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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Prosperity Consciousness

When you hear the word ‘prosperity’ what comes to mind first? For most, ‘money’ is the first thought. While prosperity includes money, it is so much more. Over the next few weeks, we will explore this important topic. In what follows, I share quotes about prosperity from some of the leading voices in Unity. I also share some of my reflections on their ideas.

Minister, teacher and author, Edwene Gaines, in her book The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity, defines true prosperity as:

·       A vitally alive physical body to provide a comfortable worldly home for the spiritual beings that we are
·       Relationships that are satisfying, nurturing, honest, and work all the time
·       Work that we love so much that it’s not work, it’s play
·       And all the money we can spend

In his book, Spiritual Economics, author and Minister Eric Butterworth says,

“Considered in the broadest sense, prosperity is “spiritual well-being.” This involves the whole experience of healing life, satisfying love, abiding peace and harmony, as well as a sufficiency of what Aristotle called the “furniture of fortune.”

Isn’t that the life experience that we would all choose to live? The good news is that it is the life experience we can all choose! Because, it is the Life that we already are. We choose it by thinking, feeling and acting in alignment with it. Prosperity is our natural state of being. If we are not experiencing it, we are placing ourselves outside of the natural flow of the Divine Life Energy of God.

Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity, in the book, Prosperity, states,

“Jesus stressed the idea that God has made abundant provision for all His children, even to the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. The Lord has clothed you with soul substance as gloriously as He did Solomon...If you are persistent in working this idea in your conscious mind, it will eventually drop down into your subconscious mind and continue to work there where things take form and become manifest. Invisible substance, when your subconsciousness becomes filled with it to the overflowing point, will ooze out, as it were, into all your affairs.”

We come together in classes, workshops, and at Sunday morning services to strengthen ourselves and each other in the consciousness of God, the all-providing Source. We devote time and energy to renewing our minds with Truth through prayer and meditation. We commit to establishing a prosperity consciousness which, when strengthened, enables us to demonstrate the evidence of our natural state of prosperity in every area of our lives.

Fillmore further says,

“The law of supply is a divine law. It is a law of mind and must work through mind. God will not go to the store and bring food to your table, but when you continue to think about God as your real supply, everything in your mind begins to awaken and to contact the divine substance, and as you mold it in your consciousness, ideas begin to come which will connect you with the visible manifestation.” 

Simple, huh? All we have to do is keep our minds stayed on God and manifestation will occur. It is a simple concept, but it is not always easy. That is why it is important that we develop a spiritual practice that builds the consciousness of God and fills our minds with divine substance.

Fillmore encourages us to,

“Think prosperity, talk prosperity, not in general but in specific terms, deny every appearance of failure, affirm supply, support, and success in the very face of question and doubt, then give thanks for plenty in all our affairs, knowing for certain that our good is now being fulfilled in Spirit, in mind and in manifestation.” 

We can begin today to develop this as our daily spiritual practice. We can make the commitment to ourselves to be aware of what we say – not just what we speak aloud, but what we say in the quiet of our own minds. After all, it is in our own minds that manifestation begins!

We have designated October as “Prosperity Month” at Unity Spiritual Center Denver. On Thursday evenings beginning October 5, I will be facilitating a class on the book, Spiritual Economics, by Eric Butterworth. You may register here. Tim and Anne Larison will lead a study of the book on Sunday mornings from 8:30 to 9:45, as well. In addition, the Sunday lessons during the month will be focused on topics related to prosperity. I invite you to join us. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Living Peace

September 21 is The United Nations (UN) International Day of Peace. It is celebrated on this day each year in recognition of all who work to end conflict and promote peace. In recognition of this day, I have chosen to share some inspirations about peace.

What is peace?

Peace is the resonance of the soul. We experience internal conflict when our thinking is not in alignment with the peace of the soul. This internal conflict is painful. We act out our pain in ways that are injurious to others and to ourselves. Internal conflict results in external conflict.  When we experience this conflict en mass, it becomes the mass consciousness. We act out en mass.

For millennia mankind has attempted to achieve peace on earth through external means, primarily violence. We seem to believe that if those of us who are “right” have enough power, we can defeat those who are “wrong,” thereby establishing peace. We go to war in the name of peace. History and current events clearly show that engaging in violence for the sake of peace is insane. As Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

How do we create peace?

