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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Am Christ

This is the season of light. The celebration of light is an ancient one. For centuries, cultures have heralded the coming of Winter Solstice as the return of light, when the sun’s rays once again bless the earth and days grow longer.  In the Jewish tradition, Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, celebrates the miracle of light that burned in the temple for eight days despite the appearance that there was only enough oil to burn for one day. Christmas, too, is a celebration of light. In fact, early Christians chose to observe the birth of Jesus at this time of year because of the ancient observance of Solstice. Jesus is often called “the Light of the world,” and his birth is celebrated by the traditional Christian church as the return of spiritual light to a world that was “lost in darkness.”  In Unity we observe Christmas, not only as the birthday of Jesus, the master teacher and way-shower, but also as a celebration of light as represented by the awakening of the Christ as each of us. The Christ is, as the writer of the gospel of John says, “The light that enlightens every [one].”  John 1:9

We often use the word ‘Christ’ assuming that we share a common understanding of its meaning.  However, it seems that while we may have a notion of ‘Christ’, the term is still somewhat nebulous.  In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary (MBD), Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore offers an expansive explanation of “Christ.”  The following is a short excerpt.
 “Christ is the only begotten Son of God or the one complete idea of perfect man in Divine Mind. [Christ] is the embodiment of all divine ideas, such as intelligence, life, love, substance, and strength. In the architect's mind there may be one masterpiece, but that masterpiece is the sum of all the beautiful ideas that have come to his mind. This Christ, or perfect-man idea existing eternally in Divine Mind, is the true, spiritual, higher self of every individual. Each of us has within him the Christ, just as Jesus had, and we must look within to recognize and realize our sonship, our divine origin and birth, even as He did. By continually unifying ourselves with the Highest by our thoughts and words, we too shall become sons of God, manifest.”
Mr. Fillmore uses the term “Divine Mind” as a synonym for “God.”  He taught that Divine Mind is replete with Divine Ideas only and that the ultimate purpose of humanity is to bring those Divine Ideas into manifestation through the power of thoughts and words which are born from the revelation and realization of the Christ.  Divine Ideas in Divine Mind are the equivalent of what we might refer to as the thoughts in God’s mind.  Understanding this, it follows that since Christ is the Divine Idea for humanity in Divine Mind, then it is the equivalent of God’s thought that expresses the perfection of humankind.  Each of us is, in truth, the Christ and we are endowed with the full potential to embody the realization and demonstration of this thought.  As beings created in the image and likeness of Divine Mind, we are one with it and have access to all Divine Ideas; therefore, we need only to open our hearts and minds through prayer, contemplation and meditation, and invite the awareness of the Christ-thought to enlighten us.

A Course in Miracles reads:
“[Christ] is the Thought which still abides within the Mind that is [Its] Source. [Christ] has not left [Its] holy home, nor lost the innocence in which [It] was created. [Christ] abides unchanged forever in the Mind of God. Your mind is part of [Christ’s] and [Christ’s] a part of yours. [Christ] is the part in which God’s answer lies.”
The Christ is not a vague concept or unknowable ideal to which we are to aspire; it is an idea to which we have complete access every moment of every day.  Christ is the place in our consciousness where the Mind of God is revealed as our mind.  When we open to the infusion of this Christ-idea, the full meaning will be revealed and we will begin to realize the impact of this “enlightenment.”  As we consciously invite the awareness of the Christ-idea, we will begin to embody and live from the Christ-idea.  As Mr. Fillmore said, we will manifest the Christ by “continually unifying ourselves” with it. 

Mr. Fillmore continues his explanation of ‘Christ’ in the MBD by offering us a tool for revealing the Christ to ourselves, “Spiritual perception reveals to us that we are not persons, but factors in the cosmic mind. Reveal yourself to yourself by affirming, "I am the Christ, son of the living God."   Another way of stating this is that each of us is a thought in Divine Mind and that we are each a unique manifestation of the one thought or idea which we refer to as ‘Christ.’ 

May we allow Christmas, this season of light, to be a time in which we celebrate the Christ that is each of us.  As we awaken to ourselves as Christ, we are enlightened, and we demonstrate the Christ en masse.  Celebrate the Christ you are.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Peace On Earth

During this, the second week of Advent, we celebrate peace.  Peace is a prominent theme of the Christmas stories in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.  “On Earth, peace, good will toward men” is one of the most well-known and often repeated phrases from these stories.  Traditional Christianity believes that Jesus Christ, who is often referred to as “The Prince of Peace,” will return to establish God’s kingdom on the Earth which will include a reign of peace.  In addition to being essential to Christian eschatology, “peace on Earth” is a common theme in many of the world’s religions.  In the Jewish tradition, global peace and harmony are a part of the vision for the Messianic Age.  Other religions and faith traditions, including Buddhism and Hinduism also include world peace in their vision for the end time.

Some traditions assert that the end of the world as we know it and the establishment of peace on Earth will come quickly, whether via the incarnation or reincarnation of a deity or by some cataclysmic event.  We, in Unity, hold the vision for peace on Earth in our lifetime.  Peace on Earth is not dependent upon a single event or coming of a Messianic figure.  It is not Jesus, but the Christ, the only begotten idea in Divine Mind for humanity, that will initiate the reign of peace on Earth.  The Christ which is born through each of us, nurtured by each of us, and lived as each of us will bring forth the kingdom of God into manifestation.  In order to establish peace on Earth, we must be willing to know ourselves as the Christ; allow the mind of Christ to be our mind, and allow ourselves “to be transformed by the renewing of our minds,” as St. Paul said in his letters to the churches at Corinth and Philippi. Our minds are transformed when we consciously surrender to the Christ, not an external being, but the idea in Divine Mind that is ever a part of our own minds. Peace on Earth will be established when we consciously choose for it to be.

We also hold the vision for a world transformed by peace, not that the physical world will cease to exist.  The world is a projection of human consciousness, the mind of humanity.  A mind that is not at peace projects a world that is not peaceful.  We have created and continue to create the world as we know it moment by moment.  Likewise, we can end the world as we know it and transform it whenever we choose.  We can alter human consciousness and establish peace on Earth one mind at a time by taking every opportunity to allow our own minds to be renewed and transformed by Christ.   The world as we know it is the world we have created and we can recreate it whenever we choose. 
In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore, says “Jehovah of the Old Testament is the I AM, or Christ of God invisible; the Messiah is the promise of the visible manifestation of that I AM or Christ, and Jesus Christ is the fulfillment in man of that original spiritual I AM, or Jehovah.”  In other writings, Mr. Fillmore said, “God was known to the Israelites as Jehovah-shalom: "I am peace." “You can demonstrate peace of mind by holding the words "I am peace."  If you take Jehovah-shalom into your mind and hold it with the thought of a mighty peace, you will feel a consciousness, a harmonizing stillness that no man can understand…Then you will know that you have touched something; but you cannot explain to another just what it is, because you have gone beyond the realm of words and made union with the divine cause.”

