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Friday, October 18, 2019

Between Us

In my post of August 15, 2018, The Problem with Evil, I shared about my interaction following a recent Sunday service with a young man who had some questions about Unity and our teachings. I said, in that post, that I was looking forward to having a more in-depth conversation with him when and if it happened. Well, that conversation happened this past Friday.

As I said in the previous post, he is Catholic. The conversation started out with both of us sharing a bit about our journeys with religion and spirituality. He then asked me quite a few probing questions about New Thought, our association with Christianity, our connection with “New Age,” and our hosting of mediums, kirtans, and channels. From his perspective, all of these are doorways to “evil.” He even used the words ‘cult’ and ‘occult’ to characterize our beliefs and practices. While it never became overtly contentious, the conversation eventually evolved (or devolved) into what I perceived from him as a critical denouncement of Unity and New Thought.

Further, it was the closest to “witnessing” and an attempt at conversion that I have experienced since leaving the Baptist church. After about an hour and a half, I chose to end our meeting because I was feeling saturated and irritated. While it was an enlightening conversation on many levels, it was not what I had anticipated when scheduling it.

From my perspective, while he used words that seemed to indicate interest in understanding as well as care and concern for me and my eternal soul, it felt neither loving nor connecting. To the contrary, it felt as if I was being interrogated and called to defend myself, my beliefs, and the entire New Thought movement. I believe I did my best to listen respectfully, share openly and respond honestly to his questions. In retrospect, while it became more and more uncomfortable as it continued, and while I walked away somewhat shaken by it, I gained something from the conversation.

I was reminded that one’s total assurance that what he or she believes is the Truth can be both an asset and a detriment. While I don’t agree with much of what he believes, I respect his commitment to it. He has studied the history of Catholicism and has based his beliefs on its teachings. He has dedicated himself to living his life according to the tenets of his religion. I respect and admire that. I think many of us in New Thought could take a lesson from that level of commitment and dedication to living the principles.

However, when one is so convinced that what he or she believes is the absolute Truth, it does not allow for being open to the ideas and beliefs of others. It blocks authentic connection with one who does not adhere to the same beliefs or with one from different cultures and life situations. That level of right and wrong thinking sets up division and does not allow for honest dialog and understanding between people.

This is true whether it concerns religion, politics, social justice, or other issues. When one holds that their view is the only “right” one, it follows that everyone else is “wrong.” Conflicts arise in families, among neighbors, and countries because of this kind of black and white thinking. It has been the cause of many so-called “holy wars” throughout history. It is also the underlying stimulus for many other atrocities inflicted by humans upon other humans. That level of assurance and dogmatic approach to beliefs is based in fear, not love. When one has to be “right,” there is an underlying fear of being mistaken that drives one to behave in ways that are exclusory and can lead to conflict, including war. This is not supposition. It is observation. 

Additionally, the idea that Unity is a “cult” has been around since Unity was founded. Yes, Unity is unorthodox in that we do not subscribe to the Orthodox doctrines of Christianity. Yes, we follow the foundational teaching of one man, Jesus Christ, who taught that the greatest commandment is Love – Love God, Love Neighbor, Love Self. Yes, we are devoted to one idea – the divinity of humankind and our potential to realize and embody that divinity as Jesus did. The foregoing does not constitute Unity as a “cult” any more than traditional Christianity itself.

As for channels and mediums, I know that there are some who profess to bring forth information and guidance from higher dimensions, but who are in actuality charlatans. However, I also know that there are those who connect with knowing beyond the normal. In fact, I would assert that mystical truths in the Bible were received by men who were connected to a field of knowing beyond this third dimensional reality. I cannot believe that God, as wisdom, stopped speaking to and through humankind when the Bible was canonized by a council of men who were at least as interested, if not more so, in power and control than in the spiritual well-being of the people.

