It Is What It Is
A woman was walking down the street when she was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked for a couple of dollars for dinner. The woman took out her wallet, got out ten dollars and asked, “If I give you this money, will you buy wine with it instead of dinner?”
“No I had to stop drinking years ago”, the homeless woman told her.
“Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?” She asked.
“No, I don’t waste time shopping,” the homeless woman said. “I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive.”
“Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?” asked the woman.
“Are you NUTS!” replied the homeless woman. “I haven’t had my hair done in 20 years!”
“Well,” The woman said, “I’m not going to give you the money. Instead, I’m going to take you out for dinner with my husband and me tonight.”
The homeless woman was shocked. “Won’t your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know I’m dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting.”
The woman replied, “That’s okay. It’s important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hair appointments, and wine.”
In the book, “Point of Power”, Rev. Dr. Paul Hasselbeck wrote, “What I look for and what I think I will find is what I tend to find, not because it is inherently in the event or situation but because it is in my mind. I see, perceive, and experience my world through my thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes.”
We see what we expect to see. And we see what we have labeled it or named it.
The word CHURCH is a perfect example. What do you think of or feel when I say the word CHURCH? Many people have a hard time with the word because of their prior experiences and the attitudes they have developed because of those experiences. And so, they exclude themselves from the experience we have here today because they haven’t erased the word CHURCH and the attitude they formed from their past yet.
The same is said about many words, especially those found in religion. God. Father. Goddess. Christ. Sin. Bible. What were your feeling as I mentioned those words?
We have talked about some of these words. In Unity, they mean different things than they do in traditional religions. In fact, Unity doesn’t even like to use the word ‘religion’. We think of ourselves more as a Spiritual movement.
In Genesis 2:19-20, it’s written:
“Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the human to see what they would name them; and whatever the human called each living creature, that was its name. So the human gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.”
All the animals, birds, beasts were named and thus, that is what we expect when someone says, fish, robin, hawk, dog, cow, etc.
And in Matthew 16:13-16
When Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
So, those of us raised in the Christian tradition think of Jesus as ‘the Son of God’, at least until, as I did, they looked into the other traditions.
As it is named, so we see it.
I had an experience while I was attending my last set of Leadership Classes at Unity Village. We had a double class of prayer; types, techniques, etc. As we were discussing praying for others, we had a practice session with a partner. My partner was Paula, a woman I had met during the last set of classes. When it was my turn, I was to give her something that I wanted to pray over, so I shared with her something that had come up regarding my health that I was experiencing at the time. It had to do with a nodule that was found on my thyroid gland, a biopsy was taken but there was not enough material to make a diagnosis. Being a breast cancer survivor, I wasn’t very happy about having another ‘lump’ in my body. Paula gave a very good prayer “for the right and perfect solution,” as I expected she would. After she was finished, as we were discussing the process we had just gone through, she told me something I had not considered….she said “it is what you call it”.
She was right. I was calling it a worry, a concern; a challenge, something that might throw my life into a tail spin. I was recalling my experience with Breast Cancer. I needed to call it, to ‘label’ it in a positive manner.
Our bodies hear everything we or others say to it. We should use caution when listening. I was listening to my fears of cancer and not to what I was learning in class. I needed to put my lessons into practice.
I’m sure I am not alone in this, calling something that is a change, something more. A crisis. A disaster. It’s devastating. What a shame. Poor so and so…. Just look at any situation in the world today or in your life and how it is labeled. And the labels we give to certain animals and to people! Pit Bulls for example. Or people from different cultures.
We see what we expect as Rev. Hasselbeck said. Why do we do that? Is there a benefit to naming something or someone in a negative way? Dr. Phil use to say that when we keep doing something negative; it means we are getting some kind of payback. So what is the payback for calling something a ‘crisis’? Or ‘devastating’?
The real question is why do we label something negative knowing that our thoughts create our world? Doesn’t that give our power away?
