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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mastering Freedom

I am continuing in this post with the series I began last week on answering the question…

“What does it mean to be a Spiritual Master?”

I encourage each of us to affirm daily:

I am a Spiritual Master
I am awakened to my Mastery
I am mastering my Mastery

With continued repetition we align the energy fields of our minds, spirits and bodies with these statements of Truth.

In my lesson at Unity Spiritual Center Denver this past Sunday, June 25, 2017 (listen here), I stated that I am approaching this exploration of Spiritual Mastery from what I have termed “The 3 R’s of Spiritual Mastery.” They are: Recognition, Realization and Revelation.

RECOGNITION can better be understood as “Re-cognition.” By that I mean that we are not learning anything new. Instead, we are remembering or re-cognizing the Truth that is held eternally within our hearts as the essence of who we are – Christ – the only begotten idea in God Mind for each of us. “Re-cognition” is primarily a mental process.

REALIZATION, for my purpose, is better stated as “Real-I-Iz-ation.” By that I mean to denote the process by which we fully embrace the consciousness of the “Real I” which again is Christ. While “Re-cognition” is a mental process, “Real-I-Iz-ation” is the knowing of the heart. It requires us to take the awareness of the Truth of our being-ness into our spirits and embody it.

REVELATION, or “Reveal-ation” is the process by which we demonstrate through our thoughts, words and actions what we have “re-cognized” and “real-i-iz-ed.” As Unity’s fifth basic principle states, we must live the Truth we know. Through “Reveal-ation” we are revealing to ourselves, and the world, the Truth that we are.

I am a Spiritual Master is a statement of “Re-cognition.”
I am awakened to my Mastery is a statement of “Real-I-Iz-ation.”
I am mastering my Mastery is a statement of “Reveal-ation.”

In my lesson (listen here), I explored what a Spiritual Master knows about ‘Abundance.’ In honor of our observance of Independence Day coming up on July 4th, let’s explore what a Spiritual Master knows about Freedom.

A Spiritual Master knows that knowing the Truth sets you free.

The Spiritual Master, Jesus of Nazareth, when speaking to the Jews who believed in him said to them, “if you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8: 31 & 32) Quite often, the only portion of that Scripture we hear and that we are most familiar with is “the truth will set you free.” However, taking that out of context dilutes the teaching. Jesus, speaking from the Christ consciousness, says that we will know the truth by “following in his word,” in other words by following his teaching we may all attain his level of oneness consciousness. Only when we know the Truth of our Oneness will we truly be free. Knowing the Truth of ourselves as God expressing sets us free in mind, spirit and body.

In her seminal text, Lessons in Truth, author H. Emilie Cady says,

“Man will grow up through various stages and by various processes to the divine or spiritual understanding wherein he is one with the Father, and wherein he is free from all suffering, because he has conscious dominion over all things. Somewhere on this journey the human consciousness, or intellect, comes to a place where it gladly bows to its spiritual self and confesses that this spiritual self, its Christ, is highest and is Lord…Everyone must sooner or later come to this point of experience.”

Knowing the Truth of the Power and Wisdom of God indwelling sets us free from the self-imposed bondage of our own limited thinking and beliefs.

A Spiritual Master knows that only we can set ourselves free.

In the Bible passage referenced above, those to whom Jesus was speaking said to him, “We are sons of Abraham. We have never been enslaved to anyone. What do you mean we will be set free?”  To which Jesus replied, “Anyone who sins is a slave to sin.” In my lesson on Sunday, June 18 (listen here), I discussed Unity’s interpretation of “sin.”¹

Metaphysically, Jesus is stating that anyone who fails to “Real-I-Ize” his True Nature as the Christ is “missing the mark” and will forever be enslaved to the belief in separation and subject to the associated fears. Knowing the Truth in mind and heart frees us from enslavement to “sin,” saves us from fear and empowers us to live as love in the world. It is a choice, one that each of us may make for ourselves moment-by-moment. There is no one, no teacher, no guru, no savior, other than the one we see in the mirror, who can set us free. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

A Spiritual Master know that freedom exists now.

The following is an excerpt from my book, In This Moment, Prayers from the Well of Awareness, which you may purchase here.

If time has any relevance, it is relevant solely as the present, the moment in time we can now. Only now can you have emotion. Only now can you be aware. Only now can you know. Only now can you choose. Only now can you breathe. Only now can you have any sensory experience, whether taste, touch, sight, smell or sound. Anything else is just a memory or a dream, and neither is reality in the present. What is real now is what is present in all its wonder and glory now.

The mind often longs for a past that does not exist or dreams of a future that will never be. The mind can prevent our being fully alive to the moment [and enslave us to a painful past or a hopeful future.] The awakening happens when the mind focuses on what is and allows what is to be the perfection that it is. In that holy instant, the awareness of [Oneness] reawakens. In that moment, peace is remembered, and love flows in freedom.

