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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Living Unity


I recently began reading Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication by Oren Jay Sofer which I highly recommend. In his book, Sofer combines principles of mindfulness, somatics and Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and offers practices intended to help the reader develop healthy, effective, connecting communication.

I was struck by a quote from Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of NVC, which Sofer shares in the Introduction.

“I still get chills when I consider what [Rosenberg] said in 2005, at a retreat in Switzerland.

‘If I use Nonviolent Communication to liberate people to be less depressed, to get along better with their family, but do not teach them at the same time to use their energy to rapidly transform systems in the world, then I am part of the problem. I am essentially calming people down, making them happier to live in the systems as they are, so I am using NVC as a narcotic.’”

As I read the quote, I was dumbfounded when, in my mind, I replaced ‘Nonviolent Communication’ with ‘Unity.’ It touched me deeply to say to myself…

If I teach Unity principles to help liberate people from the limited ideas of separation, encourage them to realize the power within them, and support them in creating the lives they desire, but do not concurrently inspire and encourage others and personally strive to use the Unity principles to transform the world, then I am part of the problem, and I am using truth principles as a narcotic.

Or, if I learn Unity principles solely to liberate myself, create the life I desire, and have a clearer perspective on the world, but do not also apply Unity principles to affect change in the systems of the world to help those who suffer because of those systems, then I am part of the problem, and I am using Unity principles to soothe myself and feel better.

What a powerful wakeup call! I can talk about unity in God (Spirit, Life, Source, Allness) and oneness with all creation; I can believe it; I can teach it; I can preach it, but if I am not doing something to example it in my actions, I am not truly embodying Unity.



Our path to embodying Unity principles begins with an intellectual understanding. While our mental processes are, by their very nature, limited to comprehension, learning begins there. While I use the word ‘learning,’ I do not mean to imply that we are being taught something new, but that we are recognizing (re-cognizing) or making conscious what our souls have never forgotten.

Some Truth students, feeling satisfied with intellectual understanding of Unity principles, do not go beyond this point. However, if one is to embody Unity, Truth must go beyond the mind and into the heart. It is in the heart that true realization happens. Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore describes ‘realization’ as,

The deep inner conviction and assurance of the fulfillment of an ideal. It means at-one-ment, completion, perfectionwholeness, repose, resting in God… The supreme realization is unity with God-Mind, complete oneness with the Christ consciousness. ¹

Realization does not happen in the thinking mind, but within the place of knowing deep within the center of our being. It occurs at the level of the heart. It may be felt in the physical heart as warmth and an expansive sensation, but it is experienced in the even deeper level of the spiritual heart, a place (which is no “place”) in consciousness. It is knowing beyond the mind. It is connection with the Inner Knower. 

While realization is a deeper connection in Unity principle and a point in spiritual development that many seek and then often stop there, it is not embodiment. Embodiment of principle is only complete when we live the principles in our daily lives. 

As Unity’s fifth of the Five Basic Principles states, it is not enough that we know the principles, we must practice them. We practice the principles by first centering our minds on Truth. When you notice that your perspective is out of alignment with what you know to be true, stop and re-cognize principle. Contemplate a truth teaching, word or phrase, such as “I am one with God,” or “I Am That I Am.” Continue to focus on this until the mind becomes aligned with it. Allow the Truth to reveal itself to you. It is there. You do not need to seek it. Relax and let it be.

Once you feel the connection with Truth, breathe your attention and awareness from your thinking into your heart, allowing the Truth to resonate at the core of your being until you experience realization. You will know when it happens. And, you will know that you know. Feel the expansiveness in your chest. Feel your breathing become more relaxed and open. You shall know the Truth, and the Truth will make you free (John 8:32).

Here is a practice that will help you incorporate living and not just knowing the principles. 

