Beyond the Noise


winnie and fuzzy under tableIn a perfect synchronicity, this was the view under my chair as I wrote this blog.

Beyond the noise of political campaigns and other news headlines, and all the thoughts that vie for our attention, there is some essence of us that is pure and innocent, that urges us to be present, to remember that our nature is love.

Within each of us is an idealist who still believes all things are possible, who wants everyone to get along, and who believes we can find a way to create peace and fulfillment for all.

Yes, on the surface, our skeptical minds take us into doubt and fear, but deeper within us is an encouraging voice that says “even now, all is well.”

In yoga classes, the teachers will often invite us to soften our gaze, to loosen our jaws, and to relax our faces. To me, this is the physical…

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Yes, You Can Meditate


gregory meditating at darleen's 01-22-16(Gregory Toole teaches meditation and is currently offering a four-week online meditation course. Click here  for more information.)

I started meditating when I was in college. Initially it was something I took up because I heard it was good for stress relief and I was working my way through school. It quickly became a spiritual practice for me. I noticed I was more at peace, more centered, and my life seemed to work more smoothly.

I would meditate consistently for six months or so, and then my practice would drop off and I’d go several months without meditating. At some point it would dawn on me that my life was working much better when I was meditating and I would pick it up again for another six months as a daily practice. After this back and forth for many years, I finally adopted meditation as a central daily spiritual…

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Taking the Leap


spiritual guidance photo (2)

What is the difference between those who follow their dreams and those who do not? One major difference is that those who follow their dreams eventually take a leap from where they are into the somewhat unknown. Some have called it a leap of faith. It is taking a step in the direction of a vision without knowing all the details of how it is going to work out.

Some who don’t follow their dreams are in a waiting pattern – waiting for just the right moment, waiting for the unknown to become known, waiting for the perfect conditions to present themselves, or just waiting for courage.

While patience is a good thing and paying attention to timing is wise, at some point there is a leap to be taken. Rarely are all the steps revealed in advance. Seldom is everything neatly arranged for our human comfort. However, what does…

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Saying Yes to Your Calling


yes photo

I believe most of us have a calling, even if we’re unaware of it. I’ve had many conversations with people who have said that they would move into action once they got the calling. Facetiously, I have asked for their phone number and suggested I would give them the call.

The common misconception is to think the calling must come through some dramatic means, such as Moses hearing from God in a burning bush. In most cases, the calling seems to come more in the form of a thought that just keeps coming up, that just won’t let us go. It just won’t go away.

I often think of the dawning of my own calling, when I was called to be a spiritual teacher. After becoming licensed as a spiritual practitioner and engaging in several years of deep spiritual practice, I began to ask, in my daily meditations, what was…

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Prospering in Your Calling



Most of us experience this interesting dilemma in life: can we follow our calling and put all of our energy into it, or do we need to follow our calling on the side after working the job that pays our bills? Or further still, do we need to put off our calling until after retirement from the career from which we have made our living?

While there are no easy answers to these questions as they are very personal to each individual, I will share a couple spiritual principles that have the possibility to free us from this dilemma.

The first spiritual principle of prosperity is that we have an unlimited divine Source. For most of us, this principle is just a theory, or an ultimate reality that has little bearing on our day-to-day experience. We give thanks for the abundance we experience, but still feel a great deal of…

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Evolution, Not Resolution


macchu pichu guide

Many speak of the value of darkness during the winter solstice. And the darkness truly is valuable. As Rickie Byars Beckwith sings in one of her songs, “the seed will need the darkness to change into new life.” What is also valuable about the winter solstice is the return of the light. As we pass the longest night and the shortest day, each day reveals more light.

As we come into this new year, it is a good time to ask ourselves, what kind of world are we choosing to create – not out there, but in here, deep within our own being.

We can begin to engage our imagination to see a greater possibility. In seeing that greater possibility, feeding it with our love and attention, and taking whatever steps are ours to take, we begin fashioning a new world.