By taking the mantra “Jehovah-shalom” into our minds and focusing on it, we invite the Christ to fill our minds.  As the Christ fills our minds, our minds are renewed. The consciousness of humanity is changed one mind at a time, and we begin to project the world from a mind that knows peace.  The Christ is born in and through each of us, and together we bring forth peace on Earth.  When we are transformed, we transform the world. I am peace. So are you. Peace on Earth, goodwill to all.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Truth About Santa

It’s that time of year again, time to write Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas.  

When I was a kid, every afternoon after school I watched a children’s television program called the Trooper Terry Show.  Trooper Terry always had special games and lessons for children.  He was the local version of Captain Kangaroo or Mr. Rogers, and a hero for me and my peers.   During the Christmas season, Trooper Terry had a remote feed; of course I didn’t know it was called that at the time, from the North Pole.  I guess the reception was not very good in Augusta, Georgia all the way from Santa’s castle because the picture was often a bit “snowy.” 

At the appointed time during the program, Trooper Terry would put his finger beside his nose and instruct us all to do the same.  We would all nod our heads, and then, magically, Santa Claus appeared on the television screen.   He would talk to us, and then read a few of the letters he received from the children in our town.   For me and my friends it was one of the most highly anticipated television events of the season.  Of course, every year I wrote my letter and addressed it to Santa in care of Channel 6, the local television station.  And, he always received my letter.  I don’t recall that he ever read mine on the show, but I always knew that he got it.   How else would he have known what to bring me?

Every Christmas Eve, I would lovingly prepare a plate of fruitcake, not cookies (my mother made fruitcake every year) and pour a glass of milk to leave for Santa.  And, every Christmas morning I would awaken before sunrise to discover that he had eaten the fruitcake.  He had also drank the milk and left me all sorts of wonderful toys.  I never really understood how he managed to get to all the houses in the world on one night, or how he could possibly eat all the goodies that so many children left out for him, and it never mattered how: it only mattered that I believed.  It was a magical time of year.


As I grew older and heard stories about the real identity of Santa Claus, I felt disappointed and sad.  I wondered how my parents and so many other adults could lie to their children and convince them to believe in someone who is not real.  It seemed like a cruel hoax.  I accepted the fact that I had been duped and stopped writing my letters.  I no longer believed.  I lost the magic of Christmas.

Years later, as I began to truly question why the myth of Santa Claus has endured, I discovered a deeper truth about him.  He is the archetype of the spirit of Christmas.  The depiction of Santa Claus as the jolly old elf in a bright red, fur-trimmed suit sprang from the imagination of writers and artists, but this image represents some of the best qualities inherent in each of us - generosity, prosperity, giving and joy.  Santa is the personification of these qualities of our Divine Nature.  He has endured in our hearts and minds because he reminds us of who we truly are.  Santa Claus gives us the opportunity, even if only for a few weeks, days or hours each year, to behold aspects of our true selves.

Today, I believe.  I believe that Santa Claus is each and every one of us.  I believe that we can choose to allow his images to remind us of the magic we all possess.  I believe that we can embrace the spirit of Christmas and share joy, give love, and extend kindness to people everywhere, not just during this season, but 365 days a year. 

It has been years since I wrote a letter to Santa, but I am going to do it this year.  My letter will be a bit different from the ones I wrote as a child.  I will not ask for toys, or a bike, not even a new puppy.  In my letter this year, I will ask Santa to bring food, clothing, and shelter to all people everywhere.  I will ask him to bring love to every home.  I will ask him to bring peace to the hearts of all humankind, thereby bringing peace to the world. 

Now that I know who Santa Claus really is; now that I know that he lives in the hearts and minds of each of us, I trust that he will receive my letter, and I believe that he will deliver everything I ask for. 

I pray that you will join me.  Let’s embrace the true spirit of Christmas and do our part to bring the magic of the season to the lives of children everywhere.

Wishing you a magical Christmas season,

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Explicit Gratitude

Several months ago I was in an airport waiting to board my plane, when a young girl, along with her mother, sat down in the waiting area next to me.  We were all seated facing large windows that looked out onto the tarmac.  As the plane pulled into the gate, the young girl exclaimed loudly and with great excitement, “there’s our plane.”  Later, with equal delight, she exclaimed with a sense of wonder, “I can see my luggage being loaded on the plane.”  I was overcome with feelings of appreciation and joy as I observed her expressions of excitement and fascination.  She helped to awaken me from whatever mind-dominated state I was in at the moment.  While I did not think it appropriate to express my gratitude verbally in that particular situation, I did so with a silent prayer and blessing.  Even now as I recall that experience, I am again feeling much appreciation for that young girl who helped to awaken me to the fact that there is much in my everyday life to delight in and to express gratitude for. 

In this country, we have designated one day in November to give thanks for all that we enjoy.  For many of us, Thanksgiving Day may be a special time to gather with friends and family and enjoy a big meal.  For some, it’s the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, and for others it’s just a day off from work.  I must admit that, at various times in past years, it has been for me any one or all of these things.  This year, however, I am consciously choosing to think about and celebrate Thanksgiving Day in what is, for me, a more personal and meaningful way.  I have decided to observe Thanksgiving Day as the beginning of a conscious “explicit gratitude” journey.  I chose the word ‘explicit’ because I want my expressions of gratitude to be “definite and unreserved in expression” as defined by

I have noticed myself, at times, speaking what I would call empty words of gratitude.  By that, I mean sometimes I tell others that I am grateful because I tell myself that I “should” be grateful.  I have the belief that saying “thank you” is the proper response when someone does something that enriches my life.  Sometimes these are empty words spoken from a learned response rather than from a feeling of gratitude.  This awareness is an invaluable reminder of how I have learned to relate to others and to the world around me from a mental state (my mind), rather than from my feeling nature (my heart).  I have set my intention to change that.  In choosing to embark on an explicit gratitude journey, I have decided to not only express words of gratitude every day, but to empower myself to truly experience feelings of gratitude daily and allow the words to arise from that space of deep connection in the heart. 

