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Initiating connection and dealing with the challenges

This post is excerpted from Lightning Path Workbook One: Basic Concepts.

Photo by Efe Kurnaz on Unsplash

In the first unit of this workbook, we learned the exact nature of the process of connection, which is connecting the spiritual ego to the physical unit (the body and the Bodily Ego) and filling it up with higher Consciousness. As you connect and fill the vessel, you begin to merge your bodily ego and spiritual ego. This is a pretty good basic understanding of things. The question now is, where do we go from here?

Right now there are two directions that you need to go in. One direction is the intellectual/scholarly/scientific direction of learning more  about the process of connection, how to initiate it, what happens when you connect, and how you handle it all. This process can be a bit complicated to understand, especially when you get into the challenges you can experience and the obstacles put in the way of healthy connection. It can also be complicated because misdirection has been applied to the issue, and a lot of misconceptions and confusions have accumulated over the years. It’s not that hard to sort it out however once you spend a little time and energy on it.

The other direction you have to go, moving forward, is the practical/emotional/intuitive direction of actually making a connection, merging the two egos, and filling up the physical unit with Consciousness. You have to do this because union between spiritual ego and bodily ego, connection, and expansion of Consciousness into the body, is the whole point of human development. Connection, union, and expansion of consciousness is the ultimate goal of human maturation. If you want to be healthy, whole, and satisfied, you need to “actualize your self” (i.e. become your spiritual ego) and you need to develop your connection.1

And let us be clear about this, you have to do both. Whatever your particular educational level is, whatever your starting orientation is (i.e., atheist, agnostic, theist, etc.), you must do both. It is not enough to simply connect and “fill the vessel.” If you do that you’ll end up in some mystical garden of confusion and self-delusion. Nor is it possible to just “learn the details” without making and improving an actual connection. If you do that, your development will be arid and inauthentic. Both accurate intellectual knowledge and actual authentic connection experience go hand-in-hand in developing and actualizing your full potential. You must give time to both. Otherwise, your progress will be hampered and even halted.

So how do you do both? You are doing the intellectual side of it by studying LP materials. As for actually initiating2 the process of connection, that’s easy.3 Initiating is as simple as picking up a pitcher and pouring water into a glass. You do not need to do anything special, conduct any particular rituals, go through any difficult testing, or prove anything about your worth to get it started. You don’t have to be “chosen,” your blood doesn’t have to be blue, and you don’t need to be one of the “elect.” The truth is, you already have, by design, everything you need to fill the glass. You have the thumbs to hold the handle, the muscles to move the pitcher, and the eyes to aim the water. Initiation is simple, and just like pouring water from a pitcher into a glass, all you have to do to get the process started is to make a decision and do it. Just think about it and do it. To initiate the process of awakening, simply decide that you want to do it, and then will it to happen. In other words, pick up the pitcher and pour!

Depending on whatever past spiritual training you might have received, you may have been expecting more, but that is all there is to it. Initiating the process of connection, pouring water into the glass, getting started with awakening, moving yourself towards greater clarity, is as simple as deciding, intending, and doing.4 Of course, when it comes to pouring consciousness into your body, there is no pitcher for you to pick up, no water for you to pour, and no glass to pour it into, but the importance of making a decision and willing it is identical.

The easiest way to understand this is to use your hands as an example. Pause for a moment and think about your hands. Ball your hands into fists, close your eyes, and hold them out in front of you. Now with your eyes closed, open your hands. Now, close them. Open them. Close them. Open them. Do it a few times and assess.

Did you make it happen? Did you open your hands? Of course, you did. And how did you make it happen? You willed it. You put your hands out in front of you and you willed/intended them to open. It was as easy as pie. You wanted your hands to open, you exerted will, and like magic your will became manifest. It is easy and when your body and mind are healthy, you do not even have to think about it. If you want your hand to open, you make a choice and you will it to happen.

It is exactly the same thing with the Authentic Spirituality5 of connection. If you want to initiate the process of drawing Consciousness into the vessel, simply decide and intend it. We recommend using a Connection Affirmation6 to focus your intent. Say, “I wish to connect,” “I wish to gain enlightenment,” “I wish Consciousness to descend into the vessel,” or something like that. That is all there is to it. You do not need to make a complicated issue out of pouring yourself a glass of water, so do not make a complicated issue out of initiating the process of connection. As long as you are willing to move forward towards connection, just say to yourself every day as many times as you can, “I wish to wake up. I wish to connect,” or something similar to that. Simply repeat a connection affirmation every day, multiple times a day, and Consciousness will immediately begin to flow into the vessel.

