A young man shopping in a supermarket noticed a little old lady following him around. If he stopped, she stopped. Furthermore she kept staring at him.
She finally overtook him at the checkout, and she turned to him and said, “I hope I haven’t made you feel ill at ease; it’s just that you look so much like my late son.”
He answered, “That’s okay.”
She then said, “I know it’s silly, but if you’d call out ‘Good bye, Mom’ as I leave the store, it would make me feel so happy.”
She then went through the checkout, and as she was on her way out of the store, the man called out, “Goodbye, Mom.” The little old lady waved and smiled back at him. Pleased that he had brought a little sunshine into someone’s day, he went to pay for his groceries.
“That comes to $121.85,”said the clerk.”
“How come so much? I only bought 5 items.”
The clerk replied, “Yeah, but your Mother said you’d be paying for her things too.”
Color My World
More than a few years ago, there was a song made popular by the musical group “Chicago.” The name of the song is “Color My World.” I have fond memories associated with that song and smile every time I think of it. Long story.
This is certainly the time of year when the world is becoming very colorful with the change in the leaves. Of course, we can find color in every season. It’s all perspective.
If we think about that title, “Color My World,” I wonder what we would say if asked, “What color’s your world?” We would each probably have some similar answers and some very different.
What is it that ‘colors’ our world?
What does that even mean?
The dictionary defines color in the usual way, referring to tints and hues. But it also includes: to change (someone’s ideas, opinion, attitude, etc.) in some way and, it also means character, nature —such as showed himself in his true colors.
Maya Angelou said “Any one of us can be a rainbow in somebody’s clouds.”
I believe that.
So, one place I would suggest that color is added to our lives is with the people in our lives.
I’m guessing you have heard or seen the statement: “The best things in life aren’t THINGS.”
NO, the bests ‘things’ are people, and I would even say our pets. Living entities.
And I would ask you to think about how the people in your life ‘color’ your world. What are the ways that they add flavor to your life?
I’m sure most of you have seen the sign, ‘Salt Life’. It’s very prevalent around here. Salt is used as a seasoning and a preservative for food, to add flavor to it.
So, how do we Salt Life? How do we flavor it? Enhance it?
I would suggest we do so with our personalities, our character. Think of the folks in your life and how they make you smile, and even laugh! Maybe they bring music to your life. We were blessed to experience some added ‘color’ in our lives last week when Janie provided some Special Music for our enjoyment.
Many people actually bring color with their art. Artists in a variety of media share their works with us and that enhances our lives by adding ‘color’.
I like to garden and used to landscape a lot. So, I like flowers, in my house and garden, and I like to share them with my loved ones. This way I’m not only coloring my life, but I’m helping to color others too.
Leo Buscaglia said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” That’s one way to “ADD SALT” to the people around us. Why do you think hugs are so important to us? We NEED them to survive. And I’ll take as many as I can get!
How many times have we heard of a story where one strangers’ kindness changed someone’s mind who was considering suicide? Or seeing or hearing someone say, “I needed that” to a certain statement that contained a message relevant to them or a reminder that, “This too shall pass.”
And how about our conversations? Do they ‘color’ our world?
Marlo Badenhorst said, “Conversation creates understanding.” We have discussed this at length in class, the importance of understanding what someone is saying and saying what we truly wish to say.
I don’t know about you, but I love a good conversation. If I can get talking with someone who makes me think, I’m feeling very good. Making me think, sharing my thoughts, ‘salts’ my life very much. I guess you can understand why I have book discussion groups now…oh it’s for the folks attending them, for sure, that’s my mission in life, but it’s for ME too! I get just as much from them, maybe more, than those people sitting around the table sharing. And I am so grateful that they have chosen to share their time with me.
But you know what else ‘salts’ my life? Seeing someone breaking through an understanding about themselves. That’s an amazing thing to see and to participate in. Watching someone understand something about themselves that they didn’t before-hand. Receiving an ‘AH HA…it’s priceless. The sharing that goes with that is deep and wonderful.
Animals color my world. I’ve seen wonderful things with my dogs. Many lessons for me and them. They are angels here to help us on our journey. And watching my girls, who went through some very rough times as breeders for puppy mills for 5 years, stuffed in cages with many, many other dogs, sometimes dead dogs. To see how they have come along is a wonder to behold. It proves that love does make a difference. We’ll talk about the gift of dogs in a couple of weeks.
All of nature has so many things that color our world. We’ve discussed trees and the oceans here. We could list what the other animals teach us, like the geese, who help the gaggle fly long distances as they migrate. They fly in the shape of a V for a reason and take turns leading the migration to break the air current so it’s easier for the others to fly without getting too tired, and did you know geese mate for life and they never leave a fellow goose alone if it gets sick or injured. Always one or two, at least, stop with the injured or sick goose until it can go on. We could learn a lot from our animal friends.
What other ways are our lives blessed? What other ways do we ‘salt’ our lives?
Think of the ways you make your life and the life of those you love more enjoyable. That is how you ‘salt’ them.
Allen Klein. said, “Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.”
So we hang out with people we like, people who make us smile and laugh, and even dance! We do things we enjoy. Sometimes we even watch a TV show because it makes us laugh, and smile and think even.
But I think one of the biggest ways we ‘color’ our world is through remembering who we are. Not just in a human sense, but even more so, on a spiritual sense.
True creativity is recreating our perception of reality. When we begin to realize that we are truly children of the Creator, we see the world quite differently.
Other people take on a whole new meaning. We are more open and inviting with them. We see the world through their eyes as well as our own and can, therefore be more compassionate and understanding.
We see more similarities in others as we grow in understanding. This helps us understand that we are all ONE. I have often walked down a street or on the boardwalk and noticed how similar people are to each other and to other people I know.
We begin to understand that we have more control of our own lives than we ever thought we had. We realize that life is really about what we give out, because THAT is what we’ll get back.
Elizabeth Gilbert said, “We need to learn how to select our thoughts the same way we select our clothes.” In other words, very carefully, with some forethought.
Our thoughts create our world. Simple. But, you say, I didn’t create war. I didn’t create disease. Well, maybe not you directly, maybe the consciousness of the world, called RACE consciousness, is countering your good thoughts. Or, maybe your unconscious thoughts are battling with your conscious thoughts.
Think about how often we let anger over take those good thoughts. Or thinking some not so pleasant thoughts about someone else. Have we gossiped today? Even in thought?
Have we reacted in a negative way about something or someone? What has been your reaction to the current national and international news?
What are we thinking or even saying about ourselves, to our self?
Maya Angelou said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can choose not to be reduced by them.”
I understand it’s hard to not react to some things. It’s a lsesson we all must work on all the time. But we can become aware of what our hot topics are, what pushes our buttons, and learn to recognize when the reaction is starting, and then learn to stop or reduce the reaction.
WE know now that there is no need to camp out in the Valley of the Shadow….we are becoming more and more aware of who we truly are and we are learnig to make positive changes in our lives in every way. So we can cut that camping trip short…or not even go there!
Another way we are ‘coloring’ our world is through gratitude.
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
Gratitude is so important to our spiritual growth. We should be grateful for all that the world has to offer to us. Just be thankful for the simple things in your life. The air we breathe, the sun and rain, flowers and trees. The ocean and lake and streams.
All our animal life.
We have food and clothing, shelter. We have ways to get places and meet people. We can think and speak, and hear and see. I’ve often wondered if I had to give up one sense, what I could live without. That is so difficult to answer.
No hearing means no music, something I really love. The depth and breadth of music just amazes me.
No sight means not seeing the faces of the people I love or the colors the world offers us. Not seeing all the beauty around me, not seeing the wonders of the world.
Not being able to taste the good food my friend who cooks so well has to offer. Or tasting the lips of the one I love? Hard, very hard.
And who doesn’t love the smell of chocolate chip cookies freshly baked?
How can we live without touch? Touch is so very important to our emotional growth and stability. Why do you think we all love to hug? We need it!
Gratitude. Simple but mighty. Show it. Give it. BE it.
Carol reminded us last week of the powerful, yet simple prayer that we all can use…”Thank you.” Just close your eyes, take a deep breath and say THANK YOU.
We are followers of Jesus, and the teachings he gave to us. Particularly the stories of the miracles he manifested, we find him giving thanks to the Creator in advance of his request.
When Jesus gives thanks in advance, he affirms the fundamental Truth that God as Source is infinitely present
Another way to color our world is through forgiveness; of ourselves and of others. Carrying around the burden of anger, guilt, regrets is a weight we do not need. Forgive yourself for things done, or said, or not done or said. We all do the best we are able to do at the time with the knowledge we have. No one is perfect, and no one is expected to be. We are Spiritual Beings in Human Expression.
Forgive. Let go of whatever it is and Let God take over.
We color our world by recognizing happiness in our lives. Sounds simplistic, doesn’t it? Yet, have you considered if you are happy? Do you know what happiness is to you?
The Buddha said, “Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are; it solely relies on what you think.”
Think about it. Let me know what you come up with.
Surprisingly enough, if we organize our homes, we can organize our lives. That helps to “salt’ our lives tremendously. How you ask? More time if we aren’t looking through stacks of paper, old mail, clothes we can’t wear or haven’t worn for years. When we release these items, we allow for energy flow…Chia. I’m sure you have heard of it, and Fung Shui. It’s all about energy.
When we clear out our homes, we really clear out our minds too. We take control of things in our lives, we take responsibility for our lives. If we have an unorganized home, most often we have an unorganized mind.
Not messy as in not clean or unhealthy. Messy as in, not knowing who we are or what we want from the Universe. And if we don’t know what we want, the Universe can’t give it to us. Those stacks of things can keep us from going deep into SELF. Busyness takes over.
You have heard of chakras…that’s part of our bodily energy flow system…we need to keep it flowing by keeping the chakras open. If you feel blocked, there are people and ways to open them and get them flowing properly again.
And receiving what we would like from life would surely ‘color’ our lives, right? We have to give to receive.
Some of you may have heard of Circulation Day. It’s something many Unity Centers do. It’s like a big yard sale, without the ‘sale’ part. Everything is free. People come in and take what they need. We’re thinking of doing this in the spring, so keep us in mind when you are spring cleaning.
When can ‘color your world’ is to let go of things we can’t control. Everything is temporary. Some people say to ask ourselves this question, when something challenging us comes up-“Is it a matter of life or death?” In other words, it’s probably NOT the end of the world. So, it will pass.