Peace is not something we have to, or even something that we can create: Peace is our natural state of being. That which ‘I Am’ eternally rests as Peace. Peace is the only state of Mind – God Mind. If I am not experiencing Peace, I am out of my Mind, and attached to my illusion of a mind separate from God.

Peace is a heart-felt desire of all humanity. That we have not achieved it is not testament to our lack of yearning for it, but to the failure of our ill-conceived strategies for living in peace.

How do we live in peace?

Peace is not the result of something we do or something we do not do. In order to establish peace as a way of living, we must accept that peace is the cause, not the effect.  

Do not strive for peace. Do not seek peace. Instead, surrender to peace – the peace that is the very Soul of being. In that place of surrender, there is no conflict. In that place of surrender, we are free; free to allow our creativity, passion, wisdom and compassion to arise in service to living peace-filled lives.

In the place of surrender, there is no longer a ‘me’ and a ‘you,’ there is only the One. The One cannot be in conflict with Itself. I am peace; you are peace. We live as One in peace.

Each of us must take personal responsibility for demonstrating peace. Unity teaches that we create our reality through our thoughts and feelings, thus we will experience peace when we think and feel peace. We will enjoy peace on earth when we first attain peace within. Peace on earth will be achieved when each of us embraces peace as our natural state of being and chooses to speak and act from the consciousness of peace.

Affirm: In this moment, I surrender to peace, I Am.

Let each of us commit to being the peace we wish to experience in the world.

As always, I invite you to join us on Sunday, September 24, for our 10:00 service at Unity Spiritual Center Denver as we welcome Jeffon Seely as our guest speaker. Jeffon will also present a workshop, “Unlock Your Greatness,” beginning at 12:00. For more information on Jeffon, please visit his website,

Also, please plan to join us on Saturday, October 21, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM for a special World Singing Day celebration featuring the Singing as Spiritual Practice Choir under the direction of Kath Robinson. I will have the honor of joining Marcy Baruch as soloists for this event. The evening will include community singing, spoken word and prayer.

From the website,

Founded in 2012, World Singing Day is about uniting the global family through song and being a catalyst for world peace. It is an annual, worldwide celebration of our common humanity that creates community, connection, and global well-being.
World Singing Day is not religious or political, nor does it promote any one country or culture. It aims to transcend those differences and celebrate what we all share as human beings.
Let us join as one on this night to honor and celebrate our unity as we stand for harmony and living peace in our world. I look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

I Am Forgiven

This past Sunday, in my lesson at Unity Spiritual Center Denver, I shared some thoughts about the importance of practicing self-forgiveness. You may listen to the lesson here.

I shared that since exploring the concept of forgiveness in greater depth over the past few weeks, I have recognized that I have some self-forgiveness work to do around my relationship with my father, specifically the ways I thought about him, talked about him, and treated him.

I did not enjoy a close relationship with my father – EVER. He was pretty much what you would call an absentee father. He traveled for work and was often away from home for days at a time. When he was home, he was usually drunk.

My mother was a grounding, guiding presence in my life. When my mother made her transition from this Earthly plain, I was left with an alcoholic father as the only parental figure in my life. I was fifteen at the time.

Much later in life with the aid of a therapist and through spiritual growth I was able to touch the depth of my pain, sadness and anger, not only about the loss of my mother, but also the loss of my father. Years later I was willing and able to get in touch with and admit to myself the hurtful things I did in reaction to my unacknowledged and unexpressed pain. Even now, when I think of them, I feel guilt and remorse.

I shared about this on Sunday to provide an example of the self-forgiveness process I suggested. (I outline that process below.)

It is my practice to greet people as they leave the sanctuary following Sunday service. This past Sunday was no exception. As she was leaving, a long-time member, a beautiful caring soul, handed me a piece of paper on which she had written some thoughts that came to her during my lesson. She lovingly wanted to share them with me. I deeply appreciate her care and concern.

I am paraphrasing, but the gist of what she shared was: You know more now than you did at fifteen. You were doing the best you knew how to do at the time. The last line was “You are Forgiven!”

