Double Down and Flip

by Holly Baker

Double Down – to become more tenacious, zealous, or resolute in a position or undertaking

By the time you are reading this article, without any threatened delays and, fingers double crossed, we’ll finally know the outcome of the 2016 presidential race.

Jangled nerves, a neck and back achy with complaint, my body, mind and spirit hunger to end my election year bender, a self-imposed bonafide media binge. Like a gawker passing a horrifying car accident, I couldn’t stop slowing down to look again and again.

No matter how repulsed, I’ve been fixated by this year’s election cycle – following all major newspaper coverage, missing not one minute of all three debates. To my glee, the latest IOS update for iPhone displays “Breaking News” on the opening screen. The words “double down” entered my awareness and vocabulary for the first time.

In this season of an in-your-face, all-persuasive feeling of separateness, even vitriolic hate – an us-versus-them atmosphere on steroids, how do we embrace our Oneness? How do we “double down” on our Truth?

In CSL’s “The Power of your Word”, an 8-week certificated course, weekly homework starts with the popular news – each student picks a current news story that triggers them, pushes their buttons, or repulses them.

The initial task in this course designed to teach students to formulate and use Spiritual Mind Treatment for themselves and others is to identify the God Quality in any situation, and then “flip” the perceived condition to a positive, an expression of Wholeness.

We learn everything we experience demonstrates a God quality. Behind every fear is a God quality. Knowing Wholeness, knowing Perfection, knowing it’s all God is the first step. There is no evil just a misuse of good. Science of Mind does not deny any circumstance; we deny it has power over us. Pain lets us know we are alive. We’re not supposed to put up with it, but change our mind about it and then it can change. We choose our consciousness. We bring every trigger to ourselves in order to develop mastery.

During this divisive time as we begin our lives under new controversial leadership, how do we remember and apply the principle that we are ONE? What are the God qualities you can see?

Double down on knowing Oneness, double down on knowing Perfection, double down on knowing Love. Flip whatever angst you are feeling and “double down”. The source of peace lies within us.

My eyes behold the complete and perfect in all Creation, “In all, over all and through all.” I see the perfect; there is nothing else to see, and no suggestion of otherness can enter my thought. I know only the perfect and the complete. I am perfect and whole, now. I see the Good.
–Ernest Holmes

Come On In … The Water’s Fine

While volunteering as a Chaplain at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Salt Lake City, a Protestant Chaplain shared his motto with me: “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Intuitively, I resonated with the wisdom of this guideline, and when I shared it with peers or other chaplains, their heads always nodded in agreement.

The objective of an effective chaplain is to help people confront their demons so that they can deal with them. “Afflicting” is not about irritating. It’s about awakening to the truth of the situation and to a deeper truth beyond the conditions. It’s about bringing one to themselves, so they can bring out more of themselves.

An American proverb offers: “People are like teabags. They find out what they’re made of when they get into hot water.”

Just like with the chaplain’s point of view, when most people hear this proverb, they nod in agreement. What many don’t say, and more probably believe, is that “hot water” can be a bad and painful thing; that hot water is undesirable. Who wants to suffer? On the other hand, most believe that we need to hurt to wake up, and after being around this world for more than just a few years, this belief seems more regularly experienced than not. However, I don’t believe that life has to be this way, and neither does it need to remain this way if it has been up to this point in time.

When I think of hot water as a method by which a tea bag can bring out the tea’s true nature, its true essence, it becomes analogous to the hot water in a “Hot Tub”. Hot tubs can be therapeutic. They help us cleanse, feel refreshed and feel like a cooked noodle in a good way. The hot tub can help to bring out health and vibrancy, just like the hot water helps bring out the essence of the tea.

Hot water can help us birth our greatness, our magnificence, our true essence. In the same way, afflicting ourselves into a recognition of reality, can facilitate our awakening to the obstacles we have place in the way of that greatness and help us to choose differently.

Consciously or unconsciously, we create our own suffering. Consciously or unconsciously, we also create our own metaphoric hot water.

I think it is more difficult to experience personal magnificence, when we believe we have to suffer in order to get there. That would mean we could not experience greatness while having an ecstatic experience; that we have to suffer in order to awaken instead of enjoying the journey. This is absurd.

The belief that we have to be the wounded healer; that we have to limp along from the wounds of past experiences in order to step into greatness, is a horribly limiting way to go through life. And I say this, even though I have lived much of my life with this approach. However, just because we have lived our lives in that way up to this point in time, does not mean we have to continue in this manner. Maybe it’s time to consider doing it differently.