And can we do anything about what other people think and say and do? Not really. We can BE ourselves and sometimes that makes a difference to us or others, but we can’t change them, or their negativity or behavior. Only they can do that. We can be a Lighthouse for other thought.
So we do what we can control we take care of ourselves and our behaviors and thoughts. And, we remember we cannot change others but we can change who we choose to spend time with, in most cases.
The idea expressed by Don Miguel Ruiz ‘who’s business is it is explained further by Richard Carlson, “Minding your own business goes far beyond avoiding the temptation to try and solve other people’s problems. It also included eavesdropping, gossiping, talking behind other people’s backs, and analyzing or trying to figure out other people. One of the major reasons most of us focus on the shortcomings or problems of others is to avoid looking at ourselves.”
Again, the only person we can change is ourselves. Color your world.
Did you know a FEELING lasts about 45 seconds and is then released? An EMOTION, on the other hand, is a feeling with a story attached to it, and that emotion can last for as long as you keep feeding that story without letting go (that’s how people stay angry at someone or something for 20, 30, sometimes 40 years.. oy!).
So watch your emotions. Let go. AS Byron Katie would ask; Is it true? Not any longer, it’s not. IT, whatever IT was, happened in the past. Let it go. Be in the NOW.
Raise your awareness to the difference between a feeling and an emotion the moment it occurs, and let go of the story and emotional drama before it grabs a hold of you.
Tell yourself you will not stress yourself out over things you cannot control or change.
Color your world with peace, gratitude, harmony, and love.
And here’s a few idea on how to do that…
Think less Feel more
Frown less Smile more
Talk less…Listen more
Judge less, Accept more
Watch less, Do more
Complain Less, Appreciate More
Fear less, Love more
If you missed this weeks Celebration Service, you missed wonderful, special music by Janie Womack! Check her out online at http://www.WomackandLowery.com.
A young woman was driving through the Florida Everglades while on vacation. She wanted to take home a pair of genuine alligator shoes in the worst way, but was very reluctant to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking.
After becoming very frustrated with the attitude of one of the shopkeepers, the young woman declared, “Well then, maybe I’ll just go out and catch my own alligator and get a pair of shoes for free!”
The shopkeeper said with a sly smile, “Well little lady, why don’t you go on and give it a try?”
The woman headed off to the swamp, determined to catch an alligator. Later in the day, as the shopkeeper was driving home, he spotted the same young woman standing waist deep in the murky water, shotgun in hand.
As he brought his car to a stop, he saw a huge 9-foot gator swimming rapidly toward her. With lightning reflexes, the woman took aim, shot the creature and hauled it up onto the slippery bank.
Nearby were 7 more dead gators, all lying belly up. The shopkeeper stood on the bank, watching in silent amazement. The woman struggled mightily and managed to flip the gator onto its back.
Rolling her eyes heavenward, she screamed in frustration, “OH NO! THIS ONE’S BAREFOOT, TOO!”
I apologize to all the alligators!
Starting with yes
We deny any power outside our being
We affirm we are the Divine in manifestation.
What do we do after we do our denials and affirmations?
Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. The question, whether or not we are in touch with it, gives us pause to take an accounting of just how we do live our lives.”
Living in the flow, on the surface, can be filled with excitement and with drama. Our habits often cause us to live on the surface of life. And sometimes our habits aren’t necessarily the most positive parts of ourselves.
Living in the deeper part of life’s current, where the steady, even flow takes us gently through whatever experiences come along, isn’t as easy as it sounds. Merely to abstain from wrong thinking is not enough; there must be active right thinking.
What does that mean?
Let’s go back to those habits…are they habits that move us along in the direction our journey is taking? Are we doing what we believe in, or are we settling for what we are doing?
Familiar patterns of thinking, like favorite old shoes, are comfortable and easy to slip into. Yet if they no longer fit, they need to be released. Going with the flow sometimes is taking the easy way out. We often do this thinking what we know is better than what we don’t know.
Saying Yes to change offers us the possibility of growing beyond our perceived limitations to the fullness of our divine potential.
Here’s an example of just going with the flow, settling on what we are doing; on UnityFM one day, Rev. Dr. Tom Shephard told a story from when he was in the Army as a Chaplin. He was visiting a base and went to lunch at the mess hall. Arriving there he was astounded by the condition of the meal; it was tasteless; there were no forks or knives, only spoons to eat with; in general; a very un-enjoyable and practically indigestible meal was being offered.
So, he went to see the cook and stated how surprised he was by the meal being offered. The cook offered, that yes, wasn’t it great. This mess was number one again of all the mess halls. His crew provided all the meals within the prescribed time allotted, serving the prescribed amount of the different meal components, and cleaned up in the prescribed amount of time, meeting all cleanliness standards.
Of course Rev. Tom was quite surprised at the pride the cook was showing, missing the point completely, that yes, all those ‘rules’ were followed, but the meal was almost uneatable due to the state of the food and the lack of utensils.
Rev. Tom was not judging the situation, tho he probably didn’t eat at that mess hall again. He was giving an example of doing only what was required. Nothing more. Is this the way we should be going through life? Doing only what is expected; what ‘regulations’ state must be done.
I think it’s something else, I think it boils down to making our yes, yes and our no, no as stated in Matthew 5:37. Simply put, when we say yes, mean it and when we say no, mean it.
And, as a reminder, “No in this instance, is a complete sentence. It does not require justification or explanation.”
So, the question becomes, what do we mean when we say yes and when we say no? The cook in the story said YES to rules and regulations but NO to service in his integrity to his fellow soldiers. He looked at serving the ‘law’ instead of the ‘meaning of the law,’ similar to Jesus in Matthew 5:17, “I come not to abolish the law but to fulfill it,” meaning, not the ‘letter’ of the law but the meaning behind it.
To serve with meaning, we want to put our belief behind our actions. And, to know what our beliefs are, we must look within, of course.
In the book by Don Miguel Ruiz “The Fifth Agreement,” the concept defining the fifth agreement was to be skeptical, to question everything, but learn to listen.
Isn’t this a bit like asking ourselves what is truly our TRUTH? And how do we learn that? Well, of course, we listen to the still small voice from within, we pray and meditate.
But we also have to question what our beliefs are to realize if they are true for us. Many of us came from stories as we grew up that do not seem true to us today. Most often, we grew up learning the stories of our parents, family, school and religious cultures. In fact, that these stories felt untrue is probably one of the reasons we are sitting here at UNITY of Rehoboth Beach today.
Once we feel the untruth of the belief, we have to listen not only to the still small voice, but to the lessons being presented to us in a variety of ways. Maybe here, each Sunday. Maybe in classes, reading a book or article. Listening to music. Walking in nature. Everything we see, hear, touch, taste, smell, or sense in any way is an aspect of the Divine. And messages come through all aspects of the Divine, we just need eyes that see and ears that hear; and an open heart.
Only after we learn what our TRUTH is, only then can we say yes, or no. Before that, we don’t know what we believe. Before that, we are living the stories of others.
When we know what we believe, we can put our beliefs behind our actions. The true power of a word lies in its union with action. People can only see what’s in your heart by your actions. We are developing our integrity. And that action is living our integrity. When we live our integrity, we are saying YES to our beliefs.
If we look with wonder at the world around us, we can choose to wake up each morning with a positive outlook and an expectant attitude. We can choose to see the beauty in every face, every aspect of nature, every goal and dream. As we sense and nurture the wonder in each thought and action, we transform our lives.
That’s a YES! YES!
I mentioned in a prior Sunday lesson that there is another way to look at the Golden Rule—Think onto others as you would have them think onto you.
We can help to transform others and as well as transform ourselves.
That’s a Yes! Yes!
And here’s a bumper sticker that has it down pat, THINK GOOD THOUGHTS…Words become actions; actions become habits, habits become character, character becomes destiny.
Another Yes! YES!
As we are skeptical, questioning all our beliefs, we are learning who we are on all levels and with that, we are either in growth or decline at all times.
Growth as we remain open to the messages that are presented to us.
Decline because sometimes we will choose to not look forward, we may not be ready for tackling a certain ‘project’, a certain aspect of our selves.
It took me many years to work on the many ‘stories’ I was brought up with. Still working on some.
Gandhi said. “It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there will be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
When I was teaching, several years I taught 8th grade health. Part of our curricula was safety and first aid…and with that, the then Heimlich Maneuver to aid someone who was choking. Later that year, one of my students helped his younger brother release a stuck piece of food using that maneuver. We never know when the fruit of our labor will present itself.
So we do the right thing, always. We say yes to our highest good.
What are you saying yes to? If you’re going to do something make it matter.
And what are you saying NO to? Often we say yes when we really wish to say NO. It is appropriate to say NO when we truly do not wish to participate in the pending activity, no matter what the activity is. We have that responsibility to ourselves. It is appropriate to say NO to something that is hurtful to us or offends us; to something that is not in our integrity. It is better to say NO than to regret saying YES.
And what about when ‘No’ is ‘Yes’
A number of years ago, as I was anxiously waiting for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ that would dramatically change the course of my life, a friend offered me an important assurance. ‘From the perspective of God,’ he reminded me, ‘the answer is always ‘yes’.’
I heard in this affirmation what I needed to hear at the time – and have needed to remember many times since. Even if the answer was ‘no’ on the physical plane of existence, even if I were denied that which I thought I wanted, I could be absolutely sure that there was a loving ‘yes’ behind the equally loving ‘no.’
Yes, I AM unconditionally loved; no, this person who seems to represent that possibility in the material world at the moment cannot be the channel through which that love expresses.
Yes, I AM living a life of joy and abundance; no, this particular job is not the appropriate channel for that abundance.
It is, of course, an important truth that the Power of God is always eager to express as all of the highest good I AM willing to accept. My limited human mind may not always recognize that highest good – and the path that will lead me to it. But my spiritual Beingness always does.
Steven Covey said, “We have to choose what our highest priorities are and have the courage to say “NO” to other things. And the way we do that is by having a bigger “YES” burning inside.”
SO, Today I AM open to God’s great, eternal ‘Yes!’ seeking to express in my life, and I lovingly dissolve any obstacles in my mind that may be impeding the loving and affirmative Beingness of my own I AM.
Love is a verb
Steven Covey, in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, tells the story from one of his lectures. A man came up to him concerned about his marriage.
“I’m really worried.” He said. “My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her any more and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”
“The feeling just isn’t there anymore?” Steven asked.
“That’s right, and we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”
“I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”
“You don‘t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.”
“Then love her. If the feeling of love just isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”
“But, then how do you love when you don’t love?”
