POSSESSING A GRATEFUL PRESENCE
Today is our last day to look at the idea of "Minding Our Ps and Qs!" Not in the scolding way we may have been told to do as children, but in a way to lift us into a greater life experience.
Specifically, we are being MINDFUL:
to PRACTICE PRAYER (that was our first week);
to PURSUE PLAY (that was week 2);
to QUICKEN OUR PURE POTENTIAL (that was week 3);
and finally to be mindful to POSSESS A GRATEFUL PRESENCE (today).
As I was thinking about what I would talk about today, a line from one of Jamie Lula's song kept running through my head. I have so much more to be grateful than to be sorry for.a I have so much more to be grateful than to be sorry for! Wow. That is such a powerful statement.
If you have been here already this month, you may remember that we have been doing mindfulness practices to begin this time together each week. Today, we will do our last one and, as you might expect, it will center around this line.
If you are comfortable doing so, close your eyes - breathe deeply - and repeat silently "I have so much more to be grateful than to be sorry for." Repeat that line several times and then begin listing in your own mind all the things you have to be grateful for. . . . Then begin, whispering them out loud. . . . Then begin stating them louder . . . and then louder. then go back to a whisper. Finally say silently to yourself, "I now see I have so much more to be grateful than to be sorry for." Come out of meditation slowly.
So, today, we are going to reflect on gratitude, and I want to begin that reflection by reading to you a letter that is an invitation to a Thanksgiving dinner:
I want to let you know that Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. Since she won't be with us, we've made a few small changes to our original Thanksgiving plans. I'm telling you in advance, so you won't be surprised.
The first change you will notice is that the entry hall is not decorated with the swags of Indian corn and fall foliage I usually make. Instead, I've gotten the kids involved in the decorating by having them track in colorful autumn leaves from the front yard. The extra touch of mud was their idea.
The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china, or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate or the Santa napkins left over from last year.
In good Martha Stewart style, however, we will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while you wait. I'm sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I have made regarding Thanksgiving. Please remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 a.m. just after I discovered that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds.
As an accompaniment to the children's recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don't own a recording of tribal drumming, or that the tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.
Now, I know you have seen pictures of a person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner this year. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress "private" meaning: Do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that eventually I will win. When I do, we will eat.
One last thing. Instead of offering a choice of 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with whipped cream and small fingerprints. You will still have a choice, however -- take it or leave it.
No, Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. She probably won't come next year either. And for that, I am truly, truly thankful!
IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS
I would like to read a passage from the Science of Mind Textbook: "In everything give thanks. An attitude of gratitude is most salutary and bespeaks the realization that we are now in heaven."b
English lesson time. What does salutary mean? Healthy, invigorating, good, helpful, advantageous. And now a 21st century English lesson - let's put bespeak into language we might use: testify, verify, affirm, announce, indicate.
Let's try that quote again: In everything give thanks. An attitude of gratitude is most advantageous and announces the realization that we are now in heaven!
In everything give thanks. An attitude of gratitude is most invigorating and affirms the realization that we are now in heaven.
OR HOW ABOUT THIS ONE:
In everything give thanks. An attitude of gratitude is most healthy and verifies that we are now in heaven.
Did you know that science has now proven that an attitude of gratitude is indeed a healthy attitude? In fact, it has a most salutary effect on the body!
In 1993, a research team led by Glen Rein and Rollin McCraty, measured the effect of certain emotions on human DNA. They used research subjects who were trained to manage their feelings. The researchers took DNA samples of the subjects when they were feeling gratitude, love and appreciation as well as when they were feeling anger, fear, frustration, or stress.
When the subjects felt anger, fear, frustration, or stress, their DNA responded by TIGHTENING UP. It became shorter and SWITCHED OFF many of the DNA codes!
But, when the subjects felt love, joy, gratitude and appreciation, the shut down of the DNA codes was reversed, the DNA strands RELAXED, unwound and, in fact, lengthened.
This experiment was later followed up by testing HIV positive patients. They discovered that feelings of love, gratitude and appreciation increased their body's resistance to the virus up to 300,000 TIMES.
Pretty impressive evidence that walking in gratitude is a good idea!
For what shall we be grateful? Well, Ernst Holmes says, "in everything, give thanks." I agree.
But typically we give thanks for things we have. For our relationships, for our health, for our spiritual community, for our jobs, for our stuff. And, of course, that is wonderful!
In the past, we have looked at being grateful IN ADVANCE for the relationships, health, jobs, stuff we are looking to experience in our lives. And that too is wonderful!
Also in years' past, we have looked at being grateful for the wonderful God qualities, the spiritual gifts, which we each possess. And that too is wonderful!
And we have looked at the things about ourselves that we like to hide (the Shadow side - work of Debbie Ford and her book The Dark Side of the Light Chasers) and found things to be grateful for in them. And, my my, yes, that too is terrific!
And we have even looked at the stuff in our lives we might label "yukky," and said we want to be grateful for that as well -- and call forth a blessing in it. You remember, of course, Emma Curtis Hopkins affirmation for any challenge? "This too is good; this too is God; this too is for me; and I demand to see the blessing in it!"c
But that's not where we are going to focus our gratitude today. Well you might say . . .
