This lesson is excerpted from Lightning Path Workbook One: The Basics.

In the last couple of lessons, we have talked about the nature of connection, how to initiate connection, some of the outcomes of connection, like awakening (a.k.a. enlightenment) and activation, and some of the obstacles that you may face as you begin your journey back to full connection with Consciousness. As we have seen, connection is very easy to understand and initiate,1 as is spiritual awakening. Awakening is simply filling the vessel with the water of higher Consciousness. Initiation is a simple process of intent and visualization. Unfortunately, the easy part stops at initiation because beyond initiation, obstacles, issues, and just plain hard work challenges you to stay focused and moving forward.

We have already seen a glimpse of those obstacles in the last chapter; however, there are more. To help you out a bit, to ensure that connection proceeds consistently and smoothly and that you can overcome the obstacles along the way, we want to give you a few ideas, techniques, and tools that you can use to help keep yourself moving on the straight and forward, despite the pitfalls and challenges that may lay in your way.

Focus

If you want to keep moving on the straight and narrow, the first thing you should do is get a little spiritual focus. In a world of touchscreen distraction, it is hard to stay focused on any given thing for any length of time. We know that this is true, and so do you. We are constantly distracted by people trying to get our attention. Our home computer screens are not even safe anymore from attempts to get our attention, advertise at, and otherwise manipulate us. It can be pretty hard to stay focused for more than a minute or two.2 Therefore, you need to be careful about the distractions you allow yourself, and you need to be on guard against attempts to distract you. We have access to more information and entertainment than ever before, but it is mostly junk food. And we do not have to tell you, junk food is bad for you, especially in high doses. In high doses, junk food causes physical and mental disease, illnesses like cancer, and even death. Keep that in mind. If you want to stay alert, healthy, and strong, you can’t eat junk food, and you can’t waste your time in junk food restaurants or junk food spaces. And this is as true on the physical level as it is on the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual levels as well. If you put crap into your body, if you shove shit into your mind, it is going to have a toxic and poisonous impact no matter how much you detox and how strong you think you are. Therefore, it is better if you avoid junk food altogether and focus as much as possible on physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual things that nurture you. The more you give up junk food distractions, the healthier you will feel and the faster you will move forward.

Of course, having said stay away from junk food, we should also say, it is OK to “treat” once in a while.3 Your body is well designed, and it is capable, at least as a fully grown and mature adult, of handling limited amounts of toxicity. But, if you do consume junk food, be aware of the quantity and quality that you consume. I admit, we love watching Survivor. We have never missed an episode. But Survivor is emotional, psychological, and spiritual junk food, and it should be treated as such. The show throws a bunch of people together in a contrived environment, eulogizes social violence,4 violent competition, and mean-spirited exclusion, and calls it “natural fun.” The show is the poster child for The System. It propagates old energy5myths about domination and control, weak versus strong, survival of the fittest, and all that jazz; it is a obvious effort to throw people out of alignment.But, if you can separate the ideology out from the funny humans involved, it can be quite entertaining. We have fun watching the various characters struggle to navigate and define their constructed media experiences. It is amusing to watch them struggle with the morality of a game that is immoral, or at least amoral, from the outset. We also enjoy “tagging” the old energy memes and discussing the toxicity and ideology on display. But we do not take it seriously, and we know that afterwards, we have to suck detox any of the toxic sludge that might have splashed onto us. It is the same with everything else. Greasy french fries here and there won’t kill you, but too much toxicity will overwhelm the adaptive/healing capabilities of your physical unit to the point where you will you be unable to walk the Path, and you may even sicken and die. This is important, so take it seriously.

Discipline

Besides staying focused and watching your spiritual, emotional, psychic, and physical diet, a second tool/idea you want to have is spiritual discipline. Remember, there is an intellectual and a practical side to the discipline you will need.

On the intellectual side, there is a lot of work ahead of you. You have lots of reading to do, lots of processing to accomplish, and lots to understand and ground. It takes time to read, process, understand, and ground. If you do not take that time, you won’t move forward on this Path. Therefore, be disciplined in your study and understanding

On the practical side, you have to practice the visualizations and intentions to keep connection going. It is like weightlifting, really. If you go to the gym once a month and lift a few weights, you will not make any progress. However, if you go to the gym every day, even if only for thirty minutes, you will make consistent progress forward. It is the same with visualization and intent, which is like the weight lifting of spiritual practice. To make consistent forward progress, visualize and intend every day, even multiple times a day. The more persistent and consistent you are with your visualization and intent, the more effort you put into modifying your energy flows, the faster things will progress for you.

