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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Holy Temple

Recently, I had a conversation with a young man who is new to Unity. He asked me to tell him some of the history of the movement. I was thrilled that he asked, and I was happy to honor his request. I shared with him that Unity is one of several spiritual movements, including Christian Science, Religious Science, and Divine Science, that evolved out of the “mind cure” movement of the late nineteenth century. I also shared with him Myrtle Fillmore’s story of healing from tuberculosis, which was truly the catalyst for the initial founding and growth of the Unity movement. It was her experience of healing that inspired others, including Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore, to learn more about the power of the mind to affect healing in the body.

During our conversation I was reminded of a question I received during a new member’s class a while back. After showing a short film about the history of Unity, a participant questioned why, given that Unity was founded on the belief in the power of the mind to heal the body, we don’t talk more about that in our Sunday services or in our classes. That’s a good question!

Additionally, as I think back over the past few months, the topic of ‘the body’ has come up several times. I am listening! I am inspired to present lessons on ‘the body,’ beginning this Sunday, June 3, with a talk entitled “A Holy Temple.”

I gained some insight and inspiration from the following excerpts from Myrtle Fillmore’s Healing Letters in the section titled “Understanding the Body.”

Paul says, "Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God . . . glorify God in your body" (I Cor. 6:19-20). Unity says, "God in the midst of you is mighty to quicken, to cleanse, to heal, to restore to wholeness, to prosper.

There is a divine law of mind action that we may conform to, and that will always bring satisfactory results. There is also a physical side to the operation of this divine law. The body and its needs must have our consideration. We must not drive the body or neglect its normal needs. This body is the result of our use of God-given faculties and powers. We have needed such a temple, and the soul has built it.

The body responds to changes of mind; and when this is accompanied by truly wise living habits, the conformity to true ideas of life and power and love and substance and intelligence will renew it and make it every whit whole. We must see the life of God in our flesh.

This is profound and contains a wealth of spiritual knowledge and wisdom. It cannot be covered in one or even in a few messages. So, over the next couple of weeks, we will explore what the body is, how it responds to our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and living habits and how we can make choices and take actions that support the body’s well-being.

Join us this Sunday, June 3, at 10:00 for our service as we begin this exploration. Also, plan to be with us on June 10. Following our service, several of our members and supporters will be on-hand to share information about products and services they offer that support physical well-being.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

In The Wilderness

Over the past two weeks, in my Sunday lessons at Unity Spiritual Center Denver (listen here) and my post from May 10, I have shared some of my thoughts about a quote from Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore. He said, in effect, that we must realize that we are Jesus of the Christian Scriptures and until we do, we will continue to experience the effects of our limited understanding and acceptance of who we truly are. What a powerful statement of Truth!

As I have contemplated that Truth over the past two weeks, I have become more conscious of the ways I have limited myself and my experience by believing that I am something other than and less than the full potential and possibility of all that the master Jesus embodied. I am working on it, however.

In preparation for writing this post, I was looking back through some of my previous posts and rediscovered one from March 2015 which explores this idea from a little different perspective, yet still in alignment with the same Truth. I decided to update that entry and repost it today. I hope it will inspire you to an even greater realization of the Truth of who you are.

Charles Fillmore, Unity cofounder wrote,

“We cannot separate Jesus Christ from God or tell where man leaves off and God begins in Him. To say that we are men as Jesus Christ was a man is not exactly true, because He had dropped that personal consciousness by which we separate ourselves from our true God self. He became consciously one with the absolute principle of Being. He proved in His resurrection and ascension that He had no consciousness separate from that of Being, therefore He really was this Being to all intents and purposes.

Yet He attained no more than what is expected of every one of us. ’That they may be one, even as we are’ was His prayer.”

While at the core of my being it felt true, when I began to read and comprehend what Mr. Fillmore was saying, that each of us not only can, but is expected to achieve the level of Oneness consciousness that Jesus did, I was a bit mystified. My thinking went something like, “How can I achieve Jesus’ level of consciousness? There is only one Christ, one son of God, and Jesus is it.” It was actually not until much later in my own journey that I was able to assimilate that Jesus and ‘Christ’ are not synonymous. Even though in some traditions the terms are used interchangeably, in Unity they are distinct.

The traditional Christian assertion is that Jesus was the one and only son of God, born knowing his divinity and living in concert with it from the moment of his birth. In other words, he was born fully awakened in Christ consciousness and he never diverged from it. In Unity we teach that Jesus was a human born into time and space just as each of us is and that his life was a journey of awakening and self-mastery as is ours.

