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Expand what you believe is possible

“If you think bending spoons is cool, wait until you learn to bend your whole life.”—Martha Beck

Back in 1981, Bud Tribble, who at that time was a new hire at Apple, suggested that his boss possessed the superpower of creating “reality distortion fields.”

What he meant is that Steve Jobs could take what everyone else believed was utterly impossible and inspire his teams to do it anyway. Tribble said he got the term from an episode of Star Trek where aliens created new worlds using mental force.

What he didn’t bother to mention is that this same superpower is engrained in all of us. We all create our world, 100 percent of the time.  Except instead of using our imaginations and going for what others believe is impossible, we get up each day and compress our world back into the mold we used yesterday. And the day before that.

The Course in Miracles says it like this: “I see only the past.”

Talk about a waste of a superpower. We could literally imagine into existence a more beautiful, just and compassionate world, one that works for everyone. The past story of scarcity and separation is getting creaky and old. All the forces trying to hold it in place are literally falling apart.

That’s why it’s the perfect time to use our superpowers of imagination, creativity and love. If we refuse to fall for the story that impossible things can’t be done, we can literally regenerate everything.

But we have to give up our training, our rules, our old, sad story. Each of us is a whirlpool of individual consciousness inside a vast universal consciousness. If we can give up the past, meet each moment anew and ask for help from what I often call The Divine Buzz, things that were once dubbed impossible can become “well, duh!” Here’s to regeneration, imagination and peace. #222 Forever

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World) that has just been turned into an app. Badass ACIM (badass-acim.com)

Bombarded with miracles

“Your smarts, your talents, your good looks – take off these impediments and let us dance!” — Chelan Harkin

Tomorrow, in my playshop with Mike Dooley, I’m going to share “techniques” for widening one’s miracle bandwidth.

The term “technique” sounds rather didactic and I’ve never really felt like a “teacher” in any real definition of the word. If anything I’m just a regular Jane willing to experiment with my own life in public.

And I’ve learned from lots of personal experience that always, always, always the best technique for accomplishing anything is to manage my fear. To do whatever it takes to calm the nutty voice in my own head that constantly tells me that stepping into the unknown is unsafe. Whether that’s writing a book or hugging someone I’ve never met.

Our entire culture is predicated on avoiding the unknown, keeping us safe, convincing us to protect ourselves, to fit in, to march in line with the consumer system that tells us we need this product and that “technique.”

But like it or not, the unknown is where the magic happens. The unknown is where old, crusty beliefs are overridden by this more beautiful reality. And the unknown is scary.

My current “technique,” if you want to call it that, is getting up every morning and going outside, listening to the birds, making eye contact with my neighborhood fox. I go out there and feel this intense aliveness that, when you take the time to look, you notice permeates everything. I ask that life force to use me, to guide me, to show me what I need to do right now in this moment. Then, when the next moment comes, I ask again.

Maybe it’s a technique. But it feels more like surrender. Because I honestly don’t know.

Except that out there—in the real world, the alive world of nature–I feel connected with my daughter, with what some call angels, with this bigger thing that just keeps bombarding me with miracles.

To give you one small example, this Magical Mystery Adventure that I was invited to participate in with Mike Dooley has raised $22,200 for The Taz Grout 222 Foundation. And the logo that Mike’s amazing team created for the adventure happened to have a giant 222–which they didn’t even realize (they were going for 21 days, starting on the 21st, etc) until I pointed it out. Check it out below.

So I will continue to count my blessings, let go of what I was taught to believe and step out into the wildly mystical unknown. #222 Forever!

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World) that has just been turned into an app. Badass ACIM (badass-acim.com)

Going up?

“My anthem is the feisty joy parade that goes from my heart to yours.”—Chelan Harkin

So in this video (that I’m going to try to add to the bottom of this post), Mike Dooley asked for my elevator speech.

I said something like, Gosh, “I guess I should write one” even though I know full well nobody can be contained within a label, a description or even an elevator speech.