God speaks through many who are willing and able to open to and receive divine guidance. I believe that Unity’s founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, were two such people. There were many before them and many who have followed them. We have the God-given power of discernment. Each of us has the ability and the responsibility to develop that power and to judge by righteous judgment the teachings that are and are not in alignment with the Divine. That is not a decision for one man or group of men to make on behalf of all people. That can only be determined through one’s personal connection with the God within.

While kirtans, as such, are not part of the tradition, chanting has long been accepted and encouraged in Christianity. Melodic recitation of words and phrases of spiritual significance has been a spiritual practice of Christians for centuries. Chanting is meant to attune one to the Divine and promote spiritual development. Kirtan, a Sanskrit word, is a group experience of chanting which is intended to assist participants in having an experience of the Divine. In Unity, we believe that there are many paths to God and to an experience of God. Chanting, no matter in what language or style, is just one. We host kirtans because we strive to offer as many paths as possible to a personal experience of God.

I do not expect everyone to understand or accept Unity’s metaphysical approach to the teachings of Jesus Christ, nor to our positive practical approach to living a spiritual life. However, I would greatly appreciate respect for the path I have chosen. I hope that I would never presume to tell another that their beliefs are “wrong” or “evil.” I might share with them what I believe and be open to discussing our differences, but I trust that I could do that from a place of understanding and respect. We may not share the same beliefs about religion, spirituality, politics or social issues, but it is my intention to listen, do my best to understand, and to remember that nothing is either black or white, right or wrong. There is always room in the space between us. Love abides in that space. May we always strive to connect in the space of Love.

In closing, I want to express deep appreciation and gratitude for last Friday’s conversation. Even though it was triggering in some ways for me, it inspired me to think through some of the ideas presented here and helped to solidify my commitment to the Unity teachings of acceptance and inclusion for all. I strive to not only believe in those principles but to practice them. I want to help others do the same.

I invite you to listen to my friend Denise Rosier’s song Between Us as a reminder of our true nature and what lies in the space between us. We are Love. We are One.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

In My Knowing

Earlier this week, J and I made the short drive from Denver to Kenosha Pass in hopes of seeing some fall color. While much of the vibrant gold of the aspen trees had already faded at the higher elevation, we were able to enjoy vistas of color as we stopped at clearings along the hike and looked out  upon the glory below. In addition to the remaining golden aspens, we marveled at the yellows, oranges and reds of the other deciduous trees revealing their fall splendor, as well as the crystal clear blue sky and the wide array of greens and blue-greens displayed by the Colorado evergreen trees. It was perfect weather to enjoy the day and the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

The trek reminded me of how much I appreciate the change of seasons. Fall has always been my favorite time of year. It may have something to do with being born in the fall. In any case, I love when the air has a slight chill, the wind is crisp and the leaves begin to fall. Living in Colorado, we are blessed to enjoy the best of all four seasons.

Even when witnessing the coming of fall and knowing that the snows of winter will soon follow, I can be at peace. Although more than one snow per year was new to me when moving to Colorado, I have learned to appreciate it and its innate beauty. While at times I tire of the snow during a long winter season, I always know that spring will come. The trees will once again come alive with new green. The flowers will bloom. The air will warm. Spring will come followed by summer. And, once again, the air will chill, the wind will blow, and the leaves will change colors and fall. I know that seasons come and go. It doesn’t require faith or trust. I KNOW.

As I hiked the trail at Kenosha Pass, I was reminded that in a similar way each of us experiences seasons in our lives. They are not predictable as are the seasons of the Earth, but they do come and go, some lasting longer than others. While we often resist it, each of us is in a constant and continual process of change, transitioning from one season of life to the next and the next. We must rely on our KNOWING to help us flow through these transitions with confidence and ease.

When we find ourselves in the dark and cold of winter, whether it be the experience of an illness, a loss, or any other profound change in our lives, it is helpful to KNOW that this, too, shall pass and spring will come again. These times require a level of KNOWING that goes beyond faith or trust. Faith and trust can be powerful allies in these times, but KNOWING will see us through.