In the consciousness of realization, and only when you have achieved realization, bring to your heart any person(s), life situation, system, or structure that has, in your usual waking awareness, stimulated concern, fear or pain for you. In your heart, hold it in love and ask for guidance for what, if anything, is yours to do. It may be as simple as writing a letter or making a phone call. It may be working for human rights and justice issues. It may be working for a political campaign of a candidate you believe in. It may be as big as founding an organization dedicated to addressing a particular issue.

Trust what you receive. Know that the idea is a seed, and that the seed contains all that is needed for its flowering. Your part is to plant the seed in your mind, water it with Truth, fertilize it with love, time and attention, and do what is yours to do to bring it into manifestation.

We transform the world through our transformed consciousness, but also through our thoughts, words and actions that embody that consciousness. Let us re-cognize, realize and practice the principles of Unity in our daily lives and know that together we are co-creating a new world that works for all.


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Be Still And Know


In the past, I have found it quite humorous when spiritual teachers and authors in their books admonish the reader to stop reading so many books or listening to spiritual teachers. I thought it odd that they would write a book expounding on their perspective of truth and simultaneously suggest that the reader not read books or follow their teaching.

Today, I more fully appreciate the importance of the message they were attempting to convey - listen to our own inner wisdom and connect with our inner “knower.”



H. Emilie Cady, in her seminal text Lessons In Truth, one of the first comprehensive books on New Thought teaching published by Unity, says,

My advice: If you want to make rapid progress in growth toward spiritual understanding, stop reading many books. They only give you someone’s opinion about Truth…What you want is revelation of Truth in your own soul, and that will never come through the reading of many books. ¹

Unless Truth is revealed to you by “my Father in heaven” it is of no practical benefit to you or to anyone else. ²

Similarly, in his book It’s All God, author Walter Starcke says,

By continuing to think that if you go to one more class, learn one more truth, study one more teaching, or pray to God one more time for the purpose of becoming something you are not, you are still in Self-denial. ³

We say that God is all knowing, all knowledge, and that we are one with God. If so, then everything we hear or the inner voice that speaks to us comes from our Selves, our union with Omniscience. ⁴

During a recent meditation, I received the following message. While I believe it was in response to my personal questioning, I also believe that it applies universally.

Listen to the voice of your Self. It is not something that is external to you, not something that is apart from you. It is your voice. Release any idea of separation. Again, listen to your Self, your own wisdom, your own guidance. You have been listening to many other teachers. You have gathered much from other teachers, from books that you have been reading, from teachers that you have been studying, from all of those who have guided you along this path, and that is a beautiful thing. There are many guides along this path, many in human form, and many who have been in human form, many who have written many books, done workshops in their beautiful expressions of light, gathering in and sharing the information they have received.

It is important information for you to be receiving, for you to be integrating, for you to grow in your own awareness of that which ‘I Am; you are.’ It is now your opportunity to listen to that voice for yourself. Yes, to know that you have the wisdom. The wisdom is within you. The wisdom is you coming forth into your own awareness.

Be still and listen. Be still and know. Be still and know ‘I Am.’ Be still and know I Am that within you. Be still as often as you possibly can. Give yourself permission to be still and to know, to know what you need to know and trust what you know to be present in your own knowing. That is what you are being called to now. It is not about not reading or not studying other works or other teachers, but it is about really claiming your own knowing that it is within you. It is your knowing that you are to claim. Now it is your knowing that you are to share in whatever way is yours to share.

You have done much. You have been on this path for quite a while. You have contemplated. You have meditated. You have prayed. You have read. You have gathered together in groups. You have gleaned information from those teachers who are around you, from those to whom you have been drawn. It is all good, and it continues to be good. Also know that you have the power to discern for yourself what your own wisdom is and to bring forth that wisdom into your own knowing.

You know in the moment that you need to know. In the moment that you are willing to release the idea that you do not know, you know. You bring that knowing into your conscious awareness, and in that awareness you are receiving and you are grounding, and you are embodying that knowing. It is an energetic vibration of knowing, and you know when you know. You know when you know that you know. You feel the knowing. Again, be still and know.

