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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pentecost Now!

I have said it before, and I will say it again, now: Metaphysical Bible interpretation is one of the many things I love about Unity. I deeply value this method of understanding Scripture. It has given me an appreciation for the truth teaching in the Bible that I did not enjoy before I discovered Unity.

Prior to gaining some understanding of metaphysical Bible interpretation I would never have dreamed that I would conduct a Sunday service focusing on Pentecost; however, I plan to do just that this coming Sunday as it is Pentecost Sunday in the liturgical calendar.

Pentecost from my traditional Christian background was confusing. I used to associate it with Pentecostal churches where people would dance in the aisles after being “slayed in the Spirit,” or speak in tongues while gyrating feverishly. I found it a bit scary.

When explored from a metaphysical perspective, Pentecost is a potent reminder for us all of the power of realizing Unity consciousness; remembering our divine nature; and knowing and expressing truth clearly with grounded enthusiasm.

In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, Unity co-founder Charles Fillmore explains the “day of Pentecost” in this way,

The metaphysical meaning of the "day of Pentecost" is that in the unfoldment of the spiritual mind there are periods when the ideas that we have meditated on, and accepted as true, spring forth into consciousness, becoming living realities in our life instead of mere mental concepts. In this awakening we get the fruits of the ideas that we have planted in our mind; we have escaped from darkness (Egypt) and have entered into light (Promised Land).

Our spiritual awakening begins with an intellectual understanding of concepts and ideas. We read books; take classes; and learn the practices of prayer, meditation, contemplation, denials and affirmations. Active engagement in our spiritual practices develops an understanding and deeper connection with the principles. Continual practice eventually leads to the realization, which Mr. Fillmore defines as “the deep inner conviction and assurance of the fulfillment of an ideal,” and their embodiment through our thoughts, emotions, words and actions. 

Mr. Fillmore continues,

To the one who is awakened to spiritual reality, the "day of Pentecost" signifies the degree of mind action that brings to consciousness the presence of Spirit as substance.

This is a powerful statement. Mr. Fillmore is saying that at this level of spiritual awakening one realizes that Spirit (God) and substance, that which is the foundation for all creation, are One. From this consciousness, one claims the power of dominion over the manifest world. This is the consciousness from which one says “Let there be…” and the substance takes shape as form. This level of embodiment empowers one to be a conscious demonstrator of divine ideas.

Mr. Fillmore further states,

"The day of Pentecost" signifies a gathering of spiritual powers for the purpose of harvesting the first fruits of Spirit; otherwise, a dedicating of these new forces of Spirit to unselfish service in the vineyard of the Lord.

Here, Mr. Fillmore says that one who attains this conscious realization of unity has gathered and developed all the spiritual powers represented by Jesus’s disciples in the Acts 2 account. These spiritual powers are to be used in “unselfish service” to the Christ, the True Nature of each individual, and in service to the common good of humanity. In short, we are to use our spiritual powers to strengthen our conscious awareness of our divinity so that we can more fully serve the divinity in all others.

Like all Bible stories, the “day of Pentecost” is not just an event that happened in the distant past that we can only observe from a historical perspective. The “day of Pentecost” metaphysically represents a state of illumined consciousness in which one knows, and knows that he knows, unity in God and with all humanity. It is a state of consciousness in which our spiritual powers have been ignited and are awakened in service to the Christ of our being and the Christ in all. It is a state of awakened awareness that is accessible to each of us in every moment.

Much like the crucifixion and resurrection from a metaphysical perspective, the “day of Pentecost” is not a one-time occurrence. We can arise in that consciousness in any moment that we are willing, open and receptive to the revelation and realization of our True Nature. Let this moment be your Pentecost, now!

Join us on Sunday at 10:00, Unity Spiritual Center Denver, for our service as we further explore Pentecost, its significant potential, and what it may signify along our spiritual journeys.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Memorial Day Vision

This coming Monday is Memorial Day, a federal holiday in the United States that honors those who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. It originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War. On Decoration Day, survivors honored deceased Union soldiers by decorating their graves. A similar practice developed for those who died serving the Confederacy. Memorial Day became an official national holiday in 1971 and honors all men and women who have died during their military service.

Those who died are honored in a variety of ways. The National Memorial Day parade and concert are held annually in Washington, D.C., and many cities around the country hold similar observances. Decorating the graves of the fallen is a common practice as well. For example, it is traditional for the President to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at Arlington National Cemetery and each of the graves there is decorated with an American flag on Memorial Day. While in Dallas, I lived a few years in a house where the yard adjoined a cemetery. Every year on Memorial Day families would gather there and have a cookout and picnic in honor of their loved ones. I thought it odd to have a picnic in a cemetery, but it was their way of paying homage.

