Spirituality Gets Practical: Practicing the Peter Phenomenon

September 25, 2012

The Christ as Jesus told Peter 2,000 years ago that “upon this rock, I will build my church.” Unfortunately, mainstream Christianity has misinterpreted Jesus’ assertion to mean that the man Peter is the cornerstone of the organized church. From a Unity perspective, this is what we believe Jesus meant: Metaphysically speaking, “rock” symbolizes absolute faith in the Universal truth that we are God expressing in human form as us.

“Church” is a universal symbol for Christ Consciousness. So, from our perspective Jesus was assuring us that our ability to achieve Christ Consciousness depends on our knowing without a doubt that we are God expressing in human form as us. Once you know that Universal Truth you have the power to change the world – if you faithfully listen when Spirit turns up the volume.

The increase in volume can take the form of an inside voice. It can be a strong inner urge to surrender to your CoreSelf. It is an unmistakable feeling of an end of a cycle, or the beginning of one,  or that your current work is complete. It is a feeling of absolute trust in Spirit. And that complete trust, that unwavering faith is called the Peter Phenomenon.

Have you ever been on your cell phone, and the person you’re talking to is really irritating you? So you say: You’re breaking up! I can’t hear you. I’ll call you back later!” Even though you could hear them perfectly? That’s how it is sometimes with that testy Spirit call! Sometimes when Spirit turns up the volume, you really do want to disconnect! Claim bad connections … or dead zones! But the funny thing about Spirit is: IF you’re listening, the connection is always strong and there is never a dead zone! And when we practice the Peter Phenomenon, we not only hear those messages, we act on them in Faith! And that’s what Peter represents! But Peter didn’t always come out looking so great!

So often, the story of Peter walking on the water is used to symbolize faith — but if you remember that story, Peter lost his focus on the Christ Principle, and began focusing on the world of appearance, noticing the waves, the storm, and the deep water, and he began to sink into the emotions of fear and doubt and panic.

We’ve all experienced this “Early Peter” syndrome in our spiritual journey, where we get excited about the Principles, we jump in wanting to try them out, but at the least little bobble, we panic, we lose our focus and our trust, and we sink into the world of appearance with gusto! We want guarantees. We want proof. But ultimately, we, like Peter, are able to reconnect and rise above the world of appearance.

But there’s another Peter story we love— it doesn’t get used nearly as often. It demonstrates the difference between Blind Faith (the early Peter Syndrome) and Understanding Faith/Dominion — as we grow into the awareness of our Oneness, our discernment that Truth is immutable, unchangeable, and constant!

This story comes from  the 3rd chapter of ActsOne day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. [Peter and John represent the powerful union of Faith and Love, which together are a mighty force! Prayer: connection with Domain of Divine; 3 is the Trinity of Mind, Idea, Expression] Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. [We  can see our human selves in this man – we are so tied up in being needy, in seeking our good from out there, that we are unable to stand in the very Truth principles we know. We feel like things are hopeless, and we cannot move forward on our own. So this man is asking for money, just as we so often choose some material thing or some specific person to save us  from our problems]  Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk… [The union of Faith and Love recognize that there is a force far more powerful than money, or anything material. It is the life force of Truth at work, bringing the Divine Ideas and fueling the 12 Divine Powers within you that can work acts that appear to be miraculous! When we grasp this understanding, we can literally stand tall, firmly planted in the Truth.]

This is the Peter Phenomenon at work at the highest, most elevated level! And we can all call on this incredible power for our own spiritual enrichment.

Here’s your “take away” that can ensure you are always practicing your Peter Phenomenon, at the highest level to ensure your dominion over the world of appearance: With every word you are about to say, every thing you are about to do, every decision you are about to make, STOP! First use these five words: I claim FAITH and LOVE! Remember: The union of Faith and Love generate the life force of Truth at work, opening the flow of Divine Ideas and fueling the 12 Divine Powers within you that can work acts that appear to be miraculous!

