So how have you been doing with this conversation, so to speak, with Rev. Mark Anthony Lord? Lots of interesting ideas and suggestions to help us get to know ourselves better and connect with our Higher Self. And THAT is what we truly want. It may come in different forms but deep down we know it’s to be closer to Source.
So, let’s see what Rev. Lord has for us today.
This chapter is titled “Want What You Want.”
And he brings in the verse from Matthew, 7:7-12, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
He suggests this verse holds the key to ending much of our suffering. A promise of support, abundance, great freedom
Have you asked? Have you knocked on the door three times as Jesus did?
Better still, do you know what you want?
I ask for what my heart desires and prepare to receive God’s good.
What do I truly want for my life? This is an important question. At times I may find myself waiting for God to deliver my good, yet I haven’t even considered what I really want. What is my heart’s greatest desire?
My heart’s longing originates in God. When I reflect on what I want to do, who I want to be, and where I want to go, my heart’s desire is revealed. It may unfold in an instant or slowly over time. The key is to ask, seek, and then patiently wait for clarity.
Today I ask myself, What do I truly want? In the stirring of my heart, God speaks to me and leads me to my right path. I listen for answers with eager anticipation.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.—Psalm 37:4-5
The Universe is a yes machine. Just ask, with feeling, with determination, with belief and especially, with faith.
The Universe doesn’t ask you to reconsider your thought, it just looks into your heart.
We learn that being selfish, wanting what we want wasn’t good
Now we are mixed with feeling of uncertainty…not knowing when it’s ok to want & when it’s not.
Eventuality our wanting becomes mixed with guilt, shame, fear, should and shouldn’ts, judgments & greed.
“When wanting something for yourself is judged so severely it can forever alter the way you view your needs and desires, causing you to hide and deny them.”
Our society has made it almost a sin to take care of ourselves. The vision of helping others at the expense of ourselves was, & still is to a degree, considered holy, Godlike.
Think about all the “prophets, the masters, those people who devote their lives to helping others—Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha. They were all living off of the earth, off of the goodness of others, not thinking of themselves, only of their calling.
Helping others is good, when we help family & friends, it is truly from our hearts
This is ‘love in action.’ It is not suffering. We do for others because it is the right thing to do.
The word sacrifice means to make sacred.
When we know it is the right thing to do, to look to others instead of ourselves, we don’t feel deprived…we feel fulfilled. We are making it sacred.
God is working through us. And it feels like it too, special. Sacred.
We are all selfish, we all have our own interests. And they are all different. You have yours and I have mine. You might not care for my selfish interests. But they are mine. I may not care for yours, but they are yours.
You are really the only person you can influence. It is your business to think about yourself, care for yourself, and want what you want…..no need to justify or explain.
That does not mean you can harm another or destroy property.
I love Byron Katie’s question: Who’s business is it? Mine? Yours? Gods?
Check yourself first about what is good and true for you
Rev. Mark tells us a percentage of our wanting comes from suffering-subtle and not so subtle beliefs of unworthiness, lack and limitation, doubt and worry. This discomfort is pushing you to want more, to change and grow.
Remember, the universe says yes to your wants, but also to the core, generating ideas and feelings from which wanting comes. A percentage of your wanting comes from beliefs of unworthiness, lack and limitation, doubt and worry.
It’s never a good time to want something when you are feeling fearful. Fear creates more fear. The same with thoughts of lack, feeling unlovable, feelings of regret, anger, worry.
So what can we do? First and foremost, become aware of your feelings. Take a breath, and place your attention of what is happening to you in this present moment. Remember to be in the NOW. (are you in the Now, now? Listening?)
Now look around….find something good, something beautiful…a flower, the ocean, the tree slowly waving in the breeze. A child enjoying playing in the sand, lovers walking hand in hand. Sun setting in beautiful colors. The playful kittens in the room or your dog tugging on a toy.
There is wonder and beauty all around us, if we just open our eyes.
You want to shift your energy from the sad or angry mood you were into something better, appreciation, gratitude.