Again, my Metaphysic instructor at Unity Village, Rev. Dr. Hasselbeck says we would be better off asking ourselves what are we going to do about the situation instead of asking why it happened. Asking why, he states, keeps us in a victim role. But by asking what can I do about it takes us away from feeling helpless and into action.”
While visiting a friend several years ago, she was talking about manifesting a job opportunity. She related how she had asked for the last opportunity by listing what she wanted from it: abundance, of course, but she also wanted to be CHALLENGED. And she was. In every way….
So this time, we talked about fine turning that manifestation, and listed abundance, joy, peace, but also rewarding. No challenge. This second opportunity turned out to be much more of what she really wanted and needed.
See how easily it was to make a simple thought for a good experience into a pile of unwanted experiences? And to turn it around to good? That is what we did with the job opportunity.
Superstitions are another good example of labeling something negative…break a mirror, 7 years of bad luck. Why not 7 years of joy, peace, and good? What other superstitions can you think of that suggest a negative result to them? Anyone?(walking under a ladder, seeing a black cat,)
When painful events bring grief or discord into our life experience, when we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, we don’t have to pitch a tent and linger there, labeling it a tragedy, a crisis. Ernest Holmes said; “If we do not know the Truth in difficult times, we do not know the Truth”. What does that mean? I think it means that when we do have an opportunity to trust in Spirit, we need to do just that. Trust Spirit to guide us through.
Yet sometimes we do linger longer in the Valley than maybe we need. We only need to process the situation at hand. Yes, grieve if it is needed. Yes, Look for insights. Yes, Ask yourself painfully honest questions. But Stay there after you’ve searched everything thoroughly and learned your lessons. No. That is being a victim.
Each day is full & ripe with as much satisfaction & meaning as we choose to see. Henry David Thoreau said; “the question is not what you look at but what you see.” Our filters have a way of influencing what we see. And what do we see when we look at someone who is “different” than we are? If we are seeing through our filters, we often place that Spirit into a physical definition of different than; different color of skin, different life style, different way of living, different dress, different belief.
And not just someone we don’t personally know…we use these same filters on people we are acquainted with and label them ‘friend, ‘not too friendly,’ ‘mean,’ ‘sad,’ “distant’ and often we hardly know them. Have we ask them who they really are? Have we given them a chance to get to know who we are? Or are we judging them based upon our DOMESTICATION? Can you see how that may limit how we relate to others and may cause discord in relationships? How about looking for how we are alike?
And do you know the difference between ‘judgment’ and ‘righteous judgment’ or ‘discernment’? The word ‘judgment’ is colored by our domestication, by our filters, by what others are saying about the person or object or situation.
‘Righteous judgment’ or ‘discernment’ as used in the Bible and many of our spiritual texts, means we are looking with eyes of love, using our heart to guide us, we are seeing the Christ Consciousness in the person or situation and we choose from that perspective whether to involve ourselves.
This is a Hugh difference.
Think about how we define success, “The achievement of anything that you desire must be considered success, whether it is a trophy or money or relationships, or things. But, according to Abraham Hicks, if you will let your standard of success be your achievement of joy-everything else will fall easily into place. For in the finding of joy, you are finding vibrational alignment with the resources of the Universe.”
So, how do you define success? And how does that definition color your world?
It doesn’t serve us to create from false beliefs, yet that is what we often do. In our daily creation, we have a choice, we can choose to create consciously or unconsciously. Thoughts believed take form in our world, so it is most important that we only believe those thoughts that we desire to manifest, those that support our Spirit, and reject the others, no matter who is communicating these concepts.
We often get caught up in situations we have little or no control. This is where the power of our choices can help empower us to live our Truth. When a situation comes up where we have an opportunity to grow, we can look at what we have named it. We want to look at the potential good in the situation, not at the negative. As has been said, experience the moment, but then observe your habits & attitudes; try to understand where they came from; why you may be denying your good in this circumstance? Getting to the bottom, so to speak, of your belief, can help discover where it started so you can work on releasing it and choose positive thoughts instead. And if we are defining others through our filters and beliefs, we need to look at them and see with true sight.