My plan is to make this part of my spiritual practice, along with keeping a daily gratitude journal, and celebrating with family and friends, on November 28 with a meal and a time of sharing.  My hope is that this practice will help me to unlearn my mental response and reconnect me with my natural expression of deeply heart-felt appreciation.  My intention is to make explicit gratitude my way of living in the world.

When I boarded my flight that day I was blessed to be seated in the row across the aisle from the young girl I had encountered in the waiting area.  As the plane began to taxi down the runway and lift off, she exclaimed, “Whee, we’re taking of.  This is fun.”  What a wonderful reminder for me to approach every day of my life journey with a spirit of excitement.  I invite you to join me.  Let us reclaim our natural sense of wonder and appreciation and make November 28, 2013 truly a day of giving thanks and the beginning of a life full of explicit gratitude.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I Know As I Am Known

Have you ever had one of those moments, sometimes referred to as mystical moments, when even  if only for a split-second you knew that you are not separate from the Allness that is; not separate from God, or from anything, or anyone?
For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; but then shall I know, even as also I am known.
- I Corinthians 13:12 (KJ21)
My guess is that if you are reading this, you have had one or more such experiences.  Perhaps it occurred during a time of prayer or meditation, or while spending time in nature, or just looking at the stars.  I have a vivid memory of one such moment which happened the first time I visited the redwood forest in Northern California.  The early morning mist was lingering just above the ground as I entered a grove of trees.  I was immediately overcome by a deep sense of belonging, love and nurture as I smelled the earth and heard the soft sounds of birds singing in the trees amidst what was otherwise a glorious silence.  Walking along the path, I looked ahead and noticed rays of sunlight streaming down through the trees.  As the sunlight encountered the mist they created the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen.  It seemed close enough for me to reach out and touch.  In that moment, time stopped.  I lost all cognitive recognition of where I was.  And, for what seemed to be minutes, but what turned out to be only seconds, I also lost touch with the conditioned mind that believed in a separate self.  I became the rainbow, the birds, the earth, the trees and the mist.  Of course, I know now that I did not “become” anything that I was not already.  I was simply enjoying a moment of knowing the truth that there is only one, and I am that.

There are no words that can fully capture the feeling that arises.  In fact, it is only in the seconds following the experience that conscious awareness of feeling is evident.  In the moment, there is no reference for ‘feeling’; there is simply the knower knowing Self as all that can be known.

During such experiences the veil between our usual waking consciousness and our natural awakened consciousness seems to lift, and we know as we are known.  Some have described such moments as euphoric experiences with a resulting feeling of ecstasy. defines ‘ecstasy’ as “rapturous delight.”  That was my experience as well.

As ecstasy begins to subside, it is replaced by an overwhelming sense of gratitude; not gratitude like one might express to someone for giving them a gift, but gratitude that arises from the core of your being as the natural expression of knowing you are the gift presenting as both the giver and the receiver.

To know this and to experience this awareness of “heaven on earth” in varying degrees is not, as many believe, a promise of the afterlife, but an assurance of what is possible in every moment.  It is our choice to open ourselves to this realization of Oneness.  We do that when we are willing to look upon everything and everyone in our experience and say to ourselves, “That is I” and allow the truth of that statement to reveal itself to us.  As this truth is revealed, we can feel it and live from that knowing with every thought and every action.

When we see God in all as All; when we know the Truth of our Oneness, we are free.  We are free to live ecstatic lives.  In rapturous delight we express gratitude in every moment of every day knowing that everything and everyone is a gift I am giving to my Self.  I see all as though seeing my Self face to face.  
I know as I am known.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Living Oneness

“Oneness – the realization that all of life is one inseparably connected evolutionary process – is not an idea being put forth by any one particular organization. It is a growing movement of consciousness that is being increasingly embraced by individuals and organizations all over the world.”
– Taken from Humanity’s Team website

In my talk this past Sunday, I spoke about Oneness, and how our realization of it shifts us from the experience of fear, stimulated by the belief in separation, into the experience of love for ourselves and others as ourselves.  We give from the conscious awareness of Oneness because we know that as we give, we receive.  When we give to another, we are in reality giving to ourselves.  Oneness is a concept that can be challenging to discuss, but certainly one worthy of further exploration.

The belief in Oneness is fully supported by Unity teachings.  In fact, the first of Unity’s five basic principles states “there in one Power and one Presence active as the universe and as my life, God the Good.”  What is Oneness? We believe that it is a universal Truth, but how do we realize and practice Oneness? 

As stated very clearly in the quote above, Oneness is the realization that all creation is not just a part of the evolutionary process, but that all creation is the evolutionary process itself.  All creation is an expression of the same source – the One.  However, we are not always consciously aware of this Truth.  The awareness of Oneness, as with all Truth, begins with each of us - the One [God] individuated as a localized point of intention and attention expanding in the conscious awareness of Itself, expressing Itself, experiencing Itself and reflecting Itself to Itself.  Until and unless we embody that awareness and live consciously from It, we will continue to see separation because we will continue to live in a mind of duality.  In other worlds, one cannot truly be aware of Oneness until that one realizes Self as the One.  We will only see the One as all that we observe when we truly know that nothing else exists.  There is not ‘you’ and ‘me.’ There is not ‘God’ and me.  There is not ‘God’ as me.  There is only ‘God,’ the One.

We are never separate from the One, thus we are never separate from each other.  Only in the ego-identified mind can separation appear to be a reality.  Nothing separates me from you except my belief that there is a ‘me’ and a ‘you.’  When I believe that I am a body and you are a body, then my belief in ‘body’ separates us.  When I believe I am a man and you are a woman, my concepts of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ separate us.  When I believe I am a Christian and you are a Muslim, my belief separates us. 

How do we demonstrate Oneness?  It begins with connecting deeply with our Essence through prayer and meditation and engaging with practical tools that help to connect us with the Truth in the every moment.  We can then choose to behave in ways that acknowledge our intent to know ourselves as expressions of the One, and to see all humanity in that Truth as well until the point at which we no longer have to think about it.  Instead, it becomes our way of being in the world. 

We must question every belief of the ego-identified self.  There must not be any “sacred cows” when it comes to our beliefs.  When we question our beliefs, more often than not, we will find that they are limiting in some way, even those we hold to be most dear.  The Work of Byron Katie® provides a simple and effective tool for questioning our beliefs.  It consists of four questions and a “turn around.”  When practiced in earnest, The Work® can free us to a greater awareness of Oneness.  If you would like to learn more about The Work® please visit  You can watch videos that demonstrate the effectiveness of the process.  You can also freely download worksheets and other valuable information that will assist you in engaging this tool for embracing Oneness consciousness.

