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Interview With Phyllis Reid, Author "Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings – More Than Mere Humans"
Phyllis Reid holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work, an Honor’s Degree in Psychology and a bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science. She works as a Psychotherapist, Behavior Modification specialist and Traumatologist with adults and children. She is trained in Journalism and Dramatic Arts and has worked in Journalism and Stage and Film. She has been a metaphysical/Truth practitioner for over 30 years.
Tyler: Thank you for joining me today, Phyllis. Would you start out by telling us why you felt the need to write “Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings?
Phyllis: It is my pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me. A more appropriate answer might be why I published “Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings” at this time, since the book was written in 1988 under the title of “Mountaintop Living.” It sat on my bookshelf, joined later by three other manuscripts, until I published it in June of 2007. I changed the title to “Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings: More than Mere Human,” as a message to overcoming the stress and strain of today’s hectic lifestyle and coping with the demands of daily living.
I felt compelled to publish it at this time to address the high degree of stress, frustration and dis-satisfaction I found to be rampant in the workplace, among associates, co-workers, friends, clients and in talking with people in general. I wanted to contribute more and felt restricted in my role as a clinician. I felt the spiritual component, that could offer so much, was missing. I got great satisfaction from my work as a psychotherapist to children and their families, but I also felt the stress, frustration and emptiness of others and missed being able to offer the hope, peace and contentment of the spiritual component of life.
I then decided to find a way to offer service from a more spirit based perspective to give individuals hope, a sense of control over their own lives and the peace and contentment that would follow. I decided to quit the practice, publish my book and incorporate it in offering alternatives for peace, personal control and lasting change. I must reinforce here that as a society we must offer alternatives to the stress filled, fast paced lifestyles of today. Already we are seeing the impact in the high levels of anxiety among adults and children and the consequences in both the medical and mental health arenas.
Tyler: I understand you drew upon your own experiences in writing the book, particularly in the difficulties of leaving your native Jamaica and transitioning into living in the United States. What about that transition caused you to call upon your spiritual side?
Phyllis: To escape the political turmoil in my country during the seventies I migrated to the United States. At just over thirty, I left a secure job, good career opportunities, family, friends, a good social life and most importantly, the security and stability of functioning in my matriarchal cultural environment. I was always positive, confident and forward thinking and moving.
I made the choice to live in South Florida because of the tropical climate, the cultural mix and I thought I could find a good fit. There was some strain in adjusting to the patriarchal demand to be “tough and aggressive,” but my biggest confrontation was adjusting to the strong racial overtone and undertone. In interviews I was frequently asked, “As a black woman how do you think etc.” This was illogical and a culture shock for me. I was from a class structured environment where intelligence and character were what mattered, not the color of the skin. A Vice President in a company informed me that I was too intelligent, well spoken and well dressed in silk for a black woman. I was unable to utilize my intelligence and skills. I felt lock out of opportunities to advance and I felt frustrated. The president of a large corporation tried to counsel me in my dilemma, “Phyllis, he said, you have three strikes against you, you are black, a woman and a foreigner, so it is not going to be easy.”
I was engaged in spiritual pursuits prior to arriving in the US and continued to do so. However, as I searched for answers to adjust and cope in the new culture and environment I sought spiritual answers. A Pastor told me that I lacked faith and needed to trust in God to help me. My own Minister advised me to turn to the Christ within for answers. So at that point I went all out in my effort to have more “Faith in God” and to know “The Christ within me.” It worked. Over an eight-year period, it gave me the answers I needed as well as the peace, strength, added courage, confidence, assurance, and security to cope, adjust and live my life on purpose.
Tyler: Would you tell us a little about the book’s organization? I understand it is divided into four sections?
Phyllis: Yes, it is in four sections. In organizing and presenting the material for the book a few things were uppermost in my mind.
1). First, I wanted to make it as simple and straight forward as possible for the readers. I did not want to use words and phrases that would be difficult to grasp.
2). I wanted the book to be as authentic as possible, that is, I wanted it to reveal as much of my own experience as possible. I did not want it just to mimic ideas from other books or writers.
3). I hoped it would be a sort of hands-on guidebook, easy to understand, easy to carry around, easy to read and to put into practice; this way it could eliminate for others, the exhaustive search I went through in my search/study of Truth.