So, when a ‘so-called’ disaster strikes, whether floods, tornadoes, illness of a family member or friend, instead of asking WHY, we can go into action, whatever it is that we are capable of doing. It could be saying a prayer, sending funds or help packages, or it could be going and doing something. Anything positive will help the situation. It can be as simple as sending Love and Light to the situation or person.
This is one why we have a Prayer Request Box and why Prayer is so important in Unity. We KNOW it works! So send a prayer when you have a concern or opportunity to grow.
Putting action, the WHAT in place instead of why, keeps us in a positive frame of mind, which is what it’s all about. Positive energy helps us all. What you do for yourself, you do for all.
Another area to pay attention to is if we are ‘seeing’ that our inner and outer circumstances are in sync. I have a friend who decided to buy a new car. She didn’t need a new car but was trying to look ahead: mileage was getting up there, her commute was long; she might be changing jobs. Even though she loved the car she had and all the other cars she was looking at would have caused her extra efforts to add the equipment needed to transport her kayaks, even the ‘not right’ feeling she had about the whole thing, even though she wasn’t comfortable in the drivers’ seat, she headed to the car dealer to make the buy. On the way, she received an even more direct ‘hint’ that she should reconsider the following through with purchase…a sign right in front of her said, “Don’t Do IT.”
Well, she bought a car…and after driving to work several days, she didn’t like the way it sat so she traded it for another car…didn’t like it, so she traded it for another car. This is all in a matter of about a months’ time. She didn’t like this car either, but determined it wouldn’t be wise to trade again, so she’s driving her mother’s car! STILL!
This is a simple example of not following our Truth, not listening to our inner voice. She ‘saw’ a need to get a car, not letting Spirit guide her, but listened to ego instead The error thinking, not listening to our intuition, not listening to our bodily signals, we can add suffering to our lives. Science of Mind says: “The universe does not demand suffering! Someday we shall decide that we have had enough.”
And Kahlil Gibran said, “We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.” Think about that!
SO when do we determine we have had enough suffering? When do we leave the Valley of the Shadow of Death? Do we linger there or do we learn what is ours to learn, do what we are to do, and then leave?
Charles Fillmore said, “God’s greatest gift to man is the power of thought, through which he can incorporate into his consciousness the mind of God.” But if we are to use this greatest gift, are we to dwell in its negative side? No, we use thought to create, to understand.
By questioning all our thoughts and beliefs and what we are being told, we can ask these questions in the Light of eternal Truth: 1. Is it beneficial for everyone, including all animals and the Earth? 2. Is this an unlimited thought, meaning that all is possible? 3. Does this thought empower us to live as we choose?
And if we say NO to any of these, we may want to ask ourselves where did I get that thought? What am I defining and why? And WHERE did that come from?
Rev. Dr. Hasselbeck also said, “The good news is that we create our own reality our own life experiences through our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. The bad news is that we create our own reality our own life experiences through our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. Knowing this we can assume our power, the power God always intended us to be.”
“The first place we lose the battle is in our own thinking. If you think it’s permanent then it’s permanent. If you think you’ve reached your limits then you have. If you think you’ll never get well then you won’t. You have to change your thinking. You need to see everything that’s holding you back, every obstacle, every limitation as only temporary.”
And thus we can know, as Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” And knowing this, we can also know it’s not the world that needs changed, it’s what we think about the world that needs changed. And then life goes on.
“Happiness can be found everywhere, and in everything. Or not. It’s our choice.” ~ A.D. Williams
Aug. 10, 2014
This little story was found in the Readers Digest: From a minister – Apparently I did not proofread the Sunday bulletin as well as I had thought when I prepared it. Imagine my surprise Sunday morning when I read the announcement about our coffee hour: “Please come down to the basement and say hell to the pastor.” (Ann G. Straight, in Reader’s Digest)
I hope that you say HELLO when we meet during Fellowship and I do hope to meet you all! Please grab your coffee or tea and come back into the room for conversation.