KNOWING is beyond the thinking mind. It is deeper than the heart. KNOWING is centered in the depth of the Soul. KNOWING allows for no doubt. KNOWING eliminates fear. KNOWING arises from a conscious connection with Source.

It requires neither faith nor trust to KNOW that morning will follow night as the Sun peaks over the horizon. It requires neither faith nor trust to KNOW that spring follows winter. This same consciousness of KNOWING is essential in our lives. Even in the darkest times, when we KNOW that light will dawn, we can be comforted and encouraged. Spring will come again and new life will spring forth to brighten our world.

As I was writing this, the words of Psalm 23 began to sing in my head. Below is the translation that came to me. In the video below, I guide you through the process with follows:

I invite you to sit comfortably, take a deep breath, allow the breath to focus all of your awareness in your heart, with the next breath drop even deeper into the area between your solar plexus and your navel, now breathe even deeper into your pelvic bowl – the seat of the Soul. This is your connection to KNOWING. Rest your awareness there as you read these words, or listen to my recording of them. Blessings to you!

NOTE: I use ‘I AM’ to refer to the Christed Self, Higher Self, True Self, or Divine Light.

I KNOW that my ‘I AM’ is my guide.
In my KNOWING, I want for nothing.
I rest in green pastures of abundance.
I drink from the still waters of Spirit.
My Soul is refreshed and renewed.
I follow my KNOWING as I walk the path that leads me to my highest good.
Even though I walk through pain and loss, I do not fear, because I KNOW that my ‘I AM’ is always with me.
In my KNOWING, I am comforted and calmed.
Even when I worry and doubt, I KNOW that all of my needs are met.
I am blessed beyond measure.
I KNOW that only good comes to me now and for all the days of my life.
I KNOW that I dwell in eternal peace, harmony and goodwill.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Authentic Connection

On Saturday, September 14, Rev. Toni Boehm, facilitated a group of 40 Unity Spiritual Center Denver members in a process to discern our vision, mission and core values. It was a fast-paced and effective process. In little more than 4 hours, the group was able to develop powerful statements that will help guide us as we chart our course and move into our future.

Although there were a few dissenting opinions, both the vision and mission statements were overwhelming approved by those present for the service on Sunday, September 15. They were also ratified by the Council at the meeting on Wednesday, September 18.

Our vision statement is the highest vision we can hold for our world. It is -

A spiritually awakened world living Oneness.

Our mission statement expresses what we will do to help manifest our vision. It is -

We inspire transformation. We live consciously. We connect authentically.

Our core values are: 

Transformation, Connection, Inclusivity, Spirit-led, Inspiration, Innovation.

A team of four volunteers is working on developing clearly expressed definitions for each of these, as well as outlining at least three actions that each of us can take to live into our core values. They have set October 31 as their deadline for completing this process. You will be hearing more about that in November.

I am personally thrilled with the outcome of this process. Our vision and mission statements and core values are rich with potential and possibility. They give us much for which to aspire. They also provide me with fodder for Sunday messages.

Over the next three Sundays, I will be exploring each of the three statements that make up our mission statement, beginning this Sunday with “We connect authentically.”

As a community, we have said that one of the ways that we will engender a spiritually awakened world living Oneness is to connect authentically. If we wholeheartedly commit to connecting authentically and all that doing so entails, we will contribute mightily to realizing our vision.

Authentic connection includes, first and foremost, conscious connection with the Source and with our True Nature/Spirit/Soul, or by whatever name we know it to be, as an individuated expression thereof. As I mentioned in my post last week, it is time for us to begin to more fully and completely embrace our essence as the Christ/True Light/Word, again, by whatever name or nature you know it.

We connect in many ways, predominantly through prayer, meditation and contemplation. We may also connect in other ways such as through music, nature, dance, and play. There are many empowering ways to authentically connect with our Soul. However we do it, the important thing is that we do it. Each of us is here to bring our unique and wondrous Selves into manifestation. To do that, we must be authentically connected to our Self.

