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Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Divine Urge

This week I conclude my series of Sunday lessons based on our five core values with the lesson entitled “The Divine Urge” based on our core value of ‘inspiring.’

One definition for ‘inspire’ is to fill with the urge to feel or do something.

My hope is that we inspire the urge to feel peace, joy and love as we encourage personal connections in heart, mind and spirit with the conscious awareness of God’s presence. And, that we are all inspired to do something as we take actions that reflect our conscious awareness of Oneness in God and with all creation.

This past weekend, I had an amazing personal experience that epitomized the meaning of the word ‘inspire.’

I had the honor and privilege of attending a Unity South Central Region Youth of Unity (YOU) Winter Rally. I joined two of our YOU sponsors, Jason Garvin and Kristi Stucz, and seven of our YOUers.

I must admit that prior to leaving at 6:00 AM last Friday (an early start for me as I awakened at 4:30), I had some trepidation. I don’t particularly enjoy long road trips. This one was 10 hours including stops. Additionally, I had no idea what to expect from the accommodations at the camp. I was imagining the worst. I have had few experiences with sharing sleeping accommodations with others whom I don’t know, and the ones I have had have not been especially pleasant. I was certainly not looking forward to attempting sleep while in a room with a bunch of snoring men and teens. 

I say this simply to share the state of mind I carried with me into the weekend.

It did not take long for me to realize that my concerns were ill-founded, and my imagination way off base. The weekend was AWE-mazing.

And in the end, my trepidation did not matter anyway because I was treated to private sleeping quarters, for which I was grateful. And, the drives, both to and from the rally were wonderful opportunities to connect with the sponsors and our amazing teens.

Most importantly, my experiences at the YOU rally gave me an entirely new frame of reference for what it means to be “inspired.”

YOU rallies, while adult sponsored, are entirely teen lead. I was amazed, thrilled and delighted to witness the maturity and depth of understanding exhibited by the teens who lead the workshops, family groups, and activities. I felt encouraged, awed, and many times deeply moved by the love, support and compassion they embodied and extended to each other.

Prior to this weekend, I had spent very little time with teenagers. I had the idea that I did not know how to be with them and communicate with them. For some reason, I thought that I had to be different, more together, more mature, and more “fatherly” when interacting with teens. I discovered very quickly that they do not want me or anyone else to be different than we are. They want authenticity. They can see straight through the pretense and do not trust it. They want, as we all do, to connect with others who are available and willing to be vulnerable and real with them.

The teens inspired me to go deeper and share with them from my heart. They were supportive of me as I did my best to support them. I was amazed at how they were open and willing to include me in their circles of love and trust.

This weekend also inspired me to do something. For a while now I have been living with the question, “What is mine to do to serve God?” By that I mean what is mine to do so that I may serve the Divine in me, in others, and in all creation.

This rally experience gave me some clarity. I plan to make teen and young adult ministry a higher priority in my personal ministry and encourage us at Unity Spiritual Center Denver to also make it a priority. That does not mean that I plan to do so at the expense of our more “mature” congregants. My vision is that we can and will work more closely together to honor and respect the needs and desires of our multigenerational community.

I am convinced that the love and acceptance shared and felt by the teens at these events and in their other YOU experiences can and often does have life-changing effects on them. My guess is that, for some of them, YOU is the only place that they experience unconditional love. They are centered, loving, caring, respectful, open and generous human beings. We could all learn from them. And, I want to help provide opportunities for us to do so.

They are our hope for the future, and I am more hopeful today after spending time with them this weekend, of that future than I have been in a long time. We owe it to our children and young adults to give them a place where they can be encouraged and supported, to know who they truly are and to embrace their unique and wondrous expressions of God in all their diversity.

I was and continue to be inspired.

I invite you to hold the question with me, “What is ours, as Unity Spiritual Center Denver, to do to create and maintain a thriving ministry that fully embraces and supports all generations in knowing their Divinity and in being inspired to experience it and do something with it?”

We all have a great deal to share with the younger generations as they make their way in this journey called life, and they have a great deal to share with us. We need each other, and I am committed to exploring how we can come together in community to create and maintain a thriving intergenerational ministry. I look forward to visioning and co-creating with you.

Join me on Sunday at 10:00 as we explore this and other questions relating to how we be more fully aware of The Divine Urge inspiring us to feel or do something.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Whelmed by God

I know that I am not alone in occasionally feeling overwhelmed by life situations. While in truth I know that God’s law is the only law, it sometimes seems that Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong,” is active and playing out in my life.

