C-R-E-A-T-E YOUR DAY
A visitor in NYC once stopped someone on the street and said, "Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?" And the answer was -- come on, you all know it! Practice! Practice! Practice!
This month, we are exploring the powerful, powerful teachings of Unity, which, when we PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE will lead to a life rich in meaning, love, peace, joy and harmony.
More than 2,500 years ago, one of the Holiest of the Holy, the one who was awake (as we discussed last week), The Buddha, said:
However many holy words you read,
However many you speak,
What good will they do you
If you do not act upon them?
And that action, that practice, practice, practice involves both an art and a science.
* Art: Fluid, flowing, creative, feeling, passion, energy, alive
* Science: method, formula, repeatable, reliable, systematic
During the month of September, we are exploring how to PRACTICE both of these aspects of our Unity teachings in the context of a current challenge or issue you may be having right now.
Last Sunday, I invited you to be aware of a current issue or challenge in your life or an issue or challenge in our world that has caused you pain. I asked you to become aware of it and then to be awake to Higher Truths about it. And I know we did some powerful work around it!
Today we are going to apply the art and science of conscious creation to that challenge by looking at how you can create your day - even in (or should I say especially in) the face of whatever may be going on for you!
There are six letters in the word "create," and we are going to use each of them as a reminder for us of six EVERY DAY PRACTICES by which you can bring art and science to your spiritual living! They are every day practices by which you will . . .
live in the flow,
deepen into the Higher Truths we explored last week,
understand your intrinsic worth and value, and
move to fulfillment.
And the six practices are . . . well, let's unveil them as we go along!
1. C - CALM THE MIND
When a student once asked Ramana Maharshi, a great Hindu sage: "What stands in the way of my knowing myself or God?"
He shot back: "Your wandering mind."
It is quite normal that your mind wanders unless it has been trained to keep its attention on any one thing for an extended period of time. You train it by persisting and continuing to bring it back to whatever you're focused on. As you do this, your mind will sharpen, it will keep from wandering and it will be a much calmer mind! Focusing our mind is just like any other skill, the more we practice, practice, practice the better we get.
In The Science of Mind, Holmes writes: "We should read, study, think and meditate upon those statements that tend to calm, to give poise and confidence, and erase all thought of fear and tension. . . . . We should think of ourselves as being surrounded by perfect life and poised in an eternal calm. We are in a sea of untroubled waters of life, from which we may freely drink."a
And The Buddha said: "May you develop mental concentration . . . for whosoever is mentally concentrated sees things according to reality."b
And this art of calming the mind, of course, is what meditation is all about. Focusing on one thing, and returning to it again and again, trains the mind to be still, to be calm. And this stillness and calmness of mind doesn't just occur when you are meditating, but it moves into your everyday life and it remains even in the midst of a challenge.
In his wonderful book, Meditation spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran suggested that we select a sacred, holy passage, something that is meaningful to us; that we commit it to memory; and we repeat it over and over and over during our meditation time. But, here's the catch and where the training begins, when our mind wanders -- and it surely will! -- we go back to the beginning of the passage.c
What passage would be meaningful to you? You could use a passage from the Bible. Or, Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hahn suggests this meditation as you breathe in and out:
"Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment."d
Try that. Doesn't that just feel wonderful?? I personally love this one to do if and when I let the outer experiences get to me. It brings me right back to center, to a place of calm.
Or you can download the uPray app from Unity. Then you can listen to a 3 minute meditation. Or, there is an app called Calm that will remind you to stop and meditate
So, my friends, begin your day with a meditation that not only calms your heart and soul, but that also trains your mind to focus and then engage in the art and science of calming techniques as needed in your day.
That takes us to the "R".
2. R - REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE
The key to Jesus' power was that he constantly called to "remembrance" who he was. Rather than seeing his limitations, he saw himself as one with God. In his remembering, he said: "So now, Father, glorify me ... with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed."e And he was obviously remembering who he was when he said, "Before Abraham was .. I am."f These are poetic ways of saying that at the core of our beingness is the Infinite and Eternal Presence.
In Living the Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes wrote: "We are compelled to think of Spirit either as apart from us or within us. If apart from us, there is no way to find It. If within us, there is no escaping the divine fact. Unfoldment and not search is what we need."g
There's a story about a jeweler who had been working on repairing an earring and then lost it. He began frantically searching for it. He looked everywhere, twice, three times, to no avail.
Feeling distraught, he went to the bathroom to splash water on his face. When he looked up at himself in the mirror, he started to laugh hysterically. Why? Because attached to his earlobe was the missing earring. He had repaired the clip and put it there to see if it would hold.
Our Divinity is already there! Unfoldment and not search is what we need.
If you have a hard time remembering who you are, if you have issues of worthiness and self-confidence, which I know many people do, here's an idea: Every morning, for 10 minutes, read from Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You. But read it from the first person. As an example . . . listen to this: ". . . there is a pattern of my being, or a real spirit of me, which is as eternal as God, as indestructible as Reality, and as changeless as Truth. This pattern is seeking to manifest through me. Back of it is all the will and purpose of the universe, all the irresistible laws of being. Finally it will win.
"It is because it is there that I have . . .the longing to live more fully, the feeling that life belongs to me. There is something within me beyond all doubt and fear, something which has never been limited by my acts or destroyed by my feelings. This is the only something that can make me whole."h
Starting our day with something like that will definitely help us remember who we are.
3. E - ENTER INTO PARTNERSHIP WITH GOD
Enter Into Partnership with God (by creating a mental equivalent) This practice really gets to the science of our work!
