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Palm Sunday -Unity of Rehoboth Beach, March 29, 2015

After watching sales falling off for three straight months at Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Colonel calls up the Pope and asks for a favor.

The Pope says, ”What can I do?”

The Colonel says, ”I need you to change the daily prayer from, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘Give us this day our daily chicken’. If you do it, I’ll donate 10 Million Dollars to the Vatican.”

The Pope replies, ”I am sorry. That is the Lord’s Prayer and I cannot change the words.”

So the Colonel hangs up. After another month of dismal sales, the Colonel panics, and calls again.

”Listen your Excellency. I really need your help. I’ll give you $50 million dollars if you change the words of the daily prayer from ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘Give us this day our daily chicken.”’

And the Pope responds, ”It is very tempting, Colonel Sanders. The church could do a lot of good with that much money. It would help us support many charities. But, again, I must decline. It is the Lord’s Prayer, and I can’t change the words.”

So the Colonel gives up again. After two more months of terrible sales the Colonel gets desperate. ”This is my final offer, your Excellency. If you change the words of the daily prayer from, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘Give us this day our daily chicken’ I will donate $100 million to the Vatican.”

The Pope replies, ”Let me get back to you.”

So the next day, the Pope calls together all of his bishops and he says, ”I have some good news and I have some bad news. The good news is that KFC is going to donate $100 million to the Vatican.”

The bishops rejoice at the news. Then one asks about the bad news.

The Pope replies, ”The bad news is that we lost the Wonder Bread account.”

Good Morning Beloved!

Palm Sunday is traditionally the day we celebrate Jesus entering into Jerusalem to begin the Passover Holiday and the Christian Holy week. So, let’s look a bit at the different symbolization with regard to entering the city before we go much further.

Jesus rode a donkey, actually the colt of a donkey; that had never been ridden. Donkeys, in the Eastern tradition were an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is an animal of war. And a colt symbolizes meekness and humility. This was a disgraceful appearance, and, eventually Jesus is rejected and the people lost interest in Him and His message.

A king from the different countries, came riding upon a horse when he was bent on war and rode upon a donkey when he wanted to point out he was coming in peace.

Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would thus symbolize his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king.

Less well-known is the historical fact that a Roman imperial procession was also entering Jerusalem for Passover from the other side of the city. It happened every year: the Roman governor of Judea, whose residence was in Caesarea on the coast, rode to Jerusalem in order to be present in the city in case there were riots at Passover, the most politically volatile of the annual Jewish festivals. With him came soldiers and cavalry to reinforce the imperial garrison in Jerusalem.

It is clear what Pilate’s procession was about. By proclaiming the pomp and power of empire, its purpose was to intimidate.

But what about Jesus’s procession, his entry into the city?

As Mark, the first gospel to be written, tells the story, Jesus planned His entry into Jerusalem in advance. It was not a last-minute decision, as if he decided to ride a donkey because he was tired or wanted people to be able to see him better.

And – this is the crucial connection – riding a donkey into Jerusalem echoes a passage from the prophet Zechariah.

“Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!

Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey… (9.9).

That king, the passage continues, will be a king of peace:

“He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations” (9.10).

Thus for that Passover, two very different processions entered Jerusalem. They proclaimed two very different and contrasting visions of how this world can and should be: the kingdom of God versus the kingdoms, the powers, of this world

The former is about justice and the end of violence. The latter are about domination and exploitation.

What are your thoughts about that?

In the Revealing Word: the animal part of the human consciousness is typified by the donkey. The characteristics of the donkey are stubbornness, persistency, and endurance. (Does that sound like us?) The purpose of Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem was to portray the mastery by the I AM of the animal nature and its manifestation. To ride the donkey is to make them obedient to one’s will.

So, Jesus, metaphysically, was obedient to the Christ Consciousness.

In many lands in the ancient Near East, it was customary to cover in some way the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honor.

The palm branch was a symbol of triumph and victory in the Greco-Roman culture of the Roman Empire, and became the most common attribute of the goddess Nike or Victory. For contemporary Roman observers, the procession would have evoked the Roman triumph, when the triumphator laid down his arms and wore the toga, the civilian garment of peace that might be ornamented with emblems of the palm. Although the Epistles of Paul refer to Jesus as “triumphing”, the entry into Jerusalem may not have been regularly pictured as a triumphal procession in this sense before the 13th century. In ancient Egyptian religion, the palm was carried in funeral processions and represented eternal life. The palm branch later became a symbol of Christian martyrs and their spiritual victory or triumph over death.

We have palm leaves for you to take along to bless your homes. Let us receive them as symbols of spiritual victory and eternal life, not just for Jesus but for us also.

Thus Palm Sunday announces the central conflict of Holy Week. The conflict, Jesus representing peace and the Roman soldiers, representing domination on a material plane, and persists, and continues wherever injustice and violence abound. Holy Week is not about less than that, but about so much more.

So, as I was contemplating how to present the Palm Sunday lesson, I thought about the hero’s Journey. And how we can relate the Hero’s Journey to Jesus’ journey, or really, Jesus’ journey as it is a Hero’s journey.

Jesus models for us the Hero’s Journey that we, too, must follow to find and claim our Christ identity.

Do you remember “Jesus Christ, Superstar”? Wonderful music. An example, in miniature of His journey.

And I, a great Harry Potter fan, look at that series as another example of the hero’s journey, with many life lessons throughout the series.  And there are so many more, all through history-ours and other cultures too.

