THE FOUR KINGDOMS OF AWAKENING
I have an invitation for you. For each and every one of you, and I want you to consider it your personal invitation. Imagine right now that I am handing you a beautiful eggshell colored linen envelope with your name elegantly calligraphied on it. When you open it, you find an invitation inside engraved in gold that says:
"You are cordially invited to let 2018 be the year that you awaken, truly awaken, to the life of beauty and wonder that Spirit intends for you."
What would 2018 be like if you RSVP'd "yes" to that invitation?!
What would 2018 be like if you were fully awake and present for it all . . . meaning:
* fully awake and present to the life you now have;
* fully awake and present to who you are in every moment;
* fully awake and present to what brings you joy here and now; and
* fully awake and present to the life you are creating with:
* every thought you think,
* every feeling you feel, and
* every word you speak?
What might that awakened life look like? Well, my friends, that is your invitation for 2018, and each week this first month of the year, we will dig into that invitation while exploring some foundational New Thought principles at the same time.
Today, we are going to look at four Stages of Spiritual Consciousness we might experience as we RSVP "yes" to this invitation of awakening. These Stages of Spiritual Consciousness have been called Kingdoms, and this definition of "kingdom" fits perfectly in our context of this morning. It is: "a realm or region in which something is dominant."
So, this morning we will look at four realms or regions in which a particular level of awakening is dominant.
Are you ready? Good, let's go!
Oh, wait, three things before we go!
One, I didn't make these up. They originated witha Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith of the Agape International Spiritual Center of Truth many years ago and are now taught throughout our movement.
Second, as we talk about them, just observe where you hang out. Now I said notice -- not blame, beat yourself up or feel not good enough because of where you observe yourself to be. Just notice. And, likewise, not puffed up with ego or spiritual pride either! Again, simply notice. Be curious.
Third, these may not be new to you. You have heard me speak of them before. But, if you are familiar with them, this is not the time for a nap! I invite you to have fresh eyes and ears this morning. Find what is in here for you that you have not seen/gotten before.
Now, if you are ready to go, so am I!
1. THE WHY ME OR THE MORTAL STAGE
The first Stage of Spiritual Consciousness or Kingdom of Awakening is more asleep than it is awake, and we have all been there, done that!
It is called "Why Me" or we could also call it the "Mortal" stage or kingdom.
At this stage, life is a real struggle. We feel separate, disconnected, alone, powerless, a victim of circumstances. We think we have absolutely no control over what is happening in our lives.
At this stage, we think that something outside of us is doing something TO us. It could be God outside of us, the devil/enemy, our numerological chart, the cracks on the ground, our parents, our partners, the weather, the government. You name it!
There's a perfect way to know if we are in this stage - it's accompanied by quite a bit of noise, drama and complaining and the back of your hand is often velcroed to your forehead as you say these words:
"Why does this always happen TO me?"
Or, these sister words:
"Why is this happening TO me again?"
Or their cousin:
"If only he or she would not do this TO me, I would be OK/happy/at peace/etc."
Recognize any of those? Said or thought any of those . . . recently?!
The opportunity for awakening that we have at this stage or kingdom is huge! It is the opportunity to give up blame and to begin to take responsibility . . . personal responsibility for our own lives.
We have the opportunity to awaken to the Truth, that we are not victims of circumstance, fate, others, the economy, the weather or the political climate.
We have the opportunity to awaken to the Truth, that we are powerful and empowered beings, endowed with the very nature of that which created us, which is the ability to create . . .
and that moves us to the second State of Spiritual Consciousness or Kingdom of Awakening, which is the . . .
2. THE BY ME OR METAPHYSICIAN STAGE
In this stage, we learn that we actually are not victims of circumstance. We begin to understand that we are a part of "Something Bigger Than We Are" and that there is a Law or a precise and specific way this "Something Bigger Than We Are" works and we can work in harmony with.
Holmes writes in the Science Of Mind textbook: "We are thinking, willing, knowing, conscious centers of Life. We are surrounded by, immersed in, and there is flowing through us, a creative Something. . . . The sum total of all our thought, will, purpose and belief creates a tendency in this Law that causes It to react to us according to the sum total of that belief. Ignorance of the law excuses no one from its effects. If, then, certain specific ways of thought and belief have produced limitations, other beliefs will change them."b
We learn this at this stage. We learn that things don't just happen to us, they happen according to what's in our belief system; we learn that we can change our thinking and change our lives. In this stage, we learn that we are creative beings!
This is a very, very empowering place. And it is a place we all need to awaken to in order to experience the beauty of life that Spirit intends for us to live.