Of course, as noted, there will be challenges. It can be hard, complex, and multi-layered work. But do not worry. Whatever state of awareness you may occupy right now, whatever challenges come up as you begin to make the shift, understand, you have everything within you that you need to successfully enlighten and transform first yourself, then your home, your work, and finally this world. To use a cheesy spiritual phrase, “The power and the glory are inside you.” To succeed, you have to tap that and bring it out.” The key to bringing that out is persistent and disciplined practice.

The message should be clear at this point; if you want to move forward, you have to have some discipline, both intellectually and practically; thankfully, getting some discipline is easy. Just read and practice a little bit every day. Do a little bit of reading, a little bit of visualization, a little mantra recitation, a little bit of yoga (or some other form of exercise), or whatever it is you do, every day. Do as much or as little as you care to; just be realistic about what you can commit, and then do it every day. Even half an hour is fine (and, at the start, this may be all you can muster) as long as you do it every day.6 If you do that consistently and persistently, you will make forward progress.

Discipline, i.e. regular daily spiritual reading and practice, is very important if you want to make forward progress on this Path. Your physical mind, your brain, is like a vinyl record; that is, it is circular with many grooves. Your daily experience is the diamond-stylus that cuts tracks and grooves in your mind. Up until this point, we have all had old energy experiences. These old energy experiences have cut deep tracks into the vinyl of our individual and our collective minds. New energy7 experiences will eventually cut new tracks, but that takes time and consistent effort.8 If you want to cut new tracks, spiritual discipline is a key.

Strength and Fortitude

Besides focus and discipline,a third thing you need is the strength and fortitude so you can face the truth.As already noted, the path to greater connection is challenging. As you connect and wake up, as you gradually open your eyes to the realities of this world, you are going to see things about yourself, others around you, and the world at large that will surprise you, scare you, cause you guilt and shame, give you headaches, heartache, and serious indigestion. We wish we could say otherwise, but it is not all skipping children and butterflies. Even something simple like facing the harsh realities of your childhood can be difficult. For some, the situation may be so bad that they would rather commit suicide (either slowly, by consuming toxins, or more rapid, by other means) than face the “horrible” truths. We kid you not; there are some tough pills to swallow on the road to Shambhala.

We talk a lot more about facing the hard truths about your self and your life in subsequent LP Workbooks. Here let us just say that whatever your particular reality, whatever your background and biography, whatever it is you have to face, whether it is abuse of family, abuse of workers, wilful ignorance and complicity, awful behaviour towards others, or whatever, start gathering the strength to face it down now.

The question now becomes, how do you gather spiritual strength? Part of it comes from your own inner light and strength. As noted in The Book of Light,9 your Highest Self, your soul, is a being of pure light and power. When you are tapped in and connected to that light and power, when water pours into the vessel, spiritual strength flows naturally into the vessel. You become stronger the stronger your connection. Unfortunately, at this early stage of the process, your connection may not be that strong and you may struggle to stand tall and true in the face of the boisterous and buffeting old energy realities around you. If that is you, that is ok. There are some things you can do to enhance strength and fortitude even while you work on better connection.

Boundaries and Protection

One of the biggest things you can do to enhance your spiritual strength is protect yourself. This might sound counter intuitive to most, especially since we have all been trained with the “what does not kill you makes you stronger” lie, but it is true. Spiritual strength comes when you protect yourself. This is because protecting your self prevents your self from experiencing damage. Not only that, protecting your self allows your self to relax and open to connection., and connection is what brings you true strength If you are constantly under some form of assault (psychological, emotional, or whatever), you can never calm down and connect. Also, if you are constantly under some form of assault, your physical unit, your bodily ego, will take damage, and this damage will make it harder and harder to connect. This damage will manifest as fears, anxieties, resistances, emotional blockages, blind spots, and self-esteem issues, all of which you’ll have to sort out before you can make a strong and pure connection. So, moving forward, number one, protect yourself. It is not a moral issue. It is not a sign of weakness. It is just what you have to do if you want to build a strong connection.

