LIVING IN THE EYE OF THE ELECTION STORM
"Let us help you do life." That is the offer I have made each Sunday this month. Let us help you do the experience of this life (lower case "l"), this human life with all of its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, abundance and lack, ins and outs, with more joy, peace, love, abundance, health, community etc. etc. by providing thoughts, ideas, tools for connecting more fully with Life (capital "L), the Source and Substance of all that is, the Divine Wisdom and Intelligence Beyond all things, the Creative Force in the Universe, that Thing which we call God!
That was such a mouthful, that I want to say it again. This month, we are making the invitation to let us help you do the experience of this life (lower case "l"), this human life with all of its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, abundance and lack, ins and outs, with more joy, peace, love, abundance, health, community etc. etc. by providing thoughts, ideas, tools for connecting more fully with Life (capital "L), the Source and Substance of all that is, the Divine Wisdom and Intelligence Beyond all things, the Creative Force in the Universe, that Thing which we call God!
And we are doing life this month by applying our Unity teachings and five "secrets" found in Gregg Braden's book Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer.
As a brief reminder, so far we have looked at two of the "secrets." What is the first one?
Secret 1 is "Feeling is the prayer."a This is the idea of moving into a place of feeling, truly feeling, that whatever it is we are praying about is already done. So we pray rain, not pray FOR rain. We pray abundance, we don't pray FOR abundance. We pray health, rather than pray for HEALTH. Because as we pray FOR something, we empower the "what isn't"! But as we feel it already done in our prayers, we empower our dreams and desires.
Last week we looked at Secret 2. What is it?
Secret 2 is: "Hurt is the teacher, wisdom is the lesson."b
Extra credit for knowing how I reworded that a bit because I'm not a big believer in the concept of "lessons."
"Hurt is the vehicle, wisdom is the gift."
In the Science Of Mind, Ernest Holmes gives us this advice: ". . . [let us be] willing and glad to turn from all that hurts to the Great Light. And the Spirit, because of Its nature of Wholeness, is every ready to take us in Its embrace and make us whole again."c
And contained in the "Great Light" Holmes refers to is wisdom! And last week we experienced a powerful process of bringing our heart and brain into coherence so that we might tap into that wisdom.
BLESSSING IS THE RELEASE
Today we turn to the third Secret of the Lost Mode of Prayer and will apply it to a very, very, very specific and relevant life issue. And I am going to frame that issue into two questions:
First, how in the world do we stay centered in Spirit during this ever-increasing frenetic presidential campaign?
And, second, how can we make a clear, centered-in-Spirit conscious choice come Election Day in November?
And the answer to both questions is the same, and it is found, I believe, in the third secret.
Before we get to it, though, we need to do a little exploration. So are you ready to go exploring with me? Yes? Good.
I want to start our exploration with a passage from the chapter in Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer regarding the third secret: "There's a power that lives in the space 'between,' that subtle instant when something ends and what follows next hasn't yet begun. From the birth and death of galaxies, to the beginning and ending of careers and relationships, and even in the simplicity of breathing in and out, creation is the story of beginnings and endings: cycles that start and stop, expand and contract, live and die. Regardless of the scale, between the 'end' and the 'beginning,' there exists a moment in time when neither one has fully happened. That moment is where magic and miracles come from! In the instant of between, all possibilities exist and none have been chosen. From this place, we're given the power to heal our bodies, change our lives and bring peace to the world. All events originate from this powerful, magical moment."d
I love the line: "Regardless of the scale, between the 'end' and the 'beginning,' there exists a moment in time when neither one has fully happened."
That neutral moment where nothing has yet been placed in the Law, but where the Law stands ready to receive and once it does receive, it acts upon what it receives. That neutral moment when we can go left or right (and I mean that figuratively, not politically!), up or down, vertical or horizontal. That neutral moment where all possibilities exist, but where none have yet come into being.
We could look at this election season as the space between the ending and the beginning. Admittedly, there is a lot of activity in this space, a lot of frenzy, a lot of hot collars on all sides of the fence, a lot of bluster and brew-ha-ha everywhere around, as the term of our sitting President comes to an end, but who will begin a new term has not yet been created. That doesn't happen until a precise day in November, November 8 to be exact. So right now, we are in the space between.