“My friend, love is a verb. Love, – the feeling- is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her.”
A new look on love, is it not? A different perception of love.
A Course in Miracles tells us we need to change our perceptions, because they are our perceptions, and only we can change them. We’ve discussed this often. And that is what Steven Covey was suggesting to the man in the previous story. To change the perception of just what Love is.
The Bible, one of many spiritual references we use for our life’s journey, mentions LOVE often, and appropriately so, since love is a major theme in the teachings of Jesus.
In first John, 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
And from “The Twelve Powers” by Charles Fillmore: “Unselfish love is of greater value to soul unfoldment than any college course.”
Love is something you do: the sacrifices you make, the giving of self. Love is a value that is actualized through loving actions. As Eric Butterworth states in “Life is for Loving” – love consists not in finding the right person, but in becoming the right person. Haven’t you heard, when one is seeking a partner, become the partner you wish to have?
In Unity Magazine May/June 2010 issue, in the article East meets West, Rev. Joan Gattuso asks the question – where does the erosion of love begin? And responds with…in the mind of the individual who is not loving self or the partner in a way that can sustain the relationship over time, over the ups and downs, over the highs and lows along the pathway of life.
Starting from an early age, we saw that our value was determined by how those around us behaved or reacted to us. We grew to think of our value as external, not internal. This is our Domestication.
However, there is nothing more important to our emotional, psychological, or spiritual well-being than love. It is a vital part of any growth process. And, we need to have a healthy dose of self-love so that we can, in turn, love the world and those in it. And this must come forth in LOVING ways.
Did you know, the love you create and experience in your life will be in direct relation to the amount you love yourself? If you do not love yourself, then how can you ever believe that anyone else can love you?
1 Corinthians 13:3-13 gives us the familiar: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. … 8Love never fails. … 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Even Professor Dumbledore, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows said, “Do not pity the dead, pity those living without love.”
You see, Love is not something you think about, it is a state in which you dwell. And you first dwell in it with yourself, by being LOVING toward yourself, so you can be LOVING toward others.
Butterworth again, states “Love is a process through which you touch and express your own deeper nature…it is the action of divine law”; love is the reality of our total self which we can either frustrate or express”.
SO how can we express love as a verb? Jesus said “This is my commandment, that you love one another (John 15:12) which means ‘that you are loving towards one another’.
We know we can’t make someone love us, but we can always be loving; to them and to ourselves.
There’s the story of an Egyptian ruler who was criticized because he did not destroy his enemies taken prisoner in battle. He said “Do I not destroy my enemies when I love them?” He was practicing the universal principle of love, acting lovingly towards his enemies. Now apply that to yourself. Don’t you eliminate any “enemy” in yourself by loving yourself? Have you eliminated an enemy lately by loving them or it?
Did you know you can rewire your brain for higher consciousness by focusing on love? Isn’t this what we are all intending to do-reach higher consciousness?
And in first Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” We spoke the other week about sin-which is really “missing the mark.” A mistake. And love forgives mistakes.
I often listen to Unity FM and the program host for this particular show was discussing relationships and how to maintain them; how to enhance them. The host and his guests were discussing VELCRO APPRECIATION. Ah, you say, what could Velcro Appreciation mean? Think what Velcro is. It sticks. So, if you were practicing Velcro Appreciation, you would be showing appreciation that sticks.
How would we do that? What is appreciation? Is there a difference between appreciation and say, a compliment?
Isn’t a compliment something like “I like your hair;”or “That’s a nice hat;” or “That’s a good color for you”? It is defined as an admiring remark.
Appreciation is something much more; defined as an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude; an increase in value.
So how do we go about showing appreciation that sticks, that ‘increases in value’? First, look for the good, in yourself, in relationships, in your world, and bless it, (bless means to increase the good). Too often we remember the negative situations in our relationships, in ourselves. Keep the negative in proper prospective. Try to not over react to something that is small in relation to the real things in the world and in your life. Do you know what’s REAL in your life? Or is it just the story you are telling yourself?
When giving or showing appreciation, let it come from your heart, not your head. This is the very question I put to those wonderful people who stepped in to help me when I could not help myself in so many ways after the accident, “Are you doing this from your heart or is it because you think it is something you ‘should’ do?
When love comes from the heart, it is the motivator, energizer and strengthener that gives you the power to speak boldly and act courageously – all the while respecting the people and conditions you find yourself in. The head comes into play when you are thinking of what you want to say. The heart adds the emotion to the act, to the words. The feeling should be authentic and sincere, and that’s what makes it APPRECIATION. This works on yourself too.
We can think of it this way: The American Indian defines appreciation as “sweet water”. If we are being authentic in our showing of appreciation, we are sweetening our physical water, the fluids that help provide life to our physical bodies. And we have seen the effects of what our words do to water, (water book) our bodies are mostly water….think about it.
You may have heard or received a salutation, “Love Always”. We could take the phrase love always and expand it to the perspective of love all ways. In fact, this is an email address for a friend of mine. This is what happens when love is internalized and becomes a state of being rather than a peripheral emotion or a reaction to an external event or person. We love because it is our nature to be loving rather than something that emerges based upon certain conditions or a reaction to what someone else says or does. Love moves from the conditional world to the unconditional realm, to the level of no exceptions.
So when we internalize the thought; “Love is a verb” and make our life a state of being of love, in all ways, thought, word, deed. Truly a verb in our lives.
Again from Unity Magazine “we are not here to create a hell out of God’s holy ground. We are here to love each other to create heaven here together.”
First John 4:8 reminds us, “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is Love.”
We can take this advice as a model for our consideration: Zig Ziglar was approached by someone in the audience after a lecture, who said: “Zig, it was a great speech, but…motivation doesn’t last.” Zig said, “Bathing doesn’t either. That’s why I recommend it daily!”
Let’s paraphrase it to Be loving daily.
Have a love in all ways day
The 10 Statements or Commitments
Looking at the so called 10 commandments, we could really call them statements, if we correctly look at the interpretations from Hebrew and Greek. They are actually known as the Decalogue or “10 words.’ And calling them statements is appropriate, for if we are to have free will, then, they need to be Statements, not Commandments.
And, like the Lord’s Prayer from last week, the basic principles of these statements are found in almost every religious or spiritual tradition.
The statements have obvious literal meanings, and these are all valid. But beyond that there is a deeper, metaphysical meaning. When we look at the Bible from a metaphysical viewpoint, it is a story of our soul’s evolution. The events that happen are, in effect, events of our soul’s discovery of who we truly are.
Metaphysically, the name Moses means drawing out and Egypt means the darkness of ignorance…so we are coming out of the darkness of a consciousness limited to material senses and awakening to the Truth via the Ten Statements. An important point to consider is that Egypt was at one time a life saver, the Israelites went there during severe famine. But it became a place of oppressive confinement. Coping strategies that worked at one time may no longer work at different points in our spiritual growth, an important point to remember.
And, these Statements are carved in stone-unchangeable; thus, they would be preserved intact, not destructible as a paper item may be.
So let’s look at each statement:
1) I am the LORD your God, you shall have no other gods before me.
This is the most basic principle we believe; there is a God and this God is the source and creator of everything-Is everything. This God is in and through everything and is indestructible, all-powerful and absolute. This God is the inspiration within our continuous onward and upward movement toward our increasingly greater good.
And as I mentioned in an earlier lesson, it doesn’t matter what name we use to identify God. The name could be Spirit, Goddess, Buddha, Divine Universe…these are all names for the same energy. I just use God because it is understandable for most.
God is the I AM THAT I AM, and we are I Am, and we make our own destiny and our own fate by the things which we attach to that I Am.
To worship other divinities would mean that we reject the imperative character of the first statement. This means not only other so called Gods, but our jobs, material possessions or relationships should not come before our Spirituality. We sometimes confuse the channels of our good with the source of our good. AND, channels change! Some we must let go, so others may come to us.
We also acknowledge that there can be no other power equal to or above God. So, there is no devil over powering us to err. We must recognize our physical illnesses and pains as stepping stones for our growth, not as something caused by a so called devil.
Another way to look at this is asking ourselves “what comes into our minds when we think of God?” This is what is most important to us. And where did this God-thought come from? From our own thinking or from our domestication?
So this ‘statement’ could be a commitment – I make a commitment to Love.
2) You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Most of the tribal peoples worshipped idols and images made of silver, gold, wood and stone. They were human or animal deities. Or the sun, moon and stars. And when they traveled, they took their God’s with them, in smaller versions of their specific “God,” kind of like pocket-Gods.
And they believed in a 3 tiered universe – the heavens, the earth, and the waters, according to the creation story. Thus, we are ‘commanded’ to not make any idols from anything in the universe.
God is the only Presence and Power. To attribute power to anything other than God is idolatry. Graven image means things we idealize; property, concepts, or people. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with worldly possessions since God is in and through everything. It does mean that God is Spirit and Spirit is all there is. It is the Spirit within that gives it value.
Money, fame, and pleasure are popular gods in today’s world. But we give power in other ways, too. Our ‘internal dialogue’ is the biggest graven image we have. It is like a train of thought, delivering us to a station labeled ‘illness,’ or ‘loneliness,’ or poverty.’ Instead, we could be riding the train to ‘joy,’ and ‘love,’ and ‘peace.’
Martin Luther said, “Whatever your soul clings and relies upon, that is your god.”
So, what is your “pocket-God?”
The Bible uses the word “jealous” in the sense that if you give power to anything but God, you have lost God altogether. It really could have been translated as zealous or impassioned. Though if we look at it this way, jealous may fit – jealous can be defined as vigilant, so God is vigilant in guarding us.
As for “punishing children for the iniquity of parents,” in the symbology of the Bible, you are a parent, and your children are your works. We often pass on false beliefs, and those beliefs can go into the third and fourth generation, if not checked.
There’s the story of a newlywed couple making a pot roast. As the wife was preparing the meal, she removed each end of the roast and placed in the pan. The husband ask why she did that and the wife explained that was how she was taught. He insisted that it was incorrect, why would they do that? So, they choose to call the mother of the wife to get an explanation. She just said that was how she was taught, so they called the grandmother.
The grandmother laughed when she heard about the ‘discussion’ and explained that the reason the ends were removed from the roast was not because of any special secret recipe, it was because the pot was too small for the roast! Passed on from mother to daughter for generations!
Think of what other customs have been passed to each generation and are they still applicable?
The commitment for this Statement – I make a commitment to Wholeness.
3) You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
To take something in vain suggests futility, without success. This cannot be associated with the name of God…name means Nature-the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing; its essence.
