Questions and Answers

Right Approach

Do you have any suggestions on how to work with the Steps?

     I think it is important to get an overall understanding of all the steps, and the philosophical basis which underlies the Twelve Foundations, before beginning to work on the steps in earnest.  Getting a general idea of the philosophy upon which the steps are based is really the first step, even though it is not stated as such. 

     One way to approach each step is to dedicate a week or more to studying the step and its underlying teachings and finding a way to personally connect with, the step.  Make it your own. Once you have gained an understanding of the step, and are able to own it, then to set a positive intention—then apply yourself to the step in earnest. The intention should state your goal, what parameters you want to meet for the step to be deemed ‘completed.’  So, the first part of each step is to understand yourself (in relation to the step) and to set a goal which is realistic and beneficial.  You don’t want to approach each step like a New Year’s resolution, which is based upon some grand intention, and which, being too grand, you abandon a few days later—and then feel bad about yourself for not having the power or discipline to fulfill your resolution.  We want to get away from that kind of must-miss situation.  We want a win-win situation.  You need to set a realistic and positive goal, and then joyously set forth to complete it.

How does a person know when a step is complete? Can you offer any guidelines?

    When he reaches the goal he has set for himself.  He may find that the goal is too lofty, and cannot be completed in the first round, and so his intention has to be modified.  It is important to set an easily attainable goal with respect to the “first completion” of the step. The steps involve an ongoing and developmental process.  In this process each step is visited, and “completed” several times.  In other words, you complete the twelve steps (to some level of completion)---which is the first round or first phase of completion---and then start over from the beginning.  The first completion should be something very simple. The second and third completions can be more in depth.  So, there is no need to go for too much too soon.

After you go through the round of completing the steps, you will have gained considerable insight and wisdom—and you will know yourself far better—and, as such, you can better formulate your goals and intentions on the next round.Then, from this place of higher wisdom and insight, you approach the steps again, beginning with the first step.  What you will find is that the wisdom and experience you gained from having completed the full round of twelve steps will enable you to approach each step in the second round on a much deeper level.  Your relationship to the step will be much different than it was during the prior round.  And that is because the person who began the first round, will not be the same person who begins the second round; there will be a profound shift in your sense of self and your identity after completing the first round, and you will carry this new sense of self into the next round.

As a general guide, one might say that a “first completion” of a step could be where a person fully understands the meaning and underlying teachings of the step—and, moreover, comes to believe in the truth of the step. This is where a person becomes certain about the teachings and understands how to apply the teachings to his or her own life. The second completion might be where a person effectively applies one portion of the step, gains a direct experience of the teachings of the step, and experiences the benefits it brings to his life.  The third completion (which may be the final round of completions) might be where a person has imbibed the teaching of the step, where the teachings of the step become part of his identity; it becomes a natural expression, or “second nature” (such that he lives the step without thinking about it or having to consciously apply himself).

Formation of The Twelve Foundations (or "The New Twelve Steps")

How did you come to formulate the Twelve Foundations?

     The initial inspiration came to me when I was living in New York City and got to know a few people involved with the Twelve Steps; every time I would hang out with these Twelve-Steppers I always sensed some kind of weakness, some feeling of lack.  There was this sense of being a victim, of being powerless over the conditions of one=s life—and everyone was getting together in support of that shared weakness and victimization.  That was the culture.  The crux of life, the primary identification, was that of being a person who was recovering (from some illness) and not one who was truly alive—and the idea was to hold onto some past-based identity, that of being a “recovering alcoholic,” lest one revert back to his old ways.  I heard that the Twelve Steps was a “spiritual” program but I did not see how a spiritual program could lead to such a condition.  When I finally looked at the Twelve Steps themselves—especially the first step—I was taken aback.  It was the complete opposite of what I believed to be the foundation of true spiritual growth and transformation—and all the steps that followed the first one seemed to perpetuate this sense of weakness. The Italian philosopher, Giordano Bruno, once said, “If the first button of your coat is in the wrong hole, then every button which follows will also be in the wrong hole.”  So I thought, what if the first button was in the correct hole. What would that step be?  And what would follow upon that?  And it lead in a somewhat opposite direction to that of the Twelve Steps.  That first step was based upon a person accepting and embracing one's own power, and oneness with Spiritand the rest of the steps followed in the same direction, toward strength and wholeness, not toward weakness and dependence.  This positivity is in line with the true teaching of the great spiritual traditions, such as Zen, Yoga, Kashmiri Shaivism, and New Thought.

