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The Ten Commitments

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

Thank you for joining us again this morning! If you are waiting to attend, please come on down…we are welcoming all back home. And that is what it feels like when you walk into a Unity, at least it was for me and many others who have expressed that sentiment to me when asked about their first time at a Unity Center or Church.

This is your Unity Center and your Unity Family. So, for those of you who are here today, thank you for your support. And for those who are watching and listening from home, thank you too, for your support. We hope to see you here soon.

Today I thought we’d look at what ‘commitment’ means. AS we open up from our 15 + months of a global ‘pause’, we need to look at what our, yours and mine, new ‘normal’ will be. Have you looked back through these past months and let go of those thoughts and actions, maybe habits that no longer serve your highest good.? Maybe its time for our new normal to exclude those old thoughts and habits, those actions that are not for our highest good nor for the highest good of our fellow travelers.

Most of us know about the 10 Commandments…Today we want to look at the 10 Commitments.

What is the difference between commandments and commitments?

Well, look at the definitions: commandment means “an important rule given by God that tells people how to behave,” the act or power of commanding.

A Commitment is a promise to do or give something, a promise to be loyal to someone or something, the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something an agreement or pledge to do something in the future.

So, with a commitment, we are pledging to honor something.  And it’s within our integrity to honor that pledge.  If we wouldn’t honor it, it would be against our integrity.  And THAT would have us questioning that very integrity.

Can you think of instances in your life where you had a commandment to follow and where you had a commitment?  And can you feel the difference?

Psychologist Carl Jung said, “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

These Commitments might just help us find who we truly are.

Let’s take a look at these 10 Commitments and see what they could mean for us. I invite you to take note where you feel you could make a commitment and what it might look like.

And also, to take note of where you feel resistance to the explanation. That may indicate a place you might wish to reexamine.

  1. I make a commitment to Love. Love has many meanings to all of us.  If we look at the 12 Powers, it is the ability to attract, unify and desire.faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

And also in 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. “

Notice, commit to love…as in a verb.  I believe we are to be loving and that will express what we truly are—LOVE.  Because God is Love and we are of God, so we are LOVE also.

If you have ever noticed my emails have a line in the signature box, “Loving is the answer.” Its putting action, like we talked about last week, the 5th Principle. I have a tattoo too, reminding me of that action. I truly believe we must put action behind the words and feelings.

This is unconditional Love.  The love we all strive for.  For ourselves and for others.  And we are given the how in 1st Corinthians….

  • I make commitment to Wholeness. Wholeness means entire, total: containing all the elements, complete, undivided. On a spiritual sense, we think of wholeness as mind, body, and spirit.  So, we would commit to taking care of all aspects of our being…. seems a healthy thing to do. But do we do it?

There’s a lot of information out there about wholeness.  We each must discern what it entails for each of us. Take a look at 30 Days to a Whole New You | Unity. You will find 30 suggestions to aid you as you work toward a total, whole self.

  • I make a commitment to Positive Expression. This is easy…to define anyway…think positively, speak positively, act positively.

Easier said than done though, right?  Can you at least start to watch your thoughts and words and deeds? The more we become aware of our thoughts, the easier it becomes. Soon we catch ourselves before the thought completes itself, and eventually we stop the thought before it starts.  Before you know it the thought never occurs.

Remember the words of Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”

  • I make a commitment to Let Go. The trees in autumn give us the perfect example of letting go, except for the oak leaves, they hang on until spring, but they still let go, in their own time.

I know sometimes we need to process things before letting them go.  But we have talked before about not camping in the Valley of the Shadow…grieve, fume, have your rant about whomever or whatever if you must.  But let it go as you walk through the Valley so you can be at peace and grow from the experience, whatever it was.

And you can move on.

Here’s an exercise from Richard Rohr to help: Close your eyes for a few minutes. Imagine you are sitting on the bank of a river. Boats and ships—thoughts, feelings, and sensations—are sailing past. While the stream flows by your inner eye, name each of these vessels. For example, one of the boats could be called “my anxiety about tomorrow.” Or along comes the ship “objections to my husband or wife” or the boat “I don’t do that well.” Every judgment that you pass is one of those boats. Take the time to give each one of them a name, and then let them move on down the river.

This can be a difficult exercise because you’re used to jumping aboard the boats—your thoughts—immediately. As soon as you own a boat and identify with it, it picks up energy. This is a practice in un-possessing, detaching, letting go. With every idea, with every image that comes into your head, say, “No, I’m not that; I don’t need that; that’s not me.”

 Sometimes, a boat turns around and heads back upstream to demand your attention again. Habitual thoughts are hard to not be hooked by. Sometimes you feel the need to torpedo your boats. But don’t attack them. Don’t hate them or condemn them. This is also an exercise in nonviolence. The point is to recognize your thoughts, which are not you, and to say, “That’s not necessary; I don’t need that.” But do it very amiably. If you learn to handle your own soul tenderly and lovingly, you’ll be able to carry this same loving wisdom out into the world.

 5. I make a commitment to Thinking and Feeling. This too, can sometimes be painful.  If we think things through, we can come to the root of disagreements.  Byron Katie has a great process called The Work.  And it is work, but it helps us see what is true.  If we keep in mind that the only moment we have is the current one, then many things that seem to happened are no longer true and we can let them go. They are simply memories of the thoughts and feelings we experienced in the past.

The ‘feeling’ part comes along as we work through the thoughts and events that happened and we find ‘our Truth’ to them and can learn from them and then let them go.

It also can be a part of our everyday life.  If we do not allow ourselves to ‘feel’ we become robots, unfeeling, not responding to the beauty and love surrounding us, but instead armored against feeling hurt and then losing the joy of love, fellowship, of experience.

We are love, and sharing that with family, friends and loved ones is important. Eventually, we can do as Jesus asked of us, ‘Love your enemies.’

 6. I make a commitment to Life. Life is the ability to energize, vitalize, animate and invigorate. It goes with what we discussed in the previous Commitment…to FEEL.  Emotions are what makes living, living.  We must LIVE our lives to grow, to appreciate what we have, to have no regrets at the end of this life.  Dance!  Don’t sit on the sidelines. Engage in life, in whatever way you have chosen as your point of interest.  Family.  Art. Sport. Crafts.  Reading. Get to know your fellow travelers.  Life offers so much…. go out swinging!

This practice from Unity might give you some ideas:  https://www.unity.org/publications/practices-4-life.

  • I commit myself to Integrity. I love the word Integrity and what it stands for. Do you know what makes up your integrity? If not, maybe it’s time to ask yourself that question.  It is so easy to live one’s life if they have made peace with their integrity, choices are easily made.  When a question is placed before you, and your integrity is well defined, an answer to the choice is easily seen and then made.  Often times the choice never presents itself because it is not where you are at this time in your life.

Once I started working on myself consistently, I started realizing that some of the thoughts and actions I was putting forth did not agree with who I wanted to be. And so, my integrity went through a transformation. I still check it from time to time as a question comes up that I have to think if that is who I want to be today. Usually, I don’t even get that far. I know who I want to be, and I strive to be that.

That is my integrity.

