Thursday, September 21, 2017

Living Peace

September 21 is The United Nations (UN) International Day of Peace. It is celebrated on this day each year in recognition of all who work to end conflict and promote peace. In recognition of this day, I have chosen to share some inspirations about peace.

What is peace?

Peace is the resonance of the soul. We experience internal conflict when our thinking is not in alignment with the peace of the soul. This internal conflict is painful. We act out our pain in ways that are injurious to others and to ourselves. Internal conflict results in external conflict.  When we experience this conflict en mass, it becomes the mass consciousness. We act out en mass.

For millennia mankind has attempted to achieve peace on earth through external means, primarily violence. We seem to believe that if those of us who are “right” have enough power, we can defeat those who are “wrong,” thereby establishing peace. We go to war in the name of peace. History and current events clearly show that engaging in violence for the sake of peace is insane. As Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

How do we create peace?

Peace is not something we have to, or even something that we can create: Peace is our natural state of being. That which ‘I Am’ eternally rests as Peace. Peace is the only state of Mind – God Mind. If I am not experiencing Peace, I am out of my Mind, and attached to my illusion of a mind separate from God.

Peace is a heart-felt desire of all humanity. That we have not achieved it is not testament to our lack of yearning for it, but to the failure of our ill-conceived strategies for living in peace.

How do we live in peace?

Peace is not the result of something we do or something we do not do. In order to establish peace as a way of living, we must accept that peace is the cause, not the effect.  

Do not strive for peace. Do not seek peace. Instead, surrender to peace – the peace that is the very Soul of being. In that place of surrender, there is no conflict. In that place of surrender, we are free; free to allow our creativity, passion, wisdom and compassion to arise in service to living peace-filled lives.

In the place of surrender, there is no longer a ‘me’ and a ‘you,’ there is only the One. The One cannot be in conflict with Itself. I am peace; you are peace. We live as One in peace.

Each of us must take personal responsibility for demonstrating peace. Unity teaches that we create our reality through our thoughts and feelings, thus we will experience peace when we think and feel peace. We will enjoy peace on earth when we first attain peace within. Peace on earth will be achieved when each of us embraces peace as our natural state of being and chooses to speak and act from the consciousness of peace.

Affirm: In this moment, I surrender to peace, I Am.



Let each of us commit to being the peace we wish to experience in the world.

As always, I invite you to join us on Sunday, September 24, for our 10:00 service at Unity Spiritual Center Denver as we welcome Jeffon Seely as our guest speaker. Jeffon will also present a workshop, “Unlock Your Greatness,” beginning at 12:00. For more information on Jeffon, please visit his website, JeffonSeely.com.

Also, please plan to join us on Saturday, October 21, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM for a special World Singing Day celebration featuring the Singing as Spiritual Practice Choir under the direction of Kath Robinson. I will have the honor of joining Marcy Baruch as soloists for this event. The evening will include community singing, spoken word and prayer.

From the WorldSingingDay.org website,

Founded in 2012, World Singing Day is about uniting the global family through song and being a catalyst for world peace. It is an annual, worldwide celebration of our common humanity that creates community, connection, and global well-being.
World Singing Day is not religious or political, nor does it promote any one country or culture. It aims to transcend those differences and celebrate what we all share as human beings.
Let us join as one on this night to honor and celebrate our unity as we stand for harmony and living peace in our world. I look forward to seeing you there.



Thursday, September 14, 2017

I Am Forgiven

This past Sunday, in my lesson at Unity Spiritual Center Denver, I shared some thoughts about the importance of practicing self-forgiveness. You may listen to the lesson here.

I shared that since exploring the concept of forgiveness in greater depth over the past few weeks, I have recognized that I have some self-forgiveness work to do around my relationship with my father, specifically the ways I thought about him, talked about him, and treated him.

I did not enjoy a close relationship with my father – EVER. He was pretty much what you would call an absentee father. He traveled for work and was often away from home for days at a time. When he was home, he was usually drunk.

My mother was a grounding, guiding presence in my life. When my mother made her transition from this Earthly plain, I was left with an alcoholic father as the only parental figure in my life. I was fifteen at the time.

