The question is, “Are you spiritual or are you not?” The truth is you are. The reality is you don’t believe it. – Yogi Bhajan
How does a person start on a path to spiritual enlightenment and awareness?
OH NO SHE DIDN’T.
Yes, yes I did. I just put that question out there.
But relax – this is not over-the-top woo woo, I swear. I think we see the words “spiritual” and “enlightenment” and immediately think of white robes and chanting and monasteries, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
My answer to that question? I would imagine it’s different for everyone, but I do think the search for an awareness of something bigger than us arises out of a certain level of suffering, don’t you? I mean, you hear it time and time again, people saying that their most difficult, darkest, and challenging times ended up being the catalyst for a much richer, fuller, and happier life.
And it makes sense, right? When you’re not suffering, you pleasantly continue going through the motions of life. Good days, bad days, lots of first world problems (OMG I spent THREE HOURS at the Genius Bar this morning), so you know, why look deeper? Everything is fine! I like life. (Kind of.) I like my job. (Kind of.) I like me. (Kind of.) It’s all good. (Kind of.) And then, BAM. Something happens that rattles you to the core, and the mind starts up with those damn thoughts. “Why is this happening? What is going on? Why do I deserve this? I must not be a good person. What does it all mean? I’m so scared. What does it all meeeaaaaan?”
(Oh, that’s just me? Huh.)
Well, that’s how it started with me. I explained of lot of what was going on here, so I won’t bore you with the details again, but in a nutshell, the shit was hitting the fan. However, during this time, I kept experiencing these (very rare) fleeting moments of quiet when my intuition would speak to me, telling me to press on with my budding “investigation” of how our thoughts could shape our reality. To push beyond my current grasp of what I thought this world was all about, and see where it led.
Now, let me tell you what. There were several times, standing at Barnes & Noble, immersed in my own self-help bender, when I asked myself, “Why? Why open myself up to all of these theories and ideas and self-worth crap and Super Soul Sunday episodes – it’s just SO EXHAUSTING. It would be so much easier to squeeze my eyes shut and go on with life as I know it.”
It’s like I knew that making the conscious decision to open my mind to the possibilities of God (the universe/life force/prana/love/whatever you want to call it) was making a declaration to a lifelong commitment of learning. And let’s face it, that sure seemed like a lot of work. I mean, can’t we just go shoe shopping and call it a day?
At that point, I wasn’t sure what I believed in. I wanted to believe in something bigger than us, but how vague can you get? Vague-o-rama. And me? I like black and white. I like concrete, tangible facts. So I picked up the book, E Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality. I figured, hey, I like science. I like experiments. Let’s do this thing. I decided to try Experiment #1, and told myself that if it rocked my world, I would never question or turn away from this path. Hoo boy, talk about making a promise.
The premise of Experiment #1 was very simple. You were to ask God (or the energetic life force around us – again, whatever you want to call it) to show itself to you through an unexpected blessing or gift within 48 hours. Something that couldn’t be written off as a coincidence – just a completely unexpected blessing that would prove an invisible energy force is available to us. All I had to do was make the intention, write it on a piece of paper, and put aside all skepticism for the next two days. Expect it with my whole heart. With every ounce of my soul. (That’s the crucial part – you must believe with every fiber of your being.)
So I did it. I wrote down my intention to receive a blessing. I expected a sign.
Within 30 minutes, D called me from work to tell me that we had unexpectedly received $3,000. Long story short, our refrigerator was a lemon and leaked underneath our wood floors, causing all sorts of damage. Unbeknownst to us, the appliance repairman had submitted a claim, and the insurance company agreed to fix all the damage done to our cabinetry and floors. Hello, unexpected blessing.
Here’s the best (worst) part, though. Although I was so happy to hear the news, I questioned if that was actually my “blessing.” YOU GUYS, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? There I stood, with the completely surprising knowledge of all this extra money coming our way, and I was like, “Hmmm, I just don’t know if that’s it.” Seriously, I know. Sometimes, I want to smack myself upside the head. And I felt horrible about it! I mean, look at this great situation, and I’m totally questioning it. What kind of a believer am I? Get with the program, Sarah.
The issue was that deep down, I truly believed that a deeply personal, take-my-breath-away moment was coming my way. I expected it. With my heart and soul.
Well, I got it.
The next morning, upon waking, I did what I always do. I rolled over, picked up my iPhone, and looked at the screen. (Obviously, I have a long way to go in regards to enlightenment considering that’s the first thing I do in the morning!) There was a notification on my lock screen – I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, put on my glasses, and read it.
“Keep up the good work.”
That’s all it said. And once I swiped to unlock the screen, it was gone. I figured someone had texted me, or maybe it was a message via Facebook, or something along those lines so I sat up and tried to figure out the source. Except I couldn’t find it. You guys, I spent over an hour trying to find the source of that message. I scoured my notifications, checked all my apps, texts, I even googled for quite some time. Nothing. And I was dead set on finding the source. To prove that it couldn’t possibly be a message from…I don’t know, the life force I’d been seeking?
I never found the source. But I know where it came from, and I believe it wholeheartedly.