The feeling of overwhelm is often accompanied by stress and even fear. I have observed that when I experience situations that elicit these feelings, I habitually react in one of two ways; I either struggle with the situation (my preferred reaction) or I give up. I struggle by giving a great deal of time and attention to trying my best to “solve the problem” or “fix it.” In the past, I have given up by escaping from, or at least attempting to escape from, the situation. I give up by quitting a job, and ending relationships, both personal and professional. For many of us, other means for attempting to escape may include the use of alcohol, drugs, shopping or any number of mechanisms that serve to divert our attention from the issue at hand. All of these reactions are based in fear. We in Unity know that we create our reality by the activity of our thinking and feeling, it follows then that fearful actions can only result in experiences that reflect our fear.

There is another option. Rather than reacting from fear by struggling against or giving up, we can choose instead to respond from love. We begin by withdrawing our attention from the external experience. I find that it helps to close my eyes and breathe into the heart. When I focus my awareness in the heart, I am able to consciously connect with the God of my being. In this way, I can release attachment to the condition and surrender to God, eternal wisdom, light and love.

As we gather awareness in the heart, we are able to be still and know that God is all; God is the fulfillment of every desire in the moment. When we know that every need is met, we cannot help but experience feelings of peace and joy. There is nothing to struggle against and nothing to give up; there is only God. In this state of being, we know, and we know that we know, what is needed in any situation.

There is no need to wait until we feel overwhelmed; instead, at the first sign of emotional discomfort we can choose to take a conscious breath with the clear intention of refocusing from the external to the internal in order that we might connect with Presence in the present moment and experience the peace of God. Then, we listen for the still small voice that is constantly and consistently guiding us to our highest and best good.

Instead of feeling “over-whelmed,” we can choose instead to simply be whelmed, which Merriam-Webster defines as “overcome in thought or feeling.”  May we forever be whelmed by the realization that God is; I am.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Living From Oneness

The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’ – Acts 17: 24-28

This Sunday, February 12, I will continue my series of lessons on our five core values. This week I will be exploring ‘Oneness’ with a lesson entitled “Living From Oneness.”

When our Core Value Team met to discern our definition and rationale for our core values, we developed the following statement for ‘Oneness.’

We realize and joyously embrace our unity with God and all creation.

We are one in God.

As the first of Unity’s Five Basic Principles states “There is one Power and one Presence, active as the universe and as my life.” We most often refer to this Power and Presence as ‘God.’ I prefer to think of God as the Unified Field of Consciousness in which we all live and move and have our being. It is a field of energetic vibration from which all arises, in which all has life, and through which all is connected.

From the perspective of our human consciousness in which we primarily rely on our five physical senses to perceive reality, we seem to be separate from other persons and life forms. In truth, all is emanating from the same Source. Thus, we are one in spirit and in truth.

We are one with all creation.

Because this is true, the thoughts, words and actions of one impact the whole. An energy vibration in the mind of one creates a ripple in the Unified Field of Consciousness that impacts all. We are all affected by changes and shifts in the field.

As the Butterfly Effect postulates a seemingly small and insignificant change in the field can have far-reaching effects. We may think that our thoughts, words and actions do not make a difference, but when we realize the deeper truth of oneness, we can see that they do. One thought entertained in one mind affects the entire field.

We can sense our oneness.

We may not always be consciously aware of our connection, but each of us has innate abilities to sense our connection at levels beyond the physical senses. When we awaken those senses more fully, we become more aware of not only major changes, but also subtle shifts in the field.

Those who are familiar with the Star Wars series of movies will recognize what I am referring to as one who has become a Jedi master. He or she learns to sense the field and act in harmony with it. They learn to use the “Force” for good and can sense even subtle shifts in the field.

We all have the ability to sense the shifts in the energy field that are occurring in our country and the world now. We do not need to read and listen to the news reports or follow social media to feel the tension and unrest in the field of human consciousness. Those of us who do read or listen to the news may feel it more intensely because we are intentionally tuning into it and opening ourselves to the effects of the energy. We are, each of us, making our own choices about how we respond to it from the conscious awareness of oneness and how we live it as a core value.

We can strengthen our awareness of oneness.

Knowing the truth of our oneness and knowing that all we do impacts the whole, our opportunity is to maintain a consciousness of peace and love amid the unrest. We would have to be fully realized avatars to maintain our equilibrium amidst the shifts of energy that are occurring right now. While in truth we are all avatars, we have not yet realized it. Therefore, we must strengthen our spiritual practice.

