IF THE WORLD ENDED TODAY WOULD YOUR LIFE BE A MIRACLE? LESSONS OF HOPE, RICHES, AND LOVE WITH ALAN COHEN, BESTSELLING SPIRITUAL TEACHER AND CONTRIBUTOR TO #1 NY TIMES CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL SERIES
Who is your daily companion? Fear or Love? This is the fundamental question you need to answer on a daily basis. For many people, fear, worry, and stress are their daily tormenters—harassing them with the dark and catastrophic possibilities of what could go wrong in our uncertain and topsy-turvy world. Now there is hope in the form of love and miracle lessons, courtesy of our Love University friend, Alan Cohen, bestselling spiritual author and contributor to the inspirational Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Here some nuggets of wisdom that Alan shared with us on how to live our life like a miracle and receive the love and riches the universe has to offer us.
*Kill your ego. Our ego is the false perception of who we are—an accumulation of critical thoughts from our past, societies’ expectations, and labels (name, physical appearance, social status). According to Alan, we need to get rid of this false ego and substitute it for our true self: Our loving, powerful, and intuitive higher nature. You can do this by doing the things you love: a meditative/spiritual practice, spending time with loved ones—love partner, children, animals—doing creative and humanitarian work; making a contribution to the world. When you live from your higher self, your lower self of fear, doubt, and self-pity will disappear—leaving you free to be who you really are: A lover of life and others.
*End the world. In our current world crisis, some people fear that the world is going to actually end—in a physical sense: Destruction, war, pestilence, and mass death are their predictions. Yet, according to Alan, that is not the end of the world we need or want. What is required is that we end the false world (our mistaken mental image) of fear, hate, sadness, and division—leaving behind the previous nasty world of strife, fear, and pain. Instead, says Alan, we need to ask (pray) for a new world—one of peace, unity, and humanhood. By asking for a miracle—a transformative collective change of mind—we can bring the positive elements of love, compassion, and empathy into the earth and into our personal lives as well.
*Love attracts riches. Many people have money and wealth all wrong. They think that if they have money, they will find happiness, love, or peace. Alan explains that we need a reversal. We need to feel and express love, and then the money and prosperity will come to us. "Do what you love and the money will flow to you" is a classic, but true, statement. Be generous and give your customers, clients, employees, and associates more than they expect, and you will receive abundance in return—maybe not from the person you gave to, but from some other source you didn’t expect. The truth is that the universe rewards you when you use money as a form of loving energy. When you buy a product or service you want, you pay for it with this symbol called “money.” When you see money as a form of loving energy, instead of merely a financial transaction, you visualize yourself expressing gratitude and love for the product or service you just received. Then, the person who receives your money can feel gratitude and appreciation for what you gave them. Now, they can use that money to buy products and services with loving appreciation. On and on, this loving money energy is spread around the world and becomes an instrument for contribution, comfort, and joy to the earth’s inhabitants.
*Give up struggle; burn with the fire of purpose. In our workaholic, 24-7 technology society, it is commonly believed that we have to struggle, sacrifice, and suffer pain to accomplish our dreams and goals. That is false, says Alan. The word “struggle” refers to a mentality, not an action. It is a mindset based on fear, chasing, and insecurity—in which you frantically strive after things, people, and outcomes without knowing when you can ever rest. Struggle is a painful mindset. On the other hand, hard work toward a beloved goal is action combined with faith and vision. You can accomplish great things if you work hard, persevere, and overcome obstacles from the perspective of celebrating your vision—building a great family or career (business), fulfilling your creative (spiritual) potential, leaving a legacy of love and goodness. In reality, struggle is not required for success; in fact, it can debilitate you and take away your energy. What is needed is that you burn with your purpose in life—your meaning for being here on earth—while at the same time relaxing and allowing your Higher Nature (God, spirit, reality) to bring you the things you really need. Working in partnership with your Higher Nature, you can have the best of both worlds: a calm, secure, and peaceful mind that is still determined, hardworking, and achievement-oriented. When you achieve this ideal balance, obstacles will evaporate before your very eyes, and you will see the results you want sooner than you could ever have imagined.
*Practice inward comparison. Mark Twain said, “Comparison is the death of joy.” Yet many people compare themselves with others to try to feel better. Social psychology tells us about upward and downward comparison. When people compare themselves to another person who is doing better than them, they’re likely to feel inferior in comparison. When they compare themselves to someone who is doing worse (making less money, less attractive spouse, smaller house), they’re likely to feel better—until the next person comes along who has more than they do. When they live from outer comparison, they will undoubtedly end up feeling shaky and insecure—always looking over the shoulder to see if the next comparison will be in their favor. The solution is to practice inward comparison—only compare yourself to yourself. Ask yourself: How much have I improved, grown, or learned since my previous days? Perhaps, you still need to grow and improve, but chances are, you can point out some areas where you are better, or at least grateful, for what you have. Think of your accomplishments, successes, and lessons learned—be grateful for your talents, your loved ones, your experiences. The more you compare yourself to your own inner growth, the more positive you will feel about your life and the more motivated you will be to achieve even more.
Yes, you can live a miraculous life worth living, despite the turmoil and uncertainty of the world. By ending your false perception of yourself and the world, and substituting a vision of love, contribution, and unity, you can start to achieve your fullest potential and help others achieve theirs. Along the way, you will reverse your old way of thinking: You will relax instead of struggle, give instead of frantically trying to receive, love instead of waiting to be loved. Once you do this, you will realize that the miracle was inside you all along: Love has always been your companion; the door to miraculous living has always been open. All you have to do is walk through the entrance and claim the world of joy, happiness, and contribution that belongs to you.