Search This Blog

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Holy Shift!

In his 1936 speech at Unity Village, New Thought minister, author and teacher Emmet Fox said,

“I think is it well that we remind ourselves what it is that we really believe and have. The answer is that we really have the key to life…and that key is the knowledge that life is consciousness.”

Further, it is well to remind ourselves that one of Unity’s five basic principles is that we experience life according to our prevailing way of thinking and feeling, which is, in essence, the content of our individual consciousness.

Additionally, it is well to be reminded that our thoughts and feelings are energy and that they vibrate at a particular frequency which attract us to that which is in vibrational resonance. This is the essence of what we in Unity call the Law of Mind Action, and which is also commonly referred to as the Law of Attraction. Like attracts like.

Inventor, engineer and futurist, Nikola Tesla once said, “If you want to know the secrets of the Universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

It follows that if we want to know the secret of living the lives we desire and of co-creating the world in which we desire to live, we need only look to the energy, vibration and frequency of our predominant way of thinking and feeling, which constitutes our individual consciousness. Our individual consciousness determines the perspective through which we view what happens in our lives, thus it affects how we experience life. Our consciousness is also the impetus for the words we speak and actions we take which contribute to creating the life we live.

When Fox said “life is consciousness,” he was stating a truth. What he might have said is that the way in which we experience the events of life and the life we create through our words and actions are determined by the vibrational frequency of our thoughts and feelings.

The good news is that we have the power to choose our thoughts, regulate our feelings, speak intentionally, and act decisively. We possess the power of freewill choice. The power of our freewill lies in our ability to make conscious choices about the energy to which we align.

The bottom line is - If we want to experience something different in our lives, we must change the vibrational frequency of our thoughts and feelings. We need to experience what I am choosing to call a “Holy Shift.”

I am calling it “holy” in part because of the play on words. Also, because the shift is aided by our choice to align our thinking and feeling with what we believe to be the indwelling power of the Divine Life living as each of us. We align through the power of our focused attention.

I spoke about this in my lesson this past week at Unity Spiritual Center Denver. You may listen to it here or watch it by clicking the link below. I use the acronym S.H.I.F.T. to outline five steps to create a “Holy Shift.”

S – Self-Awareness

Unity cofounder, Charles Fillmore, reportedly once said that self-awareness is the prelude to Christ consciousness. Assessing the current vibrational frequency of our thoughts and feelings is essential. When we are resonating with joy, appreciation and peace there is no need to realign. However, when we find that we are resonating with fear, worry, and apathy, we might make the choice to shift. Until we become aware, we cannot know if a shift is desired.

H – Honesty

It is important for us to be honest with ourselves concerning what we are thinking and feeling. As author Louise Hay said, “If you want to clean your house, you have to be willing to see the dirt.” If we want to affect a shift, we must first be willing to acknowledge what we want to change.

I – Intention

Author, Lewis Carroll said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Setting a clear intention creates focus. An intention sets in motion the action needed to get us where we choose to go. Further, the universe supports us, through vibrational attraction, in getting where we choose to be.

F – Fun

It is important to approach a “holy shift” with the attitude and energy of fun. The frequency of fun opens us up to attracting enjoyable ways to achieve the shift. It also attracts to us creative ideas, exciting adventures, and entertaining collaborators along the journey.

T – Trust

The master Jesus said, “It is done unto you as you believe.” Trust and Faith are closely aligned. The energy of trust brings us into a place of calm assurance that what we hope for is happening and what we desire is unfolding, even though we may not yet see the evidence of it. Trust allows us to relax and surrender to the power of the universe. It is vitally important that we believe in the power of the “holy shift” to change our consciousness and transform our lives.

We can choose to make a “holy shift” in the energy of our thoughts and feelings (consciousness) concerning any manner of life circumstances, including health, relationships, money, or work, just to name a few. We begin right where we are, welcoming self-awareness, being honest with ourselves, setting a clear intention, having fun, and trusting that, as Emmet Fox said, “We have the key to life.”

I encourage each of us to think about the shifts we desire in our lives and to practice the steps outlined above. It is important for us to know that “shift happens,” and we have the power to activate and affect the shifts in our lives. I hold each of us in the vision of transformed lives through the power of our Holy Shifts.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Where is God?