Now is our opportunity to commit more fully to our spiritual practices, to spend more time in prayer and meditation, to focus our thoughts on truth, and to speak and act with love and integrity. We must recommit ourselves to being as Unity minister, and author Eric Butterworth phrased it “meta-missionaries,” ones who go into own minds to convert the errant thoughts and then go out into the world to share love. ¹

We can live our oneness.

Much of what we are doing, thinking and saying is habitual and based on misguided and misinformed perceptions of God, others and ourselves. Our actions are primarily based on our personal ego-identification, which is founded for the most part on a misconception of separation and fear. We must allow our own transformation through the renewing of our minds.

To live oneness as a core value, we must be willing to take an honest inventory of our own thoughts, words, actions and motivations, both individually and collectively. We must gain some understanding about why we think as we do, assess our motives for what we do and say, and gain some awareness of how we are impacting ourselves, others and the world. With understanding and awareness, we can make consciousness choices that reflect our realization of oneness.

Knowing and living oneness is the key to healing.

We do not yet grasp just how important it is for us to live from the consciousness of oneness. The belief in separation and the resulting ego-identification and fear are the cause of all the suffering in the world. Knowing our oneness in God and with all creation is the cure for everything that ails us.

When we live from the conscious awareness of oneness and think, speak and act accordingly, we are serving God, the world and indeed ourselves.

We are the ones who have the power to bring the reign of peace, good will and equality upon the earth. Knowing Oneness is the first step toward that vision.

Join us this Sunday at 10:00 as we explore the power of Living From Oneness.

¹ “Be a Center of Love” from Celebrate Yourself by Eric Butterworth

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Heart Knowing

I recently began a writing practice in which I ask questions of my inner knower and type responses as they come to me. I have found that, other than correcting spelling and a few grammar errors, these require few edits. I will be sharing them occasionally.

The following is from a session in which I questioned how I can know truth. I have italicized the answers for the sake of clarity.

We are each an emanation of the Life Principle, and we, in our human condition, are always making our way back home. The creation story in Genesis is someone’s understanding of the Truth of our condition as human beings. We are “children” of God, or expressions of God, or God in expression.

Can we be Principle in expression?

We are Principle in conscious awareness of Itself as Itself. We are the subjective consciousness of that which exists in Principle. And, we as human beings bring awareness to it. We are the leading edge of the Consciousness of creation and we, through our conscious expression, expand the creation story.

What is true?

I do not want to continue to regurgitate the information I have learned. I want to know what is true and I want to understand what is true. I don’t want to keep using the same old terminology for what is true if it is just repeating what I have heard from others. Or, if I am going to use the same old terminology I want to understand the deeper meaning of it.

I affirm: I am in my Knowing of what is true.

Drop from your thinking mind into your heart. It is not the mind as you think of the mind that asks the questions that can be answered with truth. The heart asks the questions of Truth. What is your heart asking? Allow your heart to open and ask the question.

The only question the heart asks is, “Is it true?”

The heart knows what is true. The heart does not need to ask. The heart is the point at which you are in your knowing. Your heart is the point at which you are connected to deep truth.

You know Truth in the moment that you are open and receptive to receive Truth.

Maybe your head wants to know how you can be more open to the wisdom of the heart. Maybe you really want to know how to stay more heart-centered in your daily activities so that you are living from the heart and not so much from the head thinking, the old paradigm, the customary way of being in the world. Maybe your heart wants to express.


You must practice breathing into the heart, feeling the energy of the heart and allowing the energy of the heart to have its way. There is no boundary in the heart. The boundaries arise in the head thinking, the things that you have learned that are not true. There are so many things you have learned about yourself, about the world around you and about God that are so far removed from the Truth that they have separated you from knowing what it true.

Spend more time focusing in the heart and you will know Truth. You will know Truth in every moment that you are open and receptive to it. You know what you need to know when you need to know it. You know everything in the moment.

Fear generated in the mind keeps you from recognizing the Truth when it is revealed to you. Fear creates a smoke screen, as it were, that blocks your ability to see and experience love clearly.

I have heard it said that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. What is false evidence?

It is lies. It is untruth. When you believe the lies and think that what is untrue is truth, then you fear.

You are making real what is not and can never be real. You make it real by allowing it a place in your consciousness.

You must be willing to question everything, even those things that you have believed for a long time, even those teachings that have be empowering for you. They may have served you at one time, but now can be transcended.

Do you know that your spiritual path is much like your human maturing journey?

You start with the basics and build upon that. The trouble is that so often many of you stop at the basics and do not build upon it. You say “I know how to add 2 and 2,” but you do not realize that you may also need to know how to expand into multiplication, division and even calculus.

How far do you want to go in your realization and acceptance of the truth of who and what you are?