Joseph Campbell, noted mythologist, scholar, and philosopher from the 1980s, coined the phrase “the hero’s journey” to describe the classic coming of age story. Campbell says the hero is that indescribable part of us that remains constant and courageous, regardless of what is happening around us. It is our authentic self; the essence of who we are apart from our personality traits or the drama that sometimes surrounds us. It is what Charles Fillmore would call our “Christ” nature. It is our authentic self, taking action in our lives, which fills us with a sense of vibrancy.

The eternal quest myths that form part of many cultures are not just a call to discover ourselves and the treasure that is within us. A hero may travel to distant places and face many challenges. A treasure can be won, but it is the adventure itself, the journey, which is of greatest value because it has uncovered him; it has helped him discover his inner resources.

The mythical heroes were on a holy quest and so are we. In fact, all of life is such a journey, but for most of us it looks ordinary. We call it forgiveness or finding a job or getting up again after we have fallen. Properly viewed, these life circumstances reach into our minds and hearts and demand that we stand on our own feet and live our lives as if God is enough.

Part of MY hero’s journey has been finding Unity. Believe me, it took a while to get this far. And the Journey continues. But when I look back, I see the facets of that journey and know that, all those twists and turns on the path were required to get me here, even though I do not like it one bit. The pain, the frustration, the hurt, the set-backs…yes, I am just like you.

We are ALL on this same journey, it just looks different for each of us.

We all desire a vibrant life. We all want to know our life makes a difference, that we have a contribution to make, and that there is a purpose to our life. We form relationships in order to experience connection and commitment to a common purpose and to share our gifts. Everyone wants to be acknowledged, appreciated, and accepted for who they are. When that happens, there is a greater sense of possibility for change, growth, and resiliency. We need to love and to be loved. Not just an emotional love but also a love that accepts us and flows through us to accept what is right before us.

We at Unity choose Jesus as our wayshower, our guide through the Hero’s Journey because He symbolizes who we want to express. We already know we are created in the image and likeness of God/Goddess. We just must learn how to express that. THAT is what the journey is about, figuring out how to express that. Or as one of my class mates said on Tuesday, How do I want to be in this situation?

In order to access our authentic self, we must become mindful of our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and perceptions and ask ourselves questions that draw us into our essence. Some questions might be: Who am I being right now? Am I demonstrating the qualities of being that move my heart? Who am I willing to be in order to make a difference in this situation? Am I willing to move past where I have stopped before in the past?

I can imagine Jesus asking Himself some of these questions as He made His journey through life.

We all have a courageous heart and a monkey mind. Monkey mind is a Buddhist term for the self-limiting chatter that constantly goes on inside our head that revolves around worry and doubt. It keeps us safe but never in the present moment. Our monkey mind is either in the past—blaming, resenting, judging, and critiquing—or in the future, worrying. If we can shift our attention from monkey mind to the voice of wisdom within us and simply take a small step forward, we will experience vibrancy.

Metaphysically the writings of the Bible do not define an ideal; they rather describe a process of spiritual growth and awareness. As we move forward toward our spiritual purpose of expressing our true Christ nature and thereby creating the kingdom of heaven where we are, we can expect to make a lot of wrong turns and find ourselves in some very dark, scary places. The Bible reassures us always that it’s all part of the journey. There is not one specific step that will allow us to fully express our Christ nature; we will get there as the culmination of many, many steps.

The Hebrew Scriptures were to be seen as a progressive story of our capacity to understand and embrace the Divine as love and empowerment. Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore followed that guidance in his approach to the Bible. Deuteronomy describes a god of judgment, anger, and vengeance. Jesus describes a God of infinite love for all creation. The process of getting from one mindset to another is the very purpose of our human experience, our Hero’s Journey. We sometimes still need a reminder that this spiritual journey requires our full commitment. It takes work in any relationship, even the one with yourself. And I believe that self-relationship is the door to Christ Consciousness.

The promise, then, is that our journey will be joyfully complete when we have removed from our consciousness every thought and false belief of separation from our divine Source, and become clear and non-resisting channels for the creative Power that is God. Then our lives here on earth will be completely infused with the divine, and the kingdom of heaven will not only be at hand; it will be the consciousness in which we live.

This is a moment we have known, and will continue to know, in our own lives. Immobilized by the pain of utter resistance to our spiritual forward movement, we suffer until we are ready to release. Then we surrender to the absolute certainty that we are immersed in the Love that is God. And we break through to a new dimension of possibility that welcomes us and heals us—and from which our journey will continue.

This is symbolized in Jesus’ journey, as He often struggled, as we do, with our human existence.  And when we connect with our Divine, THAT is the Kingdom we want and need.

And its right here (Heart)

Oprah Winfrey said: “The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call.”

Unity of Rehoboth Beach – March 22, 2015, Prosperity and Divine Order

Good Morning Beloved!

This month Theme is Discover Healthy Living

Our March Affirmations you have a little slip to take home and read as you wish:

Inner Peace: AS I enter the Silence, I experience peace.

Guidance: One with God, I gain insight and understanding.

Healing: Healing love flows in and through me.

Prosperity: Grounded in faith, my prosperity grows.

World Peace: I hold a vision of peace for the world.

Today we talk about Prosperity and the POWER of Order (dk green).

Webster’s dictionary defines “order” as “to put people or things in their proper places in relationship to each other.” Order is described as the first law of the universe. This power is a mind power, an inner power first.