For example: If you find yourself experiencing doubts, say “I claim Faith & Love” Immediately I realize that I can plant my feet firmly in the Divine Power of Faith, and know everything I need is already here for me to be successful! As I participate in a discussion about something a little difficult, sensing potential conflict, I first say “I claim Faith & Love.” From that awareness, my words and ideas will bring a harmonizing effect to the discussion.

Our 12 Powers are our currency of Truth, and Faith and Love set the stage for us to live, move, and have our being practicing the Peter Phenomenon — faithfully listening to Spirit and acting in love on what we hear! When we do that, we will always be walking the spiritual path on practical feet!

(based on Truth Talk by Revs. Bil & Cher Holton)

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Faith It Till You Make It!

September 19, 2012

If we planted an apple seed, would you believe we would actually get an apple tree?

If we squeezed an orange, would you believe we’d actually get orange juice?

If we visualize an abundant flow of prosperity flowing through our connection with Divine Substance, would you believe we would actually see a manifestation of prosperity?

Why is it so easy to believe, without doubt, that apple seeds produce apple trees, and oranges produce orange juice — but so difficult to believe that divine Substance produces everything we ever need in terms of our supply? Maybe it has something to do with what we have actually seen and experienced, versus what we have been told, but haven’t actually experienced.

This truly is the foundation of Faith!  In John 20:29, Jesus said to Thomas, “…because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Believing even when we have not seen: that’s faith. But it is really important to recognize that Faith is a powerful essence which we can develop and grow. We get critical of ourselves when it appears we don’t have the faith we think we should, and beat ourselves up. But look at how you handle other growth areas in your life.

If you decide to learn to play the piano, do you sit down and expect to play Mozart perfectly on your first sitting? If you decide to take up golf or tennis, do you expect to walk in and hit the perfect drive or land the perfect serve on your first lesson? If you decide to take up ballroom dancing, do you expect to go out on the dance floor and do a professional-level routine your first day out? Of course not! Whenever we take up a new skill or hobby, we realize there is a learning curve, and we go in expecting — and allowing — ourselves to be bad before we get good! We know we will go through a period of seeing our ability grow, as we willingly put in the time to practice and learn. And we also discover that with each thing we learn, there is another level to tackle. There’s always more to learn. Even professionals work with coaches, and continue to refine and perfect their skills, always pushing the envelop and discovering new and better ways to do things in their chosen field.

Why should our development of our Faith faculty be any different? So here’s what you need to know about faith. First of all: You never have no faith! That’s a convoluted sentence, isn’t it? But think about it. Faith is one of the Divine powers inherent within us. It is our responsibility to quicken or strengthen it. So we are really being incorrect when we say, “I lost my faith or I don’t have any faith.” You cannot lose your faith — you might just have forgotten how to use it. The comforting knowledge is that your faith is always there, just waiting to be developed.

Emilie Cady, in her masterpiece Lessons In Truth, talks about the different levels of faith. From her work, we have created a kind of continuum of faith, which helps us identify where we are in a certain situation—and also helps us recognize the Truth of where we can be. Here’s how it works:

We begin with HOPE. Hope takes a lot of flack in spiritual circles as a kind of cop out, but I wan tot go on record saying hope is an important element on our spiritual journey, because hope provides the stimulus to keep someone moving forward when otherwise they may give up. It’s kind of like our training wheels! And when we don’t have a really strengthened Faith faculty, hope is the light at the end of the tunnel that keeps our journey going in the right direction! You hear people say things like, “Don’t give them false hope.” I personally believe there is no such thing as false hope. There are lies, and wishful thinking, but if there is hope, it is real and powerful and affirming.

So why don’t we just want to operate at the hope level? When we work from a basis of hope, we tend to live in a fearful state, concerned that we may or may not receive. And in the Hope state, we fall into the habit of seeing our affirmations, dream boards, and visualizations as magic bullets. If we don’t say it just right, or create it perfectly, we won’t manifest the result. But it’s a start, and we’ve all been there (at different times in different situations, we may even revisit!)

