TAKING AN ASSESSMENT
Our theme for this month was inspired by the fact May is a month of graduation. Do we have anyone here graduating from college or from a technical program? Or has a spouse or child who is graduating? We offer you our deepest congratulations and celebrate your success. This is a milestone accomplishment!
And more than celebrating graduates this month, we will use the idea of our progress through the education system as a metaphor for our spiritual growth and unfoldment, our evolutionary process, through the various levels of consciousness.
So, in keeping with the graduation theme, this month we will matriculate (great word, isn't it?!) into our own Master's Program in Spirituality. Who knew you could get a Masters in just five weeks!
Well, this month, and this month only, you can, and if you are with us each week, you will actually receive your Certificate of Graduation on the last Sunday of the month.
Just as there are entrance exams to enter into the next level of academia (there's the SAT, ACT, LSAT, GRE, MCAT, GMAT and probably more), this morning we are going to take our own entrance exam. It is called the LRE and it will be an honest (but gentle) assessment of our lives to see where we are and to move us into Master's level thinking and being and doing!
Before we take our LRE, a few words about where our Master's Program in Spirituality came from. It comes from the four levels of consciousness we have talked about in the past. Some of you will remember these:
* Why Me (victim),
* By Me (through consciousness, I can make it happen),
* Through Me ("the Father within doeth the work") and
* As Me (I am one with God)
Or said a different way:
* The Mortal (victim),
* The Metaphysician (realizes the power of consciousness and therefore can make it happen),
* The Mystic ("the Father within doeth the work") and
* The Master (I am one with God).
And Jesus is our primary example - he's not called the Master teacher for nothing! He was in absolute union with the Divine. No separation. No division.
When a Master sees the human conditions of lack, limitation, disharmony, or pain, he or she knows it's just a place for calling forth more of God in expression. It's just an opportunity to experience more of God.
This is how Jesus could turn water into wine, feed the thousands, heal the sick and raise the dead. When he was faced with lack or limitation, he saw an opportunity to experience more of God.
You may think, well this level, this "Masters" level, is only for exalted ones of history - not for me. But I pose this morning - why not you and you and you and you? I believe that's what this evolution of consciousness we are currently engaged in is all about and that is what this month is about.
So to see where we are, not to instill guilt but simply so that we know where to begin, let's take the LRE!
L - LIFE'S CHALLENGES
The first question on our exam this morning is where are you when a Life Challenge hits? Mortal, Metaphysician, Mystic or Master?
I don't know about you, but I can pop to Mortal really, really fast! "Oh, why is this happening to me!?" "I'm the innocent victim here!" I can stomp my feet and have a little hissy fit.
Or I can also go (usually after my little fit) to the Metaphysician who knows the power of consciousness so I can make something happen. This is also the place that I go: "I need to figure this out; I need to fix it!"
A very wise person told me once that if you are in the "trying to figure it out mode," you have left no room for God. That was an extremely powerful statement for me.
Did you know that when you launch a rocket into space, 90% of the fuel is used in lift-off because it takes that kind of energy to break free from the gravitational pull?
And our lives have a gravitational pull. That's why it is important to take our LRE this morning to see where we are, so we can be aware of that gravitational pull wanting to keep us there!
And to free ourselves from that pull and to practice something deeper, it takes some energy in the form of devotion, dedication and some discipline (just like it takes the rocket 90% of its fuel).
We will explore this much more fully as the month unfolds, but for now, the loving question is simply where is your automatic response, where is your gravitational pull, when Life's Challenges hit?
I want to share a letter from a person in prison who has been studying Science of Mind. He writes: "Sometimes I can't help but to notice that even though I am changing my life for the best [I love it that he wrote "best" not "better"], obstacles never subside. When I first began studying Science of Mind, I thought that I would discover some type of secret that will stop all obstacles from arriving in my life. I thought that if I just did good things, that I wouldn't have any obstacles in my life. But now I understand that the Science of Mind has taught me that I will always experience some type of obstacle but the secret is that I can overcome all obstacles. It is a wonderful feeling to now understand that truth."
So, yes, these beautiful teachings don't promise us a challenge-free life - but they do offer us a way to overcome them - and that depends on our level of consciousness. So just notice, where do you live, where to do come from, when Life Challenges hit?
It is so important to notice where we are because awareness is the first step to transformation.
R - RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Our second question on our LRE is about our Relationship with God.
Here's the deal -- casual spirituality will not produce any long-term results. We will not obtain our Master's Degree with casual spirituality!
What do I mean by causal spirituality? Well, it looks like this. We turn to God or to our spiritual practices when we are hurting, when Life Challenges occur. Sometimes that is the only time we come to church.
This is us in the consciousness of the Mortal or Metaphysician.
