Connect & Glow for Vibrant Well-being and Peace 

Final project for master of Spiritual Studies Degree, Emerson Theological Institute

NB: go here for a PDF of this paper with footnotes.

Connect the Dots 
Everything Is Energy 
Being Glow 
Working With the Energy 
    Releasing Anxiety 
    All Heart 
    Hoku Pa'a (Guiding Star) 
    Simply Being 
    Spring Cleaning 
What Is Healing? 
Summary: Abiding Peace 
    Releasing Anxiety Affirmations 
    Quick Glow 
    Additional Working With the Energy Topics 
    Connect & Glow Videos 


    "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." - Albert Einstein 

    I wrote the following words as I began taking notes for this paper: My turning from an understanding of God as an outer agent which directs life events and circumstances, to an understanding of a universal energy which is all of life—all molecules, every cell, and all the space inside and around these elements of matter, which can be felt and known as love—began with my reading of Barbara Ann Brennan's book, Hands of Light
    Later that day I unearthed Brennan's book and read her opening passage: "Love is the face and body of the Universe. It is the connective tissue of the universe, the stuff of which we are made. Love is the experience of being whole and connected to Universal Divinity." I was struck by the similarity of what I read to what I had just written, especially since it had been more than twenty years since I last read Hands of Light. 
    Events of synchronicity show us that we are on the "right path." Since there is no wrong path, we are always on the right path! (If God is omnipresent, then there is nothing which is not God.) But seemingly acausal happenings 1) get our attention, so as to confirm that continuing in a particular direction can have a significant effect on our personal lives and the lives of others, and 2) are a reminder that everything is connected, and that every moment is magical. "There is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not 'harder' or 'bigger' than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal." - A Course in Miracles, Chapter 1, verse1. Synchronicity is like  the waves of the ocean—the waves are more noticeable, but the depths and currents, teeming with life, are always there. 
    In The Shack, Sarayu (the Holy Spirit) puts her hands on the eyes of the main character, Mack, saying, "'Just for tonight, I would love you to see a bit of what we see.' Even in the darkness of the night everything had clarity and shone with halos of light in various hues and colors. The forest itself was afire with light and color, yet each tree was distinctly visible, each branch, each leaf. Birds and bats created a trail of colored fire as they flew or chased each other. He could even see that in the distance an army of Creation was in attendance: deer, bear, mountain sheep, and majestic elk near the edges of the forest, and otter and beaver in the lake, each shining in its own color and blaze. Myriads of little creatures scampered and darted everywhere, each alive within its own glory," (A Festival of Friends). In this passage, we are shown how marvelously rich and colorful and joyful all of life is, the potential wonder of every moment. We just need to open our eyes, i.e., our awareness. 
    But how do we open our eyes and our awareness? How do we live moment to moment with the tingling and vibrant aliveness that the overt reminders of synchronicity bring? Many, if not most of us, long for meaning—and assurance that our lives have meaning—but seem unable to experience a deep and abiding awareness of the beauty of every moment, a faith in life's revealing. Why is this knowing of the dynamic and harmonious interrelationship of life so widely unknown? 
    The simple answer is that we have been preoccupied with survival. This preoccupation has led to a cultural emphasis on acquisition, and an overdevelopment of ego—the sole purpose of which is our survival. Our pursuit of material security has skewed the inner compass which leads us to awareness. Also, many don't know that inner awareness is a possible answer to their search for happiness—or that inner awareness is even an option, period. 
    The first step in spiritual awareness is to practice connecting with the source of love which abides within us. I have been practicing a mode of healing for many years, Connect & Glow, which offers an immediate sense of connection, and, when regularly practiced, brings ongoing healing, and leads to a life of peace and understanding. This meditative visualization begins with Connect the Dots, followed by Being Glow, which explores the qualities of the dots (energy centers). Tuning the Dots (humming into the energy centers) enhances the release of patterns of tension and increases the sense of opening and expansion. 
    (The URL for the Connect & Glow YouTube Channel is listed in the Appendix for any reader who wishes to listen to the guided meditations.)

CONNECT the DOTS the basic exercise
    All breathing in this exercise is with a closed mouth. With all of the Connect & Glow exercises, it is fine to keep a pen and paper near your writing hand to capture any inspiration which may come through; simply jotting down a keyword is usually sufficient. 
    Sit comfortably with your feet on the floor, sitting up straight; you can support your back with pillows, if you like. Gently close your eyes, and take a nice deep breath. As you slowly exhale allow any thoughts of what it took to get to this moment drop away. 
    Relax your scalp. Relax your forehead. Allow your eyes to sink back into your head. Face, cheeks, jaw are relaxed. Neck and throat are relaxed. Shoulders, upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, hands, fingers, loose, relaxed, free and easy. Chest and mid-back relaxed. Stomach, belly, lower back, hips, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, heels, feet, toes, nice and relaxed. Take another deep breath, and release it with a gentle sigh. 
    With your awareness on your feet, imagine a dot on the bottom of each foot. Bring your awareness to your belly, about an inch below your belly button, and going directly inward, imagine a dot in the middle of your belly. Bring your awareness to your chest, and imagine a dot in the center of your chest. With you awareness on your hands, imagine a dot in the palm of each hand. Bring your awareness to your forehead, and going directly inward from the center of your forehead, imagine a dot in the middle of your brain. 
    With your imagination, draw a line from the dot in the center of your brain to the dot in the center of your chest. Draw two lines radiating out from the dot in the center of your chest through each arm to the dots in the palms of your hands. Draw a line from the dot in the center of your chest to the dot in the center of your belly. Two lines radiate out from the dot in your belly through each leg to the dots on the bottoms of your feet. 
    If you stand back in your mind's eye, you can see that you have connected the dots, and created a stick figure inside yourself, like a child's drawing. 
    Now imagine that you have a rheostat light switch. Slowly bring up the power, and the inner stick figure begins to glow with a warm, soothing light. 
    Sit quietly for a few moments enjoying this warm glow, slowly breathing in and out. 

    Modern physics is finding ways to explain what ancient mystics, transcendentalists, and all seekers of truth have known for all of recorded time: that everything is energy. In pre-modern times, people who felt a calling to connect with Spirit had far fewer energetic distractions. They inhabited a world that was less noisy—to ears, as well as to all of the senses—there was very little EMF (electric and magnetic fields), pesticides, mechanical ruckus of automobiles, airplanes, and so on. But no matter the circumstances and conditions, it is always possible to access an experience of Oneness. 
    We usually perceive our bodies and the objects we encounter in our daily lives as solid matter. However, so far in all of scientific inquiry, nothing solid has been identified. Matter is composed of atoms, which in turn are made up of a nucleus of neutrons and protons, with electrons orbiting the nucleus. The orbit of the electrons can be up to 100,000 times the size of the electrons. In relative terms, that is similar to the size of the orbit of the moon around Earth, which can help us imagine how much space is in an atom. There is a lot of space inside of all of matter, and, on top of that, a solid neutron, proton, or electron has not yet been discovered. In a conversation with physicist Chris Jackson, he advised me to think less of electrons as orbiting, but to think of them as "electronness," a term that suggests shimmering. 
    If matter is predominantly space, why don't we spend more time walking through walls, rather than bumping into them? Various qualities of atoms create attractive and repellant (no judgement—simply a function) forces with other atoms. We, and all of manifest matter, are dynamically interacting amalgamations of life force energy. 
    As fields of vibration, we entrain with our surroundings. Healing sounds pioneer Jonathan Goldman describes entrainment as "an aspect of resonance...the tendency for two oscillating bodies to synchronize and vibrate in harmony." When we are in nature it is easy to sense a symphony of life, flow and rhythms, sometimes gentle, sometimes stormy and raging. At times the song of wind in the trees, a bird trill, or a woodpecker's percussion will suggest music to our ears. We can feel ourselves entrain with the calm and deep energy of trees. The often stunning proportionate quality of the visual and aural aspect of mountains and streams and plants and rocks imprints on the human consciousness, bringing harmony and order to the inner world. 
    But wherever we are, there is always a subtle underlying orchestration with which our individual energy fields will attune. A practice like Connect & Glow helps quieten the effect of the many noisy aspects in our daly lives that are vying for our attention. With a centering practice we create time and space, and develop an ongoing awareness which allows us to experience all of life as vibration, and to bring more inner music to our lives. 
    Tam Hunt writes in Scientific American: "Over the last decade, my colleague, University of California, Santa Barbara psychology professor Jonathan Schooler and I have developed what we call a “resonance theory of consciousness.” We suggest that resonance–another word for synchronized vibrations–is at the heart of not only human consciousness but also animal consciousness and of physical reality more generally... All things in our universe are constantly in motion, vibrating. Even objects that appear to be stationary are in fact vibrating, oscillating, resonating, at various frequencies. Resonance is a type of motion, characterized by oscillation between two states. And ultimately all matter is just vibrations of various underlying fields. As such, at every scale, all of nature vibrates… Something interesting happens when different vibrating things come together: They will often start, after a little while, to vibrate together at the same frequency. They “sync up,” sometimes in ways that can seem mysterious. This is described as the phenomenon of spontaneous self-organization." 