We want to move up the Faith Ladder, moving into Blind Faith.  Blind faith is where we move forward, instinctively feeling that wherever we are, God is, and all is well. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and we don’t know how or why, but we just believe things will work out. This Blind Faith is higher than hope on our continuum, because it is based on Truth, but we may find ourselves having to reassure ourselves often that it will work, it may be hit and miss, and we may question it often when we don’t see the results we expect as quickly as we expect them. But the important thing is that we persist, and continue to hold strong to the Truth we believe and use the tools, even if we aren’t sure why. Blind faith is kind of like magic — it is only magic until we know how it is done! As we grow and learn …

We are able to move to the higher level  of Faith—Understanding Faith. This is where we know and understand that there are spiritual laws as immutable as physical laws. For example, we know that the law of gravity just is, and when someone is jumping off a building, the law does not question who the person is, what job they have, or how much money or power they possess. The law operates as it operates. If the person jumps, they fall. They will have a hard, maybe fatal landing, or if they chose to have the right equipment, they will experience an amazing planned adventure. It wasn’t the law’s decision — the law operated. The people involved knew the law, and chose how they would use it!

Once we realize that spiritual laws operate the same way, we move into that powerful level of Understanding Faith, where we can be just as certain that when we apply spiritual laws, we are assured of the results that will follow. And that brings us to one other similarity between our apple seed and our orange analogies: you have to do something to get the desired  result.

To quote Emilie Cady: One of the unerring truths in the universe is that the supply of every good always awaits the demand. Another truth is that the demand must be made before the supply can come forth. (You could have a bank account filled with money, but the only way to access it is to request a withdrawal.) To recognize these two statements of Truth and to affirm them are the whole secret of understanding faith—faith based on principle!”

When we operate from Understanding Faith, we can say, “We will have the funds and resources necessary to  move forward with this project” with as much conviction as we say, “We will squeeze this orange and get orange juice!”

As you move forward on your spiritual journey, recognize it is a process of growing and developing your Faith Quotient — Faithing it till you make it through practice: affirming the Truth of what you know, denying any power to doubt, moving forward claiming the good that is yours by right of consciousness! And become aware! Bless the inflow and outflow of everything in your life, knowing that it is good.

I believe that children have that Understanding Faith, until we train it out of them. Then we have to redevelop it as  adults. Here’s a great example of Understanding Faith in action, in a story from Guidepost Magazine. It is about a little girl named Scoop. Her family had recently moved to a new house, and used every cent they had to make the move. One of the great things about the new house was a little garden shed out back, that Scoop could use as a playhouse. She loved being out there, with her dolls, creating little tea parties and pretend sewing circles. She decided she would like the playhouse better if it had a real floor, instead of the dirt floor which made things dusty and dirty. But her mom just said, “We can’t afford to put a new floor in there right now. Maybe later.” And Scoop, her eyes gleaming, said, “I know I am going to have a real floor in that play house!” And every day, Scoop would go out to the playhouse, tell her dolls that they were getting ready for the new floor that was coming, and she would diligently sweep the dirt floor to get it looking as good as possible.

One day, Scoop’s mother hear her yelling, “Mom, come quick!” She ran out to the playhouse, and looked in amazement! Sure enough, showing up underneath the layers and layers of years of dirt that had accumulated, the original brick floor of the playhouse was beginning to appear. That “real floor” had been there all along, but only through the belief and diligence of a little girl, who KNEW she would have that floor and did everything to prepare for it by her constant sweeping, was the floor able to emerge!

Our abundance, inner peace, and joy is here, right now, right in front of us. We can know it, because Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly!” And He directed us, “Ask, believing you have received…” We can KNOW, without any doubt, that we can Faith it till we make it as we walk the spiritual path on practical feet!