You know, it happens to the best of us-We try so hard to proof everything before we print it or send it out, so imagine our surprise when we discovered that the address was incorrect on the inaugural bulletin last week! It’s Coastal Highway, not Poastal! But we just let it go…after we corrected it for this week!
I’m a Unitic. That’s U.n.i.t.i.c not lunatic!
What does that mean? It means I believe in the 5 Principles that the Fillmores, Charles and Myrtle came up with after they first heard a speaker talk about metaphysics and healing our bodies through our thoughts and prayers. They went on to explore the world religious and spiritual cultures and choose to follow the teachings of Jesus. Notice I said the teachings of Jesus, not Christianity, tho Unity does profess to be a study in PRACTICAL Christianity. We look at Jesus as a Way-shower, a Brother who was able to transcend the Spiritual Principles, or Laws, and become one with Spirit, Goddess, Lord, Divine Universe, Great Spirit, God…what other names are there for the Divine Energy that we are all made of?
SO what is a Principle? It’s something that doesn’t change, like 2+2=4 or the law of gravity. No matter who you are or where you are on this earth that is fact!
Spiritual Principles work the same way. No matter who you are or what you do, certain things just work. It’s the Law of Cause and Effect, for instance, or the Law of Attraction we hear so much about. We’ll talk more about these laws in the future.
The Five Principles Charles and Myrtle Fillmore came up with and put into practice are listed in your bulletin.
1. There is only one Presence and one Power, God, the Good. This means that there is only God and only Good. No evil, no devil. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. That means we have to handle what happens in a dualistic world – spiritual and physical. There’s a lot we can discuss about that dualistic life that we live, but not today.
So if there’s no evil, no devil, what about all the so called “bad” things that happens. Well, that’s all perception, isn’t it? Try to look for the good. If you can’t find it initially, it will come eventually, sometimes it takes time. Sometimes we have to grieve. Sometimes we have to play the victim. But we eventually have to come out of the valley of the shadow of death and start anew. We may even set up camp there in the valley for awhile, but, eventually, camping gets old, as does playing the victim and being sad and unhappy all the time. That’s when it’s time to break up camp and move through the valley and back into the light.
There is good in everything. Think about every ‘crisis’ in the world or in your life, and eventually you will find something good that came from it. I am stronger because of the abuse I experienced in my childhood. I am more aware of what others can do to you if they are not in connection with their higher self. And I am more aware of who I truly am because of the life experiences I have had.
Wayne Dyer said, “See the beauty in everything. As you awaken to your divine nature, you’ll begin to appreciate beauty in everything you see, touch, and experience.”
Unity doesn’t say we ‘sin’, we like to look at things others call sin as “missing the mark,” which the true meaning of the word ‘sin.’(it’s an archery term, did you know?)
In fact, the Aramaic word that was translated as evil actually means immature. So it really means that we are not living from Divine Consciousness when we miss the mark. In my youth and not so youth, I have missed the mark a lot. But as I grew in awareness and consciousness, I don’t ‘miss the mark’ as much. Oh, I still do, I’m sure…just not as much! But as Paul wrote to the Corinthians in chapter 13, verse 11, “When I was a child I spoke as a child, but when I became a man, I gave up my childish ways.”
In case you were wondering, we don’t have a ‘devil’ in Unity either. Joseph Conrad, an English writer, said “The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary. Men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.” We are here to change that!
2. The second Principle is God is present in all people as our Divine Essence, our Christ Nature. Now, as we said, you can call this divine energy, God, Spirit, Buddha, anything you wish, even your own name!
God is everywhere present. God is all knowing. God is unlimited. Not all powerful but all power. Not just all knowing, but all knowledge. Close your eyes and imagine God as the stars, the trees, the grass, the animals, God is love, wisdom, creativity, imagination…God as you and me.
Imagine God as Oneness within you and me and all around us. Jesus said many times He and the Father are one. So are we.
