Posts in Category: 2023

Sacred Selfishness

Go where you are celebrated, not merely tolerated! ~ Unknown
What you bring forth out of yourself from the inside will save you. What you do not bring forth out of yourself from the inside will destroy you.” Gospel of Thomas
If you don't love yourself, care for yourself, honor yourself, who will?

How you will accomplish brave and wonderful things,
make a difference in your lifetime, enjoy the experience,, give your gifts,
and love your life…Is to re-define the word “selfish”
and practice RADICAL SELF-CARE
while allowing yourself to receive OUTRAGEOUS SUPPORT!

WEEK #1 OF 7 - SACRED SELFISHNESS

We are entering into the 2023 holiday season which can be incredibly difficult for people. It is a time where families get together and most of us have many years of holiday memories – some good and some challenging. Whether your memories are ones of loving connections or not so loving connections, these memories can impact our ability to move through the month with happiness and joy.  Most of us have lost loved ones over the years for whatever reasons and may be estranged from family members or friends. This means that grief and loneliness also surface. Add to this pile, concerns about money, the stress of shopping, and the excesses of eating and drinking. I cannot think of a better time to contemplate what it means to engage in  radical self-care practices and to open to receiving support from others and ourselves.

When we explore ‘self-care’ we are exploring the physical body,  your mind or mental state, and the Self which is your Spirit. Care means the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of something.Your physical self requires care and your spiritual Self requires care. The question is how can you provide what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance and protection of your body,  mind and spirit in an radical way, different than what you may have done in the past? 

The opposite of care is neglect.  There are consequences when we neglect the body, mind, and Spirit. Neglect expresses itself in different ways for different people but common effects  are worry, anxiety, exhaustion, feeling ungrounded, sad and overwhelmed. All of this can lead to resentment, depression and feeling paralyzed in making decisions or taking action.  I suspect that most of the world’s violence would disappear if we were all to implement a few simple self-care principles. Self-love and forgiveness are the foundations for spiritual growth. You are an essence (a spirit) that has temporarily entered a body, for a finite period of time  to enjoy the experience, express your unique gifts, and evolve on your eternal journey. You are a spiritual being having a human experience. The physical body, mind and Spirit thrive under certain conditions and languish under others.

Most of us are not very good at self-care. But, you will have to become aware of your needs in a whole new way and become willing to put them ahead of the needs of others in order to live this wonderful life.  This is not easy for most of us. We have baggage with the word selfish, We have baggage with what we regard as selfish behavior and lurking doubts about our own worth and value. We live in a culture that says that a life worthy of heaven is one where you have cared for those less fortunate and given to the poor and needy. It is true that caring for others is an inherent aspect of our godliness, but while caring about others is good, while sacrificing for others is not.

I recall my mom telling the 5 of us to finish every last morsel of our dinner because there were children starving in China.  It probably never occurred to most of us to ask if cleaning our plates ever really resulted in feeding anyone else.We ended up being chubby children for no good reason. Does our not having a lot of money ever affect anyone else’s poverty level. The idea that our doing without is noble so that others can have more or is a losing proposition. And most importantly is has created the idea that caring about oneself or considering our needs to be of primary importance is 'selfish'.

 We can learn to be selfish in a way that serves ourselves and empowers us to serve the world in meaningful ways. Radical Self-Care is the first step towards getting your needs met while building a healthy reserve that allows for true service and generosity to the world.

So let’s talk about healthy sacred selfishness. The definition of selfish means "having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of others." Seriously - Who wants to be that?  The definition itself has such a negative spin, we might even try to hide the fact that we have any selfish tendencies whatsoever. Not a particularly authentic or meaningful way to live our lives.

A change of mind always begins with an examination of what we believe and why we believe it.  Only then can our beliefs become conscious and only then can we make new choices. Do not underestimate the value of simply becoming aware one of the first steps to growth, change and enlightenment. Socrates said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." 

  • What were you taught or observed in your family about ‘selfishness as a child’?

    What are your opinions and how do you feel about selfish people?

    Is ‘selfish’ good or bad from your point of view?

    On a scale of 1-10, how difficult is it for you to take care of yourself first?

There are so many reasons to change get a little bit more self-focused in life:

  • For the sake of your personal and professional success: In the consciousness of ‘thriving’, you will be engaged in activities which you experience to be fun and meaningful. To be present, receptive, and engaged and successful in life requires you feel good in your body, mind and Spirit.

  • We are here to ‘get’ anything from the world to be happy and successful. A spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally healthy you, will automatically live in the world as a generous, generative force for good. You will release out of hoarding, collecting or protecting when you are rested, supported and clear.

  • To be a good steward of your God-given gifts means to not squander your existence. Remember the story of the prodigal son who left his father’s house with his inheritance and entered into a time of personal neglect. When it was over, him face down in the pigpen, he realized his predicament and went back home. Radical self-care allows us to stay connected to who we really are and how we really serve the world.

  • “Fortune favors the brave and the brave are guided by their own light” is a beautiful quote that speaks to one of the primary benefits of embracing this idea of truly honoring who you are in your life by selfishly committing to that which you are, that which you love and to ensuring your healthy and exuberant capacity to move around the world spreading whatever good is yours to spread.

Your assignment this week is to explore where you are in the conversation. Without judging yourself, simply see if you have any conscious or unconscious beliefs, feelings or baggage with the word or energy of ‘selfish’. You might want to get a notebook and begin to journal what comes up for you as. you contemplate. Now that we have set the stage, we can continue with Session #2 next week.

Week #2 - Radical Care of the Body (11-12)
Week #3 - Radical Care of the Mind (11-19)
Week #4 - Radical Care of your Spirit (11-26)
Week #5 - The Power of Purpose and Commitment (12/3)
Week #6 - Celebration Consciousness (12/10)
Week #7 - Allowing Outrageous Support (12/17)

If you would like, join me live on Facebook or YouTube at 6pm est every Sunday

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Trust and Love

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." ~ Corrie Ten Boom
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding. Seek God's will in all you do and you will be shown which path to take. ~Provers 3:5-6 NLT