Much later in life with the aid of a therapist and through spiritual growth I was able to touch the depth of my pain, sadness and anger, not only about the loss of my mother, but also the loss of my father. Years later I was willing and able to get in touch with and admit to myself the hurtful things I did in reaction to my unacknowledged and unexpressed pain. Even now, when I think of them, I feel guilt and remorse.

I shared about this on Sunday to provide an example of the self-forgiveness process I suggested. (I outline that process below.)

It is my practice to greet people as they leave the sanctuary following Sunday service. This past Sunday was no exception. As she was leaving, a long-time member, a beautiful caring soul, handed me a piece of paper on which she had written some thoughts that came to her during my lesson. She lovingly wanted to share them with me. I deeply appreciate her care and concern.

I am paraphrasing, but the gist of what she shared was: You know more now than you did at fifteen. You were doing the best you knew how to do at the time. The last line was “You are Forgiven!”



These are truthful words. I take great comfort in knowing that what she shared is true. I, too, would say those words to each of us and to myself. AND

As I said on Sunday, in my lesson entitled Temporary Insanity, when we do or say something out of fear, anger, resentment or judgment, we are “out of our right minds.” We can only be in those mental states when we are not mindful of our True Nature and not in alignment with the Mind of God. The Mind of God, our “right mind,” only knows love and unity.

While it is reassuring, we are not relieved of the responsibility for the effects that our words or actions had on another or ourselves simply by knowing that we were “temporarily insane;” doing the best we knew how to do at the time; and we have grown and learned since that moment in time when doing what we did or saying what we said.

If we are to experience the freedom that comes from forgiveness, it is imperative that we do whatever we need to do to clean up the energy of unforgiveness – resentment, blame, guilt, shame, judgment, etc. We do that by doing the work of moving through the steps of understanding and forgiveness with empathy and compassion, first for ourselves and then for the other.

I will use my relationship with my father to illustrate the steps. As I said in my post last week, Forgiveness Is, this process is not uniquely mine. I have synthesized material from others.

FIRST: What did you do or say? In 12 Steps, this is called making a searching and fearless inventory. Make a list of all the things you did or said that could have stimulated pain for another person.

In making my list I cite specifics, but for this purpose I am sharing only general statements.
I lied to my father.

I stole from my father.

I manipulated my father.

SECOND: What were you feeling and thinking at the time?

I was feeling angry, sad, lonely, and scared. I was telling myself that my father did not care about me, so why should I care about him. I was telling myself that he deserved whatever I gave him because he was an alcoholic.

THIRD: What were you needing that you were not getting?

I needed love and attention. I needed someone to care about and take care of me. I needed security and safety.

FOURTH: What do you feel guilty about? What personal values were you not living in integrity with?

Author, professor and shame researcher, Brené Brown said,

“Guilt is good. It helps us stay on track. It occurs when we compare something we did, or didn’t do, to our personal values. The discomfort often results in real change, amends, and self-reflection.”

I was not in integrity with honesty, integrity, compassion and generosity, among others.

FIFTH: Share all of the above with someone you trust.

Archbishop Demond Tutu, in The Book of Forgiveness, says,

“Unexpressed shame can lead to isolation, depression, substance abuse or suicide. Unexpressed or unidentified shame can make it impossible for us to feel we are worthy of self-forgiveness.”

Tell it to someone you trust. If you are in a 12-Step program, this person will most likely be your sponsor. If you are not, choose a trusted friend who will not try to fix it for you, but will listen with empathy and compassion. You may also want to engage a therapist, or speak with a minister or other spiritual counselor.

By giving yourself empathy and compassion and receiving it from another, you WILL work through and dissipate the energy of unforgiveness.

As with forgiveness for others, it can be, but it may not be easy. It can be, but it may not be quick. Trust that you will get there. Do the work!

Additionally, it is important to forgive yourself for the story you have told about yourself and the other person. In my case, I needed to forgive myself for telling the story of my father as unloving, uncaring, ignorant and stupid for succumbing to alcoholism. I had to forgive myself for not seeing him as the child of God that he is – worthy of love, understanding and compassion.

