The Truth About Judgment

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“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get” (Matthew 7:1-2).

Much has been written about judgment, usually casting it in the unfavorable light of a practice we should avoid. Passing judgment on another, we’re told, is a sure way to reap unwanted consequences. But what if we understand that the motive and actions of another are selfish, disruptive, even potentially harmful to ourselves and others? Do we never say no, but stand in harm’s way, and deal with the fallout as if it’s only our soul’s lesson to learn? Does learning to hold our peace while getting trampled earn us points in heaven?

I have devised a question that may help sort through this very common type of situation: Am I protecting a weakness, or am I advancing a strength? Am I afraid to do what I know is right, or can I do what is right and own the consequences?

While we may think of the ministry of Jesus as a great gift to the world, we should also remember that there were many people who did not want him to continue. Had he capitulated to their short-sighted concerns, he would have been protecting a weakness. His fear would have robbed the world of the gifts he brought. As it happened, he stood his spiritual ground and gave from his greatest place of strength.

Are we to suppose that Jesus advocated neutralizing our faculty of judgment, or was he simply calling attention to the fact that we’re actually judged by our own motive? If we are protecting a weakness, we will perpetuate weakness. If we are advancing from a position of strength, we will contribute to stronger, healthier conditions.

Whatever conclusions we draw from this will set the tone for our experience in life. Judgment is one of our executive faculties and should not be denied. Being clear about the motive from which we exercise this faculty will go a long way toward resolving any confusion about it.

The Truth About Grace

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To assist in sorting through those elements of our religious training that may or may not be true, it’s helpful to start with a baseline concerning the nature of God. For example, can our thoughts and actions influence the way God behaves? If we do our best to walk the straight and narrow, will God grant us special blessings?

I recently spoke with a woman whose husband finally got a good-paying job. She said, “I think God has seen how we’ve struggled, that we really try to be good people and do the right thing. This really feels like a God thing.”

This seems perfectly logical, and a lot of people endorse the idea. But then a Jesus comes along and says something like this: “… for he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Is he saying God is as willing to help the evil and the unjust as the good and the just? Or is he simply saying, God is changeless?

The notion of grace, in its highest form, is really an acknowledgement of the changeless nature of God. Unfortunately, the general understanding of grace, at least in Christian thinking, is that it is a free and unmerited favor of God. We don’t deserve it, but God loves us and will do the occasional favor for us anyway.

In truth, grace is simply God being God. Whether we live with our mind and heart open to the presence of God has no more bearing on God’s behavior than it would on bringing sunshine or rain.

If you have a situation in your life that needs a resolution, try dropping all thought around the idea that God is trying to teach you something, or that you probably deserve this problem but you would like God’s help anyway. Focus instead on the truth that God is changeless love and light, and that God is now working through you in the most marvelous way to resolve your situation.  Affirm the following:

By grace I am lifted above all fear, all struggle, all doubt that God’s greatest good is now unfolding through me. Thank you God, that this is true!

The Quest for Immortality

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Many metaphysical teachings suggest that the body need not be subject to the laws of time, space, and gravity, that there’s really no reason for the body to age, get ill, and perish. Some have even taught that we should be able to so align our consciousness with the regenerative properties of God, that we could live in the body forever.

Most who have sought the brass ring of perpetual youth – physical immortality – have taken a less philosophical approach. All one had to do was bathe in the proper healing waters, no consciousness-lifting required. In Jesus’ day, this was the pool of Bethesda. If you were first to make it to the pool after the angel’s disturbed the waters, you would be healed of your malady. And we’ve all heard of Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon’s quest for the fountain of youth.

It’s estimated that by 2019, the global anti-aging market will be worth an astounding, $191.7 billion U.S. dollars. Beginning in 2012, pro-immortality political parties have organized in Russia, the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands whose aim is to provide political support to research and technologies focused on anti-aging and what they call, radical life extension.

