Tag Archives: conscious choice

Let It Go!


In the spiritual practice of visioning that was developed by Michael Bernard Beckwith, one of the questions commonly asked in the practice, as we surrender to a higher vision, is “What am I called upon to release in service to this higher vision?” Having personally led the practice of visioning in many groups, I chuckle in observing that this question is the one where participants most often reply “I didn’t get anything for that question.”

Whenever we are birthing something new there is always something to release, even if is just the status quo, what exists right now.

As we look out into our world where change seems to occur at an ever increasing rate, the ability to release bygones seems even more paramount. Beloved musicians like Prince and Michael Jackson leave our midst. Technologies like smartphones, drones, and driverless cars render older technologies obsolete. Definitions of family and relationships expand. In the political arena, we see major evolution in what voters want from candidates. Yes, change is occurring at a rapid rate.

Accelerated change is not just taking place out there, it is also taking place within us and in our personal lives. There is a degree of restlessness. We want more from life and more from ourselves.

All of this forward momentum is calling us to let go, to release our previously held notions in order to usher in a greater vision for ourselves and for humanity.

What we are called upon to release are limiting ideas and concepts, those that stand in the way of a greater possibility. In this sense, what we are letting go is what no longer serves us, what is holding us back. A divine spark moves within us and speaks forth, “there is more.” Our “yes” to that divine spark includes an inherent “no.” Yes to the new means no to some of the old.

We need not release everything; only that which we see doesn’t fit with standing in the greater truth of who we are and what we are called to be.

One way to decide what needs to be released is to close your eyes and consider the idea, concept, thing, or person and the role it plays in your life. When you bring it into mind and consider it as part of your life, do you feel expanded or contracted? Does it make you feel bigger or smaller? If you feel contracted or smaller with something in your life, it is worth contemplating whether it is time to let it go.

The invitation this week is to ask what am I called to release and let go in service to a greater vision and possibility for my life? And then ask am I willing to release what no longer serves in order to have the greater experience of life that awaits me? You are totally at choice. What do you say?

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.

Super Consciousness – Taking It Up a Notch


We have reached the point in human spiritual evolution where many may be ready to step into what I would call super consciousness.

So many people are now intimately aware of the power of their thinking and their focused attention, and that their thoughts create their reality. Within that group there are further still many who have meditated for many years and have a great deal of dominion over their minds, thus having choice about the direction they point their minds.

The combination of these two faculties provides the opportunity for more people than ever possibly to step into super consciousness. Once we are keenly aware of the power of our thoughts, while simultaneously being able to choose what we think and the state of our consciousness, we have the opportunity to bring the two together to harness great power of manifestation.

No longer do we need to fret that we know where we should be placing our attention, but the mind just does what it does. No, we now can say, “I know what kind of thinking and state of consciousness would create what I want and I now choose to think in that direction and live in that consciousness 24/7.”

To do this, we must make the choice to be fully present moment by moment. In addition, when we observe our own negative or disempowering thinking, we choose to discontinue it and instead shift our thinking in that moment to be in alignment with what we want to create. This is truly super consciousness. It means having the ability to create the life we want and the world we want to experience.

Perhaps the first step is to ask what is the responsible use of this super consciousness? This question can be broken into two parts – firstly, what do I want to create for myself personally; and secondly, what do I want to create for the world?

Perhaps the first thing to manifest for ourselves personally is transcendence of any limitations that would have us spending time on anything other than what we feel is our unique divine purpose, also known as that which we feel passionately about in our hearts.

Having gained such freedom, we are in a position to serve the world. Surely, intentions like manifesting peace and prosperity for all would be a high consideration. This would include the tangible realities of all having food, shelter, and an environment free of violence.

While all of this may seem overly simplistic, in reality, many may have reached this point of being ready to live in super consciousness. It was inevitable that we would get here. For decades we have known collectively the role that our beliefs, and, by extension, our thoughts play in creating our reality. Over these decades, conscious people have been practicing and training their thought based on this cause and effect relationship of thought to manifestation.

At the same time, many of these same people have been practicing meditation to harness the mind so that they don’t live from merely habitual thinking and habitual responses.