Authentic connection also includes connecting with ourselves as we show up in these human bodies with our desires, needs, longings, history, beliefs, conditioning, and all that makes up our unique personalities. Self-awareness and self-connection is key to knowing what motivates us and what triggers us. It is also essential in learning to accept and love ourselves right where we are while also recognizing our potential for greater realization and embodiment of our True Nature.

Authentic connection is also imperative as we navigate relationships with each other. Authentic connection asks us to risk being vulnerable, to share our feelings, to be honest about our desires and disappointments, and to be willing to hear the same from another, even when doing so has the potential to stimulate uncomfortable feelings.

Authentic connection also includes the willingness and availability to be present to those who are different from us. This includes differences in religion, race, sexuality, gender identity, political ideology, or any of a number of labels that we allow to segregate us.

Our commitment to living the statement, “We connect authentically,” calls us up to a high standard. When we strive to remain conscious of this commitment, notice when we are not fully living it, take actions to change our thinking and our behavior, and correct our course accordingly, we will most surely contribute to a “spiritually awakened world living Oneness.” Because we will be much closer to being spiritually awakened individuals who are living Oneness.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Name of the Game

J and I are in San Diego, CA this week where I am attending a two-day ministerial training seminar, as well as enjoying a couple of days of vacation. We are blessed to be staying in the home of some friends while here.

Upon arriving on Monday, we were greeted by the housekeeper who was just finishing her cleaning. I introduced myself. I said, “Hi, I am David.” With a warm gentle smile, she said, “My name is Alma.” We talked briefly while she completed her work before leaving.

Later, as I reflected on our interaction, I was struck by our different approaches to self-introduction. I said, “I am…,” while she said, “My name is…” That may seem insignificant at first glance, but it spoke to something important to me.

I recognize that it is customary in our culture to use the phraseology, “I am…” when introducing ourselves, but I now realize that I prefer Alma’s way. Whether consciously or not, when I say, “I am David” as a way of introducing myself, I am calling forth into my consciousness all that I associate with my name. I bring to the forefront of my conscious mind all my history, all the labels I have ever worn, and all the ways I have known myself. Some are positive and empowering, but some are negative and limiting. It reminded me of the importance of how we identify ourselves.

As I reflected on this, I recalled with great fondness the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, based on author Fannie Flagg’s novel by the same name. In it, a demure, obedient housewife, Evelyn Couch, portrayed by actress Kathy Bates, experiences a transformation in which she claims her power and embraces her alter-ego - Tawanda. Tawanda is an empowered woman who takes charge of her life. When she embraced her power, Evelyn no longer identified with her given name. She took on another name that more closely reflected her new self-respect.

Several years ago, one of my spiritual mentors legally changed her name to the spiritual name that was revealed to her in meditation. She believed that her new name more fully embodies the essence of her soul and spirit. When I learned of this, I spent some time in meditation asking for my spiritual name to be revealed to me. I assumed that if I had a different name, I would begin to embody it and recreate my self-image.

One day I was sitting in meditation asking for my name to be revealed when a sudden burst of wind blew through the room. I took it as a sign. Granted, I was sitting in a room with the window open. Still, it was my sign. My mind immediately went to a song from the Broadway and movie musical, Paint Your Wagon. The song goes,

A way out here they got a name for wind and rain and fire.
The rain is Tess, the fire ere Joe, and they call the wind Maria.

Maria, which I later spelled Mahriah for clarity, was my spiritual name. I knew it. I searched the web for mystical and metaphysical meanings. I found none that fit. For a time, I adopted it. No, I didn’t legally change my name. However, I did call upon the name when I needed to feel more empowered and connected to my essence. When Mahriah was at the helm, I felt stronger and more capable. I still think of Mahriah from time to time with great love and appreciation.

Today, however, as I contemplate my name and my nature, I reflect on the words of our teacher and way shower, Jesus of Nazareth, who, when speaking from the conscious awareness of his essence said things such as,

I am the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)

I am the light of the world. (John 8:12)

I am the bread of life. (John 6:35)

I am the resurrection and the life. (John 11:25)

All of these are expressions of one who was deeply connected with his True Nature, that which we in Unity call the Christ.

