Paul's article kicks off the conversation on "Finding Our Flow" in our Spring Spiritual Journal.
Have you ever had a feeling that you should pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t talked to in a while? Or as you are letting your car drive itself on its robotic path to work, a thought pops into your head and says—go a different way today. Or have you had an inkling to Google some details about a cruise that you’ve begun to fantasize you’d like to take some day? That’s what happened to me. For four years I’ve been listening to Esther “Abraham” Hicks videos on YouTube. She leads five or six workshops on cruise ships every year in places around the world. I had never wanted to spend money on things so extravagant, but this became a self-forbidden fruit hanging on a tree in my mind.
In March of 2022, I was at my computer when the thought hit me, “Oh Paul, just check it out on the internet and educate yourself about her workshops, then you’ll have a good excuse to drop the idea.” So I did. There was a trip to Alaska coming up and a trip to New Zealand. Then I saw a cruise sailing out of Rome and around the Adriatic Sea. The tantalizing fruit on the tree lowered itself. But due to my thrifty conditioning over the years, I bookmarked the page and filed the idea away. I’ve never spent that much money so frivolously.
August came. Inspirations haunting me for a year guided me to advertise my boat instead of paying monthly to keep it in storage. It sold in 30 days. Then I was inwardly pulled to see if there were still openings for the Adriatic cruise. I had the money in hand, no excuses, and a confirming Voice that said, “I’m worth it.” So I took a bite from the forbidden fruit and three weeks later, I was cruising around Greece and Italy for 10 days. I enjoyed being with so many inspired people and making new friends.
Two months later, I reconnected with one of those new friends by phone. She was a licensed therapist and talked about the value of certain plant medicines being used in psychotherapy. Impressively, studies have shown that plant medicines are not addictive. In fact, in one controlled study, 80% of smokers using psilocybin (derived from certain mushrooms) quit smoking.
On the phone, my friend said the magic words for me—these medicines “expand a person’s consciousness.” I don’t know what that meant to her, but for me it caused a self-forbidden fruit of having a psychedelic experience to drop lower on the tree. You see, my retranslations of the New Testament continue to be influenced by the inspiration of Max Planck, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1918 for the study of quantum energy. In 1944, he wrote:
“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clearheaded science, to the study of matter, I can tell you … all matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together … We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Spirit. This Spirit is the matrix of all matter.”