Spiritual Perspectives
Trust God, Love People
Rev. Denise Schubert

I am happy to be back writing again for a minute.  Due to travel for the next couple of months, I am taking a break from Sunday Night Alive streaming on FaceBook and YouTube but will blog more often!
For a quick update, all is well in my world.  I continue to support the Unity of Naples community, am living in Naples Florida and doing exceeding well physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  I think that the 7th decade of my life is shaping up to be most extraordinary so far. I will be returning to South Africa for the month of March in the spring.  Tanya, the proprieter of Bush Baby Haven where I have spent so many months, is expecting a baby girl next month and I can't wait to meet her. So for those of you who love hearing about and seeing Africa as much as I do, stay turned.
As always, my purpose and intention with this blog is to promote and support practical thoughts and ideas which enhance our spiritual journey and guide us into increased happiness, authenticity and power.  Enjoy this week's offering on the right relationship between us and others and us and God.
I was raised in a family that had no faith tradition whatsoever.  I heard my mother once tell someone we were presbyterian, but I think she was just trying to avoid being embarrassed because our family was not really anything.  My sisters and I did attend Sunday school briefly when I was around 10 – while Mom waited in the car.  This was also to avoid being embarrassed by the fact that her children had no idea who Adam and Eve were, that Noah once saved all the animals of the world and that a human being can survive being swallowed by a whale.
I wasn’t too concerned about religion or spirituality until 1963 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  Even then it wasn’t because I was so fond of Kennedy, but my parents were, and their devastation at this event was deeply upsetting to me.  I found myself wandering into a Catholic Church and in truth, it felt kind of holy and good.
I didn’t revisit anything remotely having to do with God until 1995 when my then husband Michael and I were having serious irreconcilable differences.  I had this idea that a little God might help us.  As it turned out, God didn’t help us, but coming to understand how the universe works and my role in the working of it – made a huge difference to me. I proceeded to do a headlong dive into my inner universe and not only improved every area of my entire life but decided to be about the business of spirituality by obtaining a Master Degree in Consciousness studies and becoming an ordained New Thought Minister.
That was over 25 years ago.  I was 44 years young at that time.  I am 72 years young now and I can’t even imagine where I would be or how I would be feeling without my unwavering belief in a something  greater than myself – especially when there is so much unconditional love, regard and support that accompanies my walk of faith.
Today, my topic is “Love People - Trust God” to explore why this is a better life strategy than “Trust People and Love God”. I suppose the bottom line is that in my mind the purpose of life is to be happy, curious, brave, authentic, and full of enthusiasm and zeal. This means living with a kind of autonomy and self-sufficiency with our primary reliance on our capacity to generate all of things from within us.  This is opposed to looking to people and circumstances to always do what makes us happy or fill-in-the-blank. Our naïve expectation that any other person is more interested in us than in themselves leads to a lot of disappointment.  Don’t you agree?  This idea of trusting people should be approached with caution because unlike God, people (especially people who operate 100% identified with their ego or personality) is like trusting a dog to fly. Maybe they will and maybe they won’t. Speaking for myself, it has been my experience that people will not do what you want, when you want, or have their bodies where you want their bodies to be – unless it suits their personal aspirations.
I figure to avoid all of that misplaced trust and inevitable disappointment; it is worthy of contemplating that maybe we have it wrong.  Maybe the idea is not to trust people and love God. Perhaps the real power-play is to trust God and do what God does so well - which is to love people. It has worked so well in my life; I thought a good thing to share.
You might need to think about “God” a bit differently to embrace this great idea.  God is not a man, on a cloud, fervently working to be all and do all for all.  God is more like an ocean.  Water everywhere. And we are more like fish.  Swimming in an ocean of divinity.  Whatever the creator of the cosmos is, it is that in which we live, move, and have our being.  It is surrounding us, pressing in on us, within us – closer to us than our breath.  Most importantly, it is un-changing, eternal, and completely count-on-able.  When you have faith, yes – the size of a mustard seed – you will begin to experience your relationship to this unfathomable energy that is both transcendent and eminent. It is in this relationship that you live and co-create your life.  All of it.  The internal feelings, the external circumstances.  It is through God’s love and laws that you have the capacity to move through your incarnation with effortlessness and joy. That is worth trusting.
And then we find ourselves moving around on a planet with 8 billion others – who may or may not know there is more to life than what the a purely material existence provides for them.  Until a person comes from a place of finding good within themselves, they are not trustworthy (no judgment) so the only logical and practical thing to do is to not trust them.  Perhaps the sane thing to do is to love them in exactly the same way that God loves them.  This is practical.  I know that you know that you have not always been trustworthy.  You have disappointed people, hurt people, betrayed someone.  Right?  And is it not true that God loved you anyway? If you are not sure, the answer is yes, God loves you no matter what!
Try this little switch and see if it doesn’t relieve some of the pressure of making people fit a mold that you think they should fit so that you can feel good about yourself or your life.  Cultivate your connection to the Divine – feel it, commune with it, talk to it, walk with it.  It feels amazing.  And then as you encounter the others in your life just look at them with love in your heart.  This will allow you to be flexible, forgiving, tolerant and detached - enough to not have your happiness invested in something so unreliable. Plus, an incredible side benefit is that when you love someone anyway – they tend to become more lovable people.
Trust the one who caused you to be here.
Love the others who are here with you.
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Spiritual Perspectives From Seabiscuit

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” ~ Richard Bach

You don’t throw a whole life away just because it is banged up a little bit. ~ Tom the Trainer

Spiritual Perspectives
Seabiscuit
Recap from the Live Stream, July 16, 2023

There is so much value in learning to look at life from a spiritual perspective and not merely from the point of view of the ego. With the ego we look from fear.  With the spirit we look from love. With the ego we are at the effect of the external world. With spirit, we are the architects of our world. Learning to do this provides the way for us to be victorious over the big and small challenges of life and enables us to enjoy an unusually expanded level of peace and well-being. For the most part, the world is organized around mediocrity and in very few places and circumstances are we asked to be extraordinary human beings. It is so easy to use circumstances, conditions, people, places and things to explain, or even justify, why we can't be happy. Why we can't be prosperous, healthy or peaceful. A spiritual perspective on life allows us to understand that all of these qualities (and more) are generated from inside of us and as soon as we generate them - life begins to reflect them in our circumstances. It is why this movie is so meaningful to me and why I love sharing these perspectives with you.  I apologize in advance for the length of this article but I simply could not cut any corners. Enjoy!

This is my 3rd and final week on metaphysical movie interpretation. I saved my favorite movie for last. Me seeing this movie was in and of itself a miracle.  My husband had a love for the ponies and his time and money spent at the racetrack was the source of a lot of grief in our relationship.  It is ironic that this movie, which I resisted seeing because of this fact, has been a source of spiritual inspiration to me over twenty years. The husband may not be with me now  but the movie lives on. Ha!

In summary, Seabiscuit is a 2003 movie about a horse and the three men who saved him.  Or a story about three men and the horse that saved them. Seabiscuit was sired by racehorse royalty and his owners and investors were devastated when he made his appearance as a very small and lazy colt.  An immediate declaration was made upon him! He would and could never be a great horse and that no return on investment was possible.  From that day forward he was treated in alignment with that declaration and was often neglected and made to do things antithetical to what a racehorse might do – like run counterclockwise on the track to help the real racehorses maintain focus. Nonetheless, the story is about this GREAT and magnificent creature, that despite his troubling beginnings, went on to become one of the greatest racehorses in the history of racehorses.