These are truthful words. I take great comfort in knowing that what she shared is true. I, too, would say those words to each of us and to myself. AND

As I said on Sunday, in my lesson entitled Temporary Insanity, when we do or say something out of fear, anger, resentment or judgment, we are “out of our right minds.” We can only be in those mental states when we are not mindful of our True Nature and not in alignment with the Mind of God. The Mind of God, our “right mind,” only knows love and unity.

While it is reassuring, we are not relieved of the responsibility for the effects that our words or actions had on another or ourselves simply by knowing that we were “temporarily insane;” doing the best we knew how to do at the time; and we have grown and learned since that moment in time when doing what we did or saying what we said.

If we are to experience the freedom that comes from forgiveness, it is imperative that we do whatever we need to do to clean up the energy of unforgiveness – resentment, blame, guilt, shame, judgment, etc. We do that by doing the work of moving through the steps of understanding and forgiveness with empathy and compassion, first for ourselves and then for the other.

I will use my relationship with my father to illustrate the steps. As I said in my post last week, Forgiveness Is, this process is not uniquely mine. I have synthesized material from others.

FIRST: What did you do or say? In 12 Steps, this is called making a searching and fearless inventory. Make a list of all the things you did or said that could have stimulated pain for another person.

In making my list I cite specifics, but for this purpose I am sharing only general statements.
I lied to my father.

I stole from my father.

I manipulated my father.

SECOND: What were you feeling and thinking at the time?

I was feeling angry, sad, lonely, and scared. I was telling myself that my father did not care about me, so why should I care about him. I was telling myself that he deserved whatever I gave him because he was an alcoholic.

THIRD: What were you needing that you were not getting?

I needed love and attention. I needed someone to care about and take care of me. I needed security and safety.

FOURTH: What do you feel guilty about? What personal values were you not living in integrity with?

Author, professor and shame researcher, Brené Brown said,

“Guilt is good. It helps us stay on track. It occurs when we compare something we did, or didn’t do, to our personal values. The discomfort often results in real change, amends, and self-reflection.”

I was not in integrity with honesty, integrity, compassion and generosity, among others.

FIFTH: Share all of the above with someone you trust.

Archbishop Demond Tutu, in The Book of Forgiveness, says,

“Unexpressed shame can lead to isolation, depression, substance abuse or suicide. Unexpressed or unidentified shame can make it impossible for us to feel we are worthy of self-forgiveness.”

Tell it to someone you trust. If you are in a 12-Step program, this person will most likely be your sponsor. If you are not, choose a trusted friend who will not try to fix it for you, but will listen with empathy and compassion. You may also want to engage a therapist, or speak with a minister or other spiritual counselor.

By giving yourself empathy and compassion and receiving it from another, you WILL work through and dissipate the energy of unforgiveness.

As with forgiveness for others, it can be, but it may not be easy. It can be, but it may not be quick. Trust that you will get there. Do the work!

Additionally, it is important to forgive yourself for the story you have told about yourself and the other person. In my case, I needed to forgive myself for telling the story of my father as unloving, uncaring, ignorant and stupid for succumbing to alcoholism. I had to forgive myself for not seeing him as the child of God that he is – worthy of love, understanding and compassion.

I also had to forgive myself for telling the story of me as a mean, manipulative, selfish, spoiled, and ungrateful son. It is essential that we realize we are not defined by what we did. We take responsibility for our words and actions, but those things do not determine our worthiness. We must be willing to change the story and begin to see ourselves as who we truly are – wondrously unique expressions of Divine Light and Life – who experience “temporary insanity” from time to time.

Yes, I was doing the best I knew to do at the time. Yes, I now know better. Still, I needed to do the work of self-forgiveness so that I can be free of the energy of guilt and shame. Then, I can truly know that I Am Forgiven!

The bottom line is that we all have the power in every moment, to reclaim our sanity, change our thoughts, renew our perspective and transform our lives and our relationships. Forgiveness helps to make this possible.

Join us this coming Sunday, September 17, as I complete this short series on forgiveness with my lesson, Asking is Receiving. I will explore how we seek and receive forgiveness from others. You are welcome here!

Additionally, if you are blessed or inspired by these posts or my Sunday lessons, which are available on YouTube, I encourage you to make a donation  to support the ministry of Unity Spiritual Center Denver. Thank you!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Forgiveness Is...

