If one were experiencing dissatisfaction with an organization or group of people or place or whatever, it seems that the phrase "this fill-in-the-blank does not resonate with me" is a more accurate and truthful statement than "I am no longer being spiritually fed by …." To my way of thinking, being in resonance, or out of resonance, honors and recognizes that Spirit in and as me lives my life, and takes considerably more ownership of my own personal experience.
The experience of not feeling spiritually fed implies that I feel I need to be completed from outside of myself. In other words, being spiritually hungry implies that I believe that am either malnourished or under nourished and do not already recognize that I am already perfect, whole and complete. Should I feel malnourished, I would require something from the outside myself must feed me; come into me to make my life complete and take away my spiritual hunger. I could be wrong about this, I'm simply exploring the implications associated with the saying “The … no longer feeds me.”
Like everyone else, when I am hungry I want to be fed. However, in this philosophy, the Food is already in us. Whether we know to access it could be a training issue or an awareness issue. To believe I would find what I am hungry for elsewhere, implies I do not know the truth about the nature of Spirit in, as and through me. If I need to do anything, then I could release the love and goodness already residing within me and let it go out into the world. If I were to find myself feeling hungry, perhaps the first thing I need to do is to describe for myself in what ways I feel impoverished or lacking. Then I have something very clear and tangible to work with.
If you ever hear me say that any group or organization of which I am a part no longer feeds me, please ask me to be specific. Then I have the opportunity to become internally clear, recognize and speak my truth and, if appropriate, the organizational leadership would receive valuable feedback.
--Keith A. Gorley
Connections & Oneness
I had several take a ways from the August 19, 2012’s Sunday Message. The four '"take aways" were: familiarity, capability, belonging and alibis.
I have preferred the familiar to the unfamiliar because I did not want to expend the time and energy to learn new behaviors. “I” was comfortable with familiar patterns and behaviors.
I did not share my true thoughts and feelings because I wanted to be accepted at all times and in all places. Pleasing others was more important than following my own bliss.
I created alibis and excuses because I had found comfort in my self created insecurities. These insecurities put distant between others, Life and me. This approach no longer serves me.
Finally, I created alibis to be less than I could be and actually AM. I told myself, “My” alibis are valid! They were the boxes I put myself in.
Because I am capable, from this day forward, I will move towards connection and oneness by moving away from the familiar, my self-created insecurities and alibis. I will manifest God’s will for me by obtaining the dreams I had set for myself as a young man.
~ Keith Gorley
Before you get all out of sorts about my blogpost from last week, let me continue the story. As you may know, I recently completed the credentialing to be a Professional Licensed Practitioner. My intention for getting the Practitioner's License, besides the fact that it is really cool to begin to figure out how to work 'This Stuff', was so that I may enroll in the Holmes Institute as a Ministerial Student. I don't know what that means, exactly. I don't see myself in a pulpit, I see myself at the Holmes Institute taking classes. I've known that, somewhat reluctantly at times, since the fifth week of Foundations.
In these past several weeks, I have become aware that I have a lot of history vigorously explaining to me why I can't do something as brazen as register as a ministerial student at the Holmes Institute. Last time I checked, I'm female and in my personal history, females aren't supposed to be ministers. There's also the potential conflict of being raised as a fundamentalist Christian. So I wasn't really all that surprised when I pulled a deep calf muscle and found walking, moving forward in any way, at any speed, to be difficult, painful and downright challenging.
