"The best way to express what is for me the simplest and most important truth -- and this may or may not surprise you -- is from the Twelve Step programs, begun by Alcoholics Anonymous. God bless Alcoholics Anonymous! The twelve steps are brilliant.
"The third step says, I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understand God. That leads right to the eleventh step, I sought through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God as I understand God, praying only for knowledge of God's will and the power to carry it out.
"That's it, in a nutshell -- at least for me: Just keep turning it over to God, asking to do God's will. That's the one simple solution. Whenever you have a problem, turn it over to God -- whatever you believe God or a Higher Power or the creative force of the universe to be."
There was a quiet pause, as Bernie gazed at the moon in silence. The silence was warm and satisfying. I felt no need to say anything. Bernie finally broke the silence.
"So, the most important thing for each of us is to reflect on what we believe God to be. What is God in our lives? What do we really believe? What makes sense for us? What is reasonable, for each of us, given our unique background and culture and beliefs? It's very important to reflect on this, and come up with something -- because that conception of God can provide us with all the answers and guidance and inspiration we need to create the kind of life experience we dream of creating...
"Everyone has some conception of God, or a higher power, even if they think they're atheists. As I've said to many people many times before, if you don't believe in a higher power, go make a blade of grass. Or a cricket. Or a galaxy. Some power created those things -- how do you describe that power? Chemistry? Then that's your higher power. Atomic energy? Then that's your description of what I choose to call God, the forces of good, of creation, of life.
"Here's my simple conception of God. It was within the Native American culture and teachings I found the words that work for me: God is the Great Mystery. We'll never understand God; God is the force of creation, eternally mysterious. God is the force within the atoms, the intelligence that forms the structure of all matter. God is the force within the galaxies, the force that causes stars to be born and to spawn life and to spectacularly die. God is the force that causes the simple elements that have been blasted out from those dying stars to combine and to form all living things, including molecules as complex as the DNA in every cell of our body. We'll never really understand those forces, in their essence. It's the Great Mystery of our existence.
"Do you believe in God?" He didn't give me time to answer the question.
"To me, this question is exactly the same as, Do you believe in the creative power of the Universe? Or, Do you believe a tiny seed can grow to a huge tree? Or, Do you believe in physics?
"The answer to all these questions is obvious to me -- and has nothing to do with belief.
"Whenever you have a problem -- business or personal -- turn it over to the forces of creation, to God as you understand God. Most people call this process prayer, but you can call it anything you like. Just say, 'Well God (or whatever you want to call it, or him, or her), I put the problem in your hands -- I'm turning it over to you. Just show me what your will is. Let me do your will.'
"Turn everything over to God; let God work out the details.
"Just keep asking to do God's will, and your problems will dissolve. You will be shown, step by step, intuitively, what to do.
"You never need to worry about your business once you really turn it over to God. For you aren't in charge of your business any more -- God is the new president. And the chairman of the board as well.
"Just keep asking what God's will is, and you'll be guided in your business to do exactly the right thing for you. You might take the business in completely unexpected directions! It doesn't matter -- God is showing you where and how to go. God is directing the show."
We sat in his living room, in front of the picture window, and gazed at the hills bathed in the spotlight of a brilliant full moon, which was now silvery white rather than orange.
We sat quietly, watching the silent moon. There was very little light in the room; the moon was the star of the show. I felt relaxed, in no hurry to do anything or go anywhere. I was just content to sit in silence. I reflected on how unusual that was for me -- usually I was rushing along, always looking ahead, wanting something in the future, whether it was to finish a project or to get to some destination or to get a cup of coffee or a meal. I so rarely sat still and just enjoyed being in the present moment, with absolutely no desire for anything else to make me happy or fulfilled.
Bernie sat motionless. I did too, and I seemed to lose track of time. It seemed as if we sat there for just a few minutes, though the moon climbed quite high in the sky. It was getting late.
Bernie finally moved a bit, took a sip of his juice, and looked at me.
"I want to show you something before you go," he said. His voice was deep and quiet. "Here's a course in magic -- a course in creation.
"All creation is magical, and we create all the time. So all of us are already magical beings. All of us are magicians. But a lot of us don't know it, that's all.
"Here's an entire course in magic -- it's a short course, but it's all that's necessary. Let's see... I need some paper..."