Call me crazy, but this whole lifelong spiritual journey thing? I’m fully committed. I mean, I can’t turn back now. GOD WAS ON MY IPHONE, PEOPLE. Feel free to back away slowly.
I invite you to try out the experiment for yourself. What do you have to lose? Just see what happens! I’ve even made a little intention sheet for you to fill out. (You know how much I love organization and lists.)
Do share your experiences!
LesApril 28, 2014 at 10:20 am
Love this! God on your iPhone! Hey…it just might’ve been. Good luck on your spiritual journey!
DanielleApril 28, 2014 at 11:01 am
Great share. I believe you. :)
When I was pregnant with my first, I was a nervous wreck. Fearful like many first time moms, with the added spice of OCD and no meds.
I got an unexpected email from no one I know. No address. No one ever claimed it. I don’t know what happened to the email. It said something like, “All will be well. Your baby is perfectly healthy.” (Not those words, I’m sure.) I think there was a mention of angels.
And calm assurance came over me. I still think of it when I worry now. It still helps 14 years later.
whoorlApril 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm
Yes! I totally get it. Those words on my phone with stick with me forever.
estelleApril 28, 2014 at 11:08 am
Lady, I’m so right there with you. You’re story is lovely and I’m super happy for you and appreciative of your openness with these posts. They are great. Yesterday, we celebrated my daughter’s 6th birthday. We’re in Northern California and we’ve been having some amazing weather. Of course, the forecast was rain for Sunday – for our outdoor, jumpy house, crafty, pinata party – all stuff that depended on our yard. We were setting up in the morning and the wind was fierce and cold. I kept telling myself and Emerson that you have to get through a little rain to get a rainbow (her party theme), but inside I had some bitterness. Some why me? Why today of all days? But I also really wanted to believe it was all going to be o.k. And at 11 a.m. on the dot, the start of the party, the clouds parted and the sun started to shine. I kid you not, it was like divine intervention. Sun was shining without even a breeze all day. Amazing. I’m beyond grateful and can’t stop thinking about it. It felt powerful and moving.
whoorlApril 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm
I just love stories like this. Hooray for a perfect day!
SarahApril 28, 2014 at 11:43 am
Such a lovely post. I’ve been in the midst of my own spiritual journey so have really enjoyed your posts on the topic. I bought the book per your recommendation when you mentioned it weeks ago. For my “sign” I asked to see a rainbow that night before I went to bed. The first thing the next morning I walked out of the bedroom into the living room. The first thing my husband said to me was how he saw a rainbow that morning and showed me the picture he took on his phone. I mean c”mon!
whoorlApril 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm
WHAT? That’s beyond awesome. Did your husband know you had asked for a rainbow?
SarahApril 28, 2014 at 4:05 pm
He had NO idea! It blew my mind.
whoorlApril 28, 2014 at 4:44 pm
That’s the awesomest thing ever.
LaurenApril 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm
Be most assured of my prayers in your continued search.
StaceyApril 28, 2014 at 12:13 pm
Super skeptical of the whole experiment, but I can relate to trying to be more mindful, more aware, more present, more grateful and more centered. That part I can get behind.
Heather DApril 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm
I’m seriously in awe right now. That gave me goose bumps, I’m trying this myself! Thank you again for sharing your experiences!
Heather DApril 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm
I stopped by Barnes and Noble on my way home from work yesterday and bought this book. I’m anxious to dive in and see what unfolds for me. To be continued…
claudia098April 28, 2014 at 1:45 pm
So interesting! It’s wonderful you’re getting such fulfillment. Is your husband along on the journey with you? I would think if one person moves in this new direction and the other doesn’t, some tension could spring up. I hope that’s not the case with you both.
whoorlApril 28, 2014 at 4:50 pm
He’s supportive – I think he’s happy when I’m happy! :) He’s not much of a reader or learner of new things, but he shows interest in my bullet-point synopses.
Sarah DApril 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm
that is F*****G AWESOME!!! As a lifelong skeptic/ Pollyanna hybrid, I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that that (mixed-up) mindset isn’t working for me anymore, even it’s “comfortable”. I’m just finishing The Untethered Soul, based on your recommendation and I love it. I say, BRING IT.
whoorlApril 28, 2014 at 4:51 pm
Oh, man. I seriously could write for days about that book. And the best part? It gets better when you read it the second time around. So excited for you! BRING IT.
