The Deeper Call of the Election

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This presidential election season is clearly different than any in recent memory. Many feel frustrated, disillusioned, or perhaps even resigned with regard to the election.

However, as conscious beings, it behooves us to look beneath the appearances and to ask what is the higher calling that is beckoning us. Some insight can be gained from looking at the surprising popularity of candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, clearly not presidential material by past standards of electability.

Although very different candidates, the success of these two candidates stems from similar longings in the voters. The success of each represents a strong desire on the part of the electorate for significant change.

Whether we like either of these candidates or not, we can take solace in the symbolism that depicts a desire and willingness for change on the part of so many of our fellow citizens in the United States.

If we focus on this desire for change, and align with it, then we may find cause for hope and a place for us to take action.

What role can each of us take in casting a greater vision and joining with the many others who want change, and to harness that energy to bring about good in the world?

If we can turn away from what many see as the unseemliness of this election season, and instead see how the collective desire for change is an energy to join with, then we can let the politicians be politicians, while we ourselves put our energy into the important role that we are to play to bring about change.

In this time when people are so ready for change, what great ideas are we called to give birth and to invite others to join us in birthing?

This is a time that is ripe for new ideas, new ways of being and doing, and new paradigms. Will we waste our energy complaining about the politicians or will we take our rightful place? Will we worry about the politicians getting it right, or will we make sure that we each get it right, that we don’t miss the opportunity to bring forth what is ours to bring forth?

The invitation this day is to recognize that the timing is perfect for bringing forth your great idea and to focus your energy on inviting others to join you in creating newness. Let us bless the candidates for elected office, vote our conscience, and relish this auspicious time in human history.

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole offers spiritual life coaching to individuals and groups who want to create and live extraordinary lives. For more information, go to gregorytoole.com.

The Power of Visioning

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What would it be like if you could have absolute clarity on the highest path for your life, know exactly what you need to do to fulfill it, and be empowered to bring it to fruition? This is what the Life Visioning Process offers.

This powerful spiritual tool was developed by Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith, Founder and Spiritual Director of Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, California.

This tool enabled him to clearly see his purpose and to build a trans-denominational movement and community of 9,000 local members and 1,000,000 friends worldwide. It opened the way for him to be one of the featured teachers in the movie, The Secret, to be a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show as well as on Larry King Live on CNN, in addition to a multitude of other public appearances around the world.

The purpose of this spiritual tool is not to expand our ego-based reality, but to connect us to our divine soul-level purpose for this lifetime and to empower us to fulfill it. Dr. Beckwith’s outward success is due to his complete surrender to a higher purpose, his willingness to be the vehicle through which infinite possibility is constantly creating anew through him.

Dr. Beckwith’s true success is not as much about his personal accomplishments, as it is in the number of people he has served as a teacher of universal spiritual principles and how he has contributed to transforming so many lives through his teaching.

Visioning is not a tool for a select few. Visioning is a tool that you and I can also use to fulfill the greater purpose that is part of our contract for this lifetime.

With visioning, we move beyond attempting to make things happen, instead advancing to a place of surrender, where we allow ourselves to be the vehicle through which what is ours to do can be made manifest. We listen within for divine intuition to guide us as to what is ours to do. Rather than moving from our ego-based reality or from a purely material-based sense of what we want to manifest in our lives, we connect to what our soul is calling us to do. This leads to greater fulfillment for ourselves and greater satisfaction for all who are the beneficiaries of the gifts we offer.

Dr. Beckwith developed a clear 7-step process called the Life Visioning Process that allows us to consciously live from the higher vision for our lives by empowering us to see what our inner growth work is, what aligns us in terms of our outward activities, as well as what we need to release and let go of if we are to realize our highest potential.

The seven steps of the Life Visioning Process from Dr. Beckwith are:

  1. Meditation to bring us into a receptive state.
  2. Asking a question of our higher wisdom, such as what is the highest vision for my life?
  3. Asking what are the qualities we need to cultivate to align us with the vision (Or, what must we become?)
  4. Asking what we must release in order to manifest the vision.
  5. Asking what are the qualities we already have that will serve the vision.
  6. Saying “yes” to what is being revealed.
  7. Expressing gratitude for the vision.

This 7-step process is more than just something we take 20-30 minutes to do. It begins to inform every area of our lives and how we show up in the world. It opens the way for us to be in the flow of grace as we surrender and release some of our willfulness.