He got up and wandered off into the darkness. As he returned he adjusted the light in the room, turning it up a little. I noticed his lamps had adjustments, so he could carefully control the amount of light each one gave off. He handed me a pen, a sheet of paper, and kept another for himself.
"Draw one of these," he said. And he drew a large star in the center of the sheet, which covered over half the sheet of paper.
"This star is central to this teaching. I use a five-pointed star -- you can pick a six-pointed star if you wish, or any number of points, or simply a radiant circle. The most important thing is to imagine that it is a star, and it's filled with light -- shining clearly in front of you. In your meditation, focus on this light-filled star, and then let the light take whatever form it will. It may remain as a star, or it may change for you. It may be a person filled with light, with arms outstretched. In Western magic, the five-pointed star stands for Man, with arms out stretched. Man -- or Woman -- in the form of light, in the form of God, whatever you want to call it.
"Now, at the top point of this star, put these words: God's will.
"Or something similar, however you choose to define God. Choose whatever words work for you, whatever keeps reminding you to turn your desires, your goals, your problems -- everything -- over to God, or the forces of creation.
"Then, at every other point on the star, list something you want to create in your life, something you are passionate about. With a five-pointed star, therefore, you choose your top four goals, desires, dreams, and put one at each point.
"Putting it in this visual way is effective for many reasons. It forces you, for one thing, to keep asking yourself if what you are wishing for is God's will. This is important. It forces you, too, to just choose four possibilities, from the realm of all possibilities. So you have to prioritize: What are your four most important goals?
"Once you have chosen your goals and written them down, ask yourself: Am I truly ready and willing to receive what I'm asking for? Because you're going to receive it, and you have to be ready for it.
"Remember what Deepak Chopra says, 'Within every desire is the seed and mechanics for its fulfillment.' This is the essence of magic.
"Fold your paper and carry it with you at all times. Focus on your star often enough to keep it emblazoned in your consciousness. Focus on it until your desires become intentions. An intention is much stronger than a desire. We didn't just desire to create the bodies we have today, our DNA is encoded with the absolute intention to create the bodies we have today. Once a desire becomes an intention, 90 percent of your perceived or imagined obstacles dissolve. And you have the knowledge and strength -- the will -- to deal effectively with the other 10 percent.
"Once your desires become intentions, you will create what you intend to create, no more, and no less. As James Allen wrote in As You Think, 'You will become as great as your dominant aspiration... If you cherish a vision, a lofty ideal in your heart, you will realize it.'
"That's Western magic in a nutshell."
I wrote my desires at each point of my star. They came forth quickly, as fast as I could write. Each one seemed to lead to the next.
As I was writing, Bernie interrupted with an unexpected question, something no one had ever asked me, a question I hadn't ever asked myself:
"How much money do you want to make, eventually? How much money is enough?"
"That's a good question, Bernie," I said. "I have to think about that one."
"Here's the most important question: Why do you want to make money? What does it represent for you?"
The words just spilled out: "Peace and power," I said. Bernie looked highly amused.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"A certain level of money would give me a sense of peacefulness; I'd be able to do things at my own pace, in an easy and relaxed manner -- the way you seem to work. And it would give me the power to do what I want to do, to fulfill my purpose in life."
"Peace and power -- that's good!" Bernie said. He had that delighted look again. "All right -- focus on this thought, on this affirmation: I now have peace and power. Write it in big letters at the top of your page, above your star. Keep repeating those words: I now have peace and power. Keep remembering that affirmation, until your subconscious accepts it and you create it in your life.
"People don't really want money, they want what money can bring to them. Keep affirming you already have peace and power -- or whatever it may be -- and you'll have it!"
He laughed like a little child, utterly pleased with himself. "Got it?"
I drove home in a strange state -- it was almost euphoria, though maybe that's too strong a word. I felt serene, completely content to be myself, doing exactly what I was doing. I drove in silence -- no radio, which I almost always played as I drove.
I was perfectly content to be cruising down the road gazing silently at a world bathed in the silver light of a full moon. I was at peace.
Visionary Business: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Success
by Marc Allen.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, New World Library, www.newworldlibrary.com.
About the Author
Marc Allen writes from his own experience as founder and president of a successful visionary business. Twenty years ago, he co-founded New World Library (with Shakti Gawain). He has guided the company from a small start-up operation with no capital to a major contributor in the independent publishing world.