Have compassion for yourself. If you are fearful or angry, get up and move around. Go for a walk, or a run, if you can. Clean the house. Weed the garden. Walk the dogs.
OR, work through those feelings, whatever they are. They are legitimate feelings, and in our work on self-love, it is important to know, understand what these feelings are all about.
Don’t deny yourself or judge the experience…just feel.
There is no right or wrong way to want, only your right relationship to it.
True freedom comes when you can fully embrace all that you want with no justifications, excuses, shame, or denial.
Imagination is one of our 12 powers, some feel the greatest. So it’s natural to have it, to use it.
Of course, we know we all can’t have everything we want,
Some people try to fill a hole inside themselves with ‘things’ in their attempt to provide safety, attention, or even escape. Just because one wants something doesn’t mean they can have it, or even take it.
Do you recall the lessons on the 10 commandments? Thou shall not steal. If something is not yours, it’s not meant to be yours…go get your own! Your own car, house, friend, wife or husband….
Hoarding, over spending, behavior that causes pain & suffering to another is no freedom, it is the misunderstanding and misuse of wanting.
Allowing yourself to want what you want, without causing any harm to yourself or another, will create within you a deep feeling of contentment that has nothing to do with having more….you will love what you have. Gratitude for what you have opens the possibility for receiving more.
You are able to discern what is really important for you. What is really important for you?
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13)
Isn’t that wonderful? It says, in essence, “Whatever it is that you want, if you ask for it in Jesus’ name, you’ll get it.” The promise is so straightforward, and there are no qualifiers. No if’s, and’s or but’s. There’s no, “As long as it’s a good idea…or “Just so long as it doesn’t seem greedy…” It doesn’t say any of that. It says, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that I will do…”
Let me tell you something, our Creator is not glorified by poverty. God is not glorified by illness. The Divine is not glorified when you feel guilty or unworthy. Spirit is not glorified when you run around playing the victim.
God is glorified when you stand up and acknowledge who you are and claim your birthright.
And who are you? You are a divine being, a child of God the Most High, a person who deserves to have every good thing that life has to offer.
Now, it may be that some of the things are hard for you to accept. They might be the opposite of what you’ve been told all your life, and you might feel that you can’t just transform your thinking instantly, as if by magic. Learning a brand new way of thinking can take some time and concerted effort, so I’d like to introduce a practice that many people find helpful in changing a long-held mindset: affirmations.
And here is a great one: “It brings my Divine great joy to fulfill my every dream and desire.”
Try writing some affirmations for yourself. Make it personal in present tense. And then believe, have faith in your God and in yourself.
Here’s an exercise for you to help you to understand why you didn’t receive what you thought you wanted. Make 2 columns on a piece of paper. AT the top left side write “What I didn’t get that I wanted” and at the top right hand side write “why”.
Be honest with yourself and see what you come up with, you may be surprised what you discover.
After you have discovered and understood the whys of not getting what you thought you wanted, make another list, this time listing “What I did get that I wanted” and “Why.”
In each instance, can you see the Universe at work? Did you discover self-sabotaging patterns? Could you see how some things were not meant to be & be ok with that?
An interesting exercise….let me know how you make out.
“It doesn’t matter how much you want. What really matters is how much you want it. The extent and complexity of the problem does not matter was much as does the willingness to solve it.”
When did you start loving yourself?
Or maybe I should ask, have you started to love yourself?
We have been taught from our birth to look outside ourselves for love and acceptance. And that has been ingrained generation after generation after generation. Look to your parents and grandparents. Did they love themselves? Did they take care of themselves? Maybe a little.
Or maybe as they grew older and realized that it was past time to look to themselves for love and acceptance, because unconditional love and acceptance was so very hard to find from others.
We were always taught to be good, do whatever was asked to receive a bit of love. We tried so hard to be perfect in this physical world.
I don’t know of any person who is perfect.
Yes, we are perfect as spiritual beings, but when we have this physical cloak we call a body and live in this dualistic world, there is no perfect human.
