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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

If Thine 'I' Be Single

“We must see our body with our mind; see it with something more than the intellectual mind; see it with Jehovah, the Lord God within us.  When the perfect man is conceived in pure reason, the reason of Spirit, and man sees himself as he is in God’s mind, the Lord’s body begins at once to appear.  We all can see our body with the single eye of which Jesus spoke, and through this faith in the reality of the invisible body we can regenerate the flesh." – Charles Fillmore, Talks on Truth
“This so-called material body has within it and about it the divine perfection.  Do not make any separation.” – Charles Fillmore, Talks on Truth
“We must see the life of God in our flesh.  Any form of denial of God-life and intelligence or of the physical organism, any thought of flesh other than as of God’s pure substance, congests and irritates the body.  This is double-mindedness, which consists in believing in evil as well as good, in perceiving and thinking about evil, or undesirable conditions, or lack, or failure, or calamity of any sort. Double-mindedness weakens the eyes and dims the vision, and we do not clearly perceive that which is our perfection in God-Mind.  That which we mentally stamp a thing is registered in our own flesh.” – Myrtle Fillmore, Healing Letters

The last few days my “so-called material body,” as Mr. Fillmore refers to it, appears to have been experiencing an imbalance.  I have observed what one might, using Mrs. Fillmore’s term, “stamp” as intestinal distress.  As I ponder the Fillmores’ teaching above, I recognize that I have named and given form to something that has registered in my flesh.  I have given validity to a material body separate from the spiritual body; the spiritual body is, in Truth, only the perfection in God-Mind manifest.  It is becoming clearer to me that this “double-mindedness” is the only thing that separates me, or anyone, from experiencing the perfection of the “invisible body” to which Mr. Fillmore refers.  So, how do we live Unity’s fifth principle and practice the Truth that we know?

In order that we may live this Truth, we must allow this Truth to be revealed to us as our ever-present reality.  This Truth is not and cannot be revealed through the intellect, nor can it be comprehended by the reasoning mind.  The reasoning mind may glimpse the possibility of this Truth as it is presented in the words of the Fillmores and other teachers, but the full potential of this Truth can only be and must be revealed in the silence of our own hearts in order for it to be realized.  As Mr. Fillmore says, we must “see it with Jehovah, the Lord God within us.”  We must allow the “I Am” of us to see it, the single “I” within us, in order to truly experience it.  It is this “I” that Jesus referred to as “the way, the truth, and the life.”  This is the way to realization of the truth of the life that is each of us made flesh.

We must withdraw our awareness from this so-called material body and focus solely on the Omnipresence of the One.  As long as we continue to perceive through our physical senses that there is something to be healed, we are incapable of realizing the Truth.  There is nothing to be healed; only a Truth to be realized.

Please note that I am speaking in the Absolute here, as were the Fillmores, and it is often challenging for us to comprehend the Absolute from the relative consciousness. 

First, our intent must solely be to realize the Truth of the Life of God expressing.  Period!  We must seek only to have that Truth revealed for the sake of Truth only, not for the purpose of affecting a change in the physical body.  The paradox is that while we must not seek the revelation of Truth for the purpose of changing any outer condition, the revelation of Truth (God as our ever-present reality) demonstrates in the outer, and as Mr. Fillmore states, “regenerates the flesh.”

I also want to make it clear that most of us do not experience instantaneous manifestation.  Myrtle Fillmore, the mother of Unity, spent at least two years in daily prayer and meditation before she experienced the demonstration in her “flesh”.

I encourage us not to allow the truth presented here to be used as a weapon against ourselves if we are experiencing some so-called physical imbalance, dis-ease, or discomfort.  It is not meant to be an indictment.  Blaming ourselves for our apparent condition is not helpful.

Sharing this truth is intended as an encouragement and an inspiration.  Each of us is the embodiment of this Truth, and each of us may realize it through the power of our awareness.  We choose, albeit most often unconsciously, where to focus our attention and awareness.  We can, however, make that choice consciously moment-by-moment.  We begin here, right where we are.  We take one step at a time.  Again, our focus is not to heal or change any outer condition: our sole desire, thus our only goal must be to know the Truth that sets us free, and thereby demonstrate it as our self-evident reality.

While we may continue to experience imbalance in the “so-called material body,” we can if we choose, take comfort in the recognition that it is the spiritual body which is the temple of God, therefore eternal and not subject to any condition. 

