“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
It was at a moment of uncertainty that this quote from Emerson was again brought to my attention. As I read the commentary that followed the quote, I could see quickly that the message was centered around the acquisition of success and wealth. I make the decision to be successful and wealthy, and the universe conspires to make it happen. The assumption is that in the past, I have unconsciously made the decision for failure and lack, so the universe conspired to make that happen as well.
What is so often missing from this type of teaching is the who of who is making the decision. If the who is the self-image, the meaning of decision will be one thing. If the who is the soul, the meaning of decision will be something entirely different. The goals of the self-image manifest in many forms, but the main motive is always to shore up, protect and advance against an inherent sense of inadequacy. The self-image is forever inadequate because it lacks the true foundation of the soul. The soul is a believed-in abstraction rather than the firm foundation upon which the house of consciousness is built.
A specific decision is not the kind of decision that will cause the universe to conspire to make it happen. Why? Because it is not a decision. You cannot wake up one day in your misery of lack and say, “Today, I decide to be wealthy.” We use the term worldview to indicate one’s understanding of the world in which they live. A more important term would be selfview. A decision made from the need to protect and advance the self-image does nothing to change one’s selfview. The decision to hold a particular selfview is the only decision that the universe conspires to make happen. This is the decision you and I are making at all times. This is why our life looks as it does.
If you are issuing decisions designed to protect a weakness, the universe will conspire to help keep you weak. If you are attempting to run away from something, the universe will furnish you with endless reasons to keep running. In your thirst, you will see the shimmering lake in the desert ahead. You will make the decision to go to this lake. When you arrive at the place where the waters appeared, you find the landscape looks exactly like the one you fled. You also find that another enticing lake shimmering in the distance and your selfview prompts you to set out again, this time certain the waters are real.
To think that the universe will create a lake in the desert because you decide you want it is a good definition for spiritual insanity. Spiritual soundness takes the approach of asking why you are in the desert in the first place. Why have you adopted the selfview that keeps you thirsty and surrounded by illusions of water you can never reach?
Jesus referred to the water of which we can drink and never thirst again. This water was not found in the wells of the world. He was speaking of the soul, that eternal spiritual foundation from which our being arises. The decision to know this core of being is the only one the “universe” will get excited about, for it is the only decision you can make that advances the universe’s cause.
Take a moment to observe all the shimmering lakes that clamor for your attention. These usually involve greater health, material success, wealth, happiness and peace of mind. Whether or not we actually set goals to acquire them, even longing for them is a decision to pursue them. We have made the decision to believe that the acquisition of any one of these shimmering lakes will make us something more than we are now.
While it is true that we all want these things and we should not deny our experience of them, our more productive approach is to consciously connect with that self, the soul, that is already adequate, that is already whole, successful, without need, happy and at peace. With our thirst quenched from within, those shimmering lakes that surround us take on new meaning. We discover that a few feet beneath the surface of the ground upon which we stand, there is an inexhaustible aquifer that has gone unnoticed by the world in pursuit of the shimmering lakes.
Watch. The universe will gleefully furnish your shovel.