We must also connect deeply with the pain and suffering, our own, and others’, caused by the ego-identified self.  We share the “human condition” with more than seven billion people on the planet, each of us attempting to find our way back to the Garden of Eden, which is a metaphor for Oneness consciousness, not realizing that in Truth we never left.  Our belief in separation causes us to struggle to get the things we believe we are lacking.  We must be willing to face our own pain and suffering, connect with the sense of lack that stimulates it, give ourselves empathy and compassion, and eventually come to the realization that we are that which we have been seeking – the One.  And, we are not alone; we are in this together.   When and only when we are willing to give ourselves empathy and compassion are we able to extend that to the perceived “other.”  Through the practice of empathy and compassion, we connect deeply with ourselves and others and begin to recognize, and eventually realize, the possibilities of knowing and living from Oneness.  Nonviolent Communication (NVC), a.k.a. Compassionate Communication, provides a foundation for facilitating Self-connection and connection with the “others” in our lives.  There are many online learning opportunities available through  There are also opportunities to learn more about NVC locally.  Please visit to learn about classes and workshops offered in the Dallas/Fort Worth area by our own Owen Kinser and J Kendel Johnson, as well as other facilitators.

Now is the time, and we are the ones who are here to remember our Oneness and live from that consciousness awareness.  I suggest spending time today in quiet contemplation, meditation and prayer, questioning our beliefs, consciously choosing to hold on to only those that empower us, giving ourselves empathy and compassion and then extending that to all the "others" in our lives. There is only One.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Heart Thinking

As I continue to study and assimilate the message in the latest book by Lakewood Church Pastor and bestselling author, Joel Osteen, entitled Break Out! 5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life, it has become increasingly clear that his overarching message is that if we change our thinking; thus over time change our beliefs, we can change the circumstances of our lives.  This is certainly in alignment with the instruction of our master teacher and way shower, Jesus, who said, “It is done unto you as you believe.” Matthew 9:29

It is also in agreement with the primary teachings of Unity specifically and the New Thought movement as a whole.  Simply stated, changing our thinking changes our experiences.  The principle is that we experience life as a result of our beliefs, which are established according to the thoughts we habitually think.  Many of us who have been a part of the movement for some time have read books, attended various workshops, classes and retreats, all promising to teach us how to “change our thinking” in order that we may manifest the lives we desire.  We have learned how to use denials to clear our minds of limiting thoughts and to use affirmations to fill our minds with positive thoughts that assist us in demonstrating our desires.  While they are beneficial, there are times our thinking has not significantly changed after years of using the tools of denials and. It then becomes easy to wonder just how long it will take and how much effort must be exerted in order to make the changes we desire.  To paraphrase Albert Einstein, “You cannot solve the problem with the same mind that created it.”

While it is true that our way of thinking greatly impacts what we experience, there is more to the story and it is now time for us to move beyond focusing solely on the mind.  It is time for us to shift the focus of awareness to our heart.  This does not mean that we have to dismiss the foundational philosophy of Unity.  We are being called to build on that foundation, expand our awareness, and embrace yet another level of understanding. Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity very clearly stated that we cannot change our thinking by relying on “the thinking faculty located in the head.”
“The most important power of man is the original faith-thinking faculty. We all have the thinking faculty located in the head, from which we send forth thoughts, good, bad, and indifferent. If we are educated and molded after the ordinary pattern of the human family, we may live an average lifetime and never have an original thought. The thinking faculty in the head is supplied with the secondhand beliefs of our ancestors, the dominant beliefs of the race, or the threadbare stock of the ordinary social whirl. This is not faith-thinking. Faith-thinking is done only by one who has caught sight of the inner truths of Being, and who feeds his thinking faculty upon images generated in the heart.
Faith-thinking is not merely an intellectual process, based upon reasoning. The faith-thinker does not compare, analyze, or draw conclusions from known premises. He does not take appearances into consideration. He is not biased by precedent. His thinking gives form, without cavil or question, to ideas that come straight from the eternal fount of wisdom. His perception impinges upon the spiritual and he knows.” – Charles Fillmore, Dynamics for Living
The thoughts that come from the thinking faculty located in the head originate in the hard drive that is the subconscious mind.  Similar to the hard drive in a computer, the subconscious takes in and records information from various sources, primarily from our families of origin, collective consciousness, and whatever we choose as our source of information and entertainment, whether television, movies, novels, or other.   This hard drive becomes the source of our thinking. Unlike the computer hard drive, however, there is no convenient and effective ‘delete’ button for the subconscious.  We have done our best to delve into the subconscious mind and eliminate the beliefs that do not serve us.  And, at times we have stimulated a great deal of pain and suffering for ourselves in the process.  It is time for us to STOP. 

It is now time to embrace the fact that this method does not produce permanent positive effects.  It is futile to believe that by using the mind we can change the mind. It is time for us to accept this, let go of the struggle and, as Mr. Fillmore said, allow the thinking faculty to be filled with images generated in the heart, which is the seat of true wisdom. It is time to embrace a new paradigm, and begin to allow the heart, not the head, to be the source of our thinking.

We achieve this, not be resisting the thoughts or by attempting to change them, but by surrendering to them.  When thoughts arise, we can invite the wisdom of the heart to take the lead by taking a deep breath and feeling the breath move into the region of the physical heart.  Mr. Fillmore said the physical heart is the representation of the Divine Heart which is the source of all.  He said, “God is the great heart of the universe.”  As we feel the heart center expanding with the breath, we can imagine the energy of Love as a light that emanates from the heart.  As we allow the Light of Love to extend from the heart into the region of the head, we see that light cleansing the head-centered thinking, and filling the thinking faculty with images from the heart.  We then breathe into the images, allowing them to reveal themselves to us without evaluating, analyzing or comparing them to the things the head-thinking faculty has stored and thinks it knows.  We relax and allow the heart wisdom to be the source of our thinking. 

These images may at first seem foreign and we may not immediately comprehend them. This is normal.  In response, the head-thinking faculty will typically attempt to categorize these images and make them fit into its usual way of interpreting things.  It is important not to resist, but instead breathe even deeper into the awareness of the Love Light in the heart, continuing to allow it to reveal its true wisdom.  In this way the heart-thinking (or faith-thinking) faculty is strengthened.

