Spiritual Practice from the Beach: Grid Wire Grit

Gridwire-WrightsvilleBeachOn a recent business trip to Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina, we noticed some nylon coated wires running from the deck and pool areas up to the roof of the resort hotel we were staying in that were a novelty at first — and then became an interest. During lunch, we asked our waitress about the nylon wires and she laughed as she explained that those wires kept the seagulls and grackle birds from invading the area, stealing food and bothering tourists! Her explanation sent us to the Internet to investigate. Here’s what we found:

Numerous academic studies and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend grids of nylon coated wire and/or nylon monofilament lines as the most effective method to prevent seagulls from landing and roosting in resort areas, open areas like docks, restaurants, pools and ponds and flat roofs. These monofilament barricades are very good at getting rid of seagull and grackle bird infestations because they emit a sound caused by the wind moving them that disorients the gulls.

You’re probably asking the question, “Don’t seagulls learn over time to invade the space protected by the deterrent system?

In fact the opposite happens. Seagulls seem to teach each other to avoid the protected area. It sometimes takes a few days for seagulls to stop even trying to land if they’ve developed a strong habit or have used the area for feeding or nesting for a long time. However, over time the system is increasingly effective as seagulls find more gull-friendly places to roost and defecate.

The deterrent system does not injure seagulls or other birds. The Grid Wire Deterrent System is very uncomfortable for seagulls, making them feel unsafe because they prefer wide open spaces as their normal habitat. Other beneficial birds, such as swallows, martins and migrating land birds easily navigate around or through the lines (bats do fine too).

Everywhere we go, we think of everything we see as curriculum for our spiritual growth and content for our books, webinars and classes. The reason we have chosen this as a spiritual practice is that it is very similar to another ‘protection’ technique called the White Light technique, referred to by psychologists as ‘psychological shielding.’ (See the White Light Technique in Vol.3 of our series of Spiritual Practices).

The White Light technique involves visually surrounding yourself with a shield of white light, that will not allow any negative energy to penetrate it. It allows you to deny any power to someone’s negativity or sour attitudes, and affirm your oneness with your Higher Spiritual Nature!

This Grid Wire Grit practice invites you to visualize being protected by a shield of invisible grid wires that serves as a failsafe deterrent against someone else’s negativity, undue criticism, anger, hate, and overall sour attitude. It blocks all of those things from affecting you emotionally and draining the energy out of you. Like the White Light Technique it incubates you from harm. Mentally see the wire grid repelling all of the ‘slings and arrows’ thrown at you. You may even want to couple your mental image with the statement, “I believe these belong to you,” referring to the ‘slings and arrows.’

Like the White Light Technique, this practice is an excellent psychological shielding technique, as you walk the spiritual path on practical feet.

© 2015 Bil and Cher Holton, YourSpiritualPractice.com


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Lent from a Spiritual Not Religious Perspective: Fasting and Feasting

Bil & Cher Holton - The Metaphysical Website:

It’s Lenten season and those who consider themselves more spiritual than religious often find themselves in a dilemma about fasting. Here is a more spiritual approach, which we shared last year but believe is timeless and a great reminder. Plus a new addition: visit this link to download a special Feast or Fast Flow Chart. (http://www.yourspiritualpractice.com/spiritual-prac/fast-or-feast-tip-sheet/ )

Originally posted on Global Center for Spiritual Practices:

OakTree-acorn-ca9769811There are two ways to get to the top of an oak tree. You can climb it, or you can sit on an acorn! Both are perfectly viable ways, although one takes the patience of Job. There are also two ways to move through the Lenten Season: fasting and feasting. Both are legitimate expressions of spiritual growth. As a matter of fact, from a spiritual perspective, both are necessary.

