Archive for December, 2007

Another New Year

December 26, 2007

Earlier this week I was reading an article in the Smithsonian magazine about the year 1908.  Wow, what a amazing story!  In the article I was reminded that Wilbur and Orville Wright were still trying to fly more than 2 hours at a time at the end of that year!  Automobiles were toys for the rich and famous – well, that’s still true – however, in 1908 the average person did not have one and most weren’t sure they were a good idea!   Henry Ford would bring out the Model T in 1908 and change so much of our world.  Thousands of people were killed each year in work-related accidents;  children worked long hours in dangerous condition; there were vast numbers of immigrants coming into the US from both the east and the west.  In fact, in the larger cities, gangs terrorized the streets – remember the movie, Gangs of New York.   Racism was part of the culture – lynchings were taking place in the midwest and the south.  There was extreme poverty and extreme wealth.  And with all that, there were major strides and innovations in technology – radio, automobiles, airplanes, synthetic materials – and public awareness – women had begun their struggle for the vote and more equality, child labor laws were being introduced, to name just a few issues.  Interestingly, oil was discovered in the Middle East and rights to drill immediately claimed by the United Kingdom.   The world was getting smaller – it took days and weeks for news to spread rather than months to years. Isn’t it amazing how far we’ve come and yet how little has changed.  As we move into 2008, we live in a much smaller world – it takes only seconds for news to spread around the world – and yet one where there is still fighting for control over blocks of the neighborhood.  Women and children still work very long hours in very poor conditions – they’re just not in our neighborhood mostly!  Racism still exists – for some more subtly; for others, wrapped up in homeland security.  Advances in technology are moving so fast that it is almost impossible to keep up.   And public awareness is expanding – more and more individuals are reaching out through interfaith activities, disaster relief, environmental conservation, and a call for peace. Working together as an integrated whole – accepting and celebrating our rich diversity – we can make 2008 more than just another year.  There are several groups in the community that are working for cross-cultural dialogue.  Reach out – get involved.   Make connections with local groups working to conserve our natural resources – recycling, energy conservation.  Help build affordable housing locally.  Find time to meditate.  Think outside the box at home, at your work, at your church, synagogue or mosque.  Ask why.  Stand on top of your desk to get a different perspective. We can make it a year of unity and peace!  Let’s do it!

The Blessings of Christmas

December 24, 2007

Christmas

December 24, 2007

One of my favorite carols is I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – the poem by Longfellow set to music. In his poem, Longfellow captures the despair and the hope of a world at war – an individual in pain because of personal loss. He wrote this poem in 1864 – the Civil War was raging – His son had been injured in battle – His wife had died in a fire. The world around him was not a peaceful place! And yet through all of this pain and despair, he found the Source of All Things – He heard the bells pealing peace – reconciliation – forgiveness.
Here are the original seven verses written by Longfellow.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said:
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Several Christmases ago, I went to the Unity songbook to get the words and the page number for our Christmas service. I expected to find five verses in our songbook. Most modern version leave out the two verses specifically related to the Civil War:

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Today, it might be appropriate to add them back in, especially in those parts of our world where war is an every day thing.

I was astonished to see that there were only the first three verses in our song book. The two verses that speak of the despair and grief and that seem to make a judgment about Right and Wrong had also been taken out. Interestingly, this often happens in Unity. Thinking that we are following the Law of Mind Action and removing the “negative” thoughts and judgments, we cut out the grief, the pain, the despair, and the process of discerning. For me, what we are left with is often a veneer of smiles and goodness, a thin layer of ice that covers deep emotions and consequences of prior thoughts and actions that have not been processed and transmuted.

Now please don’t get me wrong – I do understand that when we hold “negative” thoughts in mind, we get more of the same. And that “judgment” when made from our personality can create error thought and actions. And yet to refuse to look beneath the ice to the swirling water is denial – and not in the way that Charles and Myrtle meant when they used the term. In my understanding of their writings, it is necessary that we recognize the situation, the issues, the apparent “reality” and only then are we able to “see” beyond appearance t the truth and how that truth can be restored.

When there is war in our world – bombs and bullets that are killing people – devastating hunger and starvation in a bountiful world – death from treatable diseases – violence in our streets and our homes – when all of this exists, to not feel a moment of despair and pain is to not be human. The power of the Law of Mind Action is that we can acknowledge the condition – the appearance – without accepting it as permanent. We can look deeper into the thought causes of these conditions – the thoughts of fear and lack – and we can, by replacing those thoughts with ones of love, bounty, unity, change these conditions. For as we change our perspective and thought, we will change our actions. As we shift the energy of a situation from fear to love, from lack to abundance, for death to life, we – and all those we touch – are changed.

