"Bigger Than Hope"
Alan Cohen

Last summer I set out with a group of friends on a sailboat excursion to camp on the mystical island of Molokai.  En route we met a tropical storm during which we treaded water for an hour amidst imposing swells. Quite a few of our retinue made pilgrimages to the rail, and by the time the squall abated and we reached shore, numerous would-be sailors had waxed green-faced and swore to take a plane next time. Fortunately, the weather improved and we went on to enjoy a magnificent sojourn on the exotic isle.

As we prepared to leave the next day, several people were anxious about the prospect of hitting bad weather again. Someone suggested we gather for a group prayer for easy passage,and I spoke a strong affirmation that peace was indeed with us. Together we visualized a smooth, easy, and delightful trip, and we came into the vibration of positive expectation until the anxiety had lifted.

As soon as we opened our eyes, a young man in our midst, new to the spiritual path, blurted out, "Yeah, and let's hope we don't hit any more storms!" His statement crashed awkwardly against the vision we had just co-created. Afterward I took the fellow aside and explained to him an important principle: Once we have prayed for something, we must step fully into the new vibration and not go backward into thoughts, words, or actions that affirm the condition we were praying to heal. We are always affirming what we want or what we don't want, and everything we think, say, or do is directing our energy in one direction or another.

 When I was studying with master healer Hilda Charlton, during a class we prayed for a woman named Loni who was seeking to be healed of a particular disease. After the prayer session a man approached Loni and suggested she try a certain herbal treatment. At the following week's class Hilda passionately admonished the fellow and the group: "How dare you undo the healing work we did!  We spent a long time and a lot of energy bringing this woman into the consciousness of wholeness, and you speak to her as if she needs help! If she is not sick, as we declared her to be, why would you tell her what to do to erase her illness? Don't you ever do this again!"  Hilda was not against medicine (on many occasions she recommended that students take it), and she was extremely compassionate with people who were suffering. That night Hilda was using the incident to underscore an important point, one which has stayed with me and helped me immensely over many years: To be an effective  healer, speak to the place in your client that is whole, and treat each person as if they are already who they would like to be. As Dale Carnegie advised, "Give them a reputationto live up to."  In the famous biblical story, God advised Lot and his family to leave Sodom because the city  was about to be destroyed; God told the family to leave quickly and not look back. On their road to freedom, Lot's wife turned to see what was happening back there, and she turned into a pillar of salt. Certainly this did not happen physically-the story is a metaphor, a grand piece of advice for all times: Don't get involved with what you are leaving behind. Your past may be loaded with pain, suffering, and difficulty, but you are trying to build a new life. Leave the past where it was, and turn your attention fully toward where you are going. Jesus advised simply,
"Turn the other cheek."

 This is the time of rebirth, signified in the legends of our major religions. In Judaism we commemorate Passover, representing the ascension from slavery to freedom. In Christianity we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. We have paid far too much attention to scenes of slavery and crucifixion;  we have played them out time and again. Now it is time for us to focus on what happens next. The more we delve into how we got where we are, the more we stay where we were. The more we analyze what is not working, the more things do not work. And the more we consider how we would like it to be, the more things become as we would have them. The choice is ours. Real spirituality is beyond hope. Hope means there is a chance things may turn out as we wish, and if we are lucky we may get what we want.

Inner knowing, on the other hand, proceeds from the awareness that love is present now, well-being is our natural state, and all is really well.

Yes, we may have hit a storm on way over, but that does not mean we have to hit one on the way back. Our history is not our destiny, and our destiny begins now.

Alan Cohen is the author of 14 popular inspirational books, including the award-winning A Deep Breath of Life
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