Perhaps we now have a critical mass of individuals ready to live in super consciousness and to powerfully manifest what Centers for Spiritual Living refers to in its Global Vision as “a world that works for everyone.” Are you one of those who is ready to live in super consciousness? If so, the invitation this week is to make a commitment to do so. The time is right; the time is now. Let’s do it!

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole works with individuals and groups to coach them in developing the faculties of super consciousness. For more information, go to gregorytoole.com.

It’s the Law! Spiritually Speaking, That Is

I am recently coming into a deeper fascination with the spiritual law of cause and effect, and the absoluteness of it in producing a result. Ernest Holmes, founder of the Science of Mind philosophy, said, “Our belief sets the limit to our demonstration of a Principle which, of Itself, is without limit…As much as we can believe will be done unto us. When the consciousness speaks, the law receives and executes.”

This to me is really the beauty of the Science of Mind teaching – its emphasis and clarity on the absoluteness of spiritual law. The Law will always produce something of like kind to what is in our consciousness.

What we set in motion with our consciousness, through belief and our speaking it forth, is a cause, not an effect. I think this is why we can sometimes get frustrated and think we are less powerful than we are. The cause we set in motion always produces something like itself, although it may not always look like the effect, or outer manifestation, that we thought it would.

Nonetheless, our word is powerful, and our word is especially powerful when backed with strong belief, conviction, and trust in the Law. That this is true is less subject to debate than it is to experimentation. Why debate it? Try it out and see if it’s true. See if what you constantly dwell on or what you open yourself to and claim for yourself with feeling and trust begins to manifest in your life in some form. In trying this in earnest, we quickly see that it does.

Ernest Holmes also said, “trained thought is far more powerful that untrained.” When we understand that spiritual law is at work and we begin to practice our cooperation with this law, we begin to train our thought. We begin to only think on those things we want to create in our experience.

I recently found that I had allowed my thought to be a bit out of training, sort of like going through the motions at the gym rather than really working out. To digress for a moment, I remember a man at a gym I belonged to who used to show up at the gym, get a towel (presumably to wipe off sweat), and then walk around the gym talking to people while carrying his towel, never touching any piece of equipment or doing anything strenuous. Clearly, over time his body began to reflect this behavior.

In training our thought to make use of spiritual law, it is also important to continue with the training and not just carry our spiritual towel around. For me, this has first meant remembering how powerful and unlimited our use of spiritual law is, and then getting refocused and reinvigorated in my use of it. It includes what some have referred to as “going to God for everything.” Put another way, it is speaking my word powerfully in all situations, rather than meekly muttering something like, “it’s all good.” It is all good and calling forth the good involves continuing to train our thought in the direction of our desired good.

The invitation this week is to speak your word powerfully and specifically around some area of current challenge. Call forth what you want to experience, let your thoughts be in the direction of having what you want, fully accept it, and trust that the Law is operating upon your word to make it manifest. Then report back on our Facebook group page about the demonstration or manifestation. Make it count – this is not a dress rehearsal!

Enjoy the journey.

The Power of Prayer

photo for website 2

In honor of National Prayer Day, which is this week on Thursday in the United States, I am dedicating this blog to the power of prayer.

Recently I have reflected on the role of prayer in the Science of Mind philosophy, the basis of my ordination as a minister. The Science of Mind teaches a particular form of affirmative prayer called Spiritual Mind Treatment, whereby we align with what we are accepting into our lives by clearing from our minds anything unlike what we want, and by aligning our minds with the spiritual qualities and principles that align us with what we are choosing to experience.

Prayer is the central practice in Science of Mind, and the philosophy’s real gift to the world. Those who practice Science of Mind have deep conviction around the efficacy of prayer. In my recent reflections I have come to appreciate just how much we go to prayer in our teaching and how much we are empowered by the practice. In affirmative prayer, we are not hoping for a result, but rather we are knowing a result based on the very nature of the spiritual universe whereby life conforms to what we can establish a mental likeness for in our interior.

This is not to say that we control all the conditions and outcomes of our lives. What it does say is that something happens whenever we realign our thinking, our intentions, and what it is we are willing to welcome into our lives. There is still mystery – in particular there is mystery in the how. What we do know is that prayer shifts us and it shifts our experience.