I proceeded to look online at rehabilitation for deep calf muscle sprains and realized that most sports medicine didn't offer much hope about healing this type of injury. A long and slow (prognosis: months and months) rehab process was the best they offered. OK. I started praying about it, asked other Practitioners to pray about it, knowing my calf was healing, healthy and whole, even though my experience was most definitely to the contrary. I remembered a quote of Holmes, "Since our spiritual understanding is not sufficient to enable us to mentally set bones, we call in a surgeon; since we cannot walk on water, we take a boat. We can go only as far as our spiritual knowledge takes us." (The Science of Mind, 219.2)
Ah, yes. A boat. Adding to the mental work of prayer, clearing out history, doubt and limiting thought, I also called in many physical resources, sports massage, myo-fascial release, stretching, rest, ice, accupuncture. Within a few days I was able to walk without pain and within 8 days, I was ready to gently get back to the gym. This is a considerably different story than the long and slow purely physical process, which might have also ultimately insisted that I must wear orthotics the rest of my life.
The take away from this lesson for me was that in addition to continuing the mental work, I did use the assistance of many healers in my rehabilitation (sometimes we do take a boat), and will continue to work with some of them to ensure my physical body does what I need it to do (which will allow different layers of story to be released and heal), but there was never a time when I gave over my wellbeing to another, looking for them to 'fix me'. I ain't broke, I just got confused. And I have a telling story for my Entrance Panel into the Holmes Institute later this month.
Oh, and by the way, it's seldom just one thing or just one layer, there's almost always more depth to the story than anyone can see at first glimpse....
Recently, I flew to Washington State to celebrate my 27 yr old granddaughter’s wedding, to be held at my daughter’s house. As I arrived at the airport, I decided to notice my behavior and witness my thoughts from that moment until I returned home again.
While “people-watching” as I waited at my gate, I felt a compelling urge to put people in “acceptable” and “not acceptable” behavior boxes. I redirected my thoughts and, instead, noticed how “interesting” some people can be. It was much more entertaining and fun.
On the plane, my thoughts turned to the visit. Since I’d been used to living alone, I became very tense as I contemplated what it would be like to have our family, the groom’s family plus their friends (12 of us) staying under one roof for the next 5 days even though it was a large home. Continuing on this track, I hoped my daughter wouldn’t get too uptight and snap at me and my son-in-law would not start with his “mother-in-law put downs” – which had always played out in previous visits. Then my “witness” kicked in and noticed how I was inventing all sorts of misery in my mind, when none of it was ACTUALLY happening. I took a few deep breaths and decided to be OK with whatever happened. After all, it wasn’t MY wedding and it wasn’t happening at MY house. I focused on how wonderful it was going be to see my granddaughter marry such a nice guy, to see family again and to meet new people. Then I found myself getting happily excited for it all to start.
I knew it was highly probable my daughter would be stressed out with all the extra people in the house, etc., but I decided I’d just let her be herself and if she vented on me, I would ignore the behavior, offer to help any way I could and give her little pep talks about how well she was handling everything. (This scenario actually played out in its entirety and I kept my cool without creating more stress with a negative response.)
Also, during my visit, I decided to look for all the “good” qualities of my son-in-law and to notice his role as “father of the bride” instead of “my disrespectful son-in-law”. Well, surprise surprise, he was wonderful! He had become state-certified to officiate at the wedding and I observed that my granddaughter had become very bonded with him over all the wedding preparation and ceremony. He’d been her step-dad since she was 6 yrs old, the only dad she’d ever known. In fact, she made the statement that she may have had a father, but he was never her dad. She said she was grateful for the man she called “Dad”, who was the one who REALLY mattered anyway. I was so happy for her and could see how much it meant to him to hear that and to be able to play such an important role in her wedding. We (all the WONDERFUL people at the house who were brought together by this wedding) talked about what “family” really meant and we all blinked back tears as we discussed that. Then the groom’s mom spontaneously asked if she could lead us in prayer. We held hands as she thanked God for showing us what it really means to be “family” for one another. Then we passed the Kleenex box.