I also had to forgive myself for telling the story of me as a mean, manipulative, selfish, spoiled, and ungrateful son. It is essential that we realize we are not defined by what we did. We take responsibility for our words and actions, but those things do not determine our worthiness. We must be willing to change the story and begin to see ourselves as who we truly are – wondrously unique expressions of Divine Light and Life – who experience “temporary insanity” from time to time.

Yes, I was doing the best I knew to do at the time. Yes, I now know better. Still, I needed to do the work of self-forgiveness so that I can be free of the energy of guilt and shame. Then, I can truly know that I Am Forgiven!

The bottom line is that we all have the power in every moment, to reclaim our sanity, change our thoughts, renew our perspective and transform our lives and our relationships. Forgiveness helps to make this possible.

Join us this coming Sunday, September 17, as I complete this short series on forgiveness with my lesson, Asking is Receiving. I will explore how we seek and receive forgiveness from others. You are welcome here!

Additionally, if you are blessed or inspired by these posts or my Sunday lessons, which are available on YouTube, I encourage you to make a donation  to support the ministry of Unity Spiritual Center Denver. Thank you!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Forgiveness Is...

In my post last week, The Heart of Forgiveness Redux, I shared some thoughts about the topic of forgiveness. I also talked about forgiveness in my lesson this past Sunday at Unity Spiritual Center Denver. You may listen here.

What follows is primarily a recap of my lesson. I decided to share it here for those who prefer to read, rather than listen. Additionally, I share in this format because I wanted to provide the five-step process I outlined as one way to move toward forgiveness.
These steps and ideas are not uniquely mine. I am learning from some of the great teachers on forgiveness,
  • Colin Tipping, the creator of Radical Forgiveness ¹
  • Marshall Rosenberg PhD, the creator of Nonviolent Communication ²
  • Edwene Gaines, the author of Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity
  • Bishop T.D. Jakes, founder of The Potter’s House and author of the book, Let It Go 
  • Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu, authors of The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World.

The steps I offer are synthesized from these and other teachings. It is a topic I continue to explore. I am still learning.

I truly believe that forgiveness is essential to our healing, so I hope what follows is helpful, individually and collectively. Forgiveness may well be the key to our survival.

Why Forgiveness is Important

Bishop T.D. Jakes, in his book Let It Go, says “unforgiveness unchecked, becomes a cancer in our soul.”

Unforgiveness is a state of consciousness, which incorporates our thoughts and emotions, and includes resentment, blame, shame, criticism, condemnation or judgment of another or ourselves, at any level of intensity. I say at any level of intensity because many times we think that we only need to practice forgiveness for what we consider the major hurts. It is vitally important that we address the “minor” hurts as well.

When those states of unforgiveness remain unchecked or unexplored, they begin to eat away at us. If it continues to spread through healthy cells, cancer can eventually destroy the body. Likewise, unforgiveness, left unchecked, spreads and affects every area of our lives – physical, mental, emotional as well as other relationships – and drains our life energy.

Charles Holt, in his workshop on August 27, said “You are contagious.” Your mental and emotional states affect everyone around you. If they are not healthy, they infect everyone around you. You may not realize it, but you are contagious.

In Unity we teach that life is consciousness. When we do not address our unforgiveness by practicing forgiveness, it seeps out into our family relationships, our work relationships, our financial situation, and our physical bodies.

Unforgiveness can cause depression, anxiety, stress, and other emotional states of unrest. These emotional states affect our physical well-being. It is not just a New Thought concept. Scientific research has shown that the stress response triggers the release of specific hormones that disturb the normal homeostasis of the body. Unchecked, they often result in physical disease, premature aging and death.

The Power of Forgiveness

In the Sermon on the Mount, which encapsulates the essence of his teachings, the Master Teacher Jesus of Nazareth said,

 “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.  Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” ³
Metaphysically, what Jesus is saying is that if we do not forgive, we will create a prison of our own making in our minds and hearts with our resentment, blame, criticism and the like. Further, that we will condemn ourselves to the consciousness of hell, from which we will not be set free until we have forgiven even the smallest perceived injustice.



What Forgiveness Is

In the Aramaic, the word that has been translated and shortened to “forgive” has a deeper and more expanded meaning. If we look at direct translations of the Lord’s Prayer from Aramaic to English, we can get a better understanding. The word actually connotes something more in alignment with the following: ⁴

Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us, as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.

