IT REALLY IS ALL CONSCIOUSNESS
A woman was at her hairdresser's getting her hair cut and styled before leaving for a trip to Rome. She mentioned how excited she was about the trip to the hairdresser, who responded:
"Rome? I was once excited about going there too, but then I went. it's crowded and dirty and people are so unfriendly. You're crazy to go to Rome. So, how are you getting there?"
"Only the best! We're flying American Airlines," was the reply. "We got a great rate!"
"American?" exclaimed the hairdresser. "That's a terrible airline. I've flown American many times and their planes are old, their flight attendants are rude, and they're always late. So, where are you staying in Rome?"
"We'll be at a beautiful hotel called the Visconti Palace. It will be paradise."
"Don't go any further," said the hairdresser. "I know that place. I've stayed there. Everybody thinks it's going to be something special and exclusive, but it's really a dump, the worst hotel in the city! The rooms are small, the service is surly, and they're overpriced. So, whatcha' doing when you get there?"
"We're going to go to the Vatican, and my goal is to see the Pope."
"That's rich," laughed the hairdresser. "You and a million other people trying to see him. He'll look the size of an ant. At least that's how he looked to me when we visited the Vatican. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You're going to need it."
A month later, the woman again came in for a cut and style.
The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome.
"It was wonderful," explained the woman, "Rome is a magical place. And not only were we on time in one of American's brand new planes, but it was overbooked, so they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome 28-year-old steward wait on me hand and foot.
"And the hotel was great! They'd just finished a $5 million remodeling job, and now it's a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us their owner's suite at no extra charge!"
"Well," muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but I know you didn't get to see the Pope."
"Actually, I did! As we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I'd be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me."
"Oh, really! What'd he say?"
He said: "Where'd you get the lousy haircut?"
So, the question of the morning is, "Why did I tell that lousy joke?"
It really is all about consciousness!! Our life unfolds according to the consciousness we bring to it. Clearly the consciousness of the hairdresser and the consciousness of the customer were worlds apart!
And consciousness is a term we throw around a lot in our New Thought circles, but what, exactly does it mean? What exactly is our consciousness?
If we look it up in the dictionary, we will find that it means: (1) the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself or (2) the upper level of mental life of which the person is aware as contrasted with unconscious processes
Those are common definitions of the word. But, when we use it in the context of our spiritual life, it takes on a greater meaning.
I believe it means: The totality of our beingness that we bring to the table of our lives.
For a long time, I felt it consisted of five elements that combine to comprise our consciousness, then I added a sixth, and then a seventh. And I now believe there is an eighth, which we will add today! And this yet-to-be revealed element is the one that brings everything together.
Today I want us to look at all eight. And as we do, please ask yourself, "where am I in this aspect of my beingness? Through this aspect of my beingness, am I creating a life of peace, fulfillment and happiness not only for myself but for others as well? Does this aspect of my beingness serve me well when life throws a curve ball at me?"
If yes, fantastic. Keep on keeping on. But if the answer is "not so much" or "not as much as I would like" then there is a call for expansion. So pay attention to what that might be. OK?
Because we have a lot to cover, let's jump in!
Who knows what the first element of consciousness is? Ah, yes, thought!
Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor and Philosopher) said: "The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts."a
Being in a New Thought church, this doesn't come as a surprise does it? What may come as a surprise is the mountain of scientific research to support this statement.
One such study was done a few years ago. A team of researchers at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center recruited 66 migraine headache patients in an attempt to quantify how much of their pain relief came from a medication and how much was due to the "placebo effect," which they defined as "the healing power of positive thoughts."
Here's how the study worked. First, the patients who suffered regular migraines agreed to forgo pain relievers for several hours during one attack, recording their symptoms for comparison with later headaches.
Then, for each of their next 6 migraines, they were given a different pill inside an envelope with a different message. Sometimes, they were told it was an effective migraine drug called rizatriptan (pronounced "rise-a-trip-tan").
Other times, they were told it was a placebo, suggesting no benefit. Still other times they were told the pill could be either one. And, of course, what they were told on the envelope was not necessarily what was in the envelope!
More than 450 headaches later, the surprise to researchers, but not to us, was that the patients' reports of pain relief more than DOUBLED when they were told the migraine drug was real vs. when they were told, falsely, that it wasn't.
In fact, people reported nearly as much pain relief when they took a placebo that they thought was the real drug as they did when they took the real drug while believing it was a fake.
The lead researcher said: "The more we gave a positive message to the patient, the bigger the placebo effect was."b
The first line of The Science of Mind, p. 25, is: "We all look forward to the day when science and religion shall walk hand in hand through the visible to the invisible."c
Well, there it is! So my question for you this morning is: "Can you afford the consequences of your thought?"
And take to heart Emerson's advise when he said: "Stand guard the portals of your mind . . ."d . . . and allow only thoughts that support the life you desire to create! You are in charge of this real estate between your ears. You really are!
