Healing Meditation

Dear Friends,

I thought it would be good to create a healing meditation for this interesting period that we are sharing. It’s a little over thirty minutes, so find a time when you can relax and listen. I have pirated the background music and I could not find the artist’s name. Otherwise I would have given him or her credit for their beautiful art. Let’s hope they are willing collaborators in our effort to calm things down. Click to listen: Healing Meditation

Healing Meditation

Dear Friends,

I thought it would be good to create a healing meditation for this interesting period that we are sharing. It’s a little over 22 minutes, so find a time when you can relax and listen. I have pirated the background music and I could not find the artist’s name. Otherwise I would have given him or her credit for their beautiful art. Let’s hope they are willing collaborators in our effort to calm things down. Click to listen: Healing Meditation

Church Update

Dear Friends,
I want to give an update on our thinking at Independent Unity. I just learned that the White House issued the recommendation that no more than 10 people gather, so at this juncture we feel it is most prudent to suspend Sunday services until further notice.  

I will be recording video talks, so our normal online offerings will continue as usual. I may add additional short messages and perhaps some online meditations through the week. The church office will remain open, so feel free to call if you have questions or just want to talk. Also, my email is jdbottorff@gmail.com. I always appreciate hearing from you. If you’re not on our regular email list, let us know and we’ll add your name. I will be using this list to issue updates and announcements as needed.

Your health and well being is our first concern. As your minister, I am here to support and encourage you in every way I can so please stay in touch. Our board members are also available to talk and answer questions you may have. This time will pass, and I think we will learn much from it. We have a great group of people who are very supportive of one another and I can see this as only getting stronger.

We hold to our truth that there is but one presence and one power at work in our lives, in our church, in our nation and in the world. I see this as a time when our rather fragmented nation can put aside differences, roll up our sleeves and work together with our leadership to bring this unusual development to a successful conclusion. We do this with the fearless assurance that our way forward is clear, productive and is motivated by faith in the greater good that is surely unfolding.

Know that your church continues to be here for you.  
Richest blessings,
Rev. Doug

Foundation for Prayer

YouTube: Foundation for Prayer

Audio: Foundation for Prayer

Question: Unity was founded on prayer. Why aren’t you considering prayer as one of the principles of Independent Unity?

Answer: Unity was indeed founded on prayer, but prayer does not have a universal meaning. Those who believe they are separate from God treat prayer as petitionary, beseeching. The purpose is to request something of God or to influence God to act in a way that is either beneficial to the one making the request, or to the cause for which they are praying.

In contrast, the one who thinks of God as present, fully active and already working for his or her highest good will treat prayer as the process of bringing their thoughts and attitudes into alignment with what is true at the deepest level. And what is true? God is the only power, the power of good. The one praying is an expression of this power and can never be separate from their spiritual source. A healing prayer starts with the understanding that we are already whole, that our wholeness is now shining forth through our mind and body. That the body may not be reflecting this wholeness currently does not change the truth. Prayer is a two-fold action of first releasing the energy we’ve given to the negative appearance, and then affirming the truth of our wholeness.

Question: You’re talking about the use of denial and affirmation?

Answer: Yes. But let’s make sure we understand what we mean by these terms. Suppose you have a five-pound rock that represents a problem you are facing. You pick up this rock. If you say, “I now release this rock and I am free of its weight,” you have uttered what many consider a denial and an affirmation. Your stated denial is “I now release this rock.” Your affirmation is, “I am free of its weight.” But let’s say you don’t release the rock, that you keep holding it. You can repeat your denial and affirmation indefinitely. You can engage in some creative visualization of what it would be like to go through your day free of the burden of the rock. But you still cling to the rock.

It’s important that we think of denial and affirmation, not as words, but as actions. The words simply describe the action we are to take. We release the negative energy associated with an unwanted appearance and we allow ourselves to experience the freedom we seek. In this way we create the equivalent in consciousness to the condition we desire.

A Few Thoughts On The Virus Scare

[Note: I’m sharing this article I just posted on my Face Book page.]

Crisis brings out the best and the worst in people. The best will stand up and ask what they can do to help. The worst will fan the flames of fear and figure out some way to exploit the suffering of others.

