January 3, 2021 White Stone Ceremony and Letter to God…
Happy New Year!
I hope you enjoyed a blessed and wonderful Christmas and I pray for you a very Happy and Blessed New Year.
The first Sunday in January is, by tradition, celebrated by participating in the White Stone Ceremony and writing what is called, a Letter to God.
The White Stone Ceremony follows the Burning Bowl Ceremony. These two Ceremonies are meant to open yourself, to let go of anything that you are prepared to release, then open to receive a name or word for your intention for the new year. After, we then write a letter to your higher self, which is really God, the Christ within. That letter to traditionally be mailed to you around June to remind you of those things that you wrote on your heart, coming FROM your heart.
That may be dreams that you would like to see or experiences that you are looking forward to having in the new year. The letter is a good way for you to check yourself and see if you are making the changes that you wished for or maybe see how far you have come.
For example, one of my Burning Bowl releases is emotional eating. So, my letter might ask myself how that was going or what more I need to do to make that change in my lifestyle to be successful.
This year, since we are not meeting with each other physically, I ask that you find a place to hold your letter and look for it in June. Mark your calendar or set your phone as a reminder of the date and where you have the letter. Then you can read it and see how you are doing on your journey. Some of the other Ministers in the Eastern Region suggested placing it in your Bible…maybe suggesting that it is someplace people are not normally going to….
You choose your place.
Now, let’s start our 1st Ceremony, the White Stone. You need either the white stone that you picked up from the Unity office, or the symbolic paper that we sent you earlier. Don’t forget a writing utensil.
You’ll need paper and pen or pencil and envelope for the second part, your letter.
What is the history of the White Stone Ceremony? It comes from the writing in the book of Revelation, which was written around 95 CE.
In Revelation 2:17: “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers (who overcomes) I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
This Biblical verse is stating many things…. first: “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying…”
In other words, we must have our outer and inner ear willing and open to the messages coming to us. If we are not willing, we will not hear the word or words, the new name that our Higher Self, our Christ Presence is giving us.
We develop this inner listening quality by getting out of our intellect and into our hearts, through meditation. In meditation, we stop our daily busy-ness and listen to the Divine Voice of Love. We open our minds and hearts to a deep intuitive “knowing.”
Then, To everyone who conquers (who overcomes)
What are we overcoming…? What do you think?
I wish you were here with me to hear your thoughts and responses.
We are overcoming – unnecessary fears, anxieties, the strains, and stresses of the physical plane.
And that is everyone, maybe not all day, every day, but we ALL overcome the trials of living a spiritual life in a physical body. And the more we listen, the more we are willing, the more we will overcome.
To everyone who takes the time to listen to the still, small voice; to everyone who makes the effort to deny outer appearance and affirm inner spirituality; you will realize it requires surrendering personal will to Divine Will, and the paradox is that in that surrender of the egoic self is victory. It is a birthing of the Essential Self, just as Jesus taught and demonstrated
In this passage there are also 3 Promises:
“To everyone who conquersI will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
The first promise is “Hidden Manna:”
When we are in “the wilderness” of our spiritual searching, and if we surrender to the I AM, we receive “hidden manna,” not visible to the world. We are given an entirely new source of energy and nourishment. We are given peace that passes all understanding.
This hidden manna is derived from the higher level of being within us. It nourishes the soul first and then, the body. It benefits the whole being. Jesus alludes to this when he says to his disciples in John 4:32, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”
The 2nd promise is a White Stone
The white stone is an ancient ritual. Back in the time when Jesus was teaching and someone served time in prison or in bondage of any kind, they were given a white stone when they were released. It served as a symbol that they had done their time and they had been given passage to live with all the rights of a free person. Each of us comes from the bondage of past nonsense – false limitations, old beliefs, error thinking that have been a prison. With surrender of the belief in separation and bondage comes a sense of worthiness: we are beloved of God, one with the Divine, free, and unlimited.
The 3rd promise is a New Name
In Biblical times, a name was a very sacred thing. Every name represented a quality that was in the person who carries the name. Parents didn’t choose a name for their child just because they liked the name. They chose it for whatever essence they saw in the child.
Abram, as he grew in spiritual awareness became Abraham. Sarai becameSarah. Simon was named Peter (Faith) by Jesus.
