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Another key principal is that of giving, or "outflowing." The universe is made up of pure energy, the nature of which is to move and flow. The nature of life is constant change, constant flux. When we understand this, we tune into its rhythm and we are able to give and receive freely, knowing that we never really lose anything, but constantly gain.

Once we begin to learn to accept the goodness of the universe, we naturally want to share it as well, realizing that as we give out of our energy, we make space for more to flow into us.

When, through insecurity (fear) and a feeling that there "isn't enough," we try to hold onto or cling to what we have, we begin to cut off this wonderful flow of energy. In hanging onto what we have, we fail to keep the energy moving and we don't make space for new energy to come to us.

Energy takes many forms, such as love, affection, appreciation and recognition, material possessions, money, friendship, etc. and the principles apply equally to all these forms.

If you look around you at those who are most unhappy, you'll find they are often people who have a "starved" feeling in some way, and are therefore in a very grasping posture toward life. They feel that life in general and other people in particular are not giving them what they need. It is as if they have a stranglehold on life, trying desperately to wring out the love and satisfaction they crave, yet actually choking off the supply. And many of us have a little of this tendency.

When we find that place within ourselves that is giving, we begin to reverse the flow. Giving happens not from a space of sacrifice, or self-righteousness, or an idea of spirituality, but for the pure pleasure of it - because it's fun. It can only come from a full, loving space.

We each have an infinite supply of love and happiness within us. We have been accustomed to thinking that we have to get something from outside us in order to learn to contact our inner source of happiness and satisfaction and flow it outward to share with others - not because it is virtuous to do so, but because it feels really good! Once we tune into it we just naturally want to share it because that is the essential nature of love, and we are all loving beings.

As we outflow our loving energy, we make room for more to flow into us. We soon discover that this process feels so good in itself we just want to do it more and more. And the more you share of yourself from this space, the more you seem to get from the world, because the of the outflow-inflow principle. (Nature abhors a vacuum, so as you outflow you create space into which something must inflow.) Giving becomes its own reward.

When we fully understand and live this we have manifested our innately loving nature.

So you will find in your use of creative visualization, that the more basically "giving" orientation you have to life, the easier it will be to fulfill your dreams... but remember always that you can't continue to give unless you are equally open to receiving... and that "giving" also means giving to yourself...

When it comes to outflowing, practice makes perfect. You must consciously practice it in order to get the experience of how good it feels. Here are some exercises in outflowing you can try if you need some expansion in this area:

  1. Make a point to express more appreciation to others in as many ways as you can think of. Sit down right now and make a list of people to whom you would like to outflow love and appreciation, and think of a way you can do so to each one within the next week. Outflow can take the form of words, touching, a gift, a phone call or letter, money, or any sharing of your talents that makes another person feel good. Choose something that makes you feel especially good too, even if it's a little more difficult for you.

    Practice speaking more words of thanks, appreciation and admiration to people when you feel like it. "It was kind of you to help me." "I want you to know that I appreciate that."

  2. Go through your things and find things that you don't really want or use very often and give them to others who will appreciate them more.

  3. If you're a person who tries to spend as little money as possible and always hunts for a bargain, try spending a little money each day unnecessarily. Buy the product that costs a few cents more instead of less, treat yourslef to a little something extra, pay for a friend's coffee, donate to a good cause, etc. Even a small action of this sort is a visible demonstration to yourself that you have faith in the abundance that you have been affirming. Actions speak as loud as words in this case.

  4. Tithe your income. Tithing is the practice of giving a percentage of your income to a church, spiritual organization, or any group that you feel is making a worthwhile contribution in the world. It is a way of supporting that energy, and at the same time acknowledging that all you receive comes from the universe and therefore you give a token back to the universal source. It doesn't matter what the percentage is - even tithing just one percent of your income will give you a continuous experience of outflowing. Just be sure to do it regularly.

  5. Be creative. Think of other ways to outflow your energy into the universe for the good of yourself and others.

Shakti Gawain