Charles Fillmore, in “The Revealing Word’ defines order as “the divine idea of adjustment, and as this is established in human kind’s thoughts, the mind and affairs will be at one with the universal harmony.”   Order IS the first law of the universe.

Michael Maday, in New Thought for a New Millennium calls “Order the affirming power, the recognizing power that God is in charge and all is well.”

The primary function of order is to set things in right relationship to each other. For example, Jesus said, “Seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours also.” By setting up the right relationship of seeking first the kingdom, we are putting into action the first step in the law of prosperity.

The quickest way to bring order is to claim divine order in all of our affairs—to seek first the kingdom. This can work quickly, but it also can take a great deal of time. Sometimes lack of orderly thought is responsible for delayed manifestations. We block our own prosperity. We cannot accept our good until our consciousness is ready. This is why order is defined as a mind power. It must begin first in mind and I would add, in the HEART!.

We talked about receiving the other week. Being open to receive is part of the law of prosperity. Part of that ORDER.

Jesus lived his life to the fullest, moving through social upheaval and political turmoil, through negative public opinion and massive demands on his time and strength, without ever losing that sense of simplicity, stillness and peace in his heart.

The spiritual power that makes that possible is ORDER, which describes the importance of staying connected to the spiritual energy within no matter what demands we may be facing from without. So long as we are centered in our divine Being, we need never be afraid to offer energy where it is needed, for in Truth there can be no depletion.

We must be careful, though, not to squander our spiritual energy in situations where it will not be received or recognized – in what Jesus called ‘casting your pearls before swine.’

Catherine Ponder says, “One of the highest forms of prayer is to give thanks for divine order in your mind, body, and affairs, even if it is not there yet.” In doing this we first gain a sense of peace, power and control of our mind and emotions. Look for, expect, and give thanks for divine order often. Then see prosperity flow. This is the ‘fake it till you make it’ theory. Can you see how it might work? Have you had it work for you?

Catherine Ponder has also said, “You have heard that Nature abhors a vacuum.”

The vacuum part of the law of prosperity tells us that if you want greater good, greater prosperity in your life, start forming a vacuum to receive it. In other words, get rid of what you don’t want to make room for what you do want. If you have studied many prosperity books, attended many prosperity classes and workshops and quoted the prosperity affirmations till you are blue in the face, but still are not manifesting the prosperity you want this may be the problem.

Here is where the power of release comes into play. Most of us practice this power with releasing negative thoughts, but it is also effective to do the physical action to make room for your good. Clean out those closets, empty those drawers, get rid of the storage unit. Practice the law of giving and receiving. Create an intentional vacuum. As those closets, drawers and storage places empty out, start clearly visualizing them filled with the new good that you want.

Spring is a great time to start looking in closets, drawers, and attic, not to mention basements and garages. Think of how these possessions have served you in the past. Take a moment to appreciate them, then truly let them go. Box them up, bless them for the next person, and take them out of your house. Now take time to appreciate the freedom of letting go, of finding spaciousness in your life. Write about how you felt in packing up your possessions, then write about how you felt when you came home to the space left by them. How are the feelings different? How do they relate to your sense of prosperity?

” Eric Butterworth, in Spiritual Economics said, “Take some time to go through your attic and closets and drawers to find all the seldom used or never used possessions that can bless someone richly and derive a great thrill and spiritual fulfillment by giving. There is never a time when you can’t find some way to start the giving flow, which will in return open the way to the receiving of your good.”

De-cluttering experts talk about never bringing home something new without taking out something you no longer need. What if, in anticipation of something new, we simply took out those things before receiving the new? Not that we must then go out and immediately replace those items, but perhaps simply allow for the good to come to us. THIS is Divine Order!

And it allows for the flow of energy, which is what we are all about! It’s also an example of ‘putting feet to your prayers’.

Let’s consider the idea of ownership. Does prosperity require that we own whatever we desire/need? We are often socialized to believe that the only way to feel prosperous is to own it. What if the idea of prosperity is really about flow? That would require receiving and releasing. Another example of ORDER.

For example, for those of us who collect books, do we really get more joy out of owning them than we do from borrowing from the library? Are there things you can enjoy for free without owning? What kinds of things are already showing up for you that don’t necessarily come into your life through ownership? How does flow and releasing affect your definition of prosperity? Practice enjoying something that is freely available to you this month and notice how you feel about it.

Let me know how you make out.

Having made way in the material world, take a look at creating a vacuum in other areas also. Start with your health. When you use statements like my cold, my arthritis, or my headache, you are claiming these conditions in your life. Notice, I do not say “My Beast Cancer”! Or “My Accident!”

Be conscious of what you are asking for. If you ask for a healing, know that healing is a verb and that makes getting well a process. Be brave-ask for perfect health expressing in your body right now.

In Luke 6:38, it says “…give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Give and receive—-ORDER.

There is a song in Unity that says if you want more money you have to give it away. We sang that song here a few months ago.

I am not telling you to spend carelessly but don’t hoard money and things to the point that prosperity has no room to come into your life.

Your thoughts are what manifest your outer life. If you want clearer insight into what you are thinking, look around you. What do you see? This is the life you have created. It could be an interesting insight!

Create a vacuum in your thinking and wait for Spirit to give you the perfect ideas of how to create the perfect world around you.

The law of vacuum is very true in our spiritual life. Our fifth basic principle tells us that we must put into practice what we know to be true. When we don’t, spiritual growth stops. No matter how many books you have read or classes you have attended, if you are not practicing what you learned you will stagnate and stop spiritually maturing.