Trust me, we know when we go against our integrity…we know it very well. Even if we never get to the point of any action on the question, we can wonder why it even came to a question.

We know who we are and how we wish to show up. And then we put feet to that prayer.

  • I make a commitment to Consciousness. Consciousness…that’s what we are all working towards, right? 

Consciousness is not just your individual awareness of your unique thoughts, memories, feelings, sensations, and environments. Essentially, your consciousness is your awareness of yourself and the world around you. This awareness is subjective and unique to you.

From a spiritual aspect, the more conscious we are, the more in each moment we are, the better able to connect with our inner Christ.  So, yes, we are committed to more consciousness, moment by moment. To awaken from the sleep that we entered when we started becoming DOMESTICATED.

We all are striving to be more ‘in the NOW,’ to be connected with our authentic self. Doing so, is the state we pray to live the majority of our day in.

Work toward being connected with your authentic self as much as possible. The more conscious we are, the more joyful we will be.

  • I make a commitment to Honesty. This is part of one’s integrity.  Honesty toward others may be easier that honesty toward oneself.  But that honesty is important for the inner growth and the transformation we all are looking toward. 

How are we dishonest to ourselves? Have you told yourself you were going to stop smoking? Or to be more organized? Maybe to meditate daily? And have you done so?

Right. WE tell our selves things and then self-sabotage the whole plan. SO, be truly honest with yourself.

So, watch your thoughts and words. What are you telling yourself in those thoughts to yourself? If you are someone who uses negative talk to yourself, maybe denials and affirmations would be something you could add to your spiritual work.

An easy way to get positive affirmations in your thoughts is to place a positive word for each letter of the alphabet following “I AM…”

 All these Commitments, if you have taken notice, are helping you toward knowing who you are, to move forward to transformation.

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Watch your thoughts, they become words,

Watch your words, they become actions,

Watch your actions, they become habits,

Watch your habits, they become character,

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

  1. I make a commitment to Appreciation. Gratitude.  Simple.  The answer to many things.  It starts with being grateful for all your gifts…even those that do not look like gifts at the moment.  They will in the end.  So, be grateful for what comes into your life, look at it from all perspectives.  See the whole gift.

And speak, show that gratitude daily, in as many ways as you are able.  A simple THANK YOU works wonders.  Treat others as you would like to be treated.  THINK of others as you would like to be thought of…thoughts are energy.  Thoughts create.  So, think good thoughts – always.

Here is another suggestion from Unity:  https://www.unity.org/prayer/grateful-living

So, how did you do?  Do you have some things to work on?  Some items to do, to make a part of who you wish to become?  We all do. Its part of life. But it also helps to make life more enjoyable, to be our true selves.

Anyone wish to share a bit?

Baseball

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

Welcome back. We’re getting closer to opening with you all in the Center with us. We need to prepare a few things and practice In-person & Streaming yet, and then we are a GO!

The plan is to open for those who wish to be here with us on Father’s Day, 10 AM. Those of you who wish to remain at home for whatever reason, please watch us on FB.

Make sure you join us for our H.U.G. Meeting at 11:00 this morning for more information and a few other items of interest.

So, let’s talk Baseball this week! Who here is a baseball fan? I suspect that many if not most would have at least a passing interest in the sport…after all, it IS the favorite pastime of the USA, or so they say.

Baseball aficionados will tell you that it is more than a sport, it’s a state of mind. And because we are spiritual, everything is spiritual, so Baseball is a spiritual thing. Simple.

But this is not just any sport.  Opening Day is a holiday for many, a tradition that dates back to the day when father and son, mother and daughter, would share the thrill of the first pitch and a new season of hopes and dreams.

And this year, it looks as if we will have a ‘more normal’ season, with fans and all the trimmings. One more step out of the pandemic normal.

And if you happen to be a Phillies fan like me, mostly hopes and dreams—– fond reminiscences of winning seasons and pennant races! They might look good at one time or another, but then, bust. Maybe this year.

The history of baseball in the United States can be traced to the 19th century, when amateurs played a baseball-like game by their own informal rules using home-made equipment. The popularity of the sport inspired the semipro national baseball clubs in the 1860s. Several attempts were made to organize the game, which eventually happened, under the New York rules of play, as opposed to the Boston rules, or any other set of rules from independent leagues.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Negro leagues, and the formation of the All-American Girls league during World War 2, immortalized in the film A League of Their Own, one of my favorites.

So now we have baseball as we know it today, even with instant replay, which I’m not sure I agree with!

Let’s look at our ˜national past-time”. Many sport writers pay homage to the game with such titles as: Why Time Begins on Opening Day and How Life Imitates the World Series, both by Thomas Boswell; or Philip Lowry’s Green Cathedrals.

And no less a personage than Herbert Hoover pontificated that “next to religion, baseball has furnished a greater impact on American life than any other institution.”

Many relate to the game as they would to a religion. If you recall the 1988 film “Bull Durham,” the character played by Susan Sarandon goes so far in the opening scene as to decode a religion of baseball as the camera pans over candles and “icons.”

Not a religion in itself, of course, the sport does incorporate four components that are also part of all the major religious faiths of the world:Creed, Code, Ceremony, and Community.

How does baseball measure up to these four necessary components of the religious enterprise?

 Creed

Baseball transcends time and space. It is not played against a clock but creates its own time frame; its base lines stretch out, seemingly to infinity. Roger Angell wrote, “Since baseball time is measured only in outs, all you have to do … is keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain young forever.”

Baseball is about finality, the attainment of a place and goal designated “home.” Comedian George Carlin encapsulated such a theme with this comment: “In football the object is to march into enemy territory and cross his goal. In baseball, the object is to go home.”

Code of Conduct

Baseball, even though it is obsessed with records and statistics, makes allowances for, even anticipates, human weakness and fallibility. As a New York City graffiti artist once wrote: “Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times,” yet he is known for his home runs. Or former commissioner Fay Vincent said: “What other gameincludes errors as one of the line items? We know people are going to make errors. Noother sport acknowledges that.” Makes me think about our word sin, which is missing the mark, a mistake, an error perhaps?

Ceremony

Baseball is full of something akin to what some religious folks would define as sacramentals,” such as trading cards, caps, jerseys and autographs, all “relics” of the game. Baseball has its own high holy-days (Opening Day, All-Star Game, World Series) and its shrines (Cooperstown, and some of those archetypal “green cathedrals” like Wrigley Field or Fenway Park) that bring a glaze to true fans’ eyes. Baseball games have incorporated into themselves an entire series of sub-rituals, from park ground rules down to the celebrity opening pitch and seventh-inning stretch (not just take me out to the ball game but also Sweet Caroline in Boston).

Community

 Baseball fosters loyalty, not only to a team, but to a city or metropolitan region. Each position on the field has its own “priest” in attendance with his own particular craft. My favorite position is second base & I cried when Chase Utley, second baseman for the Phillies, was traded. Baseball is saturated with narrative, anecdote and history as means of fostering identity and a community of continuity and memory.

It holds up leaders of the past, both saints and sinners, as models and cautions to each new generation. Despite the fact that it took so long to include blacks (1947), baseball has functioned as an integrating factor in American life. Those at the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder have often made their own mark and a place of pride for their people through the game: e.g., Irish in the late 19th century; Hispanics in the last generation.