     I know that many people hold that this acceptance of one’s powerlessness is needed because people who are overcome by sever addictions are in denial about their condition. Perhaps in the case of severe addiction this negative approach might be needed, at the beginning, to help stabilize the patient, so to speak.  But once a person’s life is manageable, then, in order to bring about any kind of real transformation, a person must get back to the positive truth—and the positive truth is that we, as human beings, are in a position of creative power, and one with the infinite power of Spirit.

       So, the Twelve Foundations is not really designed, and may not be useful, for people whose lives have been derailed by severe addictions.  It is designed for relatively healthy people who want to attain a sense of wholeness in their lives, who want to know themselves as they truly are, and for people who want to address (and dissolve) manageable addictions in a positive, uplifting way, without having to adopt a debilitating identity of weakness and powerlessness.  You know sometimes the cure is more damaging than the disease.

The Twelve Foundations vs the traditional Twelve Steps

What are the main differences between the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Foundations?

The programs have different orientations, and are based upon different principles, though they are both presented as “steps.”  The intent of the Twelve Foundations is to reach a state of wholeness and transcend the limitations that a person has misplaced upon himself—through the cultivation of a positive, spirit-based identity; the intent of the Twelve Steps is to help a person overcome his or her addictions, by adopting an identity based upon powerlessness.  So, the programs are really designed for different people with different needs.However, once a person is able to handle his life (and this would be the case if the Twelve Steps were truly effective), and wants to further develop as a person, he would need a different kind of program, based on a more positive set of principles. 

There is also a difference in what we might call ‘valence.’  In the Twelve Foundations our coming together is based upon a shared intention to know our true nature and to live a full, truthful, and joyous life (in partnership with Infinite Spirit).  We do not base our coming together upon the negative, upon what we lack, or upon some state of weakness, some story, or upon some addiction which defines our life.  This only perpetuates and “gives life to” the negative condition we are trying to overcome.  

I am against any program that diminishes a person’s sense of self.  I am a person— and more than that, I am Spirit, an individual expression of the Infinite Spirit of Life.  I am far more than this person I appear to be.  If I come to identify myself with some state of weakness, some disease, some addiction—or see myself as someone who is actively seeking to overcome an addiction—I have done myself a disservice.  I have limited myself.  Any identity which is based upon the saying, “I am an alcoholic” or “I am a recovering alcoholic” or “I am a cancer survivor” is false and perpetuates a false and limiting sense of self.

People who enter a Twelve Step program are putting forth and expressing the positive intention to improve their own lives—and they come together with people who positively support them and have positive feelings for them.  This is the positive and most transformative element of the Twelve Steps. So, when people claim that the Twelve Steps are so positive, and beneficial, it is difficult to separate the actual teachings of the steps from the positive support that a person gains from participating in a group.  With the Twelve Foundations we want to get the best of both worlds: we want people to come with a positive intention, be supported by a positive, caring group of people, and fundamentally improve their lives (and deepen their connection to their higher self) through a set of positive and empowering teachings.

Could you elaborate on this difference of valence and the difference—in terms of overall efficacy—between a negative and a positive approach?

     It is a foundational principle that the nature of Infinite Spirit (the Higher Power) is Purely Affirmative. This is the nature of Life itself.  As such, transformation can only come from the affirmative, from an approach in alignment with the affirmative power of Life.  A negative approach can be useful to the extent that it delivers a person to an awareness of the positive (and shows him the ineffectuality of the negative) but it cannot bring about any positive transformation.  Growth, upliftment, evolution, benefit—as well as all the qualities of Spirit, such as life, love, fulfillment, freedom, creativity, and beauty—can only come through the positive, through an alignment with the affirmative power of Spirit.  Everything Spirit has ever created and accomplished has come through the absolute positive pole of Life. 

Any approach based upon the positive, upon an affirmation of the pure qualities of Spirit (and one's own nature) leads to lasting transformation and growth whereas any program based upon the negative, upon a person’s weakness (and his need to surrender to some Higher Power outside himself) can lead to temporary gains—the best of which would be to lead a person toward the positive.