Claudia Carawan Presentation and Workshop! Sept. 30

September 8, 2012

ImageJoin us on Sunday, September 30 for an awesome Sunday with Claudia Carawan, award-winning recording artist and inspirational speaker. Her music is best described as “positively soulful” and her workshops are engaging, creative, inspirational, and fun!

Claudia also serves as a Music Director at Unity Christ Church of Bon Air, in Richmond, VA; she is the director and founding member of The Sistas (an all-female gospel vocal group) and the Celebration choir.

IN her amazing workshop, Fearless Creativity, you will:

  • play creativity games
  • discover core values
  • learn new skills to boost creative expression
  • tame your inner critic
  • write a song — and —
  • think way outside the box!

Join us for a full day of incredible joy, music, spiritual enrichment, and creative expression!

10:30 am — Sunday Celebration Service, with message and music by Claudia

1:00 – 3:00 pm — Fearless Creativity Workshop, facilitated by Claudia

 

 

Creating Powerful Ministry Teams

June 18, 2012

Revs. Bil & Cher presented an amazing workshop at Unity’s Annual People’s Convention, focusing on Creating Powerful Ministry Teams. It was extremely interactive, so you really had to be there to get the most out of it! However, you can get lots of great ideas from their handout, which you can UnityPeoplesConf2012-Handout.

“If people understand what is expected and believe they are valued as legitimate team members,
they’ll drive themselves to unbelievable excellence.”
(Bil & Cher Holton)

 

James Dillet Freeman Poetry

April 16, 2012

The Prayer for Protection was written by James Dillet Freeman, the “poet laureate” of the Unity movement and director of Silent Unity, the prayer ministry of the Unity movement, for many years. Originally, he wrote it in response to many requests for a prayer for protection for members of the armed forces during World War II. Since then, it has become a popular prayer used in most Unity churches and by many individuals who may never have even heard of the Unity movement.

Prayer for Protection by James Dillet Freeman

The Light of God surrounds me;

The Love of God enfolds me;

The Power of God protects me;

The PResence of God watches over me.

Wherever I am, God is … and all is well.

 

Another of Freeman’s poems, “I Am There” was carried to the moon by the Apollo XV voyage by Astronaut James B. Irwin, and left on the moon for future space voyagers. (Astronaut Irwin’s mother gave the poem to him before his flight, and he took a microfilm version of it to the Moon). Freeman has said, “Of all the things I have written, this has meant the most to most people.

I Am There by James Dillet Freeman

You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.

You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.

You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.

I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.

I am at work, though you do not recognize My works.

Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know Me as I am,

and then but as a feeling and a faith.

Yet I am there. Yet I hear, Yet I answer.

When you need Me, I am there.

Even if you deny Me, I am there.

Even when you feel most alone, I am there.

Even in your fears, I am there.

Even in your pain, I am there.

I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.

I am in you, and you are in Me.

Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me, for only in your mind are the mists of “yours” and “mine” present.

Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.

When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.

Though you may not see the good, good is there, for I am there.

I am there because I am Omnipresence.

Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of Me does the world take form; only because of Me does the world go forward.

I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the growth of living cells are founded.

I am the love that is the law’s fulfilling. I am assurance. I am peace.

I am oneness.

I am the law that you can live by.

I am the love that you can cling to.

I am your assurance. I am your peace.

I am one with you.

I am.

 

 

Class: Practicing Heart-Centered Metaphysics (Metaphysics I)

April 12, 2012

May 2 – June 6, 7-8:30 pm

Learn the foundational concepts of Unity’s Metaphysics, and more importantly, how to practice them to experience spiritual enrichment!

Facilitated by Revs. Cher & Bil Holton.
Texts: Heart-Centered Metaphysics and the new workbook (co-authored by Rev. Paul Hasselbeck and Rev. Cher Holton), Applying Heart-Centered Metaphysics.
Class is available for spiritual enrichment (love offering) or for 10 hours SEE credit (required course, Metaphysics I) ($55).
(No class on May 23).