You cannot take the name of God [your conviction concerning God] in vain. Whatever your idea of God is, whatever idea you really believe in, that is what will be expressed in your life. The idea behind our belief is what you are saying when you say God’s name. That is why we have different names that are used to try to express what God means to us…Goddess, Divine, Sacred, Universe, Buddha…etc. We use what works for us.
This commandment enjoins us to show the utmost respect and reverence for God and the uses we make of the name. In other terms, we must show reverence not only in our worship but also in our language because a verbal expression is an expression of our true belief. When we connect God’s name with a negative condition, we are using in in vain, negative is not a part of God, and it’s not part of us.
And, what we say, echo’s back to us. Whatever we place after I AM, is what we are saying about our God and ourselves. Keep it positive. Our words are causal—the first part of cause and effect.
This commitment is: I make a commitment to Positive Expression.
4) Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.
This statement emphasizes the sacredness of the individual; it reminds us that the Sabbath was made for us; it applies to everyone: family, slaves, foreign residents, even to animals! We get caught up in our busy lives of doing and getting. The seven days of creation are the time that it takes to create a new condition in your life.
In any kind of mental work that you do, you must have a Sabbath. Build up the new consciousness—and then, let it alone. We must set aside a time for God in accordance with our personal need. The word Sabbath means rest; Keep a restful state devoted to goodness. When we rest our minds and remain in communion with God, our outer life reflects this peace and barriers lower that existed between our spiritual and secular lives.
Even though the Sabbath was traditionally from Friday sunset to sunset on Saturday and was gradually changed to Sunday, it is really a state of consciousness. It’s a time of freedom to be who we truly are. Freedom is living in alignment with spiritual law. Checking in with ourselves –Am I loving, moving, thinking, doing, and being in the flow that I want to be in”
It’s a time of letting go and allowing God to work through you. It’s a time of human being, not doing.
I make a commitment to Let Go.
5) Honor your father and your mother
Of course we are to honor our earthly parents. Near easterners considered it a sacred duty to care for their parents and to be guided by them. In Biblical times, one who cursed their parents were put to death.
This statement encourages us to make peace with our family of origin. We cannot move deeper into our own personal and spiritual growth until we have made this peace. Make the choice to heal and forgive. I am reminded that my parents did the best they could at the time with the knowledge and awareness that they had. We can’t change the past but we can change how we deal with it.
This statement also gives us practical instruction in prayer. Our real father and mother is God. We are to hold our heavenly parents in reverence. To get activity, to manifest, we must have both masculine and feminine aspects, both knowledge and feeling, giving and receiving. To honor our spiritual Father/Mother is to recognize God as the only Power, the only Presence, the only Cause.
Heaven is within us, and we experience It to the degree that we become conscious of It. We must be in balance, we must love both aspects of ourselves; masculine and feminine which is our true nature. We must love and honor them equally in order to remain balanced and happy.
And we must honor and accept the Christ within each of us.
I make a commitment to Thinking and Feeling.
6) You shall not kill.
Originally, this was meant to keep members of the same tribe, race or religion from murdering each other. You can see how that would be important travelling over the desert for 40 years! When someone did kill another accidently, there were cities of refuge where they could go to avoid being put to death as punishment.
We have no right to deprive anyone of life. When we hold negative, limited, life-killing thoughts continuously, a killing-vibration emanates from our hearts and mind. Love is the cure for this vibration. You can understand now why forgiveness is so very important.
God has imbued our lives with personality, character, values, and physical attributes. For another to try to take that life – in any manner- would be to dishonor the God-essence of that individual. This includes maligning a person’s character, name, nature, or physical being. Remember-what we do to someone else we do to ourselves. But even more, what we to ourselves or someone else, we do to God.
Another way to promote life is to share your gifts – time, talent, treasure-must be kept in circulation or they become stagnant. Stagnation is a form of death. You have heard the adage, “Use it or you lose it.” It applies here. To give is to receive.
I make a commitment to Life.
7) You shall not commit adultery.
The moral nature of this statement is obvious. Adherence to it is tantamount to personal purity. “Respect the integrity of the family institution.” A person who commits adultery is showing utter disrespect for the basic law of marriage.
To adulterate means to corrupt or make impure with the addition of foreign or inferior substances. We are created in the image and likeness of God, of perfection. Adding anything contrary to that, any impure or negative thoughts or beliefs, is adultery. So this statement is about raising our thoughts to the level of God/Self-realization. And this refers to ourselves as well as others. Whenever we see ourselves or others as less than the Christ within, we err with this Statement. Whenever we judge others or ourselves. This is error thinking.
Look to your integrity as the opposite of adultery. Integrity is what keeps us on the soul journey.
I commit myself to Integrity.
8) You shall not steal.
This is another statement on how we should treat others. It is integral to the Golden Rule. “You must respect the right of people to enjoy what belongs to them.”
Stealing is trying to get something for which we do not have the consciousness, and are therefore not spiritually entitled to. You cannot keep anything for which you do not have the consciousness to have. Really think about what that means.
We can take this a step further to encompass the theft of freedom from individuals by dictators and taking away free will by strong-willed people.
Many a doting mother robs her children of their right to make decisions and to live their own lives.
We steal through shoddy workmanship, by falsifying information, by stretching lunch breaks, padding expense accounts, boasting, bragging, by taking credit for something we didn’t do, we steal other people’s time when we are late for appointments and meetings.
We steal another’ effort when we don’t appreciate them, and our selves when we don’t appreciate what we have accomplished.
This is the law of compensation, we reap what we sow. Emerson said, “He who robs another, robs himself first. He or she makes a break in their own integrity or wholeness at the expense of one’s ultimate good.”
And remember, no one can keep your good from you; the law of Being allows that whatever comes to you, whatever happens to you, and whatever surrounds you is in accordance with your consciousness.
I make a commitment to Consciousness.
9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
There is an ancient story about a ruler who sent his servants out, one to find the greatest or most creative thing that humanity has ever known and the other to find the worst or most destructive thing that humanity has ever known. They both returned with the very same thing…can you guess what it was?
The human tongue.
We use the power of speech to communicate, but it can lock us into prisons of misunderstanding. We use it to fill up space so we don’t have to be truly intimate or to really look at ourselves. And lack of speech isolates us.
But speech can be used to heal and comfort too.
Obviously, “We must respect truth in human relations,” and not tell untruths about anyone.
This may be the most important of all the statements, if properly understood. The real or fundamental meaning is that you always express what you are. You cannot be one thing and express another.
We believe we create with words, words have power. And we believe we are all One. Therefore, what I say about another will come back to me.
To witness means understanding with intelligence and wisdom; true knowing. Bearing false witness is gossiping and listening to gossip. We must learn to oppose ideas, not people. We have a responsibility for what we say. Ask yourself: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it needful?
You’ve probably heard the story of a well-respected man who found himself a victim of gossip and rumors in his village. His reputation was completely ruined. He finally confronted the person responsible for the rumors, who apologized profusely, admitting he was wrong and asked what he could do to make things right. The man who was the target of the rumors took his accuser to a second story bedroom, picked up a feather pillow, slit it open and shook all the feathers out the window. AS the breeze took the feathers away, he turned to his accuser and said, now go pick up all the feathers. The guilty man cried that it was impossible. And the man who was wronged said, It is just as impossible to pick up your words.
We have a choice whether to toss feathers of gossip and negativity or feathers of love and goodness.
We must always express what we truly are. We cannot be one thing and express another. We cannot continuously lie, to ‘bear false witness’ about another because their true colors will become apparent and so will ours.
I make a commitment to Honesty.
10) You shall not covet ….anything that belongs to your neighbor.
To covet means metaphysically to seek fulfillment from an outside source. To covet implies a sense of lack. It means to plan to take or do a certain thing; an intention. It is a form of adultery or idolatry because you are giving power to something other than God, or denying God as Source.
This is a rule of personal ethics which flows from the principle which might have been worded as “You must find happiness within the confines of the human gifts which were allotted to you.” We cannot truly desire anything that does not already exist for us. The desire causes the existence of the thought, idea, answer, etc.
The word desire comes from de meaning of and sire meaning father, so we desire God. We have a yearning inside to awaken the connection to God, our Christ Presence.
The keys to this commandment or statement or commitment are appreciate yourself, admire what others have reminding yourself that you have the same source, and acknowledge God’s abundance-have gratitude!
I make a commitment to Appreciation.
The 10 statements are simple codes of conduct with deeper meaning for us to discover the implications to our state of consciousness. It takes time to make conscious changes. We vacillate back and forth between our old lives and our new ones, just as the Israelites did, but we must remember that life is a spiral, and as we rise we are given opportunities to grow and heal in increasingly deeper levels. We have guidance for this journey, and your God is always with you.
In conclusion, we are reminded that there are only 2 commandments: those given by Jesus when asked what was the greatest commandment; He said;” You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like onto it; you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
It is from this teaching that we learn Love is the key to Life.
The Metaphysics of the Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
That was the traditional version of the Lord’s Prayer. The English wording that is used today reflects what was mandated for use by Henry VIII.
This prayer was the answer Jesus gave to his disciples when they asked to be taught how to pray. It is considered a short prayer, by Jewish standards. And, it was meant to be a pattern to be used as we prayed. It is a series of affirmations.
Many people rattle through it like parrots, forgetful of the warning that Jesus gave us against vain repetitions, and, of course, no one derives any profit from that sort of prayer.
The word prayer means setting your mind like a trap so you can catch the thoughts of God. It means to focus, tune in; adjust and prepare our minds and hearts to receive God’s guidance, love, peace, and divine energy.
The purpose of affirmative prayer is not to change God, but to change us.
Prior to this suggested format, our Wayshower, Jesus, had said to be sincere when we pray, “…enter into thy closet; and when you have shut the door, pray in secret.”
Just so you know, the meaning behind “pray in Jesus name” is to pray with the same kind of understanding about God and our human family that Jesus had.
He suggested the time, place or number of words are not essential, but to be open and trusting and with a receptive heart. Jesus changed the importance of all prayers by His emphasis on forgiveness taking the place of vengeance; love taking the place of hatred; and by seeing God is a loving parent, protector and provider.
Many feel the Lord’s Prayer is the most important of all the Christian documents. It was carefully constructed by Jesus with certain very clear ends in view. That is why, of all his teachings, it is by far the best known, and the most often quoted. It is, indeed, the one common denominator of all the Christian churches. Every one of them, without exception, uses the Lord’s Prayer; it is perhaps the only ground upon which they all meet.