Braden goes on to write: "This is the place [this place between] where feelings and prayers become the blueprints of life. The key is that our emotional state during prayer determines the kind of blueprint we create. Knowing that the Field is a reflection of our inner beliefs, we must find a way to clear our hurt and anger before we pray. If we think about this, it makes tremendous sense. After all how could we expect the Mind of God to reflect healing and peace if we're feeling fear and hurt?"e
Holmes echoes this idea when he wrote in the SOM: "The God of love cannot hear the prayer of the one who fails to love."f
So, let's apply this to everything that is going on and will continue to go on over the next couple of months at an ever-increasing pitch.
We are awake, conscious, spiritually-minded people who can have a huge impact on this "space between." How are we handling this space? Is it with frustration, anger, fear, upset, criticism, judgment - whatever words you want to use - about whoever the candidate is or candidates are that you oppose?
Now I want to pause for a moment and be extremely clear. This talk is not about, nor will I ever tell you, who I think you should vote for! What I want to instill in all of us (me most definitely included) is a way to show up around all of it.
I love that it's been said that in New Thought, we don't tell you WHAT to think, but we do teach you HOW to think. So today, I am not telling you who to vote for, but I do hope to offer some wisdom in how to show up around the process and your decision. OK? Good!
I say again . . . As awake, conscious, spiritually-minded people, we can have a huge impact on this "space between." How are we handling this space?
Let us assume that some of us, just some of us, are bothered, disturbed, frustrated, angry, afraid, condemning, judgmental. At times, I would definitely be one of them! Anyone with me on that? Let me see a show of hands. Thank you for standing with me.
Reminds me of the story about the minister who at the end of a fiery sermon on the wages of sin, turned to the congregation and said:
"Now, let me ask you. Which of you thinks truly he is bound for Paradise? Would you please stand?" He was pleased to note that nearly all of his parishioners stood up.
"That's good," he exclaimed and then asked them to sit down. "But now, let me ask you. After hearing my sermon today, which of you thinks he is bound for Hell? Would you stand? Come on! Be honest. Stand up!"
No one stood, but after a few awkward moments, one man, Jack Smith, slowly got to his feet, and remained standing with his head hung down as the minister eyed him with a knowing look.
Afterwards, as the worshippers filed out, the minister pulled Jack aside and asked him, "Now, Jack, what is it that makes you fear you're bound for Hell?"
To which he responded, "Oh, Pastor, I have no fear for my own soul, but I did feel real sorry for you standing up there all by yourself."
Thank you for not leaving me standing up here all by myself!
So, if we believe that the space between endings and beginnings is the place where magic and miracles can happen, we probably don't want to be bringing those emotions to the space. Right?! Well, what do we do?
Braden writes: "To answer this question, once again we turn to the wisdom from our past. . . . in the highest orders of Essene teachings we are left instruction on how to use the space between to prepare ourselves for prayer. Specifically, they describe how we might prepare our minds, hearts and bodies before the prayer ever begins. Even if it's for only a moment, we're invited to create an experience that temporarily suspends our judgments, fears and hurts. From this neutral state, we may offer our prayer from strength and clarity . . . . This allows us to enter into our sacred dialogue in the Mind of God in a state of consciousness that brings the greatest benefit of prayer to our lives. Through words that are both eloquent and simple, the Sufi poet Rumi invites us to join him in this neutral place once we've discovered it within ourselves. He shares his invitation in two brief yet powerful statements: 'Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.' How do we get to this place when life shows us a world that appears to be scary and dangerous? The instructions are precise."g
And we find the instructions in a variety of sacred texts, but the clearest appears in the words of Master Teacher Jesus when he was describing to his disciples the spiritual qualities that will best serve them: 'Bless them that curse you and pray for them which despitefully use you."h Bless, not curse!