All of this points to the obsession with the body-based self-image. The quest for physical immortality reveals a deep-seated fear that the loss of the body is equal to the annihilation of the soul, our true essence and identity. This fear is reinforced by modern science’s assumption that consciousness is a product of the brain. When the brain dies, so do we.

Because it is easier to identify with the body and its endless needs, we can easily lose sight of the truth that we, as spiritual beings, are by nature immortal. When Paul suggested that we will not all experience the sting of death, I believe he was referring to those who know who and what they are at the deepest level. Near-death research reveals that one of the most common elements of those who have had an NDE is the complete loss of the fear of death. This is because they have experienced the soul and found it to be immortal.

Our quest for immortality amounts to nothing more than a perceptual shift. We are not the body. The body is the physical interface we use to interact with the world. That which we are, the soul, is in this world, but as Jesus said, we’re not of it. We are expressions of the eternal Source of life we call God.

 

Resolving the Enigma of Divine Order

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When we seek spiritual guidance, we usually do so from one of two states of mind. We’re either seeking spiritual wisdom to implement a plan of action, or we’re clueless about our current state of affairs, and we’re asking God for ideas. In either case, it’s a good practice to remind ourselves that all things are unfolding in divine order.

But what does this mean? Does it mean that if we don’t affirm divine order, chaos will ensue? Does God need our reminder to initiate the highest process of order to ensure the best, most successful outcome?

It’s been said that we don’t affirm a thing to make it true; we affirm it because it is true. The declaration that, My life is now unfolding in divine order is a statement that aligns our understanding, our expectations, with the truth that that which is best and highest for the expression of our soul, is now taking place. Whether we’re in the process of pursuing a dream, or we feel completely lost, adrift in a sea of uncertainty, we experience the peace of knowing that all is well.

Though this may not seem to be true, the feeling of being lost is foreign to the soul. It’s the self-image that experiences the opposites of certainty and uncertainty. The soul is grounded in the Infinite. Our spiritual core never becomes lost in the weeds of circumstance. Nor is the soul’s worth based on our successes and failures.

The self-image tends to read its ever-changing circumstances like tea leaves. We hope that the patterns left by the grounds in the bottom of our cup will give us some indication of what we should do. The problem here is that we will read into appearances exactly what we want to see. We’re like dooms-day advocate that sees that latest volcanic eruption, hurricane, political scandal, or violent outbreak in the Middle East as the signs that the end is near.

When you affirm divine order, do so with a deep feeling of certainty that your soul’s purpose is now being fulfilled. Pursue your plans and move through your circumstances with the understanding that all things are working together for your highest good, and for the highest good of all. In those moments of uncertainty, turn your attention away from circumstances and re-establish your faith in the truth that your life is now unfolding in divine order.

 

Resolving the Enigma of Divine Order

Click for audio: Resolving the Enigma of Divine Order

When we seek spiritual guidance, we usually do so from one of two states of mind. We’re either seeking spiritual wisdom to implement a plan of action, or we’re clueless about our current state of affairs, and we’re asking God for ideas. In either case, it’s a good practice to remind ourselves that all things are unfolding in divine order.

But what does this mean? Does it mean that if we don’t affirm divine order, chaos will ensue? Does God need our reminder to initiate the highest process of order to ensure the best, most successful outcome?

It’s been said that we don’t affirm a thing to make it true; we affirm it because it is true. The declaration that, My life is now unfolding in divine order is a statement that aligns our understanding, our expectations, with the truth that that which is best and highest for the expression of our soul, is now taking place. Whether we’re in the process of pursuing a dream, or we feel completely lost, adrift in a sea of uncertainty, we experience the peace of knowing that all is well.

Though this may not seem to be true, the feeling of being lost is foreign to the soul. It’s the self-image that experiences the opposites of certainty and uncertainty. The soul is grounded in the Infinite. Our spiritual core never becomes lost in the weeds of circumstance. Nor is the soul’s worth based on our successes and failures.