As the movie begins, we meet Seabiscuit for the first time as a young adult. He is cranky, cantankerous, inconsolable, and ornery! He has been purchased by Charles Howard played by Jeff Bridges who himself is broken due to the death of his son. His trainer Tom Smith played by Chris Cooper is broken because his life has no purpose, and his jockey Red played by Tobey Maguire who is broken because his family threw him away. The movie ultimately is about the transformation and success of this horse and about the success and transformation of these characters. Along the way are insights which we can use to further illuminate our spiritual journey.

Four Potent  Spiritual Perspectives

Repudiating the initial declarations on our lives

Each of us experienced declarations layered upon us as children.Some of these were actually spoken and some of them we simply caught hold off based on the behaviors of the adults around us.  Some of them were good ones: ‘she is a miracle baby’, ‘look how beautiful’. Some not so good: ‘she’ll always be sickly’, ‘not as cute as her sister’. Some of them devastating: ‘you were an accident’, ‘I wish you’d never been born’, ‘you will never amount to anything.’

The effect on our adult lives resulting from these early declarations should not be underestimated. Like with Seabiscuit, they can and do create patterns of behavior for the people around us and can be carried, however untrue, or unconsciously, into our future. I would daresay that most of us arrive at young adulthood often inconsolable, angry, and confused – just as Seabiscuit did. It is not our fault nor is anyone to blame really.  It is just the path that human beings seem to take.

In most cases the conscious awareness and re-framing of these formative years can help to free us from the effect of them.  Sometimes it might take a little outside help. For some, depending on the seriousness of what happened, the journey to wholeness can be more difficult. 

Going Off Track

For Seabiscuit it took an outside force to invite this inconsolable, angry, confused horse to move beyond the belief and established pattern that he was small, slow and lazy.  One day while his jockey, Red,  was struggling to get him to run around the track, he either had a brilliant revelation or a moment of giving up.  But either way, Red simply let go of the reins and allowed Seabiscuit do what he wanted to do.  And what Seabiscuit wanted to do was to run really really fast. In that singular moment, the future was forever altered for all.

Regardless of the past and what anyone has said or believes, despite what you might say and believe, there is something within you that is true and real that cannot be destroyed, diminished, or lost.  You are who you were made to be, regardless of how concealed it is. There is within each one of us something so beautiful and perfect, sometimes we simply need to be supported, encouraged, helped, or inspired to find it and live it. That may not have happened in your life yet, but that does not negate the presence of perfection waiting to be expressed by you in the exact and perfect way.

I suggest you Invite yourself go ‘off-track’.  Just because your life is a certain way, doesn’t mean it has to be that way.  Just because you have chosen a career or a path that seems to fit who you think you are or the world might have thought you were, doesn’t mean anything. Follow a dream, start a new hobby, engage in a new career. You could let this simple ‘blog’ be a catalyst to get off the track you are on, make a new one and walk it.  Or run it.

Don’t freeze-frame life on tragedies

There was a moment when Seabiscuit and his jockey both broke their legs. It was by all accounts a real tragedy.  This happened 20 minutes into a 2 hour+ movie so sitting in the audience it very much felt like both the movie and life for them was over.  Horses that break their legs are normally put down or out to pasture.  It is un-heard of that a thoroughbred racehorse can come back from a broken leg to win another race. Which they did.

The spiritual perspective here, is that obviously this is not true. All of us have had tragedy touch our lives. Some of us might even be in the middle of one. This could be the death of a loved one, an illness, natural disasters, fires, getting fired, being betrayed or abandoned or losing connections with loved ones through ancient arguments or other types of separations. And for many people, life takes a downturn at that moment and is never the same again.  I have counseled people who following an early lost love, never loved again. In my own family, a younger brother drowned in his early twenties, and my parents never had another truly happy moment.

Because we are having this conversation from not merely a human perspective but a spiritual one – there is no tragedy in your life that you cannot rise from.  I am reminded of a quote:

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” ~ Richard Bach

Check inside to see if you have been laying low, playing small or feeling puny since some tragedy big or small occurred for you. Seabiscuit and Red had many months on a beautiful farm to heal and comfort each other so you might need to gently put one foot in front of the other too slowly begin to feel better and move into life more fully.  As a spiritual being having a human experience, we are not made to live our lives in sadness or regret.  We are made to shine our light regardless of what life throws at us.  I am not saying this is easy. I myself, have survived and thrived after many really ‘tragic’ personal experiences.  It can be done and in an authentic way.  I am not talking about putting on a good face or pretending to be happier than you really are. It cannot be that the a difficult experience, no matter how awful,  meant that a happy, fulfilling and meaningful life was impossible? 

A reminder of the mythical story of the Phoenix Rising.  The phoenix is a mythical golden bird associated with renewal and regeneration. Rising from the ashes of its previous life, the phoenix is a symbol of hope, of life and of better things to come, born from the knowledge and experience of difficult times and challenging circumstances. The phoenix lives for 500 years and at the end of its life builds a nest and lights both the nest and himself on fire.  From its ashes, a new bird comes forward to live and love another 500 years.

Synchronicity, connection, and Grace

I say that the universe conspires for our greater good - that everything is working itself out on our behalf.  We have one broken horse and a story of how he overcame and became one of the greatest racehorses ever. Is it an accident that this horse and these three men found each other in one another’s company?  Did they save the horse?  Or did the horse save them? Perhaps it is yet another example of how love expresses and how this Infinite, Universal and Eternal power and presence we call God actually works.

This fourth and final perspective is about gratitude and grace.  Things may never actually be what we experience on the surface.  There may actually always be a spiritual underground where connections are being arranged, the dots are being connected, the t’s are being crossed - all on our behalf. Our spiritual philosophy firmly holds that our thoughts, feelings, expectations, behaviors and attitudes contribute to what actually happens in this spiritual under-ground.  The point is you have right and reason to believe in miracles happening for you!

I suppose my closing thought about this week’s Spiritual Perspectives is to keep an open mind and heart so that you can be aware of the moment the invitation to you to go off-track happens. Move forward with hopeful and optimistic expectations about what is possible for you and for the world in the future.  Regardless of history, every story can have a happy ending.

So ends todays Spiritual Perspective on Seabiscuit.

Join me this coming  Sunday for Spiritual Perspectives on “This thing called Love”

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Owner to Jockey: "You could be crippled for the rest of your life." Jockey replies: " I was already crippled for the rest of my life. I got better. Seabiscuit made me better."





 

The Fairy Godmothers Magic Wand

“When our thoughts are thoughts of love, then we are aligned with and receive Gods power.
When our thoughts are judgmental, then we are choosing to turn our backs to God.
We can no longer see the light he is shining on us when we stop shining it on others.”
~Williamson, Everyday Grace

“You will know that to God you are everything, when God becomes everything to you.” ~ Williamson

Spiritual Perspectives
Fairy Godmothers Magic Wand
Recap from the Live Stream, July 9, 2023

Welcome to the recap of the Sunday Night Alive which streamed this past week on July 9th where we enjoyed the Fairy Godmother’s visit to Cinderella in the chapter “Judgment Blocks the Light”, in Marianne Williamson’s book “Everyday Grace.”

