Consider The Lilies

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“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28-29).

God is an all-sustaining presence that great spiritual teachers of all ages have recognized as a providing source of support and guidance. Jesus was, no doubt, familiar with the writer of Deuteronomy’s comforting image of God: “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

We often feel alone, cut off from any source of support and supply. This happens, of course, because we become focused completely on the outer aspects of life and we start thinking that our good comes only from external channels.

This attitude actually contributes to much of our struggle for a more prosperous experience. The belief that our good comes to us from the outside in has us looking here and there for what first must be discovered within our own being.

If you are faced with a need right now, the first step toward opening yourself to a more attractive, prospering state is to become a magnet of good. You do this by affirming something like this:

God is my dwelling place, my perfect support. Today, I draw to myself all that I need to live a full and prosperous life.

Get the feeling that you are loved and supported, that your life is, on all fronts, working in an easy and orderly manner, that God as your source is now drawing to you everything you need to live a full and satisfying life. Just as the lily is clothed from the inside out, so are you. Take time often to remember this, and to know that God is your everlasting source of absolute good.

 

The Cain and Abel Dynamic

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In closing this series on meditation and prayer I thought it would be good to discuss a common challenge that you will likely encounter when attempting to make positive changes in your life. In my book, Meditation and Prayer, I refer to this as the Cain and Abel dynamic and I describe it in this way:

In reading the story, you know that Cain was a tiller of the soil—a farmer. Abel was a shepherd. The farmer must stay in one place, planting his crops in defined areas, making his location at any given time predictable. Cain represents that tendency in us to seek out the familiar, set up predictable routines, and hope nothing comes around to disturb our world. A shepherd, on the other hand, must constantly be on the move, changing the location of his flock so his sheep will not overgraze the land. Abel represents that part of us that is on the move growing, indefinable, changing.

These two characters represent two aspects of our consciousness. One seeks the comfort of familiarity while the other seeks the expansive mental attitude that invites growth. You may be praying for a condition to change, for example, so you don’t have to. You want some unusual circumstance to go away so you can get back to living your life as usual.

When you pray for change you will, in all likelihood, be presented with an opportunity to change. This opportunity could come in the form of a challenge that forces you to broaden your understanding of yourself and your life. It may be unexpected and seem like an undesirable development that you want to pray away.

Be mindful of such opportunities. See if you are hanging on to old ways of thinking that you need to let go. Every challenge has something of value if you are open to it. The value may be as simple as letting go of a negative emotion and proving to yourself that you do have a choice about how you feel. Your Cain may attempt to slay your Abel but growth is inevitable. Think growth and let go.

 

 

The Prayer That Prospers

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One of Unity’s fundamental teachings is that God is the source of our supply. We may think of God as owning a great warehouse full of goods and when orders are put in, they’re fulfilled and sent out. There are times, of course, when the order is slow and we think our request is on back order or that our credit has been compromised.

Jesus said that God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. God does not actually give us things. God gives us ideas and inspiration. We have the wonderful ability to open our minds to the very essence of God, to be filled with the life, love, power and intelligence that bring about all we see and all we do not see. We have a beautiful faculty of imagination that enables us to envision specific things and conditions that are appealing to us. We can tap into the energy of zeal that enables us to do the things necessary to bring about the life we envision. We have the ability to love what we do and create blessings that touch the lives of others.

The prayer that prospers is the one that sees clearly a desired objective, that releases the negative doubts and fears that stand in our way, that stimulates the faith to hold fast and to move forward when we are called to act in ways that further our heart-felt aspirations.

George Eliot made the great observation that God “could not make Antonio Stradivarius’s violins without Antonio.” God cannot make the world you know is possible without you to bring it forth. Think of yourself as the translator of the unseen to the visible. The life you desire is not a thing that is either given or withheld but a thing you agree to help produce.

The prayer that prospers is one that affirms that which you desire is yours now and your acceptance of this truth opens the mental and emotional doors through which your good may come. Do not be discouraged if the manifestation seems slow. Hold fast to your desire, be willing to work and live with the peace of knowing your good is coming forth now!

The Prayer of Guidance

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Spiritual guidance is obviously a very important aspect of meditation and prayer. It is also a very misunderstood subject that requires some rethinking in our approach to the subject.

We often think of spiritual guidance as a means of navigating from where we are to a place we want to be. Quite often that “place” involves the acquisition of a material object, a position, a relationship or a new lifestyle. What is often missed in this process is the state of being we hope to achieve with our acquisition. Our thinking is that the attainment of a thing will make us feel better about ourselves.

What is keeping you from feeling better about yourself now? What is keeping you from feeling complete in this very place you stand in your life today? The answer is simple. Only your belief that you are incomplete, that you need something added to become happy or that you need to be in some other place keeps you at a distance from the very thing you seek.

The prayer for guidance involves the release of all groping for answers outside yourself, a letting go of all sense of inadequacy that can only be addressed by adding something new to yourself or your life. Spiritual guidance leads you first to your point of strength, that inner center of light and peace that pines away for nothing more than a deeper revelation of this divine connection.

What are the dreams and goals of a spiritually fulfilled being? To be sure, they are different from the dreams and goals of a spiritually unfulfilled being. When you find yourself in need of guidance, start with the idea that your first need is to open yourself to your own wholeness. Let go of the self that fears or feels inadequate. Find your inner point of strength and know that you are being guided now to act, not out of fear and weakness, but out of the power, love and intelligence of Spirit.

All spiritual guidance leads to the holy ground of the place you now stand. The fulfillment you seek is present. Seek this first and you will know what to do next.