Thursday, March 23, 2017

Who Is The Pray-er?

I am continuing to question and explore my understanding of some of Unity’s foundational teachings. This week I delve into what I consider the most fundamental of Unity’s teaching – Prayer. 

As I contemplated the idea of prayer, I pondered these questions: What is prayer? Why pray? Who prays? How do we pray? What follows is what came to me as I listened to my inner Knower.

Each one in human form has chosen to come into this life to have an objective experience of Source in all Its incarnations. You have chosen to have a physical body because it affords you opportunities to taste, smell, feel, hear and see all that Source is, and all that It can be.

You have come forth to delight in your own creations. The Earth and its atmosphere were formed to support you in your human experience. It is not accidental. Consciousness formed it and it manifested so that you could come forth into this supportive environment and have the experiences that you desire.

You have, however, fallen asleep to the awareness that you are not from this place. You are not of the Earth, but you are in it. Yes, you are not just on the Earth, you are in it. You are actually a part of the Earth. You are integrated into all that you can perceive including the planet upon which you exist. In your true nature, you are not separate from anything that you can perceive. If you were separate from it, you would not be able to perceive it. 

You are only perceiving the energy of that which you are. Your senses are attuned to recognize you.

You are a field of energy and your body is a perceiving organism. Your senses are energy receivers and perceivers. Upon receiving an energy signal, your brain translates the impulse of energy into concepts and ideas that you use to make sense of your world. For example, you see a plant and your brain says “plant.” Your brain may have stored other associations with the plant, such as small, beautiful, palm, rhododendron, etc.

You experience your world as you perceive energy and then make sense of it by giving it a name and character. In this way, you form your world. You do this with everything that you perceive. You see it as separate. You observe that there is distance between you and it. You see it as an object which you think is not you. This is the benefit of your objective consciousness. If there were no concept of form in collective consciousness, you would simply perceive energy. There is only energy.

Not only is the perceived object energy, there is also life and energy in what you perceive to be the space between you, your body, your eyes and the plant. Using the example above, if you relax the eyes and soften your focus you will be able to see that what you are perceiving as a plant is actually an energy field. It is alive and moving; it is not solid as you are not solid. It appears because you have chosen for it to appear. It supports you in some meaningful way. It helps you to make sense of space and time. But, you are not separate from it. In the field of all energy that you are, you are oneness. There is only one, not two.

However, the human mind will always perceive itself as separate. Even in those moments of conscious union, there exists an aspect of the mind that is aware of itself. That is the beauty of coming into a human form. You know yourself and you have awareness of yourself through objective consciousness.

In the spiritual realm, you are Consciousness itself where there is only subjective consciousness. There is no way to know yourself or have an awareness of the individuated self in the spiritual realm. That is a gift of the ego as Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore understood it. The ego is the aspect of your consciousness that says, “I am.” It is the aspect of your consciousness mind that makes choices. It is the directive power of your mind.

Contrary to what some spiritual traditions teach, it is important not to demonize the ego. The ego is essential to your functioning in the human form. You have come into human form so that you will have objective consciousness. If you do not have an ego, a healthy ego that is able to recognize itself and know itself in relationship to others, the purpose of coming into human form is meaningless.

The ego is that aspect of you that is able to recognize and say, “I am sad, I am lonely, I am afraid.” Where does the ego go for comfort, companionship and safety? The ego goes to Source for it is in the awareness of Source and only in the awareness of Source that you can truly reclaim and recover that which you desire. Others who are also in form can assist, but it is only, and I say emphatically that it is only in the realization of unity and oneness that the ego can re-member itself and find that which it is seeking.

The ego, that which allows you to know yourself in human form, is the aspect of you who prays. The ego enters into prayer because it is the only aspect of you that can recognize your individuation. The ego gives you the awareness of pain and suffering, thus allows you to recognize the need and your desire to return to conscious unity through prayer. 

Prayer is a means of “going into the secret chamber and closing the door” so that you have little or no stimuli from the external world. In doing so you are more likely to be able to realize your unity in and as all.