The invitation this day is to begin to explore visioning more deeply, to see if it might be the very tool that allows us to step into the largeness of the greater vision of our heart’s yearning. How exciting!

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole is offering a free workshop (in person in Denver) and webinar (livestreamed for those outside Denver) on the Life Visioning Process on Saturday September 17, 2016, 9 am Pacific / 10 am Mountain / Noon Eastern. Email him at gregory@gregorytoole.com for details.

Free Webinar This Saturday

I want to personally invite you to my free webinar, Life Visioning: Aligning with Your Higher Purpose, that is taking place this Saturday. Here is the time by timezone:

9 am – 11 am Pacific
10 am – 12 pm Mountain
11 am – 1 pm Central
12 pm – 2 pm Eastern

It will be both informative and experiential. Visioning is a powerful spiritual tool, developed by Dr. Michael Beckwith, that I’ve been using for many years to tap into the natural flow of my life. It has opened the way for my life to unfold with greater ease and grace.

For those who want more beyond the webinar, there will be three more sessions on the following Saturdays at the same time to go more deeply into the practice of Visioning, offered on a donation basis.

I hope you can join us. You can RSVP to me at gregory@gregorytoole.com to get the link to access the webinar. (For those in the Denver area, you can attend in person)

Abundant blessings,
Gregory Toole
Spiritual Director, Somseva

Please Do Talk to Strangers

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In 1989, I moved to San Francisco. For three months I was in bliss – the beautiful bay, progressive and conscious people, great restaurants, and so much more. Then an earthquake, the magnitude of which had not been experienced since 1906, rocked the Bay Area. The first night, driving home from work, the city that normally was all lit up, was nearly completely dark.

The next day, people wandered the streets, most looking somewhat dazed and in shock. There were no strangers that day. Everyone I encountered spoke to one another, sharing news and sharing where they were when the quake hit. People set up random stations where they cooked food for those who were displaced from their homes.

Philosopher Ernest Holmes wrote in his book, Science of Mind, “Think of the whole world as your friend.”

There were no strangers that day. Suddenly, this booming city was transformed into a small, close-knit community.

As I recently walked through Denver, my current city of residence, I noticed how everyone was rushing by one another, seemingly unaware of their interconnectedness with everyone else. Mind you, Denver is in fact one of the friendliest cities in which I’ve lived.

This day, however, I was reminded of the day San Francisco was transformed into the land where there were no strangers. I pondered how it took a natural disaster to awaken us to how important we are to each other.

The invitation this day is to really see your fellow travelers on the planet, to remember our interconnectedness, and perhaps to actually talk to a stranger. As twentieth century Irish poet, W.B. Yeats, said, “There are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet.” Have fun with your new friends!

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole offers spiritual coaching to individuals and groups who want to create and live extraordinary lives. For more information, go to gregorytoole.com.

Service to the World

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In honor of the Centers for Spiritual Living theme for this month, I am writing on service to the world. Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”

Truly being of service to others is one of the greatest joys. It is why we really enjoy our work when we find we are making a meaningful contribution. Selfless service, known as Seva in the Sanskrit language, is the greatest joy of all. When we’re engaged in service to others purely for the sake of being of help and from our own love and good will, there is something that comes alive in us.

Recently, I took a group from the Somseva spiritual community to a local rescue mission where we spent two and a half hours preparing and then serving over 500 meals to the homeless. Our group consisted of adults and teens and it was evident that we were all uplifted by the experience.

We all took to our service very conscientiously, more so than I see most people in their paid work. Somehow being in selfless service, helping others, ignited in us the sense that our actions can make a difference. It was evident that those whom we served were in clear need of our love and support, and most were deeply grateful for our service. It seemed that they too sensed the sacredness of our love offering.

On my previous trip to serve food to the homeless, the mission was short on volunteers and I ended up serving the bulk of the 500 meals nearly singlehandedly in the span of not much more than an hour. I remember how the somewhat overwhelming task seemed almost routine and not a big deal as I felt the significance of what it meant to those who were receiving possibly one of their only two meals that day.

The Christian scripture in Luke 12:48 says that to whom much is given, much is required. I don’t personally think this phrase is referring as much to an obligation as it is to our potential to give so much more, and to the truth that our own fulfillment won’t be complete without giving back from the gifts we’ve received.