So, when we surrender to the inner Spirit, we take on a new identity, a new name so to speak. This refers to the new, higher realization of the I AM, a new awareness of our God Self, our higher self. And this is where the Ceremony called White Stone” comes in. In the passage, we are told that I will give a white stone and on the white stone is written a new name that no knows except the one who receives it.”
So, I invite you to meditate on what you’re being called to in the new year and claim that as your new name.
In our oneness with God, we surrender our human identity to recognize our full potential. We let go of unnecessary baggage. Picking up a white stone is a symbol of receiving our “hidden manna” to feed us and our white stone of freedom.
The little card you have been given is a symbol of the White Stone. I invite you NOW to pick up the card or the White Stone and hold it in your hands. As you hold it, open your mind to “hearing” your new name. At any time in the next few minutes as I am speaking, if the new name comes to your awareness, write it on the card. If nothing comes to you during this ceremony, continue to ask. Whenever we ask there is an answer.
Allow yourself to ask a question: Who or what am I called to be in this coming year? As I let go of my old habits, those I released during the burning bowl ceremony, what is it that I am called to be known as? This new character that you intend to cultivate in the coming year might be connected to that which you released at the Burning Bowl ceremony. Let your awareness drop from your head down into your heart: from your intellect and into your deep inner knowing; an awareness of Divine Love and Wisdom. Listen for a moment to your still small voice.
Open your imagination, allow Wisdom to speak. give your ego a few minutes off and let that divine holy Voice in you come through. Perhaps there is a new career, a new title, or a new quality that Spirit is pressing out through you.
The little card you have in your hand is a symbol of the White Stone. It is your sign of a clean slate. Whatever has gone on in the past, let it go. Give yourself permission to know that as you release that which no longer serves your highest good, you can claim a new quality, a new name.
This word can be an overall intention…a way of being in the world…something to grow into…something that allows a deeper Truth to express more fully through you.
As you hold the white stone or card in your hand, hear the Christ Self that is you saying, “Behold, I make all things new.”
This is a sign of your ability in this moment to live in this new beginning. This is a moment in which you know you are free, free from all that has bound you.
And so, as you are guided by Spirit, I invite you to trust in this now moment, ….as Spirit gives to you in this sacred place…in this moment of Truth…an insight into your divine purpose…an insight into your holy essence, and so in that secret place of the most-high, I invite you to allow yourself to hear the new name that is speaking within you.
And, as that name becomes clear, just allow yourself to write it on your stone…If a name has come to you, remain quiet and allow yourself to ask for a deeper understanding, to ask if there are any steps to take. In this moment allow yourself to simply open to Spirit, to say, “God in me reveals my true essence. God in me reveals my next step. God as me lives a joyous, peaceful, fulfilling life.”
Pause – silence-
Anytime you look at your white stone card realize that you have the gift of choice; the gift to live differently, to live a more fulfilling life, to begin again, to connect with God and create with God.
Jesus said, “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you this kingdom. “Accept this consciousness of ever increasing good in your life. I invite you to carry this white stone or card as a reminder of that promise.
Now take a cleansing breath. Clear your mind and connect to your Heart space once again, your inner Christ, your Higher Self.
It’s time to write our letter. This is a way to set our intentions for the rest of the year.
A new year is a time of beginnings. And when we release, as we did with the Burning Bowl, we create an empty space, which will be filled with something. This letter could be something we wantto consider filling that empty space.
It may be a check on how you are doing with the releasing of your Burning Bowl items. It may be a goal you have set for yourself for the 2021 year and this letter will check on your progress and maybe have some words of wisdom.
This meditation is done to help the us connect with our divine essence, Higher Self, Divine Mind–whatever we call God. We are invited to ask for guidance, we are invited to express some goals we would like to accomplish this year.
So, take some time now, in the quiet, and write your letter.
When you have completed it, place it in your envelope and write your name on the envelope.
Now place it where you will not see it constantly and make a reminder on your phone or calendar…or both!
Burning Bowl Ceremony December 27, 2020
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
While researching for today’s Message, I found this article by Eric Butterworth. What caught my attention was the title: Rise Above Your Past
And I think that title says it all…a big part of the Burning Bowl Ceremony is letting go of our past, no matter what it is that no longer serves us.
In fact, Big Unity sent this affirmation to lead us toward the Burning Bowl Ceremony: “I release the past so that I am free in this moment for all that is possible now.”
