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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I AM Innocence

This past Sunday, I shared that earlier in the week I found myself caught up in a whirlwind of emotion.  I was feeling angry, sad and scared.  I was telling myself that I was being misunderstood, wrongly accused, and that I was not being seen for my intentions and for who I truly strive to be in the world. 

From my perspective there were those who were, in effect, attacking me; therefore I believed I had to defend myself.  My defense showed up as a great deal of mental blaming, justifying, name calling, and judging of those I believed to be the perpetrators of this injustice.

By the time I became consciously aware of what was going on inside my head, I had been in this state for several days.  When I was finally able and willing to take a step back and observe myself, I was woefully amazed at the toll this experience had taken on my emotional and mental well-being.

As often occurs for me, I had an epiphany one morning in the shower.  Suddenly, I was reminded of a quote from A Course in Miracles which says, “In my defenselessness my innocence lies.” 

The question then arose in my mind, “What is the innocence that lies in my defenselessness?”  The answer was revealed by the still, small voice at the center of my being.  My innocence is that which needs no defense because it is that which cannot be threatened or harmed.  My innocence is my natural state of being.  It is the Truth of me; an eternal, changeless expression of God.  My innocence is who and what I truly am.

Naturally, my next question was, “So, if my innocence lies in my defenselessness, then what lies in my defensiveness?”  Surprising, the answer came; my sin.  Charles Fillmore in The Revealing Word defines ‘sinas “error thought.”  The original “sin” or error thought is the belief that I can be separate from God.  I realized that I was defending a sense of self that I created in response to my belief in separation and my attachment to the world and the beliefs and opinions therein. 

I recognized that I was defending a concept of self based on what I have defined as my reputation, my authority, my position, and my assumed identity as a “nice guy”; all of which is based upon a false sense of self derived from a belief about how others should value and appreciate me.  It is only that which I am not that can seem to be threatened, thus requiring defense.

When I believe that I can be separate from God, I also must believe that I can be separate from others.  In my “sin,” I create separation and the possibility for guilt, blame, attack and defense, none of which exists in God Mind. 

Fortunately, I learned in the Baptist church that my sin can be washed away through my faith in Christ.  From a Unity perspective, that means that my “sin” is washed away by the recognition of the Christ I Am as my only abiding reality.  That which I Am is real, and as A Course in Miracles says, “Nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists.”  As I am released from my error-thinking by the acceptance of my true nature, my awareness of my innocence is restored and I am set free.

In my innocence, I know there is only one, the one that I Am, thus there is nothing and no one to defend, and no one to defend against.  In that awareness, I am able to embrace myself and everyone with empathy, love and compassion. 

It only takes one, in Oneness, to end the insidious cycle of defensiveness.  Let me be the one to lead the way.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What If?

I have often heard it said, “You can’t know what you don’t know.”  Most commonly I have heard others use this phrase when attempting to help another feel better about choices he or she made in the past that turned out to be painful or in some way hurtful to another.  The point being that we all make choices from the information we have in the moment, not from information we have acquired since and would apply in retrospect.  I am willing to bet that we have all used the phrase, “If only I had known then what I know now…”

It is common for us to stand in a place of pain or discomfort in the present and ask “What if...”  What if I had finished my degree program?  What if I hadn’t made that investment?  What if I hadn’t married him or her?  When we ask “what if” questions about the past we are in judgment of a choice we made.  Asking these questions keeps us in victim consciousness, blaming ourselves for something we did or did not do.  We are choosing to remain tied to the past, rather than choosing to claim our power in the present.

In truth, now is the only moment that exists.  All knowledge, wisdom and power are present here and now.  They exist as the very nature of God, Divine Mind, which we are.  As we begin to embrace this truth, we come to know that regardless of where we stand in the moment in relation to any life experience, we are the knowledge, wisdom and power to choose something different.  Anything we choose to know in the moment we know when we are willing and able to open our hearts and minds to the knowing of God that is present now.

It is true that we can’t go back in time and make choices from what we now know.  It is also true that we can know now what we need to know in order to make choices that will enrich our lives and fulfill our hearts’ desires.  I encourage each of us to begin today to affirm,

“I am the knowledge, wisdom and power to choose the life I desire.”