I think it’s time to celebrate the magnificence within us. I think it’s time to glory in and share the Power, the Intelligence and the Presence that lives within all of us, AS us, with each other. I think it’s time we climbed into the hot tub of magnificence together. I think it’s time to jump into the boiling pot that brings out our greatest selves.

Together, let’s steep in our magnificence and create a brew worthy of drinking and sharing. Together, let’s allow the Divine Tea (Divinity) to come forth from ourselves and share it with each other.

In case you have not started before now, it’s never too late to begin. Come on in. The water’s fine.

Many Rich Blessings On You…
RevDonald

“Stupid hurts, and it should.” (Graves’ Law #97)

“This Is How It Works”

“Stupid hurts, and it should.” (Graves’ Law #97)

When we do something against the Laws of Nature, or against our true nature or values, we suffer… and we should. This valuable feedback gives us the information, and possibly the motivation we need, to change.

What’s interesting to observe is that the hurting escalates if we don’t pay attention.

Initially, we get feedback from our emotions and/or feelings. We feel emotional discomfort or upset, and this could be as vague as an internal “stirring” or something more specific as anxiety.

If we don’t listen, then it escalates, and we get feedback in our environment: in our affairs, at home, at work, in the world around us, etc. It shows up as “noise”, chaos, “failure”, defeat, resistance, etc.

If we don’t pay attention and listen, then it escalates further, and we get feedback in our body. It shows up as chronic and/or acute pain, disease, sickness, and/or with other physical symptoms. The body is the first and the last place where the Universe gives us both our first and our last chance to wake up to the thinking that is out of whack. If we continue and do not listen to the feedback of disease, we move into an even deeper phase.

Since the Universe “loves” us and gives us to ourselves so totally and continually, It is willing to kill the body and let us start all over again. The Universe escalates the feedback until we get it, up to and including our getting to “start over”.

Paying attention to this process can encourage all of us to pay more attention to the various kinds of feedback presented to us, and therefore, help us to find ways to live more congruently and joyfully.

I trust you will choose to enjoy your process.

Reverend Donald Graves
(Excerpted and expanded from Graves’ Laws: Aphorisms to Live By, by Donald Graves)

Spiritual Oneness Through Music

How wonderful it is to observe and think about the many different ways people may walk a spiritual path, and the different places along that road where one can find oneself. This is not an either/or proposition, but rather an opportunity to exercise the power of choice among the many options available. Depending upon what someone needs at any given moment, different approaches can fill that need.

There are times on the journey when one needs inspiration or guidance or a change in perspective, or maybe a deeper realization of love while working through a life situation. Sometimes what’s missing is the mystical and transcendent experience of oneness: that deep realization of truth where everything shifts and one experiences everything as perfect, as divine, as God in everything and everyone.

As each spiritual center, church, synagogue or mosque finds their unique way of talking about and fulfilling these human needs, more people can experience a depth and richness in the teachings and feel invited into a deeper acceptance and understanding of the Infinite.

Music is one of the most effective tools in facilitating the spiritual journey, and it is a powerful avenue by which all teachings and philosophies can find common ground and provide inspiration, a deepened realization of love, joy and peace and sometimes, between the notes and lyrics, that transient experience of the mystery comes, joining everyone in the divine. What a sweet place that is…especially when shared with others.

Three spectacular and unifying musicians, David Roth, Jana Stanfield and Richard Mekdeci, will offer the first Tucson emPower Music PosiPalooza Concert, from 6 to 9 p.m., September 21, at Donald R. Nickerson Performing Arts Center, in Tucson.

Admission is $20, or two for $35. Concert location: 3231 N. Craycroft Rd. Buy tickets at empowerma.com/upcomingevents or at Center for Spiritual Living Tucson, Unity Spiritual Center for Peace and Unity of Tucson on Sundays.

Blessings, Reverend Donald

Groupon and the Farm Box

tomato-9This story could more comfortably become a story I heard rather than something that actually happened to me today. About a month ago, Groupon offered a Farm Box for half the normal price. I had been curious about what local fresh organic produce delivered from the farm to consumer was like. I hadn’t been so curious that I wanted to sign up for regular delivery, so this was a perfect opportunity for me to find out how the FarmBox system worked and what was in a normal delivery. When I went on their website to arrange for pickup of my first (and probably only) FarmBox, I was not happy to learn that they required a credit card, in addition to my Groupon code to actuate my delivery. I communicated with their helpful customer service person about this and how I was unhappy that it really, really looked like I was being set up to be charged beyond this initial purchase, for regular weekly or twice-a-month-ly deliveries. The kind and helpful woman assured me that I would not be, that the consumer had to authorize any change in the program.