And sitting in any stadium or ballpark, you will see a variety of people’s enjoying the game, a color-less fandom.

Baseball runs according to seasonal time, its four bases perhaps corresponding to the four seasons of the year. The playing season starts from spring training to world series, somehow imitating agricultural cycles of the earth: planting, growth and harvest. At least, hopefully, harvest a pennant.

Time seems less a tyrant during the baseball season. We can forget about it for a while knowing that the game continues until the last out.

But let’s look at the numbers; what is the significance of the 9s? The ninety feet between bases, 9 innings, 9 players? The number nine, in metaphysics means every level of being in heaven and earth and beyond. It’s a number of harmony and patience; fitting for the game.

Then there is sixty-and-a-half feet between the pitching rubber and the plate, six is a perception of duality, the picture and the batter.

Baseball is timeless and space-less.  In football and basketball, and almost all other sports, there is a starting time and an ending time. Even overtime is limited. Not so with baseball.  There is a starting time, but the game isn’t over until the last out is recorded. It ain’t over until it’s over. We have a vision of eternity while we watch game.

And the time passes by measuring outs, not ticks of the clock. Oh, that we could measure our day in increments other than minutes and hours.

The batter even progresses counterclockwise, flaunting his freedom from the tyranny of the clock. Because of its freedom from time, baseball always leaves time for redemption. Until the final out, the final strike, no deficit is insurmountable. There’s always hope.

It reminds me of our gift from our Creator. We can always start over as long as we are in the moment.

A football field has sidelines and end-zones. Limits.  Basketball too.  And baseball has a touch of that with the infield dimensions. But the outfield really is unlimited. There are no fixed measures for the placement of the outfield walls. Infinity again. A mere fly ball in one stadium could be a home run in another, which to me, makes the home run king a bit unequal.

And isn’t it interesting that this is the only sport. Not including Criket and softball, which are similar games, that the defensive team has the ball, not the offensive team. What are the metaphysics of that? Maybe ego is the defensive team, and we get to drive whatever we can at it to take dominion over our playing field?

As a metaphor for life, the dynamics of baseball must adjust as each batter steps into the batter’s box. The fielders adjust for left or right-handed batters; do they pull the ball, and of course they adjust to what type of pitch the pitcher throws. Everyone is a different expression of our Creator, we each have our own way of being.

Based upon the skills of the batter, the defensive team adjusts their positions and pitching style to give them the best opportunity to win. The micro battle about to play out.

The batter stands at home plate, defiantly poised before all that endless openness, hoping to reach each base safely and return home.  That’s the gist of the game, each batter leaves home, and then strives to return home again, safely. Kind of like the Hero’s Journey….

We do that each time we step into Unity’s home.  And we can reach home safely each time we connect with our inner Christ.

We can look at our Spiritual Journey in the same way as a baseball player, different ahaas relating to the bases as we move forward to our next level of understanding, home again and ready to look for our next hit, our next aha.

Such is our daily life too.  We practice our Principles and do our denials and affirmations, only sometimes, we have a forced error and must return to practice again. Or, like a batter, we think we know what to expect from the pitcher, yet ego sends a curve ball when we thought fast ball and we strike out.  We head back to the dugout, to Unity, to our teachers; for help from the batting coach.  The coaches suggestion: No expectations.  Always be ready for what comes by going with the flow. Be practiced up or prayed up.

We adjust to life’s hits and errors, sometimes changing our strategy along the way for the best possible outcome, using the guidance from our number 1 coach, God, Spirit, Divine Energy.

This game reminds us, too, that there is no such thing as perfection on this realm.  We all know that a hitter who succeeds in only one-third of their at-bats is considered remarkable. And yet, we condemn ourselves for a mistake 20 years ago!

The long, 162-game season, allows for hope and dreams to come and go and possibly, come again.  And if not, then spring training comes around, and the cycle resumes.

The same with our lives, we always get to start again if we so desire. And mostly, our lives are long enough to make adjustments as to the direction we wish to hit the ball. It’s our choice.

Baseball teaches us that to return home we must rely on our communities, live according to seasonal time, and attend to local limits.

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Baseball may seem like a fairly individualistic game. The duel between pitcher and batter calls forth individual feats of cunning and prowess. Yet, neither pitcher nor batter can succeed on their own, except for the rare instance of a home run.

In all sports there are rules, limits and physical boundaries. But only in baseball is a player rewarded for exceeding them — by hitting one ”out of the park.” It is the combination of power and defiance by metaphysically ”breaking the rules” in a sanctioned manner that grips the imagination. A miracle!

I think our personal spiritual homerun is finding that place where we fit, where we feel we have found home, and we just know we are on the right path for ourselves. To me, that was finding Unity, that might be the same for you.

Life is a spiritual journey.  You play it one day at a time.  One moment at a time. Each day brings you a new experience.  If you truly believe, you’ll be led, the Higher Power, like the baseball Gods, is in charge.  We are simply servants open to be led.  Enjoy each day.  Give it your best.  Remember, you are a gift created by God.  As Yogi said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Meditation   

The Gifts of Grief

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

The Gift of Grief

Welcome back to our Sunday Service. I hope you all enjoyed your Mother’s Day celebrations, whether they were with family or whether they were in our hearts, we all have ways to love those who have mothered us through our years.

With that in mind, and with the last year plus of pandemic, maybe it’s time to acknowledge the grief we all may be experiencing. It could be from missing a Mother, a Father, or other relative or someone who was dear to us and helped us become the person we are today.

But it also is most likely associated with the pandemic and all that we have had to adjust to, to survive as individuals, as a community, as a nation and as a world.

What has it been like for you this past year plus? The pandemic has separated us in different ways. Have you been lonely? Have you been ill? Did you lose a loved one to this illness? Did you have to change the way you interacted with your work, your school, your day-to-day activities?

Is there ANYONE who hasn’t changed something about their daily routine? AT the very least, hopefully, you are wearing a mask as you leave your home. I pray, most of you have opted to be vaccinated. I acknowledge it is a personal choice, but it does and will affect the others in your community, so I have chosen to be vaccinated.

And I acknowledge that I have experienced some depression and loneliness during this past year. It comes and goes. The lack of interaction with others is important to me, as I would guess so for many of you. I pray you have come together with ideas to get some of that interaction with others back into your lives.

The Board and Prayer Chaplains and I, myself have been reaching out to you via text messages, emails, phone calls, and letters. We hope these actions have aided you through this time apart. We have enjoyed the times when we were able to chat with you or when we received a response from you. Thank you for thinking of us by responding. We need that touch from our community also.

Now, let’s get into our discussion about grief and the gifts and lessons we can experience as we travel through that emotion. 

What is it?

According to the dictionary, grief is a deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death. As far as I am aware, one family has been affected directly by a death due to COVID in our Unity community. We prayed then for that family and we pray for ALL families, no matter where they are or their make-up, we pray for their strength and love.

Grief is a natural and normal reaction to loss but is often misunderstood. Most of what we were taught isn’t useful, and mistaken myths about grieving only set up unrealistic expectations.