A Few Challenges

Now, it is certainly true that connection starts with intent. When you intend to fill the glass, when you intend to connect, the process begins. Having said this, however, there are a few things that need to be said. One of the most important things that needs to be said is that just because this process is easy to initiate does not mean that making a connection and filling the vessel is without issue and challenge. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The truth is, there can be many issues, and you may face many challenges while filling the vessel with the Light of your own Consciousness. If you want to move forward, you have to address these issues and challenges.

One of the first challenges you will face is staying focused and being consistent. The truth is while setting an initial intent might be easy, maintaining consistent intent is not. In this anti-spiritual world we live in, it has always been a challenge staying focused and intent on spiritual awakening and connection; however, nowadays, and thanks to the ADHD world of “smart” phones, Netflix, and Facebook, it is far worse. We live distracted lives and we get distracted easily. But, and pay attention now because this is important, distraction is anathema to spiritual will and spiritual connection. When you get distracted, will fades and progress dissipates. Without persistent and consistent will, connection does not occur. It is just like driving a vehicle. Intent is like the gas pedal that moves the car. If you do not keep your foot pressed down on the gas, if you do not maintain consistent and persistent intent, the car stops moving forward. This is very important, so pause for a moment and make sure you rub this into your brain until you are certain you will remember. Consistent and persistent intent is the key (or at least one of them) to the connection process. Intent is like the gas pedal in your vehicle. You have to keep it pressed down for the vehicle to move forward.

Ideally, persistent and consistent intent means constant intent many times throughout the day. If you want Consciousness to descend into the vessel, if you want to connect and “wake up,” set your intent by reciting your affirmations all the time.

I suppose the question now is, how are you going to remember to recite your mantras? You can do a few practical things in this regard. One thing you can do is put your intent to connect on sticky notes and put these sticky notes where you will see them. Look at the notes often and repeat your intent whenever you see the note. If you are mobile and cannot stick notes where you can see them, an app that reminds you will also work well. Alternatively, pick something that happens often in your life (i.e., opening doors, answering the telephone, sitting down for a meal, etc.) and use that as a trigger. Whenever the thing happens, i.e. whenever you open a door, learn to repeat your affirmation as you do. Once the association is established in the neural pathways of your brain, every time you open a door, you will automatically remember to state your intent. This will create many opportunities to remember, will help you speed the process of connection, and will increase your chances of maintaining consistent intent.7

If you can maintain persistent and consistent will and intent, then the second challenge that you will face is the need to fix the glass. If you pour water into a glass that has been damaged in some way, for example, if you pour water into a glass that is full of tiny holes, the water will drain out just as fast as you can pour it back in. If water is pouring out as fast as you can pour it in, the glass will never fill up. If there is damage to the glass, the water drains out, period. Obviously, this is an issue; but it is not an insurmountable problem. It just means extra work. If there are holes in the glass, you are going to have to figure out where they are and then you are going to have to fix them all up. In other words, if you want to move forward, you are going to need to heal your body and mind so that you can retain precious Consciousness in the vessel.

As pointed out in our articles on toxic socialization,8 healing is necessary and unavoidable because of all the violence and abuse we experience. If you are damaged in some way, and frankly, we all are damaged in some way, then if you want to develop a healthy connection, if you want to “fill the glass,” you are going to have to fix that damage and heal, and that is all there is to it.

We talk a lot more about the damage done by toxic socialization, and the whys and wherefores of healing, at the Healing level of LP instruction. If you did experience toxic socialization (and of course, we all have), and you do feel there is damage you need to fix, the Lightning Path offers a Healing Framework,9 outlined in Lightning Path Workbook Two, to help guide that process.