How do you protect your self? You have to make create for your self physical, psychological, emotional, and even spiritual safety. That is going to be very hard for some to accomplish because the social, political, societal, familial spheres we inhabit can be quite violent and toxic. The truth is, there is a lot of psychological, emotional, and even physical danger in the world. The truth is, we are all emotionally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually assaulted quite a lot. The truth is (and for some, this is often the first uncomfortable truths that they have to face), even our families are not safe.10

So what do you do? Well, presuming you are not stuck in an extremely violent and toxic environment, in which case you should get help or get out as soon as you can, you can start the process of becoming safe by building some strict, no compromise boundaries around your body, your mind, your emotions, and your soul. And just what are boundaries? Boundaries are just that. Boundaries are boundaries between you and the physical, emotional, and psychological assaults that occur on a regular and daily basis all around us. Boundaries allow you to avoid toxic environments and toxic people. Boundaries cause you to put up your hand and say “stop” when an assault is occurring. Boundaries are the invisible, and sometimes not so invisible, walls that your bodily ego is supposed to build to protect itself from the toxic world that surrounds.11 Boundaries are important. Boundaries protect your self from damage. Boundaries are critical for mental, emotional, and physical health. Boundaries are essential when it comes to making the first, tentative, connections to consciousness because without boundaries, without a safe space, you will be constantly dealing with trauma, constantly blocked by resistance, and constantly on ego-defense, to name just a few problems caused when you expose yourself to trauma and assault. Understand, your physical unit can only connect properly and completely when it safe, relaxed, and free from chronic stress and assault. Understand, chronic stress and assault (especially when that assault is emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual) can damage the physical unit that makes it difficult to connect. Whatever you do, if you want to move forward, you need to establish strict boundaries.

Challenges to Putting up Boundaries

We suppose the question now is, how do you get strict boundaries? Unfortunately, that is not so easy. Putting up proper boundaries can be difficult and challenging at a number of levels.

For one, putting up boundaries can be tough because some people, particularly those who benefit from your lack of boundaries,12 will physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually resist, sometimes with violence, your attempts to put up boundaries. You will say, “do not hurt me.” You will say, “This is my boundary, please do not cross.” You will say these, or similar, things and yet they will immediately lash out and aggressively try to pierce your boundaries, either directly or in some passive-aggressive way.

For two, putting up boundaries can be difficult because you may have been taught by parents, teachers, friends, co-workers, bosses, and others who benefit from your lack of boundaries that it is wrong to put up boundaries, and so you will feel reluctant or even bad when you try to do so. When you try and put up boundaries, these bad feelings will rise “naturally,” and you will feel uncomfortable drawing a strong line in the proverbial sand. Others who know about these bad feelings can even invoke them intentionally (though perhaps unconsciously) to make you feel so much worse. They will say things like “be open,” or “be nice,” or “smile more.” They will play the victim and make you feel guilty, as if your boundaries are hurting them. Worse still, they will say you are being a “snowflake” for wanting to assert boundaries and safe places.

Finally,because nobody has ever taught you about the importance of boundaries, you may not know how to do it and not know who to let in and who to keep out.13 Because nobody has ever taught you about boundaries, the whole idea of boundaries can be a confusing non-starter. Couple this confusion with the manipulation and assault that can occur once you try to create boundaries, and the guilt and bad feelings that can often arise, and boundaries, though absolutely necessary to the strength and health of your bodily ego, can be very challenging to accomplish.

So what do you do? How do you overcome these challenges and create the boundaries you need? There are two things you can do to get started.

Setting up Boundaries – Visualization and Action

The first piece of advice is this: visualize! Visualization is the key. The first step towards building boundaries, the first step towards a lot of things really, is to visualize. If you want to build up some boundaries, start with a Boundary Visualization. A boundary visualization is basically a visualization you do to help protect yourself from manipulation, negativity, and assault.

The easiest and most effective boundary visualization you can do is to simply visualize a ball of light around your body, your children, your home, and anything else you want to protect. Make this ball bright, powerful, and impenetrable to all toxicity and negativity. Visualize arrows of light getting in, but see darts of toxic darkness bouncing off.

Of course, a boundary visualization is just a start, so the second piece of advice we have for you is take action. And by “take action” we mean do something! You want to back up that boundary visualization with the creation of actual psychological, emotional, and even physical boundaries. Use the boundary visualization to help you understand and guide action, but take action to round it all out. Keep negative, toxic people and experiences outside of your spiritual/physical safety ball, and let positive and healthy experiences and people inside. Be careful that others you bring inside have your best interests at heart. If they do not, if they hurt or assault you, if they actively or passively attack you, keep them out. Remember, you can’t move forward towards stronger connection unless you feel completely safe. You can’t feel safe until you’ve established strong boundaries. If you want to develop a strong connection, visualize the protection ball and take action to create boundaries.