When I first arrived, though, my son-in-law greeted me with a hug and took me out on the back deck and pointed to a new 10x20 foot shed he recently built (for his lawn tractor and tools) in the back yard. (Ok, here we go) He said it was my new “Mother-in-law Suite”. Choosing to play along, I laughed and told him I liked it, but that I thought it was his new “ManCave”. He replied that he needed a building permit to build his “ManCave” because it would be much larger, but he appreciated the thought. Since there was nothing in it yet, and the house was full to overflowing with all of us, it was christened as the “Honeymoon Suite” the night of the wedding. For the first time in 20 years, my son-in-law didn’t tell me off or insult me at any time during my visit even when we were alone. One of my granddaughters even asked me, privately, if he had been mean to me yet, because it had always been a dreaded part (for all of us) and downside of every visit. Well, we’re not bff’s or anything -never will be- but I know since I changed MY expectations and response, my circumstances changed. Just hoping he would change would never have worked. As I left, I was shocked when he gave me a big hug and actually said he looked forward to my “next of many visits to come”. I realized it had ALWAYS been up to ME to change my experiences.
Next issue, at the airport, we were all on the plane and ready to depart, when the pilot announced, “Sorry folks. I have some bad news; the plane cannot fly because of an onboard computer problem. You need to get off the plane, go to Baggage Claim, retrieve your bags and proceed to the Ticket Counter to make other flight arrangements.” Stunned, we unfastened our seatbelts, collected our carry-on luggage and filed off the plane. People all around me were expressing their annoyance. I knew I would not make my 2 other connections, so my trip home was totally not going to happen as planned. But for some reason, I decided to be OK with that. I turned to one of my fellow passengers and said, “I’m sure glad we were on the ground when the pilot said he had some bad news!” This cut the tension as we deplaned and several people near me laughed and said they certainly agreed. Honestly, I hadn’t been looking forward to my flight schedule anyway, which meant arriving home late that night.
I rescheduled my flight for the next day and called my daughter to pick me up. We went to dinner, enjoyed a light-hearted mother and daughter time together. We spoke about how relieved we were that the wedding had gone so well and how thrilled we were that those two special people had found each other and had gotten married. Also, how much we enjoyed and truly LOVED the groom’s family and friends.
The next day with only 2 flights to get home, I arrived inTucson mid-day. Everything worked out even better than originally planned. Also the airline comp’d me $250 off on my next flight.
I realized that having decided to be a witness was key to creating a more joyful experience. Throughout my trip, whenever I caught myself in negative thought patterns, I stopped and began to think of what I DESIRED to happen and I really had a wonderful time.
I guess you CAN teach “an old dog new tricks”!
By Serina French
Each 4th of July presents the opportunity for us to reflect on the spiritual meaning of independence and freedom. And consciousness--that ability to reflect on the past, experience the present, and plan for the future—is what most distinguishes us as humans.
In 1909 metaphysician Thomas Troward wrote, “The livingness of Life consists…in the power of thought.” Fifty years later psychologist Wilhelm Reich suggested a high level of “livingness” occurs when “Life becomes aware of itself.”
Both Troward and Reich aligned closely with Hindu thought about the development of the soul, as described by noted professor and author Huston Smith: “Its assignment to (a human body) is evidence the soul has achieved self-consciousness, and with this (exalted habitation) come freedom, responsibility and effort.”
So, first the good news: we can actually plan and direct our lives (freedom and independence). Next, the sobering news: we are responsible for the outcomes of our decisions and actions (accountability). Then the better news: we can correct and learn from our misjudgments, make mid-course corrections (growth).
We can use this opportunity to reflect on five basic principles of New Thought spirituality.
- There is one life force or energy that causes the universe to continue to grow, expand, unfold
- As part of the universe, our own nature is towards fulfillment: to grow, expand unfold—to be all we can be
- As part of the universe we are also subject to life force/energy that continues to expand and grow the universe, and does not need or seek our approval.
- Our human experience, then, is full of situations we experience as problems and crises we may not understand. But they may present “wake-up calls” that (1) alert us to tend to our own growth and expansion, and/or (2) provide an opportunity to better learn how to respond vs react to things out of our control
- When we accept responsibility for our own growth and expansion, and for how we choose to react or respond to problems and crises, we are in synch with life force/energy; and we consciously move towards our own fulfillment.
