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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Maturing in Christ

Presumably, we have sung the carols, lit the candles, opened the presents, attended the parties, and eaten the Christmas dinner. Now what? Do we forget about Christmas until next year when we, once again, begin to think about decorating, shopping and planning our activities? Has Christmas become routine for us; or, have we come to allow its true meaning to come alive in our hearts and minds? Is Christmas solely a celebration of the birth of our way-shower, Jesus; or, have we come to understand that it is our story as well? Have we accepted the truth that the Christ is the only begotten idea in the Mind of God for all humanity, and that includes each of us; or, are we still holding to the idea that that cannot possibly be our truth? Have we opened to allow the birth of the Christ within our own consciousness? If we have allowed the Christ consciousness to be born within us, will we continue to engage in the endless cycles of awakening and drifting back to sleep; or, will we choose to nurture the Christ that has been born in our conscious awareness and give it the time and attention it needs to grow and mature? Will we, this year, choose to keep the Christ alive in our consciousness and begin to embody and live from it?

Each of us must answer for ourselves. I encourage us, if we have not already done so, to allow this Christmas to be a momentous one for us. Let us make the conscious decision to awaken to the Truth that we are God expressing in the world as the Christ. Let us make this Christmas a celebration, not just of the birth of Jesus, our teacher and guide, but also a celebration of the birth of Christ as us. And, invite our own personal revelation of what that means for us.

Metaphorically, Jesus’ life represents our own. Just as Jesus grew and matured in his awareness and embodiment of his Christ nature, so must we. Just as we are born into these physical forms and grow and mature into adults, so must we grow and mature in our spiritual incarnations as the Christ. It is time for us to not only awaken to the truth of our Christ nature, but to actively engage in our own conscious evolution from babies to mature adults in Christ, and there is no time like the present to begin.

Let us, this year, choose to not just observe Christmas as an annual celebration, but to open ourselves to the realization of what it means for us to be the Christ in the world. I encourage us to keep Christmas alive in our hearts and minds as we move through a new calendar year. When December 25 comes around again in 2015, may we honor, not only the birth of the Christ, but also our new level of maturity as one who is growing in Christ awareness.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Light of 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!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jehovah Shalom

This week we celebrate peace. Peace is a prominent theme of the Christmas stories in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. “Peace on Earth, 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 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 of the final events in history or the ultimate destiny of humanity.

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, here and now. 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 initiates the reign of peace on Earth. The Christ which is born through each of us, nurtured by each of us, and lives 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, but the transformation we envision is not one in which the physical world ceases 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 by taking every opportunity to allow our own minds to be renewed and transformed by Christ.  The transformation occurs one mind at a time. 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. Peace on Earth, goodwill to all becomes our transformed reality.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tis The Season

Tis the season.  Yes, this is the holiday season. We have just celebrated Thanksgiving and now we are preparing for the Christmas and New Year’s festivities. It is the season of gratitude, joy, love, hope and peace. It is a time designated each year when many share meals, exchange gifts, decorate homes and businesses, and get ready for Santa’s visit. It is also the time of year when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the one in whose name Christianity was born, grew and continues to thrive today. Tis the season, indeed.

While I honor and enjoy the traditions of the holiday season as much as anyone, I am more keenly aware this year that the season is for something more essential. Tis the season for awakening. Tis the season for the birth of the Christ consciousness in the hearts and minds of humanity.  Tis the season for us to release the false notion that only Jesus was the Christ. Tis the season for us, you and me, to realize that each of us is Christ in expression. Tis the season for us to know that we are here, at this time and in this place, to be the fulfillment of the promise of Isaiah’s prophecy, to bring the reign of peace and goodwill upon the earth. Tis the season for us to accept that we are the ones anointed to be the Christ in the world, here and now.

Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity, said –
“The world needs the Christ consciousness. The need implies that the attainment is near at hand. There are men and women who gaze up into the heavens for Christ, as did the early disciples, instead of looking within their own heart and mind. Only believe in the omnipresent Christ and you will behold Him sitting on the right hand of Power within your own being!” - Atom Smashing Power of Mind 
“The salvation of the world rests with those who join Him and thereby bring peace and goodwill to all men. When the light of Christ comes to any man, it does not confine its rays to his consciousness alone but those who sit in darkness and negation see and feel its power.” - Keep a True Lent
The world needs us to awaken to the Christ that is our truth. When we awaken and live in the light of the Christ, others around us are touched by that light, and are encouraged and supported in awakening to their own light. The light of Christ shining in us, as us, is, “The Light of the World” (Matthew 5:14); “The true light that enlightens everyone” (John 1:9); and the fulfillment of the prophecy, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isaiah 2:9). As Mr. Fillmore said, our salvation, which we understand as freedom from the belief in separation and the pain and suffering that results from that belief, depends upon our own awakening. Tis the season for the dawning of the light of Christ upon our consciousness awareness.

Tis the season not just for some of us, but for all of us. And, we can actively participate in our awakening. The traditional Christmas story as given us in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, when explored as a metaphor for our own journey and understood metaphysically,[i]  can help us discover how each person, place and object therein can teach us something about our journey toward giving birth to the Christ consciousness within ourselves.

In my talk last Sunday I explored some of the insights Joseph provides. His willingness to listen to and follow the guidance from the angel, which represents the highest thoughts of God, and to go against the law of his religion in taking Mary as his wife, represent the faith that is often required of us as we journey toward our realization of the Christ consciousness. Faith is one of the twelve powers of man.[ii], It is a faculty within each of us that must be developed. It is but one aspect of our conscious awakening.

This week I will be discussing Mary and the aspects of each of us that she represents. In essence, Mary is the embodiment of Divine Love. As with Faith, Love [ii] is also one of the twelve powers which must be developed. Mary represents the openness, willingness and receptivity that is the potential within each of us. In our journey to awakening, we must develop and practice these capacities in order to experience for ourselves the wonder of giving birth to the light of Christ that lies within so that we can share it with the world. I hope you can join us on Sunday at 10:00 to learn more ways you can acknowledge and live Divine Love.

Tis the season! This is the time. It is Now! “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1)

[i] Explore the MetaphysicalBible Dictionary, one of Charles Fillmore’s great legacies.
[ii] The Twelve Power of Man by Charles Fillmore.