YouTube: Giving Way to Natural Law
Audio: Giving Way to Natural Law
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me, the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13).
Today it seems a growing number of people prefer to describe their interest in the Divine as a spiritual rather than a religious quest. The implication is that a fresh look at spiritual issues requires casting off dogmatic formulas of faith passed on from one generation to the next.
Some of Jesus’ contemporaries apparently thought he advocated abandoning the many formulas of Jewish orthodoxy. He corrected them when he said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). He was calling attention to the deeper meaning, the natural law from which the ritual is born. Regardless of the presence or absence of religious trappings, every practical spiritual system must have at its core an understanding that is rooted in natural law.
Jeremiah strikes at the heart of the issue with his two sins dialogue. Of course he isn’t talking about water and cisterns. The “spring of living water” is the indwelling presence of God. The broken cistern is the self-image that we have “dug” or adopted as our identity. A cistern must be filled from outside sources such as rain or water that is hauled in. Jeremiah’s “two sins” indicate a breach in natural law, a turning away from our true inner source of life, love, power, and intelligence and looking to external sources such as people, places, and things as our means of fulfillment. This cracked cistern of the self-image can never be filled, never satisfied.
The source of our being carries the true fulfillment we seek. As we open our heart to this inner infilling, we find the satisfaction we seek. The spring of living water, the spiritual fulfillment we seek, has always been with us, a natural law that expresses from the inside out.
YouTube: The Prospering Principle of Love
Audio: The Prospering Principle of Love
A theme familiar to those attracted to Unity’s approach to spirituality is that of prosperity. If we continue with the principle that love draws to us that which is for our highest good and dissolves that which is not, then we see that our highest good and prosperity are actually one and the same. How do we understand our highest good? Is it that which enables us to continue living unchallenged in our comfort zone, or, is it that which is nudging us out?
The embryo of the chick develops naturally and comfortably within its shell. But the day comes when the shell – once a solution – becomes a problem. When we find ourselves in this predicament, we usually pray for some alteration in the shell. We need more room. The chick, uncertain of what lay on the other side but sure that life has become a bit too cramped, instinctively begins pecking at the shell.
This is a clear example of the prospering principle of love. The chick not only has the instinct to start pecking, it also has an egg tooth to aid in the escape. Love urges the chick into a freer environment while dissolving the old, now confining world within the shell. Within moments of hatching, a life-sustaining environment becomes a useless pile of debris.
The shell we humans deal with is the universe of ideas that make up our current consciousness. These may have worked for us at one time, but now we are beginning to feel cramped. Our life is not working so well. Affirming the prospering principle of love is at work in us now is a willingness to acknowledge our desire for greater freedom is God calling us to move into a broader experience. We’ve reached the limit of a shell and it’s time to let it go. In silence, we listen, we learn, and then we start pecking.
Click for YouTube: The Art of Conflict
Click for Audio: The Art of Conflict
Question: “You brought up personal conflict with others. Do you have a solution to offer that accommodates distance and difference?”
On one occasion, a lawyer approached Jesus and, as a test, asked him to name the greatest commandment. According to Matthew, Jesus responded in this way: “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:37-39).
In light of our treatment of love in this series, this is a brilliant response. To love the “Lord your God” is to embrace the truth that love is drawing to you that which is for your highest good and dissolving that which is not. To “love your neighbor as yourself” is to acknowledge this same truth for others.
The Gospels depict Jesus in perpetual conflict with the religious professionals of his day. Because he threatened their ideological narrative, the lawyers of spiritual law were doing everything in their power to destroy his credibility. Jesus had enemies. It’s also pretty obvious that he held them accountable for using their scriptural skills to keep people in spiritual darkness.
The lesson here is that we do not have to like a person to love them. If you hold resentment toward another, then that resentment binds you. The answer is to release them in love. As you think of this person, you see love drawing to them that which is for their highest good and dissolving that which is not. It’s not your job to determine what needs to happen to them. Your highest good involves pulling your negative emotion out of the situation and letting love do its perfect work. The more you want to see them pay for what they did, the more of an emotional burden you heap upon yourself. They may indeed deserve all the payback you envision. The question is, do you deserve it? Knowing that love is doing its perfect work offers a way out from beneath this stifling burden.
Click for YouTube: The Yes and No of Love
Click for audio: The Yes and No of Love
“Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (Matthew 5:37).
Drawing upon a wide range of sources, I have summarized characteristics of Being that I refer to as the four fundamentals of God. God is life, love, power, and intelligence. I’ve suggested that we think of these characteristics as we would think of white light that breaks down into a rainbow of colors.
God as love draws to us that which is for our highest good and dissolves that which is not. Absolute freedom from the mental and emotional chains of fear and regret is the natural condition of our soul. As we acknowledge the working of divine love in any troubling situation, we are affirming this attracting and dissolving action at all levels. We are open to it in our circumstances, our attitudes, and our feelings toward the situation.
To help with this understanding, imagine taking your concern and placing it in the hands of the wisest, most loving being you can imagine. You do this with the full assurance that your issue is being resolved in a way that works best for you and for all concerned. Imagine how freeing this is, to know your problem is being resolved at this very moment.