We think, "Oh, I need to get this or that ..." And then as soon as we get it and life starts going pretty well again we say, "Okay, I can run it on my own now. I don't need these spiritual practices, I don't need to be reminded each week of who and whose I am by going to church. I'm good! I've got it!"
So we fail to cultivate at all times the Master's level of awareness - I am one with God!
His Holiness the Dalai Lama says every problem is a spiritual issue, no matter what the problem looks like. Every problem is a spiritual issue.
Of course, he's speaking from the place of Tibet itself being a spiritual issue; it's not a Chinese issue, it's a spiritual issue.
We are often tempted to think, I have a financial issue. I have a relationship issue. I have a health issue. When in fact, what we have are spirituals issue.
And the spiritual issue is that we think we are separate from God - separate from abundant good, separate from love, separate from wholeness.
We are not, and cannot ever be separate from these things, because we are these things, but when we engage in casual spirituality, turning to God just when things get rocky, then we get amnesia and forget this truth.
And so, for the second question on our LRE, where are we with our Relationship with God?
Do we come to God only when there is a problem that needs fixing or do we cultivate that relationship on an ongoing, regular basis so that we can walk and talk and act and breath from a place of Oneness regardless of the circumstances and conditions that are in front of us? Where would you assess yourself this morning - an assessment with love and tenderness, of course!
E - EARTH STEWARDSHIP
And our last assessment for the morning relates to our Oneness. You may find it an unusual question to be asking here, but it truly is a critical question - it is critical not just to you and your spiritual development. It is critical for not only the spiritual development, but in fact for the very survival, of humankind.
The last question, the letter "E" in our entrance exam, stands for our Earth Stewardship. Where are we in our stewardship of Mother Earth?
There is a book entitled Christ: The Avatar of Sacrificial Love, (by Torkom Saraydarian) and I found the opening words quite moving. They are: "The day when man for the first time felt that the whole creation was the work of a great Architect, that day a window was opened toward the Cosmos, toward the future possibilities, toward Future itself. Unfolding souls, as they progressed upon the Path, felt not only the Hand of the Creator, but they also saw order and harmony in creation. They heard the hidden symphony reverberating in all the galaxies, in all systems, in all globes, in each atom. They saw a unity in all creation, a creation which was not a machine but an organism, every part of which was a living part with its special role to play in the totality of creation. These Great Ones respected Nature as a great Mother, and they saw in every living form an unfolding Plan. They loved animals, birds, the lilies in the field, human beings, and they sang great songs of gratitude to the oceans, to the lakes, to the blue skies, to the rain, knowing that all these living forms were ultimately necessary to carry on the sacred Purpose of Creation."a
I love that last sentence: "They loved animals, birds, the lilies in the field, human beings, and they sang great songs of gratitude to the oceans, to the lakes, to the blue skies, to the rain, knowing that all these living forms were ultimately necessary to carry on the sacred Purpose of Creation." Isn't that beautiful? But, sadly, my friends, we have forgotten that. We have clearly forgotten that.
You may be wondering what the condition of the environment has to do with levels of consciousness, what's it doing in a sermon and those are fair questions. But in case you haven't noticed, we have an environmental issue or two going on in the world and what did the Dalhi Lama say? Everything is a spiritual issue.
And, it is interesting to note that throughout all sacred texts we are asked to love one another and to serve; to revere Life itself, knowing that all Life is the Life of God. We have been given dominion (to care for not to dominate) over the earth; we are the stewards of Creation.
I believe to truly live from a Master's Level Consciousness, we must realize this. But where are we?
Mortal? It's other's faults - government, big corporations?
The Metaphysician - trying to force things.
Or Mystic/Master, one who recognizes our Oneness and it is simply part of their being, part of their nature, to walk upon this earth leaving as little a footprint as possible.
I have printed out some information from Green Faith.org. So if you would like to do these things at home to save our planet; or if you would like to take charge of doing some of these things at the church - that would be great.
We have already started using re-useable cups for our coffee and I know that you all pitch in to wash those up at the end of the day. And we installed thermostats that set the heaters on low when no one is using the building. But what more can we do as a community and as individuals?
And so, the final question of the morning, is where are we with our Earth Stewardship?
There is so much more we can do collectively as a spiritual community and individually in our lives and we are being called to that! We are being called to the Master's way of living and being.
And so whether it is how we face our call to Earth Stewardship, how we face life's challenges, or how we face our relationship to God, we are being called to a more expanded, more expansive way of being.
We are being called to grow into a Master's Level of Consciousness where we no longer see separation, but see only Oneness!
Today we have taken an assessment to see where we are, the rest of the month, we will move powerfully into that call. Namaste.
aChrist: The Avatar of Sacrificial Love Torkom Saraydarian pp 11-12