But since he asked, I looked up the definition and discovered a good elevator speech explains what I’m up to, what project I’m working on, what comes next for me.

And even though my cultural programming instructs me to articulate something that sounds impressive and/or fulfilling, I concluded–upon a bit of inner reflection–that my only mission is to BE love. Right here. Right now.

I know. I know. It sounds flimsy and woo-woo and shouldn’t I have more goals?

But upon even more inner reflection, I concluded that “well, what else could I possibly want? What else beyond love would I ever want to experience or would I ever want anyone else to experience?”

So screw it! That’s my elevator speech. My mission is to overcome all limiting beliefs that would block this indwelling source of love. And to know that love is not something you find in people, places or things. It’s a life energy that dwells within, a powerful force that yearns to make its presence known.

All of us are inherently happy and worthy of love and acceptance. So my elevator pitch, if I ever get asked again, is: I, Pam Grout, am a love activist. #222 Forever.

Here’s the video and here’s where you can join us for our 21-day Magical Mystery Manifestation Adventure.

Have the most extraordinarily epic weekend of your life, my beautiful compatriots of joy. #222 Forever!

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World) that has just been turned into an app. Badass ACIM (badass-acim.com)

Appearances, be damned!

“Walk so lightly, my darling. On tiptoes with no luggage, completely unencumbered.”– Aldous Huxley

If you’ve been here for awhile, at this celebration known colloquially as a blog, you know I live to share miracle stories.

To me, they’re the equivalent of the 4-minute mile. They demonstrate that “hey, maybe there IS another possibility.” Maybe all those rigid ideas and expectations that consume most of our waking energy aren’t rock solid truth.

Today’s miracle comes from one of my possibility posse mates. And I love it SO MUCH because she’s the one who instigated it. She’s the one who made it happen. I like that in a miracle.

You might have heard about the NCAA National Championships. The KU Jayhawks, 15 points down at the half, came back and captured the title.  Retiring to the locker room at half time, Christian Braun asked David McCormack, “What are you smiling about? They’re killing us.” And McCormack says, “I don’t understand why you’re upset. We got this. We know how to do this. It’s our destiny.”

I don’t know for sure he used the word destiny, but you get the point. He refused to despair over “appearances.”

As did my miracle-inducing posse mate who joined 70,000 fans in gleeful celebration on Mass Street in Lawrence, Kansas. Considering our official population is 94K, this was what you might call a decent turnout. Everybody’s slapping hands and everybody loves everybody and well, it seemed more like life should always be.

But back to the miracle. Soon after arriving, Robbin noticed while swimming in that sea of humanity, she’d lost her friends and her phone. Most humans would have panicked at that point. But not Robbin. She just continued reveling in the exuberant party. She continued having a rip-roaring good time.

The Huxley quote above started by saying, “There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must WALK LIGHTLY.”

Yes, I know life sometimes appears scary and worthy of despair, but it’s only because that’s what we’ve been mentally rehearsing. Quite actively rehearsing, I might add, for the past couple years.

But when you recognize, like Robbin did, like David McCormack did, that appearances are TEMPORARY and that a BUNCH of other possibilities are just as valid, just as likely, you can WALK LIGHTLY.

And, of course, you can guess what I’m about to say. Robbin found the friends, was reunited with her phone and everything turned out groovy keen.

Mike Dooley and I are going to be walking lightly in our 21-day Magical Mystery Manifestation Adventure that you’re invited to join here.

Have the most sensational weekend of your life, my beautiful, amazing compatriots of joy. #222 Forever!

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World) that has just been turned into an app. Badass ACIM (badass-acim.com)

Law of Attraction Strikes Again

“Grace is always right there holding your hand.”—Jim Carrey

This is the bingo card for the Magical Mystery Manifestation Adventure. And, yes, we plan to manifest all these things!!!

When I first wrote E-Squared, when it was still called God Doesn’t Have Bad Hair Days, I had never heard the term Law of Attraction. This was in the early 2000’s before The Secret had become a household word.