The Burning Bowl Ceremony is what is on our agenda this morning. The end of the year is a perfect time to review the year or, possibly other situations in other years, that have bubbled up in our consciousness and after prayer, meditation, and contemplation, we choose it is time to let the memory go.
Perhaps we are harboring a sense of guilt for something done or left undone in the past. Our past is retained only by our thought. It is not the incident but the memory of it that causes the effects of it today. The moment it is dropped from our consciousness, it is gone from the only place it ever existed.
This is liberty for us, freedom from the bondage of the past. True forgiveness, perhaps the only kind of forgiveness, is self-forgiveness.
What you have been is not important. All that counts in your life is what you are reaching for, what you are becoming.
If you are hoping and praying for some new unfoldment, some inner or outer change, are you ready to let go of the person you have been so you can let the flow of unfoldment be fulfilled through you as the person you desire to be, the person God sees you as being? Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:32). He meant free from the mistakes of the past and the effects of those mistakes. To know the Truth is to let go of untruths. Recalling negatives about yourself is rattling skeletons in your mental closet. They have no reality, but they can stir up great fears.
Affirmation: I empty myself, so that I can accept the good that awaits me.
We reflect, evaluate, and summarize in our mind’s year. We can focus on the ending and just feel gratitude that it is over, or we can truly feel gratitude for the blessings and growth the year has blessed us with.
However, we reflect and evaluate, it’s extremely healthy to release and let go before we move forward into the good in store for 2021.
Unity’s 3rd principle is the Law of Mind Action. Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind. Or we create our world by whatever we think, feel, and believe. So, whatever we focus our thoughts upon will show up in our world: think positive, create positive. It’s a universal law, like gravity!
Unity’s 4th principle is Prayer and Meditation to focus our thoughts on the positive through the use of affirmations and denials. Many are first drawn to Unity for its terrific teachings surrounding positive thinking and affirmations; however, we can affirm ‘til the cows come home, but if we have underlying beliefs that are in opposition to what we are affirming, we must eliminate the erroneous thoughts before we can truly create the world of our choosing. Releasing, eliminating, emptying, renunciating, all are basically for emptying out the power any negative thoughts can have on our lives.
Emptying ourselves is more than just eliminating negative thinking, it’s denying the power such thoughts have on us… and forgiving. We must forgive ourselves and others to move forward to our awaiting good.
Everything is made of energy, and everything emits some energy. Even our thoughts and feelings are patterns of energy.
According to the dictionary, an emotion is any departure from the usual calm state of the organism. Since an emotion prepares the human body to release energy through overt action, if the energy is not released, it is trapped with the memory of the event which aroused the emotion.
It is safe to assume that all of us who have not deliberately cleansed our memory banks of suppressed memories, we have a large store of trapped thoughts and emotional energy buried deep in our subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind has been compared to an obedient but not very bright servant whose principal function is to keep its master alive, safe, and (in its master’s conception of happiness) happy. We begin issuing orders to our subconscious servant the moment we are born, first as feelings, then as words, sometimes with thoughts such as, “I never want to think of this again!” It doesn’t matter if the buried events are real or fictitious, the emotional energy that is trapped can be disruptive and can interfere with our lives.
Fortunately, our subconscious minds will respond to our conscious minds, but we need to be firm in our purpose. If our current consciousness wavers, our subconscious mind will rely on old information! The very information we wish to release.
To conduct the burning bowl ceremony, we need paper, pencil and some uninterrupted time. A burning releases energy, therefore, it’s best not to do it at least four to six hours before bedtime. A burning is also a private matter. There is no need to share what you are choosing to release with anyone else.
Shortly, we are going to do a burning. I’m going to invite you to close your eyes and move into a silent time of reflection, evaluation, and forgiveness. It is a time to absolve ourselves. It is a time of releasing any negative feelings and related energy blockages in our bodies.
We’ll spend several minutes in the silence reflecting on that which we wish to release from 2020. With the pencil and the small, square of paper we included in your Christmas mailing from me, I’ll invite you to write down one or two words or phrases to represent that which you’d like to empty from your consciousness.
When you have completed your list of thoughts, feelings, memories that you wish to release, you will carefully take your paper to a safe fire like your fireplace or a small candle that is safely contained in a bowl with maybe sand and some water nearby.
Or prepare a bowl of water and release your thoughts and memories in cleansing water. Maybe tearing the paper and with each tear, feel the releasing.
Either way, We wish to be safe as we release.