I encourage each of us to not work at changing our thinking.  Instead, we allow our thinking to be changed by focusing on the true Source of all wisdom.  In doing so, we use the power of Mind and Heart to bring into manifestation a world that reflects Divine Love and Wisdom. That is the Essence of each of us.  When we do that, our lives are changed and we live the extraordinary richness of a life centered in the heart.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Affecting Change

In my article two weeks ago I mentioned that I had recently begun reading the latest book by Lakewood Church Pastor and bestselling author, Joel Osteen.  Actually, I had begun listening to it as an audio book.  My road trip to and from Unity Village last week gave me the perfect opportunity to finish my first complete listen and begin my second.  I have since purchased the printed hardcover book and have begun reading it.  I guess you could say that I am officially “studying” Mr. Osteen’s latest book.

My initial interest in the book which is entitled, Break Out! 5 Keys to go beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life was to gain a clearer understanding of Mr. Osteen’s approach to what many have termed his “Prosperity Gospel.”  It is the first of his books I have read.  Given that he purportedly is currently the most famous pastor in the world with a congregation of thousands, a television audience of more than ten-million in America alone with an additional audience in another 100 countries around the world, plus five books that have been number one national bestsellers, I realized he just might have something beneficial to share.  Seemingly, his message is having a positive impact on millions worldwide.

My renewed interest in the Prosperity Principle is in no small part due to the fact that I am observing demonstrations of something other than prosperity consciousness, not only in my personal life, but also in the life of Unity of Arlington.  Therefore, I am planning a series of Sunday morning talks on the subject.  As the adage goes, “We teach what we need most to learn.”

When I decided to purchase Mr. Osteen’s book, I was prepared for and even expected to encounter a traditional Christian perspective that would include literal interpretations of the Bible.  In this regard, Mr. Osteen did not disappoint; he delivers precisely what I expected.  He speaks of an external God who favors those who put Him first in their lives; although, not much is said to clarify what “putting God first” entails.  However, I was pleasantly surprised that unlike the traditional Christian preachers of my youth, Mr. Osteen does not mention a God of retribution.  He does not purport that the lack of money, illness or misfortune of any kind is God’s punishment.  Instead, he speaks only of a God who loves his children and wants to bless them with all the riches, health and love they can accept.  This is a refreshing departure, and although we in Unity speak of God within rather than an external deity, Mr. Osteen’s portrayal of love and abundance is in alignment with Unity teaching.

In my first listen through, I was concerned that Mr. Osteen was attempting to brainwash the listener /reader into believing that some supernatural deity is going to favor him or her with great wealth and physical healing, and fulfill all of their dreams at any moment; once again, provided that they put God first in their lives.  I wondered if perhaps his approach might do more harm than good because initially it appears he is attempting to convince us that this capricious God is waiting for us to win his favor, yet he is not specific on how to do that.  So my concern grew because this approach has the additional potential of leaving the reader/listener with shame, blame and guilt in the event that “God’s favor” does not manifest in their lives.

However, on my second listen, I heard something that I had completely missed the first time; something that altered my perspective.  In the first few minutes of the audio book and on the fourth page of the printed version, Mr. Osteen says,
“Sometimes you need faith and victory spoken over your life.  Words have creative power.  When you receive them into your spirit, they can ignite seeds of increase on the inside.  That’s the reason I've written with book…There are new levels of your destiny still in front of you.  But break out starts in your thinking.”
When I heard that, I understood.  I knew why Mr. Osteen wrote the book and what he intended to activate in the reader/listener.

Whether he is conscious of it or not, Mr. Osteen is teaching the Unity message all the while remaining true to his traditional Christian roots.  His message, while presented in language that we in Unity would not use, is the same message that Unity has been teaching for over one-hundred years: Life is consciousness.  In effect, this is what Mr. Osteen is saying, “What you think about comes about;” 1 or “Change your thinking, change your life.”2  His statement also echoes the words of Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity, in the original Unity correspondence courses from 1909,
“This substance of true words is seed, and the harvest will be rich with increase to all who recognize that their seed words have in them life, substance and intelligence.  It is these qualities in words of Truth that make them so powerful in demonstrating prosperity, or health, or whatever is desired.”
Likewise, later in the book, Mr. Osteen says,
“The real battle is taking place in our thought life, those thoughts that say It will not happen.  You’re too old. You've made too many mistakes. You’ll never accomplish your dreams.”
Mr. Fillmore said, “True prosperity is the consciousness of abundance based on the understanding of God as the inexhaustible Resource always open to man.”

Both men are saying that our experience of prosperity is the effect of our consciousness and our consciousness is the sum total of all our beliefs.  When we fill our minds with thoughts that are grounded in the Absolute Good that God is, we will experience the manifestations of Good in our lives.  We must keep our minds stayed on the Truth.  Mr. Osteen’s book, albeit from a traditional Christian perspective, is filled with words of Truth, or seeds, that when “taken into our spirit” must produce evidence reflecting their nature, in accordance with the universal law of cause and effect.  We take these words, these seeds, into our spirit by receiving them and believing them in our consciousness.

In Unity, we do not believe in a God of caprice, but in the unchanging nature of God as Universal Law.  It is done unto us as we believe, not because God is up there somewhere judging us and determining when we have been good enough to earn his favor, but because the law always works.  That is why it is law.  It is unchanging.  It is known as the law of cause and effect, the law of mind action, the law of attraction, and by other names as well.   Life is consciousness.  We are responsible for our individual consciousness.  Ultimately, that is Mr. Osteen’s message.  As he says, breaking out of a current unfavorable condition begins with making a shift in our thinking.  We must be willing to change our thinking in order to affect a shift and change our lives.

Over the course of the next few weeks during my Sunday morning talks I will be exploring Mr. Osteen’s five keys to going beyond our barriers and living extraordinary lives.  While I do not resonate with the God of his understanding, I do find universal truth in his teaching.  I hope you will join us as we discover our common ground and ways that we can apply these truth principles, take them into our spirit, and manifest them in our lives.

1 Mark Victor Hansen, "Chicken Soup for the Soul"
2 Brian Tracy, “Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life”

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Music Heals

“In time, probably, there will be schools of healing based on music, where patients will be taught how to center themselves in the harmonious Christ mind. The body will then respond, for it is mind, has its foundation in mind, lives in mind, and is moved upon by mind.” – Charles Fillmore

Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity, was a man of his time in many ways, yet a man ahead of his time in others.  In the quote above, Fillmore postulates that music has healing power, a theory which modern neuroscience is now proving to be true.  According to a paper published in Nature Neuroscience, a team of Montreal researchers discovered that music triggers the release of dopamine in the areas of the brain associated with the feeling of pleasure.  Music has also been found to boost the immune system, lower stress and decrease the heart rate in cardiac patients.  Additionally, researchers at Cal State University found that children who are hospitalized were happier during music therapy than during other play activities.  This research shows that music affects the brain, and that the effect is most often a greater sense of happiness and emotional well-being.