Each week it is my pleasure to bring a practical spiritual perspective which allows us to live with increased power, poise, and confidence. It is easy to feel powerless against negative influences, but the promise of our spiritual study is that by continuing to grow along spiritual lines, we will personally transcend the troubles of the world and do our part in creating a world which reflects spiritual values rather than values of the ego. Just as Cinderella needed a good dose of kindness and compassion, so does almost everyone.

The spiritual perspective we are exploring this week is the effect that judgment has on our ability to give and receive Divine Grace which is represented in the Cinderella story by the magic wand and of course the presence of the fairy God Mother.

The lesson this week is simple.  To benefit from the fullness of God’s presence in your life you must release all judgment (all).  Love is the source of all mystical and magical powers.  Love is the energy that heals. Our judgment blocks the love, light and healing power.

In this story, sweet, beautiful Cinderella, is cruelly mistreated by her evil stepmother and stepsisters, is paid a surprise visit by her fairy godmother, who sends her off to the ball to win the heart of a handsome prince and live happily ever after. The aspect of this story that we are highlighting today is the appearance of the fairy godmother with her magic wand and the attitude of Cinderella that made the whole transaction possible.

Excerpted from Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson, pages 40-41
“Cinderella 's fairy godmother upon arriving did not say to Cinderella, that stepmother of yours is such a bitch…we'll show her! She could not have said those things, or even thought them, and still retained her mystical powers. “But”, you might say, “the stepmother was so mean to Cinderella and the stepsisters were almost as awful! Doesn't the stepmother deserve to be judged?” Notice that the fairy godmother obviously registered the fact that the stepmother was out of line, or she would not have stopped by in the first place. Clearly, she thought the situation needed to be rectified, or she wouldn't have brought her wand. But the fairy godmother was too wise to take sides. The fairy godmother came to heal, not to judge. Cinderella 's refusal to surrender to the thoughts of retribution is part of what drew the fairy godmother to her in the first place. Hate can summon the powers of the world, but only love can summon the powers of God. It takes tremendous faith in the power of love to refuse to hate those who behave in hateful ways. Yet in that refusal lies our grace.

A Few Perspectives

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother shows up with her magic wand to help Cinderella. However, she does not jump on the band wagon of punishment against the wicked stepmother. Why?  Because her mystical powers exist as a function of the love within her. If she had been foolish enough to say a judgmental word or even think one, she would have been rendered powerless. God does not do good things to good people and bad things to bad people.  The creator of the cosmos is pure love and is available to every living thing equally. God cannot think an unloving thought about anyone and still be God.

It is easy in the world of human egos to believe that some people deserve to be judged. The person who betrayed your trust in 1976? What about the person who caused that accident or killed those people? This way of thinking may be ‘normal’ for the ego, but it is this way of thinking that has our world be in the situation we are in. The ego is afraid that if “they” are not taught a lesson or made an example of, or given equal doses of pain and suffering, that “they” will get away with it or the world will end. The creator of the cosmos created a system for that which we call Karma or the law of cause and effect. There is no Divine system for punishment, only consequences.  And it is not in our job description.

It is true that we will have an ongoing need for programs of rehabilitation and systems for protecting people from being harmed. But to create those programs and systems from a place of love and awareness of the inherent spiritual potential within people, is far different than from the intention to inflict suffering, pain, or punishment. The day we approach the correction of unloving patterns of behavior from a loving perspective will also be the day that we stop having to build quite so many prisons and hospitals.

“Cinderella’s refusal to surrender to judgmental thoughts played a part in the arrival of her fairy godmother. This brings to the forefront the idea that we are in a relationship with God which is a two-way street. In the bible it says that we cannot serve two masters – love and hate. We have to choose. Williamson is suggesting in her assessment of the situation that because Cinderella was not hateful, angry, judgment or revengeful that Love was able to step in and rectify the situation.  This would mean that something in us must make Grace welcomed in our hearts.

In closing this weeks Spiritual Perspective, our nugget of gold is the awareness that if we want to experience all the possible good to be experienced, then we must release all judgment, all revengeful thoughts, all un-forgiveness of the past and of people.

She says, “It takes tremendous faith in the power of love to refuse to hate those who behave in hateful ways. Yet in that refusal lies our grace.”

In the end, what really matters most is what you feel inside of you. There is no golden rule that says just because the news is dismal, your neighbors are mean or you are in the midst of a challenging situation, that you have to be unhappy, grumpy or angry about any of it. This story reminds us that to allow ourselves to move  in the direction of judgment, blocks the light, diminishes our creative powers and ultimately spirals into negativity and heartburn. Using the power you have to manage your thoughts and your tongue, choose acceptance and love.  Doing this will keep your fairy god mother close at hand and deliver to you a magic wand with your name on it.

This ends our spiritual perspective today on the real power behind the magic wand.  Please join me next week for the three most powerful perspectives from the story of Seabisquit.

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Jesus did not say, love one another, but only under certain circumstances.





 

Batman Begins

Movie Quotes
"It's Not Who You Are Underneath. It's What You Do That Defines You."
"Why Do We Fall, Bruce? So We Can Learn To Pick Ourselves Up."

Blessings!  I hope you had a chance to join me live this past Sunday on Facebook or YouTube  for our Spiritual Perspective session on the Batman Begins movie.   I am pleased to bring you the recap today!

Spiritual Perspectives
Batman Begins
Recap from the Live Stream, July 2, 2023

In 2005, I was living in Los Angeles, a newly ordained minister soaking up spiritual meaning wherever I could find it. The movie Batman Begins was a huge source of inspiration for me that year and ranks for me, right up there alongside the story of Seabisquit. I have been focusing my talks on Spiritual Perspectives and this gem of a movie offers a few worthy of exploration.

I am loving working with perspectives because in our philosophy, faith, and way of life we hold as true that there is a self-evident connection between mind and forms, between thought and effects. The founder of Science of Mind, Dr. Ernest Holmes, was known for saying “change your thinking change your life”. We each have our own perspectives which comprise our views on life and the world.  Some perspectives lead to peace and some lead to war.  Some lead to happiness and some lead to suffering. Peace, war, happiness, and suffering are not in the world waiting for us to form a perspective about them.  The metaphysical idea is that they reflect the perspective held by us as individuals and a collective. A very powerful and impactful understanding.

The world is such a crazy place on so many levels right now. Since July 1st, (4 days as of this writing), there have been 9 mass murders in the United States which resulted in the death or injury of 82 souls. I can’t be the only one that sees the need for a transformation of how society thinks as well as the perspectives being held in mind.