We believe, as Unity minister, author and teacher Eric Butterworth stated, that Jesus was the great example, not the great exception. Like each of us, his personal consciousness was conditioned by his family, the oppressive society in which he lived and the religion of his birth. He, too, had to release himself from the bonds of the personal consciousness, often referred to as ‘ego,’ in order to awaken to his divine nature.

Through a series of events, Jesus awakened to the fullness of the Christ, which as Charles Fillmore said is, “the higher self…the spiritual man…the one complete idea of perfect man in Divine Mind.¹” As in the quote above, Mr. Fillmore reminds us that we are expected to do the same.

When we explore Jesus’ journey as a metaphor for our own process of awakening from an ego-dominated consciousness to Christ consciousness, we can see that although his experiences were dramatic, they can represent the phases we may go through on our path to awakening.

Immediately following his baptism “the Spirit drove him into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12 NRSV) where he spent forty days and forty nights with the “wild beast” and “Satan.” This is an essential aspect in the journey of awakening.

Like Jesus, when we have an awakening such as the one he experienced, we are often drawn into the wilderness of our own minds. Charles Fillmore said, 
In individual consciousness the wilderness is symbolical of the multitude of undisciplined and uncultivated thoughts.²” We are brought face-to-face with all the thoughts that would deny our newly revealed nature. All the things we have been taught to believe about ourselves and the world arise in order to challenge us. We are given the opportunity to release them and let them go.

And, if that weren’t enough, Satan who represents the “great universal negative²” shows up with all the powerful beliefs of collective consciousness to tempt us from our initiatory awakening with promises of pleasure, power and riches, things that the ego-dominated mind often craves.

The story tells us little of what Jesus endured during his forty days and nights in the desert. We can only surmise. However, when we are willing to look at how the “personal consciousness by which we separate ourselves from our true God consciousness” shows up as the limiting thoughts and beliefs in our own minds, we have a pretty good idea of what he was dealing with. We do know that he persevered. He walked out of the wilderness a changed man ready to continue his journey.

I hope you will join us Sunday as we continue to explore the Truth of Mr. Fillmore’s assertion that “You are Jesus” and how that relates to our willingness to enter the wilderness of our own minds and reclaim the awareness and embodiment of our Unity in the Divine and with all creation.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

I Hate Mondays!

I love it when I have an “Aha” moment. I had one after reading the Daily Word from Tuesday, May 15, 2018, which begins,

Spiritual prosperity is like electricity that powers a light. When I flip the switch off and the light goes away, the electricity is still present, flowing out of my sight. I have simply cut off the current so it cannot light the bulb…

My “Aha” was the reminder that I have authority over the switch. The current is always flowing. I get to determine the level at which it flows through my life. Further, I was once again reminded that the switch is controlled by my thinking. I have dominion over my thinking. It is what I teach and what I do my best to live, but yes, sometimes I need reminders.

My realization, while seemingly simple, was impactful for me. It was powerful because it clearly revealed to me a thought that I have been hanging on to and allowing to limit my good for most of my life. That one thought is “I Hate Mondays!”

When I became consciously aware of that thought, I reeled with the recollection of the number of times I have said those words, either aloud or silently to myself, even recently. I had said them just the day before - Monday!

I didn’t need to delve too deeply to discover where that thought originated and how it has been perpetuated. When I was a school-age child I dreaded Mondays. It meant that I would have to leave whatever fun I was having and go to school. I didn’t mind school. I was a good student. It was never that difficult for me, but I hated Mondays. And, like many children that age, I lived for Fridays and holidays.

Then, when I entered the corporate workforce, Monday was again just the beginning of the five-day drudgery leading to Friday. I, along with millions of others I’m sure, often proclaimed “I Hate Mondays!”

I can easily understand all of that, but I did not so easily connect with the reason why “I Hate Mondays” has been resonating with me lately. It is not because Monday is the beginning of my workweek. I take Mondays off. Well, I am supposed to take Mondays off, and I usually do. Still, “I Hate Monday!” was resonating in my mind.

Again, “Aha!” Like all thoughts, until they are questioned, understood and challenged they hang around.

When I recognized this limiting, life-draining thought, I claimed my power to release it and choose another one. Using my power of release, I said “the thought that I hate Mondays is not true and I deny any power I have given it to limit my enjoyment of Mondays.” I used my power of dominion to proclaim, “Mondays are days for my rest, renewal, rejuvenation and restoration. I welcome Mondays!”

As I said, it may appear simple, but even the smallest and seemly absurd thought has energy that can limit our expression of the Allness that God is in us. Charles Fillmore, cofounder of Unity, once said that self-awareness is the prelude to Christ consciousness. Only when we are aware, can we make the choice to choose something different and move into greater alignment with the power within us.