There was much more to the message which I may share in subsequent posts, but this is the gist of what I received which reflects the messages of Dr. Cady, Starcke and many other great teachers. It is time for us to claim that we know and what we know, to share it and to live it.

I encourage us all to “Be still and know.” ⁵


¹ Page 38 Complete Works of H. Emilie Cady
² Page 80 Complete Works of H. Emilie Cady
³ Page 277 It’s All God, Walter Starcke
⁴ Page 238 It’s All God, Walter Starcke
⁵ Psalm 46:10

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Heaven Now!


I continue to be thrilled and amazed when a single truth is repeatedly reinforced from various perspectives by different teachers whose books or messages I “happen to” be reading concurrently. I enjoyed one of those experiences today.

I subscribe to the daily emails from the Center for Action and Contemplation, the organization founded by Franciscan priest, author and teacher, Fr. Richard Rohr. You may subscribe here. Today’s (April 30, 2019) message was entitled Heaven Now. Fr. Rohr says,

“Jesus’ primary metaphors for the Eternal Now are “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven.” He is not talking about a far-off celestial heaven.”

Jesus speaks of the “kingdom of God” in the following from Luke 17.
“Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”

Likewise, in the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus is quoted as saying,
“His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?" Jesus said, "It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying 'Here it is' or 'There it is'. Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and people do not see it."

As Fr. Rohr says in today’s email, also in alignment with what Unity has been teaching for over 125 years, heaven is not a place that we go after death: Heaven is a state of consciousness that we may attain now. Further, that we attain heaven consciousness by being present in and for everything that happens in the moment. He says,

“Nondual knowing is learning how to live satisfied in the naked now, which some called “the sacrament of the present moment.”

This is also the message that I heard this morning as I listened to the audiobook of Michael A. Singer’s The Untethered Soul, the Journey beyond Yourself which we are currently using for our small group book study groups.

Like Rohr, Singer encourages us to be fully present for everything that happens in the moment. He asserts that by experiencing the now and all that it brings, we allow our minds and hearts to remain open and free from the energy that can build up and block us from enjoying life fully. Further, Singer says that when we resist our current experience, we create what is referred to in the yogic tradition as a Samskara, or unfinished energy pattern that keep us in bondage to our past. When we live with an accumulation of unprocessed energy, we create hell for ourselves and sometimes contribute to it for those around us.

Even though they were created in the past, our Samskaras exist in the present and can be stimulated by current experiences. When they are stimulated, the energy of the past experience arises. In that moment, we have the opportunity to be present with all of the mental and emotional energy stored there and allow it to move through us. If we are willing to be present with it, the energy clears and we are freed from it.

Although Singer does not use ‘kingdom of heaven’ or ‘kingdom of God’  to describe the resulting freedom, he does say that it is possible for us to live in a constant state of joyous present moment awareness, allowing all events to be as they are without clinging or resisting. As Rohr might say, to enjoy the “sacrament of the present moment” or, to live in the consciousness of heaven.



WOW, what a concept! As I ponder the significance of this in my life, I am aware of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways I keep myself from living in the consciousness of heaven, even when I know, as Jesus said, that it is right here, right now.

For example, I was sitting here at my desk writing this as a blog post when I noticed my discomfort. I was struggled to find the right words, short of writing a dissertation, to capture what I wished to convey. So, I stopped. I took a deep breath, turned my back to my computer screen and stared at the plant across the room. I allowed myself to observe the thoughts I was thinking about this post and about my struggle, and I allowed myself to feel the feelings of worry, frustration, and impatience. As soon as I processed through the energy of my feelings, I experienced more clarity and freedom. Aha! Heaven! Releasing resistance and meeting what is with present awareness. I returned to my keyboard and began typing.

Once again, I proved to myself that I can read and comprehend the words of great teachers; I can wholeheartedly believe that what they are saying is true, but until I experience it, it is not mine. It remains a mental construct until I embody it.