I was certainly practicing the Law of Attraction, because well, you can’t NOT practice it. It’d be like trying to defy gravity. I was just coming at it from a different metaphysical angle, using practices I’d learned from Unity. Potato-potatoh!

At all times, we emit an energetic vibration that affects what we pull in from the big cosmic energy field. It may appear that things “just happen,” but, in reality, we constantly attract — to use that terminology — experiences that match our energetic frequency.   

That’s why it’s so important to practice gratitude, to focus on possibilities, to let go of old patterns and beliefs.

When you live on a frequency of trust, when you know that generosity, kindness and goodness is the state of the world, amazing things happen.

Essential to this state of grace is becoming willing to entertain the unknown. That’s not always comfortable–most of us prefer to repeat the past.

But once you really, really get it, when you figure out how much the universe desires to bless you, you begin attracting beautiful things, amazing people, oh-wow experiences.

And you really don’t have to do anything. This is the part that trips people up. Not do anything? But what about all those affirmations? What about my vision board?

Those things are all really fun. But the important component is always your invisible energetic frequency, your state of attraction, so to speak.

I’m at a point in my life and career where I just trust that cool things will come my way. Like I was just invited on a cruise to Portugal on some brand new ship that just debuted.

I don’t really plan these things, per se. I just trust that if my vibrational frequency is focused on gratitude, goodness and blessings, that’s what will show up. It’s classic Law of Attraction. Keep your vibration clear, loving and pure and voila! Awesome sh*t happens!

Recently, a fantastic opportunity landed on my doorstep with none other than The Universe itself.  Or rather the guy — Mike Dooley — who writes the oh-so-inspiring Notes From the Universe.  

He called, we brainstormed a bit and decided that it was time to offer something really exciting, really simple and really fundamental. Call it Law of Attraction 101. Call it Manifesting. Call it fun, fun, fun.

Together, we are offering a 21-day Magical, Mystical Manifestation Adventure.  It’s a three-week experiment, I guess you could say, in recognizing how your vibration pulls various experiences into your sphere.

Loads of opportunities come my way, but this one was a hell yes! because A) we’re going to raise some money for the Taz Grout 222 Foundation and B) because, well, we could all use a little fun right now.

This Adventure, as Mike calls his programs, is light-hearted, joyful and designed to demonstrate that we all have reality-creating superpowers. I do hope you’ll join us. Find out more here.  #222 Forever!!!

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World) that has just been turned into an app. Badass ACIM (badass-acim.com)

A pop quiz: How proficient are you at the Law of Attraction?

“The more in harmony you are with the flow of your own existence, the more magical life becomes.”–Adyashanti

So I ran into this quiz I wrote many years ago for The Good Vibe website.

Because I’m currently thinking about manifesting (stay tuned), I thought it’d be fun to repost the world’s very first LOA quiz, run for the very second time. Enjoy:

When I was a teenager, I loved the quizzes in Seventeen magazine. I couldn’t wait to find out:

“Which fashion style best suits your taste?”

“What is your party personality?”

“Is he THE ONE?”

Even now, a day rarely goes by without a Facebook friend or two reporting the results of “Which member of the Beatles they are” or “Which Oprah quote should be their mantra.”

These quizzes are all in good fun and since good, delightful fun is one of my mantras (I didn’t even need Oprah to help figure that out), I’ve come up with the world’s first Law of Attraction Quiz.

To find out how adept you are at using this all-powerful law of the universe, answer these four questions:

1. Do you believe your thoughts create your reality?

a. Some of the time

b. All of the time

c. Only when you repeat an affirmation 568 times, visualize at least an hour a day and pray non-stop to a higher diety

d. Are you kidding me? I never get what I want.

2. Which of the following statements best matches your opening thought most mornings:

a. Oh shit, not again!

b. Yee-haw! A new opportunity for another Oscar-worthy production

c. Dang! Where is that hot brunette I was just dreaming about.

d. I’ve got to pee.