The best place to start with boundaries is with your home. Above all things, make your home a safe place. In our home, we have a strict no-abuse policy. Nobody is allowed to hurt, yell at, or even use a “tone” while interacting with another person (including a child). In addition, we are very careful about who we actually let into our home. We do not allow external toxicity to violate the sanctity and sacred nature of our home spaces. This might sound a little extreme to some, but it is not. If any place on Earth should be absolutely safe, it is the home. We need safe places to recuperate and rejuvenate, but we also need safe places to grow and connect.

Ideally, you want a safe home. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to realize this ideal by creating safe homes, typically because parents, spouses, children, and even roommates are “not on the same page.” In those cases where you are alone our outnumbered, find/build a safe space at home, a cocoon if you will, where everybody knows not to bother you, and where you can read, visualize, process, think, and heal. You want this space to be not isolated, but private—a place where you can disconnect from the old energy maelstrom that is growing daily, breathe deep and expand Consciousness. It could be your bedroom, a study, even a spot outside. Build this and then go to your “cocoon” to visualize, study, reflect, unwind, de-stress, face and process truths, etc. If it feels a bit strange to have to isolate yourself from things, do not worry. You only do it for periods to give yourself time for introspection, healing, awakening, and spiritual growth, and you won’t have to do it forever. In fact, down the road, you will feel a lot of pressure to get out of your safe spot and go out into the world to make some changes; but for now, and until you get a little stronger facing the truth about things, adopting a no abuse policy in your home or building or retiring to a cocoon of your own making is the best thing you can do.

Unfortunately, we have to say, the need for strong boundaries that prevent you from harm means, in the long run, and especially if you have children you want to protect from harm, that you might have to restrict your family from access. It is a sad testament to the state of our world; nevertheless, it is true that our parents, our siblings, our uncles, our friends, and even our adult children are often the ones who are the most threatening to us. Something like eighty percent of sexual assaults are perpetrated by family (uncles, aunts), friends, and people you know. And this does not include all the “friendly” violence that often goes on in the name of family and friendship. If you are not sure about their intentions and their actions, maintain superficial contact, or push them out altogether. Bring them in only if they are not a threat to yourself and (if you have them) your children and intimate partners. This is important. Your best bets to create conditions conducive to strength, truth, consistency, and connection is to learn to vigorously, and without compromise assert strong boundaries. As regards friends and family, the issue is simple. If the people you know and love are the people who violate your boundaries, do not let them into your ball of safety.

Making your home a safe space, or creating a cocoon in your home if you can’t make the entire place safe, is a good place to start, but eventually you have to do more. If we want to move forward towards stronger connection, we have to extend our safe spaces outside of the home to our workplace, friend spaces, and so on. To be perfectly clear, the long-term goal here is a safe planet totally free of violence and completely welcoming to connection and higher Consciousness. It sounds harder than it is, and we can do it in a single generation if we all wake up and work together. Do not listen to people who try to make you feel bad for wanting calm, peace, and safety. Start by establishing strict boundaries. Create a room, then a safe home, and gradually push out from there.

Endnotes

1 If it is not easy, it’s okay. If you are struggling with understanding these concepts, we suggest you move over to LP Workbook Two: HEALING. Something in you needs to be addressed or healed before this content will make any sense.

2 Distraction is not necessarily a bad thing. A stroll through a country park is full of welcome distractions. Similarly, a leisurely walk on the road to reconnection is not a bad thing so long as you do not get halted in your tracks or distracted from the Path. Always return to focus.

3 Although to be honest, the farther you progress, the less stomach you’ll have for junk food in any form. We know this is true for our family. We literally cannot stomach certain fast food outlets, and huge swaths of Hollywood output have, like the buzz of a disease carrying fly, becoming tiresome and annoying.