Ash Wednesday is traditionally the first day of Lent. And traditionally during Lent, we are asked to give up things like chocolate, ice cream, soft drinks, high fat foods, doughnuts, potato chips, and so on. The phrase “deny yourself” is equated with “deprive yourself of pleasure.” And the focus is generally giving up certain types of foods even some luxuries like eating out in restaurants, reducing TV time, turning off house lights and using candles, and so on, throughout the Lenten…

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Spiritual Emergence or Religious Emergency

SpiritualPractice-candlesWe hear a lot of people using the phrase “more spiritual than religious” these days, causing us to ponder what they really mean when they label themselves this way. It has been our experience that there really is a soul deepening difference between spiritual and religious — a difference we have termed spiritual emergence versus religious emergency. Spiritual emergence is a gradual unfoldment of spiritual expression that causes a minimal ‘disturbance’ in our everyday functioning because we are somewhat prepared for it, given our disposition for the mystical. On the other hand, there are those who experience what we call religious emergencies, which can cause significant disruptions in their everyday living, because these folks are usually unprepared for mystical experiences since they consider themselves to be more religious than spiritual. 

SpiritualExperiencesEmergent spiritual experiences like visions, deeply felt meditations, out-of-body experiences, apparitions and precognitive dreams are usually exhilarating and life-changing and can be very transformative — for those who have moved to a place of being more spiritual than religious. These same experiences, however, can also be deeply unsettling for people who fall in the category of being more religious than spiritual.

People who are more spiritual than religious seem to have less difficulty with these types of transcendental experiences. Why? Spiritually-inclined people are usually more open to mystical experiences. They feel more connected to the transcendentalness of life. They have a spiritual, not religious, mindset! Their openness to the nonmaterial and ethereal dimensions of reality make them the perfect recipients for these life-affirming experiences.

Part of the challenge highly religious people face in transformative experiences is staying grounded after they experience these ‘higher octaves’ of reality. These ‘altered states of being’ are typically foreign, and even taboo, when it comes to handling their ingrained religiosity.

Because of their denominational inhibitions, mainstream religious people tend to be quite reluctant to integrate highly spiritual experiences into their religious practices. They may even feel they would be bedeviled by these experiences.

How to Use Transcendent Experiences

Great spiritual teachers and mystics alike assure us that these transcendent experiences are natural and healthy. They see these experiences as evidence of our evolving spirituality and enlightenment. They encourage us to willingly allow highly spiritual/mystical experiences to touch our lives and to use the memories of those experiences – and therefore the transformative value of those experiences – to flow into our everyday lives.

Living our lives based on embedded religious theology makes it difficult to allow spiritual and metaphysical teachings into our world view. What usually happens is the cognitive dissonance caused by the new mind-stretching ‘experiential information’ causes people to tighten their dogmatic reins so that any progress – and openness – to potentially transformative truths is shut down completely.

How This Affects Churches and Spiritual Communities

spiritualVersusReligious-ChoirAs a matter of fact, that’s the troublesome dynamic we see occurring in spiritual communities/New Thought churches/liberal churches today. If the leadership in those communities is stuck in embedded religious theology, it makes it very difficult for the membership that considers themselves to be more spiritual than religious to get a spiritual, not religious, message. It also makes it very difficult for the minister and music director to see eye-to-eye if the music director is hesitant to – or outright refuses to – change the song lyrics to complement the minister’s spiritually-oriented message. It’s an old story – you know, the one about pouring new wine into old wineskins!

On the other hand, if the leadership happens to be more spiritual than religious in a church setting (holding services in a church building characterized by stained glass windows and pews), the members who consider themselves to be more religious than spiritual demand a message and music that are more dogmatically religious than universally open and spiritual. The two factions behave like oil and water. And the ministers who serve those divided communities operate between a rock and a hard place because making both factions happy is impossible!

If you’ve ever been involved in, or are currently involved in, a spiritual/religious community that is comprised of a culture of religious-oriented and spiritually-oriented folks in the same sanctuary at the same time, you know it’s a recipe for conflict and division. Congregations tend to blame their difficulties on going from a family size to a pastoral size to a program size, etc. While there’s some truth to that perspective, the majority of the difficulty lies in the philosophical and religious differences between the spiritual and religious cultures who are at odds.