The Pillars of the Twelve Foundations/ Infinite Energy

What are some of the major areas of development which the Twelve Foundations address?

   The program addresses both human development and spiritual unfoldment.  The main areas of the program include: a) integral involvement with a supportive and caring group (and community), of like-minded people, all of whom have the intention to support each other in positive growth, b) the cultivation of one’s creative power (in accord with the teachings of New Thought), c) the positive development of one’s human identity, which includes the cultivation of psychological wholeness and physical health and well-being. This may also include psycho-spiritual work which aims to reveal deep-seated conditioning and dissolve subconscious patterns and blocks (thereby helping a person harmonize his conscious and subconscious minds).  And d) the practice of presence and meditation.  All of these modalities are integral and support each other; the development of any one modality supports and informs the other modalities. 

    If we want to codify these areas, we could say that the program addresses the whole of the human dimension, the “I,” the “We,” and the “It” aspects.  The “I” is two-fold: it includes the attainment or the “becoming of” the supreme “I” or “I Am,” which is one’s essential nature, and the human “I,” which is a person’s psychological wholeness and integrity.  Ultimately we need both.  The “We” aspect comes from the individual being part of, and feeling himself as part of, a loving, caring, supportive group, community, and culture.  The “It” aspect—which is often neglected in spiritual programs (which emphasize the pure “I”)—involves the body (and health) as well as a mastery of, and enjoyment of, the physical world (and the body).

I notice that the first area involves a supportive group or community. How do you intend to build a sense community with the Twelve Foundations?  

  Both by participation in regular group meetings (and having a like intention with others) and by doing things together, sharing life together, working to make positive changes together.  We don’t want the basis of our coming together to be only about meeting and talking about spiritual practices and issues, we want to do something together, create something together, combine our energies together, have fun together, celebrate together.  

What form would this celebration take?  What form would this working together take?

  Celebration is about being able to enjoy ourselves in shared activities with others.  As we become more and more sophisticated (and cut off from our true self) this is something that becomes more and more difficult.  We have lost the ability to enjoy ourselves; it has been conditioned out of us.  Where is that pure, childhood enjoyment?  We want to regain our joy; we want to live and participate with others in positive and enjoyable ways.  For this we need a safe, supportive, and loving community of like-intentioned people; this shared intention is to come together, with both our pure self and our positive human qualities, and to enjoy life together.

Would this working together take the form of community service, or “Sacred Activism”?

It could---or it could be some form of beneficial business venture, helping form Twelve Foundation groups, health education, etc.  Let's not only talk about reaching some higher state, let's express it, let's do something beneficial with it---let's see how we can most fully enjoy and express our state, whatever it may be.  And the most enjoyable way to express and further unfold our state is with others. So, any group activity, aligned with the principles and teachings of the Twelve Foundations, entered with positive and loving intentions, and bringing benefit to others, could be part this expressed form.

If we, as a group, are able to tap into this infinite create power, let's use it to create something radical, something revolutionary. 
I am sure that if we could form a group of like-mind people, all of whom were positively aligned with their higher self and Spirit, and who were aligned with the same positive intention, that we could co-create just about anything.  I would be hesitant to place any limits on what such a group could create.

Any visions on what such a group might create? 

   Somewhere in the back of my mind I envision a group of people working together to solve our present energy crisis.  We have been talking a lot about ourselves as centers of the Infinite Spirit, one with the Infinite Power---so why not use our access to that infinite Source to create infinite energy for the planet?  This would not be about money or government programs.  If the government gave me $80 billion dollars to produce an infinite energy device, I could not do it; but if 80 individuals showed up, all committed to the task, all in touch with a higher truth and all aligned with the same creative principle, then we could do it. 

Any hint as to what form this ‘infinite energy device’ might take?

      >> For a further discussion on this topic see Infinite Energy

Doing God’s Will

Many spiritual seekers strive to know and follow God’s Will. This notion is also central to the Twelve Steps, as step eleven states, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” How does the notion of “doing God’s Will” factor in with the teachings of the Twelve Foundations?

