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Meeting God

Posted January 28, 2017

galaxy
How do you meet God?

I've been thinking about it this week because I'm studying a weird and wacky book called God in My Head by Joshua Grisetti, using it for a four-part Sunday series. (You can listen here as we go along.)

Grisetti, a New York actor, says he met God and had a wide-ranging conversation while under the influence of drugs for dental work.

Well, okay, I have heard that drugs are one way to connect with the Infinite.

But Grisetti doesn't recommend it and freely acknowledges how irresponsible and dangerous his self-medication was when combined with nitrous oxide at the dentist's office.

Still, some of the things he says God told him are fascinating. And Grisetti was full of questions, starting with: What is God?

I loved God's description of himself, because it so widely broadens our opportunities to know Oneness. It was written as prose, but read it as poetry.

I am the sunrise and I am the night.
I am the God of your forefathers and the knowledge of your grandchildren.
I am wisdom itself.
I am energy, I am light.
I am love.
I am war and I am peace.
I am the water and the fire.
I am life and I am death.
I am time itself; I am the beginning and the end.
I am all there ever was and all there ever will be.
There is no name large enough to contain me. I simply am.
I am nameless, yet have more names than can be counted.
To understand this is to understand the nature of God.

As I write this, the sun is rising over the hills, and I recognize God.

Or what we call God. The energy of light, the vibration of love.

And if the Infinite expresses as paradox – war and peace, life and death – then we are meeting God at every turn. If God is the sunrise, God is also the darkness before dawn.

How can we reconcile this?

In the book, Grisetti had given up believing in God because he saw so much strife in the world. That's a common reason cited by doubters and atheists – that a loving God would not allow inhumanity and suffering.

They conclude that because they see inhumanity and suffering, there must not be a God.

I would agree there's not a God watching us and deciding whether good or bad things will happen. Clearly God has not stopped wars or torture or sickness.

But it's not because there IS no God.

The answer is even more terrifying: It's that WE are in charge of what happens here.

We have free will. We have created the world we live in – consciously and not, with our deeds and consciousness, over millennia – and we can change it. If we don't want inhumanity and suffering, we can stop it.

We have access to help, of course, because – this is the good news – we are part of that all-encompassing Presence we call God. We don't have to connect with it; we are it.

We just have to find ways to meet God – the divine energy we truly are, that's already within us -- and let it influence the way we live our lives and construct our world.

I have a hard time with God in My Head because God is represented as a being who carries on conversations, even argues. I think that makes God too small. I prefer to think of God in terms of a foundational energy that is everywhere present and available for our use.

But then I remember the paradox. If God is The Force, then God is also the Man Upstairs, the conversational God who could be heard and even seen by Joshua Grisetti.

At the end of the book, Grisetti makes a point of saying that meeting God is likely to be a different experience for others.

And I say if God is All That Is, then the avenues for meeting God are endless.

I'd be curious to know: How and when do you feel you have met God?

   

Five Steps to Healing

Posted January 21, 2017

I stumbled across something wonderful in preparing for an online class I'm about to teach called Healing and Wholeness.

The class is based on the healing discoveries of American mystics Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. You might be aware the Fillmores founded the Unity spiritual movement in the late 1800s after healing themselves of lifelong maladies. The power of mind over body was new and revelatory to them.

Charles and Myrtle both believed the source of healing is the divine presence within us. But Myrtle, God bless her, told us HOW to access that power for healing.

I found it in Healing Letters, a collection of Myrtle's letters to people who had asked her to pray for them. She pulled no punches in telling them their beliefs were the culprit in their illness. But with great compassion, she explained how those beliefs could be changed.

The chapter is called "No Incurable Disease."

I made a list of her suggestions and grouped them into five categories or steps. The steps are here in bold, and Myrtle's further instructions for each one are in italics.

1. Know the Truth of You

The truth, of course, is that you are a spiritual being having a human experience. Myrtle says you must accept your God-given perfection.

Can you do that? Most of us can instantly name a dozen things wrong with us, with our bodies or health.

I don't think Myrtle means that whatever is showing up right now is necessarily perfect. She means the ultimate You, the divine You, is perfect.

Wave aside past mistakes and untrue suggestions, she says.

If you have not treated your body well, don't beat yourself up. You might also have to wave aside the mistakes of others, such as doctors who missed an early diagnosis.

Untrue suggestions could be the mass consciousness that tells us everyone eventually will get sick. And there's a pill for that!

Myrtle would say any suggestion that illness is real is an untrue suggestion. Instead, she says:

Fix your undivided attention upon the Creator and your inner pattern of perfection. Bring all mental attitudes, centers of consciousness and physical structures to the high place in mind where you see as God sees.

Don't focus on the illness. Don't picture the person you love lying in a hospital bed, even if that's where they are right now. See their true perfection with the power of the Infinite flowing through them. See their divine potential. See your own.