I have adopted as my core principle the notion that there is but one presence and one power in the universe, God the good, omnipotent. Now is a good time to share some thoughts on what this does and does not mean. It does not mean that we stick our heads in the sand and pretend that all is well. It means that we make a conscious choice to move from the influence of fear mongering to our center of power, knowing that the calm and peace that is the core of our being is the only reality, and this empowers us to make constructive contributions. This reality, like the warming sun sending its healing rays over the horizon, is even now dissolving the shadows of ignorance and fear. Either we believe it, or we do not. Now is our moment of truth.

Today’s media is a shallow chatterbox driven by one of the lowest forms of self-interest imaginable. With the advent of the internet, we are bombarded with a plethora of misinformation and speculation designed to garner clicks, likes and views, none of which will mean a thing 15 minutes from now.

Fear is one of the most debilitating emotions we can experience. It robs us of our peace, our power, and (possibly the most important) our creative imagination. As individuals, our greatest work at this moment is to return to our center of power, to make a concerted effort to release all fear, and to re-establish our faith in the greater good that is even now unfolding.

Ask yourself this question: When this storm has passed, will I be proud of the way I thought, felt, and behaved? Consider this for a few moments and then ask yourself this second question: Am I proud of the thoughts, feelings, and behavior I am displaying right now? Do these thoughts, emotions, and behaviors support what I really believe to be true in the ultimate sense?

We were not given a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, peace, and creativity. We know instinctively that this is true. Something tells us that when we allow fear to dominate, we are not being true to who and what we are at the deepest level.

We will do well to focus on the sunrise, to let this momentary darkness of fear and ignorance melt away in the light of truth. This is the option proactively embraced by those who contribute the most in any moment of uncertainty. I trust that you who read this are one of these.

Now is the Beginning

YouTube: Now is the Beginning

Audio: Now is the Beginning

The soul was in the beginning with God; all things were made through the soul, and without the soul was not anything made that was made? (Jn. 1:2-3) 

The suggestion here is that the world as you know it is the creation of your soul. Does this mean that the very problem I am praying to resolve is one that I myself created? I could say yes, I am responsible for bringing this on. And I can speculate on all the many possible ways that I did it. But when I understand the creative process is at work in me now, I also see that this question of my role in the problem is the wrong starting point. By starting with this question, I put myself in an endless loop of cause and effect that has no satisfying outcome. I’m the hamster running in the wheel who always gets off in the exact same place he got on.

Jesus addressed the temptation to fall into this trap when a man, blind from birth, was brought to him. The disciples asked,

“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him” (John 9:1-3).

It doesn’t matter how the problem got here. We want to know how to initiate a new cause that will resolve it. What Jesus calls the works of God, John calls the light that shines in the darkness. The light is shining now. If there is something blocking this light—my endless analysis, for example—then we see a shadow. Does it matter how that block got there? What matters is that we want it removed. We remove it by acknowledging that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not have the power to overcome it. The apparent blockage is not a real power. The light is the only power. We’re not ignoring the problem. We’re acknowledging the creative process that brings our inner light to the surface.

The Path to Forgiveness

Youtube: The Path to Forgiveness

Audio: The Path to Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the act of letting go of the wounded self.

The disciple Peter raised the question of forgiveness. When one offends you, he said in essence, do we forgive them seven times? Jesus responded that you should forgive them “seventy times seven.” In other words, forgive until you know you have completely released the offender.

We all have memories of people that have in some way hurt us. Why should we let them off the hook when we still carry the scars they inflicted? The answer is simple. A strong identification with that part of you that feels unjustly wounded will forever keep you in bondage, both to the actions of others and to certain conditions that threaten to reopen the old wound.

Who would profit more, the one who successfully builds an impenetrable wall of protection around their fragile identity, or the one who releases that identity in favor of one that is so strong it needs no protection? A strong wall is not the equivalent of being firmly grounded in the true, indestructible Self.

To forgive does not mean that you condone or continue to make yourself the willing recipient of the unacceptable behavior of another. When you open your mind and heart to your spiritual identity, your relationship dynamic will change as well. You make new choices, which may include a parting of ways with the offender. This would not occur out of weakness or a sense of self protection, but out of the new strength you have discovered.

We subject ourselves to the low vision of others because of the low vision we carry. Through the practice of forgiveness—self forgiveness in particular—our vision is lifted, and we can see clearly that our most effective course of action is the inner work of letting go of the woundable self. Freedom emerges to the degree that we accomplish this important work.