3. Which of the following most accurately describes your take on life:

a. It sucks and then you die.

b. It’s a test for what’s going to happen after you die.

c. It’s like an amusement park ride, sometimes exciting and sometimes it makes you want to die.

d. It’s a beautiful romp and death? It’s just a temporary illusory bump.

4. The universe is:

a. Limitless

b. Abundant

c. Strangely accommodating

d. All of the above.

Check your score here:

1. If most of your answers were “A”: You are a powerful creator, constantly using the law of attraction.

2. If most of your answers were “B”: You are a powerful creator, constantly using the law of attraction.

3. If most of your answers were “C”: You are a powerful creator, constantly using the law of attraction.

4. If most of your answers were “D”: You are a powerful creator, constantly using the law of attraction.

5. If you didn’t even take the quiz: You are a powerful creator, constantly using the law of attraction.

Okay, so it was a trick quiz. And I could have just told you going in: You can’t NOT use the law of attraction. To question whether or not you do is like questioning whether or not you use gravity.

So here are three questions I actually like better:

1. Given the fact that your thoughts, beliefs and expectations play the starring role in your life experience, did you get up this morning and consciously create your day?

2. Did you get up this morning and purposely decide what kind of day you were going to have?

3. If not, what’s stopping you?

Okay, my friends, as I like to say on Friday, get out there and have the VERY BEST weekend of your life. #222 Forever!

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World) that has just been turned into an app. Badass ACIM (badass-acim.com)

Willing to consider the freaky sh*t

“Miracles are not contrary to nature but only contrary to what we know about nature.” St. Augustine

“My big love,” by Ukrainian painter Olesya Hudyma

The universe is vast and complicated. What we actually see of it is a mere 4 percent of what’s actually there. Scientists have confirmed the existence of the other 96 percent (what they call dark matter and energy), but they can’t quite measure it yet.

Which is why I’m not only willing, but eager to make room for what some call crazy sh*t. Cancer suddenly going into remission. Unexpected money showing up. Angels pulling kids out of burning car wrecks.

Some call such improbabilities miracles, but for me, it’s simply a matter of surrendering the belief systems that suggest they are improbable.

What if they’re not improbable? What if things like this are happening ALL the time? What if the only reason we can’t see them is because we’re stuck on a different frequency, mired in a belief system that allows in a very narrow band of reality?

We see only what we’re programmed to see. And at this point, most of our programming is being conveyed by authorities invested in worn-out, status quo beliefs systems.

I’d like to suggest that being willing to believe in freaky sh*t is the pinnacle of rationality. And at any time, we can supersede the going narrative and leap into a truer, more beautiful reality. On one syntax of reality, peace exists now.   #222 Forever!

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World) that has just been turned into an app. Badass ACIM (badass-acim.com)

Advice and why I never give it

“Only wonder leads to knowing.”—St. Gregory of Nyssa

I am frequently asked for advice. On writing. On marketing. On how to go on after losing the one person you can’t live without.

I find it rather humorous that anyone would think I have any kind of good answers. First off, I’m hopelessly unqualified. My mantra, you may remember, was pilfered from Sergeant Schultz, the fictional sergeant in the old TV series, Hogan Heroes, who regularly proclaimed to Wilhelm Klink, “I know nothing.”

It was only a month ago I found out bed linen tags are always on the bottom left side. I could have saved myself 50 years of guessing which side was the long side (and usually getting it wrong).

If anything, I’m a middleman who has made a career writing about where I — when and if I remember — go for answers.  

And it all boils down to this: I stop feeding my thoughts (man those guys are insatiable) and head to the Source. There’s a reason I appointed The Dude as the CEO of my career, why I let him handle all the details.

When I get into coherence, I find silence, peace, aliveness and maybe not ALL the answers, but at least guidance for what to do right now. When I stop, bring my attention back to this moment, it opens a portal.  