I appreciate and deeply respect our desire to honor those who died in service to our country. At Unity Spiritual Center Denver it is traditional to have a candle lighting ceremony during our service the Sunday prior to Memorial Day. We will continue that tradition this year. It is good to recognize those who made the ultimate sacrifice as we light a candle in their honor or place flowers or a flag on their graves. While these traditions and celebrations are important, I further encourage each of us to go a little deeper this year.

I suggest that we can best honor those who died by doing all that we can, individually and collectively, to ensure that at some point in the not too distant future there is no need for a Memorial Day. Vision a world where there is no longer a person alive who remembers someone who died in war. You may think that this is the impossible dream, but it is not. Peace is possible, and it begins with you and with me. I am reminded of the following from the Lao Tze,

If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations, there must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities, there must be peace among neighbors.
If there is to be peace among neighbors, there must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart.

Peace in the world begins with peace in the heart. And, peace in the heart begins as each of us remembers and claims the truth of who we are as unique and wondrous expressions of Love. And, when we remember it for ourselves and truly embrace that knowing, we also know it for each other and for all life. When we know that all is an expression of Love, we know our unity with all creation. We know ourselves as God expressing. God cannot be in conflict with itself.

Conflict can only occur in a mind that believes in the possibly of separation. When we think we are separate from God, we naturally feel fear. When we feel fear, we believe we have to protect ourselves. But, who is the ‘self’ that we are protecting? The ‘self’ we would protect is the illusory self that in truth only exists in our minds. When we believe in the illusory self, we tend to fight to protect who we think we are, or what we think is ours.

Conflict cannot occur in the heart, because the heart knows unity with God. When we surrender our minds to our hearts and allow thoughts and actions to be inspired from the heart, we think, speak and act from love. When we speak, think, and act from love there is no ‘me’ or ‘mine;’ there is only ‘we’ and ‘ours.’ War happens in the space of a belief in ‘me’ and ‘mine,’ and ‘us’ and ‘them.’

In Truth there is only One and that One does not know ‘me,’ ‘mine,’ ‘us’ or ‘them.’ The One only knows itself as ‘I Am that I Am.’ When we know our True Selves as that and all others as that as well, there is no conflict, thus there is no war.

To assist in knowing peace in the heart, I offer the following:

Begin by saying aloud or in the silence of your own mind, “I Am that I Am.” As you use the power of the “I Am” to make this proclamation, you affirm the knowing of your heart and align your mind to Truth. This statement declares your unity in God, and restores peace to your mind.

In that alignment, choose to witness that same Truth for all others. As you walk about in your day, silently witness others by saying to yourself “I Am. You are I Am.” In doing this, you are calling yourself to the remembrance of your unity with all of humanity. Additionally, you are calling others into remembrance as well.

This Memorial Day let us come together to honor those who have died in service to freedom and peace by claiming freedom and peace in our minds as we choose to know and proclaim our unity in God and with all creation. Let us be the ones who bring peace to the world by first knowing peace in our hearts.

Join us on Sunday at 10:00 as we honor those who have died in service to our country and hold the vision for a world where a Memorial Day is a distant memory.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Do Thoughts Create Our Reality?

I have said many times that I “live in the question.” In doing so, I have discovered that living in the question often elicits more questions than answers. I have recently been pondering one of Unity’s primary tenets. I have been questioning whether our thoughts actually create our reality. I decided to take a risk and share some of my current thoughts and insights on the question. I wholeheartedly welcome your feedback and comments. I trust our shared wisdom.

Most of us are familiar with the popular adage that says “Change your thinking; change your life.” As far as I can discern this phrase was first introduced by author and self-development trainer, Brian Tracy, in the book by the same name. Popular self-help author and motivational speaker, Dr. Wayne Dyer, later capitalized on the idea in his best-selling book, Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life. Subsequently, other speakers and authors, like Pastors Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen, have popularized this teaching in the more mainstream conservative religious movement. Of course the idea did not begin with any of them. The belief in the power of our thoughts dates back centuries and forms the foundation for the New Thought movement of which Unity is a part.

In fact, one of Unity’s five basic principles is “We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.” This is how it is stated on the website. In her book, The Five Principles, author Reverend Ellen Debenport restates this principle as, “Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought.”