SO, today, Rev. Mark Anthony Lord is asking us to “Love Yourself Madly.”
Think about how you were growing up. Didn’t you try to do what was asked of you, even if it wasn’t what you wanted? Now I’m not talking about being nasty or a trouble maker, breaking the law.
What I’m asking is, did you follow what was expected of you? Let’s say you grew up in the 50’s & 60’s like I did. Were you encouraged to be whom you wanted to be or was it expected that you follow the traditions of your sex and class?
I was told, “Girls don’t do that.”
That was sports, or hang out or go into town alone. And our town was small.
To this day, I don’t know how I got my parents to agree that I could go to college, even tho I had to pay my way.
Eventually, many of us realize that our needs are important too, and it is up to us to see to them. We realize that we too, are worthy.
Instead of abandoning bits of ourselves to satisfy others, we come to realize that it’s our turn to be whom we were meant to be.
How long has it taken you to realize that you have been downplaying your wisdom and accomplishments in order to make others feel comfortable?
It is past time for us to be ourselves.
Our society is outmoded; self-respect is considered selfish. It’s not. If you don’t honor yourself, who will?
We don’t have to be someone else to be loved and appreciated. “Imagine what the world would be like if everyone truly loved themselves and sourced their own affirmation, recognition, and respect from within.”
“Every time you look outside yourself for love, recognition, or approval, you are abandoning yourself.”
Think about that…how does that feel to you?
We’ve heard this many times already, you must love yourself to be able to love others. And I would think many of us would refute that. “How could you say I don’t love my friends, family…?
It made me wonder if I was loving with conditions?
“A Course in Miracles” talks about ‘special love’ and ‘holy love.’ Special love is what we would normally think of when we talk about loving a friend, or spouse, or even a pet.
Holy Love is in all of us. It’s always available and has no contingencies…any person, place or thing. Holy Love can be shared without possessing and it includes everyone.
Our healing comes in casting a net of holy love over our entire self that allows every single, separated part to come home into the light of acceptance.
Here’s the reading I choose for today:
I bless others and I bless myself.
Do you bless others but never think of blessing yourself? Do you forgive others, but do not think of forgiving yourself? Do you obey the commandment to love your neighbor, but do not think of loving yourself? It is time to remember to bless yourself.
Bless yourself today. Bless your body; it is Gods holy temple. Bless your mind, heart, and soul. You are a child of God and your capabilities are unlimited.
Sometimes memories come back of happenings wherein you wish you had acted or spoken differently. You cannot change what is past but you can know that God has turned it into a blessing and forgiven you. Bless yourself with the balm of forgiveness.
Bless yourself and love yourself. You have done some fine things in your life. The Father has many important things for you to do. He can do so much more through you if you love, forgive, and bless yourself.
Carl Jung: “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
Are you fearful of your true self? Ask yourself WHY?
Our minds have pounded us with enormous amounts of self-recrimination and judgment. We must begin to listen to what we are thinking and saying to ourselves in a nonreactive way.
We can’t change the past but we can realize that it has no real power of its own.
Byron Katie would ask, “Is it true?”
If you are present, in the NOW, it is not true….it’s in the past, in the story you are telling yourself.
When we love ourselves, we have an appreciation for our own worth or value. We don’t need affirmation from others and we don’t need them to tell us that we are good enough, smart enough, attractive enough—we simply know. As a result, we have positive views about ourselves and feel good about who we are most of the time. We also tend to have higher levels of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
“Finding yourself is not really how it works. You aren’t a ten-dollar bill in last winters coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are. “Finding yourself” is actually returning to yourself. An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you. Emily McDowell
What does loving yourself actually mean? Deepak Chopra
Loving yourself means loving all of yourself (your quirks, flaws, imperfections) and accepting every single part of you that you cannot change. It means finding peace within your body and soul.
Step 1: Make Contact with Your Inner Self
This implies paying more attention to self-care. Through meditation, self-reflection, or contemplation, and the experience of quiet at least a few minutes every day, you make contact with your inner world. You learn to appreciate and enjoy it.