Studies, such as the one conducted by Carnegie Mellon University Psychology Professor, Sheldon Cohen, show people who are happy, lively, calm or exhibit other positive emotions are less likely to become ill when they are exposed to a cold virus than those who report few of these emotions. There are many studies that show the correlation between emotions and physical health and healing.

It follows, that since music produces a neurological response in the brain which promotes the feeling of happiness and the feeling of happiness contributes to physical well-being, then music, whether directly or indirectly, contributes to physical as well as emotional health thereby proving that Charles Fillmore’s postulate was correct.

Fillmore also said, “The spirit of music is within all of us. When we have developed and brought it forth; when the quickening, harmonizing life has entered the physical, by the union of God with man, then we will realize that there is a power in us which will produce harmony. And harmony is health. Bring harmony into your life by singing and praising. Everybody should play and sing. We should rejoice in the divine harmony. We should sing songs of joy and of love and of peace and of the unity of the Spirit.

There is currently a Facebook page entitled “World Singing Days 2013” which is the brainchild of Scott Johnson from Boulder, Colorado.  In addition to the Facebook page, there is a Facebook Event that he and our very own, Dennis Persons, created and co-manage.  Scott’s premise is simple - music has the power to heal and help join the world together in peace.  The invitation is to join others from all over the world in singing.  It involves no sponsorships, endorsements or commercialism, just a joining together of people in the joy of music and singing.  We at Unity of Arlington are accepting this invitation and will participate during the 10:00 am service this Sunday.  Join us as we explore, through message and music, Charles Fillmore’s lessons on the power of music and singing.

Come sing with us!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Imprisoned Splendor

Today I began reading the latest book by Lakewood Church Pastor and bestselling author, Joel Osteen.  The book is entitled, Break Out: Five Ways To Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life.  Mr. Osteen inspires and encourages with the message that our first break outs must occur within our own minds: "When you break through in your mind, believing you can rise higher and overcome obstacles, then God will unleash the power within that will enable you to go beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary life you were designed to live."

On the surface it sounds like a message that one might hear from any Unity or other New Thought teacher.  However, what strikes me about Mr. Osteen’s message, and it is not in alignment with our teaching, is his reference to a God somewhere ‘out there’ who is eagerly waiting to bless us, provided we increase our faith by utilizing the five practices outlined in his book.  Further, that “he” (God) will take us beyond our own self-imposed limitations provided that we put him first.  Mr. Osteen says that God will “favor” us by taking us beyond our current condition, whether physical, financial, relational, or other.  Admittedly, I have only read the first three chapters, but it seems clear that his message is that when we win God’s favor he will reach down and perform a miracle for us.  As evidence for his assertion, Mr. Osteen cites examples of physical healings, job promotions, unexpected encounters that lead to increased prosperity or notoriety, as well as others.  His message speaks of a capricious deity whom we spur into action through our devoted worship.

I would be in complete agreement with Mr. Osteen if he had instead stated,
“When you break through in your mind, believing you can rise higher and overcome obstacles, God, the power within, will be unleashed enabling you to go beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary life you were designed to live.”
In Unity we teach that God is “the power within,” and that power is unleashed when we release our resistance to it.  As Unity minister and author, Eric Butterworth, states in Spiritual Economics,
“The important Truth is that you are a spiritual being with the Allness of Infinite Mind within you.  Whatever your need may be, the answer is not to get God to give you more through some divine slight-of-hand process, but rather to uncover and release your own “imprisoned splendor.”
While I am eager to continue reading Mr. Osteen’s book and discover more about the “five ways to go beyond [my] barriers and live an extraordinary life,” which I presume are five ways to “increase our faith,” I propose that Unity also provides us with five ways to increase our faith and move beyond our self-imposed limitations and live life extraordinarily: they are known as the Five Basic Principles of Unity.  Although they are not traditionally presented as action steps, these five truths can serve as guiding principles for our lives if we know how to put them into practice.

I would like to offer the following restatement of the five basic principles of Unity as positive action statements.  Each is followed by an affirmation I offer that may help us make them an integral part of our daily spiritual practice thereby unleashing our “imprisoned splendor” allowing us to live extraordinary lives.

Please note that ‘Good’ as used here is not an evaluative word, as in ‘good or bad’; nor is it meant to represent anything of form, as in “goods” that we might receive.  Instead, it is used to represent the nature of the Divine.

First – Dare Bravely to believe that there is only God, the Absolute Good, and none besides God. 

I believe that there is one power and one presence.  I believe that the nature of that power and presence is absolute beauty, order, life, harmony, love, unity, abundance, and all the Good that I can imagine.  I believe! I release my unbelief.

Second – Claim Unabashedly the Truth of your Divine nature.

I am created in the image and likeness of the one power and one presence endowed with its nature; therefore, God is all the Good that I am.

Third – Believe Fearlessly that you experience life according to the thoughts you think.

I consciously choose to release all limiting thoughts and choose positive, constructive thoughts that allow manifestations of Good in my life.  I make conscious choices that support my well-being – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  I actively practice Self Love and acceptance.

Fourth – Claim Boldly through the practice of affirmative prayer that only Good manifests in your life experience.

Through the power of prayer, I claim my Good and I open to the flow of Divine Spirit and Substance in and as my life. 

Fifth – Give Courageously from the awareness that God, the Absolute Good, is all that I am and all that I have to give and all that I am open to receive.

I give freely from the eternal fount of Divine Substance and Supply.  I know that as I give, I receive.  I trust that I cannot out-give, nor can I ever deplete the one Source of all that I am.

I encourage us all to look at the Five Basic Principles, not as simply a stated belief system of the Unity movement, but as universal truth principles that can serve as spiritual practices for increasing our faith and expanding our consciousness so that we may rise above what we perceive as obstacles and live fully empowered and extraordinary lives.