In my meditation today, it became clear to me that it is now time for me, indeed for all of us, to more fully and completely claim our true name – I Am.

I Am Christ.

I Am the Christ of God.

I Am the Word made flesh.

I Am the True Light that enlightens the world.

Introducing ourselves in this way to others who might not understand our meaning may not be the best idea. They might just call the men in white coats. However, I suggest that we begin to adopt Alma’s phraseology or something similar when introducing ourselves to others. Remembering that we give power to that with which we identify, rather than saying, “I am…” perhaps we could experiment with something like,

My name is…

I am called….

They call me…

In that way, we can comply with the social norms without fully identifying with our given name and all that it implies. We can use our given name while also knowing that we are not limited by it. I can say aloud, “Hi, my name is David,” and know in my mind and heart that, “I Am the Word” or whatever I choose to identify with in the moment.

I trust that as I, as we, begin to more fully and consciously claim our true name, we will begin to more fully embody it. In my way of thinking and understanding our Unity teaching, that is “the name of the game.”

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Transforming Power of Love

"We are not here to bask in God's love, but - willingly, freely, and with answering love - to give all we have to Love's work of transformation so Love can transform all we have, all we are, to gold. It is in surrendering to this greatest of all laws of alchemy that we discover and become the real gold, the real power, the real hope." - Andrew Harvey, The Hope

Oh, how good it feels to simply bask in God's Love, to sit in the silence of meditation and allow the Light to pervade my entire being, to feel every cell of my body come alive in the remembrance of its truth as an expression of divine Love and Light! Likewise, I cherish basking in Love as it expresses through all who embrace me in the Love of the Christ. There is no more enjoyable feeling than basking in God's Love as I experience it from within and see it reflected from without. It is an invaluable experience for each of us. Without times of basking in God's Love, we would wither and die as would seeds planted in the earth that never receive the nourishment of the sun's light.

And, as Andrew Harvey so eloquently states, we are not here only to bask in God's Love, but we are also here to allow that Love to transform us so that we willingly and freely answer Love's call to be Love in the world. We must accept ourselves for whom and what we are - God in the world - stop playing small, and be the answer to the cries for help from a world in need.

We allow Love to transform us as we open to the awareness of Love's presence as us, and allow the Light of Love to reveal the illusion of myths, messages and beliefs that keep us playing small.

I saw a church sign recently that said, "God's truth, the best defense against Satan's lies." While I do not agree with the implied theology, I do agree that Love, which is God's Truth, is our only defense against the lies of the ego-identified self and that only Love has the power to transform us into the complete and full expressions of all that we are here to be in the world.

God's Love transforms us into fully realized expressions of Itself. From that consciousness of realization, we can do none other than to be Love in the world. Being Love in the world, we give of all that we are, and by giving of all that we are the world's needs are met.

I invite you to take a moment right now and enter into a time of quiet reflection.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath.
Center your awareness in the heart.
Once you have centered your awareness in the heart, drop even further into the deeper spiritual heart
Bring to mind any situation or situations that speak to you of an apparent need, whether in your local community, the country, or around the globe.
As you contemplate each of them, be aware of which one or ones call to the depth of Love from your heart. Which one or ones break your heart open with compassion?
When you feel your heart breaking open, consciously direct the light of Love from your heart into those situations.
Ask your heart if there is some action you can take to help meet the apparent need there.
Listen for the wisdom that arises.
Affirm: "I am the courage to be and do all that I am called to."
Make a commitment to take one action, and do it.

Bask in God's Love, allow God's Love to transform you at depth, and awaken to the awareness that you are God's Love in expression. Allow your expression to be a sacred service to the Divine, to yourself, and to all beings everywhere.

Listen to my recording of the above meditation below - 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What Feeds Your Soul?