When people are the willing products of mainstream religion and experience mind-stretching – sometimes mind-blowing – spiritual teachings, transcendent experiences, and metaphysical truths, their default tendency is to rail against the ‘new wine’ no matter how tasty or transformative. On the other side of the aisle are the spiritually inclined who have outgrown the old wineskins and feel walled-in by the dogma.

Spiritual emergence doesn’t have to be a religious emergency! However, it means religious addicts will have to shed fossilized religious beliefs and biases, recalibrate deeply worn religious grooves, and willingly move from their amygdala-oriented mindset to a neocortex-oriented mindset. To put it simply they must be willing to move from a blunt edge to a growing edge. Of course, even if they wanted to, sharpening their perspective will take time. Unfortunately, it will take too much time for those who are more spiritual than religious.

What are the More Spiritual Than Religious To Do?

SpiritualNotReligiousGrouThe bottom line is those who are more spiritual than religious will have to find less religious settings to practice their spirituality. For example, the spiritually-inclined will find their enrichment and community through:

  • Small group meetings, locally or through Internet Membership sites;
  • Internet live-streaming events and TV programming;
  • non-church architecturally-styled buildings to hold spiritual education programs;
  • retreats, conferences and workshops;
  • individual meditative and self-study experiences; and
  • outings like cruises and guided tours to build spiritual community.

Many people are making the shift from religious myopia to spiritual broad-mindedness and receptivity. The key is an honest desire to leave religious staleness behind in order to embrace the transformative insights of spirituality and metaphysical thought, and a willingness to integrate mystical experiences into their lives.

We support that consciousness shift. And we unapologetically support those devoted truth seekers who bravely step into spiritual frontiers in order to raise the collective consciousness of humankind to a higher spiritual octave. ‘Amy’ (the amygdala) must become subordinate to ‘Neo’ (the neocortex) in order to turn a blunt, frightened, religious edge into a growing, transcendental spiritual edge! We affirm spiritual emergence as you walk the spiritual path on practical feet.

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Spiritual Practice: Take the Fillmore Challenge

Spiritual Practice: Put Your Affirmations to the Test

Affirmations are not designed to create lies about your experience, nor are they magic formulas designed to conjure up miraculous things in your life. Affirmations are statements which affirm the Truth (capital T Truth) of who you really are, and bring your awareness into alignment with Truth. Things do not become true because we affirm them; we affirm things because they are Truth!

FillmoreChallengeUnity’s co-founder, Myrtle Fillmore, once said: “Never make an assertion, no matter how true it may appear on the surface, that you do not want to see manifest in your life.”

Those are powerful words that can literally transform your life! So here is a great Spiritual Practice for you: Challenge yourself to go for 24 hours following this statement. For a full day, see if you can only affirm things you want to manifest in your life! If you slip, the clock resets, and you begin your next 24-hour challenge!

Let’s look at what this really means! It means you don’t say things like “I’m having a bad hair day” — because you certainly don’t want bad hair days manifesting in your life! It means you refrain from saying “I can’t afford that” — because you definitely don’t want lack of money to manifest in your life!

This practice requires you to rethink how you speak — because your words reflect your thoughts — and your thoughts create your reality. So instead of the bad hair day statement, you could simply affirm “I am amazing, and project the inner beauty of who I am to the world!” In place of the lack statement, you could affirm “I choose to use my abundance for the most important things in my life.”

 So take the Fillmore Challenge, and go for a full 24 hours affirming only Truth — only what you  want to see manifest in your life! Notice the powerful difference this Spiritual Practice makes on your thoughts, words, and feelings as you walk the spiritual path on practical feet!

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The Spiritual Practice of Abracadabra-ing

SpiritualPractice-MagicWandDo you ever wish you had a magic wand that you could wave over your life experience, and say the magic word “Abra-cadabra!” to create a better situation? While we can’t give you an actual magic wand, we do have an amazing spiritual practice that produces magical results!