Recently, my body experienced the symptoms of a cold. Along with all of the congestion and fatigue associated with it, I also dealt with “brain fog.” For several days, especially at the beginning of the symptoms, I found it difficult to focus which made reading with comprehension or writing intelligibly quite a challenge. Therefore, instead of focusing on anything of real consequence, I spent hours resting in front of the television binge watching Vikings, a History Channel drama based on the historical adventures and raids of the “Northmen.” It is not the sort of television show I would normally watch because it is, as one might expect, extremely violent. 

However, after watching the first episode I found myself intrigued by the depiction of the lives of these historical figures from the eighth and ninth centuries. I have never considered myself a “history buff.” In fact, history was one of my least favorite subjects in school, but I am fascinated by the stories of these people and their interactions with those of other countries and cultures. 

Among many, one of the themes that runs throughout the series is their relationship with their gods. The Vikings were a polytheistic culture. They believed that their gods were the true gods. In their world, the gods were in control of everything. They believed that their destiny was preordained, including their death which made them fearless warriors. They were proud to die in battle and enter the gates of Valhalla. 

They also held that they could win the favor of the gods by making sacrifices. In addition to animals, they often made human sacrifices to appease the gods. When they were successful in a raid, they praised the gods assuming that they had won their favor. However, if they were not successful, they believed that the gods were punishing them for not being faithful and they had to atone. Each god was in control of some aspect of the natural world, as well as aspects of their life experiences. They had faith in their gods to strengthen, protect and prosper them.

Spoiler Alert

Early in the first season, the Northmen sail to the west and make landfall in an area of England, then known as North Umbria. This is their first encounter with the Christians and their monotheistic culture. Needless to say, they are baffled by the Christians’ worship of a man who was defeated and crucified by his enemies. They raid a monastery, plunder all the treasure they can find, and take as slaves the monks whom they don’t kill. 

Of course, the Christians believe that their god is the one true god. Further, they are certain that the land and the resources belong to them by divine right and that God will help them to defeat the “pagans” and cast them from their land. They, too, must please their God with prayer, supplication, atonement, and in some cases self-flagellation to win their God’s favor. They do not make animal or human sacrifices to their God. However, they do make sacrifices in order to appease their God. Most often they sacrifice their lives in service to what they believe to be “God’s will.” They, too, have faith that their god will strengthen, protect and prosper them.

It is fascinating to learn how people at that time viewed their gods or God, how they interacted with them, and how they relied on them for their blessings and feared their curses.

Understanding that this, while dramatically fictionalized, is a portrayal of historical fact, watching it has stimulated me to wonder how far we have evolved, or not, over the past twelve centuries in our concept of ‘God.’  

Do we believe that our lives are controlled by God’s “divine plan?” Do we still believe that God is the great puppeteer pulling the strings and controlling our lives? Do we still believe that we need to appease this God in some manner to win favor? Do we still believe that we can or will be punished if we don’t “toe the line?” Do we still adhere to beliefs about God that prevailed more than a millennium ago? Do we, in some ways, still cling to our embedded theology?

I am not claiming to know the answer to these questions for anyone else. I am not certain that I yet know the answers for myself. As I shared in my post last week and shared in last Sunday’s lesson, I am engaged in a conscious process of exploring my default settings, and choosing to live on purpose. 

While my hope is that I have evolved my understanding of God and that the Unity movement as a whole has done so, my observation has been that one of our default settings is the use of words and phrases that reveal an embedded theology of separation, rather than a consciousness of Oneness. I believe it is important for us to be clear about the words we choose and how we use them. 

For example, I recently saw a poster with the affirmation, “I have faith in God.” I would normally have noticed it, acknowledged it and thought nothing more of it. However, this time as I read it, I was triggered. What I mean is that it sparked my embedded theology and stimulated discomfort. 

I wondered what it means when we say, think or believe the common affirmation and statement, “I have faith in God.” Do we, like the Northmen and the Christians mean that we trust in God to protect, strengthen and prosper us? Are we relying on something we still see as external to us to do it for us? 

Again, I don’t know the answer for anyone other than me, but as I explored it further, I realized that the ancient affirmation no longer fits for me. It is a default setting I choose to override. 

I realize it is much wordier, but my updated version is, “I have calm assurance and unwavering conviction (faith) that I can and will align my thoughts, words and actions to the highest ideal I can attain in any moment.” Those words remind me that it is my responsibility to choose. I am empowered to make conscious choices to be all that I know myself to be in Truth. I am empowered to claim my strength, protection and prosperity and embody it accordingly. 