    In order to align our will with Spirit, or “do God’s will,” we must be clear about God (or Spirit), His will (the nature of Spirit), and our relationship to God (or Spirit). How can we surrender ourselves to God if we do not know who we are or to what we are surrendering? There may be some outer action of surrender, or some hope of surrender (with the idea that this surrender is going to be helpful to us) but no true surrender. A person who feels weak, who identifies with some state of weakness (unable to do anything for himself), who just wants to give up, cannot do God’s will or surrender to God—for he has put the idol of his weakness before the true glory of God.  

   As an aside: In some special cases, severe weakness and negativity may allow a person to see just how miserable his condition is and it may give him an insight into his true being.  Within the context of misery a person may gain an insight into the two parts of himself—that part which is miserable and that part which is aware of the misery (but which is aloof to the misery).This insight may allow a person to dis-identify with that miserable, personal self, and recognize his fundamental identity as that conscious self which is unaffected by the misery and which exists independent of any personal condition.  This kind of sudden realization came about with Eckhert Tolle, when he had the thought, “I cannot live with myself” or when Ramana Maharshi was overtaken by the fear of death.  So, a severe negative condition can be useful only as it is able to shift a person to the positive center of his being.  Negativity, per se, which is alien to the qualities of Spirit, and one’s true self, has no virtue or merit in itself. There is never a time when this negativity should be cultivated or embraced. With the Next Step we stay with the positive, we expand the positive (while 'letting go' of the negative). 

    Why do we want to do God’s Will in the first place?  What is God’s Will?  What moves God to act?  The simple answer—consistent with the philosophy of New Thought—is that God’s Will is to experience more and more of His own nature, which means His Will is to be ever-more joyous, alive, conscious, abundant, free, and beautiful.  God wants to experience more and more of His own nature through form—and we, as human beings, as creative centers of God’s Infinite Power, have been created for this very purpose: to allow God, through our own consciousness, to experience more and more of His own loving and abundant nature.  And we do this by experiencing that self-same joy, aliveness, abundance, creativity, freedom, beauty, in and through our own lives.  Being truly alive, free, abundant, and joyous is the truest way to do God’s Will.  Being conscious of our unity with Spirit, and living in partnership with Life Itself, is the doing of God's Will.God’s Will is that we, as individual, experience more and more of our own nature, our own love, joy, abundance, creativity, and beauty. 

    If we are ignorant of this understanding, if we strive to please God, or do His Will, through adherence to stagnant rituals and dogma (in consort with some concept we have of an “up on high” God) then we are serving our misconceptions and not God.  So, let me state it again:  God’s Will and our will are the same.  It is God’s Will that we, as human beings, as unique centers of God’s creative power, experience more and more of who we truly are; that we live in a way which brings us an ever-increasing experience of our own nature—which is love, joy, aliveness, consciousness, fullness, freedom, beauty, etc.  That is what God wills for Himself and for us.  It is God’s will that we experience, more and more fully, our own life and our own divine qualities—and we do this by consciously realizing our inherent nature and oneness with Spirit (which is the source of all that ever was, is, and will be).

   God is not will-less or weak; why then would a human being, made in the image and likeness of God, think that having a crippled will, or no will at all, has anything to do with surrender to God or doing God’s will?  The only way to surrender to God, and to become one with God, is to be one with God’s nature, which means to be fully alive and truly who you already are (which is an individualized expression of Infinite Spirit). There is no other way than this. 

So does God have a particular will for me, which I can discover and follow?

  God’s Will is One; it is universal.  As such,God has no particular will for us as individuals.  We may have a destiny, a life path, some we are called to do, but this is something different from God's Will. We might do well to get away from this anthropomorphic idea that God as some kind of human-type will, something He wants from us.  Spirit only ‘wants’ to be more and more of what It already is.  So, what we call “God's Will” might best be understood as a universal tendency or movement (impelled by love). This universal tendency or “Divine Will” is experienced in every human being, on some level, by what he longs for.  Ultimately we are longing for the fullness of our own being; this is the experience of the Divine Will operating in, and through, us. 

    In sum, God's will for Himself is the same as God's will for you---that you, as an individualized creative center of God, experience more and more of the fullness of your own being and the qualities of your own nature, such as love, joy, abundance, peace, fulfillment, power, and beauty.


The Twelve Foundations
Group Structure

The central intention of the Twelve Foundations is to bring about human and spiritual wholeness rather than to overcome addictions, per se, but it is also intended for people who are looking for a positive approach to recovery.  So, should Twelve Foundation groups be formed around particular addictions, like overeating or alcoholism, or just for people in recovery, or for everyone?