Catherine Ponder tells us, “When you cling to the old, you hinder your advance or stop it altogether.” So go forth this month releasing that which does not serve you to make room for the highest and best.

In a quiet time envision what you truly want and what would serve you now. Be clear what you want and why you want it. You could journal about what you saw. As these visions start to appear in your life, make note of how this happens. Did they come to you with or without effort on your part? If you experienced both, what are the different feelings you had in both cases? What made it joyful or satisfying?

Edwene Gaines, in The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity has said; “We can achieve order and harmony in every aspect of our lives with a habit of neatness. As we de-clutter our lives, we signal the universe that we are ready to handle more good.”

And that means to de-clutter on ALL levels, ALL ways.

Unity of Rehoboth Beach – Maech , – “Addiction” Guest Speaker – Carol; Boresllo

ADDICTION

A drunk calls 911 on his cell phone to report that his car has been broken into. He is outraged as he explains his situation to the dispatcher:  “They’ve stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal and even the accelerator!” he screams.

The dispatcher says, “Stay calm. An officer is on the way.”  

A few minutes later, the officer radios in. “Disregard the call,” he says. “He got in the back seat by mistake.”

Addiction is a loaded word and a sensitive topic. It is a way many humans give away their power to a state of mind produced by ingesting a substance, or being with another person. It would seem after years of evolution developing our brains and shaping our minds, that sometimes the main purpose for many is to get a little bit out of our minds, no? Or at least a little bit alongside of them. Humor does the same thing, but in a less loaded way. Hearing the words, “So, a man walks into a bar” can change our whole thought framework in an instant – kind of like having a drink or a smoke.

One of the cartoons I saw a number of years ago has stuck with me this long time. It showed three men, two Pilgrims in their wide-brim hats, wearing amazed expressions & an Indian brave, who was walking away from them. One of the men is holding a large tobacco leaf & saying, “He told me to just roll it up and smoke it!” I think the visual stuck with me because at the time I was smoking cigarettes & my thought was, “what a way to win a war!” I think for many, addiction is a kind of war within. It produces casualties, it does damage, it seems controllable when the result on most levels is destructive to so many areas – health, relationships, jobs and souls.

I didn’t like myself much when I lit up. But that didn’t stop me. I kept the habit going for years at a time; I’d take it on, give it up & then suddenly start again.

Human bodies are predisposed to addiction. We love when the pleasure centers light up & start to hum. It’s really a challenge on so many levels, from getting the goods to taking them into the body, and then dealing with the results of that intake. It’s a flawed reasoning process that says “How can anything so good be so bad?”

It isn’t limited to humans either. Animals develop addictions. There are stories on record of elephants rampaging through villages to get a fix of rice wine. Monkeys and giraffes find fermented marula fruit and imbibe to the point of morning hangover. Ants kidnap Lomechusa strumosa beetles, carry them home & ingest the oil the beetles produce which has a similar effect on them as cannabis. So the next time you see an ant staggering around, have mercy… Horses crave locoweed and farmers have to eradicate it wherever they find it because a tipsy horse is downright dangerous. Dolphins bite off just enough of the poisonous pufferfish for its psychoactive venom to get them high.

Cravings are in our cell structures as well. Recent scientific evidence has shown that mice who were given almonds that made them sick not only avoided ever eating almonds, but so did their offspring down many generations. That holds up the idea that alcoholism is an inherited disease through bodily predisposition. Since history shows that the first of the harvest was always set aside for fermentation, we can safely say liquor’s been around since hunters became gatherers.

And it can be a lifelong struggle to deal with that craving that’s as much a part of mind as body. When I smoked, I was able to isolate the craving to my tongue. Isn’t that a crazy thing? But it was my truth. Out of my whole body, it was my tongue that wanted to smoke.

When I was in massage school, the first topic addressed in the Diet & Nutrition class was that salt & sugar are considered to be drugs. They alter the state of the body. Again, down through history, it’s been traced back that the early settlements were almost always within reach of a local source of salt. Yes, we needed it to preserve and flavor our foods & to help bodily functions, but in the medical world, salt can be classified under drugs.

Addictions come in all shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Only when they are detrimental to our bodies, societies & functioning do they become a problem. But by the time they are a problem, they are also well-entrenched in our reality & thoughts of functioning without them are equally problematical.

While drugs seem to produce a kind of “miracle state” in us, it was similarly a miracle which got Bill W, founder of AA, to stop drinking.

Here’s a quote from the “History of AA” on their website today:

In the early 1930s, a well-to-do Rhode Islander, Rowland H., visited the noted Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung for help with his alcoholism. Jung determined that Rowland’s case was medically hopeless, and that he could only find relief through a vital spiritual experience. Jung directed him to the Oxford Group.

 

Rowland later introduced fellow Vermonter Edwin (“Ebby”) T. to the group, and the two men along with several others were finally able to keep from drinking by practicing the Oxford Group principles.

 

(As a side note, It was from these 28 Principles that Bill W distilled the 12 Step Program. There’s a handout of this on the information table if you’re interested.)

 

One of Ebby’s schoolmate friends from Vermont, and a drinking buddy, was Bill W. Ebby sought out his old friend at his home in Brooklyn to carry the message of hope.

 

Bill W. had been a golden boy on Wall Street, enjoying success and power as a stockbroker, but his promising career had been ruined by continuous and chronic alcoholism. Now, approaching 39 years of age, he was learning that his problem was hopeless, progressive, and irreversible. He had sought medical treatment at Towns Hospital in Manhattan, but he was still drinking.