So the first box came and the contents were lovely, lively and fresh.  Still I was not inspired to change my subscription to start arranging for regular deliveries. The FarmBox people charge your card at the interval that you designate and if you do not pick up your box, they donate it to an organization that can use the fresh produce. This is a good business practice and good use of resources, since produce is so perishable, they have created a mechanism whereby it is not wasted.

Imagine my dismay this morning when I received an email from them that my credit card had been charged for this next week’s delivery, which I never set up and never authorized, but had been afraid would happen.

Emmet Fox wrote (in Around the Year with Emmet Fox), “When you give your mental assent to an idea, good or bad, you associate yourself with that idea and you incorporate it into your consciousness… It is the mental assent that counts.”

Oh that.

I e-mailed the helpful woman back and she got straightened out immediately. She remembered me from our previous interactions, was terribly apologetic, couldn’t imagine how it had happened, and that it must’ve been human error and wanted to make it right.

I knew exactly how it happened, and I know what to do about it. Shift my focus. Now.

—  Janis

Using Imagination and Will

Having run across this following tidbit today, I thought it very appropriate for consideration given our theme for June: “Imagination and Will”.

“We take our point of view so much for granted, as if the world were really as we see it. But it doesn’t take much analysis to recognize that our way of seeing the world is simply an old unexamined habit, so strong, so convincing, and so unconscious we don’t even see it as a habit. How many times have we been absolutely sure about someone’s motivations and later discovered that we were completely wrong? How many times have we gotten upset about something that turned out to have been nothing? Our perceptions and opinions are often quite off the mark. The world may not be as we think it is. In fact, it is virtually certain that it is not.” (Norman Fischer, Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong, pg. 63)

How many times have you taken a piece of information and built it into its own false universe, only to find out later that the information you had was mistaken? You thought something happened, and maybe you took offense or felt hurt or diminished by it, when in fact it never happened at all, or it happened very differently than you thought.

Huge suffering can come from a misuse of imagination and will, and no one is exempted from doing this. We all have done it at one time or another. The key to sanity must be in understanding how to do this differently.

While thinking on Fischer’s quotation, I considered some questions:

How might I rightly use my imagination and will?

How can I use my imagination and will FOR my benefit, as well as for the benefit of those around me?

What if I use my imagination and will to “create” a world that works for everyone; where everyone respects differences and looks for connections and relatedness, instead of focusing on the differences. Since we all live in the same human bucket, how might I use my creativity to assist all of us more effectively getting along and finding mutual joy?

The questions continue to help my mind explore, and so far, I only have a few answers. This tells me that more answers are on their way and more joy is unfolding each minute. I think the beginning is to become ever more aware of how I am using my imagination, and how I am applying my will to those imaginings.

BestBlessings,

Reverend Donald Graves

How to Master Time: 5 Steps to Living a Timeless and Powerfully-Creative Life by Howard Falco

Thinking About Time - Falco

Thinking About Time

It may be time for our idea of time to change.

Time is our most precious resource, yet each year, we seem to have less and less of it as our lives get busier and busier. Every day, we have a new set of tasks to complete and there are now so many distractions, and there is so much information coming at us on a daily basis, it’s no wonder we have lost that precious state of just enjoying the moment. A whole world of people now have their heads buried in their cell phones for most of the waking day and more than they’d like to admit during the wake-filled night. We have become digital information junkies. The result is a stressed-out, energy-drained state of mind, body and spirit. As a result, we have lost a big sense of peace and contentment with ourselves and the world around us.

What if you looked at time not from the perspective of time being limited but rather from the perspective of time being unlimited? What if you came to realize that your experience of time and how things all come together for you are actually rooted in how you interpret yourself and the world?

Mastering time is about learning to understand and trust the process of life. Faith is the word that comes to mind — except this is not a religiously-defined faith or a blind faith I’m talking about here but rather a faith in a universe that has literally birthed you into existence. Through endless years of evolution and trillions and trillions of transformations of the atoms and molecules in existence, you are the magnificent and perfect result.

How can you not trust that the universe will continue to support you on your journey?

The way you answer this is a big part of mastering time. A greater trust with life allows you to go through life with less fear and a more peaceful faith, so all you need, from the standpoint of your awareness, will be provided as you journey towards your creative intentions. This does not mean you do not take action towards your intentions each day, but rather, you do so from a state of less pressure and more peace. You act from a state of mind of less anxiety around the question of “when” to more of a state of knowing and trusting that life will guide you. By using this mental approach, time is no longer seen as limited, but rather, each moment is seen as an opportunity to work with life and learn from all the challenges that come your way.