In the chapter entitled "Mental Equivalent" in the Science Of Mind textbook, Holmes writes: "The Law is Infinite and Perfect but in order to make a demonstration, WE MUST HAVE A MENTAL EQUIVALENT OF THE THING WE DESIRE. A demonstration, like anything else in the objective life, is born out of a mental concept. The mind is the fashioning factor, and according to its range, vision and positiveness, will be the circumstances of the experience."i
Consciousness must be conscious of something! And you get to decide what something that is. You enter into a partnership with God, so to speak, when you do your work (create your "mental equivalent", a term coined by Thomas Troward) and then let God do the rest.
And here's a tangible demonstration of how it works: Two insurance salesmen decided to set their goals for the next year. They wrote them down on separate pieces of paper, sealed them in envelopes and tucked them away for a year. At the end of the year, they opened them back up to compare how they had actually done.
The first man who opened his leapt for joy! "I made my goal, I made my goal." He had written down $50,000.
The second man opened his, smiled quietly to himself and said, "Well, I only made half mine, but I'm happy too" as he looked at his sheet of paper saying $500,000.
4. A - AFFIRMATIONS
Keep yourself on track with your mental equivalent of your day by using powerful statements of Truth otherwise known as affirmations. Statements such as:
* "There is one Infinite Intelligence which governs, guides and guards me."
* "Everything necessary to the full and complete expression of joy is now mine.'
* "I now allow myself to receive all the good I have withheld from myself in the past."
* "I am dynamic, vibrant and radiant health."
* "I have plenty to spend, to spare and to share."
* "There is one life; this life is God; this life is perfect; this life is my life now."
What words of Affirmative Truth could you use or create regarding the challenge/issue/situation you have brought to the table this month so that whenever you became concerned about it, you immediately turned to those words? Think for just a moment right now.
So far, we've Created our Day by:
C - Calming our Minds
R - Remembering Who We Are
E - Entering into a Partnership with God and
A - Affirming the Truth
5. T - TOUCH IN WITH OUR FEELINGS
That leads us to the "T" for Touch in with Your Feelings.
From Lessons in Science of Mind: "Here is an interesting thought to speculate on. If feelings and emotions acting through the avenue of consciousness can produce havoc [in our lives], what would happen if the same feelings and emotions were constructively employed? What would happen if we could convert the energy of fear to faith, the energy of doubt and uncertainty into a feeling of belonging to the Universe and being safe in It? Would not the Original Artist Itself go forth into new creation through us? "j
I love in Esther and Jerry Hick's book, Ask and It is Given, they give a scale of emotions and suggest that at the bottom of the scale we are disconnected from our alignment with our true nature, and therefore NOT creating a life of peace, fulfillment and happiness ourselves and for others and at the top of the scale, we are.
There are 22 levels of the scale that range from . . .
. . . at the bottom, to
. . . in the middle, to
. . . at the top.
They suggest that it may be challenging for us, as humans, to make a leap of several levels on the scale, but we can always go up one or two if we shift our focus.
They write: "The thing that matters most is that you consciously reach for a feeling that is improved."k
So, my friends, during the course of your day, touch in with your feelings, realizing how important they are in creating your day.
And that takes us to our final letter, the letter that puts it all together.
6. E - EXPECT THE BEST
Expect the best in all things. Expect the best with persistence and determination.
Little Johnny watched, fascinated, as his mother smoothed cold cream on her face. "Why do you do that, Mommy?" he asked. "To make myself beautiful," said his mother, who then began removing the cream with a tissue.
"What's the matter?" asked Little Johnny. "Giving up?"
Never give up on expecting the best. My favorite passage from the Science Of Mind is: "Stay with the One and never deviate from It, never leave It for a moment. Nothing else can equal this attitude. TO DESERT THE TRUTH IN THE HOUR OF NEED IS TO PROVE THAT WE DO NOT KNOW THE TRUTH. When things look the worst, that is the supreme moment to demonstrate, to ourselves, that there are no obstructions to the operation of Truth. When things look the worst is the best time to work, the most satisfying time. The person who can throw himself with a complete abandon into that Limitless Sea of Receptivity, having cut loose from all apparent moorings, is the one who will always receive the greatest reward."l
He also writes: "Never let anything cause you to doubt your ability to demonstrate the Truth. Conceive of your word as being the thing. See the desire as an already accomplished fact and rest in perfect confidence, peace and certainty, never looking for results, never wondering, never becoming anxious, never being hurried or worried. Those who do not understand this attitude may think you are inactive, but remember, "to him who can perfectly practice inaction, all things are possible."m
Persistently and determinedly -- expect the best!
Do these six activities throughout your day. They are mental activities. You can train yourself to do them. They can become "habitudes."
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE the art and the science of spiritual living by:
C - Calming the mind
R - Remembering who you are
E - Entering Into Partnership with God
A - Affirming
T - Touching in with your Feelings
E - Expecting the best
Do these every day and you will . . .
live in the flow,
deepen into Higher Truths,
recognize the Truth of who you are,
move to fulfillment, and
live the art and the science of spirituality every day!
aErnest Holmes, The Science of Mind, p. 246
bThe Buddha (from Essential Spirituality, p. 147)
cMeditation Eknath Easwaran
dVietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hahn
gErnest Holmes, Living the Science of Mind, p. 12
hErnest Holmes, This Thing Called You
iErnest Holmes, The Science of Mind, p. 281
jErnest Holmes, Living the Science of Mind, p. 163
kEsther & Jerry Hick, Ask and It is Given, p. 114-115
lErnest Holmes, The Science of Mind p. 282
mErnest Holmes, The Science of Mind