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Living Intentionally – Unity of Rehoboth Beach Sept. 7, 2014

Living Intentionally
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.