Dr. Joe Hooper | Spiritual Director
Dr. Joe Hooper | Spiritual Director

We’re at the beginning of February.  We’ve had quite a year already.

My talk today is about using your hands. I noticed that many times over the past few weeks, I’ve been sort of like clenched up in almost a fist-type thing, and I’ve been saying to myself, “Why am I so pent up? Why are things so anxious? Why am I so upset and nervous?”  And then I remembered back to Mary Manin Morrissey.  In one of her Prosperity Plus classes she had an exercise that we would do using our hands, and we would look at each particular finger.  

So I want to talk about that today, and I want to walk us through a physical exercise and a mental exercise that we can use so that we can take those clenched fists, because those don’t get you very far in life, and start opening up to the greater good that’s ours to receive.

So first things first.  I’ve been teaching Science of Mind now for well over 20 years, and somebody said something to me that was just – it probably was out of the first page of the Science of Mind textbook.  It really wasn’t verbatim, but it was like a Science of Mind 101 lesson.  They said it in such a way that over lunch, when it was said, it finally dawned on me, “Oh, my God. The thing that you’ve been teaching for years, you’re not doing in this particular instance.”

See, I’ve been waiting for the world to change and for things to change for me to make changes, for me to move forward and start initiating some changes. But what I’ve realized, it’s not up to the world to change them and for me to respond.  It’s up for me to begin to change, and the Universe will respond and create a path.

So that’s what I want to talk about today because a lot of responses that we have as human beings, some have been with open hands and loving and flowing; other ones have been really tense and angry.  Today I want to talk about how we’re going to create change by initiating it through ourselves.

All right. So let’s take the five phases, the five fingers, the five spiritual practices.  The first one:  When you start up the day, you’ve got thumbs up or thumbs down. When I wake up in the morning, I wake up either going, “Hey.  Okay.  This is going to be a good day,” or  I’m like, “I don’t want to get up.”

So the first thing, the first finger you look at is your attitude. What do I have, a thumbs-up idea about what’s going to happen during my day, or do I wake up with the preconceived idea that I have things to do, and it’s going to bother me?   I have to go to the doctor.   I’ve got to — whatever the situation is, I’ve got something that I dread.

When you wake up, the very first thing you’re doing is sending out a proactive or reactive energy into the universe, and we’ve been trained to do that.  Some people say, “Oh, I hate when my alarm goes off.”  And there are other people are like, “I can’t wait to get up in the morning.”

 So first thing, first finger, “Is this going to be a thumbs-up day, or am I already pre-programmed to have a lousy day?”

And you know what that means because I know we’ve all done that.

So we have that one. Then we have the pointed finger. Now, the pointed finger is to point our way through our day. Don’t let things happen to you.  Direct your way through them. See your way.  Now, that’s not pointing at someone else to get things done. It’s setting the direction and intent in your life. It’s setting a course for your life. Many people don’t set a course for their life. Some people live 90 years. Some people live one year 90 different times. How are you creating the direction for your day?  It starts here. Then it goes here. 

I want to be a member of what Mary Manin Morrissey called “The CMAT  Club, Can’t Miss A Thing Club.  I want to be able to see and be aware of what’s going on in my world, so that I’m taking it all in.  I’m not just focused on some things that are happening in my world, but I’m focused on all the different things that are happening, all the good things that are happening, for instance.   And that sounds crazy; right?

So I was staying at a place where the coffeemaker didn’t work, and every morning I’d have to get up instead of just going into my room and starting my little coffeemaker.  It wouldn’t work. This is just a slight little example. Then I got back to my house. I put in my little thing in my coffeemaker, and it worked perfectly. I just so took it for granted. I just take everything for granted when it works perfectly — my refrigerator and just everything around me. I don’t take in all the good that is happening in my life. I focus on the things that aren’t working, and all the good things go back off into the distance, never to be appreciated.

So here we go. Resilience in your toolkit.  How do you bounce back from things? How do you get yourself back on track? How do you redirect yourself when things are happening?

Many people who are trying to point out their direction, they will start pointing at other people for why their good isn’t happening to them.  But don’t look at anybody but yourself for that particular idea. When I know where I’m going and I have a direction and I have my awareness of things happening, and I have a direction because I’ve decided to create a change in my life and initiate the change, the Universe can take care of that. The next thing I know, I begin to follow a pathway and become more observant of the things happening so I can engage in the process of this change that I’ve initiated.  So we have thumbs up.  We’ve pointed the direction,

The third finger – Whoa!  I know people that use that a lot. I’d rather not for good measure, not for good reason, while sometimes I think it is.  I think we have to learn how to use this finger.   And now I’m quoting Mary Manin Morrissey, so don’t come back on me about this, but it’s called “Flipping fear in the face.”  Use that to flip fear in the face and say, “Ah, no, no, you’re not getting me today. You’re not taking me down today. I’m not going to take that fear idea and run with it so that my day goes to hell in a handbasket, no.”   And it’s said in scripture, “In my Father’s house are many rooms, many mansions;” right? And that means dimensions. That means energy.  We go in and out of rooms all day long in our lives, and every room has an energy to it.

Now, I know that when we’re back in the sanctuary and we’re able to enjoy the energy of this building, that we will be able to walk into this place and feel a sense of peace. But I also know that there are rooms in my life that when I walk in, I feel anxious or I feel uncomfortable or I feel like a sense of nerves. There’s an energy there.  But in your world are many mansions, many rooms, many dimensions. Many times we have to let go of the fear and walk into a room that embraces the idea of where we are going. It holds us gently where we are and embraces the idea of a forward movement. That’s why I think our center here, Center for Spiritual Living Palm Desert, is so very special. We welcome people wherever you are. We want you to come into our center, wherever you are, feeling good about life or feeling injured, but that we want you to know that whatever that is, that’s the starting point of something greater that’s going to unfold.