We each have the ability to make every day Independence Day.
Rev. Steve Sanders, MA
Are you choosing your life, or are you living someone else’s?
Ralph Waldo Emerson felt strongly about self-reliance… so much in fact, that he wrote an essay about it, which can be found in the famous collection of his work, "Emerson’s Essays".
Throughout his “Self-Reliance” essay, he says many times, and in many different ways, “Be yourself!” He believed that being who you are is worth ten-fold the copying of anyone else, and that offering the gift of your self is more valuable to the world than anything else you could offer. There you have it.
I imagine that Emerson must have been very tough-minded, and I also suspect that he was very much an individual. It must have been disconcerting and difficult for him to live in a world filled with copycats, terrified to find their own voice. But I state the obvious. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have written the essay.
It is ironic to me, with Emerson’s strong declaration of “find your own words; use not others’,” that he is one of the most quoted writers in metaphysics… “But he says it so well!” I declare, somewhat defensively…and with a grin.
Many times, I have said, “I do this work so that I can have more people to play with.” This is still ever so much the truth for me. I still want self-reliant people around me, because it supports me in being self-reliant, too, and that's why I teach self-reliance. That’s a game worth playing.
~Blessings, Rev Donald~
This past Sunday Rev Donald spoke about the choice we each make in every moment with respect to the tidal wave full of sharks or the carrot as our point of focus. I was ruminated on this topic as I drove home, thinking about how thoroughly and easily I can get pulled into fighting off the alligators that I forget that my purpose was, and remains, to drain the swamp. It is twice good to be reminded that intention follows attention and that where I focus my attention, where my treasure is, there my heart will be too.
The questions from last month's message series on Living Fully, What stories are living you? Who is your true self? Will you let that out and share it with the world? It reminds me of that Marianne Williamson quote that I, and most people I know, have a love-hate relationship with...
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
It's a pretty unnerving thought that I might actually have another purpose, another calling, that shakes me out of my comfort zone, again. And yet, the opportunities knock, the door will open if I but choose to open it. My hand is on the doorknob. What is true for you?
In his song “Just a Memory,” Elvis Costello sings, “Losing you is just a memory / Memories don’t mean that much to me.” Ouch! In fact, and when you hear Costello’s voice, you understand that his lines are ironic.
The truth is that memories mean everything to most people. It is generally understood that memories color or discolor relationships, experiences, work, play and notions of success or lack of success in life. They also shape our notions of whom we think we are.
Elvis adds later, “But the pen that I write with won’t tell the truth / ‘Cause the moments that I can’t recall / Are the moments that you treasure.” Herein lies the rub with memories: You might (or likely) have memories that another does not have, and thus cannot relate to, even when that memory seems absolutely real for you. Since the other person’s memories don’t coincide with yours, there is no common ground, and that creates insurmountable obstacles to long- and short-term relationships alike.
Think about this: Mark Twain penned, “It isn’t so astonishing, the number of things that I can remember, as the number of things I can remember that aren’t so.” How, and where, does Twain strike you?
Everyone is completely convinced that his/her version of history is the correct version, so what do you do when you find that your version and the other person’s version differ?
Do you try to talk them into your version? Again and again and again, like, “If I keep telling them what really happened, they’ll sooner or later remember correctly.”
Do you accept the fact that your memory is faulty, and therefore, believe that your memory cannot be trusted?
Do you find yourself on one end or the other end of this continuum, or do you rest somewhere in between?
I think the key to sanity in this “he said/ she said” conundrum can best be found in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quotation: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still function.”
The fact is, you are both correct. You have one memory: Yours, and the other person has another memory: Theirs. Someone is bound to object here with, “But somebody has to be right, don’t they? What really happened has to be what really happened, correct?”
The answer is definitively, “Yes. And what really happened is that two (or more) people experienced something, and no two people can experience exactly the same thing.
