I’ve challenged myself to read at least 50 books this year. My goal is to approach each book with curiosity. Some I’m reading for personal expansion. Others I’m reading so I can form my own opinion about them. And a few I’m reading because someone in my community specifically asked for my thoughts on them. I invite you to follow along on the journey, if you like. I’ll be sharing updates on my new blog, and through the Ego-botomy publication on Medium.

January, 2019, three titles:

1. The Book of Freedom (Paul Selig). I “read” this as an audiobook and I’m already on my second time through. As with all the other books Selig has released out into the wild, this is a channeled text from “The Guides” whose only intent is to help us remember our own divine magnificence.

“If you condemn yourself for who you were, and you carry that forward, you carry yourself forward in a prison.”

I first discovered Paul Selig’s work three years ago when I was unexpectedly invited to attend a conference in Breckenridge and he was the keynote speaker. Never heard of him until that moment. After his first interactive session, I did something I’ve never done before at any conference. He wasn’t even hawking, yet I raced to the back of the room to purchase his entire book catalog. (If a little old lady had been in my path I might have run her over!)

Unlike other “channeling” — which seems to focus more on the material world, this channeled message is singularly focused: you’re already worthy, you’re already abundant and your only blocks to that truth are ones your ego has made up for you. (my take… love to hear yours!)

If you’re jumping straight into this title, without any baseline inner work from Selig’s previous five titles, you may find yourself scratching your head and muttering to yourself. If you have a short attention span or a small book budget, I’d definitely recommend The Book of Knowing & Worth as a foundation title for exploring this work. I also HIGHLY recommend that you get the book as an audio book — or both audio and print, as we’ve done in our house. HEARING the words, rather than simply reading them, makes a profound difference in comprehension.

And, if you want to experience Selig channeling, be sure to check out any of his amazing free resources on his website (paulselig.com) or catch him at one of his many live events. One of my literary heroes, Mitch Horowitz, interviewed Paul Selig (and The Guides!) during the second season of his original show One Simple Idea – you can find the episode on Vimeo.

Of particular interest to me in this book are The Guides’ concepts of forgiveness, their explanation of the part each of us plays in the grand unfolding of the chaos we’re perceiving in the world, and our work of embracing our innate nature as Love.

I find this particular title to be instrumental if you’re looking to dive into your core beliefs, especially “guilt.” As The Book of Freedom shares, “Guilt is unforgiveness of the self, and shame, we would suggest, colludes with it to keep you from even looking at it.”

2. And the Truth Shall Set You Free (David Icke). Now, some folks might immediately jump to conclusions about this book simply by the mention of its author’s name. Hear me out on this one. I too have received hate mail and negative phone messages from folks about my books — Giving Thanks: The Art of Tithing gets the most, believe it or not — so I know a thing or two about how people’s writing can be misperceived.

Icke’s writings first came to my attention just before Christmas, amid a hailstorm of controversy after a favorite writer of mine, Alice Walker, named the book in answer to a question in The New York Times about “what books are on your nightstand right now?”

Walker referred to the book as “a curious person’s dream come true” and that single phrase unleashed a torrent of negative attention. (You can see Walker’s thoughtful response to these reactions at http://alicewalkersgarden.com/2018/12/to-the-also-curious).

Regardless of our varied politics, Walker presents some compelling points about why we all should read books that don’t necessarily resonate with us.

A few days after Walker’s comments appeared in The New York Times, I was in a brick and morter bookstore picking up some Christmas presents, including the newest Mitch Horowitz offering, The Miracle Club. I lifted my phone to snap a picture of my friend Mitch’s “front facing” nearly sold-out title on the shelf — and discovered it was right next to Icke’s Everything You Need to Know: But Have Never Been Toldin the New Thought section. (Directly under A Course in Miracles!)

I took this as a sign to investigate the title Walker referenced, and discovered the same thing she did. Icke boldly goes where only a growing few have tread to date.

Is Icke a serious proponent of conspiracy theories? Absolutely. Though, when it comes to the question of whether or not his conspiracy theories are real, I know too little to say “yes” and too much to say “no.”

Decades ago, while doing spiritual mediation and leadership training work at churches, I interviewed a 97-year old church elder who stated “we’re all descended from aliens, after all.” My first reaction was to mentally declare her “crazy off her rocker” but in the spirit of giving everyone their due, I gave equal room to the possibility that, at her age, she may know some things I don’t.

Which brings us to the second criticism of Icke. Is Icke an anti-Semite as many critics of his work have claimed? Absolutely not. Having slowly read And the Truth Shall Set You Free, I have seen firsthand the context in which he made the statements others have referenced. Is a sacred text (like the Talmud), that refers to a single cultural group as “the chosen ones,” while condemning “others,” racist or no? If the book were about Aryans, most of us would immediately say yes. Icke simply points out how the “us against them” consciousness keeps us all divided, instead of embracing our Oneness.

A dear friend once shared with me a story that highlights this dilemma. She raised her four children in a small town, without any specific religious training. Her kids enjoyed attending the summer camp offered by the only church in town (a Baptist church). Her youngest daughter chose to attend a Baptist college and would call home often to share things she was learning. After relating to her mom a story from the Bible, her mom picked up her own Bible and said “that’s not how the story is told in my Bible. To which her daughter immediately responded, “you clearly have the wrong Bible.”

