PATHWAY TO CLARITY
Each of us has our unique journey to walk during this human experience. And, while each PATHWAY is unique, there is a common urge within us all to transcend the mundane so that we might experience:
higher levels of being,
higher levels of thinking, and
higher levels of behaving in this human experience.
This urge in each of us to reach for these transcendent ways of living is fueled by an underlying urge, a deeper desire to experience our oneness with the Divine. Or, said another way, to live the Spiritual Truth that we are.
This month, we are supported in this quest as we look at a different Pathway of Transcendence, each one taking us deeper and leading us higher into that desired state of conscious Unity with God as we walk through this human experience.
Last week's Pathway was the Pathway to Power, and you had an opportunity to choose a Power word during the service. What are some of your words?
Mine is "Peaceful," and I created a statement around it to use when the storms of life want to knock me around a bit:
I live with a peaceful mind and a grateful heart.
You might want to create a Power Statement of your own using your Power word. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, go to our website, www.unitycv.org and download or listen to last week's talk
PATHWAY TO CLARITY
Today our Pathway of Transcendence is the Pathway to Clarity. Internal clarity is something we all seek, but I know we often struggle finding it. The noises from the outer world as well as the chatter from within our own heads can serve as great cover ups to the still small Voice of Truth.
I love this thought from Myrtle Fillmore in the book, Letters of Myrtle Fillmore: "On the "mountain top" we receive new illumination, inspiration, and insight into the providing law. Then we have a work to do away from the mountain top, lifting all our thoughts to the Truth standard."a
As I was thinking about how we might provide a way for the ideas of Spirit to flow into our minds and into what we are doing and how we might give our consent to them, the image of the Hindu God, Ganesha, came to mind.
Made in the image of the elephant, Ganesha is known as, among other things, the clearer of obstacles. I got this visual of a large, lumbering elephant walking in front of us swinging its trunk clearing away all obstacles on our path that keep us from clearly hearing the ONE CLEAR VOICE, the Voice of God within - our inner voice.
Because here's a truth statement. We all have immediate access to that voice. No one need go unguided through life for all are divine at the center and all are Images of the Most high.
Keeping in mind the image of this mighty and powerful, yet wise and loving, elephant walking along our pathway of life swinging its trunk to clear the way for us, let us look at three specific ways the sweeps of his trunk can create our Pathway to Clarity, so that we might be able to hear that inner voice that will always guide us.
The first Sweep is the Sweep of Shifting
The second Sweep is the sweep of Forgiving
The third sweep is the sweep of Opening
If we want to reach clarity, this order is important -- just as the debris and branches right in front of Ganesha's path must be cleared out before he can even reach the ones later down the road.
The first sweep of the truck is a sweep called SHIFTING. Shift what? Shift your perspective. Because whatever you are looking FROM is what you will see! Here's an example.
A minister decided one Sunday morning that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his temperance sermon. At the beginning of his talk, he placed four worms into four separate jars.
The first worm was put into a jar of alcohol.
The second worm was put into a jar of cigarette smoke.
The third worm was put into a jar of chocolate syrup.
The fourth worm was put into a jar of good clean soil.
And then he offered his sermon during which he railed against the sins of indulgence of earthly pleasures such as alcohol, cigarettes and chocolate and advocated a life of good clean living. As his grand finale to this fire and brimstone sermon, he reported the following results:
The first worm in alcohol - Dead.
The second worm in cigarette smoke - Dead.
Third worm in chocolate syrup - Dead.
Fourth worm in good clean soil - Alive and wiggling.
The Minister feeling pretty pumped up with this powerful visual of the sermon he had just given asked the congregation with confidence, "So, what can you learn from this demonstration?" A little old woman in the back quickly raised her hand and said, "As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won't have worms!"
Well that is one perspective - not the one the Minister had, however!
How does this apply for us as we look at the idea of clearing a pathway to clarity?
Instead of affirming all the time that you don't know what to do, what to think, or how to proceed - shift to the perspective that something within you does know - absolutely knows!
Instead of expecting life to be hard - shift to the realization that the Universe is conspiring for your good.
Instead of thinking people are out to get you - shift your perspective to look for proof that everyone wants to help you.
Instead of girding yourself for the negative - make plans for a positive result.
Instead of looking at the worst-case scenario - look for your next great opportunity.
Just a slight shift can make a huge difference! Huge!
Do you see how changing your perspective of life can clear away some of the debris that is in the way of hearing the Voice of the Divine?
The second sweep of Ganesha's trunk is the sweep of forgiveness, which can only happen if you are first willing to shift in perspective.