Let us begin by denying together, “I release all that no longer benefits me.”
Now, let us affirm together, “I empty myself, so that I can accept the good that awaits me.” Let’s say that three times together to impress it upon our sub-consciousness.
Now affirm with me. “God is expressing as me and memories are powerless to disturb or harm me.”
Feel that affirmation.
Now declare aloud with me: “I now release all of the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes from 2020, that could hold me back from my good.”
Now we hold the Silence as we begin the forgiving process. Invite in the Holy Spirit to guide you in your process of letting go.
Silently ask what is ready to be lifted from you now. Allow people, places, things, feelings, addictions or patterns of behavior to arise in your conscious mind and as you recognize them, begin to write them down on your paper.
As you agree to release them, trust that they are being treated perfectly by God as you release them from your human concern, anxiety, fear or resentment. Your Highest Good is intimately connected to the Highest Good of all who are in your life – as you release them from your worry they are released into God’s care at once.
With each name, thought, feeling or internal pattern you release, peacefulness grows within you. Allow this process to continue for the next couple of minutes, writing down what you are given to release.
Release your thoughts and memories by burning or placing the paper in water or tearing it up to release your thoughts and memories.
We will continue in SILENCE.
Advent – Joy and Do your best December 20, 2020
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
Great Morning and Merry Christmas to you all!
We are back with our final Sunday of Advent. Our Advent theme is JOY. (Light candles Hope/faith. Peace, love, joy)
When we light the Advent candle for joy, we remind ourselves of the spiritual truth of this season: “Unto us a child is born.”
Charles Fillmore states in the Revealing Word “joy is the happiness of God, expressed through humankind”
There is a Chinese Proverb: “One joy scatters a hundred griefs.”
How have YOU been scattering JOY? Think on that for a few minutes. How have you done that? Close your eyes and see the joy you give to your family…your friends….your neighbors….maybe strangers passing by, or in the store…
I bet you have a smile on your face!
In telling the Christmas story, the Gospel writers remind us that when things seem darkest, joy can come in unexpected places and small packages.
And are we not seeing the small package of vaccines that are one of the answers to this pandemic? We have seen many things through these months…some very good and some an indication that we, as a nation and a world, have much to still do.
Isn’t this the perfect time to look at what is ours to do, this time when we are reminded of the Christ presence within each and every one of us.
Christmas brings out the inner child in us. Children remind us of the joy of playing, giving, learning, and loving. In the presence of such joy, our inner child can awaken our Christ nature and then the Messiah is truly born.
Jesus told us, “unless we become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
If given the opportunity, spend some time with some youngsters, watch their eyes as they reflect the joys of Christmas. Talk with them and hear their words, so simply stated. That’s where we will find love and joy and peace.
Christmas is not an event that happens only in December or 2,000 years ago in Palestine. Christmas happens as we open to the possibility of hope, when we live in the understanding of peace, and when we give love.
We can certainly look with hope now and moving forward, for we can see the end of this pandemic and see the light that we each bring to the world as we express the joy of the season.
WE can see a light at the end of this year. We can look with hope and declare to do our best as the new year starts with prayers for an end to the division in our country.
WE can pray for peace.
The joy that is Christmas—the birth of the Christ, happens all the time, every minute of every day. As the days get shorter and darkness seems to close in, we light the candle for joy to remind ourselves of the power and presence within us. Then we celebrate the season with newfound glee. We pray for the guidance and strength to always do our best.
Our 4th Agreement is “Do your best.”
Easy — right?
WE have explored Hope & faith, peace, love and now joy for Advent, anticipating the arrival of the Christ Spirit, reminding all of us that we are one in the Christ.
All of us! No one is left out.
And we have looked at each Advent theme through the lens of the 4 agreements: Be impeccable with your word; Don’t take anything personally; Don’t make assumptions; and now Always do your best.
Today is all about Joy! What is one way to discover joy? To always do your best!
Don’t you always feel joy in accomplishing a deed or a job, a work assignment or maybe completing a gift for someone?
When we let ourselves off the hook of having to be or do differently, an inherent joy is discovered. We just BE!
As each faith tradition takes time to experience the light of this joyous season, not everyone will be feeling happy. Some of us may feel isolated or lonely.
This reminder is especially for you.
You are whole, no matter where you are on our journey. You may not feel like celebrating, and that’s okay, but you can remind yourself: I am joy.
