HARNESSING THE POWER OF LOVE
Here we are midway through our summer reading schedule! Inspired by the summer reading list that is always published for daring adventures, steamy romances or juicy mysteries with lots of plot twists and turns to be read on vacation, this month at Unity of Castro Valley, we are taking highlights from four different books that were on my summer reading list. And while these books won't be adventure, romance or mystery novels, they will definitely be adventurous, they will help us connect with deep love and we just may experience a twist or turn along the way.
So far, we've looked at Thrive, a New York Times #1 best seller written by media mogul Arianna Huffington, and we looked at her Four Qualities of a [Redefined] Successful Life.
Last Sunday we looked at Charles' Fillmore's book, Prosperity and had the adventure of using a treasure map to find eight prosperity gems.
1. Spiritual substance is never depleted
2. As a way to remind ourselves of that Truth, we anchored in the idea "that there is plenty of air to breathe"
3. We were given the wisdom to "Refuse to give up"
4. We were reminded that "No one ever fully sees the steps"
5. We created the affirmation "I have faith in the substance of God" to help us take the steps we can see
6. We were strongly encouraged to "Put God first in finances"
7. And were given that promise that "God is an unfailing source of supply"
8. We ended in the affirmation "I rejoice in the ever-present bounty of God"
Let's do that last affirmation together: "I rejoice in the ever-present bounty of God"
And last Sunday, I offered another challenge - a 90-day challenge to put God first in your finances by engaging in the high and holy spiritual practice of tithing. Well 2 people signed up for that challenge - congratulations to you who did! I celebrate your commitment to expanding your abundance consciousness and, if it took courage to play, I applaud your courage! You should have received an email from me on Friday about it. Please check to make sure you got it and let me know.
And, it's not too late if you want to play in this 90-Day Money Back guaranteed challenge. The form is in your program. Fill it out and put it in the offering basket.
This brings us to the third book on our summer reading list, Inside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence by Richard Moss.
This book is all about . . . well let me share with you this statement from the introduction: "If you or a loved one is facing a health challenge, relationship crisis or any situation in which you experience emotional suffering, this book will help you understand and remedy what you unconsciously do that makes your situation more difficult. It will teach you the way to realize a timeless inner power and be restored to a sense of deeper trust in yourself. It will show you how to access the universal energy that [can] immediately enliven you."a
POWER OF LOVE
Wow. That's a lot, so we better get to it. The entire premise of this book, and it is rich and deep, is to release the stories we tell ourselves about whatever a situation, challenge, circumstance, condition is and to return again and again and again to the present moment. Because it is in the present moment where God lives.
Holmes tells us in The Science of Mind: "Time and space are unknown in Mind . . . the past and the present are one."b
* It is the present moment where's God's Love abounds.
* It is the present moment where the Energy of Life convenes.
* It is in the present moment where Divine Intelligence lives.
* It is in the present moment where wholeness exists.
And here's an empowering and amazing idea that I really want you to think about, ponder, contemplate: Every instant you are fully present to the present moment is a moment of restoring yourself to wholeness. Why?
Because when you turn your attention away from your stories and turn to the present moment, you enter a limitless field of Intelligence and Love that is the greatest healing resource of all. The atoms, the molecules, the cells of your body actually reorganize themselves in greater or lesser degrees of wholeness according to how present you actually are.c
I am reminded of an affirmation I learned: "The present is my point of power."
Say that with me: "The present is my point of power."
Today, I am going to offer you a tool, a very powerful tool to help you return to the present. Now here's the deal. This is an amazing tool, which I have just learned having read this book.
It's not something to learn about here today and then walk out of the doors and forget. It's also not a tool to be mastered in one moment. It is a tool to be practiced and applied over and over and over again.
The tool is called the "Mandala of Being."d Mandala, isn't that a beautiful word? Did you know that it is a Sanskrit word? Anyone know what it means? It means "circle."
It has been a universal symbol over millennia particularly in Eastern spiritual traditions. In those traditions, mandalas are a form of sacred art - elaborate paintings that symbolically depict the journey from the world of illusion to the realization of the timeless self at the center of us all.
You are probably all familiar with the sand Mandalas that Buddhist priests create. If you have never seen one, look them up on the internet. They are truly amazing. Creating them is a high and holy spiritual practice of being in the present moment.
This tool, Moss' "Mandala of Being," is a way to model how our thinking minds operate relative to being aware in the present moment. It teaches us how to consistently live in the Now.
The Mandala of Being will help you wake up and live more in present moment awareness instead of in your story. In this way, you learn how to meet life's greatest challenges with much less suffering.
Here's a fact of this human experience. Major events in our lives such as serious illness or injury, divorce, financial ruin, death and the loss of those we love are intensely challenging. They are very, very painful. Right?