Allow this Truth to be revealed in the quiet of your own consciousness and free yourself.  As Jesus, the master metaphysician said, “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Greater Love

In the Gospel of John, chapter 15, Jesus is speaking to his disciples when he says in verses 12 & 13, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.” (NIV)  Later, in verse 17 he repeats himself saying, “This is my command: Love each other.”(NIV)  We might think that is all well and good for Jesus, after all he was Jesus.  Surely he was not saying that we have to be willing to die for our friends to prove that we can love the way he loved.  Or, was he?

Was Jesus speaking literally or figuratively?  Given what we know about his life, it would seem that Jesus was speaking about himself in literal terms.  He did lay down what appeared to be his physical life.  However, does this suggest that in order for us to truly love we must do the same?  And, when referring to his “friends” was he talking only about the disciples?  Who are our “friends” for whom we must be willing to lay down our lives in order to express the degree of love embodied by Jesus? An even more compelling question is, “Do we have the capacity to love so much that we would be willing to lay down our lives for anyone?” 

When explored figuratively, the “life” that we must be willing to lay down is the so-called “life” of the ego-dominated mind.  All of the stories we have created about who we are, who others are or are not, what we do, what we should do, and so on, constitute our so-called “life.”  This is what must die in order that we may express the unconditional Love to which Jesus referred.  We must allow the ego-identified self to die away so that we can fully live in the awareness of the Christ as Jesus did.  As Paul said in a letter to the church at Corinth, “I die daily.”  This “dying” occurs every time we release our limiting beliefs about ourselves and the world, and surrender to the Truth of who we are as expressions of the One Life of God.  When we realize that we are the One Life and embrace all others as that One Life as well, we awaken to Love, and we can consciously allow Love’s awareness to transform us at depth in order that we might fully express as Love.

Very often, if not always, the physical body is the concept of “life” to which we are most powerfully attached.  We believe that we experience life through the sensations of the body; therefore, without the body, we would not have life, or so we believe.  Thus, the thought of giving up the body is tantamount to death according to the ego-identified mind.  However, when we know who and what we truly are, we accept that we are not this body and that this temporal experience is just that, temporary and not the eternal expression of Life that we are.  This does not mean that we must experience physical death in order to know the kind of Love that Jesus was teaching, but it does mean that we must be willing to do so.  The willingness to move beyond the dream of reality that we call “life” is the freedom to experience the Life of God that is truly our Life.   Again, it is as Jesus said in John 8:32 (NIV), “You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”  Knowing the Truth of who we are; knowing that we are eternal Life expressing and experiencing Itself, gives us the freedom to Love unconditionally now.  There is nothing to fear, not even death.

It would seem that in John 15, Jesus is referring to the disciples as his friends when he says, “I have called you my friends because everything I have learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (NIV)  So, when read literally, it appears that Jesus is saying that the greatest love he can show is to lay down his life for the disciples.  However, when we look at this metaphysically with the aid of Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity, we can see that the disciples represent many things, including what Fillmore refers to as the Twelve Powers of Man, or the twelve faculties of man.  In the beginning of his ministry, when Jesus called the twelve to come with him they were ignorant of the law of Love and the ways of the “Father,” thus they were Jesus’ students and “servants” as he refers to them.  At this point in John’s narrative, Jesus has taught the disciples all he had “learned from the Father,” meaning that he had developed them in spiritual understanding.  They were no longer his “servants,” but ready to serve with him in Love.  The disciples or “friends” represent the faculties that have been transformed.  From this perspective “friends” does not refer to our buddies or pals, but to the developed faculties of the Christ that each of us embodies as potential. Each of us is an expression of the full potential of the Christ, the Self that Jesus fully realized and embodied; thus, each of us has the potential to express the Love of Christ just as Jesus did.  In order to realize this Truth and reveal this Truth, we must “die” to the false image of the “self” in service to our greater awareness of our true Self.

Perhaps the English translation, “Greater love has no man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends” is not quite correct.   The following could be a more direct translation, “Man cannot know greater love until he lays down his life for his friends.”  We will know the greatest Love when we are willing to die to the ego-dominated “life” including the illusion of the body, and awaken to and live from the realized Christ potential.

That is a command worth living.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Walking With God

The story of Noah, found in the Bible in Genesis chapters 6 through 8, tells us that because Noah “walked with God,” he found favor with and was chosen by God as the progenitor of the human race.  God spoke to Noah and instructed him to build an ark.  Thus, God saved Noah and his family from the destruction of creation by the flood. 

For many of us, this story has traditionally been viewed as a morality tale:  Those who walk with God and do as God instructs will be rewarded, while those who do not will surely die.  When I was a child and heard this story, I was certainly frightened enough to want to be “good.”  Even though later in the story God makes a covenant with Noah to never again destroy creation by flood, I was always told that God does not promise to not destroy creation by some other horrific means.  The lesson was, “Behave or else.”