An Ash Wednesday Fasting/Feasting Meditation

March 6, 2012

Take a moment to think about something in your life you want to fast from:

  • A physical pain or illness?
  • An emotion that is destructive?
  • A self-defeating belief or attitude?
  • An anxiety that disturbs you?
  • The disappointments of a relationship?
  • A fear or grudge that is holding you?

You may think of several things, but for this meditation, just pick one specific thing – something that, if you truly fasted from it, it would make a huge impact on your Truth walk.

Now, close your eyes and take a nice, slow, relaxing breath that starts from deep within the center of your being and is drawn slowly and rhythmically into your lungs. Then exhale slowly. Again … and once more …

Now, imagine yourself on a beautiful, quiet, clean beach, on a nice warm day. The ocean is warm and gentle in the cove where you have come to spend some time. Listen to the easy rhythm of the waves as you walk along the shoreline.

This is a calm and private place; the silence is broken only by ocean sounds. You are safe here. It is a place of peace, rest, and healing. Relax now in a comfortable position here on this beach, and enjoy the softness of the sand, the gentleness of the breeze, and the warmth of the sun. Relax, and be at peace . . .

Now, ever so gently, allow yourself to recall that thing you decided to fast from. Just quietly allow the awareness of it to come into your mind. As you think of it, give it a shape — some physical shape. Use whatever comes to mind first. It could be round like a ball; square like a block; linear like a piece of string; if it is liquid, pour it into some kind of container, so it takes that shape.

Focus on the shape of this thing.

Get a sense of its size . . .

Notice its color . . .

What is its texture?

Does it have any aroma?

Take time to visualize it so you know it very well! Now imagine you have the magical capability to change the size of this thing. No matter what size it was, stare at it now, and as you are watching, it begins to shrink in size until it can fit into the palm of your hand.

Hold it in your hand, and become aware of the fact that this thing you want to release is no longer inside you; it is no longer a part of you.

Place this thing on the sand, and step away from it now. Look again at its size, and now begin to dig a hole in the sand. Enjoy the feeling of your hands digging into the soft, warm sand, making a nice large hole, deeper than the size of the thing you are releasing. Feel the immense excitement and anticipation welling up within you as you carefully and joyfully create this hole.

Now lovingly go and pick up the item you want to release. Remember the details about what it was, and take a moment now to say “Thank You” for however it served you, even if you do not understand what that is.

Now gently place this thing you are releasing into the hole you created. Beside the hole, magically has appeared a lighter and a bottle of lighter fluid. Take some time to douse this shape you have created out of what you are releasing – douse it good! Now, use the lighter to ignite what is no longer a part of you, and watch as it is reduced to ashes. Once it has become ashes, and they cool a bit, scoop the ashes up and release them to the air, allowing the breeze to scatter the ashes over the sandy beach.

Know that the thing you would be rid of is beneath the sand, that it has been burned, purified, and released into the Universe as new energy, serving good!

And now, reach down and scoop the sand over the hole, refilling it, smoothing the sand until even the traces of your fingertips disappear. And now, with another cleansing breath, begin walking away from this spot, along the shoreline, focusing on the beauty of this spot and the incredible joy within your being!

As you walk, take a few minutes to visualize what your life is like without that concern or issue or emotion that you released. What are you doing differently? How are you enjoying life? How are you experiencing the freedom of your release?

Allow yourself to experience that wonderful feeling, knowing it is now a part of the Truth of you. Take a few deep breaths as you bring your Consciousness back to this place, knowing that the white heat of Spirit has left the ashes of that error thought, attitude, belief, habit, or fear behind as a residue of your spiritual growth.

As you feel ready, take another breath, and gently open your eyes.