Once I decided on the above points, I wanted to assemble and present the content in the way it impacted and changed my consciousness. So I told my story from the beginning, outlining what precipitated my search in the introduction. In Section 1, I present the thoughts and beliefs that had to be accepted in consciousness to facilitate a transformation. This began with the concept of the self, not as mere human with all its frailties, but as a Divine child of God-a God Being, heir to the kingdoms of both heaven and earth. This section gives assurances for living as a spiritual being, the desire and commitment one must engage to experience a change, and finally the spiritual journey itself.
Section II offers the intellectual and spiritual enlightenment needed to transform the mind and enlighten the spirit. It presents Truth based material on the nature of God, the relationship of man to God and accepting the self as a Spiritual/Divine child of God. It then addresses ideas on the Kingdom of Heaven, where it is, how to experience it and how to live as a Divine being-the Christ of God.
Section III presents the thoughts, beliefs and methods to employ to attain spiritual mastery and live as a Divine being-a God Being/child of God. The ideas are presented as “Keys to the Kingdom” living here on earth in a spiritual state of peace and harmony, with a sense of purpose and belonging. It presents ideas on areas of our life that must be addressed to have a spiritual transformation. The importance of the tools of Prayer, Forgiveness, Meditation, Praise, Blessing and Giving Thanks are explained. In addition to presenting the materials, hands-on techniques are presented to include prayer, meditation, songs, chants, psalms, and contemplative readings to facilitate consciousness change as it is being followed.
Section IV presents living life as a spiritual being. This area succinctly lays out the path of one living the spiritual life. The section ends the book with “God is Calling, listen.” This was added to help those who are seeking a way out of the hustle and bustle of today’s anxiety driven workplace. They want “out of the rat race” but are torn between the job and the paycheck that provides for the daily support of themselves and their families. It offers advice and hope, to make the change for a life of peace and fulfillment.
Tyler: Phyllis, it sounds like you very thoroughly cover how to live as a spiritual being. I’ve had heard it said that we are not humans looking for a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience? Would you agree?
Phyllis: Yes, without a doubt I agree. We are first spiritual beings-going through a human experience. If we accept the Truth that God is Spirit and we are made in the image and likeness of God, then this is proof positive that we are spirit beings by our divine heritage. We come into this world programmed with the spiritual wisdom, intelligence and all the qualities inherent in our God DNA. I guess here we can draw an analogy to the scientific questions of which came first the chicken or the egg, or the nature or nurture theory. Where did the knowingness in the DNA of a human that distinguishes it from a chicken or an elephant come from? Science has now concluded that behind everything, in its tiniest molecular particle, it is what they term “energy.” This some people now conclude is the spirit in all living, breathing things-animate and inanimate.
Proof that we are mighty spiritual beings going through a human experience is seen in instances of great challenges needing tremendous courage. Where does the strength and power come from in small frame mothers or fathers, who are able to lift an extremely heavy vehicle to save their child? What of the weak and frail who defy great odds to overcome insurmountable challenges? As the popular poem “Footprints” implies, “It is when the human is unable to carry itself that the Spirit carries us.” In spiritual transformation it would be extremely difficult to explain where inspiration, spiritual insights and other physical manifestations come from. But they do happen, and when they do, it becomes proof positive that man is first spiritual with all the wisdom and attributes of God/Spirit locked within him. This is the fundamental Truth revealed through Jesus Christ and the message of Christianity-the Divinity of man. Did not His spirit triumph over His human experience? Revealing to us today that when we lay down the physical body in the so-called death, the spirit lives on in everlasting life? As in the beginning so in the end-when the body experiences death the spirit lives on; therefore the spirit was alive before the body. The physical body embodies-is but the clothes for the spirit; we are spiritual beings going through, or growing through a human experience.
Tyler: The book is a New Age approach to spirituality, and an alternative to more traditional religious paths. Why do you feel the need to show a new or different path from traditional ones, and how would you respond to those who still think of “New Age” as something strange?
Phyllis: I am aware of the identification of this type of spiritual thinking as New Age. In my studies it is presented not as New Age but as New Thought or Ancient Wisdom teaching, as interpreted and presented by many of the Spiritual Masters. Most new thoughts/beliefs and even some inventions are usually considered strange. Christianity was considered strange and outlawed at the time of Jesus Christ. Jesus admonished that we follow the spirit of the word and not just the letter. Many of the main line religions today follow the dictates of the letter of the word and miss the spiritual component. New Thought and Metaphysics stress the spiritual components that stand behind all of life.