Untangle the knots within so that we can mend our hearts' simple ties to each other.

Forgiveness in Aramaic, unlike in Greek, is not something that one does for another, but it is an internal process of allowing the acceptance of the Truth (the Father in The Lord’s Prayer) to free us from our attachments to thoughts, form, and the past.

States of unforgiveness are like knots that bind us to those who have harmed us. Those knots restrict the flow of Divine Love through us as us.

Forgiveness is a process of untying the knots and returning us to our natural state of being, an innate state of connection, sharing, and giving. Through forgiveness, we return to the state of mind and the heart where we are open channels and vessels of Unconditional Love.

In Charles’s workshop someone asked, “Can I forgive someone without loving them?” I want to be clear that I am not using the word ‘love’ to imply a feeling of intimacy, tenderness, closeness, affection or romance.

In using the word ‘love’ I am referring to a state of mind and heart in which we are willing and able to recognize and realize our shared humanity and our shared divinity; connect with others and ourselves; and express empathy and compassion. (For additional thoughts on this, please read last week’s post.)

This does not require us to like someone’s personality nor does it necessitate that we have any feelings of affection for them.

Some Things to Know About Forgiveness
  • It is a gift we give ourselves
  • It is a choice
  • It can be, but is not always easy
  • It is not weakness
  • It requires strength and courage
  • It can be, but is not always quick
  • It takes as long as it takes

How Do We Forgive? A Five-Step Process

How do we begin to untie the knots that bind us?

First, willingness. Forgiveness begins with willingness. We must have the desire to be free and the willingness to walk the path.

Second, tell what happened. Recount what happened, as if describing a photograph or replaying a video, with as much detail as possible, while avoiding adding any evaluations or meaning-making about what happened.

Third, name the feelings. Identify the feelings experienced when the event happened. Name the feelings that arise upon retelling what happened.

Fourth, feel the feelings. It is important to move through the feelings by letting them have their life. Notice the bodily sensations that arise. Get angry. Cry. Yell. Do whatever it takes to experience and express the emotions.

In The Book of Forgiving, Desmond Tutu shares the story of Father Lapsley, a black priest in South Africa who was the victim of a letter bomb during apartheid. Father Lapsley lost both hands and the sight in one eye from the blast. He was able to move through the process to forgiveness for those responsible. He said, “We can’t let go of feelings that we don’t own.”

Archbishop Tutu says, “We give voice to our hurts not to be victims or martyrs, but to find freedom from the resentment, anger, shame or self-loathing that can fester and build inside us when we do not touch our pain and learn to forgive.”

Fifth, ask our heart, “What do I value that I was deprived of?” NVC calls these “needs.” I like to think of them as aspects of our Divine Nature that are so much a part of who we truly are that when we are deprived of them through the actions of another or ourselves, we feel deeply. (For additional information on this, please read my post from last week.)

GET HELP! For many, the pain and suffering is so great that to tell what happened and feel the feelings is overwhelming and scary. It is important to seek help from a trained professional when needed.

Repeat these steps for as long as necessary as many times as needed before moving on. Remember, it takes as long as it takes.

When Peter asked Jesus, “If my brother sins against me, how many times should I forgive him? As many as seven times?” To which Jesus replied, not seven times, but seventy times seven times (Matthew 18: 21-22). In other words, as many times as it takes.

Granting Forgiveness

In my way of thinking, “granting forgiveness” is not as simple as saying “I forgive you.” Honest and sincere forgiveness requires that we are able to hold the other person in the same process of empathy outlined above until we are able to witness their humanity and their divinity. The steps are the same:

First: Willingness. We must first be willing to see the other from a different perspective. In some cases, it may first require us, as they say in Twelve Steps, to become willing to be willing.

Second: Tell what happened.

Third: Extend compassion. Connect with what they might have been feeling at the time.

Fourth: Ask your heart, “What did they value that they were deprived of?” Be curious about what they valued that they were not experiencing at the time. How might they have been disconnected from their humanity and their divinity?

Fifth: Open your heart and mind to connect with your shared humanity and shared divinity.

GET HELP when needed!