2. Notice Your Thoughts and Actions

Myrtle never said you could simply think yourself into good health. She was a stickler for healthy eating and clean living.

But as you take action to clean up your diet or get some exercise, Myrtle says, your thoughts also create the state of your health.

Notice whether you are worrying or fearing anything.

Thoughts become things. Fear is a magnet for more fear. Cleanse your thoughts the way you cleanse your body.

It's Step 1 again. Keep adjusting your mind to the larger truth. Keep remembering the divine power of health flowing through you.

Look into subconscious memories to see whether you are carrying anything from the past that has a disturbing influence today.

The simplest way to unearth subconscious memories is to ask. I have recommended this prayer for many years: Reveal what needs to be revealed, and heal what needs to be healed.

Whatever comes up might not be pleasant, but it's here to be dealt with and released.

3. Use Your Creative Power

Myrtle says, Rejoice and remember you have the God power to change conditions.

Your thoughts have creative power. That's why we pay such close attention to what we're thinking.

Look beyond appearances to the impulses of the soul.

You might be experiencing illness right now. You might be in treatment or planning surgery. Myrtle is not saying to ignore all that but to lift your eyes to the larger picture.

The impulses of your soul are an evolutionary driver. Your soul is the part of you longing to express more fully and freely through you. It's a tight bud wanting to blossom. It's the light in you waiting to shine forth.

We grow through our desires for more life, for greater expression. Focus on those elements of you, beyond any perception of illness.

4. Health Is Your Natural State

Again, Myrtle says, Give up belief in disease as something real. She insists there's no such thing as disease.

“We know very well that God would not create a person with imperfections or shortcomings or disease,” she wrote in Healing Letters.

So if you're sick, you're off track in consciousness somehow. It's not your fault – it happens to nearly everyone with free will – but conditions can be changed. Go back through the first three steps – know the truth of you, pay attention to your thoughts, use your creative power.

Exercise faith in health as the one power and presence in you, she said. You are an expression of the health that God is.

All healing is a return to your natural state of being.

5. Realize Oneness

Granted, this could take a lifetime or more, but it follows the previous steps.

If you know who you truly are as an expression of the divine . . .

If you keep your thoughts focused on the healing presence of God in you, activating the creative power of thought . . .

If you remember health is your natural state . . .

What could you be but one with All That Is?

This powerful conviction of oneness with divine wholeness will become abiding – nothing can take it from you, Myrtle said.

The more you practice this awareness, the more powerfully it lives in you. It becomes part of your self-image. You will come to expect that you live within the great whole and absolute good.

God as love and health reigns supreme in you.

That's all you really need to know.

***

So there you have it – Myrtle Fillmore's five steps to healing.

We can go to doctors and get treatments, but if illness occurs mainly because we believe in illness – well, that's a mind-blowing idea. And changing our minds will make all the difference.

I know it's easy to argue with this. What about the incurable, paralyzed, birth defects, terminal illness? We keep insisting that some physical maladies just can't be fixed.

But what if we're wrong and Myrtle is right? What if all we need to do is see ourselves differently?

Healing ourselves might require a more nuanced understanding of spiritual law than can be smashed into a single blog. Or a single lifetime. But I'm grateful to Myrtle for leaving us five steps to begin our work.

   

Go Ahead. Feel Bad.

Posted January 9, 2017

icicles at sunset

We in Texas pride ourselves on many things, but tolerating cold is not one of them.

When it was 16 degrees Sunday morning, any number of the people I know just abandoned the idea of getting out. No church, no lunch, no afternoon plans. They hunkered down to ride it out.

Which got me thinking about how often we let outside circumstances dictate our lives.

I keep insisting we can choose what and how to think, rather than reacting to what's outside of us. But sometimes circumstances matter.

When it's 16 degrees, you will need a coat, no matter how elevated your consciousness is.

When someone you love dies, you most likely will be sad.

If your money runs out, it's hard not to worry.

Just how reasonable is it to expect yourself not to react to outer circumstances?

THE GOOD AND THE BAD

Some circumstances are so fabulous, we wouldn't want to miss them.

Falling in love.

Bringing home a new baby.

Watching a full moon rise.

Listening to the pounding surf as you walk on the beach.

If it's permissible to enjoy the parts of life we label good, then why can't we have a human reaction to the things we call bad?

I'm afraid that, in the name of spirituality, a lot of us have convinced ourselves we should never have a negative feeling. Or if we do feel bad, we feel guilty about it. Like spiritual failures.

So, once and for all, please let me officially give you permission to feel bad!

Go ahead and feel sad about your losses, scared about the uncertainties in your life, annoyed with people or events that disrupt your peace, regretful of past mistakes, or downright angry about the outcome of a layoff at work or an election or a football game.

Even if, in some metaphysical way, you created or attracted whatever has happened, you are entitled to your feelings about it.