If you can maintain persistent and consistent will and intent, and if you can navigate the necessary healing process, then a third challenge that you will have to face is the intellectual/emotional challenge to your accepted, and possibly deeply entrenched, opinions, values, worldviews, beliefs, and orientations. There is no other way to say this but that authentic connection and authentic connection experiences can rock your world. And by rock your world, we mean earthquakes, avalanches, whirlwinds, and more. It can be like being struck by lightning over and over and over again.10

The challenge can be significant, especially if the connection is strong. If you are an atheist, your cherished materialism will be challenged; if you are a deist, your notions of God might come up for uncomfortable review; if you think the universe is all about karma and “lessons,” you may find yourself on the wrong side of an infernal divide. Even the way you treat people, the work you do, and the course of your life may come up for dramatic reevaluation. Or, it may not. It is possible that your ideas, concepts, practices, and orientations are already in alignment with your own Highest Self. Realistically, however, that is unlikely. Most of the world is still deeply embedded in the toxic systems of this planet, so expecting a completely smooth ride is unrealistic. Therefore, keep an open mind, and open heart, and be prepared for some challenges along the way.11

Besides the requirement to be persistent and consistent, heal, and get through any psychological and emotional shocks that may come up, a fourth challenge that you may face is resistance. As you connect, things will change in you. You will become more aware. You will become more empowered. You will “connect the dots.” You will see things and realize truths about your reality that you never did before. As you realize things you will try to change and as you do that, you may experience resistance from family, friends, coworkers, corporations, and even governments who may be confused and threatened by the changes that occur as connection grows and strengthens, not only in you but in others all over the world. These changes can be significant and they can put you at odds with the “normal” things in your family, social, work life, and civic life. For example, when you connect you might wake up and see that your home life is oppressive and violent, and you might realize you may no longer wish to accept the toxic oppression and violence, and so you may push back and try to change that reality. Pushing back against a toxic home life will lead to resistance from those who benefit from your oppression (i.e., your controlling spouse, your exploitative and violent parents, etc.). This resistance will manifest itself in various ways, as aggressive attacks, passive-aggressive resistance, and even subtle and nefarious emotional resistance.

Like the emotional and intellectual challenges already noted, the resistance you experience may be considerable, and it may come from some of the most surprising places and the most trusted people. It is important that you learn to recognize these external resistances12 for what they are, i.e. resistance to the enlightenment, change, and transformation that comes from authentic connection. It is important you recognize these not only because the presence of these external resistances is solid proof that there is more going on than meets the proverbial eye, that is that you are changing as a consequence of connection, but also because recognizing these resistances for what they are will help prevent you from getting blocked up, shut down, and hurt in the process. The truth is, if you are not aware of the possibility that those around you may (sometimes violently) resist your connection, you may a) fail to protect yourself and get hurt in the process or b) get blocked up and turned around by the resistance and backlash.

Do not kid yourself. There will probably be resistance and backlash. Resistance and backlash will come unconsciously from people who are scared, misled, and confused, and it will come consciously from people acting in their own venal economic interests. This has been known as far back as Plato who pointed this out in his Allegory of the Cave. People are confused and uncertain about those in the light and likely to lash out at those who take steps towards bringing back the light. People are also embedded in an economic system that exploits the underpowered and disconnected people of this planet.13 These people will also resist connection and the personal empowerment that comes form it, sometimes in very deceptive ways. They do this because they act (often unconsciously) in their venal economic reasons. Those who are scared and those whose economic interests would be harmed by a connected and empowered population resist, work against, and lash out when the people move forward.

Finally, the fifth challenge to your awakening is doubt, distraction, and even boredom. This will be a particular problem in the early stages where all this talk of connection, awakening, healing, transformation, and so on might seem like a delusional fantasy. This doubt and boredom is certainly understandable. We are telling you that all you have to do to connect and begin your process is express intent and you’ll be on your way, and that once you start this process, big changes will happen. This can strain credulity, especially if you have a materialist mindset, and especially if nothing happens right away. To be honest, it might not happen right away. This is not because the process and outcomes are slow or delusional, but because, as we explore in more detail later, this is a “spiritual” process first and a physical process second. That is, movement is first undertaken at a spiritual level and only later (how much later depends on you, the environment you live in, and many other factors) does this movement necessarily become physical/empirical in an obvious fashion. The time delay between intent and manifestation can cause doubt and leave space for distraction, skepticism, and even boredom.