The second element of consciousness is feeling. Our words are important, but the feeling behind them is what gives them juice. It's what gives them power!
In Atom Smashing Power of Mind, Fillmore wrote: "Zeal is the great universal force that impels man to spring forward in a field of endeavor and accomplish the seemingly miraculous. It is the inward fire that urges man forward . . ."e
Powerful words about the power of feeling to create.
I love in Ester 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 . . .
* Fear/grief/depression/despair/powerlessness . . . at the bottom, to
* "overwhelm-ment" . . . in the middle, to
* Joy/knowledge/empowerment/freedom/love/appreciation . . . 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 through what? Our thoughts, of course!f
They write: "The thing that matters most is that you consciously reach for a feeling that is improved."g
So, my friends, on a day-to-day level, how are you feeling? Realize how important your feelings are in creating your life.
3, 4, AND 5. BELIEFS, VALUES AND ATTITUDES
We are going to lump the next three together because, while they have subtle differences, they are very related. They are:
* Beliefs ? our thoughts/feelings that we have accepted as Truths (which may or may not be);
* Values ? the things we believe are important
* Attitudes ? our outlook on life based on our beliefs and values
As an example, to people centuries ago, the earth was flat. Although not true, that was a very closely held belief by the vast majority of the population (belief).
And if someone valued life (values), they wouldn't sail past the horizon; and if they did want to do that, like Columbus did, they were viewed as crazy (attitude).
And what is important for us is that our beliefs, values and attitudes are aligned with Highest Truths, and I think it is a very important exercise to now and again assess our beliefs, our values and our attitudes by asking ourselves, "What do we believe":
* About ourselves (not good enough vs. an amazing expression of the Divine)?
* About God (judgmental and vengeful vs. the Essence of Divine Love)?
* About the way creation occurs (I'm a victim of circumstances vs. I am empowered to create my life)?
What do we truly value, hold as important? To answer that question, just look at your behaviors. They will tell you what you value. Are they in alignment with your highest good and the highest good of others?
And check your attitude ? It's said that an optimist believes the glass is half full. A pessimist believes the glass is half empty.
But you know what I say? I say that the glass is refillable. Now that's the attitude to have!
Our sixth aspect of consciousness is summed up beautifully in the words of Charles Fillmore. Charles Fillmore in Talks on Truth, wrote: "The personal consciousness is like a house with all the doors and windows barred. The doors and the windows of the mind are concrete ideas, and they swing open when the right word is spoken to them. Jesus Christ voiced a whole volume of right words. If you will take up His sayings and make them yours, they will open all the doors of your mind, the light will come in, and you will in due time be able to step forth."h
Enough said. No more words are needed!
We talk a lot about taking Divinely Inspired action, so we don't need to spend much time on that aspect of consciousness today, other than to share one of the most powerful passages about it that I believe says it all. It's from W. H. Murray's book The Scottish Himalayan Expedition: "... but when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money? booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: ?Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!'"i
And this takes us to No. 8 ? the addition to the definition of consciousness. From now on when I speak or teach about the power of our consciousness to create our lives, I will be speaking of the combined power of our:
Thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, attitudes, words and actions AND . . . . our Reactions.
How do we react? How do we respond to life? This is where we often go unconscious.
What is our initial response when we get a diagnosis?
When we receive an auto repair bill?
When we lose our job?
"Oh NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! This is terrible. How awful!"
Conversely, what is our reaction . . .
When some abundant good just drops in our lap?
When we are in the right place at the right time for an opportunity?
When things really work out for the good of all in a sticky situation?
"I can't believe it! It's a miracle!!"
I want to suggest that neither of those will support your highest and best. Rather, as we move forth with calm confidence in God's Great Good NO MATTER WHAT IS GOING ON, that is how we shall attract and sustain our good and recover quickly when life offers its hills and valleys.
So, there are our eight aspects of consciousness, all of which combine to be the creative force in our lives. Once more they are: Thoughts, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, values, words, actions and reactions
Now that we have a precise understanding of what consciousness is, I want to conclude this morning with a passage from Charles Fillmore's Talks on Truth, reworded slightly to make it personal:
"When our consciousness [our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, values, words, actions and reactions] is lifted up by this wisdom Word, we find ourselves masters of the powers and privileges of infinity. We then can say, with Jesus, "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth."j These are the privileges of the sons of God, and every one of us is a son of God."k
bScience Translational Medicine
cErnest Holmes The Science of Mind, p. 25
dRalph Waldo Emerson
eCharles Fillmore Atom Smashing Power of Mind, p. 26
fEster and Jerry Hick Ask and It is Given, p. 114
gEster and Jerry Hick Ask and It is Given, p. 115
hCharles Fillmore Talks on Truth, p. 177
iW. H. Murray The Scottish Himalayan Expedition
kCharles Fillmore Talks on Truth, p. 74