    With an understanding of ourselves as vibration, we can access deeper awareness with Being Glow: 
    Gently close your eyes, and take a nice deep breath. Slowly exhaling, allow a wave of relaxation wash through you. Just for this moment, suspend all thoughts of yourself as a solid mass, and experience yourself as a field of energy, a wave of translucent particles, a multidimensional event of different colors and densities, with movement and fluctuation flowing in and through and around the smallest bits, the cells and the atoms—clear and open, shiny and alive. 
    Visualizing light helps us experience energy in our individual fields. On your next inhalation, imagine the dots on the bottoms of your feet filling with light. As you gather energy there, the dots become brighter and bigger. As you exhale, allow the light to spread through your feet, filling the bones and muscles and tendons. 
    Take another deep breath; on the exhalation, radiate the energy down into the earth. As you inhale, draw energy up from the earth. Exhale, feeling your connection with the earth, tuning in to the energy of the earth: stable, unconditionally supportive, deeply calm. Inhale, drawing up earth energy. Exhale, sending honor and gratitude for all that the earth gives us—our earth-suits, our brothers and sisters the trees, the birds, the fish and whales, all the four-footers, our companions the wind, the flowers, refreshing rain and waterfalls, the power and healing rhythms of the oceans. The earth holds us and fills our life with beauty, a nurturing bounty of the earth that feeds our bodies, and feeds our souls. 

The Stream of Life, by Rabindranath Tagore 
The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. 
It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers. 
It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and death, in ebb and flow. 
I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life. And my song is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment. 
    As you continue to inhale light to your feet, the energy grows, and it naturally rises up your legs, filling the muscles and bones with a warm glow. All of the cells are alive with light. 
    Add an energy center at the top of your legs, near the perineum. Draw energy to this center as you inhale, and relax and open as you exhale, allowing light and warmth to spread throughout your thighs and pelvic area. Feeling grateful for the opportunity to embody spirit, all of the experiences of a physical being, pain and pleasure. Renewing a commitment to living life fully, with joy and passion. 
    Inhaling light, exhaling radiant warmth and well-being, the energy rises to your belly dot, in the middle of your belly, about an inch below the belly button. Taking a nice deep breath, draw light to this energy center. The light intensifies, and as you exhale, the light expands. Inhale, the light grows brighter, exhale, the light expands, filling your abdomen, the digestive organs, filters, eliminators, reproductive organs. Tune in to the energetic quality of this center of creativity, which brings wonder and appreciation to all of your activities. At times there is a calm expectancy, a sense of gestation, as life is unfolding. At other times the energy seems to burst forth, like the power of a seed unfurling in green stem and leaves in the springtime. 
    We’re going to add a dot at the solar plexus, about an inch above your belly button. Inhale directly to this dot, filling it with bright, glowing light. Exhale, and the light spreads, down toward the belly dot, warming the mid-back, glowing up into the diaphragm. Relaxing the solar plexus, the center of personal power. Not power over others, but the radiance of your you-ness, the special gifts you bring the world, as well as the gifts of personality edges that encourage you to grow as you bump up against them. As you continue to breathe into this energy center allow softening, allow appreciation. Inhaling to your solar plexus, filling this center with energy. Exhaling, calmly radiating your very special light. 
    Notice as this light grows it naturally rises up through your diaphragm and ribcage. And now the dot in the center of your chest is glowing with light. As you inhale the light brightens, as you exhale the light fills your chest, suffusing your heart organ, your lungs, your entire upper chest with warm, soothing light. Enjoying this warmth, relaxing as you exhale, releasing any tension, allowing your heart energy center to open. Breathing in sweetness. Breathing out sweetness. Breathing in caring. Breathing out caring. It is wonderful to bestow love on others. It is wonderful to receive love from others... For this moment, give your love to yourself. Simply feel your heart, the warmth and abundant love that resides in you, all the time, always accessible, always available. Care and sweetness living in your heart. Radiating out in front of you, through your shoulder blades, filling your collarbones, glowing into your arms. Relaxed and open. 
    Now bring your awareness to the center of your forehead, and then directly inward to the dot in the center of your brain. Notice that just putting your attention there brings more energy. The dot pulses and glows with a warm and radiant light. As you inhale, the dot in the center of your brain brightens. Exhale, and the light grows and expands. Inhale, the light brightens, exhale, and your brain is being suffused with a warm and healing glow. It is like a universe unto itself, filled with countless beautiful points of light. Your skull is filling with light, your teeth are filling with light, your tongue, your eyes, your ears. Open your awareness to the expansive and wide open feeling you have brought to your mind. This great expanse is pure and crystalline. All knowledge and wisdom is available. Trusting that you know when you know. When you don’t know, having the wisdom to hold the space for knowing to come when it comes. A great tingling, vibrant, intelligence. Inhaling light to the center, radiating light on the exhale. 
    Bring your awareness to your throat, imagining a dot at the base of your throat. Inhale, drawing energy to your throat. Exhale, the light radiates out of the front of your throat, the back of your neck, down into your chest, up into your mouth. Relaxing your throat, accessing clarity and truth. 
    On the next inhalation draw energy from your heart up to your throat. As you exhale, the light flows out from your throat in all directions. On the next inhalation draw energy from your mind center down to your throat. As you exhale, the light flows out from your throat in all directions. On your next inhalation, simultaneously draw heart energy and mind energy to your throat. Exhaling, allow the energy to spread from your throat in all directions. All communication is open, informed by caring and clarity, in expression and reception. 
    With your awareness on your hands, notice the warm and tingling sensations. Breathe into the palms of your hands. Exhale, allowing the light to spread throughout the bones and muscles and tendons. Filling your hands with glowing light. 
    Bring you awareness to the crown of your head. Inhale light to the crown of your head, relaxing and opening as you exhale. There is a tingling warmth here, a glowing light, sparkling light, rays of emanating light. You are open to divine inspiration. Imagine drawing divine inspiration through the crown to the center of your brain, to your throat, to your heart, your solar plexus, your belly, perineum, and feet, filling the Inner Stick Figure, glowing and radiating as you exhale. Now bring your awareness to the earth below your feet. Draw earth energy up through your feet, legs, perineum energy center, belly, solar plexus, heart, throat, mind, connecting with the crown of the head, filling the Inner Stick Figure, allowing the energy to radiate in all directions as you exhale. 
    On the next inhalation, draw energy up from the earth and down from the sky. The energy fills the Inner Stick Figure, and flows out through your arms and hands. Your hands carrying your work to the world, with competence and compassion. Grounded, creative, caring, inspired, bringing your gifts, your service, your beauty to all of life. 
    With your awareness on your entire being enjoy this vibrant sense of every molecule and atom and cell being alive with beautiful, bountiful energy. 
    As you continue to breathe fully, notice that the light which is generating from deep within you is beginning to come out through your skin. Your outer layer is beginning to glow with a beautiful, warm light which radiates from the center of your being. It is like giving yourself an energy hug from the inside out. 

    Now hum into each energy center to help open them even more, bringing aliveness and flow. Find the pitch that makes the energy center feel good to you—it may change while you are humming. Use the vibration of the sound to loosen any tightness and help radiate the energy. Humming is a powerful way to restore harmony and flow in the systems of the body, and throughout the energy field. 
Hum in the heart center. 
Hum in the belly center. 
Hum in the perineum center. 
Hum in the feet. 
Hum in the hands. 
Hum in the throat. 
Hum in the head. 
Hum into the crown. 
Hum down and up, and up and down—head to feet to feet to head. 
Hum the energy back and forth between the hands. 
Scan your body; hum into any places where there is tension or pain, anywhere that feels as if it would like to be hummed. 
Sit quietly for a few moments enjoying the beautiful energy field of connected aliveness you’ve created. 
    When you are ready to return to your daily activities, imagine a protective layer of light around your physical body. It could be half an inch away from your skin, or a foot away from your skin, whatever feels right to you. It is wonderful to enjoy and maintain an open energy field, but it’s helpful to have some discretion about the energy that comes into your energy field. A membrane of light surrounding you can transform the energy that is coming into your field, as well as transform the energy that you send out into the world. 

