GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
It’s great to be with you today. I see who has remembered to change their clocks.
So, today’s topic – did you wonder what I had in mind? Connie & I conspired and didn’t give you any hints. I would love to know what came to mind for you!
Time for a Discussion…
So much has happened in these last few years…politically, of course, economically, that follows, the environment…when will we get it right? And don’t forget a pandemic that some people are having a hard time figuring what the correct way is to eradicate it.
For me, I follow the science.
And let’s not get started on our religious or spiritual lives? Unity Spiritual Center is not any different than so many others, asking what to do to bless our folks, to be in touch with them, to serve them and our community.
Have you been responding to your Connection Person…you know, the one who keeps bugging you about “how are you doing?”. “Do you need anything?”. “Can we aid you in any way?”, “Do you need prayer?”
It’s all in an effort to keep in touch, to be of Service to you. Remember, it’s a circle, we give, and we receive. Please keep giving to us too. We all could use that virtual hug….
So, let’s ask a great question, and you know I love a Great Question—What would Jesus do? Would He be welcomed in the churches and Synagogues, and Mosques of today? Could he walk the halls of Congress? How about the streets of Philly or any other big city? Would he be in the small towns and farm country?
How about the Buddha? Hari Krishna? Would ANY of our so-called Spiritual Leaders be welcomed in our church and Centers today?
I ask this question for many of our Spiritual Leaders because they all essentially say the same thing, just in different ways:
What we call the Golden Rule:
Islam – No one of you is a believer until you desire for your neighbor that which you desire for yourself.
Buddhism – Treat all creatures as you would like to be treated.
Hinduism – This is the essence of morality: Do not do to others which if done to you would cause you pain.
Christianity – Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Sikhism – Do as you desire goodness for yourself as you cannot expect tasty fruits if you sow thorny trees.
Judaism – What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor – that is the basic law, all the rest is community.
Baha’i Faith – If your eyes be turned towards justice choose for your neighbor that which you would choose for yourself.
I ask because we, our society, is and has been for some time now, falling away from the very doctrine that is supposed to be our founding Principle….Look at our Bill of Rights:
Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press; The Right to Bear Arms; The Housing of Soldiers; Protection from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures; Protection of Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property; Rights of Accused Persons in Criminal Cases; Rights in Civil Cases; Excessive Bail, Fines, and Punishments Forbidden; Other Rights Kept by the People; Undelegated Powers Kept by the States and the People.
And that’s as political as I will be for today.
Have we lived up to these principles from a Spiritual standpoint? This is what I wish to discuss today.
When we look at our Unity Principles, they should easily come before the 10 listed above.
- God is absolute good, everywhere present. There is only one Power, one Presence, God. God is good without opposite. There is no other power. God is omnipotence- all power.
- 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.
- Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought.
- Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity and everything good.
- 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. …
And, saying that, it would be easy to follow the 10 because our belief that we are ALL One, we are ALL of God, our Creator, all good, we can honor the 10.
So, the issues facing our country and the world are not political issues, they are Spiritual issues, or lack of Spiritual issues.
Luke 4:18-19 tells us: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jesus called us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, to turn the other cheek, not to consider ourselves better than others, but to live in peace with all people, to model an engaging faith, to bind up the wounded, rescue the perishing and bring God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
And WHAT does that mean?
It means we can’t risk walking around with a negative, resentful, gossipy, critical mind, because then we won’t be our true selves. We won’t be usable instruments for our Creator to use for good. That’s why Jesus commanded us to love. It’s that urgent. It’s that crucial.
A command to love.
Fr. Richard Rohr wrote: “Jesus tells us not to harbor hateful anger or call people names in our hearts like ‘fool’ or ‘worthless person’ (Matthew 5:22). If we’re walking around all day thinking, ‘What idiots!’ we’re living out of death, not life. If that’s what we think and feel, that’s what we will be—death energy instead of life force. We cannot afford even inner disconnection from love. How we live in our hearts is our real and deepest truth.”
What we say & think is creative…it’s magic because of the energy surrounding those words. We forget the power we have in the thoughts and words we wield.
I’ve said this before, what Prof. Albus Dumbledore said in Harry Potter, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”
Our thoughts can have that same magic if we are thinking the same negative things with strong emotions behind it.
Fr. Rohr continues: True religion is radical. It moves us beyond our “private I” and into the full reality of ‘us’. Jesus seems to be saying in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) that our inner attitudes and states are the real sources of our problems. We need to root out the problems at that deepest interior level.
Jesus says not only that we must not kill, but that we must not even harbor hateful anger. He clearly begins with our need for a “pure heart” (Matthew 5:8) and knows that the outer behavior will follow. Too often we force the outward response, while the inward intent remains like a cancer.