Our lives are an expression of love and joy. This is an innate truth of our divine nature
Tell yourself – I am a celebration in this world. There is no other me.
Whether in the quiet of our own thoughts or surrounded by others, our energy flows into a creative collective. Each of us is a unique and beautiful reflection of the Divine.
Give yourself the first gift: affirm that you are a divine and joyful celebration.
Rev. John Paul Roach
“Joy is not dependent on the accumulation of things or being successful in the world’s terms, or having the perfect life”…they can bring some happiness, often temporary & unsatisfactory. Joy arises when we let go, we release our need to work it all out, and simply be with what is.
Joy is our natural state of being…it’s connected to our Christ nature
Joy can come in unexpected places and small packages. Remember, children remind us of the joy of playing, giving, learning, and loving….our inner child can awaken our Christ nature & the Messiah is truly born
Christmas is not an event that happens only in Dec or 2,000 years ago. Christmas happens as we open to the possibility of hope, when we live in the understanding of peace, and when we give love, & experience love. The joy that is Christmas happens all the time, every minute of every day. We just need to be open to it.
If we are doing our best to be joy and bring joy to others, we are being our best selves when we are impeccable with our words. We understand the power that is inherent in words & thoughts spoken silently or out loud.
If we are doing our best, we are not taking anything personally. That means joy for us because we are being true to our authentic self. We know that what others say regarding ourselves is not of our concern. It belongs to the person speaking – we do not have to let their words injure us.
We can’t be in joy if we are making assumptions. And that is certainly not doing our best. If you are making an assumption, most often it has to do with your egos desire to think it knows everything. It does not. What is happening with others is different from what is happening to you…or at least how each of us see it.
What is ours to do?
To seek joy:
Listen to what is around you…church bells ringing, positive words spoken, toddlers’ lispy lyrics all carry joy
Watch for acts of loving-kindness. Give thanks, keep a joy journal.
Appreciate beauty. Behold star patterns across the sky. Feel the vast well-being of the universe
To spread joy:
Lighten a load, listen with love, make a difference.
Anticipate opportunities to beam a smile, whisper a blessing, encourage another.
Grant yourself quiet times of prayer and meditation, contemplation.
Remember, Hope, Peace, Love and Joy can be ours. Always do your best, in thought, word and deed.
Have gratitude as it expresses as peace, love, and joy.
Say: I am gratefully and wonderfully blessed.
Advent Week 3: Love & don’t make assumptions December 13, 2020
Advent Week 3: Love & don’t make assumptions
Welcome to week 3 of our Advent Series as we look at the 4 Agreements and the advent themes, looking for the lessons and messages they have for us. And we can find those messages everywhere; sometimes where we least expect it.
Asked to tell the Christmas story in their own words, a group of fifth graders at Rev. Kurt Condras’ church pretty much shared the basic version we all know from hymns and pageants: Joseph and Mary, a donkey, angels, star, stable, kings, shepherds, and, of course, baby Jesus.
As they talked about each character, one student noted that under normal conditions kings and shepherds would never hang out.
What that means for us, they said, is that from his birth, Jesus taught that we should love everyone: black, brown, or white; rich or poor; cool or nerdy; gay, straight, or questioning; Democrat or Republican.
At our core, they said, “We are one in God’s love.” It’s a view of unconditional love that defines Christ consciousness quite succinctly …
There is an incredible sense of power and freedom in both giving and receiving love without condition or expectation. The experience can be so profound that we lose track of whether we’re the giver or receiver …
This is called “Love without Assumptions”
And that is our third week in Advent; our third agreement, “Don’t Make Assumptions.”
Love – true love – is assumption free – and that when we lose those assumptions, we lose judgment and discover a deeper love – the Love Jesus taught, unconditional love.
“Love is who we are, and no season can contain it,” Sara Bareilles affirms in her song “Love Is Christmas.”
It’s true about each of us, and everyone else too.
Making assumptions is dangerous because we often have no idea what is really going on in a situation. Almost everything we tell ourselves is an assumption.
Think about that for a minute…everything you tell yourself, and that’s a lot, is an assumption.
Humans have a need to explain and justify everything; we have a need for knowledge, and we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know. We don’t care whether the knowledge is true or not. Truth or fiction, 100 percent of what we believe, we think is true and we go on believing it, because just having knowledge makes us feel safe.
And that statement right there explains a lot about what has been happening through this ‘interesting’ year.