This remembrance and reclaiming is the purpose of true and honest prayer. The sole purpose of true prayer is to know unity as the One expressing. It is not to get something or beseech God for something. It is not even to “ask” for something. These are efforts of what Charles Fillmore termed the adverse ego.

Prayer is a time of communion (come union) with the self that knows its unity. It is a unique and beautiful gift of being human. Daily and even hourly prayer is important because it connects the ego in conscious unity, thus prayer is a means to the fulfillment of all we truly desire. This is the value of the instruction to “pray without ceasing.” We are encouraged to maintain a healthy ego that remains aware of the true self as well as the world around us.

I am reminded of the lyrics to a song we used to sing in the Baptist church, “prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door.” I now realize the truth of that phrase. Prayer is the key to the consciousness of unity. The consciousness of unity in the One is heaven. Faith is our ability to use our ego to perceive ourselves, others and the world around us through the eyes of Oneness. Faith allows us to witness all in divine unity.

The one who prays is the ego who has temporarily forgotten his unity with the One. The one who prays is the one who is willing to have his mind renewed and his life transformed. He is the one who is open and receptive to knowing that he is in oneness with the divine at all times. He is the one who is willing to enter into a time of prayer, communion with his Source, in order that he may remember his true self, the self that chose to come forth and longs for expression in this dimension.

Ultimately, this is the meaning of true prayer and the reason we pray. (For how to pray, you can read my post here.)

Join us on Sunday at 10:00 as we explore further the concept of prayer and why we in Unity believe in the power of prayer.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Personalities Are Spiritual Too

Recently I have found myself delving more deeply into my understanding of some of the foundational Unity teachings. I have explored why we in Unity call ourselves Christians when we would not be considered such by most who subscribe to the traditional definition of Christianity. I explored that during my Sunday lesson on March 5. You may listen here or watch it here.

I have also explored what we mean when we use the word ‘God,’ and why I choose to use the word sparingly in my Sunday lessons. I explored that in depth in my talk this past Sunday. You may listen here or watch here.

This week, I am exploring something I read by Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore. He says, in Keep a True Lent

It is possible to get very close to the kingdom of heaven by doing good works and surrendering to Spirit the various faculties of the mind, but we can never fully enter into and abide in heaven, or divine harmony, without surrendering all that makes up the personality ¹, of which the will is the center.

I am at odds with this statement by Mr. Fillmore. I do not subscribe to the idea that we must surrender all that makes up the personality in order to enter the state of consciousness called ‘heaven.’ While I agree that it is important for us to assess aspects of the personality that limit us, giving up one’s personality would seem to me to negate that we are each uniquely and wondrously expressing Divine Life through our personalities. I assert that we cannot separate our human personality from our spirituality. There is no separation. A quick search will reveal past articles where I have discussed Oneness. So instead of separation, instead of surrendering all that makes us unique, I propose that we grow and allow our personalities to reflect our true Divine nature.

It is through the human nature that we connect with and have the experience of our spiritual nature. If not in human form, we would not be able to have the experience of our spiritual nature. We experience it through our individuated awareness. Further, we express it through our personality.

In truth, we cannot separate our human experience and our spiritual experience. It is the spiritual awareness, or consciousness, that gives us the knowing that we are human. Trying to separate the two is like attempting to separate the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water while simultaneously retaining the compound of water. It cannot be done.

We cannot have an experience of spirituality without the human component. While many people ignore the spiritual and posit that humanness is the only reality, they cannot explain how minds are connected, how twins can feel each other's pain and know when the other is in trouble. They cannot explain how one can know in advance that something is going to happen, or how one can be connected to the spirits of those who are no longer in the body. They explain it as hoax. Or discount those experiences in a myriad of other ways. They do so because they have no rational explanation.