Now is the moment of power. It is time now for us to claim our freedom and be Spiritual Masters.

Join us on Sunday at 10:00 for our service as we explore more about Mastering Freedom.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Spiritual Mastery

In my post last week (read it here), I said that I am currently living in the question, “What does growing up spiritually look like?”

After living in the question for a week, the question has now morphed into, “What does it mean to be a Spiritual Master?”

Earlier this week, I received the following message during meditation:

You are a Spiritual Master.
You are awakening to your Mastery.
You are mastering your Mastery.

Claiming your Spiritual Mastery is the first step in awakening from the dream, the dream that you are anything other than the image/likeness of God.

The first step in being a Spiritual Master is claiming that you already are that. In the creation story in Genesis 1 we are told that we are created as the image/likeness of God - Creative Life Energy, One Mind, Pure Perfect Light and Life – and that we are given dominion over all the things of the earth. This is a pronouncement of our Mastery.

In Unity, we often say, “I am one with God;” “God and I are one;” or “I know my unity in God.” While all of these statements are true, they are not affirmations of Absolute Truth because each of them denoted duality. The words ‘with’ and ‘and’ signify a relationship between things; therefore indicate that there are two, not one. Our Absolute Truth can better be stated as “My identity is God.” I prefer, “I Am that I Am,” or “I Am Pure Light and Life.” You are Pure Light and Life. You are the Presence of the Power of God. You are the Power of God’s Presence. You are the image/likeness of the One.

Metaphysically, “all the things of the earth” represents all that appears in the manifest realm. We know from our Unity teaching, as Emmet Fox so eloquently stated, that life is consciousness. In other words, all that we experience in the manifest realm has its beginning in consciousness, and is a projection of consciousness. Our consciousness is comprised of our thoughts, feelings and beliefs – all that makes up our conscious and subconscious minds. We have dominion over our consciousness through the gift and power of freewill choice.

You are a Spiritual Master experiencing your human incarnation as a reflection of the level at which you have awakened to and mastered that Truth.

When you awaken spiritually, you are no longer caught in the dream of separation. You are awakened to your True Nature as the image/likeness of God. Spiritual awakening for some happens in a flash, in an instant, and some are able to maintain the consciousness of oneness and live from it. Most of us, however, experience spiritual awakening incrementally. It is a process of realizing our Truth and integrating those realizations into our consciousness.

A Spiritual Master recognizes that the human experience is a journey back to remembrance of our True Nature. We allow life experiences to show where we are in respect to the realization of Truth and the integration of it. We do not claim perfect expression, yet aspire to it. Each experience is an opportunity to learn and grow.

You master your Mastery through each choice you make to live as a Spiritual Master.

My understanding of this message is: You no longer resist any aspect of life. You recognize that life happens for you. Everyone and everything in your life is there to help you awaken more completely from the dream; to go from who you are not to the fullness of who you are. You allow life to be as it is and welcome each opportunity to remember your divinity.

You stop waiting for the next phenomenal experience, the latest and greatest spiritual teacher or book, or the voice from heaven to call to you. You are no longer a spiritual seeker; you are a spiritual Knower. You realize that what you have been seeking is that which you already are. You know, and you know that you know, who you are. Further, you know that God is the all that you are. There is nothing to be found outside the Self that you are.

You are no longer in bondage to the desires of the adverse ego¹ dominated mind. Your life energy is no longer spent engaging in activities that strengthen and support the false self, the image of who you are not, which is based in fear. Instead, you direct your life energy toward fulfilling the desires of the Spirit which is always in service to Love – Love for the Light and Life, I Am; Love for the world; and Love for the True Self – which in Truth are all one and the same. You are awakened to Love, as Love, in service to Love.

You stop looking to anyone else as your source for anything, including love. You realize that there is only one Source and you are the expression of that Source. As A Course in Miracles says, “Only what you are not giving can be lacking in any situation.” Anything that you believe is lacking from your experience is what you are not giving. You realize that all that you ever desire lies within you, as you. You open your spiritual eyes and ears to receive all that is eternally available.

You are a Spiritual Master.
You are awakening to your Mastery.
You are mastering your Mastery.

Join us on Sunday at 10:00 for our service as we explore further what it means for us to claim our Spiritual Mastery, awaken more fully to it, and master it.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Sins of the Father

Earlier this week the song, “I Won’t Grow Up” from the musical Peter Pan, began running through my head. In the play, Peter Pan leads a group of boys in singing the song. Here is an excerpt.

I won’t grow up.
I don’t want to go to school
Just to learn to be a parrot
And recite a silly rule.
Never gonna be a man,
I won't!
Like to see somebody try
And make me.
Anyone who wants to try
And make me turn into a man,
Catch me if you can.
I won't grow up.
Not a penny will I pinch.
I will never grow a mustache,
Or a fraction of an inch.
'Cause growing up is awfuller
Than all the awful things that ever were.

