This month we are looking at the idea of shifting gears from Race to Grace Consciousness. And to lay more groundwork than we even did last week (there's just so much to do on Easter that I didn't give this as much attention as I could have . . . so, today's the day for that!), three things need to be deeply understood - first, the word "consciousness;" then, the term "race consciousness;" and finally, the term "Grace Consciousness." There is some really deep wisdom here today, so pay attention. In fact, pay attention like the nuns did in this story.
It was in a convent in Ireland that the 98-year-old Mother Superior lay preparing to make her transition.
The nuns gathered around her bed trying to make her last journey here on earth comfortable. They tried giving her warm milk to drink but she refused it.
One of the nuns took the glass back to the kitchen. Then, remembering a bottle of Irish whiskey that had been received as a gift the previous Christmas, she opened it and poured a generous amount into the warm milk.
Back at Mother Superior's bed, they held the glass to her lips. The frail nun drank a little, then a little more and before they knew it, she had finished the whole glass down to the last drop.
As her eyes brightened, the nuns thought it would be a good opportunity to have one last talk with their spiritual leader. "Mother," the nuns asked earnestly, "Please give us some of your wisdom before you leave us."
As the Mother Superior raised herself up in bed on one elbow, they all leaned in to hear what final wisdom she would leave them with. They were all on pins and needles waiting, when she looked at them deeply in their eyes and said: "Don't ever sell that cow."
OK, there is better wisdom here for you today, I promise, and let's get to it.
First, to define the word consciousness. I believe our consciousness is a combination of seven things.
Thoughts - feelings - beliefs - values - attitudes -- words -- actions
It's the totality of who we are, but it starts with our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. And why is this important? Why is this deep wisdom? Because this is what we create from!
We are creative beings, imbued with the Divine Quality of Creativity and surrounded by and filled with God's perfect Law that takes the direct imprint of our consciousness (combination of our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, values, words and action) and acts upon it.
2. RACE CONSCIOUSNESS
Then to "race consciousness." This is a term often used in our Unity teachings and one that can be misunderstood. As I said last week, it has nothing to do with an individual's race, color or ethnic origin, but rather, it refers to the accumulated, collective thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, attitudes, words and actions of the human race to which we are all subject -- unless and until . . . well, I'm jumping ahead of myself. We'll get there.
Ernest Holmes spoke quite a bit about race consciousness. Here are a few things he had to say: "Race-suggestion is a very real thing, and each of us carries around with us (and has written into our mentality) many impressions which we never consciously thought of or experienced. . . . . There is a tendency, on the part of all of us, to reproduce the accumulated subjective experiences of the human race.a"
He also wrote: "The collective unconscious contains a record of all human events that have ever transpired. We are all, more or less, subject to this collective thought, since it acts as a powerful race suggestion. The sum total of all erroneous human belief binds until . . . .b"
. . . well, we will get to that in a minute!
So, you get the picture, yes?
Then, let's look for just a few moments at some common race conscious beliefs. Now you may not personally hold these, but tell me if you think they are in the collective thought - the collective consciousness.
To test the first one, I have a question -- How do you feel when someone says to you that they have a cold? What is your reaction/what are your feelings about that?
Now, how do you feel when someone tells you they have cancer?
What is the race conscious belief about cancer? It kills.
What do you believe happens to our bodies as we age? Do you think you stay vital and spry and energetic, or do you think we decline as we age - it's all downhill from here, you know!
We make jokes like:
You know you're getting older when...
* Everything that works hurts, and what doesn't hurt doesn't work.
* You feel like the morning after, yet you haven't had a night before!
* Your little black book only contains names ending in M.D.
* You look forward to a dull evening.
* Your knees buckle and your belt won't.
* Your back goes out more than you do.
* You sink your teeth into a steak, and they stay there.
* And . . . drum roll please . . . You know all the answers, but nobody asks the questions.
What race conscious beliefs about aging do those jokes show?!
Which takes us to another race conscious belief about aging - The elderly have nothing to contribute to life and should just be put away somewhere.
Years and years ago someone gave me a CD (actually, to be honest, it was a cassette tape!) of a lecture that Gregg Braden gave and in it he told the story of a village in Asia where 100 year olds rode around on bicycles, vibrant, healthy and alive. On the day they decide to die (did you hear that? On the day THEY decide to die), they have a big party. They leave the party at some particular point and go off to sleep and make their transition.
That is definitely not the race consciousness around aging that we have in the US, now is it?
So you get the idea. And here is the important thing - we are subject to these beliefs even if we never actually think them or have them rolling around in our personal consciousness . . . UNLESS AND UNTIL . . . oh, there it is again! Well, let me share the entire quote from the textbook that I started earlier, and we will finally fill in that blank.