Step 2: Honestly Face Your Inner Obstacles and Resistance
Most people don’t like to face their weaknesses and flaws because they judge against them. But you are human, and you will find that your sense of insecurity and anxiety represents feelings from the past that can be healed. In fact, they want to be released if you will give them a chance.
Look inside and let the process of releasing begin. Healing can proceed along many avenues—from therapy and support groups, to energy work, massage, mind-body programs, and various Eastern medical approaches.
Step 3: Deal with Old Wounds
One could also call this advanced healing. As old residues of negative emotions are released, you find that you are stuck with resentments, hurts, and scars that must be dealt with. Beneath the scar such wounds feel very fresh. It takes help from someone else who understands the situation to go into these dark places—it could be a close friend, mentor, confidante, priest, or therapist. The work can be done safely, without anxiety, and once you start, there’s a tremendous sense of exhilaration, even triumph in the process. Just find someone who has walked the path successfully and sympathizes with you fully.
Step 4: Forgive Your Past
You shouldn’t jump too quickly into forgiveness. It’s all too easy to pretend to yourself that you forgive old hurts and abusive treatment, when in fact what you are eager for is to escape the pain. The absence of pain, achieved through healing, gives you the right foundation for deep, lasting forgiveness. Self-acceptance is required first, and the realization that you—and everyone around you—has been doing the best they can from their own level of awareness. This can be quite a challenge when someone has hurt you deeply, but you can’t fully separate from wrongdoing until you accept that others are trapped inside a reality they can’t escape.
Step 5: Accept where You Are Right Now
This, too, is a stage you shouldn’t jump into too quickly. The present moment isn’t free of the burdens, memories, and wounds of the past. They must be attended to before you can look around, breathe easily, and love the moment you are in right now. A good beginning is to catch yourself when you have a bad memory and say, “I am not that person anymore.” For the truth is that you aren’t.
Step 6: Form Relationships where You Feel Loved and Appreciated
The path to unconditional love isn’t meant to be lonely. You should walk it with people who reflect the love you see in yourself. You are likely to look around at some point and realize that not everyone among your family and friends are in sync with your aspirations. Without rejecting them, you have the right to find people who understand the path you’re walking and sympathize with it. They are more likely to appreciate you for who you are now and who you want to become.
Step 7: Practice the Kind of Love You Aspire to Receive
We all wish to be loved. But the only way to realistically find “the one” is to be “the one” yourself. Like attracts like, and the more you live your own ideal of love, the more your light will draw another light to you. This single point, I am told, has helped most people find their love.
Here are some steps to loving yourself:
- Use daily affirmations. Affirmations work to help boost your self-esteem, which in turn, contributes to your goal of fearless self-love.
- Stop your negative self-talk. Adding fuel to the fire of unhealthy thinking patterns is the habit of negative self-talk.
- Challenge social expectations. While working towards fearless self-love, we need to be mindful of social influences.
- Build your strengths. If social influence plays a role in how we shape our motivations, we run the risk of focusing our attention in areas not honoring our unique gifts.
- Focus on your success. We each have a tendency to focus on the negative events in our lives before remembering the positive.
- Practice self-compassion. One of the most vital ways to grow self-love is through the act of self-compassion.
- Live gratefully. A grateful heart brings a joyful spirit. Gratitude is more than affirmations and positive self-talk.
- Find the humor in life. Life is hard and if we spend too much time thinking about all those hardships, we are bound to suffer.
- Don’t forget to smile. Seeking a fearless self-love should include smiling. Loving yourself is striving to reach your fullest potential.
- Ask for help. Allow others to lighten your load so you can focus on the most important tasks.
- Set boundaries. If we don’t set the standard for how others treat us, then other are allowed to treat us however they feel.
- Stay home when needed. If you struggle with holding boundaries with yourself and others, maybe your self-care is lacking.
- Share your true feelings. Self-love asks us to be raw and honest with ourselves. Honest with your true values, morals, wants, and needs.