In my post last week, The Heart of Forgiveness Redux, I shared some thoughts about the topic of forgiveness. I also talked about forgiveness in my lesson this past Sunday at Unity Spiritual Center Denver. You may listen here.

What follows is primarily a recap of my lesson. I decided to share it here for those who prefer to read, rather than listen. Additionally, I share in this format because I wanted to provide the five-step process I outlined as one way to move toward forgiveness.
These steps and ideas are not uniquely mine. I am learning from some of the great teachers on forgiveness,
  • Colin Tipping, the creator of Radical Forgiveness ¹
  • Marshall Rosenberg PhD, the creator of Nonviolent Communication ²
  • Edwene Gaines, the author of Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity
  • Bishop T.D. Jakes, founder of The Potter’s House and author of the book, Let It Go 
  • Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu, authors of The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World.

The steps I offer are synthesized from these and other teachings. It is a topic I continue to explore. I am still learning.

I truly believe that forgiveness is essential to our healing, so I hope what follows is helpful, individually and collectively. Forgiveness may well be the key to our survival.

Why Forgiveness is Important

Bishop T.D. Jakes, in his book Let It Go, says “unforgiveness unchecked, becomes a cancer in our soul.”

Unforgiveness is a state of consciousness, which incorporates our thoughts and emotions, and includes resentment, blame, shame, criticism, condemnation or judgment of another or ourselves, at any level of intensity. I say at any level of intensity because many times we think that we only need to practice forgiveness for what we consider the major hurts. It is vitally important that we address the “minor” hurts as well.

When those states of unforgiveness remain unchecked or unexplored, they begin to eat away at us. If it continues to spread through healthy cells, cancer can eventually destroy the body. Likewise, unforgiveness, left unchecked, spreads and affects every area of our lives – physical, mental, emotional as well as other relationships – and drains our life energy.

Charles Holt, in his workshop on August 27, said “You are contagious.” Your mental and emotional states affect everyone around you. If they are not healthy, they infect everyone around you. You may not realize it, but you are contagious.

In Unity we teach that life is consciousness. When we do not address our unforgiveness by practicing forgiveness, it seeps out into our family relationships, our work relationships, our financial situation, and our physical bodies.

Unforgiveness can cause depression, anxiety, stress, and other emotional states of unrest. These emotional states affect our physical well-being. It is not just a New Thought concept. Scientific research has shown that the stress response triggers the release of specific hormones that disturb the normal homeostasis of the body. Unchecked, they often result in physical disease, premature aging and death.

The Power of Forgiveness

In the Sermon on the Mount, which encapsulates the essence of his teachings, the Master Teacher Jesus of Nazareth said,

 “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.  Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” ³
Metaphysically, what Jesus is saying is that if we do not forgive, we will create a prison of our own making in our minds and hearts with our resentment, blame, criticism and the like. Further, that we will condemn ourselves to the consciousness of hell, from which we will not be set free until we have forgiven even the smallest perceived injustice.

What Forgiveness Is

In the Aramaic, the word that has been translated and shortened to “forgive” has a deeper and more expanded meaning. If we look at direct translations of the Lord’s Prayer from Aramaic to English, we can get a better understanding. The word actually connotes something more in alignment with the following: ⁴

Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us, as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.

Untangle the knots within so that we can mend our hearts' simple ties to each other.

Forgiveness in Aramaic, unlike in Greek, is not something that one does for another, but it is an internal process of allowing the acceptance of the Truth (the Father in The Lord’s Prayer) to free us from our attachments to thoughts, form, and the past.

States of unforgiveness are like knots that bind us to those who have harmed us. Those knots restrict the flow of Divine Love through us as us.

Forgiveness is a process of untying the knots and returning us to our natural state of being, an innate state of connection, sharing, and giving. Through forgiveness, we return to the state of mind and the heart where we are open channels and vessels of Unconditional Love.

In Charles’s workshop someone asked, “Can I forgive someone without loving them?” I want to be clear that I am not using the word ‘love’ to imply a feeling of intimacy, tenderness, closeness, affection or romance.