It is where the name of the organization I founded a year ago, Somseva, derives. The “Som” is an acronym for the Science of Mind philosophy, and “seva,” as mentioned previously, is the Sanskrit word for selfless service. Somseva’s mission is to provide spiritual tools for personal and global transformation. The first part of its name, Science of Mind, is for personal transformation, and the second part, seva, is for global transformation. The Science of Mind provides powerful wisdom and tools to transform ourselves, and with our own transformation we have expanded capacity to help others and to bring more compassion to the world.

The invitation this day is to appreciate the ways in which you are able to serve our world and, where there is an opportunity to serve in a greater way, to seize upon it. You make a difference!

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole offers spiritual coaching to individuals and groups who want to create and live extraordinary lives. For more information, go to gregorytoole.com.

As Good as It Gets

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In the 1997 movie, As Good as It Gets, Jack Nicholson plays an obsessive-compulsive character who is also lacking in social skills. The movie title refers to the character’s coming to terms with his OCD and making peace with the possibility that some things about his situation might not change.

As practitioners of the Science of Mind philosophy, we are strong believers in our ability to change our conditions in life by changing our thinking and way of being.

It’s a paradox, because life is always evolving and yet there is never a time that is better than now.

When I was in Ukraine in 2009, our host, an American woman who established a Science of Mind spiritual community there, shared with us that the people in Ukraine live more in the present than we do in the United States, partly as a result of the uncertainties that existed when the country was a republic in the former Soviet Union.

One day when I was teaching the spiritual principles applied to manifest what we want to experience in life, a young man asked me if that meant we were living in the future rather than the present. It was a good question. My response to him was that when we apply the principles correctly we are always being and thinking now what we want to experience. We aren’t projecting into some far off future. We are making the shift right now that corresponds to what we choose to experience now. Some things may take time to manifest, but we are always practicing the principles in the present moment.

The basis of practicing the principles in the present moment is that divine perfection exists right now. All we are really doing is revealing it. All the peace, joy, or fulfillment we could ever want already exists within us now. In that respect, this is as good as it gets. No matter what is taking place in our lives, we have access to peace, love, and joy right now.

It is certainly easier humanly to feel joy, fulfillment, and other divine qualities when we are at peak moments like right after accomplishing a goal or having something we want manifest in our lives. In reality, that type of fulfillment is fleeting and likely to be replaced very shortly by anxiety or longing for the next accomplishment, unless we choose fulfillment independent of what is taking place in our lives.

The choice is whether we want to live a rollercoaster life of constant ups and downs or a life of more consistent joy, peace, and fulfillment that is based on a choice to live in that state of mind and being.

This is a choice we can make every morning when we rise. We can say to ourselves, “I choose to be at peace today. I choose to feel love today. I choose to experience joy today.” We can say to ourselves before going to bed at night, “It was a good day. I am grateful.” This type of outlook leads to a more consistent sense of fulfillment because we are not looking outside ourselves for fulfillment. We recognize it’s an inside job and choose to access fulfillment in the only place it can be found – within ourselves.

In this way, we can enjoy the peak moments that occur after reaching milestones and we can also enjoy the journey, including when things don’t seem to be going our way.

This really is as good as it gets. All the joy, peace, love, and fulfillment that are possible exist within each of us right now. Therefore, “as good as it gets” is quite amazing. The invitation is to remember and to choose to be happy now.

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole offers spiritual coaching to individuals and groups who want to create and live extraordinary lives. For more information, go to gregorytoole.com.

What Is Your Big “YES?”

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We cannot overestimate the power of our “YES.” As life constantly presses out against us from within, ever wanting to express in some greater way, our most powerful response to that divine impulse is “YES.”

In their book, Thoughts Are Things, Ernest Holmes and Willis Kinnear write, “One of the greatest vitality tonics is a mental attitude that is interested and enthused about doing something that is productive and allows an opportunity for self-expression.”

Some years ago when I was in ministerial school, in a quiet moment of meditation, the words “on Sundays I speak” came forth in my mind. It was a clear exhortation regarding me engaging in public speaking. It was such a clear statement, although it startled me a bit because, at the time, I had done very few speaking engagements and had none scheduled on my calendar.

It was so clear, however, and it awaited my response. I said, “YES.” Soon after I said “YES,” I began to align my actions and way of being with this new reality that was wanting expression. I started conceiving a marketing and promotion plan. I kept my ear open for places that were wanting speakers and placed phone calls indicating my availability. Within a short period of time, I was speaking nearly every Sunday.