The Native American, Black Elk said, “Peace comes within the souls of men when they realize their oneness with the Universe, when they realize it is really everywhere, it is within each one of us.”
Buddhists envisioned this Oneness as a net stretching in all directions, as did the Hopi, only their vision was a web, connecting all things. The Chinese call it Tao, the Hindus call it Brahman.
Many names for the same Presence and Power. The same energy that is within everything and everyone. Just different vibrations.
And since God is Principle, this Power and Presence is unchangeable, It just IS. God does not pick and choose who to bless or who to love. God IS love. That is all God can be, and the word love is so limiting we hesitate to even use it. The sun doesn’t pick and choose who to shine on…it just shines. And neither does God discriminate against any of us. God loves us all.
And if God is all good, we, too, are good, since we are made in God’s imagine. “Then God said, Let us make humankind in our image…” Genesis 1:26
Jill Alman-Bernstein said, “We are all love. Our hearts, our souls, our thoughts are full of love. Our very essence; so pure and simply love. We need to be reminded of this truth, and of the compassion and kindness that we must give ourselves in the name of that love.”
3. We create our life experiences through our way of thinking. We have free will. So we choose what we think, say and do. Everything in the manifest, physical realm has its beginning in thought. And we are learning in our classes that the feeling, or emotion we place behind those thoughts determine if they will be seen in the manifest world.
And here we must be careful, because unconscious thoughts count when we are manifesting. One more reason to know who you REALLY are and what you are truly thinking. And here’s an example: last year I had my eyes examined. (I know, some of you wish I had my HEAD examined!) I was informed I was starting to develop cataracts, and I had a special kind that interfered with some peripheral sight. So, I started having the thought that I must be careful of not having an accident from some car I don’t see coming from my side. Well, I had that accident this Memorial Day weekend. Did I attract that accident? I don’t know, I may have helped to create it. My point is, watch your thoughts, both conscious and unconscious. And it takes work to learn what those unconscious thoughts are.
4. Through affirmative prayer and meditation, we connect with God and bring out the good in our world. Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity and everything good. There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our awareness of God. And what IS Affirmative prayer? It’s prayer with gratitude instead of begging. It is connecting with the spirit of God within and asserting positive beliefs about the desired outcome. Affirmative prayer is the same method of prayer Jesus taught when he said, “So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). Affirmative prayer reflects the certainty that we are each being led to our highest good, whatever form that may take, despite any temporary appearances.
Myrtle Fillmore sat every day and prayed to her cells telling them that they were perfect, whole, and healthy. When her husband saw that she was getting better, he did the same. They both healed themselves through prayer…she from TB and Charles lengthened his leg that was injured when he was young and had failed to grow a normal length.
How do you do affirmative prayer? Start by centering yourself. Let your mind clear so you can better connect with Source. Try to get into a meditative state. And give thanks. Gratitude is so important. Rosemary Ellen Guiley, author of Prayer Works, states that
“Prayer is ineffective when it is accompanied or followed by negative thinking, or the endless repeating of affirmations. We have to put power and intensity into our thought, change our thought, and believe in the guidance we are receiving. If we spend energy on negative beliefs and feelings, we will get negative results, even if we and others pray daily for us. For example, if you pray for a job and then complain to others that you have no job or can’t find one, you are undermining your prayer.”
“In Unity, we believe that all things work together for our highest good,” says Lynne Brown, vice president of Unity’s 24/7 prayer ministry called Silent Unity. “We pray to align ourselves with God and to allow ourselves to be inwardly guided to that good. Through affirmative prayer, we help co-create the good that is possible in our lives.”
So Be a conscious participant in your creating.
5. Knowledge of these Spiritual Principles is not enough. We must live them. Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, are not enough. A person must live the truth that he or she knows.
This is what we are doing as we live our journey, learning as we go along. Becoming a better person each day, each moment. And if we ‘miss the mark’, we know we are not cursed, not going to ‘hell’, but we get to make another choice.