For me, this is the spirit of Christmas! And so in this Christmas time, reach out to the infinite that is God – the Unity that includes the Duality – and as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow did in 1864 – hear the bells peal loud and down – Peace on Earth – Good will to all!

What I believe Part III

December 20, 2007

And the next installment in the credo process —

When I was a child, I spoke as a child and God was Father, Brother Jesus, very much arbiter of good and bad, right and wrong, always addressed as Thou and Thee, always right, perfect, sometimes angry, sometimes kind, sometimes a friend, sometimes a puppet master.  

When I grew up, God became …well, that’s still evolving!! 

In order for me to move further on this portion of the credo journey, I would like to restate my credo statements and define a couple of key terms.

Statements of Belief:

  • I believe that there is only one Power and Presence and that that Power and Presence is life-affirming.  (actually that it is life itself)
  • I believe that I, like all things, am a hologram of that Power and Presence – one point in that Presence that contains the entirety of that Presence.
  • I believe that “all that exists and beyond all that exists” is that Presence – connected energy – simultaneous energy points and at the same time unique manifestations.
  • I believe that how I think and what I think configure the out forming of that Presence, as the energy that is consciousness moves through that point that is “me.”
  • I believe that how and what I think moves me to consciously experience “feelings” as specific “things”, for “feelings” are energy without charge or meaning until I “think” a label, name, meaning.
  • I believe that consciousness evolves – in individuals and in collectives.
  • I believe that when my thoughts, feelings and actions come from a limited consciousness, I create the perception of a less than whole life. 
  • I believe that conscious use of prayer, meditation, and thought can increase my awareness of wholeness and bring me and my “world” into alignment with that Power and Presence.
  • I believe that my purpose in this lifetime is to consciously experience the oneness in all points of energy as I come in contact with them and through every manifestation of my thoughts and feelings.

Definition of Key Terms:

Being:  1 a: the quality or state of having existence; b (1): something conceivable as existing (2): something that actually exists (3): the totality of existing things c: conscious existence : life  2: the qualities that constitute an existent thing : essence; especially : personality3: a living thing; especially : person

Paradox:  1: a tenet contrary to received opinion; 2 a: a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true; b: a self-contradictory statement that at first seems true; c: an argument that apparently derives self-contradictory conclusions by valid deduction from acceptable premises; 3: one (as a person, situation, or action) having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases

 

These two words are at the core of my past and present views of God.

Now for more commentary –

I have often said somewhat jokingly that my God was always bigger than the God I learned about from church and family.  And now looking back, I remember asking as a young child how could an all-loving, all-knowing God send all those good people in China to hell?  I had an aunt who was Catholic and hadn’t “accepted Jesus as her personal Savior.”  I knew that my God was not going to send her to hell!  If not bigger, my God was at least more inclusive.

And – even my larger, more inclusive God was a being more in the nature of the second and third definitions shown above – an existent thing, a personality, a living thing or person.  God was usually a “He,” a perfect being, far beyond all other beings, the creator of all.  The concepts and words of traditional religion, crafted to describe this God, worked most of the time.  I must say that the one part of this traditional religious framework that I never quite accepted was the belief in an equal and opposing evil power, ever present, waging a war for my soul.  While I didn’t have a good rebuttal to the traditional argument for, I just didn’t buy it – so I ignored it!

The religious beliefs that supported this mythic God did not always mix well with the every expanding scientific knowledge of the time.  In my immediate environment, often the two worlds – religion and science –  were estranged at best and enemies at worst.  It was in fact this rift between religion and science that created one of the early cracks in my evolving chicken/egg.  I was faced with what I saw as blind faith and hard facts.  The hard facts won out.  And so, in my early 30’s the disconnect between what I felt and g-knew God to be, what science was uncovering about the way the world and humans worked, and the structures and words that my religious tradition used to speak of, and reach for, God became too wide to ignore.  I began to consciously seek out a more universal framework within which I could live and move and have my being. 

Much of this search for a new framework was intellectually driven because I knew at the time that I had locked my mind into a very narrow box and much more data and a broader perspective were needed.  Also, at that time, my heart was pretty badly encrusted.  Interestingly enough, many of my first search paths focused on very mystical traditions – Celtic paganism, Celtic Christianity, Shamanism, and Taoism.  These traditions, with their focus on meditation and spiritual journeys, reawakened my soul to the mystical spirituality of God and began the second major crack in the egg.

