Everywhere we look, there are signs of economic challenge: companies going out of business, houses not selling, rising unemployment, more and more people complaining about less and less money. This is one picture, an external reality based upon money. Is it the only picture, the only reality? Joyce and I don’t think so.
Empower Your Vision
I remember first moving to Santa Cruz, CA in 1975. We wanted to rent a house with land outside of town, with quiet and seclusion for the hours of meditation we were doing each day (that was “bc,” before children). There was nothing even close to what we wanted in the local papers. We had a vision of what we wanted, and every place we saw fell short of that vision.
We visited a friend and teacher, John Lawrence, in San Francisco. John was a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, the author of “Autobiography of a Yogi.” We told him about our difficulty finding the right place to live. He led us in a meditation and prayer. Together we did the inner work of finding our home.
Then he gave great advice. He told us to place an ad in the local paper, asking for exactly what we needed. “But,” he said, “the ad is not enough. Surround the ad with your prayer, hold the ad in the great light of the universe, and visualize it reaching the eyes of the right person.”
The message was clear. Neither the inner, spiritual work nor the outer material work alone is ever enough. They must be combined to achieve the highest results.
Place The Ad & They Will Come
The day after placing the ad, we received calls from not one but three property owners, all with great places to show us. It was actually difficult to choose. Even the rent was acceptable.
Then we faced our next dilemma – earning a living. We wanted to set up a “spiritually-oriented” psychotherapy practice. Every therapist we met warned us about the difficulty of starting out in an area saturated with therapists. We were told there were more therapists per capita here in Santa Cruz than most places in the world. We were told we would fail. We were met with doubt, fear, and opposition. We received unwelcoming phone calls from people we didn’t even know. One therapist, standing solemnly with hands on hips, told us in no uncertain terms to leave town.
We looked inside our hearts. We meditated and prayed for guidance. The message was again clear. What we have to offer is not being offered. We are unique. There is no one else quite like us, offering the same gifts we have. We stayed in Santa Cruz, and our practice thrived.
Choosing F.E.A.R? (False Evidence Appearing Real)
We all have a choice every moment. We can choose fear, but F.E.A.R. is “False Evidence Appearing Real.” There is an illusion of not enough money, just as there was an illusion of too many therapists in Santa Cruz, the lack of a quiet country home available to rent, the right partner, job, mortgage or whatever it is you want. The appearance of lack is false evidence. And when it seems real you become afraid.
We can also choose love, faith, abundance and peace. Wouldn’t it be great if the morning paper had more inspiring stories than negative ones. Wouldn’t it be great if each one of us could remember daily who we really are: souls on a great journey called life, with unlimited potential to make a real difference on this planet.
Choosing To Serve, To Really Be of Help
Regardless of the economic climate, we can choose to serve, to really be of help. My personal prayer each morning is simply to be of service throughout the day, to find ways to help those who need help. I love the first line of St. Francis’ famous prayer, “Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace.”
There are infinite ways to be of service. Taking an extra minute to more deeply connect with the people you encounter, saying something positive or looking into their eyes to see the beauty of their souls; calling someone you don’t need to call, just to say hello; volunteering to help those in need; tithing to people or causes you believe in, even though you are worried about money. Remember, you are serving when you keep your thoughts positive, or still your mind in meditation, or take care of yourself spiritually.
Don't Worry! Make The World a Better Place
When times are tough (like now) our natural tendency can be to worry, to stop generously giving, and to close in on ourselves, like hermits in a cave. If you commit to making this world a better place, you WILL be supported. Joyce and I have proved this to ourselves over and over again. We have learned that there actually is an abundance of all things available to every one of us – call it God, call it Good, call it Infinite Source, Great Spirit or whatever you like.
We have learned there is sacredness to giving and receiving. If you give from your heart and soul, you will actually receive more, no matter whether you are giving money or love. Generosity opens the door to receiving. And, just as important, if you open your heart and soul to receive, trusting your worthiness and innocence, you are in fact giving more than receiving. When I receive Joyce’s love, really let it in graciously, I can see how happy it makes her. True, the giving does makes her happy, but the deeper I receive her gift of love, the happier she becomes. My receiving gives her greater joy.
Enlarge Your Vision & See The Bigger Picture
When Joyce was pregnant and in labor with our three children, there were moments when she felt overwhelmed by the intensity of feelings and exhausted by the mountainous waves of contractions. She has told me that what helped her most was my reminding her that a baby was coming, a precious bundle of love would soon be in her arms. So engrossed was she in the moment that she was unable to see and feel the bigger picture.
It is the same with our current moment in history. If we can enlarge our vision, we will see our world is also in a birth process. The labor pains are not in vain. Something truly wonderful is coming. A precious new world will soon be in our arms.
The Heart's Wisdom: A Practical Guide to Growing Through Love
by Joyce Vissell and Barry Vissell.
For many couples, the romantic bliss of a relationship's early stages is followed by a bumpy road. This scenario can be avoided with a different approach: living from the heart. Joyce and Barry Vissell have spent 35 years of marriage learning from their relationship. They show in this guide how to eliminate fear, how to heal blocked sexuality, how to say no to the one you love, and how every couple can learn from jealousy.
About the Author(s)
Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA. They are widely regarded as among the world's top experts on conscious relationship and personal growth. They are the authors of The Shared Heart, Models of Love, Risk To Be Healed, The Heart’s Wisdom, Meant To Be, and A Mother’s Final Gift. Here are a few opportunities to bring more love and growth into your life, at the following events led by Barry and Joyce Vissell: Oct 11-17, 2017—Assisi Retreat, Italy; and Feb 4-11, 2018 — Hawaii Couples Retreat on the Big Island; and Jul 22-27, 2018—Shared Heart Summer Retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs, Oregon; and. For further information on counseling sessions by phone or in person, their books, recordings or their schedule of talks and workshops. Visit their web site at SharedHeart.org.