When I first began my journey with New Thought I believed this to be an empowering teaching. I accepted it as Truth and worked with this principle in hopes that I would have everything in life I wanted once I mastered the ability to control my thoughts. And, I admit that I have experienced what I believed were “results” of focusing my thoughts and feelings on the things and experiences I desired.

Lately, however, I have been questioning the soundness of this teaching. I realize that this flies in the face of a foundational teaching of the New Thought movement, but I am just no longer comfortable embracing and continuing to teach it because…

  •        It can be empowering to those of us who are born into a certain level of prosperity and privilege, because we are given opportunities to thrive and prosper; opportunities that many others do not enjoy. Telling someone born into poverty or into a society in which they are dehumanized that they create their experience according to their way of thinking is not only disempowering, but also extremely unkind.
  •        Suggesting that someone created a physical illness through their way of thinking can stimulate a great deal of pain and guilt for them, and their loved ones. Again, it is not compassionate or kind. And, is it really true?
  •        Most of us don’t have control over our thoughts. Yes, we all have the potential to control our thoughts, but most of us, I dare say the majority of us, have not mastered control of our minds. In fact, if we could observe the thinking that goes in our minds on a minute-by-minute basis, we would recognize that thoughts arise without any effort on our part, and we remain unaware of most of them.
  •         If our thoughts create our reality, which thoughts out of the millions – conscious and subconcious – would that be? Again, if we could record just one day of our thoughts and review them, I believe we would readily see that our ordinary thinking has little to do with how the external world is shaped. Rather, the majority of our thinking is actually nothing more than commentary on what is already happening in the external world.
  •         The majority of the thinking that occurs in our minds centers around who we think we are and what we think about who we think we are. Further, who we think we are and how we judge who we are greatly influences how we view others and the world around us and determines our reactions. Our reactions to our thinking, what we say and do, creates our experience, and resonates that in energy from and through us, more than anything else.
I recently discovered support for my questioning from my favorite Unity author, Eric Butterworth. In this book, In the Flow of Life, he refers to the process of attempting to control one’s thoughts as “mental programming.” He suggests that it is arrogance to believe that we are responsible for our physical wellbeing or the state of our finances. He also asserts that we cannot control our experience by engaging in “mental programming.”

He states that there is only one Source of all our healing, success and overcoming. That Source is God, or what he calls “the universal flow” Further, Butterworth, posits that…

“Thought of itself does not create [emphasis mine]. It either places us consciously in the universal flow or it frustrates the flow. If we think sickness or lack, we do not manufacture those things. When the thought is out of synchronization with the flow of life, then, even as anything cut off from its source, we “come to know want.”

Mr. Butterworth supports my current understanding that our thinking does not create our experience, but it can serve to align our consciousness with the all prevailing Good of the universal flow. Conversely, our thinking can also restrict the flow thus causing us to act in ways that do not serve our highest good.

While it may not actually create our external reality, our thinking does affect our internal experience which in turn impacts what we experience externally, but our thinking does not actually create or control reality.

I hold that “The Flow of Life” to which Rev. Butterworth refers is the flow of Divine Love in, through and as all creation. Therefore, for us to be in sync with the flow, our thoughts must embody the frequency of Love. When our thoughts do not resonate with Love, we are frustrating the flow, and not experiencing the fullness of the Life that is eternally expressing through us.

We can know when we are in the flow of Love by engaging in practices of self-connection. I suggest we take time during each day, even if just a minute or two, and follow these steps:

  • Breathe consciously and deeply.
  • Invite yourself to become aware of the body.
  • First, simply notice the feeling of the clothing against your skin, or your feet against the floor.
  • Next, scan your body and notice any tension or discomfort.
  • Without judgment, breathe into those areas and gently release as you exhale.
  • Continuing, invite yourself to become consciously aware of your emotions. Remember that emotions are “energy in motion.” By becoming aware of them, you are sensing the flow of energy. Do not attempt to change them or control them. For now, just notice them.
  • Now, notice your thoughts, again without judgment. Like emotions, thoughts are energy, they are neither good nor bad; they just are.
  • Sense the feeling nature of your thoughts. Are they resonating with Love? This is discernment, not judgment.
  • If the feeling nature is not love, breathe deeply into your heart space, bring to mind an image of something or someone that easily stimulates thoughts and feelings of love.
  • Now, surrender your mind to the energy of love in the heart, and allow love to transmute your thoughts.
  • As love becomes your predominate vibration, you move into “The Flow of Life” and become an emanation of love, thus an attractor of love.