So no, I offer no formulas, no all-important guidelines, but I do know this. Living in this right-now moment, in bewilderment and wonder is a mighty fine place to start.

And just so you know, I DO plan to have a word with the Big Guy for waiting so long to fill me in on the sheet situation.

 Have the very best weekend of your life, my treasured friends. #222 Forever

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World) that has just been turned into an app. Badass ACIM (badass-acim.com)

Whole lot of levels going on

“One minute of joy is more powerful than 1000 hours of meditation.”– Ancient saying

All across the internet right now, there are Zoom groups happening. Hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands are gathering to play online bridge or talk about mushroom farming or, as we did the other night with East West Books, throw a pop-up possibility posse. Each of these bazillion digital meetings has a distinct Zoom link, a precise frequency that can only be accessed if you have the right link.

Life works the same. We connect on various frequencies. Sometimes, we literally can’t even see things that others see because we’re on, say a grumpy frequency.  

I talk a lot about frequencies in my books. How important it is to stay in the frequency where miracles can get through, where the Divine can show me what to do next.

I know when I act from fear or if I start thinking compulsively, I show up on a frequency that does nobody any good.

The Course in Miracles repeats ad nauseum that what I see out in the world is a mirror of what’s inside my noggin. So the most productive, the most peaceful action I can take right now is to investigate and then ditch all thoughts within that noggin that create resistance, that instigate war–against myself, against others, against whatever life is trying to show me.

And when I do this erasing, I come back into coherence with my true self, the true light within. It’s here on this frequency where love is found, where peace resides. And from this specific “Zoom” link, I am better able to add to the true frequency that will bring peace to our planet.  

We’re here at a tipping point in consciousness which, despite how it may look, is such a good thing.

The peace and divine expression is here, waiting like the bull on the other side of the rodeo gate for all of mankind to wake up from the illusion and get on that frequency. I know I’m going to do my part. #222 Forever!

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World) that has just been turned into an app. Badass ACIM (badass-acim.com)

222 Forever: A revolution in consciousness

“What we need now is more people who specialize in the impossible.”–Theodore Roethke

Happy 222, my brilliant, beautiful friends! As you know, today is the always-auspicious day where we celebrate Taz by picking a project with the vision and the chutzpah to radically shift how we see the world.

I’m overjoyed to announce this year’s recipient. It’s an organization that stands for every single principle of the Taz Grout 222 Foundation. It radically overturns all cultural beliefs about money, about how systems work and especially about what motivates people. Spoiler alert. It’s not what economists have been telling us.

ServiceSpace, an all-volunteer organization with more than a half million volunteers from around the world, is so subversive that my editor at People magazine could never wrap her head around it when I pitched it to her. “But how does it work?” she kept asking.

It works on the daring spiritual principle that Taz stood for, that I’ve made my career writing about. Namely, that the world is wildly abundant and that people, above all else, want to give. You know that economic maxim about people being selfish and wanting only to maximize self-interest? It’s complete and total B.S.

ServiceSpace has been defying the big fat lie of scarcity for 23 years. It all started in April 1999 when Nipun Mehta, a Stanford-trained engineer, decided to give up his cushy dot.com job to follow his heart’s urging. The standard narrative of success felt so hollow, he said. Why not go for the longshot?

A fan of Gandhi, who urged us to “be the change we wish to see,” Nipun started “giving” as an experiment. He started with money (he gave to charity), moved to giving of his time (volunteering at a hospice) and then decided he’d go full-time, giving of himself unconditionally. No job. No strings attached.  

If nothing else, he has proven that acts of revolutionary generosity are generative.

ServiceSpace today is a network of more than 600,000 volunteers who purposely chose projects you can’t monetize—like kindness, compassion, love. They’ve been an incubator for free restaurants, a free news service (good news, that is), a network of free inspirational speakers, a free rickshaw service and they’ve given away hundreds of millions of dollars in free tech services.

ServiceSpace operates on three principles:

1) Everything is strictly volunteer. Money is NEVER charged.