If you do experience doubt, our only advice to you is, keep an open mind and stick with it for at least a few weeks. As noted, it takes time for your mental intent to lead to actual changes in your life. Recite your connection affirmation as many times throughout the day as you can, and pay attention, in particular to your relationships. Shifts and, as noted, resistances will manifest in your relationships first, so if you need evidence, keep your eyes focused on your relationships.

If you experience distraction and boredom, our advice to you is the same. Keep an open mind and stick with it for at least a few weeks. It takes time. Not only that, it takes persistent and consistent effort. Recite your connection affirmation as many times throughout the day as you can, and before to long, realities will begin to shift and things will begin to change.

The time delay between intent and manifestation, the time it takes for things to begin to shift, can lead to a sixth and final challenge which is over-inflated expectations and the belief in instant spiritual fixes. Depending on what you have read in the past about spirituality, enlightenment, “transcendence,” connection, and so on, you may be expecting too much. Many people have unreasonable expectations about what happens on a spiritually focused path of human development, and when you listen to them, they pass these expectations on to you to the point where you may think that a little deep breathing, a little transcendental meditation, a little “magic dust,” a few rubs on a singing bowl, and a little intent is all you need for total enlightenment. While this is true to an extent (persistent intent to move forward is the key to spiritual success, breathing is critical, and a little “magic dust”14 never really hurt anybody), it may take more time than you think because there may be a lot for you to do. You may have past life fear and trauma to deal with. You may have “this life” fear and trauma to heal. You may be filled with wrong thinking and spiritual misconceptions that prevent you from handling the connection. You may have emotional blockages that prevent you from engaging ideas. In other words, you may have learning, healing, and clearing to do as you move forward. We talk about all these things in subsequent Lightning Path Workbooks. Unfortunately, all these things (and more) can take time. Therefore, be reasonable with your expectations because unreasonable expectations about what to expect and how fast you can move can interfere with ongoing progress. If you expect fireworks, and if things do not shake out for you fast enough, you may simply give up and start looking for your next instant spiritual fix. And, that’s not good. If you run around looking for instant spiritual fixes, you are going to be running in circles your whole life. There are no instant fixes.

Of course, this is not to say that rapid, even instantaneous, connection and transformation cannot occur. It can. In fact, people have written books about. One book which we highly recommend int his regard is Quantum Change.15 Although the book itself is not very sophisticated in its understanding of connection and connection experience, it does provide a wealth of case study evidence that proves a) connection experiences are real and b) they can have powerful, even miraculous, capacity to heal and transform.

Real Psychological and Emotional Work Ahead

Speaking of the powerful “quantum changes” Total visions of reality, total realizations of identity, and total enlightenments are possible, particularly in moments of strong connection; but if you do suddenly realize the full and awesome truth of things, you still have to take that in, process it, and ground it. The realizations and enlightenments that come along this path can be big, and there can be lots of them. To be blunt, there is more than the tiny little brain in our heads can handle all at once. We’re not saying this to be dismissive or ignorant, we’re just saying, the realities that you get access to as you progress along this path are bigger than you have been trained to expect, and that you may have experienced thus far in your life. As Hamlet said to Horatio in the Shakespearean tragedy, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ”

And note, it is not just a question of being able to handle the expansion of thought and reality that comes from connection. You have to understand, you may be dealing with damage. Your brain, your bodily ego, and all the psychological and emotional structures of your physical unit can be damaged by assault and abuse throughout your life. This damage can make it hard to contain higher Consciousness. More importantly, this damage takes time and effort to heal. You cannot just rub a crystal singing bowl and instantly heal childhood sexual abuse. You cannot instantly clear away the limiting ideology of old energy archetypes and be free and clear enough to contain pure consciousness. There is real spiritual work involved. How much is hard to say because it depends. It depends on how open you are. It depends on how much time you put into it. It depends on how damaged you have become. It depends upon what resistances you face. It depends upon the real support that you are able to muster. Heck, it can even depend on the amount of sleep that you get and the type of food that you eat. Getting better sleep and eating better food will help speed you on your way. The truth is, there are many factors that can influence how efficiently you move down the path, so it is hard to predict; however, predicting is not the point. The point is, manage your expectations so you can avoid disappointment and distraction. Do not expect instant shifts into glorious ascended existence. Embrace the shifts joyfully when they do occur, but be prepared to buckle down and work because there are challenges and struggles ahead, and these are going to take time to resolve.