Are you aware of the difference between the words decide and choice? Decide has as part of its root, ‘cide’, c-i-d-e, which means ‘to cut off’. We see it in many word that are associated with killing as in insecticide, pesticide, genocide…So, there is no ‘second chance, or CHOICE, in ‘decide’.
So, maybe we would do best to “watch our language” as my metaphysics teacher would say, and use CHOICE instead of DECIDE.
“The world is changed by your example, not your opinion.” Paulo Coelho
I choose today’s Reading because of what we are doing here this morning. We accomplished something. Something rather astonishing and special. A year and a half ago, some of us gathered to start book discussion groups in the hope of becoming more aware of who we were as individuals and as Spiritual Beings. That seed was planted several years ago when, as I visited with friends, sitting on their deck overlooking the Indian River Bay, one of us said, “This would be a great place for a Unity. The energy here is ripe for it.” Or something to that effect. Not sure which one of us said it, but I’m pretty sure we each were thinking it!
Those seeds, those thoughts, grew into…Unity of Rehoboth Beach. Think about what we have accomplished. Let me read this again…
From Science of Mind, May 2014
Savoring Accomplishment by Cynthia James
Eric Butterworth, Unity author and minister wrote, “Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It’s a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment.”
Here is an important question for you: Are you savoring the accomplishments? Have you paused and given yourself a pat on the back for your hard work and expansion? Have you looked in the mirror and acknowledged how wonderful and powerful you are? If not, it might be a good thing to do.
There is a great tendency to look into the future and compare where we are today to an ideal scene that exists in our minds. Forward thinking is a wonderful gift, but it can move us so fast that we do not honor where we are and where we have been. It is important to pause and give thanks for how far you have come and how much you have gained because of your commitment to self. Are you willing to be still long enough to honor your work and the gifts you have used to succeed? There is great power in stopping–not just moving on to the next task–before you give thanks for all that you have done to get where you are today. I believe that savoring our accomplishments gives us breathing room to stand in gratitude and never take for granted all that it takes to succeed.
Every day is filled with delicious moments of grace, joy, freedom, and abundance. Every day, each of us does something that is transformative. Let’s slow down and give thanks.
Are you savoring your accomplishments?
I know several times in our group discussions, we have mentioned one way or another, about looking at how far we have come, especially in place of how far we THINK we have to go. And then we use that as a means to propel us forward. That is part of our passion.
Nikos Kazantzakis, author of Zorba the Greek, said “By believing passionately in something that does not yet exist we create it.”
Several of us believed in this idea or Principle that thoughts create our world, our experiences. Obviously, I did. Because I took the time, energy, courage and devotion to take the steps needed to become licensed to be able to step into this position. And, with the help of many, many friends, I got to move here with that intention.
And you, sitting here, believed enough to take time and energy and especially courage, to step into this Spiritual process that involves delving deep inside yourself, seeking the answers and the questions that move you forward in your self-discovery, and the discovery that you are Divine.
In John, chapter 14, verse 12, Jesus said, “…you shall do the works which I do; and even greater than these you shall do.”
So how do we DO these works, whether they are starting this Unity ministry or making someone’s day by sharing a smile?
For me it started with finding my passion, which is teaching, leading discussions, and helping others in whatever way I am able. Then I found a place where I felt at home…Unity. And from there, I fine-tuned my integrity. We’ll talk about integrity some Sunday. Put them all together and I have groups to lead discussions, I get to help others as needed and now we have Unity of Rehoboth Beach to reach out to this blessed community, in hopes that others find the peace that I have found.
Each of you will reach inside yourself and discover your passion. Each of you will fine tune your integrity. And each of you will find the works that are yours to do…whether it’s starting something or completing something. It doesn’t matter how small (and nothing is truly small), you will do the works that are yours to do. And in doing those works, you are blessing the Universe, each of us, as well as yourself. So keep it up…smile those smiles, help others, be of service in any and every way.
Do even greater works.