We can only be free when we are willing and able to reconnect with our shared humanity and divinity, and begin to tell a new story about the other and ourselves. As Jesus said, until the last remnant of unforgiveness is cleared we are not free.


In my lesson this coming Sunday, August 10, I will explore self-forgiveness. Many find it more difficult to extend the heart of forgiveness to ourselves than to another. Forgiving others is important, but we cannot be free until we forgive completely. And that includes untying the knots that bind us to our past and learning to tell a different story about ourselves.

Join us on Sunday at 10:00 as together we explore this important topic of understanding forgiveness and moving to freedom.

¹ Radical Forgiveness Workshop at Unity on the Avenue - For More Information, click here.

² Introduction to Compassionate Living, a workshop based on Nonviolent Communication, Unity Spiritual Center Denver, Friday, October 20 – 22, 2017 - For More Information contact jkendeljohnson@gmail.com

³ Matthew 5: 21-26


⁴ There are many translations of The Lord's Prayer. Refer to Prayers of the Cosmos – Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus, by Neil Douglas-Klotz

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Heart of Forgiveness Redux

This past Sunday, we were blessed to have Charles Holt as our guest speaker, singer and workshop presenter at Unity Spiritual Center Denver. During his lesson, Charles shared his compelling story about his strained relationship with his father and his process of forgiveness, which he details in his book, Between Me and Dad: A Journey through Forgiveness to Freedom, available on Amazon. Charles further shared about his process and offered guidance for the participants during his afternoon workshop.

I was intrigued by his story, and inspired to explore the topic of forgiveness more deeply for myself. I am now in the process of contemplation, meditation and deep inner listening, as well as reading what others have taught, to gain greater insight and understanding of the subject. Therefore, I don’t yet feel ready to share what I am discovering and realizing.

Forgiveness is a complex and multifaceted subject and one that I do not take lightly or wish to treat in a cavalier manner. My hope is that through thoughtful and prayerful consideration I will be prepared to share more clarity in my lesson, “The Heart of Forgiveness” this Sunday.

Rather than write a new post attempting to express my evolving perspective on forgiveness, I have chosen to repost some thoughts I shared on the topic in July 2014. More than three years later, I am still in alignment with what follows. And, as Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore famously said, “I reserve the right to change my mind.”

                          _______________________________________________________


I have been studying and practicing Nonviolent Communication (NVC) since 2004. NVC, created by the late Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, is a process that helps one connect deeply with his or her feelings and needs and opens the space for connection with others.  When I consider the practice of NVC and its implication on forgiveness, I realize that forgiveness is more than a spiritual practice that we engage in for the purpose of freeing ourselves from the pain of holding on to the past. At the heart of true forgiveness is the freedom that we can attain through the practice of empathy and compassion.



Empathy is our capacity to connect deeply with feelings and what NVC refers to as “needs,” the things that we value and desire, whether our own or another’s. I prefer to think of what NVC calls “needs” as aspect of our Divine Nature that each of us longs to experience and have reflected to us from others and the world around us.
 
NVC teaches that everything we do or say is an attempt to meet a need. I reframe that to say that everything we do or say is an attempt to express or experience an aspect of our Divine Nature, such as love, connection, or well-being. Further, in keeping with NVC philosophy but stated in my own terms, that when our actions or the actions of others do not help us realize an aspect of our divinity, we experience feelings that we might term “negative,” feelings that we would rather not feel, such as anger, sadness or guilt. Conversely, when we do experience an aspect of our divinity as a result of our actions or another’s, we have feelings that we often call “positive,” those that we enjoy feeling, such as peace, joy and love.

When we operate with the understanding that we are all attempting to know and experience our Divine Nature through our actions and interactions, we can more clearly see that we all have the same “needs.” However, the ways we have learned to meet those needs may at times be contrary to our highest intention, and unfortunately may stimulate pain in others and ourselves.

Empathy is our path to the authentic connection that is required for true forgiveness to occur.

Compassion is our capacity to face our pain, and to meet another in his or her pain

The best definition I have heard for compassion is from Cindy Wigglesworth, author of SQ21, The Twenty-one Skills of Spiritual Intelligence. In her book, she defines compassion as the capacity and willingness to join another in his or her pain with the intention of helping to relieve suffering, while not contributing to or joining in the suffering, thus maintaining inner and outer peace regardless of the circumstances.” I would add that compassion also includes our capacity and willingness to connect with our own pain, while not contributing to or exacerbating it. 