The same is often true concerning that which we call God. Many people say that they are atheists because they do not believe in God. But, many are actually saying that they do not believe in an external deity or a supreme being. In reality, they may believe or acknowledge that connection exists between people, or between animals and humans, but they would not ascribe the name God to that phenomena.

Often those who deny the existence of God believe there is something that connects all. They may find truth in the following definition: God is the Unified Field of Consciousness which is the unlimited potentiality of all. Or they may not. Regardless of opinions or names bestowed, that which we think of as God exists, undeniably as the very Life in All.

Some who identify as atheists are very much in touch with the spiritual nature of Life. Likewise, many who consider themselves Pagan or Wiccan are more aligned with the Universal Field of Consciousness than those who worship “God,” or call themselves Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or any other name.

Spirituality connects our humanity, and the experience and awareness of that humanity, with the awareness of the spiritual nature of life - the Earth, sun, moon, animals and all of nature, infinitum. Those who practice spirituality, regardless of how they identify themselves, in some cases know better how to align with the spiritual nature of the Universe than do those who follow a teacher or master, such as Jesus, Buddha, Mohamed, Krishna, or Bahaullah.

They are in touch with the God within them, even though they do not call it that. They are not following a teacher on the path, but are engaging in the path from their human consciousness so that they can know what the aforementioned spiritual teachers tried to impart with their words and writing.

In many cases, those who were the closest followers of these teachers did not truly understand what their masters were attempting to teach. Instead of embodying and living the essence of the teaching itself, some instead created religions about the teachers.

The early Christian church, not understanding the true teaching of the master Jesus, taught that to honor the humanness is to be in sin. It taught that honoring the body, as in the needs of sexuality, is a sin except for procreation purposes. It taught its followers that to deny the body, punish the body, and reject one’s humanity is pious. They went far beyond that and even taught that is was required by God. The church did so to its own purposes and ends as a way to control the populous, the compliant masses. It killed those confirmed as “witches,” the very ones who were probably more in touch with the spirituality of nature and actually connected to all life. The church could not have them leading others into that deeper connection. As with all persecution, their actions were fear-based.

History shows that somewhere along the way the church lost its primary focus. Initially, the church’s primary focus was to assist people in having an experience of their own spiritual nature, the true spirit within, thus knowing Oneness. But instead of continuing the teachings of Oneness, the church quickly evolved to thinking its role was to control people and tell them what they should be doing and what they needed to do to reach its concept of heaven. They created a vision of heaven with mass appeal – one that everyone would try to attain. They placed the payoff in the afterlife to give hope beyond the droll, daily strife. It was a way to give those who did not enjoy the riches of life some hope that they might be rewarded in the afterlife, but at what cost to the individual?

Our Spirit, Soul, Divine Spark is here in this human life space in order to experience itself as the Creative Life Force Energy that we often call ‘God’ and to awaken to its full potential through its personality. We are God in expression here and now, and our purpose is to claim it, know it and live it to the best of our ability. That is why we cannot separate the humanness from the spirituality or even the personality. It is not possible. So regardless of our claims on this earth to a specific religion or even those who say they do not believe in anything beyond this human existence, we are all experiencing spirituality, some are just not doing so actively or consciously.

We find our spirituality and grow our personalities to align with the divine by being fully engaged and connected in our humanity. We find the spirituality of another by allowing ourselves not to deny or fully surrender the personality, but to move beyond our attachment to an image, idea, or belief of who we are supposed to be, and allow ourselves to connect fully with the humanity, the spirituality, of another.

I encourage us all to love our human/spirit nature by being true to what is alive and moving in us in every moment; to love our human/spirit nature by honoring our desires and needs; and to own our human/spirit personality by trusting what we value and what nourishes us. Through our humanity, as a personality, we live our Truth and express our Divinity.

I truly admire and appreciate the legacy of our cofounder Charles Fillmore, and I mean no disrespect by taking exception with any of his teachings. I believe he would encourage us all to not blindly accept everything he said or wrote as absolute truth. In fact, he often asserted that Truth can only be discerned by divine revelation. This has been mine and I encourage each of us to always go within the silence of our own hearts to discern what is true for our individual spiritual paths.