One of the things I hope my book points out is that spirituality entered into with a fervent desire to know God works, regardless of denomination. God is Spirit and is not limited to the type of religious affiliation, whether Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Fundamentalist or New Thought/New Age. God is ready and waiting to respond to anyone who asks, seeks and knocks, regardless of the path he or she takes, and there are indeed many paths. God gave mankind a mind and an intellect. It is important that we use our minds and be willing and open to learning and incorporating new knowledge to allow for transformation of long held limiting beliefs. Faith is as you believe. Life is impacted by our beliefs. If prayer, meditation, love, psalms, peace, thanksgiving, praise and the attributes of a God-life are strange, then New Thought/New Age are strange and thanks be to God for them. These long held spiritual thoughts and beliefs are the Spiritual Truths interwoven throughout the scripture for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. They work for my life and I can point to millions for whom they work. Finally on this subject I must say how surprising it was for me to have feedback from fundamental Christians, including Ministers, who applaud “Anchor in the Spirit.”
Tyler: One of the purposes of “Anchor in the Spirit” is to help people overcome the stress and strain of daily living. What advice do you have to help people overcome stress and strain?
Phyllis: To overcome stress and strain one must first admit to having stress and strain. The next step is to identify the nature of the stress, how it manifests itself and impacts the individual’s coping system. The decision must then be made to address the problem by identifying the stressors, relational, environmental, work, home, etc. Once the source of the stress is identified steps and strategies must be developed and taken to address the issue. The impact of stress can de debilitating on the mental, physical and emotional planes of living and must be addressed.
Due to the fast paced, computerized age we live in today, most have feelings of stress, anxiety and being overwhelmed. To reduce stress we must identify tasks that can be delegated or eliminated from our schedules. The remaining daily tasks must then be placed in order of importance and priority. Time frames for the completion of tasks will give the feeling of being in control and will overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed that causes stress and anxiety.
Finally, to overcome stress and strain, we must learn to say no without feeling guilty. We must prioritize what is important and avoid time consuming events done to please others. We must learn to nurture the self. This can be simple alternatives like taking a leisurely warm bath at night instead of a quick shower; engaging in simple exercises that stimulate the mind and body, such as deep breathing or stretching. Finally the power of prayer and meditation, songs and chants are documented through Neuro-science and other research to have a life enhancing effect on the mind, body and the quality of life. Of course reading books that calm the emotions, renew the mind and reinforce spiritual awareness reduce and prevent stress, strain and anxiety.
Tyler: Phyllis, how do you think prayer and meditation change one’s consciousness?
Phyllis: Consciousness is the sum total of the thoughts, beliefs, feelings and attitudes that impact an individual’s life. Hence, if we are manifesting certain conditions in our life, and want to change these conditions, we must first change our existing thoughts, beliefs, feelings and attitudes, which created the condition in the first place. To change our thoughts and beliefs will change our mind or our intellectual knowing that makes us who we are. The Apostle Paul admonishes, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Enlightenment comes through knowledge and knowledge changes our minds-thoughts and beliefs. Through psychology we know of the phases of the mind, the id, ego and super-ego. In philosophy they are termed the conscious, unconscious and super-conscious. The mind, body, spirit connection is made part of the mass consciousness over the last two to three decades. Prayer and meditation help us to focus, calm and relax our minds, emotions and physical bodies. Affirming spiritual or higher thoughts raises the consciousness not only on the conscious level of mind but also on the unconscious level that accepts whatever is felt deeply on an emotional level. Meditation, taking thoughts, beliefs and feelings deep into the unconscious and super-conscious levels of mind, create fast and lasting changes in our consciousness. These changes take place on the inside, bringing effective and lasting changes to the mind, body and spirit.
Tyler: The publication of your book itself speaks to your state of mind and being open to the possibilities that made the publication easier for you. Would you tell us a little bit about that experience?