Let’s say it again…
We fill in the blanks in our minds with information, and then we’re pretty convinced we know what’s going on. Spoiler alert: We don’t. We’re prone to mistaken beliefs and acting on these mistakes will cause more trouble.
This is a hard agreement to follow because we make assumptions so often, and making assumptions comes so naturally. We’re usually impressed with our own insight. We think our assumptions are true.
It’s like last week when were we discussed “Don’t take things personally” our ego can get in the way of what we think of the world that surrounds us, so we think our assumptions are correct.
And how can we make an assumption about love? Have YOU made an assumption about love?
That could be dangerous for both persons. Some unpleasant things can happen and assuming can often lead to conflict.
Think about the last misunderstanding you had with a loved one…how did it start? Be honest…’be impeccable with your words’…. was it an assumption either of you had about the other?
Assumptions => Misunderstanding => We’re offended and take it personally => We lash back => Big drama ensues
Making assumptions and taking things personally (agreements two and three) go hand in hand, leading to gossip, conflict, and suffering.
What’s the biggest assumption of all? We think everyone sees life exactly as we do. In fact, everyone sees the world through their own unique way. If you don’t communicate with someone else about how each of you is seeing the world, you create misunderstanding.
This chaos in our minds, leads to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. We simply don’t perceive things the way they truly are.
- Here’s an example: You’re at the mall. Someone you know and like gives you a warm smile from a distance. You decide she likes you. Loves you! You’re going to be so happy together. You create a fantasy, a story that likely has no semblance of reality. You set yourself up for disappointment, embarrassment, or heartache. You potentially put that person in an awkward position. All from an innocent smile.
- Assumptions are particularly dangerous in relationships. We must be clear in communicating what we want because no one knows what we’re thinking.
- Example: You and your partner agree that you’re in a relationship. But if you two have different ideas about what it means to be in a relationship and don’t clarify the issues, anger, and hurt feelings ensues. You fail to meet each other’s expectations.
- We often go into relationships with blinders on, seeing what we want to see. We make dangerous assumptions such as “My love will change him or her.” (Of course, there are certainly no guarantees that anyone will change. Real love accepts others the way they are without wanting to change them. And remember, we can’t change another, they must want to change.)
The danger isn’t only in making assumptions about others. We make assumptions about ourselves. We underestimate or overestimate ourselves, leading to disappointment, self-doubt, and recriminations.
How Do We Stop Making Assumptions? Communication and Clarification
You stop making assumptions and jumping to conclusions by asking questions!
Have the courage to seek the truth. If you know the truth, you don’t need to make assumptions. And if you don’t make assumptions, you don’t make mistakes.
- Here’s an example: You’re convinced you didn’t get the promotion you’ve been working toward. Your coworker went to lunch with the boss. Surely that means she got the job! Or so you assume. You get anxious and stressed.
- Solution: Don’t make assumptions. Ask if the promotion has been decided already. Find out what you need to do to receive the promotion. Have regular meetings with your boss and be clear about your desires and ambitions. Don’t overanalyze tiny signals that may not mean anything. Focus your energy on finding out what the truth is.
Be comfortable asking questions you’re afraid might be too simple, like “why do you feel that way?” “What motivated you to do that?” “What would you do in my situation?”
Or my favorite “Tell me more…”
Remember: there are no bad questions.
If you ask these questions in the right tone, which is especially important, they are fantastic questions to get rid of assumptions on both sides.
To stop making assumptions we must:
- First understand how important this agreement is and how assumptions lead to misunderstandings.
- Become aware of our tendency to make assumptions. We can’t change what we’re not aware of.
- Ask questions. Learn the facts about a situation.
- Communicate. You won’t have to make assumptions if everyone’s on the same page.
- Take action. Forge a new habit of NOT assuming and seeking the truth instead. Do this over and over, establishing a solid foundation.
When we stop making assumptions, we take the blinders off. We understand what is truly happening in our lives. We are on the same page as our spouse, children, friends, etc., with honesty and open communication. We’re less likely to be blindsided by unpleasant truths because we already have a clear understanding of a situation.
Be aware of the stories you are telling yourself. They are filled with assumptions. We let our wonderful imaginations go on a roll and before you know it, you have convinced yourself that something is perfect and it will happen or the person you have been day- dreaming about is out of your league, when in reality, she or he has been dreaming about you too.