For those of you who have not seen Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne, played by Christian Bale is the only son of the wealthiest and most powerful family in Gotham City. The opening scene finds Bruce, a young adult, languishing in an Asian prison inconsolable, a drunk, and full of rage.  The reason for Bruce’s dire predicament are the traumas of his childhood.  Around the age of ten Bruce falls into a deep well where he is physically injured and stirs up a cave full of hundreds, if not thousands, of bats which terrify him as they flap around his face. In addition, shortly thereafter Bruce is attending the opera with his parents and something in the opera triggers his lingering bat anxiety.  His parents take him outside for a breath of fresh air where Bruce witnesses his parents shot and killed by a mugger. Bruce Wayne enters adulthood a complete and total mess!

Liam Neeson plays the character of Henri Ducard the leader of the League of Shadows, an organization which exists to purge the world of criminals and corruption. He scoops Bruce Wayne out of prison and proceeds to help him channel his pain into revenge. This rendered Bruce strong, fierce and fearless so that he would join the League of Shadows and be a part of the purging of the evil of the world beginning with the annihilation of his home, Gotham City, and all of the people in it.

At the end of Wayne’s training, Ducard brings a man before him, asking him to prove his allegiance by executing the man on the spot for his criminal behavior. Wayne declined. He refused to be an exterminator.  He refused to follow the path of revenge and rather chose to follow the path of justice.

Bruce frees himself from the League of Shadows, leaving Ducard alive, and heads back to Gotham City where he returns home to the family mansion and the caretaker played by Michael Caine. In the process of figuring out his strategy to save his city, he realizes that as Bruce Wayne, a mere mortal, he will not be able to do it.  He needs a persona which will give him anonymity and super-powers.

What happens next is the most awesome and spiritually meaningful aspect of this story.  In the search for his spiritual super-hero identity, Bruce Wayne did not choose Dolphinman, Birdman, or Eagleman.  He chose a persona which arguably reflected one of the most traumatic experiences of his life. The past that almost destroyed him became transformed into a future that allowed him to serve the world. He became Batman!

The movie proceeds with a great deal of violence (after all, it is Hollywood), but in the end the criminals are gone and the city is saved.

What are the spiritual perspectives that we can explore and apply that might serve our journey as we navigate from being a mere mortal to taking on the cloak of our own power and divinity?

Spiritual Perspective #1: The necessity to transcend our past seems to be a universal requirement

Though few of us have such a dramatic story, with few exceptions most of us slide into adulthood inconsolable to some degree, having survived our traumas big and small. Because we were not raised by spiritually aware parents or in a spiritually evolved world, most of us experienced a degree of abuse or neglect. It is useful to understand that we share this common story.  You are not alone in the consequences of whatever your personal experiences were.

Because this is true, there is comfort in knowing that If happiness and fulfillment in life only results from wealth, power, or a trauma-free life, then happiness, joy, meaning and fulfillment would be experienced by a rare few.  But as Abe Lincoln said, “I reckon that happiness is a choice,”.  It is why we do our spiritual study and practice, so that we undo what the world has done and step into a more hopeful future. Or as we shall see later, we begin to comprehend the purpose of the world and use it to architect the future we intended.

Spiritual Perspective #2: Choosing love over hate, spirit over the ego and justice over revenge

It is not possible to evolve spiritually when we are holding onto anger, unforgiveness and revengeful thoughts.  You cannot wish another harm and expect  to succeed in finding happiness for yourself or bringing happiness to others. Note that Bruce Wayne left Ducard alive because he declared himself not an executioner! This question of justice is an interesting perspective in today’s world because we ask what should spiritual people do about mass murderers?  What do we do about the people who harm other people, animals, and the earth.  Is the proper response to turn the other cheek or to seek an eye for an eye? Or is there a third choice? Ducard was committed to destroying the City of Gotham and everyone in it which included the innocent people and animals. Bruce wanted to save his city and its citizens while getting rid of the criminal element.  The question pondered here asks if in the name of love and justice is violence, okay?  I don’t have an answer for you. But I tend to think that if we act out of love and the highest good for all, we can’t go too wrong.

Spiritual Perspective #3: When you accept your identity as a Spirit, your past will pivot from a curse to a blessing. Our past, rather than the reason our life can’t be amazing becomes the reason it can.

If we assume that we are spirits having a human experience then it feels right to me that I, not as Denise, but as a Spirit, thoughtfully chose this journey on earth.  This would include all the particulars, so rather than happenstance, my gender, location, parents, and everything else, would have been thoughtfully considered.  If this is held as self-evident, then the idea that whatever our childhood was for us, was necessary to get us to the point where we could bless the world with our gifts and achieve our spiritual intentions for coming here in the first place.

A beautiful book by Patrick Harbula, “The Magic of the Soul”, posits this idea.  Our past, whatever it might have been, whatever was missing our lacking in our upbringing, is exactly what was needed to prepare us to live those spiritual intentions and gain the important soul growth which must ultimately be the purpose.

I embrace this idea because I can feel that it lifts me out of victimhood into a consciousness of responsibility and power.  It is hard for me to believe that a universe so intricate in its intelligence and harmony could support a theory of chaos and accidents.

Aside from the theatrics of Batman Begins, though real life also has its share of theatrics, this gem of a movie, when viewed from a spiritual perspective offers us a few interesting insights. Epic movies with good hearts and intentions almost always resonate with us and become box office hits.  We all love great hero movies because in truth we are all great heroes.

Can you imagine the day, when your story of pain and suffering, becomes the very thing that blesses you and the world?  Regardless of who you have been in the past, or how you show up in life today, there is a persona within you, willing and ready to come forward to make this world we live in a better place. When this happens, everyone wins.  Don’t be afraid!

So ends today’s Spiritual Perspective on Batman Begins.  Join me this coming Sunday for our Spiritual Perspectives on Cinderalla, specifically on the Fairy Godmother! ~ Love, Rev. D

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Managing Conflict

While sitting in meditation one day the student implored his teacher
to take him to that place of perfect peace. 

The Master reflected for a moment and then solemnly
looked at his student and said,

“I can’t take you to that place of perfect peace because then it would no longer be peaceful.

Blessings!  I hope you had a chance to join me live this past Sunday on Facebook or YouTube  for our Spiritual Perspective session on Conflict.  Such a relevant topic in our world. I am pleased to bring you the recap today!

The world appears to have a great deal of conflict which is defined as a ‘serious disagreement or argument, typically which lasts a long time’. Some are ancient conflicts while others happened this morning. Whether ancient or fresh, there is definitely a lot of conflict in our world.

Conflict makes us miserable and causes catastrophic human suffering. Globally conflict is the source of wars, genocides, mass shootings and a far too long list of atrocities where humans harm humans, animals, and the earth.  On a personal level, conflict is the source of pain, fear, and aggression all which undergird addiction, depression, existential angst, and loneliness – just to name several. Conflict fills the news, is the basis of most water-cooler conversations and dominates family dinner table talk.

As spiritual seekers and evolving peacemakers, it seems valuable for us to explore the Spiritual Perspectives which will help to mitigate the pain and suffering all this conflict and drama inflicts. Let us take a closer look at:

  1. Resolving ancient conflicts.
  2. Avoiding new conflict.
  3. Dealing with conflict that shows up.
  4. Approaching conflict in the world.