As he concludes his book, Icke offers this sage advice:

“Forgiveness of self and each other will bring an end to the story I have told. Let the divisions between us fall away, for they have been manufactured on the classic principle of divide and rule. That is the reason behind the engineered wars and the divisions of race, colour, country, class and income bracket. While there is an us and a them, we are a manipulator’s party trick. When the us and them becomes we, which is what we really are, all part of each other, the manipulation will end. Let us put our arms around each other, the Arab and the Jew, the Christian and the Muslim, the manipulator and the manipulated. It’s been a nightmare, but the nightmare is almost over. It’s time to dream.”

Whether or not anyone else who actually reads the full text of this book comes to the same conclusions is up to them. Like Paul Selig says in The Book of Freedom, “Nobody has to be right, nobody has to be wrong, but everybody has the right to be.”

At the very least, this book offers some insights into claiming for ourselves the freedom that Selig’s book states is already ours. (Icke’s commentary on the power of the debt system offered, for me, the most chilling and spot-on insights for making positive change in our financial lives.)

[Ed. Note: Icke offers all his books available for free as well as for sale. I found a copy of this title at archive.org]

3. The Classic Seed Money in Action (Jon Speller and Kathleen Shedaker). Having written a ground-breaking book on “tithing” myself (Giving Thanks: The Art of Tithing), I often have readers ask for my thoughts on other related books. The original Seed Money in Action was written by Jon Speller back in 1965. Oddly enough, I’d never come across this title until a reader in South Africa asked me about it. I wasn’t able to get my hands on the original, but I was able to get a copy of this updated version of the classic.

Let’s create a little context here, shall we? The act of “tithing” per se is about giving thanks for what you’ve already received, by giving 10% of all abundance you receive to places that feed your spirit, in gratitude for what you’ve already received.

Putting “seed money” into action is about planting the seeds for the good you wish to receive, by giving 10% of what you desire to receive. It’s “tithing in advance.”

This book is chock full of stories highlighting the results of seed money in action. In essence, you start the process of giving before you’ve received anything. It’s like the Biblical Jacob (Israel), who had a dream that God was always blessing him and that all his good came from God. In light of that dream, Jacob vowed from that day forward to give to God a tenth of everything he would ever receive.

The simplest way to explain the difference between “tithing” and “seed money” is to liken it to the chicken and the egg. Which came first? Depends on your perspective. People who want to begin tithing often ask me what their first step should be. I suggest they simply add up the balances in their accounts, or gather together all loose change and cash they may have, and give away 10% of whatever that amount is.

When people tell me they don’t have anything financial to tithe, I recommend they start by looking at what they DO have, since our possessions represent financial abundance we’ve converted to specific material items. A woman jump-started her tithing by giving away 10% of the clothes in her closet. A man gave away hundreds of dollars in self-help and success books to a homeless shelter.

Were these actions a “tithe” or “seed money?” To me, the answer is “yes.”

On the surface, I think seed money is a grand idea. But if I liken it to planting a field, I use the seed I have on hand to plant the field. I don’t look at what I desire to yield from the field and plant 10% of that amount.

For starters, the “field” of our consciousness, our container, may not be big enough to allow all this new growth to mature in a healthy way. If you don’t believe me, check out the story about farmer Perry Haydon whose tithing experiment made history back in the 1940’s. http://lutherandigest.com/2010/10/25/the-biblical-wheat-experiment/

In the first year of his experiment, Perry planted 360 wheat seeds and reaped 18,000 seeds. If he had planted 1,800 seeds (10% of what the yield would be), the plants wouldn’t have had enough room to grow to maturity.

If you want to receive $18,000 and you plant $1,800 as “seed” money, you would be over-seeding the field. You would be stunting the growth of the good that was to come. You might also be pulling that seed money from other expenses, other fields — such as essential expenses that allow you to thrive in your life.

My concern about the seed money concept is this: If people are going into debt, or not taking care of their bare essentials, in order to chase the dream of what they desire, giving seed money could backfire in a big way, financially. Especially if they’re betting on an expectation of what will come, rather than a faith-filled, fearless expectancy.

Our beliefs about money (particularly the core belief of Lack/Limitation) can have deep tentacles. As such, our ego will attempt to sabotage us at every turn. If you have even a shred of “need” in your planting, then your seed money will psychologically wind up being something that, subconsciously, you’re “giving in order to get.” This “giving to get” consciousness is (in my mind) the number one mistake people make when they tithe, as well.

If you’re able to completely plant your seed money without any attachment to HOW your good comes to you, how your abundance crop grows in your life, then I’m a huge proponent of putting seed money into action. Otherwise, start small. Give 10% of whatever you have on hand.

Give gladly, give joyfully. And if you can’t, then give the percentage you can joyfully give. Better to start smaller, while cleaning out old beliefs about money and finance and abundance and worthiness. And keep increasing your percentage monthly until you’ve reached the full 10%. If seed money resonates with you, approach it the same way. Scatter the seeds.

I once met a woman who shared with me that she doesn’t subscribe to the “find a penny, pick it up” philosophy. As a child she observed her father’s approach to change he received. When he walked away from the store, he would toss the change up in the air and declare it “seed money.” He had no preconceived notion that he was tossing up 10% of whatever he desired to have. He simply was giving without attachment and allowing that gift to grow wherever and however it landed.

Think about that the next time you bend down to pick up money you find!