To achieve true forgiveness, we must be willing to engage in the practice of compassion for the one we are holding as guilty for stimulating our pain, whether ourselves or another. It is often, if not always, challenging to face our own pain. Most of us would rather do whatever is necessary to medicate and avoid it. Some engage in psychological denial and refuse to admit they have pain.

As the Buddhist proverb says, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” The experience of pain, emotional, physical and spiritual, is part of the human condition. We all have pain. Suffering, however, is the result of the story we tell about our pain. We suffer when we continue to relive, in our minds, the events that originally stimulated the pain, and continue to tell our story about what should or should not have happened. If you would like to learn about one way to end the suffering, please read my post from last week on The Work®.

Compassion invites us to connect with our pain, meet it face-to-face, and understand that our actions or the actions of another are not the cause of our pain. Our pain is caused, at the deepest level, by our unmet needs, or from my perspective, the unexpressed, unexperienced and unrealized aspects of our Divine Nature. We can compassionately connect with the pain, without engaging in suffering, and allow it to inform us of those beautiful aspects of Divine Nature that we are longing to connect with.

Empathy and compassion are not intellectual exercises; they are heart-centered practices.  They require that we engage with ourselves and others from a deep connection with our feelings and with our most precious heartfelt desire to experience our Divine Nature. When practiced authentically, empathy and compassion open our hearts and allow us to experience the outpouring of Love that is the foundation of the Divine expressing as us. They open us to the awareness of not only our shared humanity, but our shared Divinity, as well. 

With open hearts, we are able and willing to connect with each other beyond our stories of right and wrong, good and bad, victim and perpetrator. We are able to understand each other as spiritual beings who are living a human experience and doing our best to remember our Divinity, albeit sometimes through methods that are in diametric opposition to that intention.  Connecting in that understanding with empathy and compassion for ourselves and others is at the heart of the consciousness of true forgiveness.

                     __________________________________________________

Join on Sunday at 10:00 as I share from my heart some of what is bubbling up in me as I explore “The Heart of Forgiveness.”


Additionally, if you are blessed or inspired by these posts or my Sunday lessons, which are available on YouTube, I encourage you to make a donation  to support the ministry of Unity Spiritual Center Denver. Thank you!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Freedom From Suffering

In the mid to late 1990s, I attended a workshop presented at the church I attended at that time. The presenter was a woman named Byron Katie. Her workshop was about a process called The Work®. I found the topic and the process interesting, and left that day with a cursory understanding of it.

A couple of years later, I sought out a spiritual counselor. At my initial appointment with her, she asked me if I was familiar with The Work®. I told her I was, but that I had not incorporated its practice. She sent me home with instructions and copies of a worksheet. If memory serves me, I completed a couple of the worksheets, but did not pursue it further. I did not continue sessions with this counselor.

In 2001, a dear friend loaned me two cassette tapes that she insisted I listen to. They were, you guessed it, recordings of Byron Katie leading participants through the process of The Work®. As I listened, I heard the participants experience relief from deep emotional pain. For some of them, it was pain they had been carrying for years. I was hooked! I had to learn more.

In March of 2002, I attended The School for The Work® in Sedona, Arizona. The school is an intensive nine-day program that takes you into the process of listening to and questioning your thoughts. It is intended to foster an atmosphere in which The Work® comes alive for you and becomes a part of your daily spiritual practices.

I can honestly say that this was my experience. During the school and for a time following, The Work® became a valuable addition to my self-discovery toolbox. I regret that after a couple of years, I used the process less and less, until gradually it became another forgotten tool.

Fast forward to 2009, I was the Spiritual Leader at Unity of Arlington in Arlington, Texas. J and I moved to Arlington from Dallas in October 2009. Through a series of synchronistic events and personal connections, we were introduced to our neighbors, Michael and Karen, who lived directly across the street from us.