If I'm not going to be grateful for the things in my life,
If I'm not going to be grateful for future things in my life,
If I'm not going to be grateful for my spiritual gifts,
If I'm not going to be grateful for my shadow,
If I'm not going to be grateful for the challenges and learning opportunities in my life -- well then there's really nothing left.
Oh, contraire, my friends, oh contraire. How about these?
I am grateful that there is a singular Presence in this Universe that runs in, through and as all things. I am grateful that this singular Presence, this presence called God, Mind, Holy Spirit, Intelligence, Allah, Love, Yahweh, Energy, whatever you want to call it, is the very essence of who I am and it is the very essence of who you are. It is as near as our breath, as close as our hands and feet.
And this Presence is Good, it is only good -- all the time! It knows only life- affirming creativity. It knows only to further the expression of beauty and joy and peace and harmony and love and abundance because that is its very nature. And that too is my very nature! AND IT IS YOUR VERY NATURE AS WELL!
2/3. TRINITY OF BEING/DIVINE CREATIVE PROCESS
2/3. Trinity of Being/Divine Creative Process
I am grateful that this one singular Presence operates infallibly through a process called the Law to create form. God thinks and God's thoughts are operated on by the law to manifest form (God said "let there be light and there was light").
And this process operates infallibly in me as well. I think, I feel, I believe and that which I think, feel and believe also is operated upon by this infallible law to bring experiences into my life. AND THAT WHICH YOU THINK, FEEL AND BELIEVE IS ALSO OPERATED UPON BY THIS INFALLIBLE LAW TO BRING EXPERIENCES INTO YOUR LIFE.
4. AFFIRMATIVE PRAYER
4. Affirmative Prayer
I am grateful that I can align myself with the beauty, peace, harmony, joy, plenty of the Universe and have this infallible law work to create those as experiences in my life through prayer. AND SO CAN YOU.
5. FREE WILL/CHOICE
5. Free will/choice
I am grateful that I - WE - always, always, always stand at choice. That we were made in the image and likeness of the Divine and imbued with all the qualities of the Divine, including the ability to choose. At any moment, we can choose to experience freedom or bondage, love or hate -- and if we don't like the results of a choice we made, we can change it and change our experience!
I am grateful that the universe does respond to us according to that which we think, feel and believe -- that what we are to the world, the world is to us and AGAIN -- if we don't like what the world is being to us, we have the power within ourselves (the God-given, God-ordained Power) to change it.
I am grateful, eternally, grateful that I live in a world of infinite abundance, and all I have to do to see that, is look around at the leaves on the trees -- or on the ground right now, the stars in the sky, the grains of sand on the beach or the vastness of the ocean. And that this abundance is my divine inheritance simply because of who I am!
I am thankful for an incredible tool for aligning myself with the Flow of Life that I can use at any moment of any day. The tool of forgiveness.
I am thankful that my essence, the Truth of who I am did not start with this body nor does it end with this body. The essence of who I am is on an eternal journey.
10. CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS
10. Christ Consciousness
AND finally this morning, I am so, so grateful for the Jewish Mystic who walked the earth over 2,000 years ago to show us the way. Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Anointed One. The man who did not know where he started and God stopped or where God started and he stopped. The man who said "this and more you can do." As soon as I recognize this truth about me, I too become the Christ.
Today I am eternally grateful for these beliefs and for Myrtle and Charles Fillmore who studied many different religions and took what they thought was the most powerful from each one and created this Unity movement.
I'm grateful that I'm part of a teaching that advances the knowledge of the spiritual system in which we are living and that we are bold enough to bring traditional ancient values of spirituality into today; Jesus knew exactly what we taught.
I'm grateful that I live in a spiritual system than enabled me to develop the consciousness that attracted you. Because together we shall bless the world by not only thinking and talking about what is important in a Universal way, but by having the courage to live with that kind of integrity and to know that every person represents God.
And as we do this, we will eventually hit that critical number of people and change everyone to that positive integrity; as is demonstrated by the 100th monkey phenomenon. Which is a hypothetical phenomenon in which a new behavior or idea is claimed to spread rapidly by unexplained means from one group to all related groups once a critical number of members of one group exhibit the new behavior or acknowledge the new idea.
So, remember -- we have sooooo much more to be grateful than to be sorry for! Yes, let's be grateful for:
- The things in our lives,
- Future things in our lives,
- Our spiritual gifts,
- Our shadows,
- Even the challenges and learning opportunities in our lives . . .
And today, let us Possess a Grateful Presence for the spiritual system in which we live and how it operates in and through our lives. Let us be grateful for the evolution of humankind; and our own personal evolution. Where were you a year ago in consciousness? Haven't you expanded your awareness of who you are and of life itself? Of course you have.
It's time to be overwhelmingly grateful for this. When we learn to celebrate our own nature, we celebrate the nature of God! Now that's Possessing a Grateful Presence!
bErnest Holmes Science of Mind Textbook, p. 497
cEmma Curtis Hopkins