I invite us all to pay close attention to the words we use, the lyrics in the songs we sing and how we pray. Let us be clear in our choices, so that we do not succumb to our default settings and instead live on purpose. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Are You Living In Default Mode?

After much thought, consideration, stalling and resistance, I began working with a life coach last week. If I am honest with myself, as I strive to be, my resistance has been that I have been in my own comfort zone for far too long. My life has been going well. I am well into my fifth year at Unity Spiritual Center Denver. I was ordained two years ago. I live in a place where I get to see blue sky nearly every day and witness the majestic mountains in the distance. I enjoy good health. I have a loving spouse. For the most part, I have the freedom to make my own schedule. Prayer, meditation and reading spiritual books, all things I love, are a part of my job. I get paid to do what I love to do! I am comfortable. So, why would I want to disrupt my comfort zone?

While all those things are true, there is more. There is always more. More to experience. More to learn. More to express. More to share. More to give. More life to live. The impulse of Life is constantly urging us toward even greater expressions of itself in, through and as each of us. Sometimes it’s gentle. Other times it is not. We can suppress it. We can ignore it. We can say ‘no’ to it. Yet, I have found that it can be relentless. Certainly not oppressively, but insistently. Connecting with and following that creative impulse, often requires us to stop living in default mode and decide to live on purpose.

Rather than risk stepping outside our comfort zone, we are tempted to become complacent, sit back and approach life in default mode, especially when things seem to be going well. Our human default mode is like that of a computer. In a computer’s operating system, a default is a course of action that the system will take when the user or programmer fails to specify an overriding action. ¹

For example, once we set a specific internet browser, such as Google Chrome, as our default application, each time we click a link in an email or other application, our computer automatically accesses the internet through that program. The computer will continue to use that default action until we specify something different.

Our minds work in a similar fashion. Once a default is set, whether consciously or unconsciously, our minds will continue to access that program until we choose something different. Much the same as it is for many of us when it comes to our computers, we are often not aware of the defaults we have set.

Likewise, most of us will not attempt to investigate our computer’s default programs until something goes wrong and we are not able to get to where we want to go. The same is often true when it comes to our mental default programs. Most often, we will only explore them when our lives do not unfold the way we want.

My encouragement to myself and to all of us is to question our default modes even when, and especially when, things are going well, and we are enjoying life. These are times when we have more energy and a greater willingness to explore from a place of joy and gratitude, rather than from worry and lack. At these times, we are more open to the expansive Life that is urging us toward greater expression.

Once we are aware of the mental default programs, we can decide if we want to override them. We may discover that there is nothing wrong with our default mode, and that it is providing all we need. On the other hand, we may find that the default program needs to be deleted and replaced. However, we may discover that the program just needs an update to be more effective as we embrace and express more of who we are and what is ours to be.

Working with a life coach is one way that I am choosing to stop living in default mode and make more conscious choices to live on purpose. I believe that my purpose is to recognize, realize and reveal the powerful potential of my highest self. In fact, I believe that is the purpose of every human being. Further, as we live our purpose, together we demonstrate the greatest potential for humanity. Our collective purpose is to bring forth into manifestation a world that works for everyone. How we accomplish that is unique to each of us.

Living on purpose means that we embrace our purpose, both individually and collectively, and choose thoughts, words and actions that support and are in alignment with it. I know that there is more for me to embrace, experience, live and share in this lifetime. That is true for each of us. I invite you to join me as I explore my default mode and choose to make a commitment to myself, the Life that is living as me, and to all creation to live on purpose.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Back To Basics Redux

The beginning of a new year seems the perfect time to revisit some of our foundational teachings and recommit to practice them. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing my thoughts about these principles in this space as well as in my Sunday lessons at Unity Spiritual Center Denver.

As I was reviewing some of my past writings on the basics, I came across a post from 2014. Reading it helped to remind me of what is essential in our teachings. It also renewed my focus for the upcoming series. I have chosen to share it here in hopes that it will inspire and possibly help to reconnect you with some concepts that are important.


I hate to admit it, but sometimes I have a propensity to make things more complicated than they really are. One might think that I would have been fully aware of that before now, but apparently not. Only recently that I have begun to “connect the dots” and reduce all of that teaching and learning down to two basic concepts upon which the remainder of the teachings rest.