- Surround yourself with goodness. Seeking a fearless self-love is a full-time job. All aspects of your life need to stay focused on your ultimate goal – self-love and happiness.
- Remember that you are loved. Affirmations, boundaries and positivity can help to increase your self-love.
None of these two lists, however, remind us to take care of our bodies. We have heard it many times, our bodies are the temple housing our Christ Spirit.
“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.”
Self-awareness begins with you here and now in this moment, in every moment of your life. Kriyananda Swami
Acording to Mr. Activated, these need to be eliminated:
Envy prevents you from focusing on yourself
Ego prevents you from learning from others
Anger prevents you from seeing clearly
Ignorance prevents you from making good choices
Fear prevents you from seeking opportunities
Last week we started our Lenten Series, using Rev. Mark Anthony Lord’s book, “Thou Shall Not Suffer – 7 Steps to a Life of Joy.”
We talked a bit about the very word SUFFER. It’s not a word widely used in Unity Circles, for sure. But as a spiritual being living in a human form, that physical world can present as suffering, if we allow it. Remember, our Principles, one of which is we create our world by our very thoughts.
We are made in the very image and likeness of our creator. And our first task was to fire our old God and hire a new one! Remember, Rev. Lord’s first chapter was, “Get a New God.”
How did you do with your firing and hiring? If we wish a personal relationship with the God of our understanding, we must put the time and energy into that relationship. After all, any relationship takes two.
And when you did your firing and hiring, did you use a different name for your God? Some people have a hard time with certain words that we grew up with in traditional Christian churches. It might be the word God, or church or even Father.
We in Unity traditionally use God, Divine Mind, Spirit, Universe, Creator, or Divine Energy.
It’s what we are feeling in our hearts when we use whatever word or even feeling when referring to our Creator. You choose, because in reality, no word fits all that that Divine Principle is…we just use a word so we can express what we are referring to as we communicate with each other.
It’s just easier to say God, Spirit, Divine Energy…
Now, let’s look at this week’s step toward more Joy; Chapter 2, “Forgive Yourself and Others.”
Forgiveness again you might think or even say!
Didn’t Jesus tell us, 70 times 7?
Here’s the Reading I selected for this week: Forgiveness
I let go of the past. I let God fill me with newness of life.
Charles Fillmore has written: all growth takes place through these two attitudes, a letting go and a taking hold, or a denial and affirmation. First we let go of old material concepts; we cannot get into a new consciousness until we let go the old…
Then there come into our mind ideas direct from the Fountainhead, and we see everything in a new light.
I let go the past. I let go outdated thinking and circumscribes beliefs. I let go any thought that I must continue in some endeavor simply because it has always been done this way. I use the power of denial to break any bond of negativity. I am free to enjoy the newness of life that is all around me.
I let God fill my mind with new and novel ideas. I am encouraged to adopt new activities, to step out in faith and meet new people and new experiences. I see my world in a new light, and I marvel at what I see!
“He put a new song in my mouth.” Psalms 40:3
“Forgive anyone who caused you pain or harm. Keep in mind forgiveness is not for others. It is for you. Forgiving is not forgetting. It is remembering without anger. It frees up your power, heals your body, mind and spirit. Forgiveness opens up a pathway to a new place of peace, where you can persist despite what happened to you.”
Are we ever not needing to forgive? Mostly ourselves, right? Often I don’t have to work on forgiving others…it’s just second nature, thankfully. And I would venture you are the same for the most part.
But forgiving ourselves? If we could just be more God-like! God doesn’t need to forgive. God doesn’t see an error. God sees and knows only love.
Catherine Ponder reminds us: “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
What is forgiveness? Rev. Lord defines it as a spiritual practice that frees us from the prison of regret; it clears away blame, removes judgment and heals a broken heart. It restores unconditional love and acceptance.
Forgiveness is for the giver.
So how do we forgive, especially in trying times?
We must be willing to forgive, to go through that process of surrendering and letting go. And it might just take 70 times 7 or 490 times!