    Heal: "to make sound or whole." - Merriam-Webster 
    We all want to feel our hearts.  We want to experience "the peace that passes all understanding." (Philippians 4:7) All of us experience the longing for a sense of connection, a feeling of assurance and contentment, for fulfilling lives. Much of the time we look outside ourselves for this sense of fulfillment. There is nothing wrong with connecting externally, as long as we have an inner connection before we turn outward. This is the difference between projecting and extending. With projection we blame circumstances, conditions, and other people for our state of being. We expect others to do something that will make us feel better. When we focus on having a continuous peaceful inner awareness our disturbances diminish or even fall away, and we can enjoy sharing our lives. 
    Connect & Glow grew out of my search for a way to heal a prolonged debilitating depression. During that time a friend loaned me A General Theory of Love, a book about the brain, by three psychiatrists. The book explains the triune human brain: the reptilian brain, the limbic, or mammalian, brain, and the frontal cortex, often called the executive function center. The book emphasizes the importance of the limbic brain, and what is called limbic resonance, for physical, mental, and emotional health. Limbic resonance happens when people hang out in healthy relationships, spending time over time. It is mainly the result of looking into each others’ eyes. People are imprinted by the amount of limbic resonance they experience as infants. I suspected that, like many people, I hadn't had a lot of eye gazing with my often-distant mother. And I was spending a lot of time alone; the depression had heightened my natural sensitivity, and I found being around most people quite painful. 
    But the word resonance conjured up the thought of vibrations, and I had an idea: if everything is energy, including our thoughts, couldn’t I visualize energy stimulating my limbic brain? It didn’t seem that far out to me—as a composer and pianist, I was in touch with the effects of vibrations (sound waves), and my meditation practice gave me an increasing understanding of myself and all of life as energy. 
    I began to experiment, with two practice periods each day. 
    Closing my eyes, I pictured a small ball of light in my head, where I imagined the limbic brain to be. I sensed the light gently pulsating, and allowed the light to spread throughout my brain, silently saying affirmative statements such as, “My brain is functionally optimally,” and “I am aglow with well-being.” I began to feel better right away. I was lightening up! 
    I named the exercise Brain Glow. Since Brain Glow felt so good, I tried adding other energy centers—at the heart, hands, belly, and feet, and connecting them energetically, creating a glowing Inner Stick Figure. That became the Connect the Dots and Being Glow exercises. 
    As I continued to practice Connect & Glow I noticed that I was experiencing very little loneliness. I attributed that to the "energy hug" effect of Being Glow, and to a regular yoga practice, which includes floor postures. Simply rolling around on the floor, on a yoga or pilates mat, provides positive tactile stimulation. Sitting, lying, or walking barefoot on the earth—"earthing"—also brings balancing energy. These activities are especially beneficial when combined with intentional breathing, inhaling with extending moves, exhaling with contracting moves. 
    Many people experience loneliness in these times of increasing isolation, a result of changing family forms and loss of community, because of our increasing mobility, our dependence on social media, and the current pandemic. Although many circumstances and conditions seem out of our control, we can care for ourselves in ways which help us access well-being. 
    Our physiological, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are intrinsically interwoven. In Timeless Healing, The Power and Biology of Belief, Dr. Herbert Benson, founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, describes the scientifically-proven benefits of relaxation, which he calls the "relaxation response." The benefits include healing from stress-related disorders, as well as increasing our capacity for kindness and compassion, and overall spiritual awareness. As we relax, our bodies and brains release chemicals that make our muscles and organs find balance, allowing increased blood flow to the brain. Heart rate and blood pressure levels are reduced. With regular intentional inner awareness our systems—nervous, cardiovascular, lymphatic, digestive —are able to entrain; we find physiological homeostasis, and mental and emotional equanimity. This is enhanced with the humming practice (Tuning the Dots) that is part of Being Glow. The immune response system also benefits. You can activate an "immune tune" by bathing all of the organs, systems, skeletal, muscular, in gratitude and love while humming into them: Get centered with Connect the Dots. Then hum gratitude and love into your brain and entire nervous system. Repeat with all of the systems. What remarkable feats these functions achieve, some of which we are aware of. But so much is going on, mostly smoothly, and mostly without a hitch! 
    It is especially important to access the relaxation response in this day and age of over-stimulation—the twenty-four seven news cycle, texts and emails which seem to demand immediate attention, environmental stressors which can ramp up the fight-or-flight response. Fight-or-flight can bring muscle tension and strain, headaches, upset stomach, racing heartbeat, and shallow breathing. An ongoing release of stress hormones can contribute to cardiovascular disease, digestive issues, overtaxed adrenals, and psychological imbalances such as anxiety and depression. 
    The first step to ongoing healing is to practice conscious relaxation. Over time, relaxing becomes the norm. This does take effort, but a little effort goes a long way; we create new habits and healthy responses. We are quicker to notice if we are getting wound up, and our "peaceful place" is easily accessed with a few deep breaths and reassuring thoughts. 
    Gina Lake writes, "Not everyone sees that happiness is in their control. And even when they hear this, not everyone will choose to make themselves happy. They are choosing, instead, although largely unconsciously, the drama, fears, desires, and negative emotions created by the voice in their head. That is the default, after all, the path of least resistance. It is the easy path, because no choice is required. Happiness is a choice against what is easiest. Letting yourself follow the mind and letting yourself be tossed to and fro by it is the easiest choice, because it requires no consciousness, no awareness, and no choice. For this to change, a tiny bit of will must be developed and exercised to make that choice. That will is often only developed as a result of a great deal of suffering, once it's realized that it is one's own mind that is causing the suffering. Such is the human condition. "Your default is fear. Happiness, on the other hand, has to be learned. This may seem like a cruel setup. Why can't everyone just be happy easily? There's no simple answer to this. It has to be enough to see that this is just the way it is—and then accept it. To be angry or upset about the way life is, is just more wallowing in the ego's emotions, and that gets you nowhere. Accepting the way things are in general in life and the way things are in your life is the way to happiness and the way out of the morass of fear and other negative emotions." 
    Developing a peaceful life of spiritual awareness may seem like a lot of work, but practices such as Connect & Glow, yoga, Tai Chi, and others are, in truth, simultaneously restful and energizing. As patterns of tension—which Swami Chetanananda refers to as residues of "layers of trauma and compensation"—loosen and, ultimately, release, there is room for more flow and aliveness. An ongoing energy healing practice helps ameliorate the potential effects of daily challenges, from stressful personal interactions to toxic pollutants in the environment. Not everything can be released overnight, so be patient and kind and compassionate with yourself. 
    Which leads us to acceptance. We can drop resistance to acceptance, which is often a fear that if we are not working on changing our lives everything will remain the same. Remember that within the vibrations of Nature and music there is movement and rhythm. Life is anything but static; rather, life is an ever-shifting harmonic progression. When we find ourselves in conflict with what is, we can use a practice like Connect & Glow to bring ourselves into alignment with peace. Then we surrender to the flow of life, opening up and welcoming life. We have faith in the elegance of the unfolding, and trust in the beauty and beneficence intrinsic in each dazzling moment. Resting in gratitude in our hearts, we are able to release care and worry. 
    In The Five Invitations Frank Ostaseski writes, "The ability to watch our inner dramas without getting lost in judgement or reactivity is essential to spiritual growth. When we try to push away difficult emotions or the bodily sensations and states of mind that accompany them, we actually keep them in place. When we lock them in, we don't give them the space they need to unfold and reveal themselves, to show us what they have to teach." 
    The steps of healing are acceptance, surrender, faith, trust, and gratitude. We let go of trying, and simply allow life to unfold. Which does not mean that we aren't active, productive, creative. We are flowing, open to course corrections, switchbacks, blizzards, rainbows. 
    In Imperience, Erik Knud-Hansen defines faith as "an open and trusting quality of mind that creates balance in perilous circumstances by not reacting or trying to force a particular outcome. Faith supports courage and equanimity when we need to act in the present without knowing what the result will be. Faith is a spiritual power because the spiritual path necessarily leads through fear into the unknown domain of consciousness that our brains can neither perceive nor navigate. To exercise spiritual faith, we must not confuse it with personal hopes or wishful thinking about what we want to be true—or mistake it for clinging blindly to dogmatic views for security." 
    And Thomas Moore: "Faith is a gift of spirit that allows the soul to remain attached to its own unfolding. When faith is soulful, it is always planted in the soil of wonder and questioning. It isn't a defensive and anxious holding on to certain objects of belief, because doubt, as its shadow, can be brought into a faith that is fully mature." Divine Light is everywhere within, around, through, and as each of us, as the trees, the stars, the rocks, waterways, creatures, fruits and flowers. Discomfort, fear, and pain are often the result of contraction. If there is contraction, the radiance can be squished. But it is still there. When we are open, all states of being, including illness and pain, have room to simply be, without predominating. Whatever the circumstances, the awareness of and expression of radiance continues. 
    Some physical disease is related to emotion/thought/attachment. Some is related to environmental toxins, and/or genetics, and some to a combination of factors. We may not have control over all of those factors, but we can embrace personal responsibility for our experience of life. In whatever way the events in our lives arise, blessing everything and everyone, every thought and feeling and word and deed, will relieve any associated stress. And because everything is connected, when you positively affect your personal energy field, there is a beneficial ripple effect which emanates. As you bless yourself you are also blessing all of life. 