This spiritual practice employs mindfulness meditation, affirmative prayer, visualization, and positive affirmations as the open sesames to healing and enlightenment.

Abracadabra, as an incantation, was first used in the third century AD in a book called Liber Medicinalis by Sammonicus, a Roman savant and physician. He recommended wearing an amulet displaying the word written in the form of a triangle:

A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A – B – R – A
       A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A – B – R
           A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A – B
             A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A
               A – B – R – A – C – A – D
                 A – B – R – A – C – A
                   A – B – R – A – C
                    A – B – R – A
                       A – B – R
                         A – B

The power of the amulet was believed to cure diseases and guarantee health and longevity. From a spiritual perspective, it is the ‘abracadabra nature’ of the divinely ordained powers within us – and not an external physical object like an amulet – that cure illnesses and disease, and guarantee us the health, wealth and happiness we seek!

This powerful spiritual practice invites you to employ all of the practices mentioned in the opening paragraph as spiritual ‘amulets:’

  • Spend time in the Silence,
  • Affirm your connection with Spirit,
  • Visualize your alignment with your Divine Nature, and
  • Repeat positive statements about your intentions to be, do and have from a consciousness of abundance, gratitude and connection.

mountaintop-JoyFind moments of extreme happiness, ecstasy, and joy — whether they occur from meditation experiences, becoming totally absorbed in a sunset or star-studded sky at night, being immersed in a physical and/or mental activity that brings you incredible joy, or experiencing heart-melting music.

Say to yourself: “Every time I face a troublesome life situation I’m going to say to myself ‘What spiritual principle can I use to give me the wherewithal to handle this situation?’” It sounds so simple, but it works. Having the intention to purposefully call upon the spiritual principles you know is a prerequisite for drawing them from your memory banks and making recall easier.

Outline key areas that you feel are critical for your spiritual unfoldment:

  • What are the necessary conditions for your spiritual progress?
  • What spiritual principles do you value above all others?
  • Define your theology.
  • Clearly articulate what you consider important about spiritual growth.
  • On what spiritual matters will you not compromise?
  • Design mindfulness meditations, affirmative prayers, visualizations, and positive affirmations around the answers to these questions.

We’ve seen this spiritual practice literally transform people’s lives. People get excited when they feel the congruence between what they believe and what they regularly and consistently practice. The excitement usually translates into action — which becomes contagious and rewarding.

We invite you to abracadabra your way into the next version of you, as you walk the spiritual path on practical feet!

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The Spiritual Practice of Vocal Acupuncture

Spirituality-AcupunctureThe more well-known form of acupuncture which everyone is familiar with is an alternative healing technique based on traditional Chinese medicine. It involves the penetration by single-use thin needles along the skin of the body, or the application of heat, pressure, or laser light to correct imbalances in the flow of qi through channels in our bodies called meridians.

Vocal acupuncture is the name we use to describe the power of spoken affirmations. We believe it to be an apt metaphor, emphasizing the therapeutic power of affirmations as healing treatments and catalysts for manifesting our greater good. As positive statements they help boost our mood and immune system.

excited-person-jumping-ca33267213Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, in her very enlightening research and subsequent book, Positivity, assures us that people who experience more positivity and then voice it become “more optimistic, more resilient, more open, more accepting, and more purpose-driven.” She goes on to say that “positivity opens your mind and allows you to appreciate what is in such a way that you want to talk about it which reinforces your positive outlook.” 

Vocal acupuncture, as a spiritual practice, invites you to use positive affirmations, affirmative prayer, mantras, optimistic phrases, and positive self-talk as often as you can. It means building these positivity statements into your spoken words and vocabulary.

The words we use not only penetrate deeply into our psyches but they become embedded in our cellular architecture as well. Our entire bodily constitution is affected by the thoughts we have and the words we use. Our thoughts and words – whether they are positively framed or negatively charged – are self-fulfilling triggers!