 

Bill was, at first, unconvinced by Ebby’s story of transformation and the claims of the Oxford Group. But in December 1934, after again landing in Towns hospital for treatment, Bill underwent a powerful spiritual experience unlike any he had ever known. His depression and despair were lifted, and he felt free and at peace. Bill stopped drinking, and worked the rest of his life to bring that freedom and peace to other alcoholics. The roots of Alcoholics Anonymous were planted.

Would you agree with me that Rowland, Ebby & Bill W. all experienced a miracle, in their individual ways?

What is a miracle? A Course In Miracles tell us “prayer is the medium of miracles. It is a means of communication of the created with the Creator. Through prayer love is received, and through miracles love is expressed.” My interpretation of the word “medium” here is the same as when they talk about the contents in a Petri dish being a medium for growth. So prayer grows love.

ACIM also tells us “the Holy Spirit is the highest communication medium.” And the very first principle of the Course is, “There is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not “harder” or “bigger” than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal.”

I heard somewhere or read somewhere while in the midst of my smoking days that I needed to ask the Holy Spirit to take away the craving. I wasn’t sure why the Holy Spirit – maybe the rest of heaven wasn’t on-call for this particular addiction. Maybe Holy Spirit carried the beeper. But it made sense to me when I understood that Holy Spirit is also the voice of God, constantly keeping a divine two-way communication going. I understood that I had to listen to another voice, to stop hearing that enticing song of tobacco in favor of a new melody.

I needed to stop affirming what Matthew Fox (a contemporary mystic) calls “spiritual powerlessness” in favor of stepping forward under its strength & shielding. At the same time, I asked to be free from the habit, I was also asking tobacco to let go of me. Early on, I got that that tobacco, as a powerful spiritual presence, wanted to express itself through me. But these cigarette dreams were cutting off my real sources of growth – kind of in the way they used to say “smoking stunts your growth.” (By the way, I didn’t start cigarettes until I was in my forties, so it has nothing to do with how tall I’m not.)

It was hindering my growing up metaphysically. This wanting, this dependency, this feeling of incompleteness that surrounded me at times & called me forth to light one up, had to be disallowed in favor of allowing my heaven to occupy its place my soul.

Let’s hear some quotes from various Unity writers about smoking:

Believing in faith is the key to the whole process of healing and cleansing. As Jesus said to the woman with the issue of blood, “Your faith has made you well.” (Mark 5:25-34). You must have absolute faith that the Christ Presence that is your true, eternal spiritual identity is stronger than the desire to smoke, which is simply a function of this limited human illusion. I tried to quit many times without success, until the day when I sat quietly and said, “My limited ego self cannot stop smoking—in fact, my limited ego self doesn’t want to stop smoking. But there is a power within me that wants only my highest good. I surrender to that power now. I am willing to not smoke, and I surrender my heart and mind to the Power within me that can make the right choices on my behalf.”

 I never had another cigarette from that moment. And it wasn’t really a struggle, except for a grieving process as I released my old friend, the cigarette. I know without question or doubt that the same spiritual energy lives in you, and that in surrendering to that energy you are free of limiting and addictive choices.

Letting go of anything requires a process of grieving. Putting down my smokes meant adopting something else to be my friend in close places, my buffer against discomfort. Learning not to make that next buddy a bowl of ice cream took a lot of willpower. There are many rich blessings of body, mind and spirit that result.

Call upon your guardian angels, your Higher Self. Ask for the help of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because dissolving the energy of negative ideas is not ours to do alone. Calling upon the Christ Presence within us and around us can provide a source of strength in the moment.

“If we are doing our part, keeping ourselves a clear channel, others will see it. We will be called children of God, because that is what people will see and experience when they are with us.”

“Today I affirm that I remain centered and focused on my spiritual possibilities. I release all judgment of self and others, as I feel the love that is God channeling through my heart and into every cell of my body and mind. I choose to live this day in that energy of love, to claim for myself the kingdom of heaven and to discover my role in bringing that kingdom into full expression everywhere. Thank You, God!”

Allow your resistance to melt into the ground at your feet. Begin to release any anger or judgment of yourself, believe in who you are and what you do enough to say “no” to what no longer serves your highest & best good. If you find resistance in any area, honor it. Let it know you will be back. Every choice you make now about feeling tethered by an old habit can redirect you to a fuller understanding of Spiritual Truth. You have so much inner & outer strength on tap. Reach in to find it at need, reach out to express it in love.

Don’t forget to love yourself the best. It is exactly who you are!

MEDITATION   3-15-15

Close your eyes. Breathe deeply.

You are sitting in your favorite chair at home.

As you sit quietly, you hear a gentle knock at your door. You are expecting someone, this is a familiar sound, so you stand up & walk easily to open it. Your favorite addiction is standing outside, waiting to enter. You invite X in and you both sit down across from each other. You know everything about this guest, who in turn, knows everything about you.

Breathe deeply once more as you ask questions in your mind. Your first question might be:

“Why are you in my life right now?” Wait for the answer, listen well.

Does the answer make sense? Consider the words you have heard.

Ask your second question:

“Are you willing to let me go?”

What is the answer?

Keep breathing. Open your heart to your comfort level.

Now it is time for your third question:

“May I let you go?” Check in with yourself as you ask this question. Where does it resonate in you? Heart? Lungs? Chest? Head? Breathe in & send your breath to that area of your body.