   As stated, Twelve Foundations are for people who want move beyond various addictions and come to realize the fullness of who they are, both as a person and as their infinite essence.   We don’t really care about a person’s particular addiction, however, we care a great deal about what a person identifies with---and under no circumstance should a person identify with, or define himself,  by his addiction.  We don’t want anything to do with calling ourselves “overeaters” or “alcoholics.”  We don’t want to identify with that aspect of self, because that is not who we are.  That is the very thing we want to disidentify with.  That is something we may be working to overcome, in our movement toward wholeness, but that is never who we are.   So, people can form Twelve Foundation groups based upon a common addiction, or life-issue, but in no case should the addiction serve as the basis for people coming together and communing.  Under no circumstance should people identify with their addiction, nor support anyone else identifying with that addiction.  So, the danger with everyone having the same addiction or issue is that they might be drawn to connect with each other based upon this commonality; they might be drawn to commune with each other on the basis of what they lack, or some thing they are trying to overcome—and this is the exact kind of communing, or commiseration, we want to avoid.   We want to come together to support our true humanity, our true divinity, and not some negative aspect of our personal life.  The benefit of forming a group around a similar addiction is that people would have another basis upon which to relate, and they may have similar types of subconscious conditioning.  This can be beneficial if the communing is done from the perspective of one’s higher self and one’s true human identity, and not from any kind of weakness or lack.  As a possible balance to this---and a way to avoid people from identifying too strongly with a particular addiction group---we see all the Next Step groups (and all the New Foundation groups) in an area coming together, once a month, for a day of communing and joyful expression.
Four Modalities

You mentioned that the Twelve Foundations addresses four main areas of growth and transformation—could you touch on some of the specifics with each of these areas?   Do you put forth a specific program or method for each area or is it an open-architecture approach?

    It is the underlying principles which are set, and which we must agree on—because this forms the foundation of the path itself—however, the actual expressions are somewhat open.  In terms of community, the most important aspect is the intention: the intention to welcome others with love, the intention to support others, the intention to “get” others—both their human side and their divine essence.  This intention to love others, to welcome others, to have good-will toward others, (and also to have the positive intention to grow and develop both as a human and spiritual being) is the basis of the group or community.

    The second area involves realizing and cultivating one’s creative mental power.  The whole of this step is consistent with the teachings of New Thought, and particularly the work of Thomas Troward (who was one of the founders of the New Thought movement).  This area is consistent with the work of Earnest Holmes, Neville Goddard, and Charles Haanel; it can be found in “the power of positive thinking,” “the Secret,” “change your thoughts, change your life,” and “Science of Mind” centers throughout the world. 

    The third area of address is the cultivation of a positive human identity.  This involves both the cultivation of one’s positive human qualities and the "inner work" of removing (or rectifying) one's deep-seated subconscious conditioning---conditioning which undermines the emergence of our positive human qualities and the actualization of our conscious ideals.This “inner work” of removing subconscious conditioning involves a psycho-spiritual approach. It is not so much about fixing one’s problematic identity by removing problems, and traumas, it is more about reaching a higher identity, a one-with-Spirit identity—and the removal of deep-seated subconscious blocks is part of this process.  (The psycho-spiritual approaches we are exploring
are Creative Dreamwork and Identity Therapy).  Another aspect of this area, which we might call “the actualization of the human dimension” also involves mastery and enjoyment of the human dimension.  A culture of health, healthy and joyful activities, development of one’s creativity and self-expression, etc. is all part of this. 

    The fourth area involves the regular practice of meditation and the cultivation of the state of presence---essential practices which lead to the realization of one's true self or essence.  The approach we use is based upon the teachings of Aziz Kristof (or Anadi) though any approach by which a person is able to reach the state of meditation, and presence, is acceptable.  In contrast, the approach of “doing nothing,” and not meditating, and not consciously communing with one’s higher self (or aligning one’s human self with one’s divine self) is not an approach consistent with what we are putting forth.  So long as a person is not whole, and fundamentally identified with his human self, the practice of conscious meditation and presence is needed.


One of the practices put forth in New Thought is to abide in our sense of aliveness---is this the same as the practice of presence? 