But here's a thought-provoking idea . . . they do not cause our greatest suffering. Our greatest suffering often comes not from the situation itself, but from what we tell ourselves about it.
It is one thing to be unable to continue a promising athletic career due to injury. It is far worse to tell yourself that life is no longer worth living.
It's one thing to go through a devastating divorce or death of a beloved partner. It is even more painful to live in the belief that you will never love again.
The way to minimize the suffering is to practice the presence . . . to harness the power . . . of Love in this now moment.
The power of the Mandala of Being is to notice when you are in pain, whether it's physical, emotional, spiritual, mental pain, where you are living. Are you living in the now moment or somewhere else?
Last week you worked through a physical treasure map. Today it's going to be a mental one, OK. We are going to create in our mind's eye the Mandala and then we will actually use it for a current situation you have. OK?
So, imagine a circle. That circle represents your life. All of it! Inside the circle is another circle and written inside the inner circle is the word Now.
When you are in this central Now, you are fully engaged in the present moment. You are present to exactly what is. We will return to this place in a minute, but first I want to share with you the other places on the Mandala.
Think of an arrow pointing up and away from Now, at 12 o'clock - that's the Future.
The Future position represents any moment when you are going through a painful, a challenging situation that you begin to tell yourself stories about the Future.
Since the Future is always imaginary, these Future stories will either generate positive anticipation with emotions of hopefulness or eagerness or negative anticipation such as worry, anxiety or even terror. But usually, when we are in a stressful, painful situation, our "futurizing" isn't about a pleasant, positive outcome, is it? It's more like "awfulizing!"
Opposite of that, at 6 o'clock, you have the Past. This position represents when your thinking mind carries you in the Past, and you identify with your thoughts about specific memories. Past stories will either generate a sense of pleasant reminiscence (for example, remembering something that made you proud or happy); a sense of nostalgia and sadness because they are no longer; or unpleasant reminiscences as when you remember a situation that made you feel guilty, blame, regretful.
At 3 o'clock you have a focus on You, meaning the outer world. The You position represents what happens when you identify with your beliefs and judgments about other people or anything else you can think of: your career, the situation you are in, money, politics, . . the list is really endless.
These stories will either elevate or diminish the person or thing you are thinking about. As you identify with these You stories you will experience emotions ranging from appreciation, adulation, and admiration to rage, resentment, jealousy, hate, hurt.
Finally at 9 o'clock, we have Me. This position represents the emotional quality you experience as a result of identifying with your judgments about yourself. Me stories can lead you to feelings of superiority, arrogance, aloofness, haughtiness to inferior, sad, inadequate, unwanted, unlovable.
Moss writes: "The Mandala of Being will help you understand how much the thoughts going through your head often weaken and hurt you . . . It will give you a means of becoming aware and waking up right at the moment when you are being captured by a thought or story that would otherwise drag you into a stressful emotional quagmire. Even thoughts that bring hope or pleasant reminiscences, while very welcome compared with those that frighten or depress you, do not bring as much intuitive wisdom or healing energy as when you rest in presence. Similarly, holding warm and positive thoughts of another person will not reveal the surprising depth of love or compassion that can suddenly arise when you are really present with someone and see that individual exactly as she or he is."e
And so our practice is to notice when we are in the Future, Past, You or Me story and return again and again and again to Now.
Moss writes: "When you are anchoring your attention in the present, you are not immune to pain, but what you feel is the genuine, unadulterated feeling that accompanied whatever is happening. Without stories, without the reality manufactured by your thinking, your actual feeling and actual experience do not divide you or cut you off from life. What is is never worse than what you imagine it might be!"f
After a period of increasing your awareness and presence by using this practice, the process of waking up in the middle of any story that you're telling yourself will start to happen automatically. This directly affects the quality of your life and health far more than you can possibly imagine.g
So, let's do a meditation. Close your eyes, and identify something that is causing you pain. Now look at the Future, the Past, You and Me and identify the stories you are telling yourself.
Now, turn your attention, your focus to your heart. To bring your focus to your heart, it might help to gently place your fingers at the place of your physical heart. Now, with no pressure of doing it correctly, just have your attention gently rest on your heart.
Next, consciously slow down your breathing - count 5 seconds in; 5 seconds out
Finally, feel care, appreciation, gratitude and/or compassion. And let us stay with those feelings for the next three minutes. And then just be present for what is, remembering Moss's words: "What is is never worse than what you imagine it might be!"h
And so it is.
aInside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence Richard Moss p. xv
bErnest Holmes , p. 422
cInside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence Richard Moss [paraphrased from p. 1]
dInside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence Richard Moss
eInside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence Richard Moss p. 51
fInside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence Richard Moss p. 44
gInside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence Richard Moss p. 51, 52
hInside-Out Healing: Transforming Your Life Through the Power of Presence Richard Moss p. 44