Science-Spirituaity-ResearchIn his bestselling book, Buddha’s Brain, Rick Hanson says, “Every time you say a positive affirmation, every time you engage in positive self-talk, every time you sift positive feelings and views into painful, limiting states of mind – you build new neural structures. Over time, the accumulating impact of this positive material will, synapse by synapse, change your brain in positive, life-affirming ways.”

Neuroscientists are telling us that certain positive words – like ‘peace’ – ‘compassion’ – ‘joy’ – ‘kindness’ and ‘love’ – have the power to alter the expression of genes throughout the brain and body, turning them on and off in ways that lower physical and emotional stress

According to positive psychologists Rowe, Hirsch, and Anderson, in the 2007 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, another practical consequence of thinking and speaking positively is the mind-broadening powers of our enhanced creativity. A positive mindset changes the way you think and act in a wider range of circumstances. When you ‘see’ things in a positive light, more positive ideas come to mind, and more life-affirming actions become possible .

As you can see, this spiritual practice offers you mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. It is one of our favorite practices and we believe it will be one of your favorites too! Vocal acupuncture, in all of its spoken forms and expressions, is a centering practice, one that increases your chances of walking the spiritual path on practical, positive feet.

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Critter Control: From a Spiritual Perspective

Bear-spiritualityThree campers were setting up their campsite when a bear suddenly appeared. Two of the campers saw the bear and climbed a nearby tree. The third camper, who was not as observant, wasn’t fast enough to escape.

He threw himself on the ground and pretended to be dead. He had heard that bears, like Levites and Pharisees, will not touch dead bodies, so he lay as still as he could and held his breath. He tried his best to control his trembling, too.

His life passed before him as the bear sniffed at his clothing and then moved up to his face. He could feel the bear’s warm, stale breath on his face. The camper continued to lay as still as he could.

To his astonishment, the bear whispered something in his ear.  After a few moments, when he opened his eyes, the bear was gone. When the coast was clear, the other two campers climbed out of the tree and rushed over to their petrified comrade.

“Are you okay?” the taller one asked.

The prone camper nodded. He was still too frightened to get up.

“It’s okay,” the third camper replied, “the bear’s gone.”

The two helped the frightened camper to his feet.

“By the way,” the taller one said, “I could have sworn I saw the bear whisper something in your ear. I know that sounds crazy, but am I right?”

The camper who had the close encounter with the bear nodded.

“You’re kidding,” his comrades exclaimed in unison. “A talking bear. No way! Like we’re going to believe that,” they laughed. “Just what did he say?”

Their comrade replied, “He told me never to travel with ‘so-called friends’ who desert you at the first sign of trouble.”

The story is apocryphal, of course. But it represents an important point we want to make today. Our blog is about critter control — the critters you might think are your friends who aren’t friends at all.

blackBear-HammockHere’s another bear story – if you think you can bear it!  In Cher’s mom’s home state of New Jersey, there have been several black bear sightings. One summer, there was an article about a bear who was making himself at home in Monroe Township. He was spotted at a preschool, then on a golf course, where he made himself at home in a tree overlooking one of the greens. He made it a habit just swinging his legs and relaxing as he watched golfers hit a small ball into a round hole!

He was a familiar face, according to the police, who had been tracking him for several days through different neighborhoods. They claimed he knew more of the state than some of them did! Quote: “He’s going to go where he wants to go and there’s nothing really that’s going to stop him. He has claimed this area as his territory, so people will just have to grin and bear it!”

Really?? Luckily, we can do more than “grin and bear it” when it comes to our spiritual critter control! One of the most powerful actions we can take for our spiritual growth is to take conscious control of the critters trying to overtake our mind.

The critters we’re talking about are just as ferocious as the bear. They are:

  • false assumptions;
  • engrained beliefs based on those false assumptions; 
  • self-defeating habits;
  • fears;
  • feelings of unworthiness;
  • doubts in your ability to prosper;
  • negative thinking;
  • and a host of other wild and untamed thought and feeling critters.

