The Lotus and the Lily: A Book Excerpt

On January 1, 2010, after four weeks of intense spiritual exploration, I felt ready to call in a magical new year. That morning, I woke early, made a pot of coffee, and headed to my writing room. I said my prayers and settled in for a day of divine dialogue. But when I reached for my journal, I noticed a bright yellow book, You Are Here, by Thich Nhat Hanh, at my feet. I began to read and couldn't stop. Thich Nhat Hanh kept drawing me deeper and deeper into his book with his gentle, loving explanation of the Buddha's great teachings. In a chapter on how everything is connected, I turned the page and stumbled upon a sentence: "When conditions are sufficient there is a manifestation."

I stopped and read it again. Then I read it out loud. Then I leapt out of my chair. My hands shot to my forehead. I raced in circles around my room gushing, "Oh my God! Oh my God! Everything we think we know about manifestation is 180 degrees off!" I ran to my white board and scribbled "When conditions are sufficient there is a manifestation" in green marker. I stared at the sentence, letting this deeper understanding of manifestation settle into my bones. Here I was, wanting to manifest a beautiful life, but I had my eyes on the wrong half of the equation. I was focused on what I wanted, but it's not about wanting. It's about creating the conditions that organically produce what I want. Conditions first; manifestation second. From the moment I read that sentence, my Soul Day changed forever. Heck, my whole life changed forever.

I spent the rest of the day alternating between reading You Are Here and talking over what I was learning with the Voice—what Icall the speaker of the divine guidance that appears on the pagewhen I'm soul writing. The Voice and I had rich conversationsabout the full implications of "when conditions are sufficient."

Suddenly, I wondered if this is what Jesus meant when he said, "Seek first the kingdom and God's righteousness and all else shall be provided" (Matthew 6:33). Surely the two great masters, the Buddha and Jesus, would have to have taught the same thing.

I jumped out of my chair and searched my bookshelves for Blessings of the Cosmos by Neil Douglas-Klotz. I knew from spending time with his earlier book, Prayers of the Cosmos, that Jesus spoke Aramaic, a rich Middle Eastern language that carries literal, metaphorical, and mystical meanings simultaneously. When the gospels were written in Greek and then translated into Latin and finally English, much of the majesty and impact of Jesus's words were washed out along the way. In Blessings, Douglas-Klotz says that in English we read, "Seek first the kingdom," but in Aramaic, Jesus's words are much more thrilling and clear. To give us a sense for what firstcentury

Aramaic listeners heard, he translates "Seek first the kingdom" into a whole page of poetry. In the end, he captures Jesus's intent with this summary: "Here Jesus says that when 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."

With the wisdom of the two great masters stirring in my heart, I made an Intention Mandala for 2010. (Later in the book, I'll explain exactly what a mandala is, why it's important, and how an Intention Mandala fits into the Lotus and the Lily process.) It had pictures of what I wanted, but those images were on the periphery of the circular mandala, not the center. At the heart of my mandala, I drew a lily and on each petal wrote one of my conditions—the six actions I take every day to live a life aligned with Spirit and become the fertile soil in which my beautiful life can grow. Then I gave my mandala a name: "My Breakthrough Year."

I posted "My Breakthrough Year" on the wall and began a daily mandala prayer practice. Every morning, I stood in front of my mandala, handed my desires over to Spirit, and announced aloud that I would spend the day focusing on my part of the equation—living my conditions. I talked to my mandala every morning, and from its position overlooking my computer, it spoke to me all day.

Forty days later, I had my appointment with the bankruptcy attorney. He explained the process and asked if I had any questions. "One," I said, "I made $12,000 in January. Is that a problem?"

"Well, yeah, it's a problem," he said. "You're not bankrupt."

After the appointment, I drove to my favorite holy place, St. Michael's Shrine in Tarpon Springs, Florida. There, I poured tears of gratitude onto my soul-journal page, thanking the angels and Spirit for leading me to the teachings of the Buddha and Jesus. "How can I thank you?" I wrote. The answer was simple and clear: teach it. I've taught the process I discovered, which I call "the Lotus and the Lily," ever since. And now, here you are.

10/1/2012 4:00:00 AM