Conflict appears to be an inevitable aspect of our lives as human beings.  I suggest that it is neither necessary nor inevitable.  I think rather a well etched habit bordering on addiction to drama. It IS possible to be a human living a conflict and drama-free life.  But it takes work!

Reading the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, one could deduce that God is the source of conflict with all the fire, stormy weather, flying frogs and smiting of people. One could deduce from the New Testament that God is the source of all love, compassion, and kindness. This is not the venue to explore the metaphysical meaning of the Bible – but for the purpose of this article, the egoic aspect of us, is the source of all conflict.  The Spirit of us is the source of all peace.  (We can argue this at some other time – smile).

Last week I quoted Rev.  Barker, author of the Power of Decision, as saying, “Problems will not improve you”.  There is a train of thought which suggests that there is a Divine intentionality behind life’s challenges and that there exists a Divine requirement for human suffering as a pathway to a happier life.  I boldly repudiate (I love this word) these ideas. In my experience I have grown, evolved, matured, and learned from every mistake. And I am grateful for the quality of God called Grace, which seems to have the intent and capacity to make right every crazy thing that I and my ego-gone-mad self has done over the years. Love, reconciliation, and rehabilitation are a blessing as we navigate this environment. I also know that as we release the hold of the ego during our journey and embrace the presence of the Divine within us, we make fewer mistakes and experience fewer problems.

God is not a problem maker.  We do create problems on our own, but this a temporary state which is corrected as we begin to live our lives from a spiritual perspective rather than the ego’s point of view. Until more of us are living spiritually, conflict will continue to be present in a plethora of forms.

This next Perspective might be challenging to accept so take a breath.  Conflict does not really exist in people, situations, or conditions.  The ONLY place that conflict and drama exists is within you. This is not to say that the situations and conditions do not exist nor that they might be emotional inducing situations and conditions.  What it does say  is that you are the author of your own book, the baker of your own cake and the author of your own interpretations and perspectives. A primary Spiritual Perspective everyone must embrace is the releasing of ‘victimhood’ while accepting full responsibility for life.  You are a mini-God and therefore master of your own universe and as God cannot be a victim, neither can you.  Conflict as a situational response is a choice not a fact.

Let us examine how we might bring Spiritual Perspectives to the conflicts we experience in our daily living.

1. Resolving ancient conflict

 Concerning deep-seated unresolved conflicts from the past, remember that the only place that the conflict exists is within you. For ancient grudges, resentments, and anger to still be affecting you after all this time, it must be living in you as a habitually recalled memory or a belief in its power to have a hold on your life. The Spiritual Perspective we bring to the past is always to just let it be.  Anything you can let be, can let you be. Everyone in your past, including you, did the best they could do at the time according to the then state of consciousness. Chances are that you aren’t remembering everything correctly anyway.  Just let it be.  You can from the power of your capacity to do so, declare that from this moment forward you are moving on with life.

2. Avoiding new conflict

  1. Declare yourself to be a drama-free zone and mean it. Can you do this unconditionally?
  2. Don’t engage in conflict creating activities or conversations. If necessary, turn off the news for a while.  Don’t tear down other people in your dialog with yourself or others.
  3. Become un-botherable. Through reflection, realization and practice you can achieve a state of ‘un-botherability”. It is possible to be so grounded and connected that anyone could tell you how ugly and stupid you are, and nothing would happen inside of you. This can be equally true when watching the news or responding to someone ranting and raving about the presidential election.
  4. You may not control the world and the people in it, but you have 100% control over you.

3. Dealing with conflict when it shows up

  1. Practice the principles of no-defense or attack. This means that whatever comes into your field of awareness, you have the capacity to do nothing. Attacking reveals fear and defense reveals inferiority. Remain still and composed. When someone says or does something you don’t like it is almost never about you. The ego is reactive, the Spirit responds.
  2. Do this exercise. Write on one side of a piece of paper “It’s not about me” and on the opposite write, “Tell Me More”. Whenever anyone triggers conflict in you that causes an attack or defense mode, hold the paper up with the “Tell me more” facing them. This is a very powerful way to not take things personally and to be interested in what is going on with others.

4. Ways of approaching conflict in the world

  1. Stop judging. You will never know the entire back story. Because of your own history and disposition, you make up stories and then jump on in with judgment. God does not judge us, and we are to not judge others. The Spiritual Perspective acknowledges that the universe is balanced and the consequence for all actions are automatic and don’t require our help. This called Karma or the Law of Cause and Effect. It works perfectly while we tend to miss the mark!
  2. Have compassion for the lack of understanding by everyone. When the ego oversees a situation it is never good. When people know better, they will do things differently. There was a time you didn’t know better, and a lot of people still don’t.
  3. Unconditional Peace asks that we not allow anything to rob us of the peace within us. This word ‘unconditional’ should be taken literally. It is a good word to use with love as well.
  4. NOMBA stands for “not my business anyway”. This has served my peace of mind well over the years. There is nothing you can do to make someone else be what you want them to be, be where you want them to be or be how you want them to be. Keep your nose out of affairs of others. This alone will eliminate a lot of conflict inside you!

We end today with a perspective on what we should as evolving peacemakers do when we witness conflict happening? When I say conflict doesn’t exist in the world, I do not mean that there is nothing for you and I to do to make the world a better place.  Just standing by while people are injured is not okay! There are plenty of situations which require evolving peacemakers to step in and do the loving thing. But the things that you do will be most useful if you are devoid of judgment, condemnation, and anger. It is possible once you are conflict free inside of yourself, to approach all situations with compassion, kindness, and a spiritual intent to heal and reconcile. Much like God!

We have tried it the other way.  The egos perspective of an eye for an eye leaves us all blind and perpetuates the endless suffering on our planet for people, animals, and the earth.  It may be way of the ego to win and be right at any cost but that is a learned habitual behavior which can be transcended.  We can become inclusive, loving, and helpful people even to the people who we don’t particularly like. The ego will tell you that doing this will be your demise because then you will lose, have fewer toys, less respect, money, and power. This is simply not true.

Your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health will benefit when you become a drama-free zone where conflict simply plays no part in your inner landscape. And the world will become an infinitely more loving place for all.

"I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could've been any clearer
If they want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change."
~ Lyrics by Michael Jackson

So ends today’s Spiritual Perspective on Conflict.  Join me this coming Sunday for our Spiritual Perspective on Personal Values. ~ Love, Rev. D

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Making Good Decisions

Blessings to you!  It has been far too long since I sent out of a message and am quite happy to be sharing one with you now. 

I have created a new container for my work which I am calling “Spiritual Perspectives”.  As always, my primary purpose is to stimulate pragmatic conversations which explore a practical, meaningful, and spiritual approach to the art of living in the world today.

