energy on them.

Here's a longer example of the creative workshop:

I like being here, for I recognize the value and power of this time. I feel very good as I am here. And as I see myself, I see myself as a sort of total package, one that I know is of my own creating, and certainly of my own choosing. I'm full of Energy, tireless, really, moving through life experience with no resistance. I see myself gliding about in this picture of self, moving in and out of my car, in and out of buildings, in and out of rooms, in and out of conversations, and in and out of life experiences. I am flowing effortlessly, comfortably, and happily.

I see myself attracting only those who are in harmony with my current intent. And I'm becoming more aware of what I desire. When I get into my vehicle and I'm moving to a place, I see myself arriving at that place healthy, refreshed and on time, and prepared for whatever it is that I'm about to do there. I see myself dressed to perfection in just the manner I choose.

And it's nice to know that it does not matter what others are doing, or what others are thinking about what I'm doing. What is important is that I'm pleased with me. And as I see myself in this picture of self, I certainly am.

I recognize that I'm unlimited in all facets of my life. I have an unlimited bank account. I am experiencing no financial limitations. I'm making all my decisions based upon whether I want the experience or not, not based upon whether I can afford it. I know that I'm a magnet attracting whatever level of prosperity, health, or relationships I choose.

I choose absolute and continuing abundance, for I understand that there is no limit to the wealth in the Universe, and that by my attracting abundance to me, I'm not limiting another. There's enough for everyone. It's not necessarily about putting a big stash away. For whatever I want or need, I can easily bring into my experience. There's an unlimited supply of money and prosperity of all kinds available to me.

I see myself surrounded by others who, like me, desire growth, who are drawn to me by my willingness to allow them to be, do, or have whatever they're wanting. I see myself interacting with others—talking, laughing, and enjoying that which is perfect in them while they're enjoying that which is perfect in me. We're appreciating each other. No one is criticizing or noticing unwanted things.

I see myself in perfect health, in absolute prosperity, appreciating this physical life experience, which I wanted so very much as I decided to be this physical Being.

It's glorious to be here, making decisions with my physical brain but accessing the power of the Universe through the power of the Law of Attraction. And it's from this marvelous state of being that I now attract more of the same. It's good. It's fun. I like it very much.

And now, my work for this day is done. I will leave my Creative Workshop and I'll set out, for the remainder of this day, looking for more things that I like. My work is done.

I really liked this line, which reminded me of the explanation I heard of Namaste: I see myself interacting with others—talking, laughing, and enjoying that which is perfect in them while they're enjoying that which is perfect in me. Someone told me namaste meant something like "The divine in me honors the divine in you."

I was turned off by the parts about money, but I realize that's my own aversion to it and perhaps a sign that that's something I should work on. Money isn't evil... it's necessary. And you can do good things with it. Moving on.

4. Virtual Reality
Imagine a moment that feels really good to you in great detail, and let yourself hang out there for a while. For example, you picture an empty white sand beach, what you're wearing, who you're with (if anyone), the balmy weather...

5. The Prosperity Game
Create an imaginary checking account where you deposit $1000 on the first day and spend it all on that day. On the second day, deposit $2000; on the third day, $3000 and so on. Each day, you must find ways to spend it all. After a year, you'll have deposited and spent more than $66 million. The purpose of this game is to increase your ability to imagine.

6. The Process of Meditation
In a quiet space where you will not be interrupted, wear comfortable clothing and find a comfortable place to be where you can close your eyes, relax, and focus all of your attention on your breath. When thoughts come, you just watch them like clouds passing and let them go. The purpose of this is to quiet your mind. Even 10-15 minutes can work wonders.

As a perfectionist, this passage gave me pause:

"Nothing is more important than that I feel good. And I'm going to find ways to do so today. I'm going to begin my day by meditating and bringing myself into alignment with my Source Energy. And as I move through they day, I'm going to look for opportunities to appreciate, so that all day long I'll bring myself back into Source Energy. If there's an opportunity to praise, I'm going to praise. If there's an opportunity to criticize, I'm going to keep my mouth shut and try to meditate. If I feel like criticizing, I'll say, 'Here kitty, kitty,' and I'll pet my cat till that feeling goes away."

I criticize myself, my partners (both business and life), my employees... and maybe I've been going about it all wrong. My business partner says he focuses on the results he wants and then figures out what actions will yield those results. I usually just tell someone exactly what I think and expect them to fix whatever I feel has fallen short. I guess I should slow down and try my partner's approach instead. (Oops.)