Seven is a mystical number…it represents completion. So 70 times 7 is the infinite forgiveness, its forgiving until forgiveness is no more required. Your spirit has comprehended what our human minds cannot, that our true spirit has not been harmed.
Forgiveness is not something you do once and done, obviously, or we wouldn’t be guided by Jesus to do it 490 times! It’s a practice, a tool that helps to awaken us to our wholeness.
Deepak Chopra gives us 7 steps to forgiveness: (There’s that number 7 again!)
- Feel your emotions and face them directly.
Resistance to forgiveness is fueled by emotions. You can rationalize why somebody else did something unforgivable, because deep down you feel angry, resentful, victimized, and hurt. Be honest with your grievance and go to the emotional level where it is rooted. Let the feeling be what it is. The purpose of this step is twofold, because if you confront your feelings, you also have the choice to release them.
Take responsibility for your own emotions. If you can, let go of at least a small portion of your story of how things were supposed to go. Letting go is almost as hard as forgiving, I know. At least say to yourself, “Maybe if I let go of my interpretation of events and what is unfair, I don’t have to be stuck with this feeling.”
- Write down your reasons for not forgiving someone.
This is best done in the form of a letter addressed to the person you feel wronged you. List all your resentments and reasons in detail. Set the letter aside for a day and return to it to add anything else you forgot to say. When you are completely satisfied, put the letter away to consult later. Don’t mail it. Its purpose was to get everything off your chest.
- Ask yourself how motivated you are to offer forgiveness.
Before you started this process, you may have had little motivation to forgive the other person. There can be various reasons for this stubbornness, usually including righteous indignation. Now check to see if your resistance to forgiveness is ready to move. But don’t set any expectation on yourself. If you are still mad as hell, if you feel devastated by hurt, or simply consider what was done to you unforgivable, it’s better to know the truth than to pretend. No matter how weak or strong your motivation is, say to yourself, “All right, this is where I really am.” Sometimes simply being honest with yourself begins to thaw the log jam.
- Let go of as much resentment and anger as you can, here and now.
You can only change what you are aware of, and by now you have gained self-awareness about the situation. Return to the letter that outlines all your grievances and reflect on each point one at a time. As you do, ask yourself, “Can I begin to let go of this resistance?” Don’t force yourself to be magnanimous but stay with how you really feel.
Some items on your list will have begun to soften, and when you encounter this, say, “Maybe there is another interpretation of this event than the painful one I am holding on to.” Release what you can and no more. At the same time, feel the burden of anger and resentment begin to lift. That’s a positive feeling which will increase your motivation to keep with the forgiving process.
- Envision what the future would be like if you do forgive the other person.
Any place you feel your grievance beginning to melt away, pause and envision what it would feel like to be at peace with the other person. Sense the warmth in your heart. If it leads to tears or sobbing, that’s okay—catharsis is a powerful emotion. If you can, feel the possibility of loving the other person, wishing them well, and setting them free—all of which is in your power.
- Reconnect at a sincere positive level.
When you can’t forgive someone, you usually isolate yourself from them, either physically or emotionally. Make an effort to repair this isolation and decide the appropriate level of reconnection. The safest course may be to write a note or send a card expressing your desire to reconnect and then leaving the next step to the other person. Be risk-averse here. You are treading on sensitive ground for both of you.
- Find the place of forgiveness in your own awareness.
The final step of the forgiveness process is to shift your state of awareness. Forgiveness is a state of consciousness, not an action. Emotions get you closer to forgiveness yet they also block the way. If you remove the obstacles, it turns out that forgiveness is completely natural and generally far easier than you may have supposed.
More importantly, once you shift your awareness into forgiveness, there is a much smaller chance that you will relapse. The experience of being a forgiving person becomes part of your spiritual journey, something you deeply need and desire.
I think those steps could help ready us for the exercise Mark Anthony Lord gives us in this chapter.
And can you see that the suggestions by Deepak are easily used to work on ourselves?