Excerpt from my blog post of September 15, 2015 (How to Manifest Anything)
The beauty of affirmative prayer is that we learn the power of our words in prayer, and, even more so, the power of our words spoken with conviction and with a deep felt sense. We learn that there is a universal subjectivity that is always receiving our thought stream whether we are consciously praying or not. Who would have thought that Aunt Mabel was so right when she implored us to be mindful of what we say?

It turns out that our words are very powerful; creative, in fact. We are co-creators of our lives with universal spirit. How we look at life and talk about it, and what we believe about ourselves and life is utterly important in determining the overall content of our experiences in life. Those thoughts and beliefs that have strong feelings associated with them are the ones that have the most power to manifest in form in our lives as something that directly corresponds to the thoughts and beliefs.

The discovery that our thoughts, beliefs, and words have power is what led to the development of affirmative prayer. After all, if our words have power, then it behooves us to harness them for something good, rather than just allow our unconscious thought streams to create our experience.

Here’s how to consciously use your thoughts, words, and consciousness with affirmative prayer:

Step 1 (Recognition): Recognize that there is one power and intelligence that moves and creates everything. That one impulse is animated and expressed as love in action.

Step 2 (Unification): Know that you are one with the one power and intelligence. Allow yourself to feel the significance of the truth that infinite power and intelligence reside within you, that the love within you aligns you with divine creative intelligence.

Step 3 (Realization/Declaration): Speak your word affirmatively and in the present tense, accepting and claiming that which you want as an already accomplished fact in your life.

Step 4 (Thanksgiving): Give thanks for the one creative power that is operating in your life. Give thanks for your awareness. Give thanks for the manifestation of what you have declared in step 3.

Step 5 (Release): Release your words of prayer to the universal subjective creative medium that receives the words you have impressed upon it and makes them manifest.


Don’t forget to go to our Facebook group page and either post a prayer or speak one of the ones there to add your voice in prayer for our world. It makes a difference!

Principle-Based Decision Making


In my experience, making decisions from principle is like a double-edged sword. On the one edge, intuitively we sense that making decisions from principle would be the highest choice. On the other edge, principle itself does not point to any particular decision in an absolute sense in most cases.

This was clearly illustrated some years ago when I was in a relationship with someone who was as steeped in spiritual principle as I am. In the early days of the relationship we would use spiritual principles to argue our point of view in disputes. It quickly became apparent that the same spiritual principle could be used to argue for opposite points of view. For example, love is a core value behind all spiritual principles. One could argue that love dictates that we fulfill our partner’s requests or we could argue that love dictates that our partner fulfill our need for self-care at a given moment.

Looking to spiritual principle to point us to any particular outcome, in an absolute sense, I find is usually futile. However, that does not mean we cannot make decisions from principle. On the contrary, for me it is essential that I do so. When making decisions from principle, our intention and motivation are key.

In his book, Ethics for the New Millennium, the Dalai Lama said, “In Tibetan, the term for what is considered to be of the greatest significance in determining the ethical value of a given action is the individual’s kun long. Kun long is understood as that which drives or inspires our actions.”

In the relationship example above, one can be in principle by choosing to fulfill a partner’s request from the intention of love, or one could be in principle by choosing to honor their own needs in a given situation from the intention of love. Similarly, one could take either of these actions and not be in principle if the intent or motivation were not love. If we honor our partner’s request out of guilt or we do so with resentment, that is not acting from principle. If we decide not to honor our partner’s request out of spite or selfishness, that is equally not living from principle.

Making decisions from principle then is about where we are coming from. Our intention and motivation are key. So this is where we can place our attention: Whatever we choose, we do it from love and we align with our values and the spiritual principles that are true for us.

Knowing the mind’s ability to rationalize most anything, it is important to check in with the heart to make sure we are truly moving from a principled intent. The heart is the seat of true wisdom and of our intuitive powers. If we pause for a moment and feel where our intention is, we are more likely to be authentically aligning with our values and principles. Then a particular outcome is likely to become apparent as the right one for us right now in the situation we are facing.