“The kingdom of heaven is within you” has been one of those concepts. I thought I understood it. I thought I knew what Jesus was saying. Now, I realize that I have grasped the idea, and I have actually experienced it many times before, yet the gift is that now I can merge the two. I now know what ‘heaven’ is, at least for me. I now know that heaven, as I have often heard, is just a breath away. The breath can bring me into the present moment awareness where I can observe my thoughts, feel my feelings and be with “what is.”

The kingdom of heaven truly is all around us when we open our minds and hearts to it. I am committing to myself to practice “the sacrament of the present moment” as frequently and consistently as I am willing and able. I invite you to join me. Heaven Now! Let us live it.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Evolving as the Christ


I am taking a week off from writing a blog post, so I am reposting something I wrote several years ago. As I consider the meaning of Easter and living Easter consciousness, this seems apropos.

                   ___________________________________________________

This past Sunday, after service, I had an in-depth and thoughtful conversation with a congregant. I really enjoy it when, after a Sunday talk, someone wants to engage in a deeper exploration of the topic. I interpret it to mean that my talk stimulated some questions and personal exploration, and I feel gratified.

At one point in our conversation she asked me if I thought it is easier for me in my position as the minister of the church, in comparison to those in other careers, to be more consciously aware of my Christ nature in the midst of my daily activities. My immediate response was “no.” At the moment she asked the question, images of opportunities I have had to know and express the Truth of my being arose in my mind. I was keenly aware of the many times I fail to respond from my Christ nature. Sometimes I am successful, but not always.

However, I have now had time to further consider the question and my answer, and in hindsight I would have chosen to respond differently.  A simple “no” does not capture the complexity of the question, nor does it provide an adequate or completely honest response. So, I thought I would share some of the thoughts that have come up for me in retrospect.

I realize there are exceptions, but for most of us fully embodying our Christ nature does not happen instantaneously, nor is it sustained constantly. Living in and from the conscious awareness of the Christ is an evolutionary and transformative process. The transformation of personal consciousness from the belief in separation, which is the primary cause of suffering, to the awareness of oneness, our Truth, usually happens over the course of a lifetime; however, instances of conscious evolution may occur multiples times each day provided we are willing to consciously and actively participate in the process.



Each person, situation or issue that stimulates suffering, regardless of the intensity of feeling, is an opportunity for us to evolve. We can choose to meet life with curiosity and commitment, in so doing evolve with it, or we can resist it and continue to suffer.

We evolve, not by ignoring our pain or pretending that we are too “spiritual” to feel it. We evolve through our willingness to acknowledge the pain, feel it, and process through the thoughts we are thinking about ourselves or another that formulate our belief in separation.

Then, through our willingness to question the belief and discover the truth, we are able to come to the place of understanding, compassion and the remembrance of Truth, ours and another’s. While it may not be what we commonly think of as such, I consider this an evolution of consciousness, moving from the belief in separation to an awareness of oneness, which we may consciously choose in any given situation. And, each time we choose conscious evolution we contribute to the transformation of our consciousness.

While evolution is a continual process of growth and change, transformation, though it frequently occurs through a process of growth and change, is ultimately a state of sustained alteration of consciousness. One who has achieved this transformation and lives in the state of realized Oneness is often referred to as “enlightened” or “awakened”. In the Christian tradition, we believe Jesus was an enlightened master whose consciousness was fully evolved and who fully embodied the Christ.

There are people living today who some believe are living in this state of consciousness, a small list includes Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now; Byron Katie, creator of The Work of Byron Katie®; and Gangaji, teacher and author of The Diamond in Your Pocket and other books. There are others who are no longer living who are also considered to have been enlightened, such as Meister Eckhart, Sai Baba and Jiddu Krishnamurdi, to name a few. While a few of those named are believed to have attained enlightenment suddenly, most are reported to have attained this level of consciousness through their commitment to spiritual practice, practices that helped to facilitate transformation one evolution at a time.