Please join us on Sunday, March 19, for our 10:00 service at Unity Spiritual Center Denver. Trish Morris, our Associate Minister, will give the lesson. You will be blessed by her words.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Am I God?

Every Sunday, at the end of our service at Unity Spiritual Center Denver, we recite the widely popular and often repeated Prayer for Protection by Unity minister and poet laureate James Dillet Freeman. The well-known portion of the prayer, which follows, has appeared in hundreds of publications, many not related to Unity.

The light of God surrounds us.
The love of God enfolds us.
The power of God protects us.
The presence of God watches over us.
Wherever we are, God is.

We, along with many Unity ministries, in an effort to lessen the dualistic language, use a derivative version, as follows, which affirms our unity in God by adding affirmative statements following each line.

The light of God surrounds us.
I am the light of God.
The love of God enfolds us.
I am the love of God.
The power of God protects us.
I am the power of God.
The presence of God watches over us.
I am the presence of God.
Wherever we are, God is.

Today, as I ponder this prayer and consider our derivative version, I wonder…

Am I the light, love, power and presence of God?

What is the light of God?

Metaphysically ‘light’ represents wisdom according to The Revealing Word. Further it represents spiritual illumination. The light of God that surrounds us is the consciousness of Absolute Truth. We can consciously connect with it through prayer and meditation. In doing so, our minds are illumined by divine knowing. As Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

What is the love of God?

God is love (1 John 4:18). Love, in its purest form, is God, the Creative Life Force Energy, in action. It is a word that describes the movement of God Energy. It is impersonal and unconditional. We make it personal as we demonstrate it. It is, period; irrespective of person, place or thing. It enfolds us in that it is the Life Energy in which we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28).

What is the power of God?

“There is only one power, God the Good Omnipotent” is an affirmation we often say in Unity. God is all power. We, created as the image-likeness of God, are endowed with the ability to use that power. The master teacher Jesus said, “All power is given to me under heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:18). From a metaphysical perspective, he meant that we, through our Christ nature, have power over our thoughts and feelings, thus the power to master our world. Therefore, that power protects us from getting trapped in our thoughts of separation, lack and limitation.

What is the presence of God?

God is not a disembodied spirit as one might infer from the idea that it “watches over us.” The presence of God is an experience, not a thing. God is not a spirit: God is Spirit (John 4:24). The presence of God is the self-existent reality of the Absolute Good that God is. That the presence of God watches over us implies that It sustains us, and It is the fulfillment of our every need as the Source of all in any moment.

Considering the above, can I with all sincerity and conviction affirm that I am the light, love, power and presence of God?

An affirmation is a statement of absolute truth. Contrary to what some have suggested, an affirmation is not a statement of what we hope will be true, as in “I will win the lottery.” Statements such as that are not affirmations in the truest sense; they are, instead, statements of intention or visualization.

Therefore, when I say, “I am the light of God,” I am making a statement of absolute truth. The essence of who I am is the illumined consciousness and wisdom of God even if the human aspect of me does not live in constant realization of it.

I am the love of God because, in truth, I am created in the image-likeness of and am the expression of Creative Life Energy in action. I may not live as though I am conscious of that truth at all times, but that does not make it less true.

The power of God is my power to use my mind in ways that allow me to manifest a life that is in alignment with and reflects the qualities of the divine as me. “I am the power of God” is a statement of truth because the power of God is an ever-present reality of my being.

I can unequivocally affirm, “I am the presence of God.” The first of Unity’s Five Basic Principles states that God is Absolute Good and present everywhere. Since God is present everywhere, the presence of God is present as me. It is true, even though I may forget it. Truth is always true, and my forgetfulness does not negate it.

Each time we repeat the Prayer for Protection and state these affirmations, we condition our conscious minds with Truth. As we continue to condition our minds, we align ourselves more wholly with the conscious awareness of who we are. In our conscious awareness of who we are, we live more fully as the light, love, power and presence of God, in all the ways that we can and do understand ‘God.’