Two Great Love Commandments for Spiritual Enrichment

February 28, 2012

The Two Great Love Commandments:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
 

There are many ways to take this scripture to a deeper level. One approach is to consider that this first commandment is actually telling us to use our Twelve Divine Powers at the highest, most elevated level of awareness. Think about it:

Love the Lord thy God: Love, metaphysically, means to harmonize – so this is telling us we need to bring into harmony the aspects of the nature of God that are within us. We use our Power of Faith as the foundation of everything we do and believe. We ground ourselves strongly in Faith, knowing that we know that we know we are God expressing, and we have abundant spiritual principles we can use to experience a life of inner peace, joy, and prosperity. So standing on that Faith, we then “love the Lord thy God” – we harmonize our Christ nature. . .

with all our heart: this is our Divine Power of Love, our ability to unify and attract the highest and best, and to see the highest and best in other people and outer circumstances;

with all our mind:this one calls on our Divine Powers of Wisdom, Understanding, Imagination, and Will. These 4 powers, used at their most elevated levels of Consciousness, allow us to envision, attract Divine Ideas, evaluate and discern what to do, know how to live our Truth principles, and choose to be the best Christ we can be.

with all our soul: This part is relating to our Divine Powers of Order, Dominion, Zeal and Life — all of which help us master this human experience, energize and vitalize through our thoughts and energy, and live with passion and balance in all we do.

With all our strength — of course, this represents our Divine Power of Strength, which is our ability to stay the course, persist, and do what is ours to do. It also focuses on Release, as we let go of everything that is not contributing to our spiritual well-being.

So this first commandment is really kind of hefty! It’s saying we need to harmonize all our Divine Powers so they are in sync together, and working from the highest, most elevated level of Consciousness to express the nature of God that we are. How do we implement it into our daily living? Here’s your Spiritual Adventure for the week (and beyond…):

Two-Part Questioning Meditation:

Part 1: Morning: As you go into a morning meditation, begin by focusing on four questions.

Begin with the phrase “As I go forth in Faith, . . .”

  • What will I do today to expand my Heart Center (Love)?
  • What will I do today to strengthen my Mind faculties (Wisdom, Understanding, Imagination, and Will)?
  • What will I do today to take care of my Soul faculties (Order, Dominion, Zeal, and Life)?
  • What will I do today to increase my inner Strength (Strength & Release)?

Part 2: Evening. Then, at the end of the day, pull out your journal and draw lines to create 4 columns. Label them Heart, Mind, Soul, Strength. Reflect over your day, and identify at least one thing you did that day to take care of each of the four key areas. In other words, you are asking yourself to identify specific ways you are honoring the Truth of who you are, and ensuring you are living from your highest, most elevated level of consciousness. Then reaffirm your faith Power, and spend time in meditation. Here’s a sample:

Heart

Mind Soul Strength
Practiced the Namaste technique; forgave my coworker for claiming my idea was his. Metaphysically interpreted The Good Samaritan parable and related it to me. Created two new affirmations focusing on transcending all patterns of lack and separation. Claimed ease and grace, and used the “Easy Button” to remind myself I can do it!

So that takes care of the first commandment! Whew! But remember there is a second one, which says, Love your neighbor as yourself. From a literal perspective, this seems to mean we treat others with love and respect – but don’t forget those two powerful words: as yourself. This is why last week, I did a whole message on How Do I Love ME … because that’s a prerequisite to loving others.

But again, let’s take it a bit deeper, as we look at it metaphysically – where it is all happening within us. Metaphysically,

  • Neighbor = our physical body and emotions which are affected by our thoughts. Essentially, the “neighbor” reference in this commandment represents our human self. The “Yourself” reference represents our Higher Self, our Christ Self.

The charge in this commandment is to harmonize our human self with our Christ Self, so we are living at the speed of our Christ Consciousness.

So this week, here’s what you can do. I call it the CC Litmus Test. [CC = Christ Consciousness.] The question to ask yourself as often as you possibly can:

“Am I, right here, right now, coming from my highest, most Christ-like Consciousness? In other words, as I being the best Christ I can be?”

If yes – then reflect on what you are doing so you can replicate it!