    There are principles, actions, and values which are common to all religious and spiritual teachings—forgiveness, truth, honesty, faith, trust, kindness, compassion, love—which lead us on a path of growth and harmony. But how do we forgive? How do we know our truth? How do we feel secure enough in our being to be comfortable extending love? 
    When we are centered in spiritual awareness we can apply specific healing techniques which then allow us to forgive, know truth, extend love. From that place of centeredness we can effectively discover and explore the spiritual principles, actions, and values noted above. The Connect & Glow Working With the Energy exercises (instructions follow) explore different topics. The deep relaxation and openness engendered by the Connect & Glow practice helps the release of patterns of tension, and supports personal growth. When we are immersed in a space of vibrant awareness we can effectively release potentially harmful patterns, and replace them with healthy patterns. "Layers of trauma and compensation" loosen, and there is room for beauty and love to flow in. 
    In Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer, Gregg Braden uses an example which shows that to achieve the state we desire, we must first become that very thing. A Native American friend of Braden's takes him to an ancient stone circle to "pray rain." His friend steps into the circle, closes his eyes, puts his hands in prayer position, and becomes very quiet. After a few moments, he opens his eyes and is ready to leave. Gregg says, "'I thought you were going to pray for rain!' 'No, I said I would pray rain...I began to have the feeling of what rain feels like... smelled the smells of rain on the earthen walls in our village...' Following the prayers of rain...feelings of thanks and appreciation were the completion of prayers." "One of the secrets of the wisdom treatments is that our prayers are most effective when we prepare ourselves as a whole being—mind, body, and spirit—to enter into a sacred conversation with the Mind of God. If the Field is going to reflect back to us what we've become, then it becomes more important than ever to be in what Native Americans call 'a good space' when we pray for healing from our hurt."   
    Connect & Glow brings us to spaciousness where detrimental patterns can dissipate, and we are left with Awareness. By relaxing deeply, connecting with the energy centers, filling the Inner Stick Figure so that it gently glows with light and warmth, allows a feeling of heart, peace, care, and connectedness to radiate in us. In this space we release our prayers with trust and faith. 
    We refrain from making prayerful entreaties. Swami Chetanananda refers to spiritual materialism as "trying to use God instead of trying to know God." In The Art of Spiritual Healing, Joel Goldsmith writes, "The beginning of wisdom is the realization that these conditions (ed: pain, lack, limitation) need not exist. Freedom from them comes not from seeking relief from God, but through seeking God and rising to that dimension of life in which only God is. There is not freedom from discord; there is not freedom from sin, false appetites, or desires; there is not freedom from poverty: There is only freedom—freedom in God, freedom in Spirit." 
    Since the ultimate desired result of most prayer is for us and our loved ones to be at peace and feel our hearts, when we practice being such a state, our prayers are already answered. 
    The following exercises are simple ways to release patterns of tension, and to allow peace to fill us. As we continue to work with energy, radiating love and peace from deep inside ourselves, those layers loosen, release, and dissipate. 
    Any situation can be taken into prayer. The following are exercises which address some common challenges. "Releasing Anxiety" and "All Heart" incorporate the Being Glow exercise. "Hoku Pa'a (Guiding Star)," "Simply Being," "Spring Cleaning," and "Ho'oponopono" are practiced after Connect the Dots and Being Glow. 
    At the end of any of these practices, imagine a membrane of light around you, like a cocoon—a filter that transforms all of the energy coming into your field to beneficial energy, allowing you to remain open, but protected from potentially detrimental energies. 

Working With the Energy: Releasing Anxiety 
    The affirmations used in this exercise are listed in the Appendix.     
    Begin with Connect the Dots. 
    Inhale, filling your Inner Stick Figure with light. As you gently exhale, silently say the following affirmation: I allow any anxiety I may be feeling to simply dissipate like a sunlit fog... Repeat: I allow any anxiety I may be feeling to simply dissipate like a sunlit fog. 
    Bring your awareness to the dot in the center of your brain. Inhale light to this energy center, and enjoy a sense of openness and expansion as you exhale, returning to trust in your innate Knowing and Wisdom. Light radiates throughout your brain; it is aglow with warm vibrant light. 
     As the light continues to radiate throughout your head, silently say the following affirmation: Anxious thoughts dissipate. I trust Wisdom to guide me... Repeat: Anxious thoughts dissipate. I trust Wisdom to guide me. 
    We’ll add an energy center at the base of the throat, the communication center. Inhale light to this center, relaxing and opening as you exhale. Warmth and light glows out the back of your neck, up toward your jaw, down toward your heart, out the front of your throat. The feeling is clear and calm. 
      As the light continues to radiate, silently say the following affirmation: Any sense of a need for anxious talking fades away. Openness and clarity remain... Repeat: Any sense of a need for anxious talking fades away. Openness and clarity remain. 
    Bring your awareness to your heart center, in the middle of your chest. Breathing in warmth and light, sweetness radiates as you exhale. Peacefully resting here for a moment. Allow yourself a nice, big sigh, enjoying peace, contentment, care, compassion. Ease and grace allow you to experience compassion for those you meet—not knowing their life circumstances, understanding that they are doing the best they can, recognizing the beauty that dwells in them. Also compassion for yourself. Take a moment to acknowledge yourself for all you’ve done and continue to do as you evolve as your highest self. You are amazing—the beauty you bring in even the toughest times.         Breathing into your heart, silently saying, Anxious feelings of lack disappear. My heart brims with sweetness and peace... Repeat: Anxious feelings of lack disappear. My heart brims with sweetness and peace. 
    We’ll add a center at the solar plexus, about an inch above the belly button. Inhaling to your solar plexus, relax and soften as you exhale. This energy center is the seat of your personality, where the unique gifts you bring to the world reside. If you sense any edginess here simply breathe into the edginess, and soften as you exhale. If you are around a person whose edges bump up against yours, simply breathe and soften, take a moment; there is no need to react. 
    Take another nice deep breath here, appreciating your special being. Silently say, Anxious feelings about self worth vanish. I am confident and calm… Breathing into your solar plexus, relaxing and softening. Anxious feelings about self worth vanish. I am confident and calm. 
    Bring your awareness to your belly dot, about an inch below your belly button. As you inhale light to this center it becomes a glowing ball of light. As you exhale, the light spreads in all directions, filling the surrounding organs, the sacrum; your bum is warmed in your chair. Getting in touch with the creative energy which rises up magnificently here. Ideas are abundant, stamina is abundant, without being overwhelming. The joy of possibilities. 
    The affirmation for this center is: Tension releases. Energy flows in all directions... Repeat: Tension releases. Energy flows in all directions. 
    We'll add an energy center at the top of the legs, near the perineum. Inhaling, filling with light and warmth, opening to dynamic life force energy. Exhaling, filling with enthusiasm. Releasing any sense of constriction, enjoying unimpeded flow. 
    Silently say: Life force flows through me freely and gracefully... Repeat: Life force flows through me freely and gracefully. 
    Now inhale light to the dots on the bottoms of your feet; they become warm, glowing balls of light. The light radiates in all directions as you exhale, filling the muscles and tendons, glowing out through the skin to the earth below. Feeling deeply connected with the earth—the dirt and rocks and creepy-crawlies and birds, the oceans, trees, flowers. The rhythms of the the days, the rhythms of the seasons. 
    Silently say: I feel my feet deeply connected with the steadfast beauty of the earth. I am secure in the support of the earth. Repeat: I feel my feet deeply connected with the steadfast beauty of the earth. I am secure in the support of the earth. 
    Gratitude rises up, filling feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, hips, belly, back, chest, arms, hands, neck, face, mind—warm and joyful... Gratitude abides with me... Gratitude abides. 
    The crown tingles with warmth, glowing, sparkling, relaxing and opening. Inhaling divine inspiration, filling the inner stick figure. This beautiful glowing light flows through the arms and out through open hands, an offering  of peace and tranquility. 
    Hum into this energy field, opening even more. Humming into your mind, your throat, heart, hands, solar plexus, belly, legs, feet. 
    Fill your inner stick figure, and the light radiates in all directions ,filling every nook and cranny, coming out through your skin. It's like giving yourself an energy hug from the inside out. 
    Once again, silently affirm: I allow any anxiety I may be feeling to simply dissipate like a sunlit fog. 
    Over the next several days, reconnect with your glowing Inner Stick Figure, and choose one of the affirmations to repeat to yourself throughout the day. 