Those two concepts are: “There is One Power and One Presence,” the first of Unity’s Five Basic Principles and “Human beings experience life as an effect of consciousness,” the third basic principle restated in my own words. Everything else Unity teaches is
  • an effort to explain or define the first concept;
  • demonstrate how a consciousness which is fully aware of this concept experiences a life that is empowered, joyful and free;
  • encourage, inspire or instruct ways to transform one’s consciousness.
It truly is quite simple, and when I choose to view Unity philosophy from that perspective I see that I have been making it much more complicated than it really is. Also, I have a new understanding from which to learn and teach.

The concept of “One Power and One Presence” is an essential Truth principle: It is a core belief and a foundational axiom of Unity and the New Thought movement as a whole. In our effort to understand, we call the “One” by many names such as God, Divine Mind, Allness, Quantum Field, Pure Potentiality, as well as others. We also assign it attributes such as Wholeness, Abundance, Love, and the like. Of course, to describe the ineffable is, by definition, impossible.

The best understanding I have of the “One” is that it is the ground of being in which and from which all creation has life. It helps me to conceive of the “One” as that which is the potential for the ideal expression of perfection, and that which I may express and experience as order, harmony, beauty, love, life, and unity, and many others. Further, when my consciousness is filled with the awareness of the “One,” then the foregoing is all that I do experience in and as my life. And, since there is only One, each of us must be individuations of that One; therefore, Unity’s second basic principle is a given.

While I propose that it is quite simple, I acknowledge that the third principle is possibly the most confusing, confounding, misunderstood and misinterpreted of all the teachings. It is fraught with possibilities for us to beat ourselves down (it is impossible to beat ourselves up) with blame and criticism when we experience some event in our lives, such an illness or accident, that we judge as “bad” and then attempt to discover the thought we were holding that “created” it. We do ourselves and each other a grave disservice when we teach that we are individually responsible for each and every event that occurs in our lives.

Our consciousness is comprised not only of the conscious phase of mind, which is our current thoughts, beliefs and sensory awareness, but also includes the subconscious, which is the storehouse of impressions, beliefs and images from our past, as well as collective consciousness, which is the conscious and subconscious of all humanity. It seems clear that we are not individually responsible for the circumstances of our lives, yet the state of our individual consciousness impacts our circumstances and because our individual consciousness contributes to collective consciousness, we impact the circumstances of all creation.

It is also important to recognize that while our individual consciousness does not solely create the events and circumstances of our lives, it does determine our experience and interpretation of those events and circumstances. For example, if one experiences an illness or other physical body manifestation it does not mean that he or she created the condition solely through the projection of individual consciousness. However, the way in which he or she experiences the condition is solely the result of individual consciousness and can have a direct impact on future conditions.

When we allow awareness of the “One” which Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, termed “Superconscious” to imbue our consciousness at every level, we will experience only the perfection of life. This does not mean that we will not have events in our lives that appear as illness or accidents. It also does not mean that we will not face circumstances that allow us the opportunity to question our belief in the ever-present expression of eternal life, beauty, order, or wholeness. It does, however, mean that from a consciousness filled with the awareness of the “One” we will see from the perspective of the “One” and we will be able to observe perfection, meaning without defect or flaw and lacking nothing, manifested in and through all.

This transformation of consciousness is facilitated by our conscious understanding of truth principles, and through our practice of prayer, meditation and contemplation and various other spiritual practices that we teach and promote, thus affirming Unity’s fourth basic principle which states that prayer helps us to consciously connect with the One and the fifth basic principles which states that it is not enough to know Truth, we must also practice it.

It really is very simple. There is only One: Each of us is that One, and when we know that Truth, we are free. Everything we teach is based on this Truth. And, everything we teach is intended to support a transformation of consciousness so that we may experience life from this awareness. Whew!  And to think I thought it was complicated.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Celebrating Epiphany

Some Christian traditions celebrate Epiphany on January 6 as the day when the Magi, or wise men as they are commonly known, arrived in Bethlehem to honor the birth of Jesus. The wise men came from a distant land and were most likely of the Zoroastrian tradition. Their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh were precious commodities and worthy of royalty. For many who view the story literally, the acknowledgement of the wise men from the East signified that Jesus was born as the savior for all the world, not just for Jews. Their recognition of Jesus as a newborn king represents the proclamation to the Gentiles, those not of Jewish heritage, that he, indeed, was the Son of God.