As odd as it may sound, as we claim this truth, we can begin to know what we don’t know that we know.  For in truth, we know what we choose to know when we consciously choose to know it.

Rather than ask, “What if…” about the past, what if we ask,
“What if I fully embrace all that God is as me this moment?”;  “What if I take time every day to consciously connect with the knowledge, wisdom and power that I am?”;  “What if I acknowledge my full potential and begin to live it now?”;  “What if I live my life as an example to the world?”
Indeed, what if…?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Unconditional Love

The Unity of Arlington mission statement begins, “We are a thriving spiritual community expressing love...” When we say that we “express love,” what do we mean?
Cindy Wigglesworth, founder of DeepChange, a leadership training and coaching company, and presenter of one of the Enlightened Leadership webinars provided by Unity Worldwide Ministries, has researched, written and presented extensively on the topic of Spiritual Intelligence (SQ).  Cindy believes that SQ is necessary for the conscious evolution of humanity.  And, she is of the opinion that SQ is all about unconditional love - love for yourself and others. However, she concluded through her work in corporate settings that the word "love" is not really workable in a formal definition, so she has adopted a definition of ‘love’ that she discovered from an Eastern tradition, "Love is a bird with two wings: one wing is Compassion, the other wing is Wisdom... if either wing is missing the bird cannot fly."

Cindy’s definition of spiritual intelligence is: "the ability to behave with Wisdom and Compassion (Unconditional Love) while maintaining inner and outer peace (equanimity) regardless of the circumstances." According to Cindy, people with spiritual intelligence express love – which she now defines as Wisdom and Compassion. She sees Wisdom as the most elevated stage of development of the intellect (IQ) and Compassion as the most elevated stage of Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

I believe the intent of our use of the word ‘love’ when we developed our mission statement was indeed to make it our mission to express “unconditional love” to the best of our ability and understanding. Using Cindy’s definition, we fulfill our mission when we act in ways that embody both wisdom and compassion. If we are to fulfill our mission, it is important for us to have a working understanding of both terms.

Intellect is considered to be the faculty by which one thinks and acquires knowledge. However, if we measure IQ solely on the basis of knowledge and reason, we risk missing the deeper understanding of what Cindy refers to as Spiritual Intelligence (SQ).  We often confuse knowledge for wisdom.  Knowledge is information that can be obtained from numerous sources. It is learned by the reasoning mind.  Wisdom, on the other hand, is an awareness of truth that must be realized and can be expanded through one’s intention and attention.  Wisdom includes insight and discernment.  It is imparted, not from the reasoning mind, but from a depth of Being beyond thought.  Wisdom requires a willingness to connect with and listen deeply to the I Am that is beyond our reasoning capacity and beyond the limits of our five senses. It is born of a conscious awareness of Oneness with the Source of all life.  It is the awareness of One Source as It expresses in the non-physical.  The wisdom that Cindy refers to is an acute knowing at depth that God is all.

Compassion, as Cindy has defined it, is the most elevated stage of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), thus it is associated with the feeling nature.  It is the capacity and willingness to join another in his or her pain with the intention of helping to relieve suffering, while not contributing to or joining in the suffering, thus maintaining inner and outer peace regardless of the circumstances.  Compassion is the ability to respond from a deep and conscious connection to the Christ within while maintaining a conscious connection with the Christ of another.  Compassion is free of evaluation or judgment, and simply embraces the other and the self with empathy, and gently holds the physical, mental or emotional experience occurring in the moment.  Compassion is the intentional opening of one’s heart and connecting with the heart of another.  Better stated, it is feeling another’s experience as one’s own experience.  Compassion is the acute awareness at depth that not only is there One Life in spirit; there is only One Life in expression as well.

Unconditional love in action combines the aspects of wisdom, which is the acute knowing that there is but One Life of all, with compassion, which is feeling the One Life of all as all.  Perhaps that is the kind of love Jesus was referring to when he said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30).  True wisdom allows us to know our neighbor as ourselves, and compassion allows us to experience our neighbor as ourselves.  We express Unconditional Love when we know ourselves as the embodiment of the living Christ, treat ourselves accordingly, and act from that same wisdom and compassion for our neighbors.

We are One in Spirit, One in Mind, One in Body.  We are One!