Working With the Energy: All Heart 
    The All Heart practice is a colorful visualization where we draw heart energy to all of the energy centers. It is a beautiful way to enjoy vibrant aliveness. 
    Begin by getting centered with Connect the Dots. 
    Inhaling, draw vibrant energy, pictured as light, to the dots on the bottoms of your feet. Your feet fill with warm glowing light; as you exhale the light radiates in all directions, permeating the muscles, bones, and skin. You feel deeply connected with the earth. This light takes on hues of the earth—rich browns, russet, maroon, deep green, the dappled clarity of waterways. Inhale, filling your feet with these earthen tones, then exhale gratitude to the earth. 
    This colorful light rises through your ankles, calves, knees, and thighs, and we add an energy center at the top of the legs, near the perineum. Breathe energy in the form of light to this center, enjoying the sense of aliveness and freedom which flows in all directions on the exhale. The color of the light here is deep purple, signifying your birthright as a divine being embodying spirit. As you breathe into this energy center, celebrate your commitment to being present to dynamic life force energy. 
    The energy rises to your belly center, about an inch below your belly button. Breathe warm, glowing light here, allowing it to spread throughout your belly as you exhale; it spreads throughout the organs, the sacrum, and the lower back. The light is a clear ruby-red, shot through with hues of deep orange. The red and orange swirl together, like the birth of a star, a nebula of potential creativity and aliveness. Breathe in, the light strengthens and brightens. Exhale, and the light radiates in all directions, rising up to your solar plexus, where we add another energy center. Breathe warm, soothing light to your solar plexus; as you exhale the light fills your stomach, the diaphragm and ribs. The light here is a beautiful strong, clear yellow, shining and radiant. This energy center is the seat of your personality, shining with the many facets and gifts which you bring to the world. Enjoy a sense of relaxation, softening, and opening as you shine golden light.   
    The light rises to the energy center in the middle of your chest, your heart center. Allow this center to soften and relax as you breathe into it. There is a sweet soft light suffusing your chest, filling your physical heart, your lungs, shining out under your arms, out between your shoulder blades. The light here is pink, shot through with the green light of healing, radiant with golden filaments. What a joy it is to rest here in the comfort of heart energy. 
    The energy rises up, and we add an energy center at the base of the throat. Allow the throat to open, releasing any sense of tension or restriction. The color here is sky blue, signifying clear communication, a flow of give and take. Inhaling more energy to this center, and the blue brightens and strengthens. As you exhale this exhilarating light radiates in all directions—out the front of your throat, the back of your neck, toward the heart, up toward the jaw. 
    The light rises up, through the roof of your mouth, to the dot in the center of your brain, which is now a glowing ball of light. It shines like a crystal prism, emanating  shafts of rainbow light. The entire brain is aglow with wisdom and joy and trust. The crown of the head is also alive with light. Breathe into the crown, allowing it to relax and open. There is a beautiful lavender light here, shot through with silver—sparkling light, tingling light, glowing light, rays of light. 
    Open the crown to Universal Love. On the next inhale, draw Universal Love to your heart center. The heart center is like an electrical transformer. It is the mechanism that enables us to have a personal experience of Universal Love, which is everywhere, always. Fill your heart with Universal Love. The pink and green and gold are shimmering waves of color. 
    Now draw this pink-green-gold light to your solar plexus, which is still shining strong yellow. The pink-green-gold of the heart intermingles with the yellow, but the colors do not blend—they swirl together in a kind of dance. Feel the heart energy infusing your personal power with care and compassion. 
    Continue to draw the pink-green-gold heart energy to the belly center, which is still ruby red and orange. The pink-green-gold of the heart intermingles with the ruby red and orange, but the colors do not blend—they swirl together in a kind of dance. Feel the heart energy infuse this center of creativity with joy. 
    Continue to draw the pink-green-gold heart energy to the perineum, which is still deep purple. The pink green gold of the heart intermingles with the purple, but the colors do not blend—they swirl together in a kind of dance. Feel the heart energy infusing this center of passion and aliveness with respect and dignity. 
    Continue to draw the pink-green-gold heart energy to the feet, which are still deep earth colors. The pink-green-gold of the heart intermingles with the browns and maroons and greens, but the colors do not blend—they swirl together in a kind of dance. Feel the heart energy infusing your grounded feet with humility and gratitude. 
    Return your awareness to your heart center. Inhaling, draw the pink green gold heart energy to the throat, which is still sky blue. The pink-green-gold of the heart intermingles with the blue, but the colors do not blend—they swirl together in a kind of dance. Feel the heart energy infusing this center of communication with authenticity and interactive rhythm. 
    Draw the pink-green-gold heart energy to the brain, which is still a crystalline rainbow. The pink-green-gold of the heart intermingles with the rainbows, but the colors do not blend—they swirl together in a kind of dance. Feel the heart energy infusing this center of wisdom with trust and expansive, joyous knowing. 
    Inhaling, fill your now dynamically radiating Inner Stick Figure with light, and as you exhale, allow the energy to run out through your arms to your hands, which are gigantic glowing mitts of swirling color. 
    You can hum into all of these energy centers, enjoying the effect the vibration of humming has on the different colors. 
    Sit quietly for a few moments, enjoying this vibrant energy. 
    "The key is that we must find a way to see beyond the hurt, suffering, and pain that the world is showing us and recognize the beauty that already exists in all things. Only then will we have unleashed the potential of prayer in our lives, and its power in our lives." - Gregg Braden. 
    In the days ahead, reconnect with your colorfully glowing Inner Stick Figure. Take a moment during your daily activities and tune in to the vibrant colors in the energy fields of people around you. This may or may not be a visual experience with your eyesight. You may have a feeling of movement or vibrancy. Sarayu from The Shack again: "The pattern of color and light is unique to each person; no two are alike and no pattern is ever the same twice. Here we are able to see  each other truly, and part of seeing means that individual personality and emotion is visible in color and light." 

Working With the Energy: Hoku Pa'a (Guiding Star) 
    An exercise for accessing inner guidance. Hoku Pa'a is Hawaiian for North Star. 
    Begin with Connect the Dots. 
    Breathe into the soles of your feet, feeling deeply supported, trusting that your path will continue to delightfully unfold. 
    Breathe into the energy center at the top of your legs, trusting the vital energy which rises up here. 
    Breathe into the energy center in your belly, relaxing and opening, with gratitude for the creative inspiration that supports you in every way. 
    Breathe into your solar plexus, relaxing and opening, knowing what is right for you in any given moment. 
    Breathe into your heart center, relaxing and opening, filling with peaceful sweetness, loving your life, holding a space which supports others in shining their love light. 
    Breathe into the energy center in the middle of your brain, relaxing and opening to clarity and wisdom. 
    Breathe into the crown of your head, relaxing and opening. 
    Above your head, about 12 inches, is a shining star, hoku pa’a, guiding light, twinkling bright and clear. 
    Energetically connect all these energy centers, drawing light from the guiding star to the crown, crown to brain, to heart, to hands, from the heart to the solar plexus, to belly, to perineum, perineum to feet. Radiating, open to illumination. 
    Now, ask into this expansive, dynamically vibrant space: "What do I need to know this moment?" Opening to a knowing, an idea, an answer, reassurance, information, an affirmation... "What do I need to know, this moment?" Quietly listening. Sometimes there are words. Sometimes there is a picture. Sometimes simply experiencing peace and openness is all you need to know in this moment. Allowing gratitude to fill your heart, filling your being. "Thank you. Thank you for this guidance." 
    Now, if you have a specific question, offer it into this field of energy, knowing that an answer will come—perhaps right away, perhaps over time. Simply release it to this vibrant field of knowingness. 
    Over the next several days continue to listen—listen with your ears, listen with your heart, your intuition, your eyes—holding a space for knowing. 

Working With the Energy: Simply Being 
    Begin with Connect the Dots and Being Glow. 
    Check in with your Inner Stick Figure. Notice how far the glow extends. It could be just around your skin, it could fill up the whole room. 
    However far it extends, take a deep breath, and on the exhalation, allow the glow to extend farther—out around the building, down into the ground, into the sky above the building—while remaining connected with your Inner Stick Figure. 
    Take another deep breath, and on the exhalation, allow the energy to extend over the neighborhood, over the city. On your next exhalation, the energy goes out over the state, deep into the earth, up into the sky. On the next exhalation, the energy goes out into the solar system, and beyond, through the earth, out into the stars. 
    Remaining connected to your Inner Stick Figure, enjoy this incredible expansive radiance. 
    On your next inhalation, draw all of the energy back into your inner stick figure—it is glowing so bright—and then gently, easily, allow it to expand back out into the universe on the exhale. Repeat, drawing all of the energy back into your inner stick figure—it glows intensely bright—then gently, easily, allow it to expand out into the universe on the exhale. 
    Still connected to your Inner Stick Figure, enjoy the expansive, open awareness. 
    Now, slowly draw the energy back towards the earth, back to the state, back to the neighborhood, to your home, to you. Letting the energy radiate a comfortable distance from you. 
    "Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained as all the light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity, forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity, nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside for there is nowhere that this light is not." - A Course in Miracles, Reason & Perception: The Forgotten Song 