Molly Steel, a former hospice worker who is a certified specialist in The Grief Recovery Method, gives us several myths about grief:

Myth #1: Be Strong for Others

She relates: Upon learning my mother had terminal cancer, I began to cry. I quickly wiped away my tears to comfort my dad, believing I had to be strong for him. In truth I was sad and scared, yet relieved to know what was wrong with my mother.

Honestly expressing feelings not only helps you heal—it gives others permission to express their feelings. This is especially important when children are grieving. If the adults bury their feelings, the children learn to bury theirs. These feelings can show up in unhealthy ways later.

Myth #2: Replace the Loss

She continues: In the aftermath of my mother’s death, my dad quickly remarried. After the initial joy of beginning a new relationship, he was once again sad and talked of missing my mother. Lightbulbs are replaceable; relationships are not. Having another baby, finding another partner, adopting another dog, or taking another job doesn’t replace what was lost.

Myth #3: Just Give It Time

Rose Kennedy, who lost a husband and four adult children, said, “It has been said ‘Time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain.” Time can no more heal grief than time can fix a flat tire.

A widow once shared that she had burst into tears upon hearing a store clerk’s voice because he sounded just like her husband, who had died 15 years earlier. Hearing the voice brought back all the pain she had felt while caring for him during a long illness and death, even though many years had passed.

Myth #4: Grieve Privately

Grievers often isolate. It seems some of us have taken to heart that old saying, “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone.” Friends and family may unwittingly encourage the isolation, thinking they should give the griever some space.

Myth #5: Don’t Talk About It

Nothing could be further from the truth. Grievers often want and need to talk about what happened. It’s part of the healing process. You can help by asking what happened; saying the name of the lost person or pet; and listening without judging, criticizing, or advising unless asked. Grievers usually want and need to be heard, not fixed.

Myth #6: Keep Busy

Sometimes grievers want to distract themselves from the mixed feelings around lossA griever is reported to have said, “Filling your time so you don’t dwell on the loss doesn’t change how you feel.

“It temporarily makes you forget about the pain of the loss in a flurry of activity. It makes one more day go by. Yet at the end of the day, I’m exhausted and there’s still a hole in my heart.”

Myth #7: I Don’t Want to Forget

How many times have I heard someone say that moving on with life would mean forgetting the person who died? Healing is not about forgetting; it’s about enjoying warm memories without the pain.

Grief takes as long as it takes, and there is no right or wrong way to express it. Nor does it really end; instead, we gradually take new shape around it.

I read somewhere that the grief we feel is the love we had for that person or pet. That helps me as I journey through the grief I feel, knowing it’s the love that I have for the person or pet that I am missing.

Most of us recognize the stages of grief as presented by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, ‘On Death and Dying’, those stages are:

  • Denial: When you first learn of a loss, it’s normal to think, “This isn’t happening.” You may feel shocked or numb. This is a temporary way to deal with the rush of overwhelming emotion. It’s a defense mechanism.
  • Anger: As reality sets in, you’re faced with the pain of your loss. You may feel frustrated and helpless. These feelings later turn into anger. You might direct it toward other people, a higher power, or life in general. To be angry with a loved one who died and left you alone is natural, too.
  • Bargaining: During this stage, you dwell on what you could’ve done to prevent the loss. Common thoughts are “If only…” and “What if…” You may also try to strike a deal with a higher power.
  • DepressionSadness sets in as you begin to understand the loss and its effect on your life. Signs of depression include crying, sleep issues, and a decreased appetite. You may feel overwhelmed, regretful, and lonely.

In this final stage of grief, you accept the reality of your loss. It can’t be changed. Although you still feel sad, you’re able to start moving forward with your life.

I would suggest that most of us have experienced some form of these steps…maybe not even recognizing it.

What we don’t readily accept or even recognize is that there are gifts to our grief.

We have learned, I would think by now, to look for the gifts in any and all circumstances. Well, we need to look for them in our grief also. I tried to do so after my Mother transitioned two years ago. The very first gift was that she no longer experienced pain, sorrow, loneliness, and any other feeling that goes through an elderly persons’ heart.

But here are some other suggestions for the gifts of grief:

Perspective…Perspective is how we see our lives playing out. It’s how we see ourselves showing up for it. It is the meaning we give to each painful and glad experience.

One of the greatest opportunities to figure out who you really are comes in the wake of your greatest loss. That severity of pain shakes you awake, forcing you to take a good look around the room. It’s a world at least partly shaped by how you see it and you might decide that it’s time for a little rearranging.

Stepping into grief is one of life’s precious “second” chances.

It’s a time to reflect and reevaluate what’s important to you. It’s a time to reconsider how you’ve been living your life (do you want to keep going that way?) and how you want to be remembered by others.

It’s also a chance to find value within your own self. (That love is irreplaceable.)

Death is a lesson for the living.

Approaching that deep, ugly pain is going to teach you way more than giving it away would.

Feeling your grief is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but living that experience fully means that even if everything else in your life is “taken” from you, you still feel you have something which is untouched, kept, something more essential and deep.

That something is your perspective. Your attitude. Your memories. The heart of who you are.

Humanity…Even though you come out of loss hurt, you can grow, and you can learn, and you can give.

You love a little differently each time, yet each “new” love is a testament to how flexible you’re willing to be. Each time you choose to love again — to grow better instead of bitter — you’ve turned an otherwise negative experience into one marked by compassion and courage. It takes such strength to be bettered by loss.

If you let your wounds make you wiser, that is a gift of grief.

If you take your pain and turn it into love of some kind, that is your gift for someone else.

If you practice forgiveness, you learn how to be more courageous and generous with your love, not only in the realm of your past but in every single moment.

“True forgiveness is not an action after the fact, it is an attitude with which you enter each moment.” (David Ridge)

We each have our own regrets, fears, weak points, and hopes… but in so many ways, we’re the same. Heartbreak shows us that in full force. Whether we let the experience harden us or break us out of our own shells is a choice we have to make for our own selves.

If we let grief shake us into kinder human beings, we wake up to our own shared humanity.

We wake up to what binds us together as people. We see the light in each other even when we can’t agree with each other. We find community. We find sources of love everywhere. We learn that giving isn’t a loss to us, but another gift.

This is how, through grief, you develop a strength so deep nothing in the world can rob you of it.

Endless love…“The ties of friendship and love do not unravel with death.”

This is something I’ve found to be apparently true,

My relationships with those who’ve passed are still alive and well.

To this day, I have conversations with them and somehow, somehow, in my heart of hearts, I know I am heard. I know their love is a witness to my own.

This has been one of the greatest gifts of grief I can attest to: When someone you love dies, the love you shared doesn’t end. It sustains you.

Vulnerability… when we let ourselves vulnerable, we let the light in. Think about the Kintsugi ( “golden joinery”), also known as kintsukuroi ( “golden repair”) the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered goldsilver, or platinum, As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Link that to ourselves, our vulnerability. Looking at it that way, when we allow ourselves to be open and vulnerable, we are adding value, not taking it away…just like the pottery.