What is the feeling coming up as you ask it? Breathe into the feeling as well.

Sit for a moment with it. Be aware of all you are feeling.

Now it is time for you to walk your guest to the door. You open it and gently invite your guest to leave your beautiful, satisfying, heavenly comfort zone.

Shut the door & lean against it for a moment as once again you breathe.

When you are ready to come back to your body, let your eyes open. Rejoin us here in this gathering; look with love into the eyes of the person on your left and right. You are beloved here.

Bless yourself with their loving gaze in return. Accept it fully as you know you are worth every spark of this light.

Over the next couple of days, I want you to remember this exercise. If you choose to do so, revisit this meditation. See how the answers change. Allow them to change. Invite them to change. Direct your energy into the beauty of knowing what you wish. All of it has validity; all of it has value. Own it. Stay in the space it creates for you & feel honored. Bless yourself with the time to do this.

Live in grace. Aho!

Discover healthy Living – Unity o Rehoboth Beach – March 8, 2015

Topic: Discover Healthy Living

Affirmation: I am whole, well, and free through the loving presence of God in me. I am worthy of loving relationships, where I am cherished and my gifts are celebrated. I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health.

What is it we are questing for? Let me suggest that it is the fulfillment of that which is potential in each of us. We all want to be successful. To find our purpose. This questing is not an ego trip; it is an adventure to bring into fulfillment your gift to the world, which is yourself. There is nothing you can do that’s more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal; in this way you will find, live, become a realization of your own personal myth.”

A.D. Williams said, “Take care of yourself. There is only one you. You are unique and precious.” And this is so true.

Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. Often the one you’ve buried beneath other person’s needs.

In 1 Corinthians 12:4 says “there are a variety of gifts, but of the same Spirit.”

What does this tell us? That we ALL have something to offer. From the waiter to the cook to the dish washer to the owner of the restaurant. Would the business work without the dishwasher? NO!

Later in 1 Corinthians, “for just as the body is one and has many members, and all of the members are of the one body, so it is with Christ.”

Just as the restaurant, any part of this world could not work without each one of us. So, the first thing we all must do to Discover Healthy Living is to change the way we look at ourselves.

When something unbelievably good is happening in your life and you don’t believe you are good enough to have it, you will consciously or unconsciously find a way to sabotage your dreams. Until and unless you know that you are enough just the way you are, you will always be driven to look for more.

We must make a CHOICE to take a CHANCE to make a CHANGE!

In “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” Sirius tells Harry, “There is no such thing as a good person or a bad person. It’s our choices that determine who and what we are to become.” I do love my Harry!

It’s these choices and actions that are what lead us in different directions, and it is through those choices and actions that we create our realities. Sometimes we choose to do something that takes us in the opposite direction of the reality we want to create for ourselves. When we do this, we might go so far as to label ourselves bad. Instead of labeling ourselves, though, we could simply acknowledge that we made a choice that lead us down a particular path, and then let it go, forgiving ourselves and preparing for our next opportunity to choose, and act, in ways that support our best intentions.

Many of us experienced childhoods in which the words good and bad were used as weapons to control us; you were good if you did what you were told and bad if you didn’t. If you were raised this way, you may find yourself feeling shockwaves of badness when you do something you were taught was wrong, even if now you don’t agree that it’s bad. Conversely, you may feel good when you do what you learned was right. Notice how this puts you in something of a straitjacket. An important part of our spiritual unfolding requires that we grow beyond what we learned and take responsibility for our own liberation in our own terms.

— Caroline Myss, “We are not meant to stay wounded. We are supposed to move through our tragedies and challenges and to help each other move through the many painful episodes of our lives. By remaining stuck in the power of our wounds, we block our own transformation. We overlook the greater gifts inherent in our wounds — the strength to overcome them and the lessons that we are meant to receive through them. Wounds are the means through which we enter the hearts of other people. They are meant to teach us to become compassionate and wise.”

One of the greatest challenges in creating a joyful, peaceful and abundant life is taking responsibility for what you do and how you do it. This is one of the tenets that Unity professes and I heartedly agree with. As long as you can blame someone else, be angry with someone else, point the finger at someone else, you are not taking responsibility for your life.

This can be a difficult thing. But a heart closed in on itself does not protect, it imprisons.

Susan Somerset Webb said, “Until we heal the wounds of our past, they will continue to show up in ways that will keep us from living a truly authentic and powerful life. We need to love ourselves enough to find the courage to heal these wounds.”

Today doctors are coming to accept as a fact of life the evidence that many ills are emotionally induced or, at least, influenced. It could be as much as 90 percent. Keep in mind that the world influences us in many ways, we mentioned the consciousness of the world and how we must counter that effect in our daily living. Remember: Peace begin with each of us. The secret of healing of any kind is to correct the conditions that are impeding the natural flow of life by altering states of consciousness, starting with our own and thus, affecting others.

In John 21:1-6, there is an episode in which Jesus teaches through a “living parable.” The disciples, who were mostly fisherman, were plying their trade on the Sea of Galilee. After a whole night of work, they had caught nothing. At daylight they returned to shore, tired and discouraged. They came upon Jesus who suggested they try again, but that this time they should “cast the net on the right side of the boat.” Just image their reaction! After all, they were experienced fisherman. What could the carpenter know? And yet, after all they’d seen with Jesus, how could they question his insights? So, they went out again and cast out their net as he suggested, and now they were not able to haul it in for all the fish.