Aliveness is one aspect of our true self which emerges through the gateway of our own presence.  Once our fundamental identity is established in, and as, the state of presence, or "I Am," this new identity becomes the portal through which all our divine and essential qualities may emerge---qualities such as love, joy, aliveness, peace, fullness, beauty, etc.  If we are not our true selves, if we remain solely identified with our personality, our self-image, our body-mind-emotional self, that is, with our human expression, we remain aloof to our divine self and the full emergence of our aliveness and joy. 

So, as humans, we are living but are we truly alive? 

Simply put: to the degree that we are not alive, we are dead.  To the degree that we are not experiencing the true aliveness—and abundance, creative power, freedom, beauty, etc.—of our own self, to that degree we are not ourselves, to that degree we are alienated from our truth and aliveness.  Fear, stress, isolation, depression, etc., are all indications that we are living in the “dead zone.”  We want to get away from all that—for that is not who we are.  That is the death of who we are.

In every moment we are that life—and that life is always overflowing with joy, aliveness, abundance, power, freedom, and beauty.  We want to know ourselves as that Life---and we want to enjoy our human identity as a luminous expression of that Life.


The Twelve Foundations is a program of transformation and wholeness, rather than a program designed to specifically overcome additions.  However, can one enter a Twelve Foundations program with the intention to remove an addiction—such as an addiction to food?

     Yes.The main thing, however, is that one's addiction should be overcome as a function of one’s wholeness and power, in a way that adds aliveness to a person’s life, and not in a way that brings weakness.  A person should never identify with, or be defined by, his or her addiction—as this is the surest way to perpetuate that addiction and the negative vibration of that addiction in one’s life.  A person should, as a basis for transformation, identify with his or her higher self, with the wholeness which is already present, and not with the limited view of being a person who has, or has had, this particular addiction.

Let’s look at the issue of food.  In the Twelve Steps, this program is called, “Overeaters Anonymous.”  (Again, right in the title we are forced to identify ourselves with the negative title of being an “overeater.”)  People who habitually overeat are often besieged by a sense of dissatisfaction, emptiness, lack of meaning, lack of value, low self-esteem, etc. And the vast amount of awareness placed upon food, eating, dieting, one’s overweight body, thoughts of low self-worth, thoughts that no one will love me if I am fat, etc., only perpetuates the problem.  The best approach for people who overeat is to expand the center, bring about positive feelings of self worth and self love.  That is a purely positive approach.  Bringing a further sense of weakness and powerlessness to such a person, as a way to overcome this 'addiction,' can be especially problematic and counter-productive.  People who have a problem with food, have to rectify their relationship to food, their body, and their own sense of self. 

Loving Oneself

The big formula for Oprah, in terms of weight loss, is that we have to feel good about ourselves.  Does this approach fit in with the Twelve Foundations?

     Yes.The better you feel about yourself, the more in touch you are with your own qualities of love, aliveness, and beauty, the less sway that food will have over you.  However, in terms of “feeling good about yourself,” what version of yourself are you supposed to feel good about?  When Oprah says that you have to love yourself, or feel good about yourself, which self is she talking about?  She is talking about one's personal self, one's self image (i.e., who a person believes herself to be).  Oprah is not talking about getting in touch with your true self. That is a much deeper part of your being; it is something much more profound and powerful than your self-image.  It is who you truly are.  Once you are in touch with your true self, your innate sense of love, joy, power, freedom, and beauty naturally emerges.  You don’t have to “do” anything, or love yourself, because you discover that your very nature is love.

  All things aside, feeling good about yourself, as this person, finding joy and purpose and satisfaction in your life—or as we say, “dreaming well”—is always supportive and beneficial.  There is something much more than this, however, a whole part of yourself which you are unaware of.  All said, living a good life, having a sense of well-being, and feeling good about yourself, is what supports you in accessing your greater self, your one-with-Spirit self.

   Most improvement programs are designed to help a person feel good about him or her self—and what they are supposed to feel good about is their self-image, their personality, who they believe themselves to be, as this person.  A spiritual master would reject this approach: he might say, “I am not interested in helping you feel good about your self-image, about this idea you have about yourself, I am interesting in you becoming your true self.  I don’t want to help you you to feel good about this illusion (or false view) you have about yourself I want to get you out of the illusion altogether."  However, our approach combines the two: we want to helping a person rectify his identity, and feel good about himself as this person, as a way to help support the emergence of his divine identity.