In summary, right action can be revealed to us relative to a particular situation in a specific moment in time, but rarely will principle dictate that the same action is right in all situations or all the time.

The invitation this day is to be clear on your values and the principles you choose to align with, and to pause for a moment in making decisions to listen to your heart in aligning with your values and principles. In this way, we are powerfully and authentically living a principle-based life.

Enjoy the journey.

Experiencing Oneness Moment by Moment

gregory meditating at darleen's 01-22-16

The great yoga teacher, B.K.S. Iyengar described oneness in the most embodied sense I had ever heard. He said that to experience oneness is to feel every cell of our body simultaneously. Similarly, it could be said we experience oneness when we experience every other being as ourselves simultaneously.

Recently, I have been contemplating such a full experience of oneness. The Science of Mind philosophy articulated by Ernest Holmes has oneness as its central tenet. Holmes taught that a sense of separation, the opposite of oneness, was all that ever needed to be healed.

In my current contemplations I have been exploring what oneness looks and feels like moment by moment. The short answer is it feels quite good! It means we see no separation between ourselves, the creator, and all that is created. It means all the good that we desire is contained right within the infiniteness of our own being. So we are never seeking anything from outside, but accepting all good within ourselves.

From a philosophical point of view, this is not radical at all to those in New Thought spiritual circles. However, on an experiential level it is quite radical as most of us still struggle with this or that condition or situation in our worldly lives.

To truly know oneness at an experiential level would be to acknowledge, feel, and experience all situations as the unfolding of divine consciousness right where we are. This is really radical. Most of us would be willing to accept some responsibility for our own conditions, but few would go as far as to embrace the fullness of life as connected and flowing from their own consciousness.

In oneness, by definition, we are not separate from anything or anyone. The good news is that, when in the full experience of oneness, we no longer need to be in doubt or fear. We can know that we are crafting our experience of life through calling forth that which we already possess within ourselves.

One of my favorite spiritual writers, Joel Goldsmith, said we must allow infinity to flow out from us. Whether it be prosperity, friendship, relationship, wellness in the physical body, or anything else, the answer is always the same – tap into the reservoir of divine substance within ourselves and call it forth into form.

Experiencing oneness moment by moment is feeling the presence of the divine within us each moment. It is feeling and experiencing powerfulness at our core. It is recognizing the constant movement of divine substance through us, manifesting into form. It is also feeling all the pain and suffering of the world within our own being and allowing love to flow in those parts of ourselves.

Like many, I cannot say that I experience oneness in every moment as my mind wanders at times into the wilderness of separation. But the more I remember, and the longer the moments are that I am in full awareness of oneness, the sweeter life is. And I accept this as my charge – to keep remembering to remember. Remember that I am one with and as all that is. I am that I AM. And so are each one of us. There is only One.

The invitation this day is to remember you are one with all joy, creativity, wisdom, power, and love. The further invitation is to channel the flow of infinite divine substance into the highest form for yourself and all others. The possibilities are great, infinite in fact. Shine on my friends. The world is what we make it.

Enjoy the journey.

Evolution, Not Resolution

macchu pichu guide

Many speak of the value of darkness during the winter solstice. And the darkness truly is valuable. As Rickie Byars Beckwith sings in one of her songs, “the seed will need the darkness to change into new life.” What is also valuable about the winter solstice is the return of the light. As we pass the longest night and the shortest day, each day reveals more light.

As we come into this new year, it is a good time to ask ourselves, what kind of world are we choosing to create – not out there, but in here, deep within our own being.

We can begin to engage our imagination to see a greater possibility. In seeing that greater possibility, feeding it with our love and attention, and taking whatever steps are ours to take, we begin fashioning a new world.

It is so easy to just continue with past patterns and to believe that our past experiences define us, or that we are limited by them. A new year is a great time to break free from the past. In my experience, “resolutions” are not the best way to do that. I was joking with some friends recently about how crowded the gyms and fitness clubs are in January. By February, they’re back to “normal” levels.

No, it’s not by resolving to do something different that we evolve. It is by thoughtfully and prayerfully considering what is, and what is not, serving us and by beginning to truly release what no longer serves. This makes room for newness and we can fill that extra space in our consciousness with new intentions. We then align our actions with those intentions.