Phyllis: The publication of “Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings” is a testament to the guidance and direction in the spirit directed life. When I wrote the manuscript in 1988, my plan was to use it as the material for presenting workshops dealing with spiritual transformation. It was at the urging of friends who used the material that I considered publishing it. I was fully committed to having it published in early 2007. Up to the time when I took leave of my clinical position on March 9, 2007, I had no idea how it would be published, I arranged to meet with a published author two days later, after church. In that meeting she instructed me to get two publications that would guide me in making my decision; she actually lent me one of hers until I acquired my own. By the next Monday morning, I was well on my way to self-publishing “Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings.”
I made the decision to self publish due to time constraint and to have control over the contents/material. The contents and format of the book were very personal and important to me. I did not want to wait two years to acquire a publishing contract; it was important to me to have the material ready for dissemination as a presentation tool as soon as possible. From the beginning to the end of publishing the book, the right people and opportunities manifested at the perfect times. Within seven weeks the book was ready to be printed. At the very end the printer got off-schedule, which lent to some re-typing and assembling that contributed to some typing, spelling and proofing errors.
Since publication in June, the experience continues to be busy and fulfilling. The response to the book has been very rewarding. In endorsements readers have said that “Anchor in the Spirit” is “the perfect guide book for beginners as well as experienced spiritual practitioners.” This is heart warning as that was what I intended in writing it. Others have applauded the spiritual contents, some of who are ministers. Still others have commented on the calming effect it has had on them and find it very useful in helping them develop a prayer life. I am now involved in the promotion and presentation of the book and am enjoying sharing it with the public and especially hearing how it is impacting their lives.
Tyler: It’s wonderful, Phyllis, that you’ve had such a positive response in such a short time. You said earlier you wrote the book to use in workshops. Do you still give workshops and what can one expect from a workshop-what principles from the book do you use in the workshops?
Phyllis: Yes, workshops and inspirational talks are not only promotional tools for the book, but are the thrust of my message of achieving peace, fulfillment, balance and harmony through spiritual transformation. I offer weekly workshops on various aspects of the book, depending on the group to whom I am presenting. I am well accepted at the New Age Centers for workshops followed by book signings and do one or two every week. I am also invited to give inspirational talks at some New Thought churches. Due mostly to time constraints since publication of the book, I am just now able to begin marketing for presentations to a larger audience-spiritual and corporate.
In my workshops I utilize material from “Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings” that is relevant to the group. One of my main topics for workshop is spiritual transformation and applying and living spiritual principles to change our lives. Here I utilize aspects of the book as Desire-to begin the spiritual journey, commitment and work through the transformative aspects of the materials. The areas of the Divine nature of God and man, living as a God being or spiritual being, are enlightening and transforming for many. Finally the areas of prayer, meditation, singing and forgiveness act as hands-on transformative tools and are usually well received. This past week I spoke at a New Thought church on the topic of Beginning Anew-not Beginning Again-for the New Year. Here the thrust was breaking the cycle of doing things over and over again, varying the patterns just enough, which give rise to failure. Beginning Anew was the spiritual approach of turning within, recognizing the spiritual qualities of faith, trust, confidence, courage, inspiration and stepping forth assured of the guidance and support of the Spirit. The workshops are very interactive and the impact and feedback are evident. My talks are always very well received, the congregants do report on the impact of the message to them and I am always invited back to speak.
Tyler: Phyllis, you’ve obviously been living a spiritual life for many years. What advice would you give to those just starting on a spiritual journey, but constantly distracted by unhappy relationships, health problems, jobs they dislike, and other material concerns?
Phyllis: My first advice to those beginning their spiritual journeys is to remain calm and focused on their desire. The spiritual path is a journey not a destination; it takes time. They should pray for Divine guidance to be guided to the right path for them. I believe the path is personal for each person, and rightly so for we have all had different life experiences and thus different issues to overcome. There must be a high level of trust and reliance on God and less on religious bodies, pastors and tumultuous individuals. God, Christ within the self is the Master Teacher and the aim is to know God/Christ, not attain that which they seek: peace, health, prosperity, etc. Once there is a strong desire to know God, the next step is to be committed to staying the course. They should keep it simple, establishing a structure and developing a discipline; preferably a daily discipline that may include periods of reading the Bible or other good spiritual material, praying and meditating. By the way, prayer is when we speak to God silently or aloud and meditation is when we become quiet and listen and wait for God. The prayer/meditation time can be as short as a minute or two and gradually increased.