In Unity, we do not believe in a deity that judges and punishes. We do not view the story of Noah as a morality tale.  We seek the deeper meanings and applications for our lives in the twenty-first century.  The metaphysical messages and meanings in the story of Noah are rich and varied.  For example, what does it mean for us to “walk with God” and “talk with God?”

There is no deity external to our being with whom we converse.   We “talk” with God by removing our attention from the external world, including our thinking mind, and consciously refocusing our awareness in the secret place of the Most High which abides at the center of our being – the heart.

Connected in the heart, we are able to “be still and know that I AM God” (Psalms 46:10).  In the heart, we perceive the flow of Life (God) as our own life.  We listen, not with the ears for an audible voice, but with the feeling nature that senses the vibration of Truth beyond and before any thought.  Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity, tells us that “Truth cannot be imparted; it must be individually experienced.”  We experience Truth in the heart.

We have all heard the adage, “Walk the talk.”  Although typically meant as an admonition to act in accordance with what one says, this phrase can perhaps have a renewed meaning for us today.  Our “walk with God” is a demonstration of our “talk with God.”  As we move through our daily activities, we can make the choice every moment of every day to do so with the consciousness awareness of the Presence (God) as our present reality.  When we “know that I Am God” and maintain a conscious awareness of that Truth throughout the day, we “walk with God.”  It is not as though we are walking along side an “other.”  We walk in the recognition that there is only God and there is no “other.”

I offer the following as an affirmation for the twenty-first century Unity understanding of “talking” and “walking” with God.

I talk with God in the silence of my heart, and I walk in the awareness of God as my ever-present reality.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent - Let Go; Let God

I recently began reading a book by author, David Richo, Ph.D., entitled “How to be an Adult in Relationships.”  Dr. Richo is a psychotherapist, teacher and workshop presenter who has extensive training in the Buddhist tradition, but also has roots in Christianity.  As the title would indicate, the book is primarily about becoming conscious of how we engage in relationships, and the ways in which the unconscious or subconscious ego structure (the myths, messages and limited beliefs that we often allow to define us) negatively impacts our ability to be in healthy conscious relationships.  Dr. Richo offers the reader insights and suggestions about how to become conscious of the ego structure and how to develop a healthy self-image in order to establish and participate in mature and lasting relationships. 

I am learning a great deal from reading the book.  And, while I find the information on relationships educational and enlightening, a statement that Dr. Richo makes early in the book particularly grabbed my attention and piqued my interest.  He refers to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as the recipe for dissolution of the ego.   Until I read that, I had never before considered it from that perspective.  I admit that I am not yet convinced that dissolution of the ego is possible or even desired; however, I am in complete agreement that awareness and understanding of the ego is essential to our conscious spiritual growth. 

Needless to say, I am reading the Sermon on the Mount from a completely different perspective today.  In fact, I will be using it as the basis for my talks during Lent.  It is a perfect “recipe,” as Dr. Richo refers to it, for attaining conscious awareness of how the ego structure limits our experience, and it also offers us clear instruction on ways to meet the ego and move beyond it.  Ultimately, that is really what the season of Lent is about. 

Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity, in “Keep a True Lent,” says, “Lent is a season of spiritual growth, a time for progressive unfoldment.”  It is a time for removing our focus from the things of world, and instead placing our attention on the things of Spirit.  Lent is a time to “Let Go, and Let God.”  It is a time for letting go of our attachment to our limited thoughts and beliefs about who we are, and fully embracing ourselves as the embodiment of the Christ, our true nature. 

In Unity, Lent is not about self-denial or self-sacrifice.  It is not a time to deny our human experience, but to grow in understanding of our spiritual nature in order that we might live more fully in conscious connection with it.  Unity Minister and author, Reverend Ed Townley, in this book, “The Secret According to Jesus,” says, “The Sermon on the Mount…simply and profoundly reminds us that we are all spiritual beings sharing a human experience; and it describes the most efficient way to bring together these two aspects – to infuse the human experience with spiritual power and thus to achieve the kingdom of heaven by allowing God to create it through us.”

During this season of Lent, let us make a commitment to fast from the limiting thoughts that we allow to prevent us from living fully empowered lives.  Let us commit to spending time in conscious communion with the Christ nature within through the practice of prayer and meditation.  Let us observe Lent this year as an opportunity to allow the awareness of the Christ to progressively unfold in our consciousness as we “Let Go and Let God”.  Then, on Easter we can joyously proclaim, “Christ is risen” and sits on the throne of my conscious awareness.