If you want to guarantee forward progress, we have to say that patience, discipline, and maybe a little faith will be required. We promise you; this does lead somewhere positive and empowering for you; but, you have to be patient and you have to do the work. Fast movement and miraculous shifting are certainly possible, especially with the right visualizations, intentions, and environments, but fast movement is not a necessary, given, or even a positive feature of the process.16 You need to be on sound footing, you need to be grounded, and you need to evolve your capabilities and sensitivities in a controlled and balanced fashion, so slow and steady works just as well. As long as you are reciting your awakening affirmation(s) with focus and intent, as long as you are taking definitive steps forward, however small and tentative, you and your life will transform.

Anyway, the point here isn’t to go over the pluses and minuses of moving fast or slow; the point is to say that in the beginning, you may need to have a little faith and patience. Be patient, stick with your intent to awaken, take deep breaths along the way,17 and shifts and transformations will surely happen. Before you know it you’ll look back in wonder at the distance you have travelled.

Before closing up this unit, we’d like to say a couple more things.

Number one, as we have said, will/intent is what “starts your engines.” Also important to know, will and intent also shut them off. This is important because this gives you control of the process. If things get a little crazy, if fears threaten to overwhelm you or if you find yourself moving too quickly to ground, process, understand, and transform, simply signal your desire to slow down by issuing a statement of intent. Say something like, "I wish to slow down because I need time to process" or "I wish to slow down because I need to find support," and things will slow down for you. As they do slow down, feel free to take as much, or as little, time as you like. You have the right and the ability to set the pace. If you need time to ground, process, and understand, please take it. It is far better to take the time you need to process and integrate whatever it is that you are coming up against rather than try to race to the finish too quickly for you to handle. If you move too fast, your progress may be unstable. If you move too fast, the process may overwhelm you. It may even happen that by moving too fast you experience so much shock and awe, or so much anxiety and fear, that you get bumped off the Path for years, decades, or even permanently. You want to avoid that; so, keep your intent persistent and consistent, but do take the time you need to process, integrate, rest, heal, or whatever you need. This is not a race and as long as you get back on the Path, you will be just fine. If you do find you have to take a little time off, just remember to start up again. It is OK to take time off; it is not OK to go on permanent vacation, not just yet anyway.

The second thing we want to say before moving on is this is more of a warning than a comment. This warning is important, so pay attention. Are you ready? Here it is. This process of healing and connection is not a process that happens just in your consciousness and only to you. Just like willing your hands to open and then using those hands to cook supper changes the world around you, so also does willing spiritual awakening change the world. When you do it, you set in motion changes and processes not only in you but also in the world and the people around you. Spiritual awakening may be an internal spiritual process initiated in your Consciousness with an idea and intent, but it extends beyond the boundaries of you. Initiating awakening will have an impact on the world around you, even to the point where some folks who are not ready for your awakening may resist and lash out.

The question at this point is, what do you do to handle the impact of your awakening on others? There are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, take the reality of your impact seriously and be compassionate and empathetic, no matter what comes at you. Be understanding of the concerns of others, because they may have legitimate ones. For example, your moving forward, your awakening and eventually connection, will often be viewed as a threat. Others around you, particularly those with whom you have strong attachments, may feel “left behind” by your progress, particularly if they are not moving forward as well. Be compassionate and empathetic in these circumstances. If your relationships are relatively healthy and you are not being harmed by them, you can take the time and make the effort to understand their anxieties and concerns. If it is safe, share with them what you are learning so they can move forward with you.

However, and this is the second thing to keep in mind, sometimes, perhaps because they are so stuck and sick that they simply cannot follow you forward, their anxiety and concern will turn into resistant, fear, and even anger. There may even be a significant and violent backlash. Take this backlash seriously and pay attention to it if it arises because sometimes, your spouse, family, coworkers, “leaders,” and so on may react so violently to your individual awakening or our collective awakening that you are harmed in the process.