At times, I can relate to Peter and the sentiments expressed in the song. It seems as though growing up carries with it much more responsibility than I sometimes care to take on.

I was reminded of this song as I reflected upon a meeting. I was having a conversation about a situation that could prove to be quite important in the life of our spiritual community. As I was listening to the others speak, I became aware that I was feeling nervous. I recognized that I was telling myself that I did not know how to respond to what was being shared. In that moment, I was thinking of myself as a ten-year-old boy rather than a fifty-six-year-old man. Something inside me was screaming “I won’t grow up. I don’t want to be the leader.”

Having the awareness of my thoughts and feelings brought me back to the moment. I remembered that I am the senior minister and spiritual leader of this ministry and that I do, in fact, have some skills that will help me respond to this or any situation.

Unlike Peter, I recognize the importance of growing up. I am not advocating giving up child-like joy and innocence. Rather, I am suggesting that we embrace growing up into spiritually mature adults who embody our spiritual awakening through our thoughts, words, and actions.

I have said this again and again, and I will say it again here: I love living in the question. Living in the question opens up new and wondrous possibilities.

The question I am choosing to live in now is –

What does growing up spiritually look like?

With this post I am beginning a series in which I will share some of my insights.

     You no longer allow yourself to be defined or limited by your past beliefs or conditioning.

This Sunday, June 18, is Father’s Day. I don’t give a great deal of attention to the day any longer. My father died in 2003, so the days of sending cards and calling him have passed. However, knowing that Father’s Day is approaching, I have thought of my dad more the past few days. And, considering my current questioning, have contemplated growing up spiritually in light of my relationship with him.

The Bible tells us that the sins of the father are visited upon the children (Exodus 20:5). I don’t believe that means that the children will be punished for the transgressions of theirs fathers. From a Unity perspective, ’sin’ means to “miss the mark.” Also, in The Revealing Word, Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore says that ‘sin’ is “wrong thinking” or “error thought.” ‘Sin’ refers to any thought of separation and the resulting actions.

‘Sin’ begins with a belief that we are separate from God, thus separate from our higher selves, and separate from each other. When our actions are stimulated from a core belief in separation, they are often damaging, not only to ourselves, but also to others and the world around us.

‘Sin’ is born of misinterpretation or misunderstanding of truth. When fathers incorrectly assume that their beliefs are truth and teach their misperceptions to their children the “sins of the father are visited upon the children.” If those beliefs remain unexamined, they continue to be passed from generation to generation and are promulgated throughout a culture.

When we are awakened to our spiritual truth and know our oneness in God and our unity with humanity and all creation, it is incumbent upon us to make conscious and correct the “sins of the father.” Otherwise, they may continue active in our subconscious and play out in our lives.

Charles Fillmore said that self-awareness is a prelude to Christ consciousness. It is imperative that we invite self-awareness and observe our thoughts and actions that may be based upon “sin.”

As we become aware of our unconscious “sin,” it may be tempting to punish ourselves with our judgments and condemnation. That is not helpful. It is important for us to extend love to ourselves in the midst of this self-discovery. Only love has the power to heal.

Once we are aware, we can make conscious choices. We can use our spiritual practice of denial and no longer give power to those thoughts. We can then begin to affirm the truth that we know. As we reprogram our minds, our thoughts and actions come into alignment with truth. In this way, we bring a renewed consciousness to bear and begin to redefine and transform the culture. The “sins of the father” no longer have power in our lives.

We need not be defined or limited in any way by the beliefs or conditioning of our past. As spiritually mature adults, we have the power to become conscious of all that we have taken on and continue to allow to limit us. Once conscious of them, we can explore them and determine for ourselves what is true. We can release what no longer serves us and welcome what will as we continue growing up spiritually.

Join us this Sunday at 10:00 for our service as we observe and honor Father’s Day and explore further what growing up spiritually looks like in our lives.

I would love to hear how this article landed with you, and what growing up spiritually looks like for you. Please share your insights with me in the comments below.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

'I' is All!

In assisting her with preparations for her class on Healing and Wholeness, I have had several meetings with Rev. Dr. Phyllis Hoover. During our meetings we discussed Unity’s perspective on the ideas of ‘wholeness’ and ‘healing,’ as well as other related topics. During our most recent meeting I was reminded of this piece that I wrote several years ago. I am choosing to recycle it because I believe it speaks to the foundation of what we teach and what Phyllis will be presenting in her class.

“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, and through which Mrs. Fillmore experienced healing. 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, or anyone else, for an 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)

If you would like to explore these concepts in greater detail, please join Phyllis for her class beginning Thursday, June 8, and continuing for 5 weeks. The class meets from 6:30 to 8:30. You may register here.