As I understand it now, I was moving out of a Blue Stage of consciousness evolution (Spiral Dynamics, Don Beck) with its mythic God view – a god separate and apart from humans, ethnocentric, a patriarchal god of law – into an Orange Stage consciousness with its scientific God view – a god that is universal – humanist – giant within waiting to be empowered – requiring no dogma – embracing materialism and pragmatism.  This was the first of several shifts of consciousness for me, each bringing a new “view of God.”   (I will write more about Spiral Dynamics in part IV of this project).

For me today, my God-view is more aligned with that of an Integrative Yellow Stage of consciousness evolution – a god that is universal – a god of systems, integration and paradox – manifests “godself” through evolutionary process – fosters the ‘magnificence of existence’ – god of all religions and peoples.  This God looks more like the first definition of being – the totality of existence. 

I believe this is the God Emilie Cady speaks of in Lessons in Truth (quoted here with a couple of minor changes made by me and shown in italics) – ‘God, the source of our existence every moment, is not simply omnipotent; God is omnipotence.  God is not alone omniscient; God is omniscience.  God is not only omnipresent, but more – omnipresence.  God is not a being having qualities; God is the very quality itself in existence and beyond.  Everything you can think of that affirms life, when in its absolute perfection, goes to make up that invisible Being we call God.    God is then the creative essence that is.’  Charles Fillmore also described this God in Teach Us To Pray in more traditional language, “We cannot get a right understanding of the relation that the manifest bears to the unmanifest, until we set clearly before ourselves the character of original Being.  So long as we think of God in terms of personality, just so long shall we fail to understand the relation existing between humankind and God.”   

In his writings, Charles used a number of names for God – First Cause, Principle, Divine Mind.    It was this language that first drew me to Unity.  These terms and others that come from other faith traditions and from our technological environment resonate with my present understanding of God.  From Taoism and Native American spirituality, the Tao and Great Mystery; from modern culture, Divine Matrix, Web of Life, Zero Point Field, even the Infinite Database!  For me, these names more effectively call out the image and feeling of interconnectedness of all things and suggest a core substance from which we are drawn and from which we manifest all matter.    

Quantum physicists now tell us that quantum particles exist in a state called “superposition” in which they are just a potential of something – they’re all of their possible selves, all at the same time.  And here is how  Charles Fillmore defines Substance in Revealing Word, “This does not mean matter, because matter is formed while God is the formless.  The substance that God is lies back of all matter and all forms.  It is that which is the basis of all form yet enters not into any form as finality.  It cannot be seen, tasted, or touched.  Yet it is the only enduring substance in the universe.” (pg 85)   In other words, God by any name is the realm of pure potential.    What a magnificent new way to see a powerful idea! 

Also from the new physics we learn that everything is energy and that thoughts are very well-ordered light energy called bio-photon emissions.   According to German physicist, Fritz-Allen Popp, these bio-photon emissions are micro energy trades between living things and the Zero Point Field (the quantum energy field of which all things are part) and that this constant trading process helps us maintain some sort of equilibrium.   If I may paraphrase Jesus, our Wayshower – I am the Light of the World and all those who seek after the truth that I am will have peace.  I believe that we must search in the new sciences for just  such updated versions of the very old message.

Also, within this present Integrative level God-view, I find that I can address and work with the paradoxes – those statements or tenets that appear contradictory or opposed to common sense, and are perhaps true – that I struggled with in lower level consciousness.  

The four major paradoxes and a brief statement of Unity definition shown below provide me with a basis from which to begin in any discussion, meditation and teaching.

 God As Immanent and Transcendent:

As Immanent, “the life and intelligence permeating the universe…God within us, forever resident in the invisible side of humankind’s nature.” (RW/85)

As Transcendent, “God above or beyond God’s universe, apart from it…God is more than God’s universe.” (RW/196)

God As Father and Mother

“Being itself must be masculine and feminine, in order to make humans in its image and likeness, male and female.”  (TTP/53)

“We are saying God as Father and God as Mother.  God is the divine Source of the masculine and feminine principles of life…” (Metaphysics I/25)

 God As Law and Grace

As Law:  “Divine law is the orderly workingout of the principles of Being, or the divine ideals, into expression and manifestation throughout creation…Divine law cannot be broken.  It holds humankind responsible for the results of its labors.”  (RW/118)