7. Evaluating Dreams
As you go to bed, consciously acknowledge that your dreams accurately reflect your thoughts. Say to yourself, It is my intention to rest well and to awaken refreshed. And if there is anything important for me to recall from my dream state, I will recall it when I awaken.

8. The Book of Positive Aspects
Find a notebook that feels good to you and fill it with brief descriptions of people and/or things that you always feel good about. You can write one per page and fill it with all of the thoughts that occur to you: What do I like about you? Why do I love you so much? What are your positive qualities?

9. Scripting
Like Harold and the Purple Crayon, you pretend you're writing in a magical notebook or computer that creates your future. So, what do you want to create? This helps you become more specific with your desires.

10. The Place Mat Process
To get rid of the overwhelming To Do list, you take a large piece of paper, like a paper placemat at a restaurant, and draw a line down the center. On the left side, you write Things I Will Do Today, and on the right side, you write Things I Would Like the Universe to Do. Then, select only the things you absolutely must do today; everything else goes on the Universe's side of your place mat. This allows you to accept help and focus your energy.

11. Segment Intending
If you look at every scene of your life as a separate segment, then you can visualize how you want the next segment to go. When the phone rings, for example, a new segment begins, and you can decide how you want it to play out.

12. Wouldn't It Be Nice If...?
This exercise softens resistance to ideas that might feel beyond your reach. For example, instead of saying "I want...," which may feel too strong and which can be used to hide behind while really focusing on the lack of something, saying "Wouldn't it be nice if..." opens you to a more positive, expectant result in a more relaxed way.

13. Which Thought Feels Better?
This uses your feelings as your guide, so you take a step back and look at your thoughts, then actively choose the ones that feel better. You can write down how you feel and continue to write thoughts down, evaluating whether they feel better or worse.

14. The Process of Clearing Clutter for Clarity
If you have a clutter problem, this is your game. You obtain several sturdy cardboard boxes with lids, then put everything you don't immediately need into them. If you have several out at once, you can loosely sort as you clear your space. While you're putting things away, they recommend you use a tape recorder to dictate where everything is going (then, when you have a spare hour, write it all down) so you can later access what you need to. As time passes, you can get rid of boxes that you don't access.

15. The Wallet Process
Put a $100 in your wallet and keep that $100 in your mind. Then, as you move through your day, think of all the ways you could spend that $100. You create a feeling of abundance: I could have that. I could do that. I could buy that. 

16. Pivoting
Instead of focusing on a problem, turn your attention to what you want. So, instead of thinking of being ill, for example, you turn your focus towards being healthy and well and adapt your behavior to your revised way of thinking. Pivoting is the continual, hour-by-hour, segment-by-segment process whereby you choose the positive. It is the way you get to feeling good—and it is a way to get whatever you want.

17. The Focus Wheel Process
Draw a large circle on a piece of paper. Then, draw a smaller circle, about 2" in diameter, in the center of the large circle. You can write what you want in the smaller circle. For example, I want to be in good physical shape. Then you write statements that resonate with you (if it doesn't feel true or good, find something else!) like hours around a clock, working from where you are now to where you want to be (what you've written in the inner circle). So, you might start with "Other people like me have gotten in shape" and finish with "I can also get into good shape."

18. Finding the Feeling-Place
You imagine that your desire has already come true, and you are living the details of that desire. The importance of this exercise is to really feel it, either by remembering a past experience or by inventing a new one, full of details, sensory data, and strong emotions.

19. Releasing Resistance to Become Free of Debt
You create a spreadsheet with as many columns as you have monthly expenditures, starting with the headline for the largest (Rent/Mortgage, for example), working your way across the page with smaller and smaller debts. Then, underneath each of them, write down the amount you pay each month and circle it. Finally, on the third line, write down the total outstanding debt owed. The goal is to start on the right side and pay double your minimum monthly payment until it's gone and continue until the right column is paid off. And the next right column, and the next...

20. Turning It Over to the Manager
You imagine that you have an amazing manager who you can delegate anything to—and s/he will execute it perfectly—and trust that it will be done. They say the Universe is your manager, and you just need to delegate requests with an expectation of good results. (Sounds nice, no?)

21. Reclaiming One's Natural State of Health
The body is a self-healing organism, and we need only to get out of the way to let it heal its own ailments.

22. Moving Up the Emotional Scale
You use the list of emotions above to find that thoughts that create relief from your current state.

So, there you have it. A ton of exercises to give you more peace of mind or get your closer to where you want to be. Good luck.

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