An important part of what occurred here is that rather than ignore what seemed to be a strange impulse moving in me at the time, I paid attention to the clear exhortation and said, “YES.” And that’s all the Universe needed to bring this forth into manifestation – me as a willing vehicle.

Holmes and Kinnear state further in their book, “There is always the greater possibility available to you. There is a Divine Strength and an infinite Wisdom at the center of your being, ever waiting to be released, that will enable you to put more into life and living and to take more out of it. A limitless Creativity exists and expresses through all that is. It is always seeking a fuller channel of expression through you. Recognize that It exists, and accept its action in your life.”

The invitation this week is to consider, what is your big “YES?” What is it that Life is wanting to express in some greater way through and as you? Are you ready to say “YES?” In saying “YES,” what are you called to release and let go? And what quality or qualities are you called to embody and express more fully to align yourself with this YES? What actions align you with the YES?

Your answers to these questions hold the key to ushering in this new reality that awaits you. During some quite time, I invite you to write your answers to the questions here in your journal or on a notepad. Then align your actions and way of being with your responses. The result is certain to be something new and exciting.

I’d love to hear about your YES and what unfolds for you on our Somseva Facebook group page.

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole offers spiritual coaching to individuals and groups who want to create and live extraordinary lives. For more information, go to gregorytoole.com.

Are People Basically Good?

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This week I had a conversation with an acquaintance that really got me to contemplating where we are in our world today. In my conversation, the woman shared her view that she was reluctant to travel anymore because so many people wanted to do harm to others. As I inquired further, thinking she was referring to those with anti-American ideologies, I discovered that she was talking about people in all realms of life.

She revealed that she felt about half the people in the world today were intent on doing harm to others. I shared with her that I felt we weren’t living in the same world because this was not my experience at all. In my experience, people are basically good and it is the rare individual who wants to harm others. I could go so far as to say, no one at their core truly has an intention to do harm, but that’s a deeper conversation about how fear and ignorance lead us astray from our true nature.

Here I’d like to address how we are influenced by what is put in front of us by the media, and perhaps politicians. If we read the news we could easily begin to think we live in quite a dangerous world. Instead I prefer to look at what I actually see every day. What I see is the goodness of people revealed moment by moment, day by day.

If I drop something, someone will immediately be there to pick it up and help me. If I’m lost and need directions, someone will help me. If I fall, people will rush in and ask if I’m okay.

Yes, we do live in busy times and we will find those who will yield to indifference, but we will find so many more who care and want to do good.

In my travels around the world, I have found the same thing. Most people aren’t caught up in the various things we read in the news. Most people want to take care of their families, spend time with their loved ones, and to provide a fulfilling life for themselves. This has been universally true wherever I’ve visited.

I have yet to find a group of people, whether defined by religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, or otherwise, who don’t reflect this same basic goodness. That’s not to say that there aren’t individuals within each group who have gone greatly astray, but the vast majority reflect basic goodness.

I recently heard a politician speaking about how terrible crime is in the United States and how it is a major problem to be addressed. This made me wonder since, statistically, crime rates are reportedly at historic lows. It reminded me how the world we experience is so dependent on the lens through which we view it.

The invitation today is to remember the basic goodness of human beings rather than what is often reflected to us daily in the media and sometimes by politicians. How we see the world is not only revealed in what we experience, but also in what kind of world we are creating for the future.

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole offers spiritual coaching to individuals and groups who want to create and live extraordinary lives. For more information, go to gregorytoole.com.

Staying Centered in an Election Year

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Current events surely have the potential to throw us off our center, and presidential elections in the modern era often push our buttons like nothing else does. The presidential election this year in the United States is like none in our modern era in that regard. Not only are the candidates in the two major parties polarizing, but even the primary elections generated a lot of passion.

In such an election where we have a strong draw to a particular candidate or great angst about a candidate, how do we keep our center? How do we deal with anxieties about a candidate that we feel would be harmful to the country and its people?

It provides us an opportunity to look at where real power comes from. In the Science of Mind philosophy, we teach that there is only one power that we all have access to in infinite measure. It is the power and presence of the divine, and it is good in its essence. While we all can access this power, and while we have choice as to how we use this power – for good or for ill – ultimately its nature is good and the greatest power comes from aligning with power for the highest good.