That is a question that you must ask yourself and answer it honestly. How far do you want to go in your realization of the Truth of who and what you are? How empowered do you really want to be? How much self-responsibility do you really want to assume for your life and the life of this planet? Those are all valid questions that you are being asked to answer now. Do you really want to know the Truth? Can you handle the Truth?

Yes, I want to know the Truth. I want to realize the truth of my being and the being of all.

Then, listen to your heart.

What do you mean, listen to my heart? How do I listen to my heart in a way that is going to help me to realize the truth?

We are not speaking of the physical heart. We are speaking of the heart as it relates to that first impulse of life that lived itself forward as you. There is consciousness in every atom, in every cell. There is consciousness in the ovum and in the sperm. There is consciousness in every living thing. And there is life in every living thing. The same life is living in every living thing. And everything is living whether you realize that or not. Even this keyboard that is receiving the tap tap tap of your fingers is living. It has life and it is vibrating at a frequency whether you are aware of it or not.

Do you understand the miracle of creation that you are and that all living things are? Do you understand the miracle of that spark of life that lives as you and as me and as all creation?

That is what we mean when we say listen to the heart. It is there at the center of your being.

What do you mean by ‘being?’

We do not mean a physical being or a body. When we say being, we might better use the world ‘Beingness.’ It is the livingness of that which is you, that which is uniquely you. It is the self-livingness of the Creative Principle that is uniquely you and that is the heart.

At the heart of your Beingness you are aware of your connection with Creative Principle, thus aware of your connection with all that is living. And in that conscious connection you know what is yours to do in every moment to be in service to that Creative Principle; to serve yourself, all others and all creation to which you are tied and are a part.

When we talk about listening to your heart, we are not talking about listening to the self or to a higher power or to guides, teachers and masters, or angels, etc. We are talking about listening for the heart of Creation and hearing your part in it in every moment. For every moment is alive and the energy is moving in and through you and all that you witness. You are all that you see, you cannot be a separate self any longer and you must open yourself to the realization that you are not and have never been thus. You, in your heart awareness, are all of creation playing your unique role in its unfolding.

In watching the television show, "Travelers," last night you saw that the “master” sent messengers in the form of children and others, to deliver messages to the travelers who were from another time and place. In a similar way that is what happens when you listen to the heart. The heart will keep you on track, on purpose, on mission. Do you remember that the messengers were there to help the travelers stay on mission? The travelers knew what their mission was. Do you know what your mission is?

You first need to know the mission in order to know if you are on task with the mission.

Your mission is to do what is yours to do to serve God, or to serve Creative Principle. You do not need to know any more than that, even though that is difficult for you to accept because you want to see the entire picture. You want a roadmap for what to do and how to get there. You have to trust that the heart will guide you step by step along the way if you will only listen to it.

You know how to listen to it. You know when you have been in the Heart Knowing. You have a perfect touchstone in the knowing you received about coming to Denver.

The knowing of the heart does not always fill you with excitement and enthusiasm. Sometimes the knowing of the heart will tell you that what the ego wants or thinks it wants is not on mission for you or for others.

You must keep conscious of the knowing that it is not about YOU. It is about serving the greater good of all creation. You are in service and you have given yourself to that service. Listen to the heart, not the head when it comes to making your decisions.  When you do that and follow your Knowing, you may not always love where you end up, but you will know that you are living in a state of grace that allows you to serve the highest good for all creation even if it is uncomfortable or even painful for you personally.

Continue to affirm “I am in my Heart Knowing” and listen for the answers that come. You may even want to imagine that you are listening to the vibrational frequency of that spark of Light, an emanation of God that is the beginning of all creation thus the beginning of your creation, but more so to that spark of creation that was the beginning of your incarnation in this lifetime. You are a part of all creation and are serving it moment by moment.

So, back to the creation story in Genesis. The writer(s) of that story told the story allegorically of the human condition, thus your condition. And, you are waiting for a place or a time or some point in the future when you will return to the garden, when you will rediscover the place of walking and talking in harmony with God, Creative Principle. Unfortunately, that story has been misunderstood.

You have never left the garden except in your mind. Your heart still abides in the garden, you just have to let your head remember that. You abide eternally in the garden, the consciousness of all good, and you will never be separate from it. Remember that, and all your thoughts, words and actions will be in alignment with it.

Stop before you speak or act and check in with the heart of you. What is the Truth? Teach the truth. Speak the Truth. Act from the Truth. And you will manifest and demonstrate in alignment with that Truth in every moment of every day. Return to the garden now, know your communion with Creative Principle and know that you ever walk in that Truth.