Unleash your “imprisoned splendor” and shine!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Christ is Born

As I bring my Sunday morning series, “Wake up with Jesus” to a conclusion, I am struck by the realization that we have come full circle.  We began with Jesus being born in human form while simultaneously coming into the world as the Christ, a full and complete expression of the Divine.  Exploring the Jesus story as a metaphor for our evolution of consciousness, we recognize that through Jesus, as through each of us, the full potential of the Creative Life Force (God) poured itself forward into creation in order that it might be revealed.  To put it simply, in all its complexity, (God) was revealed to itself, as itself.  Jesus exampled this by awakening from attachment to the human conditioned consciousness, and realizing his Oneness with God, whom he referred to as the ‘Father,’ he courageously exclaimed, “I and Father are one.” (John 10:30)

In every moment, we come full circle in our journey with Jesus as we acknowledge that the same potential to accept and realize our Oneness is inherent in each of us and as we willingly surrender to it.  In fact, it is only due to our belief in separation that we can ever see a distinction between ourselves and God, the Creative Life Force that is constantly and consistency living itself in us, through us, as us.  As the writer of the book of Acts says, “In [God] we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28 NIV)  God is pouring itself into the world every moment of every day as you and me.  It is ours to choose to awaken to that Truth, realize our Oneness, and live from that Consciousness.

Earlier in the series, I presented that one of the foundational Scriptures of Christianity is John 3:16 & 17,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life.  Indeed, God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (NIV)
This Scripture has traditionally been interpreted to mean that God sent Jesus to atone for the sins of the world by sacrificing him on the cross.  Further, that if one believes that Jesus was God’s only son, then he or she will be saved from what would otherwise be an eternity in hell.

Unlike traditional Christianity, we in Unity do not view Jesus as the only son of God sent into the world to redeem it, but rather as one whose life may serve as an example for the potential within each of us to recognize, realize and reveal our Oneness.  Jesus was a human being who experienced the conditioning of family, religion and society; similar to what each of us is subjected to, yet through a process of awakening he recognized, realized and revealed his Christ potential and his Oneness with God.  The same potential and possibility is inherent in each of us.

Interpreted from a metaphysical perspective, John 3:16 & 17 might read something like,
“God, the Creative Life Force, loved itself into creation as the Christ and gave itself to all, as all, so that whoever exercises the power of Faith (consciousness centered in God) will know that God is eternally living and giving itself to the world and will realize their oneness with it.  God did not love itself into the world to condemn it, but so that the world could save itself through its own recognition, realization, and revelation of Christ expressing.
From the realization of Oneness, we might even say,
“I, being one with God, am giving my Self to the world so that the world can be redeemed as I show the way and model a life lived from the conscious awareness of Christ as the only Truth of all creation.”
Through our realization and revelation the world is redeemed, or to use the traditional Christian word “saved.”  The world is saved through each one of us awakening to the glory of the Divine that he or she is.  And, as we awaken, we assist others in awakening as well.  Christ redeems the world through the world’s conscious recognition and realization of itself as the Christ.  And, as Christ is recognized and realized, anywhere in any moment, it is revealed as all creation.

Redemption, or salvation, happens in the instant that we are willing to let go of the idea that we are separate from the Creative Life Force (God) and surrender to and realize our Oneness.  Then, from the consciousness of realization, Christ is revealed as we choose to know it for ourselves and for the world.  We have come full circle in the realization that Christ was born not only through Jesus, but Christ is born every moment that we are willing to surrender and allow God to have its full, undiluted, unencumbered expression in us, through us, as us.  The Christ is in you today.  Allow Christ to be born and revealed as you today.

Let us affirm together:

“I give all of my Self, the Christ of my being,
in every moment so that the world might awaken
to the Divine expression of Christ that it is.”

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In the World, Not of the World

When I first began my conscious spiritual quest, I believed that if I meditated and engaged in other spiritual practices every day I would eventually become enlightened, transcend the cares of the world, and live thereafter in a perpetual state of bliss.  In fact, if I am totally honest, I held on to that dream until fairly recently.  I hoped that when I “awakened” I would no longer have to deal with the concerns of everyday life.  I have since discovered that awakening is not about escaping the world, but about living more fully present while in it and responding to it accordingly from a consciousness centered in divine nature.  This is evidenced beautifully in the story of Jesus’ life. 

My current series of talks is entitled, “Wake up with Jesus” and I am exploring the Jesus story as a metaphor for our awakening.  In Unity, we view Jesus as our Way Shower, one who exampled the potential we all possess to awaken to divine nature and respond from that divinity while continuing to live in the “nitty gritty” of life.  In other words, Jesus showed us what it means to be in the world, but not of the world.  His life experiences, albeit dramatic portrayals, are metaphorical representations of what we may encounter as we awaken and choose to live in the world centered in divine nature.

In the fourth chapter of Matthew’s gospel we are told that after Jesus received baptism, he was carried away into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit where he faced the temptations of Satan.  Satan first tells Jesus, who is fasting, to turn stones into bread to ease his hunger.  Jesus responds stating that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.   Satan then suggests to Jesus that he leap from the pinnacle of the temple to prove that God will save him.  Jesus chooses not to test God.  Finally, Satan encourages Jesus to worship him in order that he might be ruler over the entire world.  Jesus rebukes Satan.  He tells him that only God is worthy of worship and then tells Satan to leave.  Satan goes away and leaves Jesus alone.

From a metaphorical perspective, Satan is the personification of Jesus’ conditioned mind.  He is not an entity external to Jesus; he is the limiting thoughts that arise.  Jesus experienced this confrontation and so do we.  When we experience a shift in how we see ourselves, and awaken to a deeper understanding of our true nature; we are inevitably confronted with the myths, messages and beliefs of the conditioned mind that tell us we are something less than the awakened Christ.  We may even question the validity of our newly awakened state.  Unlike Satan in this story, the thoughts of the conditioned mind are not there to threaten us, or to possess us. They arise as opportunities for us to meet them, question them and release them. 

Only by our willingness to enter the wilderness of our own minds and encounter the temptations to discount our awakening experience will we truly be able to claim our truth and stand firmly in our conviction.  We can take solace in knowing that while it may seem daunting, it does not have to be a scary, painful struggle.  We can follow Jesus’ example.  He did not argue with Satan or attempt to do battle with him.  Instead, Jesus stood in his truth and chose not to give power to his conditioned mind.  He responded from a consciousness grounded in divine nature, and eventually Satan left him.  We must be willing to come face-to-face with our limiting thoughts and allow the truth to be revealed.  Then we can respond to them just as Jesus responded to “Satan” from his Christ awareness, from a level of understanding gained as the result of a newly awakened state.