In Unity, we do not adhere to the traditional liturgical calendar; therefore, we do not ceremoniously celebrate Epiphany. We do, however, explore the deeper meaning that this aspect of the extant Christmas story holds for us as we evolve in our recognition, realization and revelation of our Christ nature and its innate gifts. As Unity cofounder, Charles Fillmore, said, in Unity we do not so much focus on the historical aspects of Jesus or the Christmas story, but on the metaphysical truths inherent in it, as well as in all Bible stories.

Metaphysically, the wise men traveling from a distant land and bringing gifts to the baby represent the powers of our spiritual self that may be hidden from us until we awaken to our Christ nature. They are then revealed to us and bless us with their gifts.

Metaphysically, gold represents the “richness of substance.” Substance is not the same as matter but is that which provides the foundation of all matter. Substance is the building block for the material universe. It is rich with all potential and possibility. It is the creative medium that responds to and forms itself in alignment with our thoughts and feelings. This is a foundational teaching of Unity which we often refer to as the “law of mind action.” We may also hear it expressed as, “thoughts held in mind produce after their kind,” or “what you think about comes about.”

When we embrace and embody our Christ nature, our thoughts and feelings come into alignment with the Truth of our being and our manifestations take on the qualities of the Divine. This is the distinction Charles Fillmore makes when he teaches that all thoughts/feelings are formative, but not all thoughts/feelings are creative. All thoughts/feelings form energy fields to which substance responds, and when our thoughts/feelings are in alignment and endowed with the energy of our Christ nature, they become creative, meaning that our manifestations are enduring.

Our fullest potential for creating a world, including our personal experience, that is in alignment with our Christ nature lies in our accepting, receiving and embodying the purity and potential of the “gold” inherent in the Christ of our being.

Metaphysically, myrrh represents the eternity of Spirit, and the anointing of love. In The Revealing Word, we read that ‘Spirit’ is -- “God as the moving force in the universe; Principle as the breath of life in all creation; the principle of life; creative intelligence and life.”

Spirit is revealed to us in the quiet of our hearts and minds. It is the source of all Divine Ideas to which we can and do attune in the Silence. When we open to and allow Spirit to inform our thoughts and affect our feeling nature, the energy of Spirit infuses our creative capacity. This energy acts upon substance and creates manifestations that are in alignment with a higher knowing and order. With this anointing of Love and our attention to and allowing of it, we participant in the Divine Plan of peace and plenty for all humanity.

Lastly, frankincense represents the transmutation of physical consciousness into spiritual. We teach in Unity that consciousness is pivotal. This means that because of the nature of freewill, we choose the direction of our conscious attention. We may choose to focus primarily on the physical or material world and strive to affect creation from that perspective. Alternately, we may choose to focus our attention on the activity of Spirit as us, listen for the still, small voice within, follow its leading and surrender to a will that is greater than that of our adverse-ego, or what might be called our false self.

In the Christmas story, this aspect of ourselves is represented by Herod who seeks to kill the newborn Jesus. While our adverse-ego, or false self, is not our enemy, it constitutes our habitual ways of limited thinking and reacting from physical consciousness, and it most often informs our actions. When the awareness of our Christ nature is awakened, it appears to be a threat to the presumed power of the false self because our habitual ways of being are challenged. This can often create internal conflict that we must face and resolve as we awaken and grow more fully into our Christed being, or true self.

Although it may happen for some, for most of us this transmutation does not occur instantaneously, but is a process that requires our practice, patience and presence. It requires that we make conscious choices moment-by-moment about where we place our attention.

Do we choose to allow the false self to rule or do we give power to the Christ within and follow its direction? Do we choose to continue to create our lives and our world from thoughts/feelings that are primarily influenced by the perspective of the false self, or do we allow our thoughts/feelings to be renewed by our conscious attention to the true self? Do we react from our conditioned mind, or do we respond from a renewed awareness of who we truly are?

As we celebrate these last few days of Christmastide and explore the significance of Epiphany for ourselves, I encourage us to contemplate the gifts of the Spirit within us which are represented in the story by the Magi and their gifts to the newborn Jesus. It is up to each of us to decide if we will receive the gifts, open to their power, and use them effectively.