The story dramatically symbolizes the different sides of life. …The disciples, in consciousness, were out of the flow of life. By the sheer act of casting from the other side of the boat, they had changed their whole experience. This means that by the device of turning in thought from negative to positive, from moods of insufficiency to attitudes of confidence, one may alter one’s whole experience from failure to success. “On the right side” of life you get in tune with the inexorable flow of good.

The story seems to imply that regardless of the experience or the techniques involved or even the fervency of the desire, if you are on the negative state of consciousness there is no help. The need is to get into the flow of the healing stream.

Let’s take a look at this healing stream, this universal flow of wholeness. Though we may not all be conscious of it, each of us is a flowering of the universal creative process. Each of us is a flow of wholeness. Each of us is whole wherever we are, and whatever may be the conditions of mind or body.

Once you catch the idea that you are a whole creature, a child of the universe, the very self-livingness of a universal stream of life, you will never again be satisfied until you find improvement in health. And that is health of every kind!

God is a circle that is centered in you. All the attributes of the Infinite are in focus as you, flowing forth through you. You are in this flow. You are this flow at the point where you are. Thus you are a child of the universe. It means that you are created in the image-likeness of an infinite idea. You are the only begotten of God from the standpoint that, no matter what other influences may have left their marks on you from the outside, there is that of you that is begotten only of God, which is forever the “flowering” of the divine flow from the inside. This is the fundamental Truth.

SO, now that we have affirmed that we are a child of the Universe, how do we put that thought into action?

Listen to your heart. It knows more about your spiritual well-being than your head does.

Make peace with those who have hurt you. If not by communicating with them in some way, then in your mind and heart.

You are a human being with every right to be here, learning and exploring. To label yourself good or bad is to think too small. What you are is a choice-maker and every moment provides you the opportunity to move in the direction of your higher self or in the direction of stagnation or degradation. In the end, only you know the difference. If you find yourself going into self-judgment, try to stop yourself as soon as you can and come back to center. Know that you are not good or bad, you are simply you.

“You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?”

Lent is a good time to work on ourselves, as we mentioned the other week. It’s not something we do to make God change. It’s something we do in response to God’s love, to bring about change within ourselves. Think of it this way. If your garage is full of clutter, and you’ve just bought a shiny new car and you want to use the garage for its intended purpose (to shelter your car rather than your stuff), then you have a job to do. You need to clean out the garage, or like me, get Jim and Marian to help you. Likewise, Lent is a time when we try to clean out the clutter in our hearts and minds and souls.

And putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow, and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”

Pema Chodron has said, “All the wars, all the hatred, all the ignorance in the world come out of being so invested in our opinions. And at bottom, those opinions are merely our efforts to escape the underlying uneasiness of being human, the uneasiness of feeling like we can’t get ground under our feet. So we hold on to our fixed ideas of this is how it is and disparage any opposing views. But imagine what the world would be like if we could come to see our likes and dislikes as merely likes and dislikes, and what we take to be intrinsically true as just our personal viewpoint.”

It’s simple, if it doesn’t nourish your soul, whatever IT is, get rid of it.

It’s your life. You’re responsible how you live it.

New Thought Sunday – Unity of Rehobot Beach, March 1, 2015

GOOD MORNING BELOVED

Here’s your joke for the week:

A man suffered a serious heart attack while shopping in a store. The store clerk called 911 when they saw him collapse to the floor. The paramedics rushed the man to the nearest hospital where he had emergency open heart bypass surgery.

He awakened from the surgery to find himself in the care of nuns at the Catholic Hospital. A nun was seated next to his bed holding a clipboard loaded with several forms, and a pen.

She asked him how he was going to pay for his treatment.

“Do you have health insurance?” she asked.

He replied in a raspy voice, “No health insurance.”

The nun asked, “Do you have money in the bank?”

He replied, “No money in the bank.”

Do you have a relative who could help you with the payments?” asked the iritated nun.

He said, “I only have a spinster sister, and she is a nun.”

The nun became agitated and announced loudly, “Nuns are not spinsters! Nuns are married to God.”

The patient replied, “Perfect. Send the bill to my brother-in-law.”

With that laugh, let’s share hugs and handshakes with each other, remembering that we all have the choice to hug, handshake or just say HI!

Sunday, March 1st is the Annual New Thought Sunday – a day in which we celebrate the New Thought movement of which Unity is a part. When I saw this online, I thought I’d share some information on Unity instead of the original lesson I had planned to share. We’ll look at that next time.

Let’s look at the origins of the Unity church:

Phineas P. Quimby (1802–66) is usually cited as the founder or earliest proponent of New Thought. A native of Portland, Maine, Quimby was a clockmaker with little traditional education but an inquiring mind. After observing the power of the mind to heal through hypnosis, suggestion and the placebo effect, Quimby began to practice mesmerism (hypnotism) and develop the view that illness is a matter of the mind. He opened an office for mentally aided healing in Portland, Maine in 1859.

In the late 19th century, New Thought was propelled along by a number of spiritual thinkers and philosophers and emerged through a variety of religious denominations and churches, particularly the Unity Church and Church of Divine Science (established in 1888 and 1889, respectively), followed by Religious Science (established in 1927). Many of its early teachers and students were women; with many of its churches and community centers led by women, from the 1880s to today.

As you probably are aware, Unity was founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore.