The first thing that we notice is that the Prayer naturally falls into seven clauses. Seven symbolizes, in this case, the individual soul. The seven clauses are put together with the utmost care, in perfect order and sequence, and they contain everything that is necessary for the nourishment of the soul.
Let’s look at the prayer line by line:
“Our Father which art in heaven”
This is an immediate and radical restatement of our relationship to God—not as a distant, awesome Power to be approached in fear and trembling, like Dorothy and friends standing before the image of the Wizard, but rather abba, “papa,” intimate and familiar, and so you know, in Aramaic the reference is neither male nor female. We miss the whole point of the prayer if we get caught up in the masculine/feminine idea.
Father is a term of endearment and trust. For Assyrians, to call someone Father is the highest honor one can bestow.
Vibrationally it connects us to the creative energy of all the universe. And that energy is within us existing as divine potential.
Dr. O. C. Smith writes in his book, “Little Green Apples,” … when Jesus uttered the Lord’s Prayer, He began it by saying, “Our Father” – yours and mine – because He knew that this Infinite Presence and Love that God Is, which permeates the Universe and created us, is the same loving Presence that created Him. In other words, what Jesus was seeking to share with us was the Truth that we are all made out of the same substance, the same “stuff.”
Therefore when we pray, we don’t pray to It; we pray “as It.” Jesus said, “I and my Father are One.” He knew there was no place where It ended and He began. That is why He said, “our.” He knew that the same Principle applied to all humankind throughout eternity. We can never be separated from this Loving Presence.
Do you see that in a single blow ninety-nine percent of all the old theology was swept away, with its avenging God, its chosen and favorite individuals, its eternal hell fire, and all the other horrible paraphernalia of man’s diseased and terrified imagination? God exists – and the Eternal, All-Powerful, All-Present God is the loving Father of Humankind.
Next we see that the Prayer says, not “My Father,” but “Our Father,” and this indicates, beyond the possibility of mistake, the truth of the Brotherhood of Humankind. It forces upon our attention at the very beginning the fact that we all are indeed family, and that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither chosen nor un-chosen,” because we all are one.
Here Jesus in making his second point, He ends all the nonsense about a “chosen race: about the spiritual superiority of an one group of human beings over any other group. He cuts away the illusion that the members of any nation, or race, or territory, or class, or color, are, in the sight of God, superior to any other group. A belief in the superiority of one’s own particular group is an illusion to which mankind is very prone, but in the teaching of Jesus it has no place. He teaches that the thing that places a man is the spiritual condition of his own individual soul, and that as long as he is upon the spiritual path it makes no difference whatever to what group he belongs or does not belong.
The implied command is that we are to pray not only for ourselves but for all humankind.
The final point is we get to pray directly to God, without any intermediaries. We have no need for Priests or ministers to pray for us. We can always pray on our own. That does not mean having others pray for you is not desired. Praying for someone is not the same as needing someone to pray for you because of religious restrictions.
“Hallowed be thy name”
Let your name be set apart. To sanctify, to dedicate it for a holy purpose.
The vibrational energy of the name for God is sacred. It vibrates within us in the “sacred place of the most high.” We “hallow” that name by allowing its vibration to define our very being—and by seeing ourselves as temples of God’s energy.
People in the Near East and everywhere, really, tend to use the name of God falsely. They would say, By God, this is worth so much money but I give it to you for thus…” Or, this rug is perfect by God’s name and I will give it to you for x amount of money, tho it is worth so much more.
Jesus was setting God’s name apart, making it holy.
When we recognize, God, Infinite Presence, we recognize the sacredness of our One-ness with Its nature. And as we enter into this Presence in our mind and heart, we align ourselves with Its nature … and It responds to us.
“Thy kingdom come”
Let all divinely, spiritual forces guide our lives. We are to set God’s name apart as the guiding Light for our lives. When we pray that God’s kingdom come on Earth as it is in heaven, we are asking God to express through our lives on earth as powerfully as in the higher dimensions of existence. We are making the commitment to allow God to manifest, through our daily lives, in ways that demonstrate recognition of our true identities as a beloved Son or Daughter of God.
The kingdom of God is universal and upholds justice and equality for the entire human family. We must stop looking the other way; stop praying only for ourselves. We must pray for everyone and every nation.
All that God Is, is Good … and this Good is available to us now … but, it is up to us to accept it and “let” God work through us in expressing the Good that we desire. It is the Truth that God can only do for us … what God can do through us … in other words we must heal our mind of anything that prevents us from realizing that the Infinite supports us in our Good.
“Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
When we pray “Thy will be done,” we are surrendering our personal wills to the Divine Will. As we surrender to Divine Will, we do so knowing that our Creator will bestow all things Good upon us. There is no fear, no hesitation in receiving our Good.
Since God has created us with the ability to choose … God’s will for us is to choose … and it will be done unto us as we choose … through our thoughts, our beliefs and our willingness to demonstrate faith.
Instead of choosing to use our free will in selfish, negative ways, separate from God (which causes our trials, from sickness, sin, poverty, to trouble and death), we need to include God in all our plans and actions. Our business is to bring our whole nature into conformity with God’s will. There is where we will find our peace.
With this affirmation we choose to let the inner possibility and the outer manifestation be the same. In Aramaic the word translated as “will” more accurately means “heart’s desire.” Again we are agreeing to—and taking responsibility for—a creative, intimate union with God.
Nothing is withheld from us. Nothing … if we can only believe that we “have it now.” And we don’t have to believe that we have it in the “physical” … only in the “spirit” … and this “believing” is the state of our mind that allows God to manifest our Good in our human affairs … through us … right here where we are … just as we know it is so in mind. In affirmative prayer … we bring heaven to earth … into the situations, circumstances and conditions of our life.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
In Aramaic the text reads “Provide us our needful bread from day to day. Bread is very important in Aramaic homes. It is a food staple. While preparing the bread, the women pray. During a meal, even enemies will speak as friends, never lying while partaking bread.
The term bread as used, means both bread and ideas, truth teachings, understanding in Aramaic.
As we allow God’s energy to flow unimpeded into our daily lives, there is a constant supply of all we need. We do not have to worry over “what we will eat, or what we will wear.” We are to seek attunement with the kingdom of heaven within us and know that all our needs will be supplied before we can even identify them. The God within us sees all of life, is unlimited, and ever-present with us. There is no way we can experience lack, as long as we remain open to the influx of God’s abundant supply flowing to us from a source within ourselves. We are never separated from our Good. It is only our consciousness level that leads to experiencing lack or imperfection.
God provides us with ideas so we prosper. God’s Truth gives us understanding of life, of ourselves, and of others.
This is the first actual prayer request in the prayer—we shift our focus from God to self. It completes a kind of contract: I will birth your heaven and you will see to my needs.
Not only does God answer our prayers for the things we think are important, but for even the smallest of things that we may want or need. God is the Source of everything, and in this statement we are acknowledging that we understand this … and we accept our Good.
Bread means all things (food, clothing, shelter, freedom, knowledge, travel, etc.) required for a healthy, free, harmonious life. It is God’s will that we be healthy, happy, and joyous. God alone is the source. Lack results from seeking our supply from another source than God. Investments, business, employment are merely channels through which God’s good comes.
This phrase signifies the realization that God is our source for all supply. We receive through prayer. The presence-of-God realization is a thing that no one can have or do for us. We must realize God in the present moment and that we are the instruments and expression of God.
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
Because we have forgotten our true identities, this portion of the Lord’s Prayer has created much confusion. In our spiritual blindness, we believe we are praying for God’s forgiveness. God beholds each of us according to the perfection with which we were created. We are continually making decisions as to how we will live our lives. We make mistakes and create pain. But, the part of us that is God never changes.
God has no need to forgive us. We must forgive our physical self for the mistakes we make while on Earth. Negativity is not a permanent energy. It can be transformed—into the pure energy of God.
Likewise, we are to view those who offend us in the same manner. They, too, make mistakes. We can just as easily transmute the pain, which we allowed our offenders to create in our lives, as we can transmute the pain we created for ourselves.
Failure to forgive self—and others—creates pockets of negativity within our energy field. These pockets clog the passageways to our reception of the constant flow of Good coming to us from our I AM, or Christ PRESENCE. Our spiritual progress hinges upon our willingness to forgive and transmute all mistakes made by self and others. We cannot move forward on the spiritual Path as long as our energy fields are clogged with negativity. It is for this reason that forgiveness of self and others is of such paramount importance.
The Aramaic word means “failures,” “mistakes.” A better way to say it would be forgive us from our offenses as also we have freed our offenders. The tense is important: we must have forgiven others before we can claim our own forgiveness.
“Forgiveness frees us from past error.”
Jesus allowed for human error by including forgiveness as part of this prayer, which is the only way to begin the rectification of human mistakes; and it must go both ways. Whatever mental or emotional message we send to others, we always keep the original thought, picture, and energy. So, we must forgive others as well as ourselves.
We’ll talk more about forgiveness at another time.
“And leave us not in temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
This line doesn’t really make sense in the traditional English translation (“lead us not into temptation”). It is absurd to think that God might lead us into temptation. The Aramaic phrase is rather “don’t let us remain in” temptation. And the word for temptation means “unripeness.”
Since we possess the gift of freewill, it is up to us to be so closely attuned to our Christ PRESENCE that we will not enter temptation. God does Its part by holding, for us, the image of our perfection. We must do the rest. As we seek first the kingdom of God within us, we turn our backs to evil. (Evil here is defined as turning our backs to God.) We deliver ourselves from evil by choosing to hallow God’s name and power, by choosing to assist in creating heaven on earth. Because we possess freewill, God allows us to experience the consequences of our choices, thereby learning to choose the good. In the Bible, “let us” constitutes a command. It is a powerful affirmation of what we intend in our lives. With the words “do not let us,” we are stating our intention to our Christ PRESENCE and thereby, overcome temptation and deliver ourselves from evil.
Our mind must be free and open to the Divine impulse of ideas and guidance. As long as we are thinking someone owes us something … or that we owe someone something … our mind is not “free” … it is being disturbed by an un-truth … in the spirit there is no debt for on this higher level, we are One … these debts are spiritual; shame, blame, guilt, etc. … and in the moment we free ourselves from the false belief in karma, our mind is open to the influx of power and guidance of Spirit.
“For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” This was added later.
The Aramaic might more accurately be translated as “Through you the kingdom, through you the energy of life, through you the harmony of all things.”