If you have read this far, you may be wondering how all of that pertains to the original question. Well, I do not claim to be an enlightened master who lives fully from a transformed consciousness, yet. I do, however, assert that I am engaged in the process of conscious evolution to the best of my ability.

So, my answer to whether living from my Christ nature is easier because I am a minister is still “no,” but if asked if it is easier for me to live from Christ consciousness because of my spiritual practice and because my commitment to be in ministry helps keep me focused on my evolutionary process, my answer would be “yes”.  

Every day, often multiple times a day, I am presented with opportunities to engage in the process of conscious evolution. At times, I am tempted to run and hide. And, to be honest, there have been times in my past when I have avoided it as strenuously and persistently as possible. But, as I am sure you have noticed, life continues to show up, and each of us has to choose whether we will meet it and evolve with it or resist it and suffer through it.

I am grateful for the tools I have acquired during my years of conscious spiritual study and practice. Utilizing those tools helps me to, more and more, stay firmly grounded in my Truth and to be the best Christ I can be in any given moment. I am grateful to be in a position that allows me the opportunity to explore and discuss this transformation process with others as we make this journey together.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Risen in Christ


In his book, Stillness Speaks, Eckhart Tolle says, “Death is not the opposite of life. Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal.” Easter presents us with an opportunity to realize this truth in an expanded and meaningful way through the example of our brother and way shower, Jesus.

It doesn’t matter whether we believe that Jesus’ physical body was resurrected, or that he animated what Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore referred to as the light body, or that the stories of his appearances after his death were apparitions, or none of the foregoing. What matters is that we recognize the central message of the story – Eternal Life.

We will begin to comprehend eternal life when we realize that what would appear to be evidence of the death, even death of the physical body, as in the story of Jesus on the cross, is not death at all but simply the transmutation of energy from one form to another. Nothing dies. Even the physical body is eternal. Granted it does not maintain the same structure, but the energy which comprises the physical body does not die; it changes form.

We celebrate the resurrection because we believe that through the resurrection Jesus dramatically demonstrated the central message of Easter – Life is Eternal. Through the resurrection Jesus proved to his followers, all of us, that death is not real. Only Life is real and eternal. And, the Life that is real is the animating, vitalizing, energetic Essence that imbues all creation.



That which we call death is a name we assign to an experience that occurs at a particular point in time and space at which a transition takes place. In a person, this transition is a shift in the awareness of the individuated God-Essence from focus through a body back to a constant awareness of unity in God.

In Spirit, the concept of death is meaningless. Life, another name for ‘God’ does not die. It is constantly moving, expanding and evolving. What we think of as the body is a temporary vessel through which a specific individuated essence of Life/God expresses for a period of time. The essence of Life/God is never contained within a human body or any physical form. Life/God animates a body, but is never defined by it.

When we awaken to the reality of Eternal Life, the essential message of Easter, we are “saved.” We are saved from the “hell” that we create in our own minds because of the fear of death and our mistaken belief that we can be and somehow are separate from Life/God. We are free when we surrender to the Eternal Life that expresses in its fullness in every moment and trust that even though it may appear to us that something has died, that in truth it is only in a state of transition, whether it is the body, a relationship, a job, a hope or a dream.

Eternal Life expresses in its complete essence in every moment. The “Now” is the only moment in which Life can exist in our human awareness. If we are bound, in our minds, to the dream of a past or the hope of a future, we open ourselves to the suffering stimulated by our belief that something is absent from our lives now. This longing for a different past or attachment to a future dream is what the Buddha called “dukkha” and what we call “hell.” Both represent states of mind created by attachment to the things of the world. When we release our attachment we set ourselves free, thus we are “saved.”