You say that Oprah’s formula about loving yourself and feeling good about yourself is sound. So how does one do this? 

     There is no particular formula; it is about developing as a human being, cultivating positive qualities, finding things in life which support you and bring you joy, and ultimately, about realizing your true selffor this realization brings all the qualities of that self into your personal life, qualities such as love, joy, abundance, freedom, beauty, etc.

On one level, we must be who we truly are before we can truly love ourselves. We must discover ourselves as that very love and joy we now seek.  Then we need not love ourselves because we discover that our very nature is love; there is no separation between that love and who we truly are.

An addiction to food can be seen as a longing of one’s soul to fill the emptiness it experiences—and that emptiness is a result of one's soul being in the wrong place, associated with the wrong “you.”  So, this longing is something good; it prevents us from being stuck in a false and limited identity. 

So long as you exclusively identify yourself as being this person—even this person you feel good about—your soul will long for more.  Your soul knows that there is something much more profound about who you are, and so it is never satisfied with this limited identity you have adopted.  It simply cannot feel its fullness and joy when locked into this person-based identity you are holding onto.  So, no matter what, no matter how much you love yourself as this person your soul will always want more.  Your soul wants the fullness of itself.  This whole addiction to food (and every other addiction) is an attempt to fill that sense of emptiness, that sense that something deep in your core is missing; and, ultimately, this sense of emptiness, this longing is something positive—it is the true expression of your soul’s longing to be whole.  (Some addictions, of course, are about deadening you to this longing, rather than trying to fill it). 

So, fully identified with something we are not, with an imaginary version of ourselves, we try to appease this deep sense of emptiness by filling ourselves with more and more stuff, more and more food.  We do not realize that it is this person-based identity, which fundamentally lacks our essential qualities, which inherently lacks the fullness we seek (and the direct experience of our true self) which is the problem.  It’s not that this personal self we live our lives through is a problem, per se—it’s only a problem when we come to exclusively identify ourselves with being that personal self (and thereby obscure our true, essential self).  

There’s a line from one of Rumi’s poems which says, “Why do you run from the pain and forfeit the ecstasy?”  I was never sure of what this line meant.  Pain is not good, it is not something we want, so what is wrong with avoiding it?  How does this forfeit our ecstasy, our access to our true self?  What I think he means is that to avoid the pain of our condition, of our soul’s longing, we get real busy, doing this and that; we cover it up with various mental, physical, and emotional activities—all of which are activities associated with our person-based identity.  Thus we run from the pain by distracting ourselves, by covering up this painful longing, by getting lost in our personal activities and concerns.  (Keep in mind that running from something is not the same as removing or eradicating it).  So, the pain remains, we only cover it—and it comes back the moment we stop running from it.  So, when we run from the pain by totally involving ourselves in all these mind-based actions, and our person-based identity, we have no consciousness left to behold our true self.  Our running from the pain often involves us too deeply with the mind, with the personal identy and concerns (with the “me”), thereby obscuring our true self, (or “I Am”). So, we don’t want to run from the pain by over-involvement with the little “me” we want to eradicate the pain altogether, by shifting our fundamental sense of identity from the person-based “me” to the divine “I Am.” 

So long as our soul is confined and imprisoned in this mental version of self, this personal identity—which we believe to be ourselves—she is going to suffer, and we are going to feel that suffering as the fundamental pain of our being.  The soul will suffer because she is totally displaced from her true abode, which is the Heart.  Experiencing that pain (and not really understanding what it is) we try to run from it through various pursuits, goals, activities, eating etc. Over time, these “running away activities” morph into addictions. But what are we running from?---the call of our own soul!  We want to remove that fundamental pain, we don't want to spend our lives running from it.  There is nothing to be afraid of; there is nothing to run from. We have to be sensitive to that pain, and understand what it truly is---and not run from it, in desperation, every time it emerges.  That pain, when properly understood, and acted upon, can guide us out of the pain altogether. If we truly understood that pain we would joyfully embrace it---and in that embrace we would find the splendor of our true self.  Rumi writes:

"It is the burn of the heart that I want.  That burn is everything; it is more precious than a worldly empire because that is what calls the Beloved secretly in the night."

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