With these words, we are affirming our intention to maintain a consciousness of the kingdom within ourselves. From this kingdom will flow our abundant supply; it is the Source of all our Good. We are affirming our intention to allow the power of our Christ PRESENCE to flow through us and to do the works God would have us do. Jesus explained repeatedly, “I can do nothing on my own … whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. “We are to be the channels through which God finds expression on this planet. The power for all we do is to flow from our Christ PRESENCE.
To believe our personality self possesses the power to achieve our goals is to fool ourselves and to create scenarios in which we adopt false beliefs about who we are. Likewise, the glory for our good works belongs to our Christ PRESENCE. When a rich ruler called him “Good Teacher,” Jesus responded, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.”
This sums up the omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience of God. God is working by means of us, but the Power belongs to God. We recognize that Divine Intelligence is working through us and can perform difficult tasks. The Omnipresence of God in our lives transfigures every aspect of our lives, turning sorrow into joy, age into youth, dullness into light and life. We glorify God by letting God’s light shine through us.
It has been stated over and over again that “nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so”… the temptation to put ourselves down and the temptation to put someone else down … both which creates a negative atmosphere in our minds. Our thoughts cannot be focused on that which is for an expansion and increase of Good in our life if we are dwelling on the negative. All that we are is Good [God].
All Life Is God … there is none other. All Power Is God … any seeming other-power is an illusion of our minds. Whatever we accomplish, is for the glory of God … for without the Spirit of Life within us, working through us, as us and for us … we can do nothing. The Master Mind Jesus stated, “I of mine own self … can do nothing” … and neither can we.
The Aramaic term AMEN means ‘to make firm’, ‘sealed in faithfulness’. It refers to anything that is true, lasting, never ceasing, eternal, perpetual and faithful.
It says, I am committed, I will be faithful. “It is a Hebrew word meaning certainty, truthfulness, and faithfulness.” AMEN also means “So be it.” When we end our prayer with AMEN, we are affirming our faith that the answer is already present in our lives. We are certain of this Truth. “So be it” is our fiat, or command. Prayer is not pleading for favors from a distant God. Prayer is a means of co-creating with God—of bringing forth that which is already ours to claim, our rightful inheritance as a Son or Daughter of God.
The Lord’s Prayer is Affirmative prayer in that each statement creates an “action” in mind … an action that creates an expansion in mind of our relationship with God … empowering us to live a more fulfilling and abundant life.
This prayer brings us some simple realizations: 1. God’s presence is like a loving parent who is forever present and concerned about the welfare of the entire human family; 2 We are all children of a gracious heavenly presence that has provided for us all in all ways; 3. Gods’ sovereign presence (kingdom) and will are to be expressed on earth; 4. We must understand the value of forgiveness, for ourselves and others; 5. God, as a benevolent parent, helps us not to enter into temptation but delivers us from error; 6. God alone has the kingdom, power, and glory to accomplish all that we need;
Now I’d like to give you the translation from the original Aramaic:
O cosmic Birther, from whom the breath of life comes,
Who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.
May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.
Your Heavenly Domain approaches.
Let Your will come true in the universe (all that vibrates) just as on earth (that is material and dense).
Give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily need,
Detach the fetters of faults that bind us, (karma) like we let go the guilt of others.
Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations),
But let us be freed from that what keeps us off from our true purpose.
From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act, the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.
Amên. Sealed in trust, faith and truth. (I confirm with my entire being)
Let’s take these thoughts into prayer.
The Lesson of Trees
You know, sometimes we just muddle through day after day, not ever paying attention what’s going on around us. We drive to work, we go home, we go on errands and do not see what’s around us. Just like all the Muggles in the Harry Potter books who had no idea of the magic around them, we see what we expect to see. We miss so much, and often it is nature that we are missing. Nature is vast and has many lessons for us. We talked about the oceans last week, and this week I feel the trees hold a message for us. Very appropriate since Autumn starts tomorrow.
There are many lessons we can receive from trees. Probably as many lessons as there are varieties of trees!
“Trees get everything they need without striving and they are never in a hurry. Trees are strong because they root down into the earth, reach for the heavens and bend with the wind.” Sharon sent me this and I felt it very appropriate. Also, it reminded me of Treebeard in “The Two Towers” from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He frustrated the Hobbits by going slow, but in the end, he and his fellow trees stood tall against their enemy. Another lesson possibly there…But I digress.
We all probably have seen the message on Facebook: Advice from a tree – Stand tall and proud; one day I’m going to do a lesson on Jane Austin’s, “Pride and Prejudice,” a favorite of mine, but I digress, again!
We often do not stand proud. Marianne Williamson is credited with the quote, ““Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You’re playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
An amazing quote.
So what are we afraid of? A tree stands tall in all kinds of situations. There is no fear. The trees accept their place in life. With no expectations. We discussed expectations a bit last week.
According to the book “The Trees Around Us”, trees are vital to much of the life on earth. Forests cover almost one third of the land area of our planet. They help protect, sustain and improve humankind’s supplies of fresh water. They purify the air and convert carbon dioxide, water, minerals and sunlight into nutrients and oxygen. Many plants, insects, fungi, worms and other organisms are dependent upon the shade, moisture and leaf debris provided by trees. Additionally, the environment provided by trees supports a wide variety of reptiles, birds, and mammals.
And a study at the University of Michigan found that smelling the distinct organic aroma of growing trees, and listening to soothing nature sounds, like the rustling of leaves, stimulates our brain’s frontal lobe and increases production of energy-boosting beta waves which can literally double our energy in as little as 10 minutes. No wonder we love a walk in the forest! IF anyone wishes to enjoy the rustle of leaves, just come to my house in about a month as the leaves start falling, I’ll have plenty for you to enjoy!
Trees heal! Studies have shown that patients with views of trees out their windows heal faster and with less complications.
Many of you may have heard of the story of the two hospital patients, one with the view out the window and the others with his eyes wrapped. The one with the view described the trees and flowers, and many other sights of nature. But when the man with his eyes bandaged was allowed to see, it was just a brick wall out their window. His roommate described a vision that helped heal, instead of something depressing. Perception, another lesson topic!
Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. And exposure to trees and nature aids concentration by reducing mental fatigue. So if we feel we need another reason to get out in nature, say it’s for your health…take a ‘not sick day!’
And studies have shown that Trees reduce violence. Neighborhoods and homes that are barren have shown to have a greater incidence of violence in and out of the home than their greener counterparts. Trees and landscaping help to reduce the level of fear. A reminder that love overcomes fear.
So, what other life lessons can we learn from trees?
1. To be flexible. Be flexible so you don’t break when a harsh wind blows. The trees that bend a little to the harmless breeze will later grow to withstand the wild wind. I’m pretty sure we all have seen or heard something along the line of, “adversity makes us stronger.” And, if we maintain a degree of flexibility in our attitudes and viewpoints we will not be broken in any storm of criticism or opposition. We will be stronger after we have gone through the storm, or as I like to say, after we have broken camp in the valley of the shadow and come out the other side.
From the FB page I Must be a Mermaid – “there is a gentleness that exists in the subtle breeze and bending of tree limbs, as if someone or something was whispering to us ’be flexible, resilient, go with the wind, the flow.’”
2. Trees teach us to value the little things. Leaves, though they can be small, are vital to the life of a tree. Similarly, expressions of encouragement and appreciation, whether it be by spoken word or in the form of a simple “Thank You,” especially a written expression of your gratitude, can go a long way to build the spirits of the receiver. The motivation of others to work with us and support common goals may die at the roots if we are not appreciative of others.
3. Mighty oaks do indeed grow from little acorns, the little nut that held its ground. Trees teach us to not be intimidated by small beginnings. Efforts, when enriched with strong motivation and determination, will grow to fruition. Remember you are a great, mighty and powerful spiritual human being, with dignity, direction and purpose. Unity of Rehoboth Beach is a perfect example of what can happen when we start something with conviction, direction and purpose!
4. We are taught to not be afraid of change by trees. As David Zindell observed in “The Broken God”, an acorn is unafraid to destroy itself in growing into a tree. Invigorate your life by letting go of the past and pressing forward to something new.
5. Trees practice teamwork. Trees and plants do not suppress each other. When they do start to get crowded, they grow in all sorts of directions to find the light they need to survive.
In forests, individual trees support one another. Even a giant Sequoia growing by itself could be blown over, but by interlocking its roots with other trees around it, Sequoias are able to stand as a grove against any wind. How much support do you share with those around you? Teamwork can accomplish much more than the sum of individual efforts, often making the difference between success and failure.
6. Trees show us how to grow leadership. As noted above, trees provide an environment that supports the growth of many other life forms, including saplings, small replicas of itself. An important leadership characteristic is to provide an environment that empowers and enables others to take on greater responsibility so that they, too, can develop into full-grown leaders. Everyone is a leader in one way or another. We are looking for others to add to our Leadership Team here at Unity of Rehoboth Beach. Share your gifts with others.
7. Trees are an example of a value-system. Trees have extensive root systems. Some trees, such as mesquites, grow taproots that are often larger than the trunk and that can extend down into the ground hundreds of feet to reach vital sources of water. And they remind us to drink plenty of water! How extensive is your root system? Is it solidly embedded in principles and values that provide valuable guidance when life-choices need to be made? That’s your integrity.
8. Don’t pine away over old flames. A little pun, but good advice. We cannot dwell in the past. Living in the NOW is what is important.
Sometimes you have to shed your old bark in order to grow. This goes along with accepting change. I’ve mentioned many times how important it is to not let things pile up, that causes the energy flow to clog, whether internally or externally. Allow yourself to expand and grow. Imagine what would happen to a tree if it did not shed its bark as it attempted to grow. OUCH! It would be stymied. And so are you if you do not release what no longer serves you.
9. Grow where you’re planted. And enjoy the view. What could this mean? Often times we humans look across the fence and think that’s looking better than what we have on our side. We compare ourselves to others. This can be very damaging to our soul. It’s your journey folks, not mine, not your neighbors, not your friends, not your spouse’s or partners. The joy is in the journey, not at some imagined destination. Relish it.
8. And, it’s perfectly okay to be a late bloomer. Some trees do not bloom or fruit for many years. I’ve met so many folks who have made dramatic changes later in their lives, I’m one of them. These changes are partly because they needed to grow in their own, meaningful way and time, and partly because the opportunities were not available for them until later in life. It’s all ok. As I mentioned earlier, we are all on a journey and each path is different for each and every one of us. That doesn’t make anyone better than the other.