We follow Jesus in the way of the crucifixion and resurrection every time we are willing to let go of pain and resentment of the past and our longing for a specific future, and instead surrender to the Eternal Life that is present in each moment. Each time we connect with, accept and allow the Life that is moving in us, through us, as us, and all creation in each and every moment, we are “saved,” and we are resurrected in the awareness of new life. That is the “salvation” promised by the crucifixion and the resurrection of our way shower Jesus.

I encourage us to allow today to be a day of “salvation” for us all. Let today be the day we free ourselves from the “hell” of our own making by surrendering to the Life that is the only enduring truth. Let us allow the pain and resentments from the past and attachments to a future to “die” away and welcome transformation.

On Sunday, as we observe Easter, let it be a day of celebration, not just in gratitude for our master teacher Jesus and his demonstrations, but for ourselves as well. Let us rise in the conscious awareness of Eternal Life as our very life. Accept the power of that Life expressing in and as every moment. Honor each moment as an opportunity to embrace our own resurrection and boldly declare, “I am risen in Christ. The awareness of Christ is risen in my heart and mind. I am free.”

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Shiva-Christ


Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to make the short trip to Evergreen, CO to the home of a wonderful couple. The husband, Devraj, is originally from India and was raised in the Hindu tradition. Their home is decorated with rugs, sculptures and wood carvings from his homeland. I was in awe, not only of the artistry they exhibit, but also of the spiritual significance of many of them. I was particularly captivated by a statue of Shiva Nataraja, similar to the one pictured below, in the home’s entryway. 



Wanting to make a personal connection with the Devraj, I told him that I know very little about the Hindu deities, but that I recognized this as Shiva, the destroyer. My comment prompted a more in-depth conversation. Devraj explained that the word ‘destroyer’ often has a narrow and negative connotation and typically evokes images of physical destruction or death for many people in the West, but that in the East, the meaning is more nuanced.

He pointed out to me that the sculpture is rich with symbolism. It depicts Shiva Nataraja as the Lord of the Dance dancing on the demon Apasmara who represents evil and ignorance. This signifies that Shiva destroys false perceptions, judgments, concepts and ideas that are born from fear and ignorance which when acted upon result in “evil.” Further, even though Shiva is the “destroyer,” he is also a creator. Something must die before something new can emerge. Shiva destroys ignorance so that new ideas can be embraced and something different can be manifested. Additionally, he is shown dancing in a circle of flames which signifies the circle of life, complete with all its varied experiences. I encourage you to read more about the powerful symbolism of this image.

I shared with Devraj that his explanation of the symbolism reminded me of a depiction of Jesus’s resurrection (below) from the Eastern Orthodox church which I was introduced to recently during the Universal Christ Conference in Albuquerque. The image shows the resurrected Jesus victoriously standing on Satan and reaching out to Adam and Eve.



In traditional Christianity, this depiction might be interpreted literally as the resurrected Jesus destroying Satan, the personification of evil, and saving Adam and Eve who represent all of humanity, from the fires of hell through his crucifixion and resurrection. In Unity, however, we interpret it metaphorically and metaphysically.

In Unity, Satan represents our own states of ignorance, thoughts of separation and fear which may demonstrate in ways that one might call “evil.” The resurrected Jesus standing on Satan represents the power of the Christ consciousness to overcome our belief in separation. That the resurrected Christ is reaching out to Adam and Eve, all humanity, signifies that we can all be raised to Christ consciousness. While in the Christian tradition crucifixion (destruction) resurrection (new creation) are one-time events, in Unity we understand that they are representative of the continuing cycle of life as is depicted in the Shiva sculpture.

I encourage us all to remember that the power to transform our consciousness and create a new life lies within us, not in an external power. For most of us, each day provides us with multiple opportunities to embrace the dance of life, to honor the Shiva or Christ within us, and to overcome our own Apasmara or Satan - our beliefs in separation, our states of ignorance and our inclinations to act from them.

