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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Courage to Heal

Thursday, September 13, 2018, marks the 25th anniversary of Unity World Day of Prayer. Each year on the second Thursday in November thousands of people around the world join with Silent Unity, Unity’s 24-hour prayer ministry, for this prayer event. Unity Village Chapel hosts an opening ceremony which begins a 24-hour prayer vigil.

We, at Unity Spiritual Center Denver, kicked off our observance by inviting everyone to participate in our monthly Healing Circle on Wednesday evening. We began our 24-hour prayer vigil at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, as well. We will conclude with an interfaith service on Thursday at 7:00 featuring speakers representing Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Bahá'í, and Christianity. Each speaker will share about this year’s theme from their tradition’s perspective.

This year’s theme is “Courage to Heal.” When I first heard the theme, I wondered why ‘courage.’ Why not say “Power to Heal?” That would seem to be more in alignment with what Unity teaches about our innate power to heal ourselves through the activity of prayer. However, after contemplating it, I have come to appreciate the choice of words.

What is healing?

When we think of healing, we often think of physical healing. The Unity movement was, in large part, founded upon the power of prayer to affect physical healing as demonstrated by cofounder Myrtle Fillmore. In fact, the New Thought movement as a whole developed out of the “mind cure” movement of the late 19th century. In the early days of the Unity movement, physical healing was a primary focus of the teaching. While physical healing is an important aspect of our teaching, for true healing to manifest and endure, it must occur in all aspects of our being – spirit, mind and body.

One definition of ‘heal’ in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is, “to restore to original purity or integrity.” Considering that definition, for healing to be necessary there must be some evidence or at least the perception of an interruption in the integrity or wholeness of that which requires healing.

This is most obvious when it concerns physical healing. The natural state of the body is homeostasis, a stable and balanced interworking of all the systems of the body to produce a state of health and vitality. When something happens to disturb this natural order, we experience disease, broken bones, torn ligaments and the like. These are all manifestations of disturbance in the natural flow of energy. Healing, or the restoration of wholeness, is facilitated in many ways, such as, prayer, spiritual mind treatment, energy work, holistic treatment, and yes, when necessary allopathic means.

Mental healing involves our thoughts and emotions. I assert that just as the natural state of the body is homeostasis, our natural state of mind is order, harmony, and balance that results from aligning with love as our guiding principle and peace as our foundation. When something, whether as seemingly simple as an unkind word or as traumatic as the death of a loved one, or abuse of any kind, is interjected, it interferes with our natural state. Healing is required to restore the natural flow. As with the body, mental healing is achieved through many modalities, such as prayer, meditation, energy work, and often with the help of a trained spiritually aware mental health professional.

We exist eternally in the natural state of unity in God. In truth, we can never be separated. Our souls are individuated expressions of the One Power, One Mind, One Life, One Spirit, One Presence we often call ‘God.’ While we know that to be our spiritual truth, we often forget, lose our conscious connection and begin to believe that we are separate and alone. This belief demonstrates as fear and often manifests as violence against others, ourselves, and our world.

We do not restore our spiritual wholeness because it was never disrupted. However, spiritual healing occurs when we reestablish our conscious connection with the truth of our being. Like physical and mental healing, spiritual healing is also facilitated through prayer, meditation, contemplation, and affirmations, as well as energy work, body work and the like. Additionally, while it may not be the sole cause, this spiritual dis-ease contributes to the loss of physical and mental equilibrium. Spiritual healing can and does affect healing of body and mind.

Why healing requires courage.

Merriam-Webster defines ‘courage’ as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” Myrtle Fillmore displayed immense courage in the face of what was at the time considered a fatal disease when she defied medical advice and the prevailing wisdom and chose to heal through prayer. I have personally witnessed the courage exhibited by people who are healing from physical disease or injury. I have seen friends, family and congregants come face-to-face with a cancer diagnosis, feel the fear, and move through surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments with courage and tenacity to claim their healing. I have stood in awe as I heard stories of people who experienced skeletal breaks and with courage and resolve moved through excruciating pain and sometimes torturous physical therapy to reclaim their wholeness. And in every case, each of these courageous souls was supported by prayers, mind treatments, energy work and the loving presence of others.

I also know from personal experience that courage is required to claim mental and emotional healing. It takes courage first to recognize and admit that healing is needed. Further, it requires courage to take the steps necessary to seek the information and help required. Beyond that, courage is essential if we are to journey into the darkest places in our psyche and be vulnerable enough to share our experiences, our fears, our shortcomings, and even our dreams with another or a group of others. I have walked through it, and I continue to do so. I have also had the privilege of witnessing others do the same. We are the only ones who can reclaim our wholeness, yet we do not have to do it alone.

Claiming our spiritual wholeness may be the most courageous journey of all. In a culture that overwhelmingly promotes concepts of separation, it is imperative that we muster the strength to stand firm in our commitment to know and live the truth of our Oneness. When we can know at the depth of our being that we are God expressing in human form and make the commitment to see ourselves, others and the world from that perspective, we have truly claimed our spiritual healing and restored ourselves in consciousness to our natural state of being. From the consciousness of unity, we affect healing in our minds and bodies.

Our courage to heal affects global healing.

Not only do we experience the effects of our healing, but we also bring healing to the world. When we have the courage to claim our healing and live our Oneness, we become an example and an inspiration for those around us to do the same. Through our courage to claim our healing and live our Oneness, we bring healing to our relationships with our families, partners, spouses, coworkers, and with all whom we interact. Through our courage to claim our healing, and live our Oneness, we help to affect healing of social injustice. Through our courage to claim our healing and live our Oneness, we share healing with the planet and our environment. Through our courage to heal and live our Oneness, we can unabashedly proclaim “I Am a Healing Presence” which is the affirmation for the year’s World Day of Prayer.

I encourage us not to allow World Day of Prayer to be a one-day event that we observe and then forgot, but rather allow it to be just the beginning of our renewed commitment to gather our courage and move forward toward claiming our healing in whatever way is calling us. Please know that, while you must do it, you do not have to do it alone.

Please join us at 10:00 on Sunday for our service. I was out last week due to illness, but I have claimed my healing and will be back. Since I missed “Ask a Minister” last Sunday, I will be on hand this week to answer your questions during my regular lesson time in the service. I look forward to it.


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