Join us Sunday, March 12, at 10:00 as we explore further our understanding of ‘God’ and how our lives are affected by what we believe ‘God’ to be. The title of my lesson is Am I God?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Rose By Any Other Name...

What does it mean for us to say that Unity is a positive practical progressive approach to Christianity?

Does “positive” mean that we are not “negative,” or that we are only focused on the so-called good aspects of life? A friend recently said that she believes Unity is captivated by “infatuation with the positive” and that we look at life through rose-colored glasses, refusing to acknowledge the “negative” side of life. Her comments spurred me to ponder her perspective.

Why do we claim to be a positive approach to Christianity?

Shakespeare said, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” In living our Unity principles, we endeavor to see God, the Good, in everything. We often repeat a phrase which originated with New Thought teacher, Emma Curtis Hopkins: “Call it good.” In calling something good we are not making a value judgment. We are setting our intention to look for the gift in everything, even those things, people and events that we might judge from our human perspective as not good or as negative. In “calling it good’ we are choosing, to the best our ability at the time, to see through the eyes of the Christ and to bless all things.

For many people that sounds like a load of dung. They may say, “So, when I get cancer I’m supposed to call it good?” Perhaps it is more in alignment with our teaching to say that we claim the good. Claim the potential for good in every situation. We can make the choice in every moment to think about things from a critical, condemning perspective and call them wrong or bad. When we do so, we are the ones who suffer. When we look for the good, or the positive, we feel the energy of an affirmative mental state in our emotions, and we experience the effects in our bodies and the body of our affairs.

“Positive Christianity,” what does it mean? It means that we affirm our Divine nature and deny the Reality of all else. We choose to see ourselves and all others through the lens of original blessing, rather than original sin, which is in contrast to most traditional Christian movements. Unity teaches that each and every one of us is born as the expression of God, the All Good, and further that we can grow in our remembrance and realization of it.

We do not teach, as many traditional Christian churches do, that we are unworthy sinners who need Jesus to save us from our evil ways. We do not teach that we are punished for our sins, or transgressions. We teach that we experience the effects of our thoughts, words and actions. If our choices are based in fear, we will experience an outcome that reflects some level of fear. ‘Sins,’ in our Unity understanding, are thoughts based on the misperception that we are separate from God. Our actions based on this belief are expressions of fear and in the extreme may be considered “evil.”  However, we teach that there is no power other than God, thus no Satan or other power for evil.

What do we mean by “practical Christianity?”

We consider our teaching “practical Christianity” because we endeavor to put into practice the teachings of Jesus Christ. We do it by, as Jesus said, loving God, loving ourselves and loving our neighbor (Matthew 22: 37-39). We do it by loving our enemies, blessing those who persecute us, and praying for those who mistreat us (Matthew 5:44). We do it by turning the other cheek (Luke 6:29). We “turn the other cheek” by looking beyond and above the situations and using our power of Faith to witness the activity of God in all and through all, even if that is challenging and beyond our current level of willingness or ability. We it so by continuing to turn everything over to the Christ, the highest and best of our being, the true light that enlightens everyone (John 1:9).

We in Unity are students of Truth, just as the master teach Jesus was. Jesus was constantly pointing us toward the Christ of our being. He was showing us the way to know our Truth. We believe that Jesus never intended to be worshiped or made into an image to be idolized. He is an example of one who connected consciously with the Truth, the Father; one who thought, spoke and acted from that consciousness. Jesus was constantly telling us that we can do the same thing.

We believe that Jesus realized his unity in God and with all creation, and told us that we can do that as well. He also said that we would do greater things than he did (John 14:12). We will do so when we realize our Christ nature and live from it as he did. That is what is meant by practical Christianity; employing our Christ nature in our daily lives to demonstrate the nature of God in manifestation.

What does it mean for us to say that Unity is progressive Christianity?