Our call is ultimately to each personally use the one power for the highest good. In an election, we can look to what we can do individually and collectively to bring about the greatest good. Some examples include:

  • Voting our conscience in terms of what choice we feel will bring about the greatest good.
  • Educating ourselves and others on the candidates, their likely policies, and any other relevant information about the candidates.
  • Engaging in other activities, such as campaigning, for the choice we feel is optimal given the range of choices.
  • Inwardly hold the space for the highest outcome to occur through prayer and whatever ways we use to align ourselves with the highest.

Once we have done everything we feel we can do, then we are called to make peace with whatever the result is. We do not control results. If the electorate votes in a candidate we feel is not the best, we get to make peace that this is where we are collectively and to work from there to help in the evolution of our collective consciousness.

Just like in our individual lives, we might sometimes need to experience our darkness or shadow to come more fully into the light, so this is also true in a macro sense with all of us together. This may not be the path we consciously choose, but this is the way it goes sometimes. Fortunately, it seems we are coming to a place where our evolution keeps us moving closer to the light, but we need not resist or fear those times where we brought to experience the shadow.

We do what is ours to do, make peace with the results, and then do everything we can to work with the results to again do what is ours to do to evolve individually and collectively.

In this way, we don’t have to hold out any candidate themselves as evil, even as we might see that they represent our shadow or darker side. We move toward the light, but also embrace the shadow when it appears, knowing it is there to serve in greater healing and evolution.

The invitation this day is to come to center, act in the highest, and make peace with all possible outcomes. Remember, we are all one. There is nothing we see on the outer that doesn’t represent some part of us.

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole offers spiritual coaching to individuals and groups who want to create and live extraordinary lives. For more information, go to gregorytoole.com.

The Gift of Renunciation

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The focus of today’s blog is a subject I never considered writing about until several recent books I read and am reading referred to the essentialness of it. That topic is renunciation. Typically, we think of the path of renunciation as one where we reject all worldly pleasures, including sexual activity, drinking alcohol, and even culinary pleasures.

The books from these spiritual teachers were speaking to the importance of renunciation from a different perspective. For example, Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite Monk from the 17th century who authored a book entitled Practicing the Presence of God, stated “…the most important part resides in renouncing, once and for all, whatever does not lead to God.”

Looking at it from Brother Lawrence’s perspective, we can likely see the value of renunciation on our spiritual journey. If an activity or way of being does not bring us closer to God, or in other words, closer to our divine nature, why would we want to pursue it?

This does not inherently call on us to give up anything in particular. It will be different for each individual. For example, a couple in a relationship might find sexual intimacy to be something that brings them closer to each other and more in touch with the divine quality of love. Renouncing sexual activity in this case wouldn’t seem to enhance their spiritual journey. On the other hand, a person with a sexual addiction whereby sexual activity brings out the worst in them might be well served to consider renouncing sexual activity, not because sex is inherently a bad thing, but because it is not currently serving them on their spiritual journey.

Swami Muktananda of the Siddha Yoga lineage wrote “Renunciation is necessary, absolutely necessary…It is only the illusion of ‘mine’ in all this that you have to recognize and renounce.” Here, the illusion of mine refers to a sense of separation from God or our divine nature, a sense that we have a unique self that is apart from God. Of course, we do have a unique self, but it is not separate from our divinity. Similar to the guidance from Brother Lawrence, the guidance from Swami Muktananda is to renounce any sense of separation from God.

Chogyam Trungpa of the Shambhala tradition and founder of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado wrote “What (he) renounces is anything in his experience that is a barrier between himself and others. In other words, renunciation is making yourself more available, more gentle and open to others.” Again renunciation is letting go of that which puts us in separation.

Ernest Holmes, founder of the Science of Mind philosophy, wrote “It is a belief in separation from God which binds and limits.”

We need not renounce anything in particular if it is serving to lift us into joy, prosperity, well-being, and wholeness. The invitation is to renounce that which puts us in a sense of separation from our source, that which binds and limits us. This is unique to each person and we each can know what we are to renounce, or let go of, by honestly and deeply looking into the mirror that is our lives.

Thus, renunciation becomes a path to liberation and inspiration rather than the giving up of anything. What are you to renounce today? What does hinder thee? Perhaps letting go is really claiming the greater possibility that awaits you in your life.

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole offers spiritual coaching to individuals and groups who want to create and live extraordinary lives. For more information, go to gregorytoole.com.

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