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08 January 2009 @ 12:36 pm
Ask and is it Given  
12/26/08 -- I’ve just finished reading Ask and it is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks. The authors are the purveyors of The Law of Attraction. I’d heard of the LOA before but didn’t realize that it is, at least as far as the Hicks are concerned, received information channeled from other-worldly sources, several of them, who call themselves as a sort of cluster entity, "Abraham." I have no idea if any of what Esther Hicks claims to have channeled is true, but I have no problem regarding it as a sort of fictional account and thinking about it from that perspective. My first impression is that it’s a kind of paint--by-number kit for many of the principles presented in the philosophy of consciousness literature by such authors as Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, and even other, more “serious” Buddhist offerings by Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, Lama Surya Das, Sakyong Mipham, Genpo Roshi, and others. Here are the main principles:

1) We are all very powerful creators. We create our own lives and our world. We do this whether we are conscious of doing it or not, so it behooves us to become as conscious as possible of what we are creating at all times.

2) The point of life is happiness. (This is pure Buddhism.)

3) The happier we feel, the more in tune our individual vibrations are with Universal Energy.

4) We exist within a context of joy, support, and well-being. Feelings of sadness, despair, anger, and so on are indicators of blockages we are creating within our own energy field. The resolution of bad feelings begins with identifying our so-called point of attraction (a feeling) and figuring out what is blocking the way to a higher frequency and more positive point of attraction.

5) Allowing is an important concept. Allowing all that is sustains the flow of energy in life.

6) Another key concept is learning to see past present circumstances (less-than-desirable ones) to a clear vision of what it is that is desired. We create best from a clear vision of the goal. Conversely, creative power is diminished when our vision is trapped within the boundaries of what is.

This last point is a little tricky but central to these teachings. It entails accepting and allowing whatever is to be just as it is, without stress or strain or resistance. The accepting, however, does not equal a closing off of the mind against possibility. In fact, truly allowing whatever is engenders an opening up to the realm of possibility. Our task as effective creators is to identify again and again specific goals we desire to reach within that realm.

What I am reminded of after reading this book is how extraordinarily powerful we all are. We are magnificently powerful creators. We are miracle workers, all of us. I am also reminded of how writing acts as a point of creative power. Something that the Hicks point out in Given is that writing is one of the most powerful focusing tools available for raising one's point of attraction and for achieving clarity in thought and feeling.

Something I’m working with right now is what the Hicks call "segment intending." It's a game that sees the time in each day as a series segments, each of which can be entered with clear intention and awareness. The clearer the intention, the higher the frequency of one's personal point of attraction and the more positive influx of experience one has. Segment intending can help with facilitating the dozens of transitions that occur in each day as scenes change and people come and go. When we answer the phone, a segment begins. Leaving or entering a conversation marks the end or beginning of a segment, and so on.

The idea relates to Eckhart Tolle's observation that life is one big now. The scenes and people change, the days, months, and years pass, but life is always lived as now. This comparison between the Hicks’ and Tolle’s approach to this basic idea – perspective-taking on clock time -- offers a good example of my earlier observation that the Hicks’ book is a paint-by-number version of Tolle, Katie, and others. Tolle’s observation is intriguing but general. How can we work with this ever- changing now? How can we learn to manage it better? What can we do specifically to increase present moment awareness and improve the quality of life? The Hicks offer 22 specific games, of which segment intending is an example, that people can play to increase mastery of time management, clutter, different kinds of thinking and feeling traps that can sap energy, and others.

Another process/game they offer in Given is the ‘placemat process’ (channeled in a restaurant while waiting for the meal to arrive) which basically suggests writing those tasks that can really be accomplished on the desired day in the left column, and those other tasks that are important but can’t be accomplished on the given day in the right column, which is labeled “Things for the Universe to Take Of” or something similar. It isn’t a new idea, but the spin is a little different. Instead of relegating all the tasks that can’t be accomplished right away to a ‘hold’ pile, the Hicks suggest imagining that these tasks can reside in a space that is aware that they need to be accomplished and within which energies can begin aligning to make their accomplishment easier when the time is ripe to really take them on. It’s a mental perspective based on faith and openness to possibility. It can’t hurt.

I’ve been using the placemat process for several day now (using sticky notes which make it easier for me to move tasks from one column to the other) and it has helped me to recognize the difficulties I face with knowing what I really want in life, and then, among the items on that list, knowing what is most important. In fact, I do know very well what I want to do and what is most important but often, I do not know these things consciously because I’ve handled such mental tasks unconsciously for most of my life. That is, I have turned these decisions over to right-brain processing, which has no sense of clock time or language concepts. In a word, when it comes to goal setting and accomplishing, I have, for most of my life, worked almost entirely on intuition. There’s nothing wrong this, except that if I decide that it’s time to invite more conscious creation into my life, which I very much desire to do at this point, then I’ll need to pull some of the mental material that is normally handled by right-brain processing out of its unconscious realm, to get a better handle on what precisely I am doing with my days. The two processes I’ve mentioned in this post help enormously with that.

In essence, I see Ask and it is Given as a weird and intriguing mix of philosophy of consciousness, psychology, business philosophy (i.e., organizing time and accomplishing goals), and spirituality.

 
 
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