There is a simple practice that can help with this letting go. Set aside a container like a coffee can, a sugar bowl, a coffee mug. Give it the name of your choice with the understanding that this container is the action of love. Write out a brief description of the issue you want to resolve and place it in your container. Each time you think of this issue, remember that you have turned it over to love, that love is attracting that which is highest and best and dissolving that which needs to go.
This is a hands-on reminder of the yes and no of love in action.
Click for YouTube: Spiritual Adaptation
Click for Audio: Spiritual Adaptation
It is common to associate our ongoing spiritual interest with a quest, a journey, or an evolutionary process of development. We think of ourselves as being at one place in understanding and we’re slowly moving to another. This perspective is strengthened by observing our typical method of learning. Acquiring knowledge on any subject involves the acquisition of information we do not currently have. The more information we gather, the more informed we obviously become.
When we think of someone we consider a spiritual giant, Jesus, for example, we assume he applied the same information-gathering process to his own spiritual development. The people of his day were certainly baffled. “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?” (John 7:15). Today, still applying the evolutionary model, we speculate that during the so-called missing years – that 18-year gap between ages of 12 and 30 – he may have retired to the desert to study with the Essenes, or traveled to India to study with Hindu mystics. Some speculate that he was a very old soul. Still others hold that he was sent by God, that his great wisdom is explained by his unique spiritual pedigree.
Let’s look at this with fresh eyes. All of creation is constantly tuning itself to its present environment. Any living form that does not do this successfully goes extinct. What we are calling a progression – moving from a lesser to a greater, more complex state – is really a perpetual adaptation to the present. This is a very different process that suggests all the pertinent forces of this universe are active and fully engaged now.
This is how we must think of the spiritual dimension and our relationship to it. We, like all of nature, are designed to interface with this omnipresent reality we call God. We won’t eventually evolve to this capacity, we have it now. To think something so essential to our spiritual well-being is somehow withheld, or that we have to earn it through lifetimes of searching is spiritually illogical. Who would withhold information critical to the well-being of their own children? If we as parents would not do this, why would we think it’s happening to us?
Man has the greatest capacity for creative expression. That natural hurdles would be thrown in front of us to hinder us is ludicrous. We are blinded by our own ignorance.
Audio: Our Spiritual Core
YouTube: Friends, we had a technical issue with the video this morning, so I’m running one I did earlier: The Undamaged Soul
Today’s talk is in audio format only. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Question: “What, in your way of thinking, is the difference between the term “Soul” and Unity’s use of the “Christ within?”
Answer: “The soul is eternal, unaffected by our ever-changing beliefs, moods, and the perpetually shifting sands of daily thinking. The soul is the spiritual core that we associate with the Christ, that image and likeness of God that is already complete, no evolution required. It is that deeper essence that survives when there is no more need for a hat and boots.” Excerpt from The Complete Soul.
From this, you can see that I consider the soul and the Christ as two separate terms that refer to the same thing. The public’s general understanding of these terms is that they are different. If you Google ‘soul definition’ and ‘Christ definition’ here’s what you come up with: soul – the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal. Christ – the title, also treated as a name, given to Jesus of Nazareth. Though Unity treats the Christ as our spiritual core, the term has such historical and religious significance many may find it a barrier rather than a help to advancing their spiritual understanding.
It is important that each person find his or her own direct experience with God. Nothing cuts quicker through the maze of terminology and dogmatic formulas than a genuine spiritual awakening. This is the beauty of Moses’ face-to-face with the Lord. “Tell them I Am sent you,” Moses was told. This is not a name but an eternal state of being, universally shared by all. It’s a confusing response only as long as we are trying to place God in time and space, or worse, inside someone’s skin.
You have a spiritual core that responds to any name you are comfortable giving it. Tennyson described it as “Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.” The location of your spiritual core is fixed. The name you choose is yours to decide.
YouTube: The Whispering Soul
Audio: The Whispering Soul
From a teaching point of view, it’s a lot easier to talk about the soul than instruct someone on how to actually experience it. Yet, it is the experience that transforms belief into knowing, a vital component to our spiritual understanding.
The pioneers of New Thought referred to the silence as a state of inner communion with the spiritual source of one’s being. This communion is an intuitive experience that comes through stilling the anxious busyness of the intellectual mind and bringing the attention to the original, unadulterated spring of life welling up as one’s being. I have compared this stream of incessant thought to encountering a river to be crossed. While most seem to be stopped at the bank, it is possible, and essential, that we wade into this river and cross to the other side. This is not an actual span involving distance, but a state of inner stillness that is achieved through releasing mental distractions.
Two phrases I find helpful are peace, be still and I am. Peace, be still encourages a mental and emotional letting go of distracting images. I am is a statement of alignment with pure being, the “river bank” toward which you are moving. The Old Testament refers to it as “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). In this episode, Elijah found the Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but in a still small voice. Though we are forced to speak of this inner connection in metaphors, it is a homecoming that every person instantly recognizes as their natural state of being. It may at first be fleeting, but we recognize its simplicity and natural warmth as the very womb of our being.
Our experience at this level is the recovery of a familiar place we have never left. Though we have been engrossed in the winds, the earthquakes, and the fires of external religions, programs of self-improvement, and perpetual efforts to acquire that missing thing that promises to be the fulfilling element that brings our peace, our search ends only when we learn to listen to the still small voice of the whispering soul.