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How To Cultivate Spiritual Alchemy

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Alchemy refers to a medieval search for an elixir that was supposed to be capable of turning base metals into gold. It is sometimes used to refer to a magical power to change something of little value into a something of great value. What then is spiritual alchemy and how does one cultivate it? To me, the ability to increase the value of a situation is entirely possible but few people cultivate their skill in the one area where they have the possibility of accomplishing this act: their inner life; their thought.

The Soul is sometimes defined as being the principle of life, feeling, or thought, in humans. Think of it simply as your inner life. It is where we access the ability to shift and change the world around us, by shifting and changing how we interpret it. Anybody can do it, but few people develop their skill in this area, seeming to prefer being right over being happy. When the ability to bring increased value to life through a shift in perspective is cultivated, the possibility becomes permanently available, and we never forget it. Once the door is opened to that world of personal power, there is nothing in creation that can close it.

Interrupt and Slow Down

To begin cultivating awareness of your inner life, it is important to learn how to interrupt your automatic responses and inner conversations. Start by paying attention to such feelings as indignation, self-righteousness, and offense. These are certain indicators that there is a very close

opportunity to increase the value of your life's experiences. If you can be alert enough to press an imaginary "pause" button when hurt, indignant or self-righteousness, then you can slow down enough to ask one simple question, and you will start on a life time journey of spiritual alchemy because you will have learned to turn bitterness and disappointment into freedom and ease.

The question

There is nothing marvelous or new about this question. But when asked with a sincere and simple desire to be permanently free, and to literally change your experiences, it can over time yield powerful results and make your world new and marvelous. Typically when you identify the feelings described above, there is someone else involved who is the source of your frustration. Bring this person into your awareness, call it your soul laboratory if you like, and give yourself a moment to go over exactly what it is that upsets or disappoints you about him or her. And then ask yourself "Where am I just like that?"

Give it time

That's all there is to it. There is nothing more to do than develop the willingness to ask the question. If approached with humility and an open mindedness, you will have completed your part of the deal, the magical changes will take place on their own over time, as your ability to appreciate the hidden value in situations that previously were hurtful gets stronger and stronger.

Edward Viljoen is co-author (with Chris Michaels) of Spirit is Calling, The Prosperous Life Journal, and Practice the Presence, interactive journals available from Stepping Stones Bookstore. He is co-author (with Joyce Duffala) of Seeing Good At Work also available at http://steppingstonesbookstore.org/index.cgi/kw=viljoen

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