On the spiritual path distraction and interference from family, friends, co-workers and even in the church should be expected, but the individual must persevere. Discipleship means discipline; the disciples were the disciplined ones. Change will not take place without commitment of time and effort; spiritual change is no different. Distraction in the home is inevitable. As one attempts to make personal changes it will impact the lives of others around them. It is natural to want to encourage others to join in the spiritual quest. To change one must want change; we cannot make another change if that other does not want to change. The one on the spiritual path must utilize quiet times in bathrooms, or when others have gone to bed to follow their discipline. Walks in a park or quiet times of reading and contemplation are often fruitful and refreshing. My favorite was lunch break in my car reading spiritual materials and having periods of prayer and affirmations. The more there is a need for change, the more determined and committed one should be to the process. Eventually, an effective spiritual life will help alleviate problems, whether through healing of conditions, relationships, or guidance to remove oneself from certain situations or environments.
Tyler: Phyllis, what do you think makes “Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings” stand out from other inspirational and spiritual books currently in the marketplace?
Phyllis: As I alluded to earlier and as attested to by endorsement from readers, the easy to understand format and layout of “Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings,” makes it stand out from others. It is unique in its compilation of songs, prayers, meditations, chants and other techniques and acts as a guidebook for easy usage. In addition to its guidebook format, the contents are explained in easy to understand terms that allow the reader to make his/her individual choice of what to utilize. Though the layout and presentation of the book is simple and easy to follow, it does not detract from the contents; this is attested to my ministers in both New Thought and Traditional faiths. One or more readers praised the book for not forcing anything on them, but instead presenting the material for them to “take it or leave it.” “The size and page volume of Anchor in the Spirit as God Being, allow me to carry it in my hand bag wherever I go,” states one reader. “It makes me feel calm and I need that, when I feel stressed at work I open it and read a paragraph or two,” states a registered nurse in Philadelphia.
As the author, not only have I tried to remain authentic in reporting my experience, but I am also proud to have remained scriptural, avoiding any tendency to present for mass or commercial appeal. Though the scripture presentations are New Testament based with Christian overtones, the principles put forth could be applied to other religious beliefs, substituting their religious texts.
The message of “Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings” is timely to address today’s human conditions. As we struggle to cope with our hectic lifestyles, seeking more peace for ourselves, our families, our communities, our world and harmony on our planet, it is important to give hope to the helpless masses. Most major religions of the world hold firmly to their religious beliefs that have brought them through difficult periods. “Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings” is the testament of a modern woman who used her Christian Truth beliefs to see her through the most difficult period or her life. It worked and continues to work.
Tyler: Phyllis, now that you’ve finished your book, what do you hope the future holds for you? Will you write more books?
Phyllis: I have just begun my writing career. As I mentioned earlier, I already have three other manuscripts in the spiritual genre completed, just waiting the time to address publication. However, before I publish those, I am focusing on one of my passions-youth development. Within the next few months I will begin the process to publish a book addressing youths-to help them through their current plights. I have worked with problem youths for the past eight years and am very familiar with their problems, needs and wants, and I am committed to helping them.
I am in the process of reopening Transformers International Inc., my non-profit youth development agency. The focus will be inner city youths: development, behavior modification, mentoring and trauma resolution. I will be reaching out to parents, individuals, the community, corporations and everyone to help our youths reclaim their lives with hope, motivation and inspiration for their future. So you can see I have just begun, and my hands are very full.
Tyler: Thank you for joining me today, Phyllis. Before we go, will you tell our listeners about your website and what additional information they might find there about “Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings: More than Mere Human?”
Phyllis: Thank you Tyler, it was indeed a pleasure joining you and your readers today.
My web site http://www.anchorinthespirit.com presents highlights from various chapters of the book that will give viewers a sample of the material and understand the contents. It contains reviews about the book and up to date endorsement by readers. I also offer a 10-minute meditation to help instill peace and calm. It is done to music and is very soothing. My web site allows viewers to sign on for my monthly E-letter Transform. In it I address aspects of daily living and offer coping methods. These are areas that can be helped by applying the techniques in “Anchor in the Spirit as God Beings.”
http://www.anchorinthespirit.com also highlights some of my other products that help to overcome the stresses and stressors of daily living. The site is equipped for easy ordering using Pay Pal.
Tyler: Thank you, Phyllis. I hope you find many more readers and continue to help them make their lives more spiritual and enjoyable.
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