In last week’s post, I talked about the “highlands” experience I had while spending time in Breckenridge a couple of weeks ago. I shared that when I left there I felt grief which stayed with me for several days. I believed that once I was back home I would not be able to have the same level of connection I felt while there. With help, I was reminded that no location, not even the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, is the source of my peace, joy and freedom.

As fate would have it, I had the opportunity to go back to Breckenridge for a couple of days this week. Again, as I left there, I felt a heaviness in my heart and my solar plexus. I thought, surely this is not my grief, I must be picking up on energy of the indigenous people who once inhabited the land. I was not willing to accept that the heavy energy was mine. Yet, there it was.

Today, with the help of my life coach, Deborah Jane Wells, I connected the dots. During our session, I recalled some nudges from Spirit that I had not previously associated with my heavy heart.

Last week, I had my annual physical. The physician’s assistant who performed the exam asked me all the routine questions they ask every year related to physical symptoms. I am grateful that I don’t have any. Near the end, she said, “May I ask you a question that really has nothing to do with this exam? I’m just curious.” I said, “Sure, ask away.” She asked me if, as a minister, I ever feel spiritually deprived. I thought about it for a bit, and told her that no, I don’t because I set aside time every day to read something inspiring, to pray and meditate. I assured her, and myself, that I am not deprived spiritually. At least, that’s what I thought.

While in Breckenridge this past Monday, I got to spend time with my good friend, Debra Dickinson. We walked the trail, not far from where we were staying, to see the beloved trail troll, Isak Heartstone, the creation of artist, Thomas Dambo. We also walked along the riverfront in town where we stopped for a while, sat on a bench, watched and listened to the water, and talked. I don’t recall our exact words, but I remember remarking to Debra that sitting by the river helps me to feel open and connected. Her response was something like, “It feeds your soul.”

Aha! There is it. There’s the connection.

When I spend time away from my daily routine, I allow myself the time and space to do things that feed my soul. I take walks and hikes in nature. I relax in the shade of the trees. I sit beside the stream, listen to the sound of the rushing water, and dip my hands in the icy cold water. I connect with people I love. I nurture my nature. 

When I get caught up in my daily “to-do” list, I rarely, if ever, give myself permission to do any of that, even though I have easy access to all of those things living in Denver. I tell myself things like, “I don’t have time;” “That’s a waste of time;” “I’m too busy.” I deprive myself of the spiritual nourishment my soul needs.

I now understand that the heaviness I felt when leaving Breckenridge was indeed not about the location. It was my soul’s grief. If it had words, it might have been saying something like,

“How long will I have to wait for another chance to be fed? I have been starving for this for so long. I’m grateful for the time I had, but I mourn how infrequent these times are. David, are you listening? Can you feel me? I need to be nourished. I need you to pay attention. I am here for you. Please be here for me.”

To function properly, our bodies need to be fed with healthy food, water and exercise. Likewise, our minds need to be fed with inspiring, encouraging and thought-provoking books, classes, and other learning to keep us growing and engaged. So, too, our souls need to be fed. When our souls are fed, we are more consciously connected to the beauty, wonder and mystery of life. We live more fulfilled lives when our souls are given the attention and nurture they require.

I am making the commitment to myself to more consciously and frequently engage in activities that feed my soul. In addition to prayer, meditation, and reading, I am committing to daily walks in nature, whether in my neighborhood or in nearby park. I am committing to at least a monthly hike somewhere in close proximity to home, and when I can, a more distant location. I am committing to spending time listening to music that thrills and delights me. And, I am committing to spending more time with people I love and admire.

As we feed our souls, our souls feed us, and we live in closer alignment to who we have come here to be.  What feeds your soul? I encourage you to make a list and commit to doing them.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

My Highlands Experience

A couple of weeks ago, thanks to the generosity of some friends, J and I had the opportunity to spend the better part of a week in Breckenridge. I enjoyed waking up without an alarm, having no specific agenda, meditating, reading, and doing pretty much whatever I felt like doing in the moment. I loved being in the space of going with the flow while being surrounded by the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains. It was, as my good friend Debra would say, AWE-mazing!