9. Avoid people who would like to cut you down. Who needs negativity in their life? Sometimes it takes us a while to notice who supports us in positive ways. As we learn to love ourselves, we also learn what type of person is good to have along for the journey. It’s ok to let them go, they are on their own journey.
10. Trees remind us you can’t hide your true colors as you approach the autumn of your life. Be content with your natural beauty. And I would say that is true for all times in our lives, not just the autumn, though I can understand why the autumn of our lives is mentioned with its beautiful colors. We often look back on our youth as being “IT”. That nothing can be like that time of carefree fun and doing stuff. But as I look around the folks I’m getting to know here, I see so many blooming in the so called autumn of their lives. We have a lot to give in our communities. Don’t hold back…live your life!
Max DuPree said, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” Think about it.
11. So, go out on a limb. If you really believe in something, don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. Trees do it all the time. And if they over-stretch their boundaries, they either stop or re-direct their growth in a different direction. So, what was it you always wanted to try? And why are you waiting? It’s never too late.
12. You could say trees provide a sense of environmental leadership, supporting the growth of other life forms and saplings. They provide an environment that enables the other life forms to develop and grow. Here are a few things trees do for our benefit:
So, what are you doing to aid the environment? What are you doing to aid our communities? Oh, if we would be as diligent as the tree.
The Buddha said “Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow, come and go like the wind. To be happy rest like a giant tree, in the midst of them all.”
The best lesson of all….Be in the NOW.
The Oceans are US
Someone just asked last week in class what is it that draws us to the ocean, to water? Is it the soothing sounds of the water splashing against the beach or rocks? Lapping in and out in a wondrous beat, reminiscent of our heart beat?
Or is it the salient composition that is similar to that of the amniotic fluid within the womb, maybe our desire to get back to that connection with the Source that we all come from?
Maybe it’s the peace it brings to us, contemplating the world as we let the waves flow over our feet or as we dangle them in the flow of a stream.
Or maybe the fact that we are made mostly of water brings us back to that which we are?
Whatever it is, it is a true connection with nature. And, the ocean is a symbol of us in so many ways. We often hear of the Oneness that we are a part of described as the ocean and the waves. We, as the wave are individuals, yet part of the WHOLE, the ocean. So it is with the Universe, the Source. We are it and IT is us.
The ocean can be looked on as a symbol of much more. Let’s look at it metaphysically. The ocean can symbolize both the good, the God in us as well as the “Missing the mark” in us.
If you missed one of the earlier lessons. “Missing the mark” is the
Original, if you will, definition of ‘sin’. Sin is an archery term for missing the target. And it is Unity’s definition of traditional Christianity’s term, sin. Because we see what traditionalists call sin as a mistake, a chance to choose again, make a better choice, ‘missing the mark’ of what you wish to do and then, choose again.
So, let’s take a look at what we humans have done to the oceans-how we have ‘sinned’ against them.
There’s lots of trash – plain old every day trash that pollutes the oceans, we see it wash up on the shore, it could be paper, or little odds and ends of things – metaphysically, this could be those simple little things that cross our minds and we push them aside. Maybe little grudges we hold tight to us, thinking we will get the last word. But, like those little things, the trash never seems to go away. We need to release the little things before they become BIG things.
We find Bottles and cups washing up on the beach –these cups and bottles are those thoughts we carry with us from our past; words or deeds done to us that we just can’t seem to forget or forgive. We fill our cups with words of anger from our parents or siblings, partners or spouses, they could be words of limitation, thrown at us in anger or weakness. It could be gossip. And we carry them with us, sometimes they resurface to pour the hurt and pain over us again and again. We ARE the only animal that relives hurt…purposely In fact!
Hypodermic needles – this could be race consciousness; all those thoughts and actions outside us that we allow to be injected into our thoughts and sometimes, our actions. Race consciousness doesn’t have anything to do with the color of your skin. It’s about the influence of the world we allow upon us. Think about your reaction to things that are happening in the world WHETHER NEXT DOOR OR ACROSS THE WORLD…that’s race consciousness. And it’s up to you whether you let it be injected into your consciousness and carrying it with you to be injected into other people’s consciousness. You always have a choice.
Clothing that washes up after being left behind on the sand or from other source – these are things we hide behind, could be thoughts we hide, thinking others won’t approve of us if we let our true selves show; could be actions from our past that we don’t want others to know about. Could be the false front we hide behind with our appearance, trying to be something or someone we are not. Whatever it is, we don’t show our true self. And who is that hurting? What do you think?
Food – This is all the words and thoughts we ingest and believe every day when we listen to others, when we listen to the news and let the negative words and pictures that are used to enter into our very being. Words like: crisis, disaster, terrible, unfortunate, catastrophe…You choose the ones you hold onto. You pick what you will ingest. You have heard the saying, “You are what you eat,” well, that goes for the food for thought too.
Driftwood – could be what we would call each and every one of us when we ‘just go along with the flow’ of things happening around us. When we feel that something isn’t right but we don’t do anything about it, we just let it happen. Like having our head in the sand. We hear the call to do what is ours to do, but then, don’t do it. We just drift right past it, turning our head away.
Plastic – Plastic is anything that we refuse to let go of. Plastic take about 500 years to disintegrate in a landfill. Imagine what something that lasting is doing to your insides? To your consciousness, and to your soul? What are you holding onto? Do you feel it in your stomach area? That is “plastic” thoughts.
Boats – ah, possibly people who don’t want to go ‘there.’ Too much work to look within myself. It might hurt too much. Why would I want to know and understand myself? Let me enjoy the fruits of my efforts so I don’t need to concern myself with other’s needs, the state of the world, etc. Just let me buzz by….
Oil – represents un-forgiveness, it clings on us and is hard to shake off, but if you know the right Way, it can be removed. We all know that forgiving is healing for us more so than the ‘other’. It is truly difficult to truly forgive. Think about the oil spills we have witnessed and how the work is not only on the surface but deep down too. Forgiveness work takes time and effort, just like cleaning an oil spill.
De-salinization – the more the ice caps melt in the North and South poles from Global Warming, the more the ocean water loses its salt balance. Let’s think of this as our ‘busyness.’ We are so busy we don’t have any time or energy to do what we need to do for soul work. We keep our day filled with stuff and don’t look at what’s inside, what really make us who we are. And we are out of balance, just like the ocean’s waters.
Now let’s look at how the Ocean represents God, Source, Goddess, the Universe in us.
“There is one holy book; the sacred manuscript of nature, the only Scripture that can enlighten the reader.” Hazrat Inayat Khan
The waves – As the waves splash onto the beach, the rhythm reminds me of going with the flow of life. No resistance. No pushing and shoving. Just in like our breathe, and out. In and out. The natural, peace-filled flow of life can be seen in the ocean tide as waves wash in and out from the shore. We can feel the flow of life as air moves through us with the rise and fall of our chest as we breathe.
“Every breath is a sacrament, an affirmation of our connection with all other living things, a renewal of our link with our ancestors and a contribution to generations yet to come. Our breath is a part of life’s breath, the ocean of air that envelopes the earth.”
As we observe the action of the waves, we can relate to the natural flow of thoughts and ideas as they pass through our mind.
One idea that comes to mind is let go and let God. The beach takes what the wave has to offer, inhale; and then releases and flows back; exhale. Give and take; take and give. There is no expectation of the wave or of the beach. The beach takes whatever the wave offers and does not hold onto the wave as it retreats back to the ocean. Expectation is often what causes pain in our relationships. We have an expectation of what the relationship should be. What we want from it. The wave and the beach have none. They just go with the flow.
The wave has no guilt with what it leaves on the shore and none as it retreats back. There is no attachment associated with this ebb and flow. We attach much to people and things. People I understand. Things not so much.
Prosperity – All of this flow is divine energy. Spirit’s life-giving energy flows to and through all creation—through every system, every process, every being on earth. The flow of the Divine enables us as humans to overcome hardship, heal from disease, and come together in times of need. Prosperity is not just the amount of cash you have available, it’s family, friends, people, pets, nature, having our physical needs met. If prosperity includes money in the bank, that makes it just as wonderful.
Go deeper – some say that the ocean is the next, great frontier. If we look at that thought metaphysically, it’s easy to see that going deeper into ourselves is the real frontier. We are urged often by the call of spirit to know our soul and what our soul’s wish is. We often do not listen, or are not quiet enough to hear. Or maybe not ready to see or hear, as the scripture states “…for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.”
Consider the icebergs, a part of the oceans near the North and South poles, we see only 10% or less of a visible iceberg. The majority is below the surface, much like ourselves. We have much to uncover, to discover and to share that is not seen on the surface. And we have many ways to discover who and what we truly are. There are many paths. Unity is but one Path to answer the big question- “Who AM I and Why am I here?” We hope you find your spiritual home here, at Unity of Rehoboth Beach. But, if not, we pray you find where you are comfortable and spiritually fed, and that you have others to join you on your journey.
Vision – The ocean reminds us to look to our vision, to HAVE a vision. As we stand on the beach looking out at the vastness of the waters before us, we can hold a vision of oneness, of how great this world is and all the wonder it holds for us. We can be reminded of the vast horizon before us and that what we envision CAN come to be.
Control – When an obstacle blocks a stream of water, the water finds a way to flow over, under or around it. Sometimes the stream of water gathers strength and moves with force and speed through narrow passages. Other times it collects and rests in shallow places. We are free to choose the course of our life’s stream and to determine the flow of our life. And, believe it or not, our choices determine if we are flowing or forcing our way along. But we do not need to control everything, everyway. We can find the flow and go with it.
Gary Zukav said, “By choosing your thoughts, and by selecting which emotional currents you will release and which you will reinforce, you determine the quality of your light. You determine the effects that you will have upon others, and the nature of the experiences of your life.”
If we step into the waters of the ocean, we find that the waters embrace us. It lifts us up and if we relax we find that it supports us as we float along with the flow. And if we get caught in a rip current, we learn not to fight it but allow it to float us back to shore. Relax and go with the flow. How often have you heard those words of advice? It works for more than rip currents!
There’s a saying, “Life comes to us in waves, but we can learn to surf.” What does that mean? I believe it means what we mentioned earlier, to go with the flow, to trust your Higher Power, to Let Go and Let God. It means to find what is yours to do and then take the steps to do it. Or as we like to say, To put feet to your prayers.
Strength and weakness – There is strength and there is weakness when we consider the ocean. Strength in the force of the water during a storm and the weakness, one could call it, as the beach relinquishes to the wave. But there is also strength in the reforming of the beach after a storm. As the waves crash onto the shore we stand in awe of the force of nature and it gives us respect for that force.
