Discerning the Mystical Thread

YouTube: Discerning the Mystical Thread

Last week we looked at The Hidden Jesus. I suggested that throughout the Gospel accounts, there’s an Orthodox, larger-than-life presentation of Jesus and then there’s the man behind it. In thinking about the man, I’m talking about the thought processes that set him apart, that made his teachings unique. We don’t really know who that person was. We like to think we know. But all we really know is what’s been passed down to us through tradition, which has become the mainstream Christian thought. There’s a stream of ideas that run through his teachings that strongly suggest he didn’t make himself the central focus, as both the mainstream and New Thought Christian communities do today. His focus was on his listener’s oneness with God – the kingdom of God within the individual. I like to call this stream of ideas, the mystical thread. To recognize this thread of ideas, we have to be willing to lay aside much of what we think we know. …

The Hidden Jesus

YouTube: The Hidden Jesus

Hello friends, and welcome again to Independent Unity’s virtual church from home. I trust all of you are doing well, that this is a productive and possibly introspective time.

Last week, people from around the world celebrated Easter, based on the traditional understanding of Jesus that’s been passed down for two thousand years. It’s a story we’ve heard so many times that it would be easy to assume this orthodox view is the only way to think of Jesus. But considering how Jesus rebelled against the orthodoxy of his own day, we have to wonder if he would give his stamp of approval to the way that he’s currently portrayed.

For those of us who have taken the liberty to examine the sayings of Jesus from outside this traditional box, we move from the so-called Passion of Christ to the passion of Jesus—a passion to bring to his people a message of truth that he believed would break the chains of dogmatic religion, and truly set his followers free. Today, I want to explore a different type of resurrection. I want to roll away the stone of orthodoxy and shed new light on The Hidden Jesus that has been entombed in two-thousand years of dogmatic religion ….   

The Easter Transformation

YouTube: The Easter Transformation

Reading Material: Meditation/Meditation Exercises

[Excerpt from The Easter Transformation] If I were to put the Easter message into a single line, I would say something like this: Let go of the lesser so that the greater spiritual potential in you may come forth. Become willing to allow the lesser—the body-based identity or ego, the man of the flesh—to die and to let the light of your true, spiritual identity come forth, to define you, to define your interests, to define your purpose on this planet.

This is what the crucifixion and the tomb represent. It’s the process of transformation, that period when the man Jesus was put to death and entombed. But this is no more the end of the story than when the seed is dropped into the ground and covered. What looks like death, is a letting go, a surrendering to the process of transforming from one condition to another.

In Unity we advocate the practice of meditation. Meditation is really the application of the principle embodied in Easter. We close our eyes and relax our body. We turn our attention away from the demands of the body and our external circumstances. This is a kind of symbolic death. We die to our more surface-oriented self and turn our attention to a more subtle, quiet center of our being. Though we’re talking about something very natural here, it is not easy to describe what we’re actually seeking in this time of quiet. With practice, we begin to experience a spiritual quickening that brings the awareness of our unity with something greater than our normal thinking. Like the seed, we do not grasp for this something greater. We surrender, we let go, we trust that the divine intelligence of God is doing its perfect work in us, opening our mind and heart to the larger, spiritual context.

We’re undergoing a symbolic crucifixion and death. But there’s nothing negative about it—no more than when the seed is dropped into the ground.

Paul wrote of the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest. This mystery, he said, is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:26, 27). But when he refers to Christ, he’s not talking about the man Jesus. He’s talking that divine self that Jesus discovered and referred to as the kingdom of God that dwells at the heart of every person. In the same way the seed’s transformation into a full-blown plant remains a mystery, so this Christ, this divine self that abides in every one of us, knows how to do its perfect work through our consciousness. It knows how to break through this limited seed identity, this body-based self-image with all its fears and limitations. It knows how to bring into the light of our awareness the potential to live our life from that image and likeness of God that we are.

To resurrect means to restore to life. If we think of the process of resurrection as a miracle, something that belongs to the realm of the supernatural, then we’re missing the point. To restore to life means to consciously reclaim a living energy that has never been absent. To raise it from the dead means to bring it out of the tomb of our own indifference and let it come forth into the daylight of our normal thinking. Though it has been hidden for ages, so to speak, this living energy of our Christ potential is present and fully capable of doing its transformative work.

In one sense, it is a miracle that a seed, possibly dormant for many years, can spring to life, expand as a full-blown plant, and produce enough seed for many generations to come. But there’s nothing supernatural about this. It is so natural, in fact, that we take it in stride. We see the living plants all around us resurrecting from their winter sleep. The living force that displays as this natural resurrection is just as involved in each one of us. This understanding transforms Easter from a religious holiday to a personal event.

I would encourage each of you—especially in this time of self-isolation—to fully engage in your own Easter experience, to spend time in quiet introspection of this transforming, living energy, this Christ in you that is so often hidden in the busyness of daily life.

What is God Up To?

YouTube: What is God Up To?

Friends,
I totally apologize for sending yet another notice that our Sunday service is posted, but it is now. The problem was that Youtube flagged us on two copyright issues, with the last one being the Peace Song, which I had to remove. We haven’t had copyright issues in the past because we’ve only published my talks, so we’re learning as we go. My sincerest apologies for this inconvenience, but I think we have it right this time.
Blessings,
Rev. Doug 

What Is God Up To?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard several interpretations of the role God is playing with this virus pandemic. Some have said this is the fulfillment of a prophesy, that the day of reckoning has come. Others are saying that God is doing this as a way of getting us to count our blessings. Still others suggest that this is God’s way of forcing us to lay aside our petty differences and unite in a new age of unity.   

Though nearly unnoticed amidst this week’s pandemic pandemonium, the Pope issued a statement that all major religions are different paths to the same God. The statement, of course, sparked a firestorm among certain Protestants who declare the only way to have a relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. I too disagree with the Pope, but for different reasons.

I believe there is but one ultimate reality that can only be known through direct experience. I do not think of any religion as a path leading to God, but more as a particular sect’s prescribed way to think of God. Most western religions would have us believe that God exists separate from the individual.  It has been my observation that such religious indoctrination can become a formidable obstacle to a first-hand experience with God.

To get to the moon, our scientists had to align their thinking and technology with laws that permit space travel. They failed many times before finding the path. The way that succeeded was the one that best complied with the laws of physics. In this sense, there are not many different paths to the moon. There is but one, and every country that wishes to visit must stay reasonably true to this path. We might think of the body of science that got us to the moon as a religion. How many can there be, and can they all be right? Can they all take us to our desired destination?

Most people depend on religion to shape their understanding of God. You are approaching spiritual maturity when your understanding of God shapes your religion.