History is more likely to be more a function of agreement than it is of actual facts. The truth lives somewhere in the middle, and thus we discover a place of gratitude for all of our memories. Truly, they can separate, or they can connect. What choose, Ye?
Robert Fulghum wrote a book entitled "Maybe…Maybe Not". The title comes from a Yiddish term, timshel, which means "maybe", and by implication, "maybe not".
Long ago I read something that was intended to be humorous: “When all else fails, lower your expectations.” When I saw the quote for the first time, I laughed hysterically. Obviously, I related to the idea more than I really wanted to. I’ll never forget that moment. It really brought me to myself.
With a viewpoint that something we desire or are working toward may or may not come into our experience, we demonstrate one kind of possibility thinking. However, this kind of possibility thinking may… or may not… help us have what we want.
If I embrace the idea that something I want may, as well as may not, come, then what am I really choosing? I am choosing that it really doesn’t matter what happens. Obviously, with this viewpoint, I have not really chosen that particular desire as my own. If I say I want something, why would I choose not to choose it?
Why would anyone act like s/he wants something, when in fact, and based on this lackadaisical attitude about it, s/he obviously doesn’t care about it one way or another?
Do you ever say you want something when if fact, you really don’t? Have you ever lowered the quality of your desire because you haven’t yet attracted it? Another term for this would be “settle for”.
If you look at Life and at timshel from the viewpoint of being a victim in a random and fickle universe; that you may or may not experience the life you desire, the possibilities look less than glorious and encouraging. And with this point of view, I suspect there will be more “have not’s” than “have’s”.
Alternatively, if you really choose whatever you say you want in life, and allow the Infinite Creative Law that makes everything happen, then timshel can facilitate opening to an even greater possibility in Life; one greater than any you have imagined so far. What do you think?
~Blessings, Rev Donald~
Every time I hear Jimmy Buffett sing "I Love the Now" I remember that I always live in choice. I, like everyone else, have the perpetual opportunity to live in this present moment, this right now, or to live in the past and operate as though the experience I am in the middle of right this minute is exactly the same as something that happened before. Its easy to relive a memory and say "this is the same as that" because our minds like to pigeonhole events, circumstances and occurrences. It's easy to do that. Some would say it is even natural and appropriate. If you are trying to avoid getting eaten by a saber-toothed tiger, or stomped by a Brontosaurus, it makes some sense to remember how one set of circumstances seems very similar to a previous set of circumstances. In fact, even subconsciously translating or projecting from someone else's story might save your life if you are operating in survival mode.
Our bodies react to our memories exactly as though they are actual real-in-the-moment events. There's no difference. In the Spiritual Thought from this past Sunday, Ernest Holmes (from A New Design for Living, p. 130) says "In whatever aspect of living we desire a betterment - be it in respect to health, abundance, or happiness - we have to know that it is ours now. We establish the pattern now, we accept what it is now, we know that it is our experience now. There is no difference between thought and thing. There is no time element in Mind, nor need there be in out mind. Whatever good we desire must be accepted as the present reality of our experience. Only now can it exist."
If I create a fear situation in my mind, my body acts fearful, releasing adrenaline and cortisol, and my body gets ready to fight, flee or freeze. Basic physiology again. The bad news, according to the physicians and psychologists who study such things is that this internalized fear state, which may have been created by something completely imaginary, causes an internal physical-chemical stress on the body, and has a long lag time before the body can even begin to come back to its own balance, equilibrium and well being.
What if "this is not that"? What if this apparently threatening situation isn't really inherently threatening? What if the Universe is predominantly a safe place and that all the events in my present experience can be viewed from a positive and supportive perspective? This doesn't mean I'm going to be stupid and step out in front of a bus to see what happens, but it can mean that I don't automatically interpret a conversation, and impression, or a look as antagonistic from the start.
Feels like a happier way to live to me. How about you?