I LOVE this book!  After years of spiritual seeking and experiencing what many have called impossible miracles in my life, someone told me about this book and I had to have it.  I had to do the experiments!  What I discovered in the doing of the exercises was profound — not simply because they work, but because what I discovered about myself in the process is that I don’t see the blessings around me in my daily life.

Pam Grout’s writing is easy and funny and she says what I often think:  “I hate to break it to ya, FP (Field of all Possibilities, what I commonly refer to as God), but folks are starting to talk.  They’re starting to wonder, ‘Is this guy for real?’  I mean, really, like it’d be so much skin off your chin to come down here and call off this crazy hide-and-seek thing you’ve been playing.  I’m giving you exactly 48 hours to make your presence known.  I want a thumbs-up, a clear sign, something that cannot be written off as coincidence.”

And, so began my adventure — the adventure to find that consciousness trumps matter, that we create the world with our minds.  Indeed!

I followed the instructions.  I asked for a sign, a gift, within 48 hours – something that could come no other way but from God.  Then, I waited.

As it happened, that weekend, I was at Menla Mountain House to be in a workshop given by Howard Cutler on “The Art of Happiness.”  He’s written a book by the same name with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  I was curious to meet someone who has spent so much time in the Dalai Lama’s presence.  I marveled at how a Doctor of Psychiatry could gain so much access to one of the holiest men on earth.  I wondered what he was like, how he would be.  I was expecting big and charismatic, like Robert Thurman, who runs Menla and Tibet House in NYC, and is also a friend of the Dalai Lama.

What I found is that Howard Cutler, with his gasping breath and soft voice, first occurred for me as surprisingly artless, almost childlike.  As the weekend progressed and I listened to him speak about working with the Dalai Lama, and then doing the exercises and meditations that he taught to us that would cultivate happiness in our lives, I started to see him as truly ingenuous: naïve, almost, with an innocence that reminded me of the Dalai Lama, himself – as well as other highly spiritual people, like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Satya Sai Baba.

The weekend was glorious, the meditations delicious, and the small group of women, twelve in all, sweetly intimate and loving – I was so happy I had come.  I had forgotten about looking for my gift – I was enjoying the weekend so much.

At the end of the seminar, Howard announced that he had “graduation presents” for us.  We all laughed as he pulled out boxes of gourmet jelly beans for each of us.  Then, he told us that he had a special gift for us: he revealed a small silver box that he opened to offer us a Tibetan Blessing Bead.  He instructed us to be careful how we picked ours out of the box – they are very tiny and easily dropped, and the rug was multi-patterned – if we dropped our blessing bead, we would have a hard time finding it in the folds of that rug.

As he walked the tiny box around the room for us to select our bead, he explained that blessing beads are very rare and valuable in Tibet – a Tibetan farmer might trade, oh, say, twenty yak just for one tiny bead.  He approached me so I could select my little bead and he continued talking to the group: “What makes these even more valuable is that I had them blessed for you by the Dalai Lama.”  We all “ooh-ed” and “ah-hd” and were very impressed.  I held my tiny bead in my hand, debating whether to put it under my tongue now or wait until later.

We said our good-byes… I am always sorry when a program at Menla is over.  It is such a special world there – a holy valley where the world seems so very far away and love reigns supreme.  As I walked out of the conference center, I decided to pop my blessing bead in my mouth and savor these last moments at Menla with the added blessing of this precious gift.


Precious gift.

Blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

It hit me like a bolt out of the blue.  This was it – my gift, delivered within the 48 hours and blessed by the Dalai Lama – what could be more of a message that this was a divine sign from God? – the very sign I had asked for.


My very next thought?  Why didn’t I get that right away?  Why did it take me the ten minutes it took to gather my things and walk out of the center to really get it what a blessing this was?  What was I expecting?

Ah, yes.  I was expecting something material – a gift from a friend, maybe; an invitation to something I really wanted to go to.  Nothing so simple as a little blessing bead, for which Tibetan farmers would trade twenty yak – probably more if it was blessed by the Dalai Lama.

What an insight into myself.  I’m embarrassed to admit it except that, at least, I got this about myself – and could choose to be different in that moment.  I vowed never to take my blessings for granted ever again.

I went back to my room and quickly opened the book to the lab page that Pam Grout supplies at the end of each chapter – so that I could write down the results of my first experiment.  And, then I saw it.  What I had read as “gift” really said, “blessing.”  The Hypothesis read:  “If there’s a 24/7 energy force equally available to everyone, I can access it at any time simply by paying attention.  Furthermore, if I ask the force for a blessing, giving it a specific time frame and clear instructions, it’ll send me a gift and say, ‘My pleasure’” (italics and bold are mine).

Now, I am eagerly doing the other experiments.  They’re fun, they’re easy, and Pam Grout is so funny about things quantum, things spiritual, that it has renewed my faith in that God does have a sense of humor!

READ THIS BOOK!  It will change your world.  You will change your world!

Deliciously yours in the Gorgeous Gift Wrapping of it All, Linda



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