I have learned in my lifetime that every situation, condition, and circumstance is open too much more than a single perspective or interpretation. Most perspectives, regardless of who’s it is, comes from the ego which embodies our personal views based on our human conditioning and the influence of other people’s ego’s – which almost always is a perspective based on fear and separation. It is the perspective you hear on the news, around water coolers and usually the family dinner table.

There is always a second option which is to view (and live) life from a spiritual perspective. A spiritual perspective does not necessarily mean a religious perspective. It simply is a perspective which acknowledges we live in a unified and connected universe, created by love for the purpose of loving AND that there are principles and laws which govern how things work around here.

This perspective will always be one of personal responsibility and empowerment. Science, religion, and philosophy are all traveling towards the same conclusion – which is that our world is weaved from the genesis of love and that physical reality is relative and comes to be as a function of consciousness, mind, or thought.  Consciousness precedes form and forms flow from consciousness.  This was said much more eloquently by the founder of New Thought, Phineas Quimby who said that; “Mind is matter in solution; matter is mind in form”.

Rev. Charles Barker, a well-known Unity Minister said in his wonderful book, the Power of Decision said, “We accept the testimony of our five senses as being the reality of life.  Yet every mystic and teacher, every religion and philosophy, have explained with care that the factual world should always be questioned. Because a thing is a fact does not mean it is a reality.”

We live in a universe that is intelligent. You and I are points of intelligence in that universe.  Once awakened from the mesmerism of our early years, we can participate in partnership with this love and intelligence intentionally to architect lives that we not only love, but which has meaning and purpose and ultimately fulfills the mandate of our soul.

This provides the background for our spiritual perspective this week on the importance of making decisions and exploring how to make good ones!

Life is a never-ending decision-making endeavor.   For the first decade or more, other people make most of the decisions for us. Then suddenly we are thrust into adulthood asked to decide about money, love, our career, cars, friends, and vacations. For some of us decisions come easy and for some of us decision making is torture.   This level of responsibility can be paralyzing. Some people simply refuse to make decisions and live out their whole lives letting other people continue to do it for them.

What I know is that the Creator of everything, created us in Its image and likeness therefore we are intelligence personified by Infinite Intelligence.  Because of that we have the authority, the autonomy the ability and absolute permission to have, do and be whatever it is we are inspired to have, do, and be - limited only by our imagination and ability to decide.

Life made you.  Unlike a lion, fish, rock, or flower, you are a conscious decision-maker. You have already been given permission to create, to choose, to act and decide.  Though as children we might have needed some adult supervision and help in deciding basic things, as adults we have autonomy over our affairs. Autonomy means self-government. Because we think, we already have the skills and the ability.  There is a question whether our normal state of consciousness is creative thought or simply the thoughts of humanity thinking through us.  Ernest Holmes once said that it is not particularly important that we teach children what to think, but how to think.

Rev. Barker says, “As a thinker, you determine your experience. There is nothing to oppose you but your own subconscious patters of inferiority and frustration. Make mental note of your alibis and excuses for your mistakes or wishy-washiness.  If you are honest, they will reveal to you the patterns in your subconscious mind which need to be negated by you on a conscious level.”

 The universe contains all the ingredients necessary to create an infinite number of forms – not unlike a well-stocked pantry.  The ‘kitchen’ of life is always accepting recipes provided by your consciousness.  You are the master chef of your own life. Our choices and decisions determine the conditions, situations, and content of our lives on a day to day, year to year, basis.

Any great gardener knows that if they want a great crop of carrots, they need to plant carrot seeds.  No gardener will plant tomato seeds expecting to get carrots. So, it is with our thoughts. You can’t plant seeds of poverty and expect abundance. Once you understand that you are the cook in your kitchen, the gardener in your garden and the artist sitting in front of the canvas of your life, I am hoping you will deduce that it is in your best interests to begin to think with intention and purpose. 

None of us is immune to the questioning of our choices and decisions.  What if it is the wrong one?  What if people think you are crazy?  Or even worse stupid?  It is not possible to move through this lifetime without decisions being made and it is far better for you, if you make your own.

First, check in with your physical body.  A good decision should feel good in your belly.  Sometimes fear and excitement can feel similar so an impactful decision might create some flutters, but overall, you should not be feeling dread!

How I manage my own big and small decisions is with what Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith called a ‘full-body-YES”.  A full-body-yes means that your mind, your heart, and your body all agree that you want what you are choosing, and that the fulfillment of the choice will bring to you life-affirming results such as happiness or peace. The opposite is a full-body-no which is where dread can sneak in as well as sleepless nights and confusion.  Pay attention and put on the brakes.  In my world, a “full-body-maybe” is equal to a full-body-no so the brakes still go on.

Once you begin to identify yourself as a loving and intelligent Spirit, your values and priorities will begin to change.  Often these values and priorities are much different than when the ego was in charge.  The ego is all about winning and whining, being right, being better than everyone else, afraid, confused, arrogant, and aggressive.  None of these reflect the inclusive and compassionate countenance of the Spirit which is the Truth about who you really are.  There may be a period where you will have to be diligent about discerning where your choices are coming from. Will the fulfillment of the choice you are making be life-affirming for you and everyone around you, or life-denying? Will they be Love-affirming or Love-denying?

Finally, don’t be afraid to go for it because you can change your mind any time you want to.  You really can.  We are all grown-ups so have no obligation to please our parents, society or our children.  It is not easy to rise above the mediocrity of the masses.  I have long loved the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson from his amazing writing, “Self-Reliance”.  He writes, “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.

Go forth and plant those seeds! Be decisive, bold, and confident. You really can’t get life wrong.  Just as the gardener can desire a carrot and not get it right for the 10 times she planted tomato seeds, the moment the carrot seed is planted, the desired result will be achieved, and the past will be understood and put to rest.

I close with a final quote from The Power of Decision by Rev. Barker; “God can only do for you what you do for yourself.  You may be one of the people who thinks she cannot help being what she is.  Wake up right now to a great fact of life.  You and you alone are responsible for your life.”

This concludes our Spiritual Perspective for today.

Join me this coming Sunday on Facebook Live and You Tube for our next episode of Spiritual Perspectives - Dealing With Conflict

Love, love and more love,

Rev. Denise

“God can only do for you what you do for yourself. You may be one of the people who thinks she cannot help being what she is. Wake up right now to a great fact of life. You and you alone are responsible for your life.” Rev. Charles Barker
May all of your decisions reflect your hopes and not your fears ~ Nelson Mandela

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Unity Consciousness

A Little Spiritual Humor
A little girl asked her mother, "How did the human race appear?" The mother answered, "God made Adam and Eve and they had children and so was all mankind made by God." Two days later the girl asked her father the same question. The father answered, "Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved." The confused girl returned to her mother and said, "Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?" The mother answered, "Well, dear, it is very simple: I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his.

