Now Featured at the Patheos Book Club
The Lotus and the Lily
Access the Wisdom of Buddha and Jesus to Nourish Your Beautiful, Abundant Life
By Janet Conner
Book Excerpt: Welcome
Copyright © 2012 The Lotus and the Lily by Janet Conner
Reprinted with permission of Red Wheel Weiser/Conari Press
Welcome to the divine playground of your soul. Here, Julian of Norwich's sweet blessing "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well" actually comes to pass. And none too soon. For many of us things haven't been going so well. We look around and wonder, "What happened? How did I get here?"
It isn't that we haven't been told what to do. We have. In many ways and by many teachers, we've been told to ask and receive. Asking sounds so easy and so fun. And sometimes, it works! But sometimes, nothing happens. Or the wrong thing happens. So we ask again. And again. And again. It seems no matter how much activity there is at the asking end, there's never quite enough on the receiving end.
Something is wrong, and we assume it must be with us. Maybe we're not asking correctly, or we're not clear enough about what we want, or our thoughts aren't in the right alignment, or perhaps our vibration is off, or we don't trust enough, or we're not saying the right affirmations, or—here's a scary thought—maybe we don't deserve to get what we want. Or, yikes, what if the universe doesn't actually work this way.
It's frustrating to keep knocking at a door that doesn't seem to want to open. Many of us are ready to give up.
Please don't give up. There's nothing wrong with you, and there's nothing wrong with the way the universe works. Furthermore, you are utterly and completely worthy of experiencing a life of abundance and joy. And—here's an important piece of good news—you already possess everything you need to create that life. Because you are a soul. That means you were born with innate spiritual intelligence. That means direct and immediate access to the Divine was built into you at the factory. That means the creative powers of desire, imagination, will, and intention are all at your fingertips. Hafiz, the peerless Sufi mystic, knows this little secret about you:
All the talents of God are within you.
How could this be otherwise
When your soul
Derived from His
—Hafiz, from "All the Talents of God," The Gift, translation by Daniel Ladinsky
Here's another little secret: You chose this human experience, and you came to live in beauty, not in pain—to consume life, not to be consumed by it. You came to create life, and at the soul level, you know how to do that. You've just humanly forgotten, as we all have. But the truth is still alive and waiting. The great masters, the Buddha and Jesus, told us ages ago how to create an abundant life and—guess what?—they did not say get clear about what you want and ask for it. The Buddha said, "When conditions are sufficient there is a manifestation." Jesus said, "[W]hen we pursue a right relationship with the Universal One and allow this relationship to realign our lives, we produce a condition of receptivity in which anything we need to help us complete our purpose in life will be supplied by the universe."
Although they lived six hundred years and thousands of miles apart, and gave birth to two very different spiritual traditions, the Buddha and Jesus taught exactly the same thing: you create a beautiful life by creating fertile conditions, not by asking for anything. In my own words, what I hear them saying is this: You can have anything you want—why, you can have things you don't even know you want—but not by focusing on them. Instead, put your undivided attention on your connection with the vibrant presence of the Divine within, and your life will change. It has to. It is the natural order.
Sound like a paradox? It is. It's the Great Paradox of Prosperity. Get used to paradox. It's one of the Divine's favorite games. So is creation. In The Lotus and the Lily, you will play with many creation toys. You will learn the cosmic power of the mandala. You will play with Soul Slinky waves of intention and gratitude. You will awaken your inner shaman and be amazed at what you can do. You will discover the power of naming your past and your future. And you will experience the generative power of your own voice.
It all sounds rather magical, but it isn't. It's natural order—the same natural order that produces an abundant harvest on a physical farm. A wise farmer will tell you that planting a seed takes a few seconds. The real value is in the preparation of the soil. Fertile fields produce lush crops. That abundant beautiful life you want? That's one very lush crop. So for the next twenty-eight days, you will walk your spiritual fields, plucking weeds, removing rocks, and nourishing your soil with twenty-eight essential spiritual truths. When the fields are ready, you will give yourself a special Soul Day. On that day, you will clarify your conditions and plant the seeds of your beautiful life in a highly charged and deeply personal Intention Mandala. Then you only have to watch what happens. Because when conditions are sufficient, there will be a manifestation.