It is so easy to just continue with past…

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Going Directly to Happy



Most of us have at some point come to realize that happiness is found within. Living our lives as if that were true can be a whole different story. We receive so many external messages extolling the virtues of all kinds of things outside ourselves as the source (and necessity) of our happiness. Moreover, we have internalized so many messages that link external factors to our happiness.

In addition to all the various advertisements and social pressures to have the right relationship, drive the perfect car, smell just right with deodorants, perfumes and the like, and work in an acceptable career, at an acceptable pace of upward mobility, we now also have our social media profiles to maintain. Of course, we are at choice with all of these and this is where we get to check in with ourselves to see where we are placing our attention and energies.


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A Different Holiday To-Do List


I posted a photo (author unknown) to Facebook last year around the holidays, and re-posted it this year, that contains an alternative holiday to-do list. Here’s the list with what’s crossed off and suggestions for what replaces it:

holiday to-do list
Perhaps the list should be renamed the Holiday To-Be List.

As I move about my days during this holiday season, I often hear conversations about the items on this list, all of which are just fine as originally written, until they begin to overly cause stress or obscure the true spirit of the season.

I can’t help but envision how the season would be if more of us were using the revised list in the picture above. We’d probably all feel much more connected to the season and wouldn’t lose much at all. If we get the lights up, fine. If not, that’s okay too, as long as we get to…

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The Breakthrough


About 20 years ago I experienced financial challenges after leaving a corporate career to better align my activities with what I was beginning to see as my higher purpose. I was new to spiritual principles of prosperity at the time, but I was very committed to my spiritual study and practice. As I continued to move through the financial challenges, one morning I awoke suddenly at three or four o’clock with a very exciting thought: what I had previously believed about limitations on how I could make a living were not part of my conscious beliefs at any level.

I literally jumped out of bed and began celebrating as if I had won the lottery. In a way, I did, because when we completely transform limiting beliefs, a whole new world is opened to us. I felt a renewed sense of freedom even though the appearance was that I had not completely put the financial challenges behind me. My excitement was due to knowing that the thought patterns that created the challenges no longer existed, therefore the challenges could not continue for much longer.

In fact, a few short months later, the financial challenges were completely behind me.

Our breakthrough comes not when things change in the exterior, but when we have a revolution in our thinking and in our being. It is only a shift in our underlying beliefs and thought patterns that creates lasting external change. The slogan for Centers for Spiritual Living, the New Thought spiritual community of which I am part, at one time was “Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life.” It is as relevant today as it ever was.

Often there’s a tendency to exert our energies mainly on the external effects in an attempt to get our breakthrough. That is well and good as far as it goes, however, unless there is a shift on the interior of our being, we will usually end up creating the same or a similar challenge all over again. Lasting change comes from that deeper work that we do in prayer, meditation, contemplation, study, and through consciously aligning with higher intentions.

Some might ask, “How do I know what my underlying beliefs and thought patterns have been?” The simplest approach is to look at what has repeatedly shown up in our life. For example, if we have experienced multiple relationships where our potential mate is unavailable, a good place to start would be, where am I unavailable? Where do I have a set of beliefs and attitudes that represent unavailability?

The breakthrough comes when we interrupt existing thought patterns, when we introduce a new idea, release old ways of thinking and being, and make a new commitment to a higher choice.

Often the most challenging step is releasing the old. There can be a tendency to want to just add newness without releasing anything. Usually, this doesn’t work. Stepping into something new almost always involves letting go of something old. The scripture that admonishes not to pour new wine into old wine skins is right on point.

Five Common things to release are:

  1. A particular perspective or belief that is no longer serving us;
  2. Old hurts and wounds (by beginning the process of forgiveness);
  3. Attachment to something in the material world;
  4. Habitual ways of doing things;
  5. The idea that our current situation is “just the way life is.”

The most important thing to remember is that we are always at choice and our choices matter. When we decide to have a change, that is the beginning of a change occurring.

Enjoy the journey.