As Grace: “Grace is attunement with law in its perfect working…simply the Truth of Be-ing that which we are.” (LL/89/222)

God As Principle and Personal

As Principle:  “The unchangeable life, love, substance and intelligence of Being.  Principle does not occupy space; neither has it any limitations of time or matter, it eternally exists as the one underlying cause out of which come forth all true ideas.”  (RW/84)

As Personal: “God is personal to us when we recognize God within us as our indwelling life, intelligence, love and power.  There is a difference between a personal God and God personal to us.  Since the word personal sometimes leads to misunderstanding, it would probably be better to speak to God individualized in humankind rather than of God personal to humankind.” (RW/83)

My present view of the Nature of God is based on both/and not either/or, a view that is open to the unity behind the duality without angst and struggle.

I plan to cover my thoughts and beliefs around the paradoxes of Immanent/Transcendent, Father/Mother and Principle/Personal in the next installment.  I believe that these are best discussed in light of how humankind is in relation to God.  The paradox of Law and Grace I’m still working on a clear understanding.

In this Integrative God View of mine I have also found the rebuttal for the argument that Satan is a real power in opposition to God.  The Unity teachings on Satan, the Devil, and evil provide the words that I could not find before.  From the Revealing Word is this definition of the Devil:  the mass of thoughts that have been built up in human race consciousness through many generations of earthly experiences and crystallized into what may be termed human personality…which opposes and rejects God.  The ‘devil’ is a state of consciousness adverse to the divine good…There is no personal devil.  God is the one Principle of the universe, and there is no room for any principle of evil, personified or otherwise.” (pg54) 

The discussion to this point has centered primarily on an intellectual journey and expansion, and yet there can be no real expansion or evolution of consciousness if I am not in touch with the intuitive or g-nowing heart center.   As I journeyed through the non-traditional traditions mentioned earlier, I rediscovered the knowledge of the five natural states of consciousness and their impact on knowing:

  1. gross-waking states
  2. subtle-dreams states, e.g., vivid daydreams, visualization, certain types of meditation
  3. causal-formless states, e.g., deep dreamless sleep and yoga, meditation
  4. witnessing states, i.e., the capacity to witness all of the other states
  5. ever-present nondual awareness, i.e., the ever-present ground of all states – oneness
    (Ken Wilber)

Each one of us uses one or more of these states of consciousness daily, regardless of what stage of conscious evolution we are moving in.  It is in the states beyond gross waking that we find the experiential knowing of the nature of God.  It is the heart-centered focus of the mystic in us that can lift this search for a truer understanding of the nature of God past the intellect.  Through such practices as meditation and prayer, some yoga, and on-going reflection on my own inner nature, I have caught momentary glimpses of the connectedness and joy that so many of  the mystics have shared with us as they attempted to describe the indescribable – the sudden and blinding light on the road to Damascus, the awe at the grandeur of the heavens, the sense of calm serenity when a decision is reached, the radiance and beauty of a landscape covered with new fallen snow, the unbounded joy of a child’s laughter at the dancing rainbow, the strength of a woman in great pain as she reached to help her roommate who is dying of cancer, the palpable energy of oneness on Sunday morning as we sing together and pray.  All of these people, places and events are the nature of God. 

The following quote from Peace Pilgrim, an American peace activist, expresses beautifully what I believe is part of our understanding of this Nature of God:

“All of a sudden I felt very uplifted, more uplifted than I had ever been.  I remember I knew timelessness, and spacelessness and lightness.  I did not seem to be walking on the earth…the most important part of it was not the phenomena; the important part of it was the realization of the oneness of all creation…a oneness with that which permeates all and binds all together and gives life to all…a oneness with that which many would call God.”

In working with the levels or stages of consciousness evolution as outlined by Beck in Spiral Dynamics, I have come to understand that when I move into a new level of consciousness and hence a new view of God, I naturally have available to me the understanding of all views in levels through which I have moved.     Because i have this ability, I then can extrapolate a belief that whatever is not clear to me today about God, its nature and its paradoxes will be known to me as I am willing to open myself to greater and greater awareness of the Infinite. 

As I wrote in Part I of this project, I was born into a world where God existed.  There has never been a time when I doubted that there was a Presence and may there never be such a time.

What I believe Part II

December 20, 2007

This is the continuation of my credo process – defining and clarifying belief system is interesting and challenging work! 