Without this clear inner look, where we honestly face ourselves in the mirror, look ourselves in the eye, and tell the truth about where we are, we are setting ourselves up to remain stuck. It is like trying on a new winter coat without taking the old one off – it doesn’t fit and it just makes us uncomfortable.

When we honestly look at ourselves in the mirror with the eyes of love, rather than self-criticism, we see a beautiful evolving being. There is nothing to fix, so no resolutions are needed. What we see are the next indicated steps along our path of evolution. And just as we must take off our old winter coat to put on a new one, we must release what no longer serves in order to put on new intentions.

While change can seem difficult, it is much easier when we realize we are not truly losing anything. We are replacing our old tattered coat with a brand new one. While we may be sentimental about our old coat, it is time to let it go.

When we do feel attached to people, situations, ideas, beliefs or ways of being and doing, we can create simple releasing rituals to honor the value they have had for us. For example, we can light a candle and spend some moments giving voice to our gratitude and symbolically releasing what no longer serves. In our rituals, we can also include accepting and embracing the new, what we are now choosing to step into.

Consciously making changes in our lives always involves releasing the old and embracing the new. There is always a letting go and an embracing. When we clearly and consciously make powerful choices, we might back pedal a little, but there is no turning back because we see, we know, and we choose our soul’s evolution over holding on to the restless comfort of yesterday’s joy.

Enjoy the journey.

Going Directly to Happy


Most of us have at some point come to realize that happiness is found within. Living our lives as if that were true can be a whole different story. We receive so many external messages extolling the virtues of all kinds of things outside ourselves as the source (and necessity) of our happiness. Moreover, we have internalized so many messages that link external factors to our happiness.

In addition to all the various advertisements and social pressures to have the right relationship, drive the perfect car, smell just right with deodorants, perfumes and the like, and work in an acceptable career, at an acceptable pace of upward mobility, we now also have our social media profiles to maintain. Of course, we are at choice with all of these and this is where we get to check in with ourselves to see where we are placing our attention and energies.

On a trip to Ghana, West Africa 15 years ago, one of the most common observations of my fellow travelers was how the local members of our host community seemed so much happier than us even though they had so much less materially than we did.

It begs the question: why not just go straight for happiness? Since happiness is found within and that’s ultimately what we all want, why not bypass all the external things we desire, and sometimes crave, and just go straight for happiness?

I have a banner on my wall at home that contains the following quote from the Chinese philosopher, Confucius: Life is simple. We make it complex. Interestingly, Confucius was writing around 500 BC.

Looking at life simply, we could choose to be happy and then just enjoy whatever good comes to us, as well as what we call challenges. I remember one particularly difficult year in college. This particular day it was my birthday. Despite the whirlwind of activity around me, I decided that because it was my birthday I was going to have a great day no matter what happened. And I did! While I have continued to learn this lesson of choosing happiness over and over again since then, it is a reminder that happiness truly is found within and is a choice.

No matter how much we achieve or acquire in the world, it is still up to us to decide when it’s enough. Usually, if we are externally focused, it is never enough. The happiness is only momentary, until we think of the next thing we need to make us happy.

When our focus is internal, and we recognize happiness as a choice, and one that is really about how we look at our life, then we can be happy in almost any situation. We can be happy with a lot of money or a little money, being in a relationship or single, and with a luxury car or a bicycle.

The invitation this day is to go straight for happiness. Perhaps for one day to start, decide to be happy no matter what happens.

Enjoy the journey.

Declare Victory and Move On


Audio Version

The phrase “declare victory and move on” was used often by a very successful company I worked for in Silicon Valley in the early 1990s. I loved it then and I still love it now. The company would have an outcome that most would have defined as a failure, and instead they would look at the positives that resulted and say “let’s declare victory and move on.”

I love this phrase because it reminds me that we are in charge of how we frame the outcomes in our lives. Two people could describe the same outcome totally differently. For example one could call it a total disaster and the other could call it a real win. They’d both be right, but the impact on their lives of how they see it would be totally different.

