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Hip Sobriety School, Day 22

"I raise my vibration and I attract what I vibe."

For me, today's mantra is absolute truth. I've lived it for way too long—floating on the high side and dragging my ass across the bottom of the low side—to have any doubt that we are energetic beings living in an energetic Universe. As my spiritual teacher Paula used to say, "Everything is vibration."

I was in my late 20's heading home from one of Paula's Sunday evening services and needing to fuel up the car for the next week. This was 1975 in the middle of what would become known as the "energy crisis" where people were being forced to fill their own tank—IF they could find a place that had any gas. The only attendant in sight was the one you paid, the one sitting behind the window. On this particular night, I was startled by the young man's question as he was counting out my change: "You just came from church, right?" My knee-jerk reaction was to look down at my clothes, looking for some telltale sign like....what?

He laughed and said, "You were literally glowing when you walked up. I can feel the energy of that light all the way over here, and there's only one thing that sets me on fire that way." My mind was blown wide open. He was so right about the state I was in—I always floated away from Paula' classes or services bathed in a surrealistic level of deep, deep, deep love and peace. Her place and everything I experienced there were heaven on earth, but I had a hunch this fellow would run away screaming if he knew what I meant by "church." Paula was a gifted psychic and medium with a Reverend title from some obscure place in California, and her Sunday services mirrored the format of every spiritualist church across the country.

I've often called the years I spent with her as being at the breast of Divine Mother, constantly wrapped in a cocoon of angelic love and nourishment. All I had to do was hang around, absorb, float away, live and enjoy, float back. Repeat.

Everything was working and I mean everything. I was meditating every day, playing tennis, bicycling, getting lost in creative expression, learning and practicing Hatha Yoga, and exploring a world of "discovery and expansion" classes like Self-Hypnosis, Conversational Spanish, and Astrology. A new class schedule would show up in the mail and I felt like a kid at the candy store. On the career scene, doors were flying open with fresh job opportunities, raises, and promotions. Ups and downs were still happening, but reality seemed to be streaming in from what felt like a much higher place. If upsets or trouble showed up, I had no problem keeping the faith that solutions would appear and everything would be all right. Even the apartment I was living in during that time had enormous windows that sent light streaming through every room—a brilliant sunrise had the entire place glowing rose and crimson.

Decades before I met her, Paula had spent several years in her own cocoon at the original Self Realization retreat center in Encinitas, California—not long before Yogananda died. She told him that she wanted to stay there forever but he said, "No, you have to go. You have work to do in the world and you need to be out there, not here." I'm guessing she felt expelled from heaven. Forget Sedona and those ballyhooed vortexes. On a couple of vacation visits I've spent a little time walking through Yogananda's beloved Garden, and the energy in just that tiny piece of his mystical world is unforgettable.

All cocoons are by their nature temporary, but inner temples are always with us. The Divine Presence is always longing to emerge and dance naked in the sunlight. I've known for decades now that it's entirely possible for me to return to the vibrational state I walked and breathed and lived in during those fleeting years. I can hear the calling to embrace my spiritual maturity—to commit to the practices that can raise my vibration to that level and beyond.

Unfortunately, I'm much better at retreating and escaping and cocooning and nesting and staying lost and hungry than I am at discipline: prioritizing, doing the work, walking the walk. I have so much scar tissue from being raised Catholic that I cringe at the sound of the word "discipline." It conjures images of endless mea culpa's and self-flogging and wearing a horse-hair shirt. But I do love Michael Beckwith's take on it. Michael calls it his Blissipline.

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