If no – then ask yourself how you could have responded or acted differently, in a way that would reflect the Truth of who you really are.

While you may not necessarily be able to change the result or impact of how you were acting … the important attitude to have is “Next time…” Next time, how can I handle this type of situation as God expressing?

Bil and I have a little saying, that everything that happens in life is all curriculum! Everything presents an opportunity for learning … a chance to look at it from the perspective of Truth, and use it for good.

This past week, we watched the movie Soul Surfer, which is based on the experience of Bethany Hamilton, a champion surfer who lost her entire left arm to a shark attack at the age of 13. The movie is based on Hamilton’s autobiography, and covers her struggles to deal with losing her arm, and regaining her ability to surf. The pivotal moment for Bethany came when she let go of the expectations and need to control the outcomes, and instead turned her focus to others when she joins a mission trip to Thailand following the 2004 tsunami. Bethany uses her surfing love to help the children overcome their fear of the water, and experience joy again.  When she returns, she rejoins the world of competitive surfing, but from a different perspective. She learns to listen to the rhythm of the water, from deep within her, to instinctively sense the big wave. She was the only one able to catch it, and riding it in, she pulls off a winning performance — only to hear that she stood up after the buzzer sounded, so the ride does not count. But you know what? It didn’t matter. Bethany is at peace, because she knows she has experienced an inner transformation that transcends any need to win.

The real-life Bethany Hamilton has become a source of inspiration to millions through her determination, unquenchable hope, and rock-solid faith. She is now a professional surfer, competing with the world’s best. In 2009 she took second place in the Association of Surfing Professionals World Junior Championships. Even more important to her is her foundation, Friends of Bethany, which supports shark attack survivors and traumatic amputees, works with charities, and serves to inspire others.

We find Bethany’s story to be dramatically inspirational and powerful, and a living example of the two great commandments of Love. In spite of what appeared to be insurmountable odds, she was able to stand strong in Faith, harmonizing all of her Divine Powers, with all her heart, mind, soul, and strength. … and connecting her human self with her Christ Self.

No matter what challenges you are experiencing, no matter what the world of appearance is throwing your way, no matter how fearful, tired, or discouraged you are tempted to feel — simply bring your awareness back to the two great commandments:

Harmonize your Christ Nature with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength – use those 12 Divine Powers to ride above the waves of life circumstances — and unify your human self with your Christ Self. Use the 2-Part Questioning Meditation and the CC Litmus Test to guarantee that you are truly living from your highest, most elevated level of Consciousness — as you walk the spiritual path on practical feet!

 

~ Rev. Cher Holton, http://www.unityspirituallifecenter.org

Monthly Activity Report – January 2012

February 13, 2012

Adult Spiritual Education ~ Monthly Activity Report, January 2012

Jan. 11 ~ Dreamscape 2012, facilitated by Rev. Cher

Jan. 18 & 25 ~ Visions of a Universal Humanity (2-part class), facilitated by Revs. Cher & Bil and Rev. Vi Schonhardt, with Dr. Eric Donaldson

Jan. 4, 11, 18, 25 ~ Continuation of Artist’s Way Book Study Class (facilitated by Robin Heinze)

===== Other Items of Interest =========

  • Postings to Adult Spiritual Education Blog
  • Prep and planning for February: UN-Service

Blessings,


Cher & Bil
 

–

Drs. Bil & Cher Holton

Spiritual Leaders—Unity Spiritual Life Center

2604-H Carver Street, Durham, NC 27705-2796

Church Office Phone: 919.471.3504

Home Office Phone: 919.767.9620

How to Make LOVE Your Decision: Forgiveness and Release

February 13, 2012

There is overwhelming evidence that forgiveness has a positive impact on you psychologically, physiologically, emotionally, and even spiritually. An article published by the Mayo clinic states that: “Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse”

Wow! Who wouldn’t want these things? Use this knowledge to inspire you to decide to forgive.