Robert Brumet, Unity minister and author, tells us “We can truly experience a new beginning only when we have fully dealt with the ending that preceded it; otherwise, we simply carry the unfinished business of the past into the future.”

Judith Orloff, M.D. tells us the purpose of these emotions is to enlarge our heart. “If you’re dealing with fear, the point is to teach courage,” she explained. “If you’re angry, the point is to find compassion. And if you’re dealing with grief, the point is to let grief work through you to find a level of acceptance and keep moving on to experience more and more love.” 

We can ask ourselves, what can I learn from this? What is this trying to teach me? And not least of all, How can I help? How can I serve?

Here is another gift…our loss is a new beginning. What is not lost is the possibility of a new beginning. What is not lost permanently is our ability to live and to love and to enjoy life. In truth, as we accept endings as part of a greater life process, we ultimately increase our ability to live and love and enjoy life.

We overstate the importance of an ending when we perceive that this emptiness and meaninglessness is a permanent condition rather than the passage to a new life. We overstate the importance of an ending when we believe that the lost person, possession, or circumstance was that which gave our lives meaning and that without this outer condition our happiness is lost forever.

Brunet says, “I often counsel my students to honor endings but not to worship them. To worship an ending is to give it more power than it deserves, to make it bigger than you are. To honor an ending is to acknowledge the impact that it has on our life; it is to honor the people and experiences that were important in our life; it is to honor the divine wisdom and order that govern every aspect of our life if we but have eyes to see it.”

It is especially important that we turn to the God of our understanding during these times of passage. Ironically, this is often a time when our faith in everything, including God, is shaken. Yet, if we can but realize it, the possibility for an entirely new understanding of God—and a new relationship with God—is emerging. Each transition allows us the opportunity for a “bigger God” than the one we once believed in. We can realize that God is not only guiding us through the transition but is the very force that is bringing about the transition—and the resultant transformation.

in some ways, grief won’t go away entirely. After all, we’ve lost someone or something we can’t get back. But healing from grief is possible, and you can still have a full, happy life that includes grief and loss. A big part of coming to terms with grief is understanding how grief changes and recognizing when those changes come.

One joy scatters a hundred griefs. —Chinese Proverb

Meditation   

“The Five Principles”

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

Welcome back to our Sunday Service. I pray you are well and preparing to return to the Center in person, for Father’s Day. And if you choose to remain in the comfort of your home, that is fine also. We plan to stream the Service to you as well as have those of you who choose so, to attend in person.

We are practicing streaming the first 2 Sundays in June. Then, as I KNOW we will have everything under control, we will welcome those of you who wish to attend Service at the Center as well as stream the Service to your homes.

I am looking forward to seeing some happy faces here. You will be 3 feet apart and wear a mask, just to be safe since we do not know who has been vaccinated. Looking forward to it,

So, since we are coming back together after being apart for over a year, it’s time to review our 5 Principles. We will have a mini-series discussing them over the next few weeks. I will be using “The Five Principles” by Rev. Ellen Debenport, as well as other sources for this series.

Do you know what a Principle is? What’s the difference between a principle and a rule?

A Principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning. Principles are set. They apply to all people, all the time. Spiritual principles work the same way.

For example, one of the principles of mathematics is 2 + 2 = 4; it is unchanging, the same for everyone.

A Rule is one of a set of explicit or understood regulations, rules can change. A rule in baseball, for example, governing the grounds, would change from field to field, adjusting for structures and dimensions, etc.

Interestingly enough, we didn’t always have the 5 principles. They were written up in a

Booklet, “The Keys to the Kingdom”, by Connie Fillmore Bazzy, great-granddaughter to Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. It started out as an article for Daily Word magazine in 1990. Connie’s article condensed the Unity teachings into 5 essential points; restating what the truths were from our point of view.

These 5 principles offer tools for daily living and suggest answers to some of the great questions we have been asking since the dawn of conscious awareness.

First, let’s get one thing out of the way…God. Actually, the word God. In Unity we honor the ‘many names and the many paths to God.’ And I will use the word God to represent the many names for that energy, the Source, our Creator. It’s just easier than listing the many names we could use. In reality, no name covers the unlimited energy, love, power that is Divine Presence.

There are different versions of the 5 principles:

  1. God is all there is and present everywhere. This is the force of love and wisdom that underlies all of existence.
  2. Human beings are divine at their core and therefore inherently good.
  3. Thoughts have creative power to determine events and attract experiences.
  4. Prayer and meditation keep us aligned with the one great power in the universe.
  5. It is not enough to understand spiritual teachings. We must live the Truth we know.

Here’s another version:

  1. God is absolute good, everywhere present.
  2. Human beings have a spark of divinity within. Their very essence is of God, and therefore they are also inherently good.
  3. Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought.
  4. Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity and everything good.
  5. Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, are not enough. A person must also live the Truth that he or she knows.

When was the last time you reevaluated your Spiritual Truths? You do understand, God, spirit, the Divine Energy that makes up all that is, is always there. Energy is energy. God doesn’t change…but we do.

Look back through your years…how many times have you changed your idea of God? I suspect a few. If you are anywhere near my age, we grew up, most likely, in traditional Christian churches. And so, there was one idea of God.

Then, maybe we went discovering a different philosophy, searching for where we belonged. I did. Always questioning. Trying to understand God, religion and what was my Truth.

It took a few years to find Unity, and another change in what was my Truth. I think I found it…Unity.

The point being, God doesn’t change, we do. So, it is a good thing to reevaluate what your belief is from time to time.

The 1st Principle: “There is only one presence and one power active as the universe and as my life; God the Good, Omnipotence.”

All power, all knowledge, everywhere

Although principles never change, our understanding of them grows as we grow and experience life. The more we engage with a principle and the more we explore it, the more active and alive it becomes.

So, it’s time to look at our beliefs, thoughts, and actions to this understanding of the principle. How well do they align? Where am I doing really well embodying the principle, and where do I see a gap that I need to bridge?

Our intention here is to notice, not judge. By noticing and lovingly accepting what we notice, we empower ourselves to change. To the degree that we resist or refuse to see where we are misaligned, we limit our freedom to choose anew and grow.

Finally, through our spiritual practices— such as love, introspection, compassion, and self-forgiveness—we can release those actions, judgments, and beliefs that don’t align with principle and begin to establish a new, empowering way of being that can help us to live in greater alignment with spiritual Truth.

 

So, let’s look at the 1st Principle… “There is only one presence and one power active as the universe and as my life; God the Good, Omnipotence.”

 

IN an article by Ben Jamison, he breaks down the 1st principle:

 

God: What do you believe about God? Does the term God even work for you? Do you prefer Spirit, Light, or another word? I believe God is unlimited, unconditional love. I believe that in the full recognition of love, anything unlike it dissolves, disappears. I believe God is whole, complete, and perfect. Spirit has always existed and will always exist. It is kind, generous, and gives fully and freely of itself all the time.

Only one presence and one power: Nothing other than God exists in ultimate reality. Spirit has no opposite. As the one presence, it is Spirit that is living in you, me, everyone, and everything. The tree outside of your window, the neighbor’s dog that wakes you up at night barking, and the coworker who seems out to get you every day are all, according to principle, Spirit. (This is true regardless of whether they know it or act like it.)