But we also can stand in awe as, after the storm, we see the water calm and the beach and waves go back to their dance of intimacy. Touching and flowing with each other. It remind me of the relationships we have with those we love, how we can be so close and then so distant. Too often we forget to be like the ocean and the wave, and come back together again. So the beach can rebuild its relationship with the wave and the wave can come calmly to the beach and help it rebuild it.
Water is associated with emotions. As we observe the oceans, we can relate our emotions to the action of the waters. Storms are our strong emotions and sometimes they crash onto the shore with force, as do our feelings. Sometimes the ocean is calm, just as we are. And sometimes, it looks calm, but below the surface, there is turmoil-maybe from anger, maybe excitement.
Meditation – Sitting on the beach, watching the surf can be so meditative. I’ve often just sat there and let the sounds take me away. It’s very calming and grounding for me.
What does the sea say to you? And are you listening? The negative emotions we feel is our indicator of resistance, while positive emotions are our indicator of allowance. Are you allowing as the beach allows the wave to give and receive? Are you breathing in and out?
Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
What ripple are you creating?
Notice I haven’t mentioned the creatures of the sea. That could be a whole new lesson!
What does that mean to you?
Too often, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing the same way over and over every day. But if we are going to live at our full potential, we should constantly be growing and sharpening our skills. We should strive to learn and grow every single day because when you stop learning, you stop growing. When you stop growing, you stop living.
There are many sources of valid spiritual guidance in the world—all focused on the same universal principles of purpose and empowerment. If you don’t ‘hear’ what you seek in the Bible, you will find the same truth, phrased differently, somewhere else. What’s important is to keep looking, and then to claim the truth as you find it. I have found mine through Unity and where Unity has taken me.
In this season of your life, what are you doing to stretch yourself? What are you doing to express your version of the Golden Rule? What are you doing to improve your skills?
Living intentionally is one way I strive to improve my skills, to live by the Golden Rule. It is defined as using a variety of contexts like spirituality, ethical and personal values to base how you live your life. You intentionally live by a set purpose or manner. You are aware of your lifestyle choices. The way you live is based upon your basic beliefs and values. Intentional living represents an individual’s or a group’s effort to live with integrity in relation to his or her conscience and environment.
What exactly does it take to live a life of intention? It takes a decision; a simple decision that will ultimately test the strength of your commitment and the depth of your faith in what you believe.
While much of life is lived on “auto-pilot,” living with intention is another way of approaching life. It involves learning to become more psychologically and spiritually awake, alert and emotionally available to one’s own inner workings, while naturally becoming more attuned to all other aspects of life. As greater self awareness is cultivated, it is reflected in a life that simply works better – better choices, more authentic relationships, deeper connections.
Emphasis is placed on getting the most from, and giving the most to, the present moment. Rather than rushing ahead (which is living anxiously), or clinging to the past (which is living depressively), learning to live in the now opens the door to creating previously unforeseen opportunities.
Leo Buscaglia wrote “Don’t spend your precious time asking ‘Why isn’t the world a better place?’ It will only be time wasted. The question to ask is ‘How can I make it better?’ To that there is an answer.”
My whole life has been a journey of awakening – sometimes wide awake, sometimes half asleep, sometimes snoring! As I have journeyed, I have become increasingly aware of how I live my life. And I can use what I call my favorite words to help explain that way of living. Those words are Intention, Integrity, Discernment, Reverence and Love. And these words are the answer I have found my effort to make the world a better place. My answer to Living Intentionally.
Most anyone who has spoken with me in deep discussion knows my thoughts about these words and their meanings to me. I often use them as part of discussion when facilitating classes as examples of my life experiences.
I’d like to express my thoughts regarding each of these terms. First, Intention: Intention is defined as an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result; a purpose or attitude toward the effect of one’s actions or conduct, purpose, on a goal that one intends to accomplish or attain, intention implies little more than what one has in mind to do or bring about, it suggests clearer formulation or greater deliberateness.
When we have a purpose of how we wish to live our lives, we find that our choices are much easier to come forward because we know who we are and what the purpose of our being here at this time is all about. We know that our life is based upon the intention to live a positive life, to choose love over fear, to choose our thoughts so they are based upon how we wish to see our world unfold around us. We choose the kind of energy we wish to invoke around us to show we are the light of the world.
Many people I know take the first few moments of the day or after their morning prayer or meditation time to set an intention for the day. It’s a spiritual practice to place your thoughts and energy to what you want to experience through the day.
American Author Alexander Woollcott, said “There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.” Each day provides its own gifts. Maybe you’d like to practice setting an intention for a while and see how it affects you day.
I found this quote by someone unknown that I’d like to share with you: “This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good.” Let each day be something good.
My second word is Integrity, defined as possession of firm principles: the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles, or professional standards: the state of being complete, sound or undivided.
I use integrity as a guide for choices being made every second of the day. These are most often not choices that I sit and ponder hours or even minutes over. If I am living my integrity, there is really no choice to make because the correct choice, that is within my intention of how my life looks; are almost automatic.
As we move through our journey to recognizing and acknowledging who we really are, our integrity becomes truer to the Divine that we are. It becomes almost painful to be out of integrity. And when I am faced with a situation where I do ponder the choices presented to me, I only need to pause for a moment in most cases, because if I am living in my integrity, the obvious choice is always there, easy to see and put into action.
My next word, Discernment, is defined as a keenly selective judgment. If we use the biblical reference; we call it righteous judgment (John 7:24). Most people hear the word judgment and place a negative connotation to it. And if we use judgment in the capacity of prejudice, based upon preconceived notions that are not justified, then it is a negative thing.
But when we use discernment in our choices, we are using our intentions for our life as we envision it and using our integrity to help us base our discernment in living that intentional life. So discernment puts the intention in play and your integrity to the test, if you will, to make those choices that are yours to do, knowing what is yours to know.
Every major religion in the world, without exception, affirms a close variation of what is called in Christianity the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
It’s a spiritual guide that appeals even to our intellectual nature. It comes into play with discernment. And it makes sense! If everyone were to apply this sort of enlightened self-interest to all interactions with others, the world would unquestionably be a friendlier place.
But it hardly seems powerful enough to be perhaps the most universally acknowledged spiritual truth in the world. It’s a little too obvious, too simple. Is there more to it than meets the eye? There is.
The Golden Rule is not simply a recommendation of proper behavior. It is a key to the deepest truth the universe can demonstrate: our Oneness with each other, and with the Power of God. We do not treat others lovingly just because it is good for them – or even good for us. “As you sow,” Jesus taught, “so shall you reap.” Or as it’s often expressed in Twelve Step recovery programs, “To keep it, you must give it away.”
Next, Reverence defined as feelings of deep respect or devotion. In the first creation story in Genesis, God gives dominion to humankind over all the animals and plants covering the earth and flying in the skies, and swimming in the seas. Dominion is authority or control. In the second chapter of Genesis God tells humankind to take care of the Garden and all its inhabitants, both animal and plant.
We can become closer to discovering who we really are, to recognizing our divinity through our reverence of all life and finding beauty and love in all life. Virtually anything can be held in reverence: nature, music, prayer, birth, death, sexuality, poetry, persons, pilgrimage, sports participation, etc.; they become occasions for the experience of God, moments when we become aware of the presence of Spirit, when the sacred becomes an experiential reality. If we take a moment to recall those moments when we were in a reverent state of mind, we can relive the peace, the positive energy of the moment. Maybe even an epiphany that joyfully presented itself to you and the wonder you felt as this sank into your consciousness. If we allow reverence to fill us in our daily endeavors, we will find joy much like Brother Lawrence who found joy in washing the dishes and scrubbing the floor. We may chuckle at the idea but the point being to be in the presence of Divine Spirit as we go about our day, and do so with reverence, intention and integrity.
Neale Donald Walsch said, “Your soul doesn’t care what you do for a living – and when your life is over, neither will you. Your soul cares only about what you are being while you are doing whatever you are doing.”
Another quote by someone unknown, “Your work is not to drag the world kicking and screaming into a new awareness. Your job is to simply do your work… sacredly, secretly, and silently… and those with ‘eyes to see and ears to hear’, will respond.”
Eckhart Tolle asks, “Then what is the relationship between something that you do and the state of joy? You will enjoy any activity in which you are fully present, any activity that is not just a means to an end. It isn’t the action you perform that you really enjoy, but the deep sense of aliveness that flows into it.”
Lastly, Love is defined as to feel tender affection for somebody or for something such as a place, an ideal, or an animal, to feel and show kindness and charity to somebody or something.
I have believed Love, Loving, is the answer for most of my journey. And to be honest, I believe it has been a belief since I can remember looking out the living room window one evening at the age of 11 or 12, wondering what was true since what I felt was true was very different that what I was seeing around me in my family and my world at the time. After much, much searching, I find myself here, today, believing that the real choice we have is based upon two directions – LOVE or FEAR. We can place everything in those two categories. And when we look at any and all questions, thoughts, doubts, problems, challenges…whatever you wish to label it…love is the answer. What would love do? If we believe that Jesus is the way-shower and his message is love, then whatever we do, we do in Love, for Love, with Love, as Love.
We just talked about Love being a verb last week. That IS the answer…loving in every way.
A friend called me a while back to tell me I have been right all this time. We all want to hear that once and a while. What she was saying is she had just finished listening to a lesson from Ester & Gerry Hicks, teachers of Abraham’s message and authors of “Ask and it is Given” among other titles. And the message in this latest offering from them was that everything boils down to LOVE or fear. Those are our choices.
Think about the choices you make day to day. How do you make them? What criteria do you use to choose?
Bernie S. Siegel said, “Choose to love and make others happy, and your life will change, because you will find happiness and love in the process. The first step towards inner peace is to decide to give love, not receive it.”
SO, when I say, LOVING IS THE ANSWER, it means that I have taken the message of Intention, Integrity, Discernment, and Reverence, and wrapped them all into the package labeled LOVE. And it’s not just love, but loving, the verb, the action that shows our love. And this is how I try to live my life. I know, I know, Yoda says there is no try, there’s only do & not do, but I’m not where Yoda is yet.
Dr. Leo Buscaglia, said: “It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of person kind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.”
And Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Living may “WORDS” helps me come and stay alive.
And finally, these words from Paulo Coelho “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
By living intentionally, I strive to be better each moment. You too, can strive to fulfill your passion for life, choose wisely.