Adventure #1: Forgive & Release: Choose a person with whom you are currently feeling some anger, resentment, bitterness, or grudge … and you know you are hanging on to it. Maybe you are waiting for them to ask for forgiveness .. maybe it is so huge, you don’t feel capable of even thinking of forgiveness. I want to emphasize that this adventure is not for them. It is for YOU! It is an opportunity to get rid of the weight of this emotional baggage, and create a space for love in your heart. Take some time to go into a quiet state of being, and gently, lovingly explore your feelings. Breathe yourself through the process of asking yourself:

  • What emotions am I feeling related to this situation?
  • What specifically happened? I call this “Naming Your Heart Weight.” By describing it clearly, you make friends with it, so it can no longer take power over your consciousness. You are, in effect, loving the enemy of your error thoughts.
  • Now comes the big question – take a deep breath – and ask yourself: How is holding on to these emotions serving me? What am I getting by continuing to harbor this grudge, tell this story, fuel this anger? You might be surprised by the answers that arise. You might get sympathy from others; or attention; or an opportunity to go into a self-inflicted period of rest (as you brood). Perhaps you enjoy the energy of talking about how mistreated you have been. There are lots of side benefits we fail to acknowledge that keep us hanging on to heavy weights.

Once you have answered these questions, it’s time to decide. Ask yourself this question: What if I let go of the weight of this burden? What if I could experience the freedom of forgiveness? Am I ready to let it go?

If you cannot say yes, then I would refer you back to the question: What am I getting from holding on? And then ask, what would I get by letting go?

Then, as you decide to make LOVE your decision, symbolically seal the decision in some way: a bowl burning; bury it; flush it; write in your journal; create an affirmation; draw a forgiveness logo picture … do something that seals the deal.

Then Forgive and Release! Some say forgive and forget, which is totally unrealistic! We say forgive and release – let the hurt go. Now here’s my own experience. When it is something painful and deep – when you feel you have really been betrayed or violated – it doesn’t happen immediately. (Sometimes it can – but usually it takes a real commitment to the process.) This means that every time a thought about the person or incident arises in your mind, you:

  • acknowledge it [Oh, hi! Are you back again? I thought I let you go!];
  • affirm for each person involved that you have forgiven and released them;
  • affirm their highest and best, sending them a blessing;
  • recommit to your desire to forgive and release, and allow the energy of pure love to flow through your entire being, saturating you with the lightness of forgiveness. You refuse to pick that burden up and carry it again!

From a metaphysical perspective, forgiveness means to give up the false for the true. Forgiveness does not mean you condone what someone does; it does not mean you do not hold people accountable for their actions. Forgiveness means you no longer allow their actions to hold you hostage emotionally. It means you are able to see the Christ in and as them, and you are willing to free them to move on.

If you find yourself starting to tell the story, stop! Just reframe it, and say something like “I’m not giving energy to this anymore!”

And now—Adventure #2: Mirror Image: look at yourself in a mirror, and make Love your decision for yourself. Say (yes, out loud!) “I love you! I forgive you for anything you have said, thought, or done that is not the Truth of who you are. In this moment, I now see the Christ in and as you, and I love you, I accept you, just the way you are. You are worthy. You are divine.

[Now make the switch to I AM] I am worthy! I am Divine! I am Love … I live from Love … I bring Love to every situation … I show up as harmony and peace. I am Love. Love is my Decision…

And in love, I walk the spiritual path on practical feet.

About the Author: Combine a flair for the dramatic, a deep understanding of metaphysics combined with the teachings of Jesus, and a zest for ministry, and you have defined Rev. Cher Holton, the dynamic co-minister for Unity Spiritual Life Center, Durham, NC. She and co-minister husband Rev. Bil Holton bring their love for Truth Principles to everything they do, and work together to create a center that lives its vision and mission in everything it does.They are prolific authors, and share their metaphysical and spiritual principles through their website: http://www.TheMetaphysicalWebsite.com

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