I’m a super-organized person. If my physical environment is clean and in order, I feel better emotionally.
There are no exposed cables for my electronics – I hide every wire possible. If I’m somewhere and the construction isn’t straight and level, I’ll immediately notice. Moreover, if I’m at your house and there is a photo hanging crooked on the wall, I’ll likely straighten it discreetly if I have a chance. No one out-cleans me in the kitchen. For those of you that follow horoscopes, I’m genuinely born under Virgo.
In my late twenties, my mentor Brooks constantly told me to leave the church and get out of ministry. Meanwhile, he was serving as a pastor! He would tell me over and over, “John, God doesn’t want you to serve in organized religion!” I would explain to him his hypocrisy, and he would laugh. He was always right.
Around that same time, a good friend sent me a DVD of “The Secret,” which explains the “law of attraction,” albeit very crudely. Many Christians would call the information in The Secret “new age ideas,” and I’d been taught that anything “new age” could possibly be demonic. This religious ridiculousness I’d learned in church was wide enough to include pretty much all Eastern mystical ideas. Nonetheless, I loved that video and watched it like ten times. In my personal Bible study hour each morning, I prayed and asked God to show me the truth about the “law of attraction.”
It had been about two years since my wife Lisa had passed. Right before she left her body, she bought me a new Bible, beautifully bound in my favorite version. I was teaching and preaching out of it at the time and took it with me everywhere. As with all my possessions, it was well-kept. Then one day, out of nowhere and for no reason – a page fell out.
My “clean and orderly” self couldn’t believe it. Practically brand new Bible, gift of my late wife, carefully cared for, and a sheet just detaches itself?!? I tried not to think about it, but frankly, it irritated me for weeks. I would try to put the page back in straight, but after a trip or two to church, a little piece of that page would be sticking out and get bent or torn. After a while, that loose paper was an ongoing nuisance.
I assumed the fallen page was some message from the Divine, but the ancient story it contained didn’t seem to connect with anything in my life. Nonetheless, I read it over and over again, attempting to decipher its application for me personally. It would take several months before I saw the truth.
The page contains the end of Genesis chapter 30 and the beginning of chapter 31. The story is about one of the fathers of Israel, Jacob, and his father-in-law Laban. Jacob spent his younger years cheating his way through life and karmically gets a father-in-law that wants to steal from him all the time.
They are both sheep-herders. Jacob has worked for his father-in-law for nearly two decades already to earn both of Laban’s daughters in marriage. Jacob wants to leave Laban’s household to form one of his own, but Laban knows his prosperity is tied to Jacob. Therefore Laban offers Jacob, “What can I possibly give you so you’ll stay and work with me?”
Jacob makes a suggestion, and they strike a deal. All sheep born from the collective herd with spots or stripes will belong to Jacob. All sheep born solid in color will belong to Laban. Satisfied, Jacob agrees to continue working for several years. However, immediately after making the deal, Laban, being the thief he is, removes all the spotted and striped sheep from the herd and gives them to his sons, who reside a three-day journey away. Jacob is left with only solid color sheep to tend and raise. In case you aren’t familiar with genetics, solid color sheep don’t produce many spotted or striped offspring.
Jacob, however, doesn’t miss a beat. He doesn’t lament a bit. Immediately he takes branches from trees with white inner wood and cuts stripes and spots in their dark bark. Then he places these decorated branches in the water troughs where the flocks come to drink and where they mate. In the end, the scripture says, “In this way, the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and manservants, and camels and donkeys.”
On the surface, the story reads like the sheep continually saw the branches and therefore began to throw striped and spotted lambs. As if God just loved Jacob so much that he made the tree branches magical – one of those Bible stories an atheist would love to make fun of! I read the page over and over (and cussed it) because I was too deaf to hear the message it really contains – confirmation of the law of attraction.
A lot about sheep-herding is just sitting and watching the sheep. Sometimes endless, contemplative hours. With those branches, Jacob made himself a vision board. The sheep didn’t need to stare at those branches – Jacob did. The more focused his intention got on stripes and spots, the greater number of desired lambs were produced. Jacob intended his way to prosperity.
My prayer was answered. I discovered that the message “The Secret” contained was indeed true. Intention + emotion = manifestation. From that point forward, I began to consume all manner of spiritual information. I converted into a person that will (as Ram Dass says) “take a teaching from wherever I can get it!” The page that dropped loose was the one that led me out of duality and modern Christianity and into a deeply satisfying understanding and relationship with the Christ-consciousness!
Intention + emotion is more straightforward when your environment reminds you of your future vision. I’ve been cutting branches of my own, using vision boards, for almost two decades now and have manifested an enormous number of desires. I’ve learned that my living space, what I stare at constantly, has a powerful effect on my future.
My guru, the One who brings light to my life, is Maharaj-ji Baba Neem Karoli. Once when asked, “How should we meditate?” answered, “Meditate like Christ – He lost Himself in love.” This idea is what I’m trying to manifest today. When Divine timing is right, I wish to lose John to love. I desire that all my fear be cast out and perfect love reign supreme in all my moments. I want to completely step aside and let Christ have utter control in every way!
Our home walls contain images that constantly remind us of what Adri and I desire for our future. There are huge photographs of Baba Neem Karoli to remind us to lose ourselves in love. There’s an entire wall with artwork of Govinda and Radha that strengthens our marriage bond. We have a murti of Sri Yukteswar Giri, the Lion of Bengal, which inspires us to be the most patient mentors and teachers possible. There’s a big photo of Siddha Ma in our kitchen, so we’ll remember to treat all women as mothers. No matter where we look in our environment, every wall, every direction, the screen-saver on the TV and computers, the dashboard in the car – we’re led to love.
Love is the answer to every challenge.
We have murtis (statues, idols) of Hanuman, the monkey God, and Maharaj-ji Baba Neem Karoli, the most recent time Hanuman has incarnated as a human. Are we worshipping these idols, these pieces of stone? No, we are supplicating ourselves before the ideas they represent! This is bhakti (pronounced bok-tee) – devotion to that which is greater than me!
Hanuman said, “When I don’t know who I Am, I serve you. When I know who I Am, I Am you.” Maharaj-ji said, “Love everyone. Serve everyone. Remember God.” These are ideas that, if universally adopted around our world, would bring heaven to Earth!
Today, when I read my Bible, I’m thankful for that page that fell that has led me so much farther into the light of truth. I keep my “branches” cut consistently and focus on what I wish to become. Because of it, I got away from religious dogma (as my mentor predicted) and found the Divine everywhere.
I trust you’ll carve some branches of your own.