These critters can keep you flat out or up a tree instead of living confidently and happily at the speed of your Christ Consciousness, which is called super-consciousness by psychologists and supra-consciousness by mystics. A bear of a doubt or a grizzly of a false assumption can keep you immobilized or up a tree for years.

Suppose you’re sitting on your front porch. A convertible comes by and someone shouts, “Get in!” And so you get in. You don’t know where it’s going, or who’s driving, but you get in anyway. Later that same day you’re sitting on the porch again and an SUV comes by. Someone says, “Get in.” You get in although you’re not sure where it’s going or how long it’s going to take.

Later that evening you’re sitting on that same porch and a truck comes by. Someone shouts, “Get in…” and so you … (you get the picture). Suppose each of those vehicles represents a creepy critter.

Just because a false assumption or a weird thought surfaces in your consciousness doesn’t mean you have to go with it. You don’t have to let an outdated belief take you for a ride. You can face a fear you’ve been avoiding instead of letting it chase you up a tree. You can leave formaldehyde beliefs and atrophied assumptions behind. You truly can create critter controls that keep critters in check.

In his classic Unity book, Talks On Truth, Charles Fillmore reminds us, “In the days of Moses, the Egyptians refused to give freedom to the Israelites. So, the Egyptians were plagued with frogs, lice, and locusts.”

Those who look at the world through purely materialistic filters (that is, from a consciousness that denies their divinity) will see all kinds of critters that frighten them and send them running for cover.

But you don’t have to live that way. You are spiritual beings going through a human experience. You can look at your experiences through more enlightened spiritual filters or human filters. The choice is yours.

You can see the world from the groundedness of your Higher Self or from the error-prone nature of your human personality. The choice is yours. You can turn frogs, lice, and locusts into health, wealth, and prosperity. And 2015 is a good year to start, don’t you think? You have the power to control any and all critters through some amazing ‘critter control’ techniques, which all begin with “GET.”

#1: Get Real! You can’t control critters until you acknowledge you have them! Research supports this. Dr. John Forsythe, Director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program at Albany State University in NY, says “Pretending not to be in pain is stressful in itself. When we sidestep our inner anguish, our lives morph into being all about avoiding pain.” If all our energy goes into pretending problems, negative emotions, or troublesome thoughts don’t exist — we’ll get nowhere, fast. So Step 1 is Get Real by acknowledging that critters are there!

DoNotFeedCritters#2. Get On With It! The key here is to acknowledge the “critter,” then move on! Don’t get stuck in your story! Another way to put this is: DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS! That’s a basic principle for wild life critter control – and it fits right in with our spiritual critter control techniques. Once you acknowledge the critter, don’t keep feeding it! Instead, use positive affirmations to lift yourself beyond the impact of the issue or emotion. One of our favorite scripture verses comes from Philippians 4:8: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

So, Steps 1 and 2 really go together: Get Real by acknowledging the “critter,” then Get On With It in terms of reprogramming your neural circuits by affirming the truth of who you really are! And that brings us to Step #3.

#3. Get Connected! Just as the experts advise us to control airborne critters by insulating ourselves well and sealing off exposed areas, you want to insulate your emotional areas well and seal off any potential subconscious exposures! You can do this in two powerful ways:

a) Go to Headquarters on a regular basis. That is, go inside to that still small voice and breathe into the ‘critter-related’ situation by allowing yourself to merge with what neuroscientists call your Deeper Self, that transcendent, highly spiritual part of you. The other way to Get Connected takes us full circle back to our opening story. Remember what that bear said: “Never travel with friends who desert you at the first sign of trouble!” 

b) Hang out with people you can count on, people who understand and share your truth principles, and support you in your spiritual growth!

If you’ll follow these three prescriptions, you will move into the new year with power and connection, as you walk the spiritual path on practical, critter-free feet!

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