2) No one ever ASKS for money. Many charities do good work, but they end up spending much of their energy and resources in fundraising. That creates a field of neediness, the exact opposite of ServiceSpace’s unwavering belief in abundance and the goodness of mankind.  

3) They focus on small actions. Let’s take care of whatever we can touch, give to whatever is in front of us.

But mostly, they upturn deep-seated assumptions:

What if we decide to trust people?

What if we completely drop the quid pro quo?

What if we defy what the business world calls success?

What if we create a whole different kind of ecosystem?

What if generosity actually generates more generosity?

I’ve written extensively in my books and here on the blog about the gift economy, but I’ve come to appreciate Nipun’s wording better. He calls it a gift ecology because ecology creates a deep web with branches spreading everywhere.

I’ve been volunteering with Service Space for several years now. Among other things, I’ve helped transcribe the inspiring, beautiful, makes-me-soar Awakin Calls that bring together tens of thousands of folks around the globe every Saturday. I’ve taken part in numerous ServiceSpace pods and feel so blessed to be a small part of the deep shift in consciousness this gritty, ragtag team is giving to the world.

In closing, I’d like to rerun a piece I wrote many years ago that features Taz and, to my way of thinking, fits right in with the ServiceSpace values.

But mostly, I want to thank all of you for believing in me, in my magical Taz and the profound 222 consciousness that IS bringing light to the world.

Let’s do this thing:

The world is a magical place. What we’ve been offered so far is anything but.

Let’s start with our current economic system. It’s made up. It’s a random agreement we’ve all agreed to participate in. But it’s not real.

It was designed by the reptilian part of our brain, the part that’s scared, the part that hollers, Danger! Watch out! Protect yourself!

It’s based on artificial lack and rampant, unsatisfying consumerism. It can never give us what we really want. One of its key tenets, in fact, is to encourage us to seek things we already have. To keep the economy growing—the holy grail, according to the current paradigm—we’ve been forced to monetize all the gifts we were given coming in . . . things like health, water, entertainment, food.

Even self-help books promote the very peace and well-being you already have—or did, before we laid our economic story on top of it.

Until our financial paradigms got all up in Mother Nature’s face, we were gifted with everything we could ever need.

When you build anything, particularly an economic system, on faulty information, it should come as no surprise when it fails to satisfy.

 Here are a few of the bald-face premises on which dogma of the Western world is built:

  1. That we face an indifferent universe. Everything we do, everything we believe, is predicated on the idea that we live in an indifferent and sometimes even antagonistic universe. To be successful, we think we must bend it to our will. Exert control, use discipline. To believe the universe might know what it’s doing, to think it might actually love us and have a plan for our lives, is antithetical to every lesson economists teach.

Is it really just a chance coincidence of random molecules that we are conscious and breathing and listening to Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole play “Over the Rainbow” on a ukulele?

2. That there’s scarcity and lack. The current economic system touts insufficiency and promotes the preposterous notion that important things are missing in your life.

Once it supplied all your basic needs (food and shelter, both of which were originally provided for free by Mother Nature), it was forced to come up with fake stuff to sell you—things like deodorant, plastic banana slicers, dancing Santa decorations, and other things that don’t serve human happiness. In many ways, the economy Adam Smith helped create is little more than a government-sponsored pyramid scheme.

The assumption of scarcity is one of the central axioms of economics. It’s regarded as objective truth. However, like most “objective truths,” it’s nothing but a projection. Like the people watching shadows in Plato’s cave, when we break free from our chains, we can see very clearly that the world is wildly abundant.

And I’m not talking just metaphysically. Vast quantities of food, energy, and other resources go to waste every day. Yes, half the world is starving, but the other half throws away more than enough to feed them. There is more than enough to go around.

Even more abundant than the material world is the spiritual world: the creations of the human mind—songs, stories, films, ideas . . . all the stuff we call intellectual property.