As the one power, God is not only everything you see but also the power behind everything you do. Whether moving your eyes to read, beating your heart while you sleep, or birthing the universe, Spirit is the power behind all of it. It’s not a different power for each example, but the one power in all. The same power that created all life can be used to take life—as well as to accomplish mundane tasks. There is, after all, only one power.

Active as the universe and as my life: This presence and power is active. It doesn’t just sit idle. It is always loving, always creating. Even when we are not consciously creating, Spirit is. It is active as my life, as the universe, as everything. Wherever I look, there God is.

Good, omnipotent: All powerful good. Inherent good. No lack of recognition can diminish this good, and it is unlimited.

How are you doing in living this principle? God is all there is. That unconditionally loving presence that birthed everything and is expressing as everyone is present everywhere all the time. At the core of every person, there God is. In the midst of every situation, Spirit. How much of our lives do we approach in that way? How different would life be if we approached everything in this way? Are you seeing some gaps? Are you staying out of judgment? Just notice.

The truth is that most of us rarely approach life with this principle forefront in our minds. The two main reasons for this are lack of awareness and lack of easy-to-use spiritual tools that we can apply in an instant to bring ourselves back into alignment with the principle. Hopefully, you now have a bit more awareness of the gaps you need to bridge. Now let’s look at some tools.

 

Tool #1: Love

 

God is all there is, and God is unconditional love. That means that we, too, are unconditional love. We are at our most aligned when we are practicing loving. Love isn’t just something we fall in and out of, but a practice we can consciously engage in.

With people, we can practice seeing the loving essence at the core of their being. I love you simply because you exist. I don’t look at what you’ve said or done, or what you didn’t do or didn’t say. I blind myself to all that and simply recognize that, according to this principle, God is all there is. As such, God is present at the core of every person.

 I may have a hard time loving your personality and I may be unable to love certain actions, but I can always love Spirit. The Good Omnipotence, God Itself, the one presence and one power exists as everyone. As we practice finding that spiritual center in each person and loving that, regardless of anything else, we align ourselves with love and bring the first Unity principle into play.

If we find ourselves needing to realign with this principle in a particular situation, we can start with loving the people involved. We can look for where love is present in the situation and acknowledge it. We can find even unconscious acts of love to focus on, but if not, perhaps we are being called to bring love to the situation. Ask yourself: How can I be the presence of love in this situation? The next time you have to go to the DMV or jury duty, consciously bring your loving practice with you and watch what happens!

Tool #2: Introspection

 

This principle tells us that good is present everywhere, in every situation, no matter what. This can be tough to swallow, especially in traumatic experiences, but notice that the principle doesn’t say that every situation or circumstance is good. It says that there can be good had in any situation or circumstance. This good isn’t guaranteed. It is up to us to seek, find, and embody that good.

We can ask ourselves, What is this experience here to teach me? How can I grow through this? Perhaps we’re being taught the art of surrender. Maybe we’re being shown how powerful we are. Possibly, we’re looking at the neon sign pointing us to a long-held judgment we’re ready to release.

No one can tell you what your possibilities are for growth in any situation. You must uncover them for yourself and discover how to shift your focus from the negative to the affirmative, align with principle, and move through the circumstance more quickly and more gracefully.

Tool #3: Compassion and Self-Forgiveness

 

This work is not easy. When you set out to bring the first principle with you everywhere you go as an active practice, you’ll forget—often. I know I do. You’ll fail a lot too.

It’s okay to forget. It’s okay to fail. Compassion is the key. You will never berate yourself into compliance or shame yourself out of old ways of being. Instead, open your compassionate heart to yourself. Forgive your false beliefs. Forgive yourself for judging yourself as a failure because you didn’t quite show up the way you intended. As you do so, you’ll be able to let go of old ways of being much more rapidly so you can establish a new life in this powerful principle.

Remember the most important part: There is only one presence and one power. It is unconditional love, omnipotent good— whole, complete, and perfect in every way. As the only life that exists, it is the life you live. You are that unconditional love. You are that omnipotent good. You are the power that birthed the universe, and you can use that power to create a life beyond your wildest dreams!

Meditation   

Principle #2

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

Welcome back. Soon we will be together here in the Spiritual Center. I am looking forward to it. And I know, from some of the surveys we received, some of you are excited for it too. You will receive an email this week with more details. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

There’s an ancient parable told in many cultures describes a time when the gods became angry with mortals who squandered their talents. So, they conspired to hide the highest gifts of divinity, wisdom and enlightenment, from them.

A debate ensued among the gods as to where to hide the gifts. Some said, “Let’s bury it deep in the earth.” Others said, “No, that will not do because humans will dig into the earth and find it.”

Then the gods said, “Let’s sink it in the deepest ocean.” Others said, “No, not there, for they will learn to dive into the ocean and will find it.” Then the gods said, “Let’s take it to the top of the highest mountain and hide it there.” But once again, they replied, “No, they will eventually climb every mountain and take up their divinity.”

Then the gods gave up and said, “We do not know where to hide it because it seems that there is no place that human beings will not eventually reach.”

The final answer emerged: “We will hide their divinity deep in the center of their own being, for humans will never think to look for it there.” All the gods agreed that this was the perfect hiding place, and the deed was done.

And since that time, humans have been going up and down the earth, digging, diving, climbing and exploring — searching for something already within themselves.

We reintroduced our Five Principles last week and discussed the first principle, “God is absolute good, everywhere present.” This week let’s look at Principle #2 – Human Beings have a spark of Divinity within them, the Christ Spirit within. Their very essence is of God, and therefore they are also inherently good.

Eric Butterworth writes about this divinity in humans in an excerpt from his book,  Celebrate Yourself!

Within every person is the unborn possibility of limitless growth, and ours is the privilege of giving birth to it. Paul obviously had this in mind when he referred to: … the mystery hidden for ages and generations ... which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:26, 27).

Studies of God have abounded in all the religions of the world, most of which have dealt with an intellectual construction of a Being “out there.” And we have been subtly conditioned by artists’ visualizations such as Michelangelo’s classic frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. A massive figure of a man, representing the Almighty, reaches down to touch a human man. It is a beautiful work of art, but not the best example of our attempt to define the indefinable.

Through the ages of man’s quest for Truth and reality, there has appeared, here and there, a lone figure who caught the idea of the mystery of God in man. Ikhnaton, King of Egypt from 1379-1362 B.C.E, was a forerunner of the ideal. His is probably the first awareness of “God is one and man is one in that one.”

Among the Greek philosophers, Plotinus, who lived in the 3rd century, CE, stands out as a forerunner of the new insight of Truth. He caught the idea of a cosmic force that is both imminent and transcendent in life. Each being contains in itself the whole intelligible world. Therefore, all is everywhere. Each is all, and all is eachHe saw man at the very center of the universe which rushes and streams and pours into him from all sides while he stands quietly.

But for the most part, this idea of God in humans has been a well-kept secret in the field of religion, and a rejected theory in science. This could well be the most colossal blunder ever made by humanity, for while we have searched the heavens and the Earth, the great secret of existence lies within ourselves. It is only through realizing this mystery of God in humans that we can understand one like Jesus, with all His spiritual power, as a demonstration of that which is fundamental in all life.