This phrase came up for me recently as I decided to cancel a class I was offering due to lower than expected attendance. At first I was fretting over not getting to teach a class that I really wanted to teach. Then I reminded myself of all the good that came out of just offering the class – the many people who now know about the type of classes I am offering, establishing a presence at the new location for my work, expanded public awareness of my organization and its purpose, clarity on how to approach classes more effectively in the future, and many other positives.

Truly I could see it as a victory if I chose to. And, of course, the positive outcomes I could see don’t even include all the ways that divine order is unfolding and leading to something wonderful in the future that is unbeknownst to me. I decided to declare victory and move on. I cancelled the class, not feeling deflated, but instead feeling victorious at all the progress I had made on so many fronts through the process of preparing for and offering the class.

Where in your life are you fretting over or regretting some outcome? Is this an opportunity to declare victory and move on? The declaring victory part is only half the fun. We also get to move on, which means we’re no longer bearing the weight of regret, failure, or questioning ourselves. We did what we could and some good came from it. It was a victory and we can build on it for our next victory.

The invitation today is to declare victory and move on. It’ll likely make you feel lighter and freer. Give it a try!

Enjoy the journey.

Taming the Monkey Mind

waterfall at diamond lake, nederland, co

Buddhists describe the monkey mind as the restlessness of our minds, the mind that is continuously analyzing, worrying, vacillating, and otherwise jumping around. It can also refer to confusion in the mind and being double-minded, or having thoughts and beliefs that cancel one another.

I found a poignant example of the monkey mind running wild in 1994 when I traveled to South Africa to witness the first fully democratic elections there, which led to the election of Nelson Mandela as President. During the week before and the week after the elections, I journeyed around the various regions of South Africa as part of a delegation formed by a non-profit organization based in northern California.

It was an incredible trip where we encountered a country in the throes of great change, and its people doing their best to adjust to all the change. The example I cite is a person I engaged in conversation, an Afrikaner (descendant of former Dutch immigrants) who was caught up in the madness of the long history of racial segregation and discrimination that made up the former Apartheid system.

He was a friendly man, jovial and affable. With me being American, he seemed compelled to tell me how terrible the black population in South Africa was, seemingly oblivious to the color of my own skin. He would go on and on describing negative trait after negative trait, until I would ask him if it was fair or accurate to generalize about a whole group of people the way he was. At that moment, he would look incredulous and say “no, of course not,” agreeing with me that negative traits do not uniquely belong to one particular race.

In the next moment he would return to generalizing about the black population, again with negative descriptors. We did this dance back and forth a number of times with the same result each time. It was as if, even though he knew better, his old program and beliefs still ran on auto-pilot right alongside some newer beliefs. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a clear case of unconscious beliefs running right alongside contrary conscious beliefs.

While this example may seem a bit extreme, it is also indicative of the nature of the monkey mind. In different spiritual traditions the monkey mind is addressed in a variety of ways.

In the Hindu tradition, the chant “Chamundaye, Kali Ma, Kali Ma, Kali Ma, Kali Ma,” askes Mother Kali to bring transformation or clarity to all the confusion and random chatter of the mind.

In the Science of Mind and Spirit tradition of Ernest Holmes, teachers have utilized a concept called “second crop thoughts.” Second crop thoughts are those beliefs that we thought we had neutralized or dissolved that rise again to manifest some unwanted experience. A common notion is “I thought I already healed that.” It is likened to a crop that we previously planted, then uprooted, but some of it still sprouts the following year. A few seedlings were apparently still there. Old beliefs can be like that too, depending on how deeply rooted they previously were in us.

This kind of experience calls on us to be vigilant about old thought patterns so that as they arise we may consciously replace them with new ideas. My own practice is to respond to old thought patterns that arise by saying within myself, “No, I don’t believe that anymore,” and then to affirm what it is I do believe. I do this without resisting the old thought pattern and without trying to force the new one. It’s just a gentle, confident reminder to myself of where I am today.

Today is a good day to give thanks for old thought patterns, knowing that at one point they served us in some way. As we release them, we may also rejoice in our new more consciously chosen beliefs and thoughts that support us in being more fully who we are here to be.

Enjoy the journey.