Working With the Energy: Spring (or Any Season) Cleaning 
    This practice helps us to let go of an aspect of how we operate which isn’t working well, replacing it with a higher mode of being. 
    Begin with Connect the Dots and Being Glow. 
    Allow a thought pattern or behavior which has been giving you trouble come to mind. It could be aggressive driving, procrastination, putting yourself down, not listening to others...a myriad of possibilities. Allow just one to come to mind. 
    We are going to call this an ICM (ick-um), an Inappropriate Coping Mechanism. As you think of the identified ICM, bring your awareness into your body and discover where the tension from the ICM is. Throat? Neck? Shoulders? Solar plexus? Inhale a deep breath to that place, and relax and open, releasing any tightness, any pain. Breathe light to this spot, allowing the radiance to loosen, as you release the ICM energy. Bless the ICM on its journey. Thank you for helping me get this far. You have helped me survive. I release you with gratitude. 
    We are going to replace the ICM with a DELFE , a Divine Expression of Life Force Energy (named for Diane Evans, prayer chaplain extraordinaire). Allow a healthy life strategy come to mind to replace the ICM. It might be love, compassion, setting boundaries, patience, trust, kindness—a myriad of DELFEs.   
    Deeply tune in to the vibration of the DELFE. On the inhale, fill the area vacated by the ICM with the DELFE energy. Breathing in radiance, releasing any tension or pain on the exhale, allowing light and love to fill you. 
    Over the next several days, any time you notice yourself reverting to the ICM, pause. Release the ICM, and fill yourself with the DELFE. 

Working With the Energy: Ho'oponopono 
    Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice. Loosely translated, ho'oponopono means “make right.” It is a path of forgiving and amends. I first learned the Ho'oponopono practice from Chris Wuebker, a teacher and healer in Seattle, who taught tapping into Universal Love for healing. This is the Connect & Glow version of Ho'oponopono. 
    Begin with Connect the Dots and Being Glow. 
    Let a person you love and care about come to mind. In your mind’s eye, picture a small version of them standing on a small stage before you. Picture a dot on the bottom of each of their feet. Picture a dot in their belly, about an inch below the belly button. Picture a dot in the center of their chest. Picture a dot in the palm of each hand. Picture a dot in the center of their brain. 
    Draw a line from the dot in their brain to the dot in the center of their chest. Two lines radiate out from the chest through each arm to the dots in the palms in their hands. Draw a line from the chest dot to the belly dot. Two lines from the belly dot through each leg to the dots on the bottom of each foot. 
    You have connected the dots and created an inner stick figure inside of them. 
With an imaginary rheostat light switch, gently bring up the power. They begin to glow from within with a warm and beautiful light. You sense a smile in their heart. Picture the crown of their head relaxing and opening to Universal Love; they fill with glowing love-light. 
    Allow them to dissolve into the surrounding light as you bring your attention back to your own inner stick figure. 
    Let a person you are having trouble with come to mind. In your mind’s eye, picture a small version of that person standing on a small stage before you. Picture a dot on the bottom of each of their feet. Picture a dot in their belly, about an inch below the belly button. Picture a dot in the center of their chest. Picture a dot in the palm of each hand. Picture a dot in the center of their brain. 
    Draw a line from the dot in their brain to the dot in the center of their chest. Two lines radiate out from the chest through each arm to the dots in the palms in their hands. Draw a line from the chest dot to the belly dot. Two lines from the belly dot through each leg to the dots on the bottom of each foot. 
    You have connected the dots and created an inner stick figure inside of them. 
With an imaginary rheostat light switch, gently bring up the power. They begin to glow from within with a warm and beautiful light. You sense a smile in their heart. Picture the crown of their head relaxing and opening to Universal Love; they fill with glowing love-light. 
    Allow them to dissolve into the surrounding light as you bring your attention back to your own inner stick figure. 
    Repeat this treatment over the next several days, replacing the Connect the Dots and Being Glow preparation with Quick Glow (see appendix). 
    "If there is to be any loving, I am perfectly willing to be the avenue through which You, God, can love them through me... We have to learn to let God do the loving and be willing to be an instrument through which God's love flows to our friends and to our enemies." - Joel S. Goldsmith   
    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Sermon on the Mount,  Matthew, 5:43-48. 
    A Course in Miracles teaches us to see as God sees. God is not caught up in the "stuff." God sees only the divinity, the beauty of creation. To forgive, we overlook offending traits and/or behaviors, and see the essence of God in each one. We see with the eyes of Christ: "Christ's vision is the Holy Spirit's gift, God's alternative to the illusion of separation... Its kindly light shows all things from another point of view, reflecting the thought system that arises from knowledge and making return to God not only possible but inevitable. What was regarded as an injustice done to one by someone else now becomes a call for help and for union. Sin, sickness, and attack are seen as misperceptions calling for remedy through gentleness and love." And from Philippians 2:5: "Let the same mind be in you as was in Christ Jesus." 
    The genius of channeling universal love in Ho'oponopono is that it is not up to me to generate love. What is up to me is to release blocks, open to love, extend love, see love, be love. Again, Joel S. Goldsmith: "God's work is done, finished, and complete, but it is in unfolding to our conscious awareness in proportion as we learn the truth and how to bring ourselves into harmony with that truth. The next step is not up to God; it is up to you and me." 
    We live the truth that accessing our innate wisdom is our birthright. In the Working With the Energy exercises we become peace, we become all-heart energy, we become forgiveness, we are simply being, we are simply present, we are simply radiant, we are simply beauty. 

    "Every object, every thought, every emotion, every experience is a doorway ... to higher Consciousness." - Swami Shankarananda   
    Karma is often thought of as a cause and effect mechanism, with shades of tit for tat and gotcha! Those rudimentary elements are a small part of the way energy works in our universe. A more whole-picture view of karma is that we draw experiences to ourselves that energetically match with what we need for our soul development, in a gigantic unfoldment of synchronicity. Development usually involves growth, and growth may include growing pains. We can try to avoid growing pains by shutting down and numbing out, but that leads to other kinds of pain—isolation, energetic congestion, illness. And usually when unwanted experiences are stifled they pop out unexpectedly, often with unpleasant effects. But the more aware we become of ourselves as vibration, the more we can work with our thoughts and feelings in ways that positively affect our personal energy fields; we attract more beauty and peace. 
    In Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing Frank Ostaseski writes, "We like the familiar; we like certainty. We love to have our preferences met. In fact, most of us have been taught that getting what we want and avoiding what we don't want is the way to assure our happiness. Inevitably, though, there are unexpected experiences in our lives... that we want to push away with all our might. When I say that we should be receptive to whatever presents itself to us, do I mean that we should let life walk all over us? Not at all. When we are open and receptive, we have options. We are free to discover, to investigate, and to learn how to respond skillfully to anything we encounter. With practice we discover that our well-being is not solely dependent on what's happening in our external reality; it comes from within." 
    Each individual is born with a basic operating template; our personality type and emotional traits guide our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and these characteristics are shaped as we respond to environmental factors such as family, culture, and our geographical surroundings. These patterns draw our experiences to us; we have custom-made opportunities to work with these patterns. 
    In All Grace Gina Lake writes, "Everyone is learning, and everyone’s teacher is suffering. There are other gentler teachers as well: books, healers, spiritual teachers, lovers, friends, and other helpers. But the process of learning is such that people make mistakes and, in so doing, hurt or harm others. It can be no other way. You are given an ego that reflects an illusory reality, which doesn’t reflect the Truth. It is discovered by following the faulty programming until it causes so much pain for yourself and others that you wake up out of the programming and find another way to live. If you see the mistakes that others make along the way as unfair, then that is an opportunity to change your perception to one that doesn’t make you suffer… Find a way to see things that doesn’t cause you pain, and you will have found the Truth. Other people are your teachers in this way. They challenge you to find a way to not suffer over their behavior. Life seems unfair to the ego because the ego wants life to be a certain way. But life isn’t unfair. It is the way it is for a reason, and that reason is not unreasonable or unkind or unfair. It is the way it is so that you will awaken from the Illusion and discover the glory of your divine nature. Everyone’s story has a happy ending." 
    We don't need to go looking for opportunities for growth. Karma and its gifts are an intrinsic part of the ongoing symphony of life. We do need to watch out for the ego's attempts to undermine our efforts toward growth and wholeness. It is rare for humans to "transcend" or "dissolve" the ego. But with gratitude and compassion we can transform the ego. Really, the ego only wants to help! That is its purpose. The ego wants to maintain the status quo, protect us from the risk of the unknown. Sometimes desperately! 
    Again, Frank Ostaseski: "Compassion requires that we get in touch with what hurts. It's the pain, the suffering itself, that invites compassion to manifest. The intelligence of compassion brings forward a kindness that is not trying to get rid of suffering. This goes counter to the ego's wishes. Ego only wants to be protected from pain. Compassion opens to pain." 
    We can extend compassion to the ego. 
    Resisting, bludgeoning, or shaming our feelings and thoughts and beliefs only hinders healing, and can add another layer of tension to the energy field. Affirmations are helpful in healing, but the ego can be confused when our thoughts are contradictory to the feelings we are experiencing; it is likely the ego will overreact. We want the ego to be clear and reassured. The mind and the ego don’t like being manipulated or even lied to. We must be authentic, to the best of our abilities at any given moment. If not, any feelings we’ve squished, bypassed, ignored, or pushed away will come back—often with a vengeance. 
    The comfort mudra is helpful with this process. Mudra is a yogic term for hand positions which have particular effects. The comfort mudra—left hand on right upper chest, right arm across the upper belly—is calming, comforting, centering. We can use it any time we are disturbed. With our hands in the comfort mudra position we honor our feelings with gratitude, then we release them with intentional breathing. "Thank you for being the guardian of my safety. Let’s try this a different way. If we don’t like it, we can always go back." After we release we can say affirmations to reset the energetic field. 
    Regret, for instance: comfort the regret; try not to reject it or quash it. Hold the regret in the comfort mudra. I am listening. What are you trying to show me? I hear you, regret. Thank you for this learning. You are a great teacher, you are a great protector. I now let go of this regret, and I call in love, peace, joy, and gratitude. Sit for a moment growing the sense of love, peace, joy, and gratitude. Hold those healing feelings in the same space where the regret had been, continuing to embrace any lingering fear with unconditional care. 
    Another common defense is worry. Place hands in the comfort mudra. Hello, worry. How’d things go for you today? What a friend you are, always looking out for me. And now I can take a deep breath, and allow you to transform to love, peace, joy, and gratitude. 
     When the ego stands in the way of soul development, it doesn’t want us to experience the pain the development might bring. "The way out is through,” (Virgil, in Dante's Inferno). But the ego does not want to “sit with the feeling” or "move through the feeling." It just wants to change the feeling, which can bring on a triggering event. Why? Why are we reacting with feelings of regret, abandonment, shame, worry, and so on? The function of the ego—to protect us from annihilation, or any kind of harm—is often driven by unconscious conditioning. We aren’t necessarily consciously aware of the conditioning because it was probably laid in before we were three years old. We don't need to know the why, we don't need to know the story. Yes, our stories are interesting and important. But we can heal energy patterns without knowing the who, what, where, and why. Simply love the inner brat that is acting out, and bring it to security; then it can return to being the inner child of wonder and awe. We heal defended patterns (that were created by our woundings) by breathing love into them. They loosen, release, and let go. For those of us who had less-than-perfect parenting experiences as children, this is a loving form of reparenting. 
    A triggering event is a perfect time to release patterns. When things are buried they can still influence feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. When something is "up" it is easier to identify, heal, and let go. Ask: What are you trying to show me? This takes courage! Some reactions are habit, patterns of energy settled in the physiology. Come back to the breath and the relaxation response. Be patient and kind—some contracted patterns of defense take awhile to release and let go. Breathe. 
    Through sensitive attunement to energy, all life experiences—joy, adversity, stress, loss, success—can be powerful inspiration and motivation for continuing development. As we heal, our karmic destiny transforms. We are less defended, so we create less conflict. Our healing extends in all directions over space and time. 