The word ‘progressive’ can stimulate controversy. Many, when hearing the word ‘progressive’ think of a liberal political agenda. However, social and political liberals do not own the word. When used in the context of describing the Unity movement, ‘progressive’ refers to the fact that our understanding continues to change and evolve. We hold that we are open to new revelations of Truth beyond what the early Christian church determined to be the canonized doctrine. In Unity, we are open to looking at biblical and other Scripture through different lenses and embracing alternate perspectives.

We recognize that much of the Bible was written for a specific audience at a particular time and place for various reasons and intentions. We are willing to look at the historical framework of the Scripture and allow it to reveal to us the truth behind the words.

The Unity movement has always been willing to move forward, to continue to progress, to be progressive in its perspective on Scripture and embrace new discoveries in science and expanded spiritual understanding. Hopefully, we will continue to be progressive as we remain open and receptive to the ever renewing spirit of Truth.

In Unity, we are “positive” in that we look for the activity of God in all situations. We are “practical” in that we strive to practice in everyday life the principles we teach. We are “progressive” in that we are willing to evolve in our understanding as Spirit and science continue to reveal new information.

Join us on Sunday at 10:00 as we explore further what it means for us in Unity to make the claim that we are Christian, in a world that would often disagree.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Divine Urge

This week I conclude my series of Sunday lessons based on our five core values with the lesson entitled “The Divine Urge” based on our core value of ‘inspiring.’

One definition for ‘inspire’ is to fill with the urge to feel or do something.

My hope is that we inspire the urge to feel peace, joy and love as we encourage personal connections in heart, mind and spirit with the conscious awareness of God’s presence. And, that we are all inspired to do something as we take actions that reflect our conscious awareness of Oneness in God and with all creation.

This past weekend, I had an amazing personal experience that epitomized the meaning of the word ‘inspire.’

I had the honor and privilege of attending a Unity South Central Region Youth of Unity (YOU) Winter Rally. I joined two of our YOU sponsors, Jason Garvin and Kristi Stucz, and seven of our YOUers.

I must admit that prior to leaving at 6:00 AM last Friday (an early start for me as I awakened at 4:30), I had some trepidation. I don’t particularly enjoy long road trips. This one was 10 hours including stops. Additionally, I had no idea what to expect from the accommodations at the camp. I was imagining the worst. I have had few experiences with sharing sleeping accommodations with others whom I don’t know, and the ones I have had have not been especially pleasant. I was certainly not looking forward to attempting sleep while in a room with a bunch of snoring men and teens. 

I say this simply to share the state of mind I carried with me into the weekend.

It did not take long for me to realize that my concerns were ill-founded, and my imagination way off base. The weekend was AWE-mazing.

And in the end, my trepidation did not matter anyway because I was treated to private sleeping quarters, for which I was grateful. And, the drives, both to and from the rally were wonderful opportunities to connect with the sponsors and our amazing teens.

Most importantly, my experiences at the YOU rally gave me an entirely new frame of reference for what it means to be “inspired.”

YOU rallies, while adult sponsored, are entirely teen lead. I was amazed, thrilled and delighted to witness the maturity and depth of understanding exhibited by the teens who lead the workshops, family groups, and activities. I felt encouraged, awed, and many times deeply moved by the love, support and compassion they embodied and extended to each other.

Prior to this weekend, I had spent very little time with teenagers. I had the idea that I did not know how to be with them and communicate with them. For some reason, I thought that I had to be different, more together, more mature, and more “fatherly” when interacting with teens. I discovered very quickly that they do not want me or anyone else to be different than we are. They want authenticity. They can see straight through the pretense and do not trust it. They want, as we all do, to connect with others who are available and willing to be vulnerable and real with them.

The teens inspired me to go deeper and share with them from my heart. They were supportive of me as I did my best to support them. I was amazed at how they were open and willing to include me in their circles of love and trust.

This weekend also inspired me to do something. For a while now I have been living with the question, “What is mine to do to serve God?” By that I mean what is mine to do so that I may serve the Divine in me, in others, and in all creation.