If you do face fear, anger, and resistance, stay grounded and remember, the backlash and resistance you may face is not “evil,” it is just fear, anxiety, and confusion. Understand that, but, in cases where you are being harmed by the resistance and backlash, don’t put up with it. As you will learn in LP Workbook Two: Healing, toxicity and abuse not only halts your awakening process, it damages you at every level. If you stay in enmeshed toxicity, you are going to take damage. Just because somebody is “family” (or whatever) doesn’t mean they have a right to lash out, assault, and abuse. If you want to protect yourself, your children, and your forward movement, termination of toxic and abusive relationships may be the only thing to do if you want to preserve your safety, health, and awakening momentum.

If it helps, think of this like trying to save a drowning person. Sometimes it is possible to save a drowning person, but sometimes you cannot. Sometimes, their splashing and thrashing drags you down, in which case, you both drown. That doesn’t make any sense at all, does it? By all means, show compassion and support. By all means, “stay behind” to help the ones you love. However, if staying behind means damage, disability, and death to you or your children, get help or get out. You do not serve a higher purpose and you are not aligned with Consciousness if you let yourself get dragged down by the increasingly desperate thrashing of the people that surround you. If you want to help, if you want to fulfill your purpose, intend forward movement! Wake up, get out, and get yourself to safe ground. When you are awakened, activated, strong, and connected, then can you turn around and throw a life preserver to the ones now drowning in the dank toxic waters of their toxic and dying old world. Until you are on solid ground however, stay focused, be persistent, recite your awakening affirmations, protect yourself, and continue forward movement.

That is really all there is to say about intent/will, for now. To summarize, intent/will is important. Intent steers the vehicle; intent drives awakening; intent controls the world. If you want to move forward, you have to intend. Do keep in mind that it is not always possible to move forward in your current personal realities and with current personal relationships. Although sometimes it might be OK to delay your own personal awakening just to preserve certain relationships and help others along, sometimes you have to get out and stay out. If you stay embedded and subject to damage for extended periods, then do not even bother with awakening because you will be too busy chasing your own deteriorating health and well being to worry about that.

Study questions

  1. How do you initiate connection? What spiritual technique can you use to “focus your intent” and facilitate initiation? Can you think of any other focus statements that might help? Write down your thoughts for this and other questions in this book in the margin or in your HC Journal. If you are a part of a group, share with the group and discuss. You can also share in the LP Forums.

  2. What are the obstacles/challenges that were identified in this unit, that you might face when you initiate your connection process? What are some things you can do to overcome each of the obstacles and challenges? Have you experienced some of these obstacles? Write down your insights and share.

  3. Why do people resist your connection? Do you recognize resistance in the media, or in government and politics? Have you experienced resistance from those around you? If so, share your insights and experience and reflect upon and discuss strategies for overcoming resistance.

Footnotes

1 We talk more about human needs for actualization and connection in the LP section on healing, and in Lightning Path Workbook Two: Healing. For a quick run down, see Mike Sosteric and Gina Ratkovic, “Seven Essential Needs,” 2018, https://www.lightningpath.org/healing/seven-essential-needs/.

2 Initiation is an important term and it is not that hard to understand. Initiation is simply an abbreviated way to describe the commencement of Consciousness’ descent into the physical unit. When you initiate the descent of Consciousness, you instantiate/expand a connection. When you do that, water begins to fill the glass. See https://spiritwiki.lightningpath.org/Initiation.

3Because of the nature of the process, and because we can be quite confused about everything when we start all this up, the process of waking up which follows initiation can be represented apolitically like a climb out of darkness, removal of a blindfold, or even steps up a ladder. This aspect of the initiation process is represented visually by the Triumph of Spirit archetype card, Initiation. For a description of the initiation archetype, see the Spiritwiki entry at https://spiritwiki.lightningpath.org/Initiation.

An allegorical treatment of the initiation/awakening process is provided in The Parable of the Blindfold. https://www.michaelsharp.org/allegory-of-the-blindfold/.

4You can find more on “intent” and how it is related to spirituality and human development in Michael Sharp, The Great Awakening: Concepts and Techniques for Successful Spiritual Practice (St. Albert, Alberta, Canada: Lightning Path Press, 2007).

5Authentic spirituality is spirituality that helps you connect. For more on the principles of authentic spirituality and how to identify one, see Mike Sosteric, Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Authentic Spirituality (St. Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press, 2018).