In using the word ‘love’ I am referring to a state of mind and heart in which we are willing and able to recognize and realize our shared humanity and our shared divinity; connect with others and ourselves; and express empathy and compassion. (For additional thoughts on this, please read last week’s post.)

This does not require us to like someone’s personality nor does it necessitate that we have any feelings of affection for them.

Some Things to Know About Forgiveness
  • It is a gift we give ourselves
  • It is a choice
  • It can be, but is not always easy
  • It is not weakness
  • It requires strength and courage
  • It can be, but is not always quick
  • It takes as long as it takes

How Do We Forgive? A Five-Step Process

How do we begin to untie the knots that bind us?

First, willingness. Forgiveness begins with willingness. We must have the desire to be free and the willingness to walk the path.

Second, tell what happened. Recount what happened, as if describing a photograph or replaying a video, with as much detail as possible, while avoiding adding any evaluations or meaning-making about what happened.

Third, name the feelings. Identify the feelings experienced when the event happened. Name the feelings that arise upon retelling what happened.

Fourth, feel the feelings. It is important to move through the feelings by letting them have their life. Notice the bodily sensations that arise. Get angry. Cry. Yell. Do whatever it takes to experience and express the emotions.

In The Book of Forgiving, Desmond Tutu shares the story of Father Lapsley, a black priest in South Africa who was the victim of a letter bomb during apartheid. Father Lapsley lost both hands and the sight in one eye from the blast. He was able to move through the process to forgiveness for those responsible. He said, “We can’t let go of feelings that we don’t own.”

Archbishop Tutu says, “We give voice to our hurts not to be victims or martyrs, but to find freedom from the resentment, anger, shame or self-loathing that can fester and build inside us when we do not touch our pain and learn to forgive.”

Fifth, ask our heart, “What do I value that I was deprived of?” NVC calls these “needs.” I like to think of them as aspects of our Divine Nature that are so much a part of who we truly are that when we are deprived of them through the actions of another or ourselves, we feel deeply. (For additional information on this, please read my post from last week.)

GET HELP! For many, the pain and suffering is so great that to tell what happened and feel the feelings is overwhelming and scary. It is important to seek help from a trained professional when needed.

Repeat these steps for as long as necessary as many times as needed before moving on. Remember, it takes as long as it takes.

When Peter asked Jesus, “If my brother sins against me, how many times should I forgive him? As many as seven times?” To which Jesus replied, not seven times, but seventy times seven times (Matthew 18: 21-22). In other words, as many times as it takes.

Granting Forgiveness

In my way of thinking, “granting forgiveness” is not as simple as saying “I forgive you.” Honest and sincere forgiveness requires that we are able to hold the other person in the same process of empathy outlined above until we are able to witness their humanity and their divinity. The steps are the same:

First: Willingness. We must first be willing to see the other from a different perspective. In some cases, it may first require us, as they say in Twelve Steps, to become willing to be willing.

Second: Tell what happened.

Third: Extend compassion. Connect with what they might have been feeling at the time.

Fourth: Ask your heart, “What did they value that they were deprived of?” Be curious about what they valued that they were not experiencing at the time. How might they have been disconnected from their humanity and their divinity?

Fifth: Open your heart and mind to connect with your shared humanity and shared divinity.

GET HELP when needed!

We can only be free when we are willing and able to reconnect with our shared humanity and divinity, and begin to tell a new story about the other and ourselves. As Jesus said, until the last remnant of unforgiveness is cleared we are not free.

In my lesson this coming Sunday, August 10, I will explore self-forgiveness. Many find it more difficult to extend the heart of forgiveness to ourselves than to another. Forgiving others is important, but we cannot be free until we forgive completely. And that includes untying the knots that bind us to our past and learning to tell a different story about ourselves.

Join us on Sunday at 10:00 as together we explore this important topic of understanding forgiveness and moving to freedom.

¹ Radical Forgiveness Workshop at Unity on the Avenue - For More Information, click here.

² Introduction to Compassionate Living, a workshop based on Nonviolent Communication, Unity Spiritual Center Denver, Friday, October 20 – 22, 2017 - For More Information contact

³ Matthew 5: 21-26

⁴ There are many translations of The Lord's Prayer. Refer to Prayers of the Cosmos – Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus, by Neil Douglas-Klotz