This rally experience gave me some clarity. I plan to make teen and young adult ministry a higher priority in my personal ministry and encourage us at Unity Spiritual Center Denver to also make it a priority. That does not mean that I plan to do so at the expense of our more “mature” congregants. My vision is that we can and will work more closely together to honor and respect the needs and desires of our multigenerational community.

I am convinced that the love and acceptance shared and felt by the teens at these events and in their other YOU experiences can and often does have life-changing effects on them. My guess is that, for some of them, YOU is the only place that they experience unconditional love. They are centered, loving, caring, respectful, open and generous human beings. We could all learn from them. And, I want to help provide opportunities for us to do so.

They are our hope for the future, and I am more hopeful today after spending time with them this weekend, of that future than I have been in a long time. We owe it to our children and young adults to give them a place where they can be encouraged and supported, to know who they truly are and to embrace their unique and wondrous expressions of God in all their diversity.

I was and continue to be inspired.

I invite you to hold the question with me, “What is ours, as Unity Spiritual Center Denver, to do to create and maintain a thriving ministry that fully embraces and supports all generations in knowing their Divinity and in being inspired to experience it and do something with it?”

We all have a great deal to share with the younger generations as they make their way in this journey called life, and they have a great deal to share with us. We need each other, and I am committed to exploring how we can come together in community to create and maintain a thriving intergenerational ministry. I look forward to visioning and co-creating with you.

Join me on Sunday at 10:00 as we explore this and other questions relating to how we be more fully aware of The Divine Urge inspiring us to feel or do something.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Whelmed by God

I know that I am not alone in occasionally feeling overwhelmed by life situations. While in truth I know that God’s law is the only law, it sometimes seems that Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong,” is active and playing out in my life.

The feeling of overwhelm is often accompanied by stress and even fear. I have observed that when I experience situations that elicit these feelings, I habitually react in one of two ways; I either struggle with the situation (my preferred reaction) or I give up. I struggle by giving a great deal of time and attention to trying my best to “solve the problem” or “fix it.” In the past, I have given up by escaping from, or at least attempting to escape from, the situation. I give up by quitting a job, and ending relationships, both personal and professional. For many of us, other means for attempting to escape may include the use of alcohol, drugs, shopping or any number of mechanisms that serve to divert our attention from the issue at hand. All of these reactions are based in fear. We in Unity know that we create our reality by the activity of our thinking and feeling, it follows then that fearful actions can only result in experiences that reflect our fear.

There is another option. Rather than reacting from fear by struggling against or giving up, we can choose instead to respond from love. We begin by withdrawing our attention from the external experience. I find that it helps to close my eyes and breathe into the heart. When I focus my awareness in the heart, I am able to consciously connect with the God of my being. In this way, I can release attachment to the condition and surrender to God, eternal wisdom, light and love.

As we gather awareness in the heart, we are able to be still and know that God is all; God is the fulfillment of every desire in the moment. When we know that every need is met, we cannot help but experience feelings of peace and joy. There is nothing to struggle against and nothing to give up; there is only God. In this state of being, we know, and we know that we know, what is needed in any situation.

There is no need to wait until we feel overwhelmed; instead, at the first sign of emotional discomfort we can choose to take a conscious breath with the clear intention of refocusing from the external to the internal in order that we might connect with Presence in the present moment and experience the peace of God. Then, we listen for the still small voice that is constantly and consistently guiding us to our highest and best good.

Instead of feeling “over-whelmed,” we can choose instead to simply be whelmed, which Merriam-Webster defines as “overcome in thought or feeling.”  May we forever be whelmed by the realization that God is; I am.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Living From Oneness

The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’ – Acts 17: 24-28

This Sunday, February 12, I will continue my series of lessons on our five core values. This week I will be exploring ‘Oneness’ with a lesson entitled “Living From Oneness.”

When our Core Value Team met to discern our definition and rationale for our core values, we developed the following statement for ‘Oneness.’