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

Right about now, someone is thinking, “Yes, but I don't want to wallow in it.”

Wallowing gets a bad rap.

I will grant you, some people get stuck in their stories. They relish thinking of themselves as victims. They rehash the same events over and over for years, refusing to feel better or move into a new point of view.

Most of us, however, will get sick of hearing ourselves talk before we wallow too long. We will naturally be ready to move on.

And at the same time, why should we insist on recovering from a major event quickly? Life can really, really hurt. Grief and recovery take as long as they take, and it's different for each person.

I fear those of us trying to live from a higher consciousness sometimes talk ourselves out of our feelings. And we miss an important part of the human journey.

Why do you suppose we came into human form? We wanted to delve into human life, right?

And doesn't human life have its ups and downs, good and bad, easy and difficult? Doesn't the prince always have to slay a few dragons before he can kiss the princess?

WHAT HARM IS A LITTLE NEGATIVITY?

I'm not encouraging you to feel bad just for the sake of feeling bad.

I'm encouraging you not to miss the human adventure.

Maybe someday, after we all are living in divine consciousness, there will be no more tears or anger or disappointment. But I'm increasingly convinced we are here to experience all that human life has to offer, not to transcend it.

It probably won't all be pleasant, but it all will be part of your growth and learning.

And when we compare notes on the Other Side, I suspect the tough times on Earth will make some of the best stories, give us the biggest laughs and leave us grateful we had the courage to live as humans for a while.

Even when it was freezing cold in Texas.

   

A Theme for the Year

Posted January 6, 2017

open book with flowers

One of the wisest women I know picks a theme for every year, something about herself that she wants to explore or change or strengthen.

I love the idea, if only because it relieves the pressure of trying to improve everything at once!

Imagine working every day with love, for instance, or compassion or courage. Asking, “What step could I take today?” to further develop a single divine quality.

How much more deeply would you understand it in a year!

How do you pick a theme? Well, something might be obvious to you. It doesn't have to be a trait you dislike about yourself, but maybe one you'd like to discover or draw out.

You could pick a theme from the Twelve Powers. (If you're not familiar with these divine attributes, suggested decades ago by mystic Charles Fillmore, here's an overview and short description.)

My friends who study astrology and numerology see both systems as rich sources of material to work with, depending on the forecast for your year. By the way, 2017 adds up to 1, which means this year is the beginning of a new cycle. Last year closed out a 9-year cycle, so we're starting fresh.

This is a good time to contemplate a theme for your coming year.

In my church last Sunday, we had a White Stone ceremony to ask for a special word to guide the coming year.

It's based on a verse from Revelation: “To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”

In the Bible, new names were bestowed when someone changed character. So in this annual ceremony, we go into meditation to listen for a name, word or phrase that applies only to the individual, then write it on a small white stone to keep throughout the year.

Let's say you've picked a theme. Now how do you work with it? Read about it, obviously, or seek out people you believe practice it well.

But I have three more ideas for working with your theme:

1. Create a vision. Put another way, begin with the end in mind.

Let's say your theme for the year is love. (A broad topic!) What would you like to change by the end of the year? What kind of love do you want in yourself and your life? A closer relationship with a spouse? Patience with your children? Do you want to walk around feeling love for humanity instead of trepidation or judgment? What would love look like in your life?

If you know where you're headed, then you can take a step every day in that direction.

And with 365 steps, you don't have to enact sweeping changes every day. Just one thing. One thing you could do to be a little more loving, to express more love, to feel more love.

2. Pay particular attention to your thoughts and words. Most change is incremental and requires practice, practice, practice.

If love is your theme, learn to catch yourself in unloving thoughts and shift them. Focus your thoughts on something or someone you absolutely adore, let the feeling well up inside you, then face any challenges from that frame of mind instead.

Or maybe your theme is to be more positive. Call on your power of imagination to shift your thoughts to all that could go right, all the ways life could turn out to be wonderful.

I wish there were an easier way, but I'm increasingly convinced that spiritual growth is largely a matter of dragging our thoughts out of the muck – over and over and over – to focus on something brighter. Eventually new pathways in our brains will make it a natural response.

3. Be grateful for what already is. No matter what you would like to see changed, bless what you already have.

You can love the little apartment you're in, even if you are working toward bigger house. You can bless your job even while you look for a better one.

This is especially important when you're working on your own growth. You don't have to disparage yourself in order to change.

It actually works better if you bless exactly who you are now, knowing that every year has brought you to this point and set you up for success in the future.

Remember, desire signals what is available to you. So if you are feeling a desire to grow and develop certain parts of yourself, it's already possible.

Living in gratitude could be a yearly theme in itself.

I would love to hear whether you set a theme for the year and how it goes. Paying such close attention to one attribute or action is bound to bring about miraculous changes.

   




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