Rather than waiting 50 years to change a limiting thought as I did, I encourage us to invite self-awareness. Take time to feel into your energy, question your thoughts, and when you find that they are limiting use your powers to release them and choose again.

Join us on Sunday, May 20, at Unity Spiritual Center Denver. We welcome musicians Bettman & Halpin at our 10:00 service. My lesson is based on one of their songs, “It All Comes Back to Love.”

Thursday, May 10, 2018

You Are Jesus!

Early in my Unity journey, I participated in my first S.E.E. (Spiritual Education and Enrichment) week. These are five-day intensives offering four two-hour classes each day. This was my first exposure to Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore’s books. It was a challenging experience. I found it difficult to read and comprehend his teaching. Not only was I not accustomed to his style or his terminology, I was also confounded by some of the concepts he presents. Mind you, I was not at all new to New Thought. Prior to studying Mr. Fillmore, I spent years in Science of Mind reading Ernest Holmes, Thomas Troward, Emma Curtis Hopkins and other trailblazers of the movement. Still, Mr. Fillmore spoke what seemed like a foreign language. Further, his concepts appeared much too esoteric for practical application. I struggled to do the reading assignments and make it through those first classes. I dare say that others have had similar experiences with his books.

As I continued my studies over the next few years, I grew more accustomed to his style and began to understand more of what he expressed. Also, I believe that continual study, application and spiritual practice helped me to evolve my own consciousness to a point where I could more fully resonate with the level of consciousness from which Mr. Fillmore was teaching. While I still do not always fully grasp his teaching at first read, I now thoroughly enjoy and appreciate much of his teaching.

Both Charles and Myrtle Fillmore are often referred to as mystics, ones who through dedicated time “in the Silence”¹ obtained a consciousness of Oneness in the Divine. A consciousness which the name ‘Unity’ embodies. Much of their writing, lectures and other teaching were delivered from that level of conscious unity. It, therefore, requires us to read and comprehend from a higher level of conscious awareness.

If you, like me, have struggled with reading Mr. Fillmore, I suggest that prior to reading the very first word that you take time to meditate, go into the “Silence” and connect deeply with your own Spirit. Open to your innate powers of wisdom and understanding, engage the heart center, the space of Divine Love, and enter communion with the indwelling Divine. As you read, allow the energy of the words to reveal their deeper meaning.

Recently, I was searching for a Fillmore quote related to my series of lessons on “Conscious Co-creating” when I “stumbled” upon the following. I place the word ‘stumbled’ in quotes because I trust that there are no accidents and that I read this passage because it is what I need to hear, learn and practice. In Keep a True Lent, in the chapter entitled “Faith-Thinking,” when speaking about Peter as the disciple who represents the Power of Faith, Mr. Fillmore says,

“Get clearly into your understanding that you are not the faith-thinker, Peter. You are Jesus; Peter is one of your twelve powers. Before this dawns on you, you are a carpenter; you are a builder in the realm of matter. Peter is a fisherman, one who draws his ideas from the changeable, unstable sea of sense. When you realize that you are Mind, and that all things originally generated in the laboratory of Mind, you leave your carpenter’s bench and go forth proclaiming this Truth that has been revealed to you.”

When I first read it, I was doing a quick search and didn’t think much about it. But, the words continued to resound in my mind. So, I did as I suggested above. I stopped, took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and turned my attention within. I focused my awareness in my heart. I engaged my powers of wisdom and understanding, and opened to a greater revelation of the Truth, especially as it relates to “Conscious Co-creating,” since that was my initial reason for doing the search. The following is the interpretation I discerned.

Metaphorically and metaphysically, Jesus of the Scriptures represents the directive power of the indwelling I AM presence, also known as the ‘Christ,’ inherent in each of us. Jesus, through his attainment of unity consciousness, as proclaim in his declaration “The Father and I are one” fully embodied his Christ potential and lived it. We all have the potential to do the same. As Unity minister, author and teacher, Eric Butterworth said, Jesus was the great example, not the great exception.

It is only through our acceptance and realization of the power of the I AM, the directive power of mind, which Jesus represents, that we become “Lord” of each of our innate powers. Our power and ability to manifest our hearts’ desires lies in our willingness to claim that we are “Lord” or ruler of our powers and direct them in productive ways. This is depicted metaphorically in Scripture as Jesus called each of his twelve disciples, each representing one of our twelve powers, to him, teaching them and directing them to follow in his way. He was their “Lord.”

In following the example of our way-shower, Jesus, if we are to manifest a world that reflects our highest potential and embodies our hearts’ desires, we must embrace our spiritual authority, as he did, and begin to exercise it. Until then, we will continue to engage in unconscious, rather than “Conscious Co-creating.”

