BUILDING YOUR TOMORROW TODAY
Unity is described as a "positive path for spiritual living," and that is an apt description, as these beautiful teachings offer us a clear and direct road map for a way of living in peace, fulfillment and happiness. They don't promise that we will never experience hills and valleys, but they do offer a clear and direct way to approach them. This month, we are exploring those approaches.
Today we will explore a profound approach and then we will make it very, very personal and very special - as you might anticipate having seen the altar set up at the front of the room. More to be revealed on that in time!
BUILDING YOUR TOMORROW
One of the outstanding things that our Master Teacher Jesus brought to us was the idea that the mistakes of yesterday can be canceled. That no matter what our experiences of yesterday may have been, they can be changed.
In our sister denomination, Religious Science, founder Ernest Holmes wrote in Living the Science of Mind: "One of the outstanding things that Jesus taught was that the mistakes of yesterday can be canceled, that . . . no matter what the experiences of yesterday may have been, they can be changed. Jesus did not seem to think that this change required months and years of strenuous effort. . . he knew that God wishes only Good for everyone. He knew that we are all rooted in pure Spirit, in Perfect Life and that at any moment we can so unify ourselves with the Power of Good that evil will disappear from our experience."a
What is "evil" in our Unity teachings? In The Revealing Word, we read that evil is: ". . . not of God; unreality; error thought; a product of the fallen human consciousness. In Divine Mind there is no recognition of evil conditions. Such conditions have no basis of reality. Apparent evil is the result of ignorance, and when Truth is presented the error disappears."b
So that last sentence of our first quote could read: "[Jesus] . . . knew that we are all rooted in pure Spirit, in Perfect Life and that at any moment we can so unify ourselves with the Power of Good that anything that seems to be not of God will disappear from our experience."
Here is what I want you to know this morning. No matter what your history has been, you can change your tomorrow in an instant. But what is the link between yesterday and tomorrow? What has to happen if we are not just going to repeat our history again and again and again?
Spiritual teacher Mary Morrissey often says that some people live 90 years, but most people live one year 90 times.c So what is the link here? What has to happen if we are not just going to repeat our history again and again and again?
Ah, yes, we must make a change or perhaps two or three or even four changes TODAY. Because here's the deal, today is the only day we really have. Yesterday is forever gone. We cannot go back and relive it. We cannot make adjustments in the past. Whatever change there is to be must be made within ourselves today.
It is not going to do us any good to sit around and cry over the past, because if we do that, we are simply bound to repeat it! Today is the time - the only time -- in which we can cut loose from the threads of previous experiences, wherever they were negative, and deliberately make up our minds that we shall no longer create our future out of the old past. If we have had antagonisms and resentments in the past, today is the only day in which we can change them.
TODAY we must make changes in our consciousness - and we define our consciousness as: . . . the totality of our beingness that we bring to the table of our lives.
And we said that the totality of our beingness that we bring to the table of our lives is made up of 8 components: Thoughts - feelings - beliefs - attitudes - values - words - actions . . . and the one we added two weeks ago - reactions.
In order to create a new, beautiful, peaceful, happy, fulfilled connected tomorrow, regardless of what yesterday looked like, we must bring a new consciousness to today! And that new consciousness is one that says I live each day knowing it is complete and perfect within itself. That new consciousness says I know that all the Joy there is in the Universe is mine now. In that new consciousness, I make every day a day of praise and thanksgiving, a day in which I recognize that Divine Bounty and Eternal Goodness are mine now. And in that new consciousness, I live today as though God were the only Presence and the only Power there is.
And I'm wondering as you heard that (this is a rhetorical question - you don't have to answer it!) if any of you added a "yesbut". That's one word, by the way, "yesbut." Do you know what a "yesbut" is?
A "yesbut" looks like this: When I suggested that the new consciousness is one that says I live this day knowing it is complete and perfect within itself, you said in your mind: "'yesbut,' today really isn't so complete and perfect because I had a fight with my partner on the way to church, or because I couldn't find my keys and got really mad or because I don't have enough [fill in the blank]."
When I said that the new consciousness lives as though all the Joy there is in the Universe is yours right now, in your mind you said: "'yesbut' that's not true for me right now; I'm not very joyful; in fact, I'm really sad and depressed."
When I suggested that you make every day a day of praise and thanksgiving, a day in which you recognize the Divine Bounty and the Eternal Goodness, you said: "'yesbut,' I have too many bills right now to be grateful; I don't really feel that Divine Bounty and Goodness are mine."
And when I said that we ought to live today as though God were the only Presence and the only Power there is, IF you said: "yesbut, this problem facing me sure seems like a big presence and power in my life," . . . then, my friends you have a serious case of the "yesbuts" and you might be one of those people who lives that one year 90 different times around the sun with no change in tomorrow whatsoever.