This is a powerful state of mind to be in, and it has a direct positive impact on your experience of time.

With this approach, what once seemed like a struggle to achieve actually becomes easier. Rather than feeling like you are swimming against the current each day or feeling pressed for time, you live from a more trusting, faithful mindset that puts you in more of the flow of life. You may then marvel at how what you want to have happen comes to you more naturally and without you having to force it or pressure it to occur.

If you knew how powerful you really are you would never stop smiling.

The way in which you look at yourself and life is really what has the biggest impact on your daily experience of it. In order to truly master time, you must be willing to open yourself up to a new way of looking at it.

Below are five steps to living a more timeless and powerfully creative life.

1. Immediately stop living in regret. Eliminate the lies of “woulda, coulda and shoulda” from your mind and your vocabulary. Stop worrying about what you did yesterday. Instead, accept who you are now in this moment and focus your creative energy on honoring this newfound acceptance.

2. Trust that there is a reason for every challenge and circumstance. Even if you don’t understand why, allow the space to embrace the notion that things are happening for you, not to you. There is a certain timing to everything that comes into existence. Having expectations of the universe for what you want and when you want it actually works to add time to your journey.

3. Be present as much as possible. Every person, situation and moment has a message to offer you. If you aren’t present or you are moving too fast, you are going to miss this valuable information life is presenting you and thereby stretch your learning curve — which in turn stretches time.

4. Learn to act on your initial instincts. These instant thoughts are usually providing the fastest way from A to B as it relates to what you want. Don’t resist this knowing when it arises, thereby, giving your mind time to think twice about it or talk you out of it. Utilize your instinct more and learn to have the faith to just go with it.

5. Build the faith to see time is never wasted. Each moment has purpose. Realize that even when nothing seems to be happening, below the surface, in the places you cannot directly see, things are moving in your favor. This helps dissolve fear, resistance and pressure and increases the crucial energy of faith. The more you can come to embrace that for this moment this is exactly where you are supposed to be on the journey, the more powerful you will become.

Mastering the precious commodity of time is not as much about the organization of time, but rather, it’s much more powerfully about the attitude you hold about yourself and how this attitude affects every happening in your life. Awakening to see the sacred connection between these two things by slowing down enough to be more present is ironically the beginning of a new and much faster way of putting time on your side.

Follow Howard Falco on Twitter: www.twitter.com/howardfalco

(This content was first published on 4/24/14 on the Huffington Post)

“NO” and “YES” by Janet St. Marie

Well, this week I was given a gift that I didn’t even know was being handed to me. It all started February 9th, in the message about Love of Self, when Reverend Donald Graves told us of that two-letter word which is so important in self-care – “No.”

The NO required in self-care.

The NO required in self-care.started February 9th, in the message about Love of Self, when Reverend Donald Graves told us of that two-letter word which is so important in self-care – “No.”

“No.” That’s it? “No?”

Just that very word shut me down. I am a master at saying “No”, since all my life I’ve said it– but mainly to myself. Everyone else got a “Yes.” And consequently my boundaries, if they even existed, were devastatingly ignored.

Reverend Donald’s emphatic call to use the word “No” in our practice of self-care was urging us to absolutely and unequivocally halt the disrespect of anyone’s self-appointed judgments violating our personal boundaries; and that this is an act of love for ourselves. I got that. I really did.

But I wanted to hear how THAT particular “No” to the judgments and demands of others was really a “Yes” to the truly most beautifully powerful Self that we are…how THIS “Yes” frees us to be the boundless expression of the great and mighty God that we are.

I have heard Reverend Donald say it before, that there’s a “Yes” behind every “No”; that our “No” helps to redirect the way something is going, and keeps our “Yes” the priority. If I truly say “Yes” to life, my “No’s” to destructive behavior keep me on track in choosing life and living.

I wanted to hear that “Yes” part again, but it didn’t come in that morning’s message. So I had to find it for myself. And that was the gift. It took a good five days. And my disappointment (no judgment on my part. Oh, no, not me!) at not being spoon fed that nugget was the impetus I needed to strive for that nugget; to seal it into my consciousness, and to begin living my life from there.

What a wonderful process it was – very much like unwrapping a surprise gift.

And now I’m feelin’ the love.

Thank you, Reverend Donald.

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