"The collective unconscious contains a record of all human events that have ever transpired. We are all, more or less, subject to this collective thought, since it acts as a powerful race suggestion. The sum total of all erroneous human belief binds UNTIL the individual mentally lifts himself above the law of averages [Thomas Troward's term for "race consciousness"] into the higher law of Spiritual Individualism.c"
So . . .
The sum total of all erroneous human belief binds us UNTIL we lift ourselves above race consciousness into the higher law of Spiritual Individualism.
In the SOM it says: "There is, of course, a much deeper seat of knowledge than [race consciousness] . . . , which is the Spirit; direct contact with the Spirit is Illumination.d"
3. GRACE CONSCIOUSNESS
And this is where Grace Consciousness comes in. This is what we explored last week during our beautiful Easter service.
All we need to do to shift from race to Grace Consciousness is to bring God into the picture. By adding a G (God), to the word race, we get Grace.
Holmes tells us SOM: ". . . the one whose thought is the most God-like - that is, the truest, the highest, the most noble, the most complete, the most peaceful - will be the best healer. . . . When thought reaches a higher degree of perfection, as the race consciousness unfolds and evolves, it will bring out a still greater development of life than we know now.e"
When we add God to our consciousness, shifting gears so to speak, we move out of, we transcend, race consciousness and move into Grace Consciousness! And then, we are no longer affected by it! And not only are we no longer affected by it, our elevated consciousness elevates and evolves the race consciousness!
An example of evolved race consciousness:
In the SOM, Holmes writes (and listen for the race consciousness of the times - remember this was written in the 1920's): "An instance [of race consciousness] is the belief that one more than 40 years of age is easily fatigued, cannot engage in strenuous exercise of any kind and must work fewer hours each day. This race suggestion has hypnotized the entire world. Only a few people past 40 dare to undertake new endeavors and engage in activities with the same enthusiasm they did at 25.f"
So we have definitely evolved, haven't we? Race consciousness can evolve and we can help it by bringing Grace Consciousness to the table!
So, it is fact that everything you have ever thought, said, done, seen, heard, or experienced has left an imprint upon you. And so has your family life, your ancestral background and the sum total of what the whole world has thought or believed.
But there is more to it, there is more to YOU, than this. Just as you are being acted upon by your own memories, the mind of history and your environment, you are also being acted upon by the Mind of God which is within and around you.
And while today you may be experiencing the effects of the race consciousness and your own beliefs, realize that today you can begin to change them. Because you are a creator and not a creature.
How? Simply by choosing a God thought each and every time! Engage in the practices we teach here - visioning, prayer, visualizing, affirmations! See the best outcome, and let go of the how! Choose to know that you live in a friendly Universe that is not out to get you, but rather is out to GIVE to you.
This is how we develop our Grace Consciousness and we will continue this exploration for the rest of the month, but for now I want to conclude with a real life example of shifting gears from race consciousness to Grace consciousness as it relates to something very real and tangible in life. It's from a Truth student in Arizona and goes like this:
"Boy did God show up. You have taught me to have a vision, set your intention, make a commitment, do what is yours to do and let God figure out the HOW. So I have been doing that around finances and my retirement, abundance and prosperity. I paid off bills and changed the way I pay bills (not waiting to the last minute) so that I could really focus on putting more money into my retirement and tithing, with the intention of potentially paying off my house before I retire, even though I have been upside down in it for 7 years. [Minister's comments: So, race consciousness says that if you're upside down in your mortgage, you're sunk, right! And for 7 years, that's a long time, probably not going to get out of that one! So race consciousness would tell us]
"I got a call from my loan agent telling me that Arizona has changed the guidelines for the HARP program for homeowner's under water and that he thought I could qualify. So I applied and was approved for a $38,000 principal loan reduction on my home. The new loan should close this week. What this means is that the vision I had to pay my house off in 15 years has happened. I did my part and God absolutely showed up and did the HOW.
"I'm still in amazement because I would have never thought something this big would happen but see that's because of the limits I would put on God, and it just goes to show when you open up he blows your socks right off. You have really taught me to let God be God.
"I could go on and on, but you get it what I'm saying. I'm blessed beyond measure. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You rock!"
And we can all rock, when we move from race to Grace Consciousness. And we do that by simply bringing God into the picture. Simple as that!!
Let our prayers be to rise above race consciousness and into Grace Consciousness.
aErnest Holmes Science of Mind, pp. 348-49
bErnest Holmes Science of Mind, p. 115
cErnest Holmes Science of Mind, p. 115
dErnest Holmes Science of Mind, p. 350
eErnest Holmes Science of Mind, p. 198
fErnest Holmes Science of Mind, p. 226