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.
- 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.
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.
- 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?