4 L. Monique Ward and Corissa Carlson, “Modeling Meanness: Associations Between Reality TV Consumption, Perceived Realism, and Adolescents’ Social Aggression,” Media Psychology 16, no. 4 (October 1, 2013): 371–89, https://doi.org/10.1080/15213269.2013.832627; Sarah M. Coyne, Simon L. Robinson, and David A. Nelson, “Does Reality Backbite? Physical, Verbal, and Relational Aggression in Reality Television Programs,” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 54, no. 2 (May 19, 2010): 282–98, https://doi.org/10.1080/08838151003737931; Lisa K. Lundy, Amanda M. Ruth, and Travis D. Park, “Simply Irresistible: Reality TV Consumption Patterns,” Communication Quarterly 56, no. 2 (May 9, 2008): 208–25, https://doi.org/10.1080/01463370802026828.

5Old energy is a Lightning Path phrase used to describe energy that is imbalanced (prevalence of yang/force), violent, hierarchical, dominating, exclusionary, elitist, and in the most extreme cases, psychopathic. Old energy is generated by energy workers who retain Old Energy Archetypes within the consciousness of their Physical Unit. I’ll speak more about old energy in the LP materials on archetypes. Also see the SpiritWiki entry at https://spiritwiki.lightningpath.org/Old_Energy.

6I (Gina) teach clients to retrain their thoughts so they can identify their feelings and sources of resistances with a 20/20/20 exercise. I tell clients that while engaged in a physical activity e.g. walking, running, or swimming etc., that they are to break down their workout and thinking into 3 compartmentalized time frames. The first 20 minutes is when you allow yourself to think those negative thoughts, you know the should of, could of, would of’s. Then during the next 20 minutes, this is their time to focus on heart rate – the real work out. The last 20 minutes are then used to cool down and use positive affirmations as they return back to their physiological resting state. I spent many years walking and reciting during my cool downs “I am a calm loving mother!”

7New Energy is a Lightning Path phrase used to describe energy that is balanced (equal yang/force and yin/formation). That is, new energy is both outgoing/generative and receptive/formative, in equal amounts.

8 Unless you are very fortunate, one of your first tasks will be to create a safe-space (a cocoon) for new energy experiences to unfold. To do that, carve out a safe space (a cocoon) at home, modify your “friends list” as necessary, and otherwise take active steps to remove toxicity, expose and create for yourself nurturing experience, and otherwise take active steps forward. Later on, as your work transforms your world, and as the work of others slowly connects to yours, new energy experiences will come to you without as much effort. Until then our advice to you is be strong, be patient, and (when it comes to the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical integrity of your physical unit and the experiences you allow it to have), take a no-compromise approach. You are not going to be able to erase old energy grooves, nor are you going to be able to cut new energy grooves, if you do not step out of old energy patterns wherever you may.

9 Michael Sharp, The Book of Light: The Nature of God, the Structure of Consciousness, and the Universe within You, vol. one -air, 4 vols. (St. Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press, 2006).

10 In fact, our families are often the worst perpetrators of violence against us. Most of us experience the worst forms of physical, emotional, and psychological toxicity and assault in our family of origin. That is, it is our moms and our dads, our sisters and our brothers, our aunts and our uncles, our cousins (and finally even our friends) who hit us, hurt us, sexually assault us, exploit us, abuse us, misuse us, and otherwise deliver us into harm (i.e. send us to schools where the bullies abuse, send us to sleepovers where we are raped and abused, etc.). Most people who emerge from adolescence into young adult hood have experienced some form of deep and abiding trauma. Of course, we’re all trained to ignore that trauma as if it is not there, but we should stop ignoring it. As long as we ignore it, we won’t repair the damage; as long as we do not repair the damage, we will be unable to attain and maintain strong connection.

11 Parents and teachers are supposed to teach you to build boundaries.

12 Who benefits from your lack of boundaries? People who want to sell you things, people who want to exploit you, people want to manipulate you, people who want to abuse you, and so on, they all benefit from your lack of boundaries. If I walk into an automobile show room, or attend a time-share presentation, with a strong boundary, the sales person will not be able to reach in and manipulate me. However, if I walk in with no boundaries, the sale person can get in my face, manipulate my thoughts and emotions, and otherwise violate me to sell me a car. It is the same with family, coworkers, etc. Somebody with no boundaries is easy to manipulate, control, assault. Those that prefer when you are easy to manipulate, assault, and control will benefit from your lack of boundaries, and will resist you when you try to put them up. If you try to put up a boundary and somebody resists, or worse, plows through, get that person out of your life.

13 FYI, you only let people in that you can trust and who never harm you in any way, and you keep out everybody, including family, that will hurt you in any way.

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