If we walk around with hatred all day, morally we’re just as much killers as the one who pulls the trigger. We can’t live that way and not be destroyed from within.
Do you recall what President Jimmy Carter said he had “looked on a lot of women with lust” and had “committed adultery in my heart many times”.
This is what I am talking about.
Yet, for some reason, many who call themselves Christians have thought it acceptable to think and feel hatred, negativity, and fear. The evil and genocide of both World War I and World War II were the result of decades of negative, resentful, and paranoid thinking and feeling among even supposedly good Christian people.
Unfortunately, more wars and conflicts have followed from the same causes.
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus insists that we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Once we recognize that whatever we do in conscious, loving union with our inner Christ is prayer, we can better understand what Paul means when he says, “Pray unceasingly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). If prayer is merely words or recitations, such constant prayer is impossible in any practical sense.
But prayer is not only words or recitations…it is our thoughts…it is our actions. It’s what we mean when we say, put feet to your prayers.
So, when we speak of the issues of the day, it is not political, it is SPIRITUAL. It is our responsibility as caretakers of this earth to care for the environment; to honor the lives of all life including the lives of those animals that feed us and labor for us and are companions to us.
It’s our Spiritual duty to care for all humanity and do ‘what is ours to do’ to aid any who are in need. When we recite our Opening Affirmation and state: “When we do that which is ours to do…” The next step is to DO IT!
I’m not saying to take on every issue and cause. Ask your heart what is yours to do.
In Unity, we don’t speak forcefully when it comes to politics, though we are finally speaking on the issues, especially regarding the environment, and social issues.
Unfortunately, we are living in an increasingly polarized society. ‘Red or blue, ‘left’ or ‘right’, our stances on politics and issues are becoming more inflexible. Our social fabric is being ripped asunder while we breathlessly assign blame to “those idiots on the other side”.
it takes more than an open ear to communicate effectively, especially if the other person in the conversation holds an opposing view. An essential element in this conversation must be to understand the opposing view, not just hear it.
The point is not to change anyone’s mind but to illuminate how those opinions were formed and why they are maintained. It is not about determining who’s “right” or “wrong” but about gaining insight into the other’s perspective, so communication becomes more effective and constructive solutions more accessible.
I’m hoping today, we can start right here. That we can be open to listen to opposing views, and yes, I’m sure we have some here in this room and listening in. That we can then, start the healing process and let our light and love shine to the larger Community and the world. So, we can do better…
Wayne Dyer said, “You don’t need to be better than anyone else. You just need to be better than you used to be.”
Here are some suggestions for improving ourselves:
7 ways to be better than you were yesterday from The Road to Character, by David Brooks
- Nourish your soul daily. At least once each day, we need to break away from our work or home routine and take a little time to feed our soul. This may involve a walk out in nature, reading a spiritual text, taking a yoga class or spending 15 minutes in quiet contemplation. You choose what works for you….and DO it!
- Be grateful. Find something to be thankful for each day, even if it’s just to give thanks for the food in your refrigerator or the roof over your head or the fact you lived to see another day. Say a prayer or affirmation of gratitude each morning, giving thanks for family and friends, for life and all blessings.
- Be humble. “Humility reminds you that you are not the center of the universe, but you serve a larger order.” This also means keeping your ego and pride in check. “Because of pride we try to prove we are better than those around us. It makes us more certain and close-minded than we should be.” Be willing to hear out others. Be open-minded.
- Don’t be led astray. This means: Stay away from temptation. Be brave when the situation calls for it. Don’t look down on others. Try not to overindulge in food or drink.
- Trust in a force greater than yourself. The world can be a tough place and we need all the help we can get. Whether you believe in the God of the Bible, THE FORCE or a set of moral principles, we all need a guiding force.
- Know how to quiet the inner self. “Only by quieting the self can you be open to the external sources of strengths you will need. Only by muting the sound of your own ego can you see the world clearly.” That means engaging in a regular practice of meditation, contemplation or centering prayer.
- Determine what life is asking of you. We spend much of life focused on what we want—but we also need to discover what the world wants from us, what is your gift. That means finding it and then sharing it, in some way. This can be a hard one, but a question you should ponder often, if you have not found your gift.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change jobs or move to Delaware like I did. Maybe what you do IS what is yours to do. Whether in your work or in your volunteer time. We love our volunteers and that is a great way to help our community and the world.
Dalai Lama reminds us – love & compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
Maybe what we see in our world today is evidence of what the Dalai Lama means.
Let’s be FOR something…for love, for peace, for compassion…not against anything.
If we have an issue with that,
Johannes Tauler tells us, “In prayerful silence you must look into your own heart. No one can tell you better than yourself what comes between you and (your) God. Ask yourself. Then listen! —