Today's Lesson
The Practice of Unity Consciousness

Dr. Ernest Holmes said that all of the problems we have are the result of separation and the solution to every single problem is unity. This applies to personal, family, or world problems.  Separation occurs when we feel isolated, cut-off, alone, different than and disconnected from others and ourselves. It also happens when we have no connection to our spiritual nature and/or to a power greater than we are. The experience of separation leaves us sad, lonely, fearful, and heartbroken. A feeling one might feel after losing a loved one through a breakup or death.  The feelings of separation can lead to depression, all forms of addiction and violence towards oneself or others. The experience of separation is a reality for far too many us and is reflected in our physical, mental and emotional health as well as the violence being reported  every day in the news.

We are striving for the experience of unity personally and globally. Unity, the experience of Oneness, leaves us with the feeling of belonging, as well as an awareness that who we are matters in the grand scheme of things and that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. The emotional responses to unity are happiness, contentment, happiness, and peace. Most, if not all, personal, family, or global problems would not exist if we achieved Unity consciousness.

As always, any change to the whole requires that the parts change first. If we want anything outside of ourselves to be different, then we must be different. The work of transformation and consciousness raising is a personal effort which not only ensures we will live a transformed existence but ensures that we will have done our part for everyone else. For the sake of the earth and all its life forms, take seriously the question “what can I do to increase my consciousness of unity and oneness?”

The world as it is today, is merely a temporary representation of past and current consciousness. To view the world as fixed or real, separate and apart from consciousness, negates the possibility of healing or change and ultimately guarantees that it will be the same 10 years from now. This is equally true in our personal lives. If you and I don’t evolve or think something new, we will also be the same a decade from now. All progress boils down to our personal progress. If we change, the world will change.

With separation comes duality which is represented by a way of living I will call “either/or”. Either/or living has a particular kind of rigidity.  It implies that a choice must be made, a line must be drawn, sides must be taken. Chocolate or vanilla. Democrats or republicans. Gay or straight people. A person living from an either/or perspective has strongly held beliefs and opinions.  There will be resistance to anything that falls outside of these beliefs. The greatest source of mischief is when people think that what they think is real, right, and true. In this way of being, relationships are sacrificed, friendships are challenged, and people are injured or die in the name of the belief which is believed to be the only right way. Regardless of where one is on the spectrum, there is an unwillingness to try new things and the one living in this world will predominantly be in judgment and negativity.

Unity means everything is included and nothing is left out, rejected, or discarded. Before we explore what it means to live in a both-and world, let us investigate our belief in a power greater than we are.  In my world, it is self-evident that something other than ‘us’ fashioned the universe, the planets, the oceans, the sunsets, the elephant, babies, our bodies – and every other thing of intelligence and beauty.  We are totally blessed to be incarnated into an earth-suit equipped with the sensory equipment which enables us to perceive, enjoy, and utilize what we find in this world. In my world, I understand that all that is visible arises from invisible forces and sources and that our God-given gifts of imagination, belief, will and intention are embedded in each of us so that we may actively participate in the creative process.  We participate in the creation of both physical forms as well as the emotional and mental environments in which we live.

To grasp why it is imperative that we change our minds about how we view the world comes from understanding that everything is creative – not just the good stuff. Negativity, judgment, hatred, fear, anger, resentment, jealousy, pessimism, and negativity also create forms as well as physical, mental, and emotional environments.

The nature of whatever power or presence undergirds the universe is omnibenevolence – all good, all loving. God, Tao, Great Spirit, the Quantum Field is incapable of harm, negativity, or judgment. Our striving is to emulate that.

We may feel separation resulting from our conditioning and upbringing, but it is an illusion. There is a deeper reality with a capital “R” that can be known and lived. At any point we can accept that we are spiritual beings incarnated into human bodies.  We can accept that we have been fashioned by Love for the purpose of loving and open ourselves to radical forgiveness, connection, compassion, reconciliation, and spiritual insight.

God is completely unaware of our crazy misguided behavior so never judges or condemns us for being off track or missing the mark. Just like the prodigal son, we can squander our divine inheritance of love, peace, compassion, and abundance but when we are done being so foolish, we can return to our natural state at time and will be welcomed back with open arms.

The nature of both-and is the opposite of either-or.  It means that opposites can co-exist in the world.  Though you might prefer vanilla, you can be at peace with chocolate.  Even though you might be a conservative, you can make room for a liberal without condemnation. This does not mean you can’t disagree.  It does not mean that you can’t take actions to prevent acts of violence or ignorance or protect the innocent.  Just because we all have the DNA and capacity for love and compassion doesn’t mean we all know it or show it.  You can and should act where you are guided. But whatever it is we do, must be done from the perspective love and not hate.  From a desire to heal, minister to and reconcile – not to punish.

Living a life of Spiritual Power means that we relinquish powerlessness for power.  We relinquish feeling and acting like a victim to understanding that we are powerful and intentional beings.  Let us speculate that the universe is neutral, but we are not.  Let us suppose there is no inherent meaning or interpretation other than the one you made up.  Good and bad exist for humans not for God.  Good and evil exist for humans not for God. This is a radical idea but if we can spiritually understand it, we might then take responsibility for our perceptions and conclusions. The world is not black and white.  The world is to everyone what they see and say it is.

To live in this way requires the development of the skill of observation. You must learn to watch your thoughts and your reactions and actions. Emotions arise in response to circumstances and conditions around you.  You watch the news, and you hear about something that upsets you which initiates a chain reaction.  You complain, argue, rant, rave, take an antacid, check your blood pressure, kick your dog, yell at your kids, etc.  Before doing all of that, is it possible to just notice that some feelings arose and let the rest not play out?

If you and I who are consciously committed to a more peaceful loving world, cannot control ourselves in the face of differences, disappointments, or contrary opinions, what would make us think that the anyone can do it?  If we aren’t willing to open to a new possibility, why would anyone be willing? If you are living in reaction to your thoughts about people, situations, politics, news stories – and those reactions cause you anger, upset, sorrow, revenge, you would benefit physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually from a shift in consciousness and a change of heart.

The goal is that more of us experience peace of mind, calm happiness, joy, and generosity most of the time – regardless of what is going on in our personal life or in the world at large. The goal is to become “un-botherable” by the things that historically have bothered us.  This is true whether a situation from 5 decades ago, a current politician or those 15 extra pounds which allude all your efforts to lose them. Is it possible to relax into the idea that you are a spiritual being, loving, kind, whole, perfect, eternal and that it is possible to be at peace in this world exactly the way it is and exactly the way it is not?

In conclusion, every human being is  a point of consciousness in a sea of consciousness. See if you can lean more into “both/and”.  See if you can contribute more often to unity than to separation in your day to day living.  You will be happier and  everyone will benefit from your efforts.

Join me this Sunday for another episode of SUNDAY NIGHT ALIVE, where we continue the conversation of how to navigate this crazy world with elegance and ease.  Until then,

Love, love and more love,
Rev. Denise

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you're doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you. ~Joel Osteen

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