It just so happened that Karen had recently returned from attending, you guessed it, The School for the Work®. We recognized our soul connection and became fast friends. Karen conducted workshops on The Work® at Unity of Arlington, in 2011 and 2012. She soon became an integral part of the community there, heading up a fundraising event and helping to provide leadership for our welcoming team. Karen made her transition from this Earthly plane in 2015. I will always be grateful to her for reconnecting me with The Work®.

While I don’t complete a worksheet every day or formally engage the process, it has become a part of my consciousness. As Katie says, once you practice the process, you don’t work The Work®; The Work® works you.



The Work® requires no spiritual or intellectual preparation, no belief and no psychological acuteness – just a desire to know the truth about you.

The Work® is a simple process of four questions and a turn-around that helps bring clarity to an unquestioned mind. When approached with the intention to know the truth, this simple process provides us with a way to question the thoughts that often create stress, or cause pain and suffering. 

The four questions are:

·       Is it true? 
·       Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
·       How do you react when you think that thought?
·       Who or what would you be without that thought?

The turn-around asks, “Could the opposite be just as true?”

As is often the case, when I recognize that I am creating inner turmoil or confusion and I’m willing to stop and connect, Spirit reminds me of just what I need to return to peace and sanity. This week was no exception. I was reminded to go to The Work® when I got caught up in thinking the thought, “I need to know what to do.” 

This seems an innocuous thought, but it stimulated suffering for me this week, so I will use it as an example.

When I asked the question, “Is it true that I need to know what to do?” my first response was “Yes, I need to know what to do. How else am I going to move forward?”

Then, I asked, “Can I absolutely know that I need to know what to do?” As I considered the question, I realized that while I would like to know what to do, I may not need to know what to do, at least not right now.

The third question asked me to honestly reflect on how I react when I believe the thought, “I need to know what to do.” When I breathed into that question and invited awareness, I felt tension in my chest and abdomen, and my jaw was tight. I was feeling concerned, nervous and afraid.

Lastly, I asked myself, “Who or what would you be without that thought?” Katie often says to consider who or what you would be if you could never think that thought again. When I imagined that possibility, it came to me that I would be the presence of peace, open and receptive to the guidance of Spirit in every moment.

Using the turn-around, I asked, “Could the opposite be just as true or truer?” Is it possible that, “I don’t need to know what to do” could be just as true? My answer was, “Yes, and when I think that thought, I feel much more open and free.”

It was through actively engaging in the process that I realized that I was stressing myself out thinking, “I need to know what to do.” When I was freed from the thought, I was more open to being present for the guidance of Spirit in the moment, trusting that each step along the way will reveal to me what I need to know next. I felt relief, peace and excitement. My body relaxed, and I was willing and able to do the next thing or nothing at all.

Granted, I have offered an example using a relatively low pain-inducing thought, but I have witnessed people who, through this process, have experienced freedom from pain and suffering stimulated by unquestioned thoughts and beliefs that they have carried for years, even decades.

When the mind is free and clear of the thoughts that create clouds of pain and confusion, the light of truth can shine through. Only when the mind is open and receptive can the inspiration of Spirit be clearly received and known, and then acted upon.

Katie says, “The work shows you that you are the only teacher you can believe. You, and only you, know your truth. You are the healer you have been seeking.”

I share all of this in this forum because I value and appreciate the efficacy of The Work®. The violence that we witness every day in the world around us is evidence of the pain and suffering we experience because of the unquestioned stories we believe. These four simple questions, when answered from the desire to know the truth, act as a laser that cuts through the illusion. They have the power to bring us to peace, one mind at a time.


Everything you need to practice The Work® is available free on the website. I encourage you to avail yourself of it. Try it. You may discover that it is a path to your freedom from suffering.

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As always, I invite you to join us on Sunday at 10:00 at Unity Spiritual Center Denver. We welcome our special guest, Charles Holt. He will present the lesson entitled Beyond Forgiveness: A Call to the Divine "Yes." 

Charles will also present a workshop, Beyond Forgiveness: Living a Life of Letting Go, from 1:30 to 4:00 PM. You may register for the workshop here. To learn more about Charles and his work, please visit TheOpenFramesProject.com.

Additionally, if you are blessed or inspired by these posts or my Sunday lessons, which are available on YouTube, I encourage you to make a donation  to support the ministry of Unity Spiritual Center Denver. Thank you!