I was in such a blissful state while there that I honestly grieved having to leave. I’m not exaggerating. I was on the verge of tears as we drove out of town. I was mourning the loss of the quiet, the beauty, the spaciousness, and the freedom I felt.

I knew I would be coming back to the rush of traffic, the busyness of life and my daily routine. Not that my daily routine is a grind. However, while I do take time for prayer and meditation, my days are usually filled with activity. I do not typically experience the laid back pace and freedom I had enjoyed in Breckenridge.

I remember saying to J as we left town, “We’re headed back to the lowlands,” as if Denver would ever be considered the “lowlands.” The feeling of grief stayed with me for several days. Even though I would never recommend anyone else do it, I did my best to push the feelings away. I told myself I was just being silly. Again, not something I would suggest someone else do.

When I discussed it with my life coach, Deborah Jane Wells, she reminded me of the importance of feeling our feelings and not trying to talk ourselves out of them. I knew that! It’s so much easier to remember it for others. She also helped me to connect with the metaphor of calling home the “lowlands.”

Through our conversation, I was able to recognize that I was associating the feelings of peace, openness and ease with Breckenridge. I was giving power to the location. I realized that while being in nature surrounded by beauty can help foster connection, it is not the source. Nothing in the external is the source of our peace, joy, or freedom. There is only one source. That source is within.

Conversely, I was associating another location, Denver, the “lowlands,” with a lower state of consciousness. Just as there is no external source of our peace, joy and freedom, there is no external source of worry, anxiety or stress. Those feelings are sourced internally as well. They result from a mind that thinks itself separate from The Source.

Both serenity and anxiety are inner states of consciousness. Neither is dependent upon a location, circumstance or life situation. We have the power to choose either in every moment. My intention is to choose the “highlands” of peace, joy, freedom and ease.

The “highlands” is an inner journey that may be reflected in the outer, rather than an outer journey felt by the inner. We have the opportunity to develop practices that will assist us in making that inner journey.

We can’t always get away to the mountains for a few days, but we can take time every day for quiet contemplation or meditation. I suggest setting aside at least 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening to sit quietly.

Remove focus from the outer by closing your eyes.

Breathe deeply and allow the breath to draw your attention inward.

Imagine that your awareness is centered in your heart.

Then, imagine that it is rising upward to the top your head, the crown.

Consciously open the crown and see your awareness extending beyond your body into the universal field.

Allow it to rest there in the “highlands” for as long as you are willing and able.

Feel the peace, joy and freedom that comes from being in this high place in consciousness.

Gather into your awareness as much of this experience as you possibly can.

When you are ready, imagine all of that awareness flowing back through your crown and down into your heart.

Open your heart to experience this high level of consciousness.

Ground the feeling in your heart by placing your hand lightly over your heart.

Welcome the sensations that arise.

Breathe the awareness down through your body, out your feet and into the earth.

Feel yourself connected to Mother Earth, Father Sky and all that has life.

Once again, breathe your awareness into the heart.

See the image of heart as the center of an infinity symbol.

Allow the energy to flow through your heart in all directions, bringing Light to all creation, through all dimensions.

Breathe the awareness back into your heart, see it as a sphere of light abiding right at the center of your being.

Feel your entire energy field glowing with this light.

When you feel complete, bring your awareness back to the physical senses.

Open your eyes when you are ready.

NOTE: For a guided meditation using these steps, please watch the video linked below.

Take that with you as go about your day or as you lie down to sleep. Allow it to integrate into your being. As you integrate this experience, it will infuse your thoughts, words, and actions. You will begin to live more consistently in this high state of consciousness. Additionally, you will assist others and the world in rising to meet you. 

You have just entered the “highlands” experience without ever leaving your home. There is nowhere you need to go. This experience is within you. As Glinda, the good witch, told Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz, “You had the power all along, my dear.”