6An connection affirmation is a phrase designed to help you willfully focus on the process of connection, i.e. pouring water into the vessel. Any phrase that helps focus you willfully on the initiation, process, or outcome of connection may be considered a connection affirmation. The more precise, willful, and focused, the better the mantra. For more see http://www.lightningpath.org/meditations-and-mantras/

7Thanks go out to Janet Finnegan for this excellent tip.

8Toxic socialization is an emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and physically violent socialization that damages the physical unit and, ultimately, prevents full connection. For a rundown of some of the many psychological, emotional, and physical consequences of violence and stress in the socialization process, see  Mike Sosteric, "Toxic Socialization," Socjourn (2016), Mike Sosteric, "The Damage We’re Doing to Our Children and Ourselves," The Conversatoin (2018). For a comprehensive listing, see  Sosteric, "Toxic Socialization."

10Describing connection by using the metaphor of a lightning strike is a common way of describing the event. https://spiritwiki.lightningpath.org/Lightning_Strike.

11We should say, keeping an open mind and heart can be a major challenge especially if you were abused as a child. As children, we may have been beaten and abused simply for making a mistake, failing to follow a rule, or even saying what we really think/feel. The abuse can be physical, or more likely, it can be psychological and emotional. If we associate being wrong with punishment, we may come to harbour deep, unconscious anxiety and fear about doing or thinking the wrong thing. If we do harbour deep fears and anxieties about being wrong, then we may forcefully resist new ideas simply because to accept the ideas implies that we are wrong in our current thinking and action, and the idea of being wrong invokes deep fear and anxiety. We react to this fear and anxiety by actively resisting new ideas.

If this is you, if you find yourself forcefully resisting new ideas because of emotional attachment to old ones or anxiety about shifting into new ways of being, then the best advice we have for you is this: chill out. Relax. Calm down. It is no big deal to be wrong and I am not forcing you to believe or think anything you do not want to believe, or think. Be cool about it. While we certainly believe everything that we say, you do not have to believe anything if you do not want to. Nobody is forcing you to do anything and nobody is going to condemn you for being wrong, or making a mistake. You can stay exactly where you are for as long as you like, and that is fine. Nobody, except maybe your own Highest Self, is forcing you to move forward, so take a deep breath, relax, and think about things. That is all. Regardless of whether you choose to remain on this path or not, it never hurts to expand your mind by considering new concepts and ideas. A little extra knowledge and self-awareness is always a good thing! If you decide it is not for you, then it is not for you. That is all there is to it.

12External resistances are resistances directed at you from external sources like families, friends, coworkers, and even the media and Hollywood https://spiritwiki.lightningpath.org/External_Resistance.

13If you doubt this, consider the labour force record of one of the largest corporations on this planet, Apple. The Apple Corporation benefits from the disempowered and disconnected children who work in its factories. And this is just one story. Even the education system is constructed to disempower certain classes of people more than others.

For a window into Apple’s child labour record, see Juliette Garside, “Child Labour Uncovered in Apple’s Supply Chain,” 2014. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jan/25/apple-child-labour-supply, April 25th 2016.

For a window into how the education system is used to disconnect and disempower, Jean Anyon, “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work,” Journal of Education 162, no. 1 (1980). Available here.

For more on The System, see  Mike Sosteric, Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt. (St Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press., 2016).

14For more on the “magic dust” that can help you with your connection efforts, see http://spiritwiki.lightningpath.org/Connection_Supplement.

15William R Miller and Janet C’de Baca, Quantum Change: When Epiphanies and Sudden Insights Transform Ordinary Lives (New York: The Guildford Press, 2001).

16In fact, slow and steady is a better approach, which is why we’re not giving you the mantras and visualizations that will encourage faster movement right now. Frankly, that can be discombobulating, even dangerous. Taking the fast path without preparation, jumping right in with powerful invocations, can lead to difficulty and (in rare cases) total psychological disaster. We’re not saying this to scare anybody; We are just saying, be aware. If you think the vehicle is moving too fast to control, slow down.

17For the importance of deep breathing see  Michael S., The Great Awakening: Concepts and Techniques for Successful Spiritual Practice (St. Albert, Alberta, Canada: Lightning Path Press, 2007).

 

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