Dwell for a while on the idea of the universe as the allness that we call God, realizing that everything within it, from the vast galaxies to the subatomic particles, is created in and of the universe. You may wonder about the vastness of the universe and peer at it through a telescope. However, you are not on the outside looking in. You are on the inside looking out. You are the universe at the point where you are. Think about that!!

Attributed to Saint Augustine is this profound thought: God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. If the center is everywhere, it is where you are. You are the center of the universe, the center of God. This is not a point to be made egotistically, but transcendentally, spiritually.

There is that of you which is centered in God, and which is a point of God-activity flowing forth into expression as you. And the circumference is limitless. There is no limit to God, or to us in God consciousness. THAT’S IMPORTANT. We limit ourselves so much…

We are like a wave of the ocean, each of us distinct as a wave yet made up of the energy and attributes of the ocean itself. We are not the whole ocean but of the same composition.

And God is like the ocean is in a wave. The wave is nothing more nor less than the ocean formed into the shape of a wave.

And you are God expressing as you. Thus, the divine is not a projection of the God into the human. God cannot project Itself outside Itself; God can only express Itself within Itself. Humans are not an individual in God, for that would presuppose isolation and separation. Humans are an individualization of God.

We are expressions of God, we are the divine expressing in human form.

This is fundamental for everyone. As Jesus said: ” … he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do … ” (John. 14:12). Jesus was demonstrating what is possible for human beings when we are fully aligned with the presence of God within us.

God in each of us is the allness of which we are an eachness, and the constant need in our lives is to unfold more of our allness in a process of conscious evolution. It is not trying to get into God or to get God into us. It is to, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10).

We can never be separate from God.

We all have a long way to go, but Jesus demonstrated a goal that is believable and achievable, and He pointed to that in us which is perfectible. Wherever we are along the way, no matter what the problems or challenges, there is always more in us, the Christ in us as our hope of glory, which means our potential for healing, overcoming, prospering, and succeeding.

“Is it not written in your law, ‘I have said you are gods’?” John 10:34

Our job as humans is to revive this spiritual Truth in the world and to live from the Christ of our being, the part of us that is God, our divine core. The whole point of spiritual growth is to know ourselves as Spirit and express it in our lives.

The root of both sin and evil, from our mortal view is ignorance, a sense of separation from good that brings negative results into our world.

We are not conceived in original sin but in original virtue.

We are spiritual beings living in a spiritual universe that is governed by spiritual laws and run by spiritual forces.

It is living from the Christ within, making choices from the higher Self, loving unconditionally, contributing to the well-being of the planet.

And there is no limit!

Meditation   

Principle #3 & #4

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

Thank you for joining us this morning as we continue our discussion of our 5 Principles.

This week we will look Principle #3 & #4. They are “Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought,” and “Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity and everything good.”

Let’s start with Principle #3: “Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought,”

Or “Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.” Sometimes called the Law of Mind Action.

What we truly feel with our emotions and give power to with our thoughts is what we are really thinking. Notice, emotion behind the thought is important.

Whether you are conscious of it or not, your thoughts are transmitting energy that is attracting more of the same. When you remain focused on your intentions, you will draw those things into your life.

As the Buddha said, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him…If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”

Or simply put in Proverbs 23:7; “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

Jesus said: ” … he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do … ” (John. 14:12). That power comes from connecting with Divine Mind. With that power comes great responsibility. I love that about Unity…we emphasize our responsibility in the creation of our world.

We are co-creating our world with the other children of God. AS one of our great metaphysics teachers is fond of saying, “Watch your thoughts!”

Watch what you are putting out there.

I think we have established that God is energy, love and light. Energy becomes matter and matter becomes energy. Everything is energy. It just changes form, just like the food we eat, changes into energy for our bodies and then, excess changes into fat and anything left is eliminated.

So, if you are not happy with your body or how it is functioning, you change the input to get a different output.

The same goes with your life. If you are not happy with your life, you change your thoughts…start from the inside and work outward. The thoughts you think have an impact on your world and life.

We have free will, we choose with our focus…we must acknowledge that we have the power of choice. Then we visualize that truth, and feel its positive action, see it true.

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge by right judgment.” When you see things as you want instead of as they seem, you are out-picturing it ‘rightfully’.

James Dillet Freeman, Unity writer and poet; “The key to life is consciousness…As we change negative feelings and reactions to positive attitudes and actions, thought by thought, word by word, and act by act, we grow toward the divine perfection that is God’s will for us.”

The best way to do this is through meditation and prayer. The purpose of prayer is not to change God. How would we change perfect good? Our prayer is to change us, so we can be come to realize we are made in God’s perfect image.

And this is Principle #4

“Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity and everything good.”

Think about the first three principles, God is all there is, all good; we have a part of God in us, our thoughts create our world. If these are Truth, then why pray?

We pray for us, not for God. We pray to ready ourselves for communication with God.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley, author of Prayer Works, states that affirmative prayer “sets into motion the forces that enable us to manifest what we pray for.”

Prayer is the time we take to focus, to align ourselves in oneness with the divine and affirm that whatever we need is already ours.

Francis Foulkes in ‘Effective Prayer’ wrote; “To acknowledge that we ourselves have brought into our world everything less than good and to forgive ourselves for all the blame we have ever attached to God or to others for the sorrows and sufferings that have come to us are very important steps in preparation for prayer.”

In Affirmative Prayer, we are remembering who we are, expressions of God, and we take the time to align our thoughts and feelings with that highest good. We affirm in those thoughts and feelings our well-being and that our needs are met, there is no lack in the universe.

Those positive vibrations are sensed throughout the universe…so “every thought, every feeling, is a prayer.”

And the universe always says YES!

But is it the YES we are hoping for? Maybe, maybe not.

“Prayer is ineffective when it is accompanied or followed by negative thinking, or the endless repeating of affirmations. We have to put power and intensity into our thought, change our thought, and believe in the guidance we are receiving.

All the potential YES’s exist in the quantum field of possibilities. We have the choice to pull from that field according to our vibration or focus. So what is your focus?

If a prayer seems to go unanswered, it is not God denying us. It is either:

  1. We are attracting from an unconscious, deeper desire, or
  2. We are blocking the answer we want.

Blocks are made of fear, doubt and feelings of unworthiness. This is where we get to prove our faith…change our thoughts and feeling and focus.

So affirmative prayer starts with a change in consciousness, praying from a consciousness of God, from our higher self.

Affirmative prayer means to remember that whatever we ask for in prayer is ours already. We affirm its availability.

Words have creative power. Never put into words anything you do not want. No matter what seems to be happening in the moment, look past the appearance and speak only what you want.

This will focus your intention in your mind and is how we bring our intended outcome from the field of possibility.

So, watch what word or words you place after the words “I AM”…for whatever word you place there, said with determination, is powerful.

“As we learn to use the power of the word, we discover that we no longer have to beg for that which we think we need and that which satisfies our longings … We receive not by begging and crying, but by acknowledging and realizing, as Jesus Christ did, our oneness with the Father.” (Myrtle Fillmore)

James Dillet Freeman wrote that prayer “is a way of life as well as a way of facing life. It is an end as well as a means. It is a spiritual experience.”