Part II of this project focuses on the role of reason, revelation and experience in the development and expansion of a belief system on the nature of God, personhood and the relationship of the two.  To recap and refine my credo as of this day:

  • I believe that there is only one Power and Presence and that that Power and Presence is life-affirming.  (actually that it is life itself)
  • I believe that I, like all things, am a hologram of that Power and Presence – one point in that Presence that contains the entirety of that Presence.
  • I believe that “all that exists and beyond all that exists” is that Presence – connected energy – simultaneous energy points and at the same time unique manifestations.
  • I believe that how I think and what I think configure the out forming of that Presence, as the energy that is consciousness moves through that point that is “me.”
  • I believe that how and what I think moves me to consciously experience “feelings” as specific “things”, for “feelings” are energy without charge or meaning until I “think” a label, name, meaning.
  • I believe that consciousness evolves – in individuals and in collectives.
  • I believe that when my thoughts, feelings and actions come from a limited consciousness, I create the perception of a less than whole life. 
  • I believe that conscious use of prayer, meditation, and thought can increase my awareness of wholeness and bring me and my “world” into alignment with that Power and Presence.
  • I believe that my purpose in this lifetime is to consciously experience the oneness in all points of energy as I come in contact with them and through every manifestation of my thoughts and feelings.

To quote the famous 1st century Rabbi Hillel, “Everything else is commentary”. 

So more commentary:

Reason, experience, revelation:  let’s define terms.

Reason: 1 a : a statement offered in explanation or justification  b : a rational ground or motive  c : a sufficient ground of explanation or of logical defense; d : the thing that makes some fact intelligible 2 a (1) : the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways (2) : proper exercise of the mind b : the sum of the intellectual powers.

Experience: 1 a : direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge b : the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation
2 a : practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity b : the length of such participation 3 a : the conscious events that make up an individual life b : the events that make up the conscious past of a community or nation or humankind generally 4 : something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through
5 : the act or process of directly perceiving events or reality

Revelation:  1 a : an act of revealing or communicating divine truth b : something that is revealed by God to humans; 2 a : an act of revealing to view or making known b : something that is revealed; especially : an enlightening or astonishing disclosure c : a pleasant often enlightening surprise;  3 capitalized : an apocalyptic writing addressed to early Christians of Asia Minor and included as a book in the New Testament.

 What an interesting, intriguing trinity!  All integrally woven and fascinatingly separate.  It is my belief that, within this ‘trinity’ is held the origins of the age-old debate of faith versus works – doing versus being – mind versus heart – creative versus rational.  What I have come to believe is that, since there is only connected, same source energy, there is no “versus,” and that this trinity is rather a projection of three facets of the whole.  It has been my experience in life that focusing on only one facet will give a distorted, limited, and incomplete picture of the life experience.  Using  only one facet, either reason or experience or revelation, will create imbalance in all aspects of our lives and we will find ourselves many times backed into a corner from which there seems to be no exit.  Without reason, we get limited blind faith; without experience, we get unsubstantiated theory; without revelation, we get an ever-repeating sameness.  It is only when we work with all three facets, staying open to what each one ‘shows’ us that we are able to understand the full message of the Universe.  When we become aware that each of these facets is a tool to be used to support the other facets, we are able to dig deeper into the consciousness that is our source.    I began my spiritual journey on a path of blind faith, faith that did not question the established dogma taught by my parents, my grandparents and my church.  If there was something in that religious belief structure that didn’t make sense to me when I compared to information found in other areas of learning or my experience of life happening around me, it was expected by family and church that I would accept it because that was the way it was – God said so!  Those other sources – public school teachers, books, newspapers, finally television – did not have the God-given truth.  To continue to question was sin.  Instinctively, this flew in the face of Reason.   Though I was unable to articulate it exactly that way at the time, I just knew it didn’t ‘feel’ right!  The information and knowledge of years and ages of study by men and women of many disciplines couldn’t all be wrong.  I knew that if I, like them, had a questing mind and that mind was given to us by God, surely we were to use it to understand and synthesize – to see behind the literal words.  Might I call that other-than-conscious feeling I had a ‘knowing’  – a revelation – from God?   My early experiences with voices of authority led me to the belief that their insistence on unquestioned faith had more to do with their fear of change and uncertainty than with their certainty and understanding of the point in question.  That belief is still strong in me – when someone, or when I, insist on unquestioned acceptance from someone else of a position that they, or I, hold, I believe that it is important to look at what they, or I, fear if that position is untrue. 

