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Excerpt from "Sleep Magic, Surrender to Success"

Chapter One, America, the Land of Anything Can Happen

by Victoria Pendragon

Some years ago, a movie called The Secret—See the movie! Buy the book! Own the DVD!—ushered into the spotlight that which had not been a secret for at least a thousand years, maybe more. But to many Americans, limited by a society which has gloried in itself and in its own achievements, much like the metaphorical 2-year-old it is in global terms, this so-called secret was something wonderful and new. Books on the Laws of Attraction, such as The Secret, have long been on the self-help shelves of bookstores, but now, post-Secret, they entertain an even larger audience and the proliferation of their genre. Workshops on making dreams come true, once attended only by more alternative types, are springing up in adult night schools.

It was bound to happen. We live in the land of anything-can-happen-if-you-work-hard-enough, but there is a huge discrepancy here. We are raised, in America, to believe that we can have it all. Are we supposed to “have it all?” Does that not smack seriously of greed?

The fact is that most of us live modest lives filled with everyday achievements, joys, distractions, and distresses. Most of us do not own billion-dollar businesses. Most of us are not celebrities. Most of us do not own four houses, a private jet, and a garage full of antique cars. Yet this is what we, as Americans, tend to equate with success. Consequently, most of us think of ourselves as not being successful; The Secret that was not really a secret fell on fertile ground—promising, promising, promising.

There is no information in The Secret that cannot be found in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich written about a hundred years before or for that matter in the works of James Allen, author of As a Man Thinketh and many other older, less flashy tomes. The bottom line in all these books is always persistence and a positive, focused attitude, and if that worked for everyone as well as it worked for the people about whom these books have been written, then a whole lot more of us should be perfect pictures of the American success story. There is a reason that there are countless books on achieving success in this quintessentially American way, and that is because the same type of people keep buying the books—well-meaning people hoping for the bigger and better life. These books are all variations on a theme and the theme itself is, for the most part, a myth. This myth is handed down from generation to generation.

These days the buzzword for this myth is “manifestation.” You have an idea for something that you want to have happen, something that in today’s parlance you want to “manifest.” You flesh out your idea, maybe throw out a few thousand affirmations, plot a course of action, and viola! Or not. Maybe all that happens is that you learn what not to do the next time, and that can be valuable. So, you go out and buy another book, ramp up your motivation, add a few more tools to your kit, and start at it again. And possibly again, and again, and possibly not. Maybe somewhere along the line you stumble onto something that works for you. It’s not what you set out to do, not what you intended to manifest, but it is making you money, and you’re pretty happy. By now, you’re also darned tired of the struggle to manifest whatever it was you set out for, so you drop the original plan and settle into something that’s, well, okay.

And it is okay. And you’re okay with everything being okay… but you’re not thrilled. You don’t have that feeling of having done it, of being a success, of having manifested your destiny. But consider this—maybe you have. Maybe you just didn’t know back when you thought developing your own line of cosmetics was going to propel you to the ranks of the top twenty business women in the country, that being a makeup artist with a full book was actually what you came to Earth to do.

It wouldn’t be your fault if you didn’t know that. You live in a country where extreme financial success is the most celebrated aspect of life. You grew up in a nation whose primary focus is more, where bigger is better. It is this insistence on unrestrained growth that crashed the economy in 2008 and rendered small businesses untenable in the 1960s. We have become a greedy people with no real appreciation for personal interaction as an integral part of life. Most manifesting is done on a purely individual basis for purely personal means. We all have personal needs, but they are, for the most part, fairly basic. The need for reliable transportation is a far cry from the desire for a Lexus convertible.

And what about affirmations, those focused sentences, born out of the school of thought that puts forth the seductive concept that we are what we think? A lovely thought but seriously flawed since so much of what we “think” is actually unconscious. Indeed, we actually are what we have been programmed to be, something that happened to us for the most part before we could speak in paragraphs.

A well-timed affirmation, perfectly worded so as to validate established programming, will work. Chances are, however, that such an affirmation will also be unnecessary since the programming itself will already be working on its own. But if, as circumstance would have it, you needed or wanted a little something extra to push you past the tipping point (thank you, Malcolm Gladwell), then an exquisitely crafted affirmation might just be the ticket.

No matter how exquisitely crafted an affirmation may be, if it falls, unbeknownst to you, on preprogrammed ground that rejects hopes and dreams as just so much garbage then the treasured affirmation will wither and die in the harsh glare of unconscious internal judgments.

For example, let us say that there is a young man, embarking on what he hopes will be his new career. He writes himself an affirmation:

Affirmation: “I make $1 million next year selling IT services to small companies.”

Sounds simple enough, doable even, but look what he is up against of which he is completely unaware:

Programming in utero: The affirmation-sayer is the first born son of a mother whose father, already deceased, was a millionaire in his time. He was a viciously greedy man who trampled anyone who got in his way and sexually abused her which precipitated the need for her to have an abortion at the age of eighteen. All of this shaped her programming and colored her emotional system for the duration of her later pregnancy with the young man who is now creating the aforementioned affirmation. All of the feelings that she carried during her pregnancy with him (shame, guilt, anger and resentment) were transmitted to him as unconscious programming that will help to shape his later life. (More on how this happens later.)