EVOLUTION (of awareness—consciousness already IS and does not need to evolve) 
    Although the social evolution of humans often looks like a two-steps-forward, one (or more)-step-back dance, in the big picture we are making progress toward becoming an enlightened species. 
    "My heart’s desire is to have everyone awaken/remember their pure consciousness, and live and move and make their life choices from that place. This would in fact introduce the golden age. This would be an ending-of-the-world as we have known it—stress, struggle, war, grief, horror, terrorism, etc." - Kay Snow-Davis 
    Our evolution as a species does point us toward enlightenment. Physiologically, the ability to maintain calm in the face of danger and the knowledge of our inevitable death is a survival mechanism which leads to increased health and longer life. SPECT imaging of the brains of meditators shows an increase of activity in the frontal lobe of the brain, and a decrease in the parietal lobe, which results in decreased anxiety, and increased focus, longevity, and quality of life.   
    In religious terms, our Western idea of God—our image and likeness of God—has evolved over time. God as depicted in the Old Testament was judgmental and had a vengeful temper. Jesus's ministry emphasized love and healing. New Thought teachings reference “the Christ Within”—the divinity in every being. Today some mainstream Christian ministers include Christ Consciousness in their lexicon. There is more information available to us from more diverse sources than ever before. According to historian Rutger Bregman, "We are hardwired for kindness, geared toward cooperation rather than competition, and more inclined to trust rather than distrust one another...most people, deep down, are pretty decent." 
    Practicing and learning to maintain beneficial energy and thought states over time creates increasingly healthy and refined patterns of being. The human brain functions as a pattern recognition system. Repeating negative thoughts and feelings creates neural pathways, much like a stream of water cuts a deep canyon through a mountain. Conversely, as we practice accessing oneness and peace we become oneness and peace. 
    So, in addition to receiving personal benefits from practices designed to deepen our spiritual awareness, we also contribute to humanity as a whole. Any time anyone anywhere raises their awareness they are contributing to the evolution of humankind. As more people choose connecting with Universal Love over the inertia of complacency our brains and energy fields adapt. There is a synergistic effect as glimmers of enlightenment multiply, and humanity as a whole is lifted up, and the peace and love functions of our brains and social mechanisms are enhanced, and become the norm.      
    If you become discouraged by the appearance of two-steps-forward and one-step back, consider how things might be if no one ever extended kindness, care, prayer. Every moment of awareness adds to the whole. 
    " a light force which radiates objectively and which directs creative evolution toward the world's future. It is the celestial and spiritual counterpart of terrestrial and natural instincts of biological reproduction. In other words, hope is what moves and directs spiritual evolution in the world." - Valentin Tomberg     
    And even though it could take 100,000 years for us to reach a "Golden Age," change can also occur quickly. Here is Matthew Alper on Stephen J. Gould's theory of occasional rapid evolution: "Sometimes these evolutionary fluctuations occur in a slow and steady progression that transforms species over a protracted period of time. Other times, a beneficial genetic mutation emerges that is so dramatically different from its peers that a species can be transformed within a few generations." 
    Our awareness becomes one with God. We already are one with God, so we don't have to become one with God. But we do need to bring our full awareness to the truth that we are one with God. We understand and act according to the fact that we are all in this together. 
    "While in the midst of an epiphany, folks inevitably apply the term “discovery” to lands, people, and ideas that have always been present. We use the language of strange and alien sightings when the more accurate statement would be, 'Eureka! I have just awakened to a long-standing reality that an inner unveiling has finally allowed me to see.'" - Barbara Holmes 
    Perhaps the ultimate goal is ego-free enlightenment—may we love the journey without fixating on the destination! Jesus taught, "Love thy neighbor as thyself" (Mark 12:31). To be able to truly love your neighbor, to recognize and appreciate their divine essence, love yourself, every part of yourself—the good, the bad, the ugly, the magnificent. Here we are together, muddling through, with moments of beautiful clarity. My personal goal is to make the moments of clarity more often, closer together, to make the habit of catching myself going into old defensive mechanisms sooner—remembering to back off any defensiveness. Then, from a place of being centered in care and compassion for myself, I can extend the same care and compassion to others. 
    "Enlightenment is the experience of being in touch with the Truth in most moments. Although those who are enlightened may not be in touch with the Truth constantly, they never lose sight of its existence and can always return to the subtle realm by simply giving it their attention… A certain capacity to experience the subtle realm must be developed. This is accomplished in the same way anything is: through practice. By turning your attention again and again to the subtle realm, as is done in meditation, your ability to perceive this realm and maintain that perception is improved. Like anything that must be practiced, just reading about this isn’t enough. You have to practice giving your attention to something other than the usual thoughts and feelings…Doing this is hard at first, like doing anything new. But the more you practice attending to the subtle realm, the easier it becomes. What you are doing by practicing this is creating connections in your brain which will make tying in to the subtle realm more natural and automatic. Once these connections are developed, you will have 'learned' how to do this. Then as long as you continue using this capability, you will retain it." - Gina Lake, All Grace 
    Joining with others synergistically increases beneficial results throughout the energy field. The International Peace Project, "The Power of 8" (Lynne McTaggart), "The Maharishi Effect," and numerous other prayer experiments and ongoing practices demonstrate the evolutionary potential of the intentional focus of energy. "When tension is relieved within a group of people through meditation and prayer, the effects are felt beyond the immediate group. In 1972, 24 cities in the United States with populations over 10,000 experienced meaningful changes in their communities when as few as one percent (100 people) participated. These and similar studies led to a landmark study, the International Peace Project in the Middle East... During the Israeli-Lebanese war of the early 1980s, researchers trained a group of people to "feel" peace in their bodies rather than simply think about peace in their minds or pray for peace to occur... During the window of time that they were feeling peace, terrorist activities stopped, crimes against people lessened, emergency room visits declined, and traffic accidents dropped off in number." 