Myrtle Fillmore contracted tuberculosis at a young age, and spent a great part of her life seeking a cure. In 1888, she became gravely ill, but she thought she couldn’t do anything about it, because she had been sick for so long. But after attending a New Thought class held by Dr. E.B. Weeks, Myrtle left with a stronger faith in God and a new way to pray. She affirmed, “I am a child of God, and therefore I do not inherit sickness,” and she believed that she would get better.

She subsequently recovered from her chronic tuberculosis, which she attributed to her use of prayer and other New Thought methods learned in Weeks’ class. She spoke healing, affirmative words to each of her cells and body parts.

Charles saw his wives improved health and so, tried the method on his hip, which was injured as a child, causing him to walk with a limp because one leg was shorter than the other.

Charles was impressed by the recovery of both his wife and himself and began to study world religions, philosophy and the links between religion and science. They both began to write about their beliefs and discoveries and hold meetings after church on Sundays. It was their belief that these ideas and discussions were to be an addition to the Sunday service.

In 1889, Charles left his business to focus entirely on publishing a new periodical, Modern Thought.   In 1890 Charles and Myrtle organized a prayer group that would later be called “Silent Unity” and in the following year, the Fillmore’s Unity magazine was first published.

Dr. H. Emilie Cady published a series titled Lessons in Truth in the new magazine. The material was later compiled and published in a book by the same name, which served as a seminal work of the Unity movement.

We will look at those lessons someday.

With the publication of the magazine in 1889 and the movement “Unity” in 1891, the students wanted a more organized group. He and his wife were among the first ordained Unity ministers in 1906.

Charles and Myrtle Fillmore first operated the Unity organization from a campus near downtown Kansas City. Later, they bought land that became Unity Village.

Unity began a formal program for training ministers in 1931.

Unity is one of the oldest churches considered part of a movement called New Thought. New Thought can trace it’s philosophy as far back as Plato, Aristotle, Decartes, Emerson and the transcendentalists, and of course Jesus.

The Unity Church is the largest New Thought movement today, with about 75,000 members. We have grown worldwide and must now be reckoned with as a genuine religious or spiritual power.

Did you know, one Unity magazine, Wee Wisdom, was the longest-lived children’s magazine in the United States, published from 1893 until 1991. Today, New Thought magazines include Daily Word and Unity Magazine published by Unity and the Religious Science magazine, Science of Mind.

Although New Thought is neither monolithic nor doctrinaire, in general, modern-day adherents of New Thought believe that God or Infinite Intelligence is “supreme, universal, and everlasting”, that divinity dwells within each person, that all people are spiritual beings, that “the highest spiritual principle [is] loving one another unconditionally… and teaching and healing one another”, and that “our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living”.

The Unity movement describes itself as “positive, practical Christianity” that teaches “the effective, daily application of the principles of Truth taught and exemplified by Jesus Christ,” with the Bible as one of its main texts, although not interpreted literally. We also believe that there are many ‘sacred texts’ from where we receive inspiration and wisdom. And, personally, I believe there are MANY way to receive inspiration, including from nature, animals, music, discussion, prayer and meditation.

We believe there exists one God–Universal Mind, creative intelligence, omnipresent–a principle (not a being), an impersonal force that manifests itself personally, perfectly, and equally within all.

We believe Jesus was exemplary of someone who fully realized his divine nature, and therefore is the “wayshower” (shows the way). Unity affirms the divinity of Jesus, but also the divinity of all human beings. “Jesus expressed His divine potential and sought to show us how to express ours as well.

No original sin, and no Satan and no evil. People make “mistakes” , ‘error thinking’, due to ignorance of one’s true nature as Perfect Mind and Love, which is God.

Salvation lies in the realization of oneness with the impersonal life force, thus unlocking one’s healing potential. Salvation is then the expanding understanding of one’s innate divinity and perfectibility through living the life demonstrated by Jesus.” So there is no ‘saving’ as it were.

New Thoughters view sin as a “separation from God, the Good, in consciousness” (Unity). Salvation is something that can be attained in this life rather than the next, and is the overcoming of physicial and spiritual sickness and negative behavior. Heaven and hell are not places, but states of consciousness. Divine Science affirms the existence of eternal life, but adds that it begins in this life and that this life is the focus.

Because it maintains that the mind is continually growing, New Thought is not a static system of beliefs. While it acknowledges the importance of traditional religious thought as a part of the mind’s development, it finds the permanence of dogma to be contradictory to the mind’s natural striving for advancement. This perpetual development of the mind is often called progressive or unfolding thought.

Charles Fillmore is quoted to say that he reserved the right to change his mind.

The Unity Church describes its basic teachings as follows, the 5 Principles:

  1. God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere.
  2. We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good.
  3. We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.
  4. There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our connection to God.
  5. Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.

In many New Thought groups, prayer is the foundation practice for helping oneself and others. Lectures and study are also important for changing one’s thinking from negative to positive.

And now, Andrea Evans will talk a little about her Unity experience which has been key in her spiritual enrichment for 35 years. I’ll let her tell you about it.

And, contrary to many beliefs, following Unity’s philosophy is not easy. It involves self-responsibility and self-growth. The Law of Attraction and the movie “The Secret” make it sound so easy. On a soul level it is. On a human level, not so much so.

Matthew 7:13-14 says. “Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.”

The last of the 5 Principles, Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them. It may be the most important. For if we are not living the TRUTH, then it really isn’t the truth, is it?

So, let’s take that question into meditation: am I living the Truth as I know it?