ASK SOME QUESTIONS!
There are so many things that the mind cannot explain; we have all these questions that need answers. But instead of asking questions when we don’t know something, we make all sorts of assumptions. If we just ask questions, we won’t have to make assumptions. It’s always better to ask and be clear.
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life. And love will be part of our life.
2nd Sunday of Advent, Peace & the 2nd Agreement, Don’t take anything personally
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
And peace be with you. Let’s light the Advent candles – for Hope and for Peace.
We are into week #2 of Advent which is focused on Peace. As we explore the second agreement, Don’t Take Anything Personally, we discover that that is an important key to living in peace. If this message is for us, how might it impact our lives in this season of Advent and beyond?
Think about that for a minute…
WOW! If we could just keep in mind that everything isn’t always about us. Our egos would like to think that that was so, but come on, do we REALLY think we are the center of the universe and everything revolves around us???
Well, I personally know a few folks who actually DID think that everything revolved around them. But they are no longer a part of my world. And I wish them peace.
The Hebrew word for peace: shalom, occurs over 250 times in the Hebrew Bible and over the centuries religious scholars have spilled plenty of ink reflecting on its complex meaning.
In English, the word peace tends to mean something like “the lack of war or conflict.” And while the biblical concept of shalom encompasses this sort of peace, it is only a part of what God promised.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). This calls us to work along with Spirit to restore God’s peace here on Earth (Matthew 5:9).
Shalom also means “wholeness, and well-being.” It is the ideal—for our individual lives and for that of God’s creation at large; the world of all the living. It’s a return to God’s original creation before we missed the mark.
It is what was meant to be: a slice of heaven.
We can’t have that if we are taking things personally.
Nehru tells us: “Peace is not a relationship of nations; it is a condition of the mind brought about by serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.”
WE can be those people!
When we allow peace as our natural state, we bless every person, every relationship, every interaction, no matter how small or fleeting, with our peaceful presence.
And we cannot be in that peaceful presence if we are taking something personally.
That takes you out of your natural state.
When we discussed “Don’t take anything personally” last month, we mentioned that we could not be in a state of PRESENCE if we were taking something personally.
And if that were the case, then Peace would not be there, it could not be attainable.
So, we must focus on peace. We must clear our mind of cluttered thoughts and replace them with images of tranquility. Maybe we use visualization and see a quiet lake, the stars on a clear night sky, or our family snuggled into restful sleep. It is there where we let go of outer concerns and trust Spirit.
If we can remember that no one is against us and everything and everyone is for us, how could we NOT be at peace?
Peace is a state of mind where we know we are one with Spirit.
Commit to be peaceful in our thoughts, words, and actions.
Rev. Melody Martin, gives us a three-step process of releasing in order to get to those moments of knowing:
One step requires releasing others’ perceptions of you. You do not have to take on others’ perceptions as they do not belong to you. That is all about the other. Your perception of self is the only one that ultimately matters! You are the one who has to live with yourself.
Another imperative form of releasing is forgiveness. Forgiveness means releasing others from what you have perceived they have done or failed to do. It is your perception. You have the power to release or not. To suffer or not.
It is also imperative to forgive yourself, to release your own perceptions of what you have done or not done. Let go of the past. You can choose to take the wisdom you have gained from the past and release the rest, it no longer serves you.
The last form of releasing is releasing the future. Peace comes in the moment. The Now is all we have. When we have experienced peace, it has always been in the Now moment.
If we are in the NOW, we have no basis to take anything personally.
Peace is embedded within us…how do we cultivate, nurture, and activate the peace we already have within? Make a commitment to peace—find a way to remain calm
Tell yourself that you prefer peace to whatever is happening. And keep saying that until you find peace within and all around.
Create a place for your heart to take the lead over your head, closer to peace. Our hearts are way smarter than our brains!
Even in the midst of a room full of laughing and talking people, we can find the quiet by just loving and blessing the people, not taking anything personally.
How to stay in perfect peace: release the temptation to review troubles and anxieties; practice gratitude to focus on what we do have instead of what we don’t, give thanks to God for what we have. Always be in gratitude.
In this way, we prepare the way for receiving even greater good; fill our mind with positive, powerful thoughts of good that attract love, joy and beauty
This way, there is no way taking something personally has a place to take hold.
Say, “I see peace instead of this,” when something tries to challenge your peaceful place.
Regardless of what is happening, “be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10