    A prayer circle is a meaningful way to connect with others and to be part of uplifting the Collective. With a regular weekly practice, the time commitment adds up to about two and a half hours per month—one hour on the monthly meeting day (meeting on Zoom or in person), and about half an hour for the regular weekly prayer times the rest of the month. 
    At the monthly group meeting, one of the members leads a centering meditation. Next, the group members hold each member in prayer, then bring others they are holding in prayer into the circle. Close with all of humanity, the Earth, and all of Creation. 
    In the Connect & Glow version of the Prayer Posse we begin with Connect the Dots. When we have connected the energy centers, and are breathing light into our Inner Stick Figures, we add an energy center on the crown of the head. We relax and allow the crown center to open to Universal Love. We each draw Universal Love to our personal heart centers. Then we imagine a line of light going from our heart center to the heart center of each member of our group. We picture lines of light extending between all of the members; we are tapping in to a matrix of Universal Love. 
    Then we name and bring into the circle the people we wish to hold in prayer, picturing each of them filled with Universal Love. 
    Next we apply the same treatment to all of humanity, to Planet Earth, and to all of life upon the earth. 
    When the prayer session is done we name the people and/or situations that we will be holding in prayer over the next month, until our next meeting. 
    If you belong to a church or other community there can be a variety of days and times for people to choose from. Individuals only need to make a commitment to their regularly scheduled time. Prayer Posse members experience personal benefits from this practice, while they also contribute to the evolution of humankind. 
    "For where two or three gather in my name (i.e., in Christ Consciousness), there am I with them." Matthew, 18:20. Even if we are are alone we can still tune in to the energy of anyone and everyone anywhere who is praying peace at that moment. At any given time, there will be at least one other being praying peace, feeling peace, being peace. Following the steps of the Connect & Glow Prayer Posse practice, once you draw Universal Love to your personal heart center, radiate lines of light in all directions from your heart, knowing and trusting that those lines of love light are connecting and are part of a synergistic effect. 
    The evolutionary history of biblical epochs have been marked by covenants. A new covenant can be formed, with all of life—our promise to ourselves, Our Self, to the Spirit of All Being—to open, deepen, uplift, and expand our consciousness, intrinsic in our individual awareness, present in all life. To be peace. 
    In the first sentence of The Art of Spiritual Healing, Joel S. Goldsmith writes, "The world is not in need of a new religion, nor is the world in need of a new philosophy: What the world needs is healing and regeneration. The world needs people who, through devotion to God, are so filled with the Spirit that they can be instruments through which healings take place, because healing is important to everybody." 

    It is up to each of us find our way to being peace. "When a... practice is not right for someone, the practice feels difficult, dry and fruitless. When it is right it feels easy, right and fulfilling." - Swami Shankarananda, Consciousness is Everything  We are each ultimately responsible for our own connection with and expression of the Divine. A regular Connect & Glow practice is an easy way to access the Inner Stick Figure, and reconnect with glowing warmth and peace at any time, and, over time, to be peace on an ongoing basis. 
    In The Jesus Code, John Randolph Price shares the beautiful imagery of a dream he had: "I was shown a large ball nearly as tall as I was, and a male voice told me to grab the ball. As I tried to do so, it moved away. I began chasing the ball and it continued to elude my grasp. Then he said, "To catch the ball, you must become the ball... Find the point of contact within your mind that corresponds to the object of the ball. See within. Feel within. Now slowly walk into that which you are seeing and become the ball... This is the secret of prayer." 
    Gregg Braden, once again: "We are always feeling in each moment of every day of our lives. While we may not be aware of just what we're feeling, we are feeling nonetheless. If the feeling is the prayer, and we're always feeling, then that means we're always in a state of prayer. Each moment is a prayer. Life is a prayer! We're always sending a message to the mirror of creation, signaling healing or disease, peace or war, honoring or dishonoring our relationships with those we love… Prayer is what we are!Feeling is the prayer, and we feel all of the time. We can feel our gratitude for the peace in our world because there is always peace somewhere. We can feel the appreciation for the healing in our loved ones, because we heal and are renewed to some degree every day." At any moment throughout the day we can check in with our feelings. With the help of the Comfort Mudra, we can transform "life-denying emotions such as anger, hate, jealousy, and rage" to "life-affirming emotions such as gratitude, compassion, and love."   
    In Messages From Water, Masaru Emoto's photographs of water crystals show the effects of emotional content, as well as chemical toxins and different musical styles, on the structure and clarity of the crystals. Crystals which are given loving messages are strikingly beautiful, symmetrical, and a wonder to behold. Crystals that are the recipients of negative messaging are muddied and contorted. It is a clear message to us that living love and peace benefits all of life. 
    A Course in Miracles: "Now what was seen as merely shadows become solid gains, to be counted on in all 'emergencies' as well as tranquil times. Indeed, the tranquility is their result; the outcome of honest learning, consistency of thought and full transfer. This is the stage of real peace, for here is Heaven's state fully reflected. From here, the way to Heaven is open and easy. In fact, it is here. Who would 'go' anywhere, if peace of mind is already complete? And who would seek to change tranquility for something more desirable? What could be more desirable than this?" 
    We heal ourselves, and then extend as universal healing. 


Connect & Glow: Releasing Anxiety Affirmations 
General Release: I allow any anxiety I may be feeling to simply dissipate like a sunlit fog. 
Brain Center: anxious thoughts dissipate. I trust Wisdom to guide me. 
Throat Center: Any feeling of a need for anxious talking fades away. Openness and clarity remain. 
Heart Center: Anxious feelings of lack disappear. My heart brims with sweetness and peace. 
Solar Plexus: Anxious feelings about self worth vanish. I am confident and calm. 
Belly: Tension releases, energy flows in all directions. 
Perineum: Life force flows through me freely and gracefully. 
Feet: I feel my feet deeply connected with the steadfast beauty of the earth. I am grateful and secure in the support of the earth. 

Take a deep belly breath, and allow a wave of relaxation to wash through you as you exhale. 
With awareness on your feet, think, “Radiant feet.” Hum into your glowing feet. 
With awareness on your belly, think, “Radiant belly.” Hum into your glowing belly. 
With awareness on your chest, think, “Radiant heart.” Hum into your glowing heart. 
With awareness on your hands, think, “Radiant hands.” Hum into your glowing hands. 
With awareness on your head, think, “Radiant mind, radiant crown.” Hum into your radiant brain and crown. 
See your inner stick figure glowing with light. Inhale even more light into it. As you exhale, allow the light to radiate throughout your being, feeling open and expansive. Imagine a membrane of light surrounding you. 
Gently open your eyes when you are ready. 

    Be Still and Know That I Am God 
    The Divine Masculine 
    Immune Tune 
    Spiritual Warrior: What Do I Stand For? 
    In Harmony 
    Earth Day 
    Inner Child of Wonder 

TITLES: Alleviating Loneliness, All Heart, Being Glow, Connect the Dots, Ho'oponopono, Guiding Star, Releasing Anxiety 


A Course in Miracles, Foundation for Inner Peace, 2007 

Alper, Matthew. The God Part of the Brain, Rogue Press, 1996. 

Benson, Herbert M.D. Timeless Healing, The Power and Biology of Belief, Scribner, 

Braden, Gregg. Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer, Hay House, 2006 

Bregman, Rutger. Humankind, Hatchette Book Group, 2019. 

Brennan, Barbara. Hands of Light, Bantam, 1988. 

Emoto, Masaru. Messages From Water, Hado, 2001 

Goldsmith, Joel S. The Art Spiritual Healing, Harper, 1992 

Holmes, Barbara A. Race and the Cosmos, CAC Publishing, 2020 

Hunt, Tam. It's All about Vibrations, Man! Scientific American, December 5, 2018 

Jepsen, Kathryn. Real talk: Everything is Made of Fields,, 2013 

Lewis, Thomas, Amini, Fari, Lannon, Richard. A General Theory of Love, Vintage, 2000 

Knud-Hansen, Erik. Imperience, Balboa Press, 2015 

Lake, Gina. All Grace, CreateSpace, 2017 

McTaggart, Lynne. The Power of Eight, Atria Books, 2017 

Moore, Thomas. Care of the Soul, Harper, 1994 

Ostaseski, Frank. Five Invitations, Flatiron Books, 2017 

Price, John Randolph. The Jesus Code, Hay House, 2000 

Swami Chetanananda. Dynamic Stillness, Rudra Press, 1990 

Swami Shankarananda. Consciousness is Everything, Shaktipat Press, 2003 

Snow-Davis, Kay. Circles of Light,, 2010 

Young, William P. The Shack, Windblown Media, 2008