So, in my late 20’s and early 30’s, trusting my own ‘instincts’ – ability to perceive revelation from Divine Source –  and using reason – the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking in orderly rational ways to discover a sufficient ground of explanation – I opened up to a new perspective on faith, on the Mind of God, on life.  Matthew Fox’s Original Blessing and Gary Zukov’s The Dancing Wu Li Masters were the beginning of an amazing journey.    In these two books, I found validation of my ‘instincts’.   In Original Blessing,  I found the following quotations – one written centuries ago by Hildegarde of Bingen and one written in our time by Herbert Haag, former president of the Catholic Bible Assocation:

  • “God is the good and all things that proceed from him are good”  Hildegarde
  • “No man enters the world a sinner.  As the creature and image of God he is from his first hour surrounded by God’s fatherly love.  Consequently, he is not at birth, as is often maintained, an enemy of God and a child of God’s wrath.  A man becomes a sinner only through his own individual and responsible action.”  Herbert Haag

   

From The Dancing Wu Li Masters I found this: 

  • “From the revolutionary concepts of relativity and the logic-defying paradoxes of quantum mechanics an ancient paradigm is emerging.  In vague forms, we begin to glimpse a conceptual framework in which each of us shares a paternity in the creation of physical reality.  Our old self-image as impotent bystander, one who sees but does not affect, is dissolving.” 
  • “The distinction between the ‘in here’ and the ‘out there’ upon which science was founded, is becoming blurred…scientists, using the ‘in here – out there’ distinction, have discovered that the ‘in here – out there’ distinction may not exist!  What is ‘out there’ apparently depends, in a rigorous mathematical sense as well as a philosophical one, upon what we decide ‘in here.’

These quotations give a good summary of the themes of each of these amazing books.

Today I read those words and say, “Of course.”  At the time of my first reading, these words were like dynamite blasting holes in walls that had been unconsciously built very high around my understanding.

In these two books, I found meat for both sides of my brain.  The world and all that is in it really is good, as the writers of Genesis 1 told us, and the how it happens is much more complex than ‘religion’ would have me believe.  The bigness of my God was confirmed. 

I began a conscious search with my logical mind to fill in the gaps of my education.  It is interesting that, looking back, I can see that I was “led” by my other-than-conscious mind so often to people, places and books that added to my understanding and experience.  And, the euphoric high of this new view of goodness and connectivity found through what I perceived as logic did cause me to temporarily dismiss or mislabel this ‘being led’ – this channel of revelation that had been part of my early years.  Yes, I still “knew” when I found a new idea or viewpoint that it was on target and I still found myself “listening” to the voice within when major life decisions needed to be made –  that act of revealing or communicating the divine truth    And yet I did not consciously honor that part of my being.  There had to be a rational argument to support the “knowing.”  Interestingly, my experiences – that practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in life events – continued to reinforce and affirm this facet of revelation and over time I reclaimed it as an equal tool to be used in guiding my life. 

The search led me to Unity – to the writings of Charles and Myrtle.  To this day, Charles and I often have amazing dialogues about the new discoveries of our ‘sciences’ and their roles in explaining our religion and spirituality.  I believe, as I believe Charles also did, that the separation of religion and science is limiting and that clearer definition of terms would go along way to bringing about a common understanding.

In Unity, I found explanations of prayer and meditation that aligned the two as elements of the same practice of the Presence.  I believe that this practice is the foundation for keeping clear the facets of my God search.   My experience has shown me that when I meditate on a regular basis – preferably daily – my ability to ‘see’ the good and the connectedness of life is powerful.  I can feel the flow of the Universe in and around me.  It also allows me to comprehend and integrate new ideas that are presented to me – to see the relevance and reason behind what appears to be ‘wrong,’ ‘evil,’ and ‘useless.’ 

And I believe that is the way it works – that’s the way we, as individuals and groups evolve.  We open our rational, reasoning faculties to new possibilities, perspectives and ask how might that apply or how that was active in the moment.  We review our experiences in light of that ‘new’ information and reach clearer understanding.  In that process, we also open to what Charles calls ‘pure reason’ – First Cause – the Mind of God – for ‘truth’ – for an ‘original, divine’ concept or understanding.  That ‘new’ understanding is then the basis for our rational analysis of a evolved world view that requires awareness of our experiences and openness to ‘pure reason.’  What an amazing chicken and egg process!

 As one member of Unity in Frederick says, “We have a God moment!”  And our belief system changes, evolves, expands.  How we see ourselves and all of those other unique points of manifested energy change, evolve and expand!