As Rev. Butterworth stated, our thoughts do not create our reality; they either open us to the flow or frustrate the flow of Life as us. We participate in creating our desired external experiences by become consciously aware of our thoughts and feelings and taking steps to adjust them when they are not in alignment with Love. It is a simple concept, but it is not always easy and certainly not, for most of us, instantaneous. It is a process – a process that begins with increasing our level of self-awareness – moment by moment.

We have the power to choose our thoughts. Let us use it wisely.

Join us on Sunday for our 10:00 service as we welcome author, thought leader and contemplative activist, Brandan Robertson, as our guest speaker. You may read more about Brandan on his website –

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Conscious Remembrance

Ramana Marshi, a great teacher in the yoga tradition, said that to attain inner freedom one must continually ask the question, “Who am I?”

Gangaji, in her book, The Diamond in Your Pocket – Discovering Your True Radiance, says, “The most important question you will ever ask yourself is, “Who am I?”  You may listen to an excerpt from the book by clicking the following link:

Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth shares his story of awakening when one day he heard himself say, “I can no longer live with myself.”  As he heard himself speak those words, he wondered, “Who is the ‘I’ and who is the ‘self’ that ‘I’ can no longer live with?”  Thus began his journey to discovering his truth and claiming his freedom.

Who are you, really?  We often define ourselves by our bodies, whether we are male or female; tall or short; young or old. We also describe ourselves according to our emotional state at any given moment; i.e., “I am angry.”   Perhaps most commonly we label ourselves according to the roles we play in life, as in, “I am a mother,” or “I am an accountant.”  In keeping with our social norms, when asked, “Who are you?” we most often respond by giving our name, occupation, or by sharing some aspect of our life experience to which the questioner can readily relate. 

The ‘self’ to which Tolle referred is comprised of all of those labels; however, none of them can define who we truly are. Our true Self is changeless and eternal. It can best be understood as ‘awareness,’ that which is aware of the body, emotional state, and the roles we play at any point in time. Gangaji says, “You are awareness and awareness is consciousness.” The consciousness that was aware of the body, the mind and the emotions at age ten is the same consciousness that is aware of the body, the mind, and the emotions today. While all of those external conditions change, consciousness remains constant.

Tolle expounds on this truth in the forward to Gangaji’s book. He says,

“Know the truth and the truth shall set you free. These words spoken by Jesus refer not to some conceptual truth, but to the truth of who you are beyond name and form. They refer not to something that you need to know about yourself, but a deeper, yet extraordinarily simple knowing, in which the knower and the known merge into one. I am not what happens, but the space in which it happens. This knowing, this living truth, frees you from identification with form, from time, as well as from a false, mind-made sense of self. What is that space in which everything happens? Consciousness prior to form.”

In his book, Immortal Diamond: The Search for our True Self, Fr. Richard Rohr, in referring to the True Self says,

“It is a reverence humming within you that must be honored. Call it soul, the unconscious, deep consciousness, or the indwelling Holy Spirit. Call it nothing. It does not need the right name or right religion to show itself. It does not need to be understood. It is usually wordless. It just is, and shows itself best when we are silent, or in love, or both. It is God-in-All-Things yet not circumscribed by any one thing. Once in a while, this True Self becomes radiant and highly visible in one lovely place or person. Superbly so, and for all to see, in the body of the Risen Christ.”

In Unity, we speak of the ‘Christ’ as the Divine Idea for humanity in God-Mind. From that understanding, the Christ, as the essence of each of us, is the impulse of God-Mind (Divine Intelligence, Power, Order, Beauty, etc.) within us to know ourselves in Unity with God. The Christ is the Divine Urge, inherent within each of us, for the continued evolution of consciousness. The Christ, the True Self, as the evolutionary impulse within us, is constantly drawing us along the evolutionary spiral toward conscious union in God-Mind.

As we awaken to the indwelling Christ and continue to expand our awareness of the Christ as our True Self, we become the embodiment of the Christ Ideal in consciousness. And, we know ourselves in Oneness with God-Mind, Allness. We, too, can become the Christ in visibility as did our way shower Jesus. As Tolle said, it is “an extraordinarily simple knowing, when the knower and the known merge into one.”

It is important for us to remember that the Christ is not a “Who:” It is our Essential Nature. The Christ is not a “What:” It does not have existence as an object outside of self. The Christ does not exist in time and space; therefore it is nowhere.

Rather than continually asking, “Who am I?” I suggest we choose to live in conscious remembrance of our Divine Nature and boldly proclaim, “I Am the Christ,” and allow the mind, body and spirit to experience alignment with that truth.

Join us on Sunday for our 10:00 service as we celebrate Mother’s Day and explore further the concept of “Conscious Remembrance.”