Many years ago, I heard a talk entitled "Get Your Big But Out of the Way." "But" was spelled "b-u-t," just to be clear, and they made it into an acronym of "Bloated Undermining Thoughts," inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson most direct statement: "We must get our bloated nothingness out of the way of the Divine Circuits."d
There are lots of reasons why we can have our big "yesbuts" in the way. And one of the biggest ones is because we have not released or forgiven ourselves and perhaps others for things of the past!
Fillmore writes in Prosperity: "Our first work in any demonstration is to contact God, therefore we must forgive all men their transgressions. Through this forgiveness we cleanse our mind so that the Father can forgive us our own transgressions. Our forgiving 'all men' includes ourselves. You must also forgive yourself. Let the finger of denial erase every sin or 'falling short' that you have charged up against yourself. Pay your debt by saying to that part of yourself which you think has fallen short: 'Thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing befall thee.' Then 'loose him, and let him go.'"e
We can talk about forgiving ourselves all morning long, but we really won't get very far, so we aren't going to do that. Rather, we are going to actually engage in the act of forgiveness through a tangible, definite practice.
Before we experience this tangible, definite practice, which I know will also be a deep and profound practice, I want to share a story with you. And as I'm sharing it, ask yourself what in the heck it has to do with what we are talking about this morning.
The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box. "Oh Mommy please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?", the little girl pleaded.
Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face. "A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."
As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and earned a few cents.
The next day, she went to the neighbor and asked if she could pick dandelions for ten cents.
And sure enough, on her birthday, Grandma gave her another new dollar bill. At last she had enough money to buy the necklace.
Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. Jenny wore them everywhere, Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.
Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you know that I love you, and do you trust me?"
"Oh yes, daddy." She said, "I know that you love me and, yes, I trust you."
"Then give me your pearls," the daddy said.
"Oh, daddy, not my pearls. You can have Princess, the white horse from my collection, the one with the pink tail. Remember, daddy? The one you gave me. She's my very favorite. You can have her. You can have anything, but please not my pearls."
"That's okay, Honey, daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.
About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you know that I love you?"
"Daddy, yes I know that you love me," Jenny said. "And do you trust me?" daddy asked. Again, Jenny's answer was yes.
"Then give me your pearls," he said.
"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."
"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.
A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.
"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"
Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy.
And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, daddy, this is for you."
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.
He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.
What does this story have to do with today? It is NOT a story about sacrifice; I hope you see that! It is a story that illustrates the fact that our "greater" experience cannot live in the same space as our lesser ideas.
Our lesser ideas must go, must be released, so that the greater experience can come in! It is waiting for us, ready to be delivered as soon as the lesser idea gets out of the way.
And this morning, I want us to rid ourselves of lesser ideas about ourselves, about our past - our regrets, guilt, anything about which we have not forgiven ourselves or others so that we can build a greater tomorrow TODAY.
In the bulletin you received when you joined us this morning, there is a small pieces of paper. In a moment, I am going to be quiet and let you do a couple of things.
First, in prayerful contemplation, review the past to find any self judgment, guilt, regret, unforgiveness in your mind and heart.
In a moment, you will take a bit of time to do that here. Review what might be preventing you from building a new, peaceful, fulfilled, happy, connected tomorrow? And when you identify that, write it down on the piece of paper.
Then take the paper to the altar. Pick up a tea candle and light it from the Christ Candle on the table, place your piece of paper FACE DOWN on the altar and place your tea candle on top of it. As you do that, recite (aloud or silently, your choice) this affirmation: "All the Power of the Universe conspires to support me in releasing the past and building a beautiful tomorrow today!"
Please place your papers and candles toward the inside of the table so that those who come after you won't have to reach over yours to place theirs.
Father, Mother, God, I now light this Christ Candle to symbolize the light of God within us. Let our light shine so others will recognize the Christ light within themselves.
So, I invite you now to relax in your seat, close your eyes (if that is comfortable for you), and review your past to find any self judgment, guilt, regret, unforgiveness in your mind and heart. Just notice, with curiosity, what comes forth. Review what might be preventing you from building a new, peaceful, fulfilled, happy, connected tomorrow. And when you identify that, write it down on the piece of paper.
Please come forward and place your papers and candles on the altar.
Consciously and subconsciously we are cleansed from anger, malice, hatred, and grudges through the forgiving love of Jesus Christ, who gave Himself that His consciousness might be ours also. We are such radiant centers of love that every error in our mind is wiped out, and every error thought directed toward us is baptized with the Christ love and its owner set free.
We too are free. We awake to this day, a new day, a new opportunity. Today let us see beauty everywhere. Let us see the Christ in our fellow men. Let us call forth the Christ expression wherever we walk; let us call it forth in loving-kindness from person to person and from each person to God. Let us call forth peace and harmony and joy. Let our whole world be filled with gladness, because we have today lived and walked with God
aErnest Holmes Living the Science of Mind p. 190
bCharles Fillmore The Revealing Word, p.64
dRalph Waldo Emerson
eCharles Fillmore Prosperity, p. 119