Rev. Lord has an exercise for us in this chapter too. It’s called the 70 x 7 Forgiveness Circle. You would make 7 concentric circles, each with a different layer of relationships to you.
The Center would be labeled Your God, next Yourself, Your Family, Your intimate relationships – spouse, partner, friends, followed by Your acquaintances, then The establishment and finally, Your Beliefs.
For 7 days, you would write a prayer of forgiveness, beginning with Your God and working out to the edge with Your beliefs. You would read each prayer 10 times every day for the week, giving you 70 x 7 by the end of the 7 days.
The God of your understanding does the work, you just need to be willing and open to receive.
For example, pg. 28
Does it seem like a lot of work? Maybe. Do you want to be free of suffering? Then one week isn’t a lot of time in the scheme of things.
So, there are two ways to aid your work on forgiveness. Let me know how things are working for you.
Let’s complete this message by introducing you to the Ho’oponopono Technique.
Ho – oh – Po-no – Po-no
Step 1: Repentance – I’M SORRY
As I mention above, you are responsible for everything in your mind, even if it seems to be “out there.” Once you realize that, it’s very natural to feel sorry. I know I sure do. If I hear of a tornado, I am so full of remorse that something in my consciousness has created that idea. I’m so very sorry that someone I know has a broken bone that I realize I have caused.
This realization can be painful, and you will likely resist accepting responsibility for the “out there” kind of problems until you start to practice this method on your more obvious “in here” problems and see results.
So choose something that you already know you’ve caused for yourself? Over-weight? Addicted to nicotine, alcohol or some other substance? Do you have anger issues? Health problems? Start there and say you’re sorry. That’s the whole step: I’M SORRY. Although I think it is more powerful if you say it more clearly: “I realize that I am responsible for the (issue) in my life and I feel terrible remorse that something in my consciousness has caused this.”
Step 2: Ask Forgiveness – PLEASE FORGIVE ME
Don’t worry about who you’re asking. Just ask! PLEASE FORGIVE ME. Say it over and over. Mean it. Remember your remorse from step 1 as you ask to be forgiven.
Step 3: Gratitude – THANK YOU
Say “THANK YOU” – again it doesn’t really matter who or what you’re thanking. Thank your body for all it does for you. Thank yourself for being the best you can be. Thank God. Thank the Universe. Thank whatever it was that just forgave you. Just keep saying THANK YOU.
Step 4: Love – I LOVE YOU
This can also be step 1. Say I LOVE YOU. Say it to your body, say it to God. Say I LOVE YOU to the air you breathe, to the house that shelters you. Say I LOVE YOU to your challenges. Say it over and over. Mean it. Feel it. There is nothing as powerful as Love.
Lent began on Wednesday. And we have a prosperity program going through the Lenten season, instead of giving something up as was the usual practice, back in the good ole days, in place of a cup of Starbucks or a candy bar or ice cream cone or maybe just for the heck of it, place that money aside and have an extra donation for the time between now and Easter. You choose the amount and help Unity build its prosperity. Make sure to mark the check for the prosperity program.
Also, today we are starting our Lenten Series based upon the book by Rev. Mark Anthony Lord, “Thou Shall Not Suffer – 7 Steps to a Life of Joy.”
Each week we will discuss a chapter with a suggestion on how we can increase our joy, and who wouldn’t want that?!?!?
Did you have a little pushback when you read the title of Mark’s book? Suffering…not a Unity thing, is it?
True, but let’s not forget, even though we are divine, we are human also, so, even if we have our suffering under control now, I’m betting there were times, unfortunately, when we actually had ourselves believing we were suffering, or even that we needed to suffer!
Mark Anthony Lord reminds us that we are “here, on this earth, to be happy, prosperous and free.” We aren’t here to waste our time worrying.
Many times we have been told that “suffering is inevitable,” and “a part of being human.”
We are not here to suffer!!
He tells us…“What if it were possible to experience all the trials life may bring from a place of acceptance, curiosity, strength, and a spiritual perspective that allows you to remain connected to your joy and appreciation throughout it all?