Once we take off the blinders, throw overboard the story we’ve been sold, we can see how truly abundant the world really is.

3. That we’re separate. The current financial system is based on the idea each of us is an isolated fragment, disconnected from each other and from nature. It operates under the false assumption that what happens to someone over in Africa has no bearing on you or me. It’s based on the idea that we can pollute this river over there or extract that ore down there without affecting ourselves.

Any Economics 101 professor will tell you that maximizing self-interest is normal, that competition is in your DNA.

But when we give up our cultural story that it’s a dog-eat-dog, every-man-for-himself world, we can’t help but notice that human cooperation is actually the norm. People love to help each other. Ask for directions if you don’t believe me. People will fall all over themselves to help.

I would argue that giving to your fellow man is a human need.

Tim Cahill, founding editor of Outside magazine, told me this story when we were in Namibia a few years ago:

While walking to the Swakopmund Convention Center for a presentation he was giving to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, he asked a local, balancing a basket on her head, for the quickest route.

Noticing this stranger was on foot, she asked him, “What time do you need to be there?”

When he told her, she immediately pivoted and said, “C’mon. Let’s go back for my car. Otherwise, you’ll never make it.”

This is who we really are, lovers of life just waiting for the chance to help.

My daughter, a card-carrying member of Oxfam, helps host what the international confederation calls a Hunger Banquet at her college every year.

Upon arrival, each guest draws a random ticket assignment to a particular “seat” at the world’s economic table. Fifty-six percent (representing those who live in dire poverty) sit on the floor and get maybe a handful of rice and dirty water. The 42 percent who represent the middle class might get a sandwich and a card table. The remaining 2 percent get white tablecloths, china, and a feast fit for a king.

The purpose of the banquet is to open our eyes to the fact that economic disparity and location, income, and available resources depend a lot on randomness and dumb luck.

But what ends up happening (and this is where our notions of the world get seriously threatened) at these Hunger Banquets that Oxfam has staged in dozens of countries is that the 2 percent, when faced head-on with the 56 percent sitting on the floor, end up sharing their gnocchi, asparagus, and artichokes in pesto cream sauce.

Given the chance, people consistently do the right thing. This is what’s true. This is what our inner impulses instruct us to do.

Once we let go of our ridiculous notions of “the way the world works,” we get ample proof that there’s absolutely no need to protect ourselves from each other, from nature’s cruelty, or from our own inner impulses.

4. That our purpose in life is to value things that just don’t matter. The economic system, as it currently reigns, encourages us to go against our highest nature. It encourages us to seek money above all else. It creates a hierarchy that certain people are better than others. It tells us that having more stuff makes us happier. It teaches us to hoard resources, to value a big car more than, say, an old-growth forest. Anyone who has ever spent time in an old-growth forest can tell you there’s a lot more satisfaction to be found under a 2,000-year-old redwood than in the Lincoln MKX Matthew McConaughey drives around in TV commercials.

Our overblown consumer culture is a massive exercise in missing the point.

What the current financial paradigm offers us is not natural. It’s not what we really want. The best things in life, as the old saying goes, are not things. Derek Sivers—the brilliant entrepreneur who started CD Baby and sold it for $22 million, 95 percent of which he gave to charity—said he’d love to buy trained parrots to fly around every mall in America squawking,

“It won’t make you happy. It won’t make you happy. It’s not what you really want.”

What we do really want is to give of our gifts and talents, to be of service. We want to love. We want to be generous. We need to do these things. It’s what makes us happy, what brings us alive.

Real security lies in becoming more of who we really are, in traveling light, being free in mind. Money, which is nothing but a bunch of green paper and plastic cards and numbers in a virtual cloud somewhere, is temporary, ephemeral, malleable. It’s a symbol and works best when it’s circulated. It gets stagnant sitting in one man’s hedge fund.

As Nipun likes to say, “Love is truly a currency that never runs out. #222 Forever

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World) that has just been turned into an app. Badass ACIM (badass-acim.com)

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