Infancy and childhood: As an infant and young child, his family’s financial difficulties were discussed in front of him because it was assumed that this information was way over his head. And it was, but it entered the neural circuitry of his brain as the feelings that came with the conversations, feelings of lack, anger and resentment, all of which were related to the subject of money. Those feelings created subconscious programming that will end up working hand in hand with the unconscious programming to limit his subconscious beliefs about who he is and what he can become.

Resultant internal programming: People with money are bad people. (By extension, if he makes money, he will be a bad person.) Good people, like his parents, have financial difficulties. Money causes arguments. This information is what will return, possibly suppressed or possibly not, whenever the subject of money comes up. There will be other programming as well, but what we are looking at here is only that which might stand in the way of this affirmation proving effective.

This man, as a child, even before he was old enough to read, was infected with programming that told him that if he wanted to be a good person, he’d need to struggle as his parents did. Because of this programming, the aforesaid affirmation about earning a million dollars is unlikely to work and may only serve to frustrate him, possibly even discourage him entirely or, worse yet, make him angry.

Only a very frequent and emotionally powerful situation could counter the programming that had been set in place. Perhaps a very loving aunt or uncle or some other fairly constant visitor to his home could have served to balance the scales. Love, trust or excitement would necessarily have to have been involved because information alone is not enough to produce truly reliable programming. Feelings are needed to carry that information and its importance to the cellular consciousness of the body; feelings are the language of the body. Feelings are the factor that makes programming as effective and long-lasting as it is.

If Aunt Mary, who may not even be an actual relation, showed up every Saturday afternoon with a hug and a basket of goodies, full of stories about the wonderful week she had at her new store, how many sales she made, and all the nice people with whom she interacted, she and the programming she brought with her might have served to offset the discouraging atmosphere created in the home if this boy was by nature optimistic. If, however, his intrinsic nature was pessimistic, then it is likely that Aunt Mary’s occasional influence would have made little difference. Again, there are many factors at work, and all of them come into account.

Another not-so-subtle factor works against most affirmations, the mind. The affirmation approach, which is always presented in a present tense, i.e., “I make $100,000 a year” (not “I will make $100,000 a year” because “will” could happen at any time, and you want it now) strikes the mind as a lie. Because it’s not true, is it? You don’t make $100,000 a year, and you know it. The result is that you affirm and simultaneously deny, almost completely unaware that you’ve contradicted yourself and thereby negated the effect of the affirmation. It’s not your fault. It’s your programming at work.

Vision boards tend to elicit the same sort of dualistic response. You come around the corner, spot the cut-out Bentley sedan on your refrigerator, and somewhere in your mind something says, “There’s that car I don’t have” because your mind knows you want that car, and it also knows you don’t have it. And you’ve just validated both those things, further entrenching yourself in the same go-nowhere stuck space you’ve inhabited for however long you’ve been there.

The people who are most likely to be drawn to using affirmations and vision boards are the very people whose programming is preventing them from having what they want. Internal conflict is built into both affirmations and vision boards if internal programming contrary to the expressed statement is present.

We attract to us not what we merely think about, but what inside us is generating the greatest magnetism, and that will be found in our programming. The greater the emotion that created the programming, the more magnetism that programming will hold. Our programming is responsible for most of what we think, and most of what we think is automatic and unconscious. Just because an affirmation is decisive and conscious does not mean that it can override the sheer volume of programming to the contrary. An affirmation, as far as the body is concerned, is nothing more than new information with, comparatively speaking, very little energy behind it. No matter how much feeling you put into an affirmation, it’s unlikely to match something like ten years of listening to your mother throw plates across the room. Firmly entrenched programming has tenure; it has staying power unless something is done to address it directly. Affirmations and vision boards do not change programming. All they do is advance wants and desires that very well may be born unconsciously of the ego, which thinks that it has figured out the way that it will be happy in the world and what the ego thinks it knows may be far, indeed, from what your Spirit Self had intended because it seems that nobody likes jokes quite as much as Spirit does… it even plays them on itself by becoming human.

Did the person who formulated the aforementioned affirmation, “I will make a million dollars…” have any thought larger than “I want” that generated the desire to make a million dollars a year? Motivation matters if we want to re-create a world for ourselves where compassion, nurturing, honesty, integrity and fairness are a part of our everyday lives.

You may be a goat raised by tigers, a gentle creature meant to lead a gentle life. Or you may be a tiger for real. You’ll need to know who you really are before you can manifest anything worthwhile. Manifesting needs to begin in your heart. You’ll need to clear the way in.

Victoria Pendragon was born and raised in the vicinity of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is the oldest of eleven. Her life has been defined, as are most of ours perhaps, by conditions that would seem to have been beyond her control. Eighteen years of various sorts of abuse and two diseases that should have killed her rank among the most outstanding of those. Her study of metaphysics began in early childhood as an attempt to validate the lessons she’d been learning from the earth and the trees whenever she left her body. She has been working as a professional in the field of spirituality since 1995 and has read tarot since 1964, creating Sacred Earth Seven Element Tarot in 2007, a world community work in progress which she hopes one day to publish. The author can be contacted through her website: http://site.heavenisinyourheart.com or via her FaceBook page.

Sleep Magic can be purchased online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble and on land by most local bookstores.

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