How do we do that? How do we get to allowing ourselves to become aware of that? For many people, it is exercising a practice of forgiveness. We have to allow people the ability to move safely through our mind without any resentment, without anger.

One of the ways to do that, to create a different energy that’s been in certain rooms in your life, is to look at how you can exercise forgiveness because, you know, mental activity, it’s not always just about thinking. It’s also about creating. It’s about allowing that thought energy to be creative.

What can I do to create a better energy? I don’t need someone else to do something for me to initiate it or something has to change.  We get back to the very beginning of the story here. I don’t need someone else to change for me to create change in my relationship with them.  I need to begin to change. I need to initiate that change. When I initiate that, the Universe will put together, in a logical and sequential order through Divine right action and the power of right ideas and right timing, the path for me to walk to that place.  All right. So that thinking is creative, and it puts us into a creative place.

So thumbs up; right? We got that thumbs up.  The next thing, point your direction. Let fear go.  The last part of that is allowing people to move safely and gently through this process of wishing them well.

All right. Wishing them. Well, there’s a statement that Mary Manin Morrissey says about, “May you be happy.  May you be peaceful. May you live the life you’ve always dreamed of.”  There you go. Before we get to the fourth finger, back up a little bit.

“May you be happy.  May you be peaceful.  May you live the life you’ve always dreamed of.”  That’s what I want for people.  Whether I know them, whether it’s the stranger on the street, that’s a prayer for everyone. I want people to be happy. I want things to be peaceful. I want people to live the life they’ve always dreamed  of.  What a better way to bless people in and through your day?

I’ll tell you one way that I’ve had to engage this process; right? When I’m out and about in the world — you know, I wear my mask, and become very “judgy” about masks; right? I have to tell you that. And I get angry when I see people wear their masks like this or like this.  I get very angry about that, and I’m not really blessing them because I’m judging them. So I have to get to the place where everyone’s doing the best they can. “May they be happy.  May they be peaceful.  May the highest and best good unfold for them. May their life always be the life they dreamed of.”

If I tap into an energy of judgment on any of these things, what I’ve done is I’ve allowed myself to tap in and go into a room that is not going to bring about the changes I want in my life or the feelings that I want to experience in my body. So let’s talk about the experience of what I want to do with the fourth finger.

Fourth finger:  I want us to be in harmony with our dream.

I want us to be in harmony.   After we’ve released the fear, I want us to be in harmony with the ideas of what we want to achieve in our life, that path that we’ve already set forward, the change that we’ve initiated, and allowing the Universe to create the pathway.   I want us to be in harmony.  When you get up in the morning, you have never before lived this day.  You have never lived this day, and this day cannot be repeated. I can’t go back.

That is one of the things that I have to tell you about, a personal story about myself.  You know, I’ve looked back over the past 10 months — 11 months, almost. There are many times that I kept thinking, “Well, just kind of put your life on hold, put your life on pause.”  And I accepted the idea that I needed to put my life on pause.

I really don’t need to do that this day. I can’t go back and recreate all the days that were lost this past year. I can’t go back and recreate anything I have this day.  This day that I’m waking up into, I have to live this day. So when I move about in this day in this harmonious idea that this is a day to be lived on its own, I can do what I call “the cleanliness practice” at night.

So at night, before I go to bed, “Did I live it?  Was I in harmony with it or was I not?”  It’s just about awareness, making yourself aware of the harmony. “Did I live in harmony with my ideas today? Did I wake up with the right attitude? Did I point myself in the right direction? Did I release the fear and am I using my life today to move me in that direction?”

Finally, the fifth finger. The fifth finger is the littlest one, but it’s what I talked about earlier.  Appreciate just the little things.  I’m appreciating all the little things.  The things that I used to take for granted, I now look at differently.  And especially because we’ve been so involved in this the process of being separated from other people and not being able to engage on a personal level, it’s really brought to light how I need to be more grateful when things begin to change in that way, when I’m able to engage with people again, when I’m able to see them and go out to dinner with them.  I need to really appreciate all the things that used to drive me crazy. I need to appreciate the now because every part of them has been taken away from me and now I’m ready to reengage.

I do genuinely feel that we are on the cusp of creating that unification process of bringing this whole COVID thing into a place where it’s going to become manageable. Who knows how long it will take, but there will be a day when we can re-engage  in the process of connecting with one another. And when that happens, I want to appreciate the small things so that those small things can feel large in my life, that that gratitude can be overwhelming. I’ll be immersed in it.

When we talk about gratitude, there’s three different types.  So let’s go back as we appreciate things. We have historic, future, and we have present; right?

Historic gratitude:  This or that happened.  I’m grateful that this or that happened, and sometimes I’m grateful that this or that did not happen, but my past, I’m grateful for the things that have happened.  I’m also grateful for the things that didn’t happen.

And then I have future gratitude:  How we pray for the life I’m called into. I’m grateful for this vision of the change that I’ve initiated as a result of going from clenched fists to open and looking at how my fingers, how my practice, my spiritual practices are creating this good. I’m grateful in that future idea.

But most of all, present gratitude:  I live in present gratitude — grateful to be alive, to breathe, to look around. The desert in February is magnificent, the flowers, every part of it, the snow on the mountains. It’s gorgeous. I want to be in my present gratitude, knowing that I’ve got future gratitude, as well as historic gratitude.

So this is the way I want us to live this week. Take the spiritual practice, review it again, over and over.  Ask yourself, “How am I creating my day?  Am I directing myself toward my good, that I released my fear? Am I living in harmony with my idea of a vision, and am I appreciating all the small things that are happening on this journey?” There you go. And so ends your lesson. 

Leave a Comment