Jesus told us, taught us, led by example and implored any one that would “listen” to live in unity, know Oneness and step in to their divinity.

Join us at Unity Spiritual Center Denver on Sunday, May 13, as we explore this idea further. My lesson is entitled “You are Jesus.”

¹ “Sitting in the silence” is not merely a sort of lazy drifting. It is a passive, but definite, waiting upon God. – H. Emilie Cady, Lessons in Truth

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Definite Chief Aim

Last week, I attended a series of lectures by award-winning author and speaker Mitch Horowitz, who refers to himself as a “chronicler of metaphysical experience.” The lectures were sponsored by New Thought Channel as a series of featured videos on their website ¹. These lectures could not have come at a better time for me. That comes as no surprise as I have learned that’s how the universe works. As I have often heard, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” ² Mitch was certainly my teacher last week. He not only inspired me, but also annoyed and challenged me. I will elaborate.

Mitch is an avid proponent of New Thought and mind science teachings. He is especially knowledgeable about the methods taught by writers, philosophers and self-help authorities of the early to mid-twentieth century. People such as, Neville Goddard, Napoleon Hill, Ernest Holmes, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, Florence Scovel Shinn, and others. In his lectures, he quoted extensively from Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich and other books.

I am a bit reluctant to disclose it, but until I knew I was going to attend these lectures, I had not read Think and Grow Rich. Even though it is one of the most widely read and popular books about the power of the mind, I resisted reading it. Mitch said during one of his lectures that many people in the New Thought movement have an aversion to the book because they think the title is too materialistic. I admit it. That was my thought and the reason I avoided the book. I have since downloaded Mitch’s abridged audio recording of the book and am now on my third time listening to it.

If you have not yet read Think and Grow Rich, first published in 1937, I highly recommend it. I was amazed to find that many of the principles and practices delineated in Hill’s book form the foundation for much of what is still being taught and promoted by today’s self-help writers and mind power coaches.

One of the primary principles in Hill’s book and one that Mitch stressed again and again in his lectures is the importance of a definite chief aim. A definite chief aim is a clearly articulated statement of purpose, one that forms the guiding force of one’s life. In Think and Grow Rich, Hill says,

“Any definite chief aim that is deliberately fixed in the mind and held there, with the determination to realize it, finally saturates the entire subconscious mind until it automatically influences the physical action of the body toward the attainment of that purpose. Until a man selects a definite purpose in life, he dissipates his energies and spreads his thoughts over so many subjects and in so many different directions that they lead not to power, but to indecision and weakness.”

In particular, this is the aspect of Hill’s book and Mitch’s lectures that annoyed and simultaneously challenged me. Mitch shared that his definite chief aim is to be a chronicler of metaphysical experience, and for more than a decade has devoted his life to that aim. He shared stories of others who, through the power of a definite chief aim, have pursued it with passion and tenacity.

While I applaud that and feel excited for those who have identified and articulated the driving force of their lives, I also felt annoyed because I was telling myself that I have not. Now, before you interpret that to mean that I have determined that ministry is not my definite chief aim, let me expound. I also said that it challenged me. This concept challenged me to explore deeper.

Even though I took a circuitous route to becoming an ordained minister, I have known deep in my heart, since I was fourteen that I am here to be in ministry. What I have discovered, however, is that ministry is more about the “how” than it is about the “what.” With the help of Think and Grow Rich and Mitch’s lectures, I have become aware that, much like researching, interviewing others and writing is how Mitch lives his definite chief aim, ministry is a path that allows me the opportunity to live mine.

I am still seeking inner guidance about how to clearly understand and articulate my definite chief aim, but I know that it is connected to a heartfelt longing to understand and share deep spiritual truth, learn how to live the truth I know and assist others in doing the same. In my estimation, that qualifies as ministry. It is my sincere hope that I am living it already and will continue to discover ways to embrace it and live it more fully.

I encourage each of us to ask ourselves and our inner Knower to reveal to us our definite chief aim. It is also referred to by other names. Mythologist, writer and lecturer, Joseph Campbell, termed it your “bliss.” Others have called it the “soul purpose” or “soul mission.” It does not have to be epic or world changing. Once identified and stated clearly and emphatically, it can serve as a compass for the trajectory our lives. Identifying it can also give us clarity for what is ours to do and what is not. It can be the basis for our choice of whether to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a project, invitation or other commitment of our time and energy.

Watch a video of Napoleon Hill talking about the principles of the power of the mind.

Join us on Sunday, May 6, at 10:00 for our service at Unity Spiritual Center Denver. I will continue my series on “Conscious Co-creating” with a lesson “Is God Laughing?” in which I will explore the concept of formulating and working a plan.