This is the stage where we learn amazing tools like affirming and visualizing and vision boards, and affirmative prayer. We learn that if we can see it with our mind's eye; and feel that it is done, we can create it. And, my friends, we can! New Thought has done a wonderful job of teaching this, and it is an important step in our spiritual evolution.
If you have not yet mastered this Stage or feel you are rusty, is 2018 the year to awaken to this? The Creative Process class starts next week and is the place to do that. It is a place where you get the tools and techniques to help you create an amazing life.
So, this stage or kingdom is critically important, but it isn't the final stage of our evolution in consciousness; there is an opportunity for greater awakening here also.
We might say that in this stage, we MAKE THINGS HAPPEN and in the next, we MAKE THINGS WELCOME.
3. THROUGH ME OR THE MYSTIC
In this third stage, we begin to release control and replace it with the sense of a personal relationship with something much more powerful than we are.
At this stage we begin to realize that we are Spiritual Beings having a human experience!
It is called the "Through Me" or "Mystic" Stage. Now before you freak out thinking that a mystic is the robed guru who sits cross-legged atop a mountain and Om's all day. Not so!
Ernest Holmes said succinctly: "The mystic is one who senses the Divine Presence."c
The mystic FEELS God's Presence. Perhaps not all the time - but certainly has extreme moments of feeling it. The Through Me or Mystical stage of our evolution of consciousness is a place where we surrender more and more to the Divine; where we desire to simply be an open vessel for God. It is the mystic who sings: "Use me, Oh, God, I stand for you and here I'll abide as you show me all that I must do."
We find we are not so attached to a particular outcome. Yet in this relaxed receptivity, we are more available to our greatest good.
In this stage of evolution, we bring in some other spiritual tools. Those of visioning, present moment awareness, and forgiveness.
At this stage, our prayers take on a different focus. Rather than for the purpose of manifesting something, they are more prayers of willingness and openness. In fact, Ernest Holmes writes in the Science of Mind:
"True prayer must be 'thy will be done,' but the implication relative to the Will of God in this prayer is not a submission to the inevitability of evil or limitation; it is a knowledge that the Will of God is always GOOD."d
While the stage of the Mystic is very, very powerful, there is yet another, and that is the "As Me" or "Master" Kingdom.
4. AS ME OR MASTER
The Christ, the Buddha. Combination of the Metaphysician and the Mystic. Jesus our primary example - Master teacher!
An absolute union with the Divine. No sense of separation. No division.
Joel Goldsmith wrote: "Do not pray to God for things; pray to know God and all the things will simply appear."e
When a Master sees lack, he/she knows it's just a place for calling forth more of God in expression. It's just an opportunity to experience more of God.
This is how Jesus could turn water into wine; feed the thousands; heal the sick and raise the dead. When he was faced with lack or limitation, he saw an opportunity to experience more of God.
Holmes final words in the Final Conclusion of the Science Of Mind are these: "The essence of spiritual mind healing - and of all true religious philosophy - is an inner realization of the Presence of Perfection within and around about. It is the hope of heaven, the Voice of God proclaiming: 'I am that which thou art; thou art that which I am.'"f
And that is the As Me or Master Stage of Spiritual Consciousness. "I am that which thou art; thou art that which I am."
And that which God is and that which I am is Love. Only Love!
During our lifetimes, we will spend time in all of the Kingdoms and it isn't a linear process. We go back and forth, switching metaphorical residences depending on the issue or situation at hand.
Remember the invitation you received a little while ago? What did it say? "You are cordially invited to let 2018 be the year that you awaken, truly awaken, to the beauty of life that Spirit intends for you to live."
What are you going to awaken to this morning?
* To the realization that if you are hanging out in the "Why Me" or "Mortal" stage that you have an opportunity to embody the Truth, that you are a powerful and empowered being, endowed with the very nature of that which created you - the ability to create! Are you ready to master manifesting?!
* Or is it to the realization that, while the "By Me" or "Metaphysical" Kingdom is absolutely, vitally necessary, it isn't the end and that you can awaken to something even more powerful - the Truth that you don't have to make things happen, but rather that you can make them welcome by giving up control to something greater than you are in your finite humanness . . .
* So that you become the Mystic where you allow God to consciously work Through You - "not my will, but thine" as the Master Teacher Jesus said, knowing that God's will is always for the highest, highest good.
* Or, in 2018, are you ready to cultivate "As Me" consciousness or step into the Kingdom of the Master where there is no sense of separation and there is only love?
Wherever you are ready to go, Unity Church of Castro Valley is here ready to serve, support, uplift and empower you.
aRev. Dr. Michael Beckwith Agape International Spiritual Center
bErnest Holmes Science Of Mind textbook p. 38
dErnest Holmes Science Of Mind textbook p 286
fErnest Holmes Science Of Mind textbook p 423