Friday, May 5, 2017

Embodying Christ

In my post last week and in my lesson this past Sunday I talked about what I believe is next for us as we explore the significance of Easter and embrace the transformation that it heralds. In my personal intention and quest for authentic transformation, I am continuing to contemplate the potential and question “How?” In what follows, I share some of my insights.

If we are to truly know ourselves as “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) which means to know ourselves as the manifestations of Christ consciousness in body, mind and spirit, it is necessary for us to question the thoughts about ourselves that we allow to limit us. We are called to a higher understanding of who we truly are and to a higher standard of expressing in the world through our thoughts, words and actions.

Take to heart the words of St. Paul from his letter to the church at Philippi.

Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God thought it not blasphemy to be equal with God.
– Philippians 2: 5-6

In this letter to the Philippians, Paul encourages the members of the community to have the same mind that was in Jesus. From an historical and literal perspective he is asking his followers to be more like Jesus, and rather than exalting themselves, to instead consider all others as equals. Further, to be in service to and treat each other with love and respect. He is calling followers into a higher expression of the Christ principle.

From a metaphysical perspective, Paul, who represents the spiritualized will in humankind, is calling us into a higher consciousness, to awaken to who we truly are as the Christ. He is calling us to know, as Jesus did, that “The father and I are one” (John 10:30), and to release any idea that doing so is heresy.

In his letter to the Romans Paul instructs the community as follows:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. – Romans 12:2

Our minds need to be renewed because we have succumbed to the limiting fearful thoughts that pervade the collective consciousness. We have believed the things that the world, our parents, our religions, and our society have told us about ourselves. We have taken on the ideas of the world. It is time for us to allow the Christ mind to be our mind, thus renewing our minds so that our lives, in all their manifestations, may be transformed. As we are transformed in body, mind and spirit we serve to assist in the transformation of the world.

We can begin to renew our minds by affirming the truth about ourselves, thus aligning our minds, hearts and spirits with the Absolute Truth. Through daily practice of affirmations, we condition our minds with the thoughts of God Mind. Eventually, they will become realizations of truth, and we will experience the transformation in consciousness and in embodiment.

The affirmations I am currently using are:

The mind that was in Christ Jesus is my mind now.
I live, yet not I but Christ lives as me.
I think, yet not I but Christ thinks as me.
I speak, yet not I but Christ speaks as me.
I see, yet not I but Christ speaks as me.
I hear, yet not I but Christ speaks as me.
I act, yet not I but Christ acts as me.

I encourage you to join me in aligning with these statements. I assure you that as you do you will begin to experience a shift.

Charles Fillmore, the cofounder of Unity said,

In [humanity] a wonderful being is in process of creation. This being is spiritual [human], who will be equal with God, when he overcomes… What metaphysicians most need is a comprehension of the factors that go to make up consciousness. This requires discrimination, judgment, and self-analysis. - The Twelve Powers

It is vitally important in our attainment of Christ consciousness that we develop, increase and maintain our conscious self-awareness (self-analysis). Only through our willingness and capacity to be aware of our thoughts and feelings can we make the decision to change them.

In addition, it is important for us to practice non-attachment. As we become aware of our limiting thoughts and painful emotions it is vital that we allow ourselves to experience them, but equally important that we do not attach to them. If, through our practice of self-awareness, we become aware that we are identified with our thoughts or emotions, we can call upon the indwelling Christ to help us to see our truth, let go and let God.

The Christ awareness abides eternally at the core of our being awaiting our recognition and realization of it. When we intentionally call it into remembrance, it is always there to respond. I recall from my time in the Baptist church hearing the phrase, “Cast your cares up Jesus.” Today, I interpret that to mean, lay it all at the altar of the indwelling Christ and seek to be aware of another way of knowing self or perceiving the situation.

What’s next for us is to make the conscious choices that will further our transformation into to the “spiritual [human], who will be equal with God” that Mr. Fillmore refers to in the quote above. The “spiritual human” is the embodiment of the Christ principle in humanity. It is the fulfillment of the revelation to John who said,

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them. – Revelation 21:3

My hope and my prayer is that we sincerely follow in the footsteps of our brother and way shower, Jesus Christ and proclaim with him, “For this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37). That we are each the Christ in expression is the truth to which we are here to bear witness. We bear witness by being the very presence of the Christ in all we think, say and do. In doing so, we bring the consciousness and the demonstration of heaven upon the Earth.

Join us on Sunday for our 10:00 service as we explore further what it means to know our unity in God and be the Christ in the world.