I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about Shiva Nataraja and how this imagery is so closely aligned with imagery of the resurrected Jesus. It is yet another powerful reminder that there is Truth in all spiritual traditions and that we are more similar than we might know.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Living Liminality


I recently returned from spending a few days in Albuquerque at the Conspire Conference presented by the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC), an organization founded by Franciscan Priest, author and teacher Fr. Richard Rohr. This year’s conference was entitled “The Universal Christ” which is also the title of Fr. Rohr’s recently released book. I was thrilled to be able to participate. The experience was enriching and inspiring on many levels, not the least of which was learning about and understanding “liminality.”

Liminality is a word that was new to me, but is a concept that was first developed in the early twentieth century by folklorist Arnold van Gennep and later taken up by Victor Turner. The word is derived from the Latin word ‘limen’ meaning “threshold.” ¹ It is commonly used today to denote the transitional time or space between one phase of life and another, between what we have known and what is yet unknown. For example, liminality may be used to describe the transitional phase between jobs or between retirement and whatever comes next. When we experience these life transitions, we can be said to be in “liminal space.”



Often, liminal space can be uncomfortable. Even if we have been dissatisfied with what has been and are ready to move to something new, it can be scary to let go of what is known and move into a space of the unknown.

It can be more unsettling to sit in that liminal space and wait for clarity about what’s next. While we all have these experiences, most of us are not sure how to move through them with grace and ease. I confess that I often find it challenging. However, having this new frame of reference has given me a more relaxed perspective on these periods of being with not knowing. It requires us to engage our spiritual practices. I offer some thoughts that I hope will be helpful.

In her book, On Death and Dying, psychiatrist Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross identified five stages of grief. They are denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. When we understand that  being in liminality most often involves letting go of something or someone we have known, or a way in which we have known ourselves, we can also understand that it naturally includes an element of grief.

We will most likely go through some, if not all of these stages and emotions. It is important to be present with ourselves in this process. Allow ourselves to feel the emotions without resistance or self-judgment. While liminal space is often uncomfortable and disquieting, we can take comfort in knowing that by accepting ourselves right where we are and embracing all that we are experiencing, we can and will move through it and toward a renewed sense of knowing and meaning.

At times, it can sometimes seem that we are in an eternal space of liminality. It may feel as though we will never again land in a place of peaceful knowing. Even so, it is important to maintain hope, which dictionary.com defines as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” It may seem contradictory to suggest that we maintain hope in the midst of grief, but it is essential to hold onto a sense of expectancy.

The liminal space holds a great deal of potential and possibility if we are willing to be present and move through it. It is helpful to recall times in the past when we have experienced liminal space. In my life, moving from working in the insurance industry to being in ministry was one such period. I knew that I had the calling to ministry, but often it seemed that the period of liminality, the time of not knowing when, where or how it was going to happen, was interminable. There were times when I felt hopeless. It took years, but it did happen.

When I am in liminal space now, it helps to reflect on that period. When I feel doubt and frustration, remembering that I have experienced this space before and that I have moved through it to a new and more expansive space, restores my hope.

Additionally, being in liminal space requires courage. Facing the unknown can stimulate fear. Even though I knew that the insurance industry was not my calling, it became a comfortable and safe career. I knew how to do my work, and I was good at it. I had no idea how to “do” ministry. It required courage to take that leap of faith and leave my job along with the financial security I enjoyed. Yet, I knew that I had to do it. I knew that it was the only way I could set my soul free and realize my potential.

I am happy to now have a word for this experience. I am also heartened to know that the discomfort of liminality is a shared human experience. It may seem odd, but having it named and discussed openly gave me permission to have the experience and offered me solace for being in it.

When you find yourself in liminal space, take heart. You are not alone. Breathe. Feel the feelings. Stay present. Hold on to hope. Gather your courage. Take the next step and the next. Realize the potential and possibility existing in liminality. It is not something to avoid, but another experience to live. Live Liminality. There is beauty in it, from it.