Meditation   

Happy Father’s Day, and Principle #5

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

Happy Father’s Day!

Father’s Day is a holiday for honoring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in our society. Founded by Sonora Smart Dodd  and celebrated on the third Sunday of June officially since 1910 to celebrate the father figures in the lives of those we see as Father figures.

From Daily OM:

The idea of fatherhood is both personal and universal. We all have ideal concepts surrounding fatherhood, and we also have our real fathers — fathers who were there or not there for us, fathers who provided financial support for our families or failed to do so, fathers who loved or neglected us, fathers who were our role models or gave us someone to rebel against. Our father may have been there for us sometimes and not there for us at other times. The process of reconciling the ideal father that resides in our minds with the father that we actually have is a fertile one that can teach us a great deal about ourselves. 

Our relationship with our father will often affect our relationships with the other men who will come into our lives. You may have learned to behave and think in certain ways because those were the ways that your father acted and thought. Certain talents that you possess may have been passed down to you by your father. There also may be personal issues that you inherited by virtue of who your father is. Understanding how your relationship with your father has influenced you can help you better understand yourself and the life that you have created.

In a time when mothers, the sacred feminine, and female energy are being honored, it is important not to forget the importance of fathers. Father energy and mother energy are the two complementary energies necessary to bring a healthy human being to fruition in the world. Many of the ideas surrounding fathers are changing in the wake of more modern parenting styles and the more egalitarian roles that are evolving between the sexes. More men are embodying the mother energy these days, and a woman can provide father energy for her children. Either way, we can all benefit from thinking about our fathers and how they have influenced who we’ve become and the ways that we walk through this world.

As has become my tradition to read “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch for Mother’s Day, I thought I’d remind you that the last page of that book is about the son who has now become a Father and is holding his baby daughter, rocking her back and forth and singing  “I love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be”. The very same song his Mother sang to him. What a great lead into Father’s Day.

Let us remember to honor our fathers.

You know, when I was a kid, we had children’s day too. It wasn’t about honoring as it was for Mothers and Fathers tho. I remember having to recite some verse and sing songs in front of the whole church and being very nervous.

The only good thing was a ride after to the Burger King near Harrisburg for a whopper (cheap way to feed 6 kids!) and then watch the planes land and take off at the Hershey airport (just a grass runway with single engine planes) and ice cream at Twin Kiss.

THAT WAS A DAY we all looked forward!

I hope you all take the time and give some loving to those in your life, alive or transitioned, who have given you support throughout your life. We ALL need a hand up once in a while, a smile of support, a hand to hold, a hug.

Thank you to everyone who has been that person for me.

WELCOME BACK!

It’s kind of a home coming this morning. What a wonderful morning to be back together, Thanks for joining us.

We all have experienced the trauma of the pandemic, for almost a year and a half now. And we all have scars of one kind or another. Please do not be hesitant to reach out to your Unity Family, your leaders, your Prayer Chaplains, your friends as we move forward to a new ‘normal’.

If you have been following as we have reviewed the 5 Principles, you know that we create with our thoughts, words and deeds. Lets all work together to make these next steps forward to an even greater reality for us all.

Now I think it is very appropriate to talk about our 5th Principle on Father’s Day. This principle is all about action, and isn’t that what these people have done for us throughout our lives?

So, the 5th Principle is “Knowing and understanding the Laws of Life, also called Truth, are not enough. A person must also live the Truth that he or she knows.”

We have these wonderful Principles, but we have to put them into our lives for them to work…”If you work it, it works!”

Comprehending the nature of God and humankind, understanding the power of the mind, and knowing how to pray will not stimulate spiritual growth unless applied to daily living.

It’s what we mean when we say, ‘put feet to your prayers’.

The whole idea of learning something is to then to apply it to our lives, either to make it happen as in a good thing, or to keep something from happening as in understanding the laws a gravity and not falling off a ladder.

If an endeavor is to become fruitful, there must be both spiritual and physical action.

4 of the 5 principles are about changing consciousness before changing behavior.

If we do not change our consciousness, the behavior we attempt will not be true…

Our part is simply to ‘move a little’ today in prayer; ‘move a little’ in thought, word, and deed, and let God take care of the rest. We use our inner faith and outer application and act accordingly.

… we are creating our experience with our every thought and feeling. Remember, the emotion behind the thought is very important.

The goal is to live consciously in that awareness and take action as we are guided by our higher self, by the inner Christ, by our Buddha heart.

When we are living the truth, any action we take will be from a consciousness of Spirit and oneness, from our integrity, with the ego at service to our soul. Our work is to learn how to wield our spiritual tools in our human experience.

Our 1st 4 principles are a checklist to #5

  1. Do I affirm divine intelligence and love in this situation?

In other words, do I believe there is only God, the good, omnipotent?

  • Do I remember my own divinity and that of others involved?

That we are all of the Divine Spirit, the energy that makes up everything.

  • Do I take responsibility for attracting this situation into my experience and know that its outcome for me will match my thoughts and feelings about it?

Have I recognized that I have free will and I choose what I am focusing on to make it happen, consciously or unconsciously?

  • Have I aligned myself with God, the universe, the Good, and received guidance before I act?

In other words, am I placing feet to the thoughts and prayers behind the Principles that I believe?

Any action that feels forced, impulsive or emotional is likely not to be in principle. Acting in principle brings a reassuring sense of being on the right track.

Spiritual action does not demand marching in the streets against something.  It means integrating our divine essence into ordinary, annoying, daily living with its drudgery, confusion, and difficult people—-how do we apply these principles when we are feeling ill, heartbroken, angry, etc.? How do we make the choices daily aligned with principle so we can create the kingdom of heaven on earth?

The first thing is to be connected to Divine-Mind. Then, listen to the guidance.

People who are practicing principle may choose different actions, whatever works to keep you in positive vibration. I might walk the dogs or at one time I would take a run. You might meditate or have a date night.

Remember-action includes the thoughts and feelings you contribute to the whole, the One Mind.

This is the example from the book, “The Five Principles” by Rev. Ellen Debenport: pg 119

So if we predict something bad will happen, and it does….what we focused on grows—positive or negative. Emotional energy packs more effect than we give credit.

Charles, “Pronounce every experience good and of God, and by that mental attitude you will call forth only the good. What seemed error will disappear and only the good will remain. This is the law, and no one can break it.”

The bottom line, put your energy, as in for equality for all and not anti-gays, or for peace and not against war.

When beliefs or attitudes are held by nearly everyone, they will inevitably erupt into the physical world. An energy shift always precedes physical changes: The fall of the Berlin Wall was the result of a shift in collective consciousness; the green movement to save the environment is the result of collective consciousness. When enough people begin to shift their thinking, we reach a tipping point in awareness happens, then outward physical change begins.

To bring peace to the world, be peaceful.

So, pray without ceasing. Keep your thoughts aligned with your heart.

Mother Teresa; “We feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less without that drop.”

What truly matters is what’s going on in our hearts and minds.

Meditation