Ernest Holmes writes in the Science Of Mind: "When we constructively praise and creatively bless, life abounds with love, peace and joy. Let goodness shine forth. Let us learn to see that everyone is an evolving Christ. Let us so live and think that we may retire at night in peace, knowing that no harm can come to the soul; that we may rise in the morning renewed in body and in mind, with a brighter outlook, a happier expectation and a clearer joy, looking upon all with love, condemning none and blessing [all]."i
To be clear, blessing doesn't mean putting our stamp of approval on something; it doesn't condone, discourage or encourage any action, circumstance or event. It doesn't agree or disagree with any point of view. It is simply an act of love.
In Secrets, it says: ". . . blessing something is the 'lubricant' that frees our hurtful emotions, opening us up to greater healing, rather than keeping our emotions stuck and unresolved within the body. . . . blessing is the key to reaching Rumi's field beyond wrongdoing and rightdoing. Blessing is the key to accessing the space between. It temporarily suspends our hurt long enough so that we can replace it with another feeling. Through the act of blessing, you assume your power to release life's deepest hurts and unresolved feelings."j
So, the third secret of the lost Mode of Prayer, which I believe is our key to "Living CALMLY in the Eye of the Election Storm" is: Blessing is the release.
So, what does it mean to bless? Well, let's look at it as a means to call forth the Presence and Power of God within into active manifestation.
So, here is going to be your mission, should you choose to accept it.
Right now, think of the candidate that you definitely won't vote for! Definitely, definitely not! Or, if you haven't gotten to that decision yet, one(s) you're not all that crazy about. Let's say you find them to be rude, impolite and disrespectful. Or dishonest, unethical, unqualified or weak.
You take these qualities and transpose them. So you would bless them with good manners, with politeness and kindness and respectfulness. Bless them with honesty, with integrity, with qualifications and with strength.
And every time you think of them, every time you see them on the news, hear a campaign ad, hear people at the gym talking about them and your judgment wants to rise up, repeat your blessings.
Now, don't be disappointed if it seems as if your blessing doesn't do anything for you the first few times that you use it. You may still feel your judgment and upset and outrage, or whatever other emotions you have been having. Realize that it may take more than a few repetitions to make a shift in you, so keep on blessing either silently or aloud.
So, we are going to give this a go this morning. Think about the candidate or candidates you aren't in favor of (perhaps it's all of them!) but identify one this morning and identify qualities that you do NOT like. Then find their opposite. Get the candidate in mind and while not saying the candidates name out loud, I want you to speak with power and conviction those opposite qualities.
If you're faithful in using this blessing technique, you will remain centered in Spirit in the eye of the election storm now through November 8 and you will make a Divinely-inspired choice on that day.
Let us bring our time together to a close today with a prayer from Dr. Ernest Holmes. It is his Prayer for Our Country:
Believing in the Divine destiny of the United States of America and in the preservation of liberty, security, and self-expression for all, I offer this, my prayer for my country:
I know that Divine intelligence governs the destiny of the United States of America, directing the thought and the activity of all who guide its affairs.
I know that success, prosperity, and happiness are the gifts of freedom and are the Divine heritage of everyone in this country. I know that success, prosperity, and happiness are now operating in the affairs of every individual in this country.
I know that Divine guidance enlightens the collective mind of the people of this country, causing it to know that economic security may come to all without the loss of either personal freedom or individual self-expression.
The All-Knowing Mind contains the answer to every problem which confronts this country. I know that every leader in this country is now directed by this All-Knowing Mind and has the knowledge of a complete solution to every problem. Each is compelled to act upon this knowledge to the end that abundance, security, and peace shall come to all.
And I know that this spiritual democracy shall endure, guaranteeing to everyone in this country personal liberty, happiness, and self-expression. And so it is. And so we let it be.
aGregg Braden Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer
bGregg Braden Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer
cErnest Holmes Science of Mind p. 502
dGregg Braden Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer, p. 90
eGregg Braden Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer, p. 93
fErnest Holmes Science of Mind p. 299
gGregg Braden Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer, p. 94
iErnest Holmes Science of Mind p. 434
jGregg Braden Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer, p. 100