We realize and joyously embrace our unity with God and all creation.

We are one in God.

As the first of Unity’s Five Basic Principles states “There is one Power and one Presence, active as the universe and as my life.” We most often refer to this Power and Presence as ‘God.’ I prefer to think of God as the Unified Field of Consciousness in which we all live and move and have our being. It is a field of energetic vibration from which all arises, in which all has life, and through which all is connected.

From the perspective of our human consciousness in which we primarily rely on our five physical senses to perceive reality, we seem to be separate from other persons and life forms. In truth, all is emanating from the same Source. Thus, we are one in spirit and in truth.

We are one with all creation.

Because this is true, the thoughts, words and actions of one impact the whole. An energy vibration in the mind of one creates a ripple in the Unified Field of Consciousness that impacts all. We are all affected by changes and shifts in the field.

As the Butterfly Effect postulates a seemingly small and insignificant change in the field can have far-reaching effects. We may think that our thoughts, words and actions do not make a difference, but when we realize the deeper truth of oneness, we can see that they do. One thought entertained in one mind affects the entire field.

We can sense our oneness.

We may not always be consciously aware of our connection, but each of us has innate abilities to sense our connection at levels beyond the physical senses. When we awaken those senses more fully, we become more aware of not only major changes, but also subtle shifts in the field.

Those who are familiar with the Star Wars series of movies will recognize what I am referring to as one who has become a Jedi master. He or she learns to sense the field and act in harmony with it. They learn to use the “Force” for good and can sense even subtle shifts in the field.

We all have the ability to sense the shifts in the energy field that are occurring in our country and the world now. We do not need to read and listen to the news reports or follow social media to feel the tension and unrest in the field of human consciousness. Those of us who do read or listen to the news may feel it more intensely because we are intentionally tuning into it and opening ourselves to the effects of the energy. We are, each of us, making our own choices about how we respond to it from the conscious awareness of oneness and how we live it as a core value.

We can strengthen our awareness of oneness.

Knowing the truth of our oneness and knowing that all we do impacts the whole, our opportunity is to maintain a consciousness of peace and love amid the unrest. We would have to be fully realized avatars to maintain our equilibrium amidst the shifts of energy that are occurring right now. While in truth we are all avatars, we have not yet realized it. Therefore, we must strengthen our spiritual practice.

Now is our opportunity to commit more fully to our spiritual practices, to spend more time in prayer and meditation, to focus our thoughts on truth, and to speak and act with love and integrity. We must recommit ourselves to being as Unity minister, and author Eric Butterworth phrased it “meta-missionaries,” ones who go into own minds to convert the errant thoughts and then go out into the world to share love. ¹

We can live our oneness.

Much of what we are doing, thinking and saying is habitual and based on misguided and misinformed perceptions of God, others and ourselves. Our actions are primarily based on our personal ego-identification, which is founded for the most part on a misconception of separation and fear. We must allow our own transformation through the renewing of our minds.

To live oneness as a core value, we must be willing to take an honest inventory of our own thoughts, words, actions and motivations, both individually and collectively. We must gain some understanding about why we think as we do, assess our motives for what we do and say, and gain some awareness of how we are impacting ourselves, others and the world. With understanding and awareness, we can make consciousness choices that reflect our realization of oneness.

Knowing and living oneness is the key to healing.

We do not yet grasp just how important it is for us to live from the consciousness of oneness. The belief in separation and the resulting ego-identification and fear are the cause of all the suffering in the world. Knowing our oneness in God and with all creation is the cure for everything that ails us.

When we live from the conscious awareness of oneness and think, speak and act accordingly, we are serving God, the world and indeed ourselves.

We are the ones who have the power to bring the reign of peace, good will and equality upon the earth. Knowing Oneness is the first step toward that vision.

Join us this Sunday at 10:00 as we explore the power of Living From Oneness.

¹ “Be a Center of Love” from Celebrate Yourself by Eric Butterworth