This is the Kingdom of Heaven, a state of mind, an inner reality and point of focus that remains calm and connected to the Spirit of love and Oneness. Like the Eye of a Storm.
This Kingdom is always right here, right now; perfectly located within you.
Once again, we see this verse from Romans: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.”
How are we taught, asked to conform?
Freedom from suffering does not mean there will never be any pain or sorrow…feelings are a natural part of us.
Being authentic is more important than being happy all the time. Our feelings like sadness, grief, fear, anger, etc are messengers telling us we are off course, not connected to our higher good.
It would behoove us to pay attention to them. Being authentic is where we choose to be.
Our first chapter in the book is titled, “Get a new God.” Let your mind wander a bit, and where does it go?
I can recall vividly, as I attended the United Methodist Church back home. My brothers and I attended with my Uncle & Aunt on my Father’s side. And even though we heard about Jesus loving the little children in Sunday School and how he died to save us in church, I always wondered “Where was God?”
What was the God of your childhood like? How did that picture change as you grew?
And where is that image of the God of your understanding now?
That question got me, eventually, to Unity. Maybe that was a key for you too.
Look at our first Principle – “There is only one Presence and one Power, God the Good.”
There is only God. God in us and we in God. We are One with the divine because we ARE divine.
Here’s the Reading I selected for this Message
I DWELL IN GOD; GOD DWELLS IN ME.
IF I HAVE thought of God as remote, unconcerned with my welfare, I supplant this concept of God with the knowledge that God is not separated from me by time and space. I actually dwell in God; God dwells in me. For God is Spirit, God is Mind, God is Principle.
God as Spirit is forever accessible. God as Mind is everywhere present. God as Principle is unchangeable. God is Father, Creator, cause and source of all that is.
Knowing this, the true character of God, I realize that God is not guilty of the vagaries of human conduct. God is love. God is light. God is substance. God is the only real presence and power in the universe. This knowledge brings me a serene peace and confidence in the final supremacy of goodness and righteousness in me and in my world.
I affirm for myself: “I dwell in God; God dwells in me.” I affirm for my loved ones: “You dwell in God; God dwells in you.” I affirm for all men everywhere: “We dwell in God; God dwells in us.”
Abide in me, and I in you. JOHN 15:4.
So the first chapter in Rev. Lord’s book tells us to get a new GOD.
And have you? Is your God of today an unconditional loving God or one from the past, a punishing, strict God?
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the unconditional love, thank you very much!
According to the Gods of Genesis, humans were made in the image and likeness of.
But we humans, thinking we are so smart, make God in our own image. That’s where the vengeful, prejudice God of the Hebrew Bible came from and what most of us started out believing in…the old man in the sky with a long white beard with a huge book of life next to HIM to keep track of all the wrongs we have committed in our life. The God with all the human personality aspects, whether good or not.
This is why we need a new God.
In his book, Mark Anthony Lord includes some exercises to help us through the process. Here’s one; write a letter to your old God and fire them!
Tell this old God why things didn’t work out. Go deep into your psyche so you can detox, be specific. This is like spring cleaning…getting the old out to make way for the new.
What do you think?
After you have cleaned out all the cobwebs, it’s time to hire your new God.
Your relationship with God will develop according to the time and commitment you put into it.
So now you want to write an ad for a God for hire. You get to create the perfect God for yourself, it will be different than mine or your spouses or your best friends.
I hope you give these exercises a chance and see what you come up with…it could be quite interesting.
The Indian guru Ramana Maharshi: “Each one thinks of God according to his own degree of advancement. Worship God with or without form until you know who you are.”
What does that mean? To me it means that, just like the Bible, our soul journeys through life, learning as we grow. When we start out, our God may be the God of our childhood. But as we journey and question and learn, our God becomes much more personal.
Before I would ask God why…now I ask myself what is mine to do.
The God of your being is the voice that celebrates you, adores you, and gives you clear guidance and direction. This is what I want my God to be for me.
“When you feel good, you are feeling God.”