Sarah DApril 30, 2014 at 10:15 am
I’m just starting e2 and I remembered something that I want to share with you. Years ago, in college and still doing my laundry with coins in the apt bldg laundry room, I needed ONE quarter to finish my last load. ONE. And I didn’t have it. Searched every pocket, every bag every drawer, every nook and cranny of my car. None of my neighbors were around. I was on a mission. I prayed for a quarter. I VISUALIZED. And..Nothing. I’d resigned myself to making a trip to the store for change, when I took one last look through the pile of junk on the table by the door. There, in a perfectly quarter-sized vellum envelope, was a perfect, single quarter. I was freaked out, of course, but mostly super happy that I could finish my laundry and get to the Beer Garden. Lame, I know. I chalked it up to coincidence, because, duh, quarters in little envelopes are ALWAYS just laying around, and maybe I shouldn’t be such a slob. Many months later, I was cleaning up, going through old junk mail (like I said, slob), and there was a letter, some sort of donation plea or survey, with a note to the effect: “thanks for your time, here’s a quarter to show our appreciation…” So, I thought, “ah-ha! it WASN’T a miracle- I knew it!” But of course it was. And now I get it. :)
kristiinaApril 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm
I love all the positive energy around these parts! I’ve always felt that the universe brings us what we think about/put out there. It’s the ‘allowing it’ part that is so hard. I love Eckhart Tolle’s writing…especially ‘the power of now’…and Dr. Wayne Dyer’s essays on the Tao, ‘change your thoughts, change your life’ truly helped me survive the very challenging toddler years of my now 8 and 6 year old. Sending you grateful, positive vibes :) :)
whoorlApril 28, 2014 at 5:15 pm
Thank you! I love Tolle’s writing so much. Have you been watching the A New Earth series with Oprah on OWN? It’s so good. Sending grateful, positive vibes right back at you!
kristiinaApril 28, 2014 at 6:24 pm
I watched his Super Soul Sunday a few weeks back, but I had a DVR fail on the A New Earth series. I actually took the webinar he did with Oprah like four or five years ago. It was so, so good. My problem is that I don’t make time every day to put the things I’ve learned into practice. I’m going to check out E-squared…You’ve reignited my passion for just feeling GOOD and remaining open to the endless possibilities. It should be a priority, but we really do get caught up in the day to day nonsense. :)
CoryApril 28, 2014 at 6:16 pm
I’m a new reader, I think I was linked last weekend by yesandyes.org, and I spent hours reading your entire blog– it’s been so long since that’s happened! Anyway, per your recommendation I picked up E-Squared, and after the first experiment I had several serendipitous things happen… all of which I was sure were just a coincidence. But then I did the one where you look for the butterfly (or something else, I picked a yellow butterfly). And that afternoon I picked up a magazine and found this wonderful story whose lead page had an enormous yellow butterfly. The climax of the story couldn’t have been a clearer message for me if it had been tattooed on my forehead. CRAZY!
LaurenApril 28, 2014 at 9:43 pm
I like this! I grew up in SC- hello Bible belt- and I’m a happily practicing Lutheran. But I went to school for philosophy and religion and this kind of talk gets me all tingly! If you’re kind of in the “open to anything” mood, I’d highly suggest visiting some religious places that you’re not quite as familiar with. I don’t know what you grew up with (if anything) but if you had any experience with evangelical, try Lutheran or Catholic or Anglican. Visit a synagogue or mosque. One of my best college experiences was going to a Hindu temple and simply asking some of the people there to explain their faith to me. It was a beautiful and moving experience, to have these people trust me with their intimate faith and show such hospitality. I love seeing God in so many places, even through traditions I know little about. Best of luck to you on your quest and I hope you find a community to worship with in whatever faith/spirituality you choose. (Desmond Tutu’s “God is not a Christian” is a wonderful read, especially touching on social justice)
Hillary WB | Honey HospitalityApril 29, 2014 at 8:13 am
Sarah! I read this post super early this morning after having a bummer of a day yesterday. I’ve been spiritually searching for the past few months and thought that this couldn’t hurt, so I printed out the image, filled it out, and stuck it in my nightstand. I then went to get an estimate for some old china I’d been looking to sell, and it was double what I’d been hoping! Then, not five minutes later, I got a call from my wife that our friends are going to give us a laptop. For free! We found out yesterday that it would cost a few hundred dollars to fix our laptop that we bought last summer (!), so this is huge for us. I’m not working right now and money is rather tight, so these two things together are just amazing. I’m kind of in awe right now!
Laura SApril 29, 2014 at 3:51 pm
I may be overthinking Experiment #1 but have a question about it. Are you supposed to ask for a specific blessing/clear cut sign to show itself within that timeframe or just set the intention that something will present itself?
whoorlApril 29, 2014 at 5:45 pm
Set the intention that a clear-cut sign will present itself, but you don’t ask for a specific blessing, like a letter to show up in the mail or something… :)
StephanieApril 29, 2014 at 7:17 pm
I can really relate to your blog and writings, especially as you seek information and guidance to support your healthy lifestyle and mind. As I read your post yesterday I did not even have to think about what I would set my intention as, because as a single mom who has just entered the work force again, my life seems to revolve around finances and making it all work. So I just cleared all the gunk out of my head and asked for some peace of mind – just to be able to stop worrying about money all the time. Two checks came in the mail that afternoon that I was not sure were ever coming and I found out today that I will receive enough cash from a settlement to pay for my son’s schooling as well. It’s funny, I have actually been thinking for awhile that it almost feels like there is something watching over me, taking care of me as things get a little dicey. Maybe spiritual? Maybe my own forces at work? Perhaps the Long Island Medium? It is a fun journey – I am glad that you are finding so many paths to explore!