As we “Wake up with Jesus” let us remain mindful that the world around us does not change as we awaken; our perspective of the world changes.  No matter how scary it may first appear, we are free to respond to whatever life brings our way from a consciousness centered in divine nature.  We are in the world, but not of the world.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Surrender to Truth

Earlier this week I recognized that I had spent the previous few days going through the motions of my life as if sleep walking.  I was showing up and doing what I needed to do to take care of tasks, but I was not really present.  I realized this only after a friend asked me about it, and pointed out that I seemed preoccupied and withdrawn.  Once I was willing to admit to myself that I had been unavailable and detached, I became aware that I had fallen back into old patterns of thinking and behaviors that are based in fear.  It amazes me how quickly and easily I can sometimes revert from being connected to the powerful being I know I am, back to acting as if I am the limited ego-identified human being that my family and society conditioned me to be, and that I accepted in order to fit in and feel safe.  And, I feel dismayed at times that I don’t yet immediately recognize when I am doing it.  My greatest desire is to know the truth of me and live from that truth every moment of every day.   When I don’t fulfill that desire, I feel the negative emotional impact. 

We are conditioned from birth to accept a limited concept of ourselves, and we often suffer because we are in bondage to it, whether or not we are conscious of it.  Through realization of truth we enjoy freedom from the limiting myths, messages and beliefs that our families, society and churches often thrust upon us, and to which we can become enslaved.  As Jesus said,

“You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.”
-- John 8:32

And, knowing the truth is not enough; as Unity’s fifth principle tells us, we must also live the truth we know.

When we do not live from our truth we withhold, not only from ourselves, but also from the world; the unique aspect of the only begotten of God that each of us is.  I am reminded of the words of Jesus, 

"For this I was born and for this I came into the world; to bear witness to the truth.”
-- John 18:37

The truth is that each of us is the Christ in expression and we bear witness to that truth as we realize it and commit to living it in the world. 

This is yet another reminder of the reason I chose my current Sunday morning series, “Wake up with Jesus” and why I believe it is so valuable to our understanding.  The purpose of this series is to help us connect with the transcendent reality of being.  Our freedom, both individual and collective, lies in the realization of our true nature.  As we review the Jesus story as presented in the Canonical Gospels in the Bible, we can see a man who realized his truth, stated his mission and lived it.  His story, as a metaphor for our own awakening, reveals how we can relate the events in Jesus’ life to our own similar experiences, and we can choose to know our truth and set ourselves free as we bear witness to the truth of our divine being.

This past Sunday, we explored Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist as a metaphor for our willingness to stand against the societal mores and religious dogma and lay down the limiting concept of ourselves, to surrender it, and to welcome the cleansing and clearing of Spirit represented by water.  And, once cleansed, to allow ourselves to accept and embrace the transcendent life of Spirit that is our truth.  Jesus’ baptism was not simply a baptism by water, but also a baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Just as Jesus was “anointed” with the Holy Spirit as he came up out of waters of the Jordan River, we too are “anointed,” not by an external power or force, but by the innate presence and power of the Holy Spirit within our own consciousness.  The Holy Spirit is eternally present and awaiting our acceptance and recognition of it.  It is the guiding principle for our lives in Spirit.  Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, said in describing the Holy Spirit,

“It is the movement of Spirit…it is through the help of the Holy Spirit that humankind overcomes.”

As we accept that we are anointed with the Holy Spirit, we can choose, moment by moment to surrender to it and to overcome our limited beliefs about ourselves.

Receiving our baptism and anointing does not mean that we will never again be faced with life’s challenges.  On the contrary, we will continue to be in the world and we will be met every day with opportunities to choose how we will respond.  We bear witness to the truth when we are willing to stand in the power and strength of who we are, and respond by speaking and acting from that place.

Please join us this Sunday as we continue to “Wake up with Jesus”.  We will explore his forty days in the desert facing the temptations of Satan, and we will see how Jesus’ experience mirrors our own.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Answering the Call

For the past few days Jami Lula’s song, “Something’s Calling Me,” has been running through my head.  Could it be that something is calling me?  Could it be that something is calling you?  Could it be the same “something” calling us?  Yes.  It is our true nature calling us to a place of remembrance.  It is the voice of the Divine at the center of our hearts calling us to let go of limited concepts of ourselves and accept who we truly are.  It is saying, “Wake up.  Wake up.  Wake Up!” 

I am convinced that whether we are conscious of it or not, our deepest desire is to awaken to our true nature; to know ourselves as the Divine; to live in conscious awareness of the One Power and One Presence expressing in, through and as these human forms.  We desire to experience what in some Eastern traditions is known as “awakening” or “enlightenment.”  In the Christian tradition it is referred to as “salvation.”  In other words, our hearts’ desire is to be saved from the illusion that we are our bodies, beliefs, emotions, or possessions, an image of self that often stimulates suffering.  We are saved from this illusion by awakening to the awareness of who we truly are.

Traditional Christianity teaches that we receive salvation through the belief that Jesus Christ sacrificed himself to save us from an eternity in hell, and to give us the promise of an eternal afterlife in heaven; provided, of course, that we accept his atonement.  The theology is that Jesus is the source of our salvation.  In Unity, we believe that the source of our salvation is our acceptance and realization of our Christ nature.  It is not Jesus but the Christ that is the source of our salvation, and the Christ is the eternal essential nature of each of us.  Awakening to and living from our Christ nature is our salvation.

In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary (MBD), Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore offers an expansive explanation of “Christ.”  The following is a short excerpt.

“Christ is the only begotten Son of God, or the one complete idea of perfect man in Divine Mind. [Christ] is the embodiment of all divine ideas, such as intelligence, life, love, substance, and strength. This Christ, or perfect-man idea existing eternally in Divine Mind, is the true, spiritual, higher self of every individual. Each of us has within him the Christ, just as Jesus had, and we must look within to recognize and realize our sonship, our divine origin and birth, even as He did.”

While we do not view Jesus as the source of salvation, we see him as one who awakened to and lived fully from his Christ nature.  His life experience serves as a road map which can lead us to our own experience of salvation; if we choose to follow it. 

Last Sunday, I began a series of messages entitled “Wake up with Jesus.”  I am experiencing a great deal of enthusiasm for this series because it speaks to where I am and where I believe many of us are along life’s journey.  My hope is that this series will help us see Jesus as a metaphor for our own potential and possibility and that we will commit to following his example.  We are saved by our willingness and commitment to walk his path. 

Please join us on Sunday for our 10:00 a.m. service as we follow the call, encounter John the Baptist and experience the baptism of water and of the Holy Spirit.