The self-image tends to read its ever-changing circumstances like tea leaves. We hope that the patterns left by the grounds in the bottom of our cup will give us some indication of what we should do. The problem here is that we will read into appearances exactly what we want to see. We’re like dooms-day advocate that sees that latest volcanic eruption, hurricane, political scandal, or violent outbreak in the Middle East as the signs that the end is near.

When you affirm divine order, do so with a deep feeling of certainty that your soul’s purpose is now being fulfilled. Pursue your plans and move through your circumstances with the understanding that all things are working together for your highest good, and for the highest good of all. In those moments of uncertainty, turn your attention away from circumstances and re-establish your faith in the truth that your life is now unfolding in divine order.

 

Dancing Through Eternity

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“When you are tempted to think a life has been cut short, remember that every soul is dancing through eternity.”

Memorial Day is a holiday for remembering men and women who died while serving our country’s armed forces. Many use this time to remember all loved ones who have passed. It is certainly a good time to reflect on perspectives we hold on matters of life and death. In ways we may not even be aware of, our view of death impacts the way we live our life.

Recently, a woman was telling me of a family who lost their three-year-old daughter to leukemia. “I don’t understand why some lives are cut so short,” she said. “It just doesn’t seem fair.” While we are empathetic toward those who experience such a loss, we do well to consider the grander picture. We always feel the time we shared with a loved one now passed was too short. But whatever its duration, the earthly experience is temporary. The soul, momentarily tethered to a body, is not the sum of the loved one we knew in bodily form. They are experiencing life free of the blinders imposed by the physical senses. Their stay on earth may have been brief, but their life has not been cut short.

In our consideration of death, the disadvantage most of us have is that we only have memories of events connected to this incarnation. Life, as we understand it, is what happens between the bookends of birth and death. Everything beyond is unknown. Yet the one who sails over the horizon of visibility gains an insight those who remain on the shore rarely grasp. Whether they were killed in the heat of battle or silently slipped away from the quiet of their hospice bed, they would long for us to know that there is no death. They would know that if we do not grasp it now, we will discover it soon enough.

We are all dancing through eternity. The day will come when we step from this plane, but we will never step from life. Jesus reminded us that in the Father’s house there are many rooms. Earth is but one of these rooms. Hold your loved ones in the light and beauty of life and know they are doing the same with you.

The Road Never Traveled

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“Each man must sooner or later learn to stand alone with his God; nothing else avails. Nothing else will ever make you master of your own destiny. There is in your own indwelling Lord all the life and health, all the strength and peace and joy, all the wisdom and support that you can ever need or desire. No one can give to you as can this indwelling Father. He is the spring of all joy and comfort and power” (Emilie Cady).

If I were to state the single most important message that I gleaned from Unity, it would be the thought that is embodied in the above paragraph. I shared a similar idea in an inspirational message I posted on Facebook:

“Many take the road widely traveled. A few take the road less traveled. Only you can take the road never traveled.”

Jesus said it in a slightly different way.

 “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20

You and I have our own unique connection with God. Cultivating an awareness with this connection will take us down a path that is unique to us. If we feel something is missing, we are likely in a situation that is out of sync with that son of man part of us that does not lay its head in the examples or the trails blazed by others. Our single-most important work is to know ourselves at the soul level and to bring our divine originality into expression.

Cady explains that, while there is a place for books and teachers, our ultimate guide is our own indwelling Lord, that divine fountain of life that is our soul. Some seek to be different as a kind of fashion statement of their spiritual independence. This never lasts. We are seeking to connect with that which we are at the spiritually authentic level, that aspect that requires no manipulating control of how we express. The dandelion does not emulate the rose, even as the rose draws the most positive attention.

When Jesus said he came to bear witness to the truth, he was speaking for you and me as well. We were born to bear witness to the truth, to take the road never traveled, the way of expression that is unique to our being.