In 365 Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes wrote: "It is only when we have completely forgiven that we can get a clearance in our own minds, for we are judged by the judgment with which we judge. If we criticize, condemn, and censure, these are the attitudes that occupy our thinking. They will not only reflect themselves inwardly, they will also reflect themselves outwardly. They must, for the without is but an extension of the within. If we want a complete clearance of our attitudes, we must forgive everything and everyone. Whether we like it or not, or whether we accept it or not, this is one of the great truths of life. Not only should we forgive others, but we should equally forgive ourselves. Until we release all of our own previous mistakes and failures, pain and suffering, we shall merely be monotonously repeating them today. A great deal of our trouble, both mental and physical, is built on an unconscious sense of rejection and guilt."b
Every year, about 1,500 hikers set out to walk the entire Appalachian Trail in a single season. Only 10 percent complete the 2,160 miles of challenging terrain stretching from Georgia to Maine. One reason some people drop out early is that they carry too much in the packs.
One man began his hike carrying a seriously overloaded backpack. He had a cassette player and six tapes of birdcalls, an air pistol to keep the varmints away, a camera, a radio, and an alarm clock. It ran on batteries and he had an extra one in his pack.
At his first stop, he was already exhausted and ready to quit when an experienced hiker helped him go through his pack and decide what to keep and what to send home. Each item was placed on a gram scale with the question, "Is it worth it? Do you want to carry this for the next 2,000 miles?"
The man discovered that his biggest problem was an accumulation of little things. Most of his extra weight was in ounces, not pounds. He didn't need half of what was in his first aid kit nor the extra tube of toothpaste. His heavy multi-tool knife was replaced with one weighing only an ounce. A metal knife-fork-spoon set gave way to a single plastic spoon. He sent home 26 pounds of unnecessary weight.
If you have regrets over past failures, judgments about what or how things should be, or resentment towards circumstances or people in your life - you are carrying that negative into your future - it is holding you back and poisoning your good.
So the second sweep of Ganesha's trunk is the sweep of forgiveness of self and others, clearing the way to hear the clear voice of God from within.
And the third and final sweep of Ganesha's mighty trunk, which can only happen after we've had some shifts in perspective and done some forgiveness work, is the sweep of the willingness to be open to listening to and following the voice within.
Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With the Infinite: "If we will but follow this voice of intuition, it will speak ever more clearly and more plainly, until by and by it will be absolute and unerring in its guidance. The great trouble with us is that we do not listen to and do not follow this voice within our own souls, and so we become as a house divided against itself. We are pulled this way and that, and we are never certain of anything."c
How do we learn to listen? Just like the muscles in your body, you must exercise it by listening and following! Listening and following; listening and following!
And so we have the three sweeps of Ganesha's trunk for clearing the path to clarity. The first sweep clears away perspectives that do not serve, the second sweep clears away hurt, anger and resentment and the third shift clears away resistance to listening and following.
As we clear away the pathway, we create a space in us to hear the voice of the Divine inside. Myrtle Fillmore spoke of Jesus' and our ability to hear that in the Letters of Myrtle Fillmore: "Remember we are to pray in the name of Jesus Christ, which means with the same earnest desire to glorify God in our life that filled Jesus' mind and heart always. We are to ask of the Father in the realization of our oneness with Him and the consciousness of sonship."d
So now I would like to pay tribute to the men we have known in our lives. I have the names of men that I would like to acknowledge. If you are present and would like to come up to pay tribute yourself, please do so. And for me this candle is in memory of my father Robert Caldwell, my brother Jim Caldwell and in honor of my son in law Kris Johnson. Is there anyone else who would like to add a man to this list?
As you look at this garden of candles, think of the men in your life who have influenced you, inspired you, strengthened you, and loved you. Men who have planted ideas in your mind and watched you grow. Men we love and hated. Men we blame for all our faults and weaknesses, and thank for all our strengths and talents. Men who weren't perfect but did the best they knew how to do. And so we grew, blossomed and produced fruit. And so we thank them.
I think fathers must have done all the things a good gardener does. They prepared good soil and had the courage to do what was right and loving for their children. They knew they could not plant everything in their lives. Time is so short, so we choose the seeds of faith in God and national identity. We plant them as often as we can. Enough seed, and surely something will grow. God provides the watering and fertilizing and weeding. We plant with our eyes on the harvest and our children surprise us with their magnificence.
aMyrtle Fillmore Letters of Myrtle Fillmore, p. 42
bErnest Holmes 365 Science of Mind, p. 80.1
cRalph Waldo Trine, In Tune With the Infinite, p. 84
dMyrtle Fillmore Letters of Myrtle Fillmore, p. 141