PACKING & UNPACKING YOUR SPIRITUAL BAGS
In light of what we all are experiencing around this Covid19 pandemic, let's start with a prayera: Father/Mother/God, I tell the truth of divine life to my body and my circumstances. Moving my focus to the light of life within, I become aware of healing energy streaming throughout my body. I remind myself that divine life is irrepressible, eternal, and ever-renewing. I say to my body and my circumstances: You are full of life. AMEN.
This month's theme is "Your Consciousness Never Takes a Vacation." And while, it may seem lighthearted and not very spiritual, believe me it is not. Those who tuned in last week can attest to that! What we really are doing this month is looking at how to be (to quote the Master Teacher Jesus) "IN this world, but not OF this world" all the time, not just while on vacation -- living in this world from a spiritual perspective, which makes living here much nicer -- but using the vacation metaphor.
Today, we are going to look at the idea of Packing and Unpacking Your Spiritual Bags -- You pack your bags in preparation for a vacation. But if you don't unpack them once you arrive at your destination, all that packing does no good. It is also this way with our spiritual tools. Learning about them is like packing your spiritual bags. Unpacking them comes when you live from them 24/7!
Today we are going to look at a number of items you take with you on vacation and use them as metaphors for some of our spiritual tools that we all know about -- but today I hope to instill in you the deeper practice of using them - unpacking them. Because they don't do any good whatsoever staying packed!
1. Airline Ticket. When you get on an airplane, if you want the flight to be at all enjoyable and serene, what must you do? Relax into it. Turn it over to the pilot and the law of aerodynamics! You must surrender control! Trust. Let go! Thus, the spiritual tool is the practice of surrender. I once heard the spiritual practice of surrender defined as: Having a belief that as deeply as you are willing to let go, Spirit is willing to fill you up.
Isn't that beautiful? Let me say that again. The spiritual practice of surrender means: Having a belief that as deeply as you are willing to let go, Spirit is willing to fill you up.
If you want to know if you are regularly unpacking this tool, you can use this test. Right now, take a deep breath and then completely empty your lungs of oxygen. Hold . . hold . . . hold. OK breath! Were you afraid, even a tiny bit, that you wouldn't have more air? Do you have that kind of certainty that as deeply as you are willing to let go, Spirit is willing to keep filling you up?
For a good example of surrender . . . How many of you remember the movie - The Robe? There is an interesting story regarding the making of the robe to be worn by the character of Jesus. The real robes that Jesus wore were seamless, so, to preserve authenticity, a professional hand-weaver and her daughter were hired to make this garment on their loom. It was to be an authentic reproduction for those traditionally worn in Palestine at the time of Jesus.
The actual weaving took a total of 36 hours, and the weaver and her daughter felt it to be almost a sacred task. The robe completed, they were about to deliver it to the studio, with just 16 hours left to meet the producers' deadline for receiving it. But, a disaster occurred.
The small son of the weaver's daughter was seen with a pair of scissors in one hand and a fragment of the precious fabric in another. They had not seen him pick up the scissors and take a cut out of the robe. Well, what to do now? What to do now!?
Distraught, they naturally prayed about finding a speedy replacement, and although, there was obviously not nearly enough time left for them to complete a duplicate, they surrendered their preconceived notion of what could and couldn't be done, they let go, and they began immediately to weave another seamless robe.
Incredibly or not so incredibly, 9 hours later the work was finished, as beautiful as the first.
Well, you might say they had practice, so it took them less time on the second. But not so. Because they were absolutely astonished at the short time it took, they decided to make a third to see how long it would take. And they worked as rapidly as they could to create yet another robe, but this one took 36 hours, just as had the first one!
In those moments, when there was nothing else for them to do, they let go and Spirit filled them up.
Turning to the One with a complete abandonment and in absolute trust, we find that: "God has already done everything for us, commensurate with our unfoldment, and pushed out toward us just as far as we will permit, every good gift the heart could desire, and the hope, or the longing, we feel is only a premonition, or a prophecy, indicating to us that the thing hoped for is at hand and already ours for the taking."b
But it is just so hard for us to do that - to turn with complete abandon, isn't it? It's pretty hard for us to have as much trust in God to fill us up as we have in the air to fill our lungs with oxygen, but that's our first spiritual practice this morning, that I invite you to consider -- How often to I take that out of the bag?
In his book, How to Know God, Deepak Chopra gave us some good council on this: "Most people are addicted to worry, control, over-management and lack of faith. On a daily basis, resist the temptation to follow these tendencies. Don't listen to the voice that says you have to be in charge, that things aren't going to work out, that constant vigilance is the only way to get anything done. This voice is only right because you have listened to it so much. It won't be right if you let Spirit try a new way. Be willing to experiment."c
2. Your Luggage Itself. I want to make a very clear distinction here. It's your luggage that's the metaphor, not your baggage! Leave your baggage at home -- but you're not going anywhere without your luggage!
What does our luggage represent? That which contains it all. That which houses or envelopes everything; that which keeps everything safe.
And a critical spiritual tool to remember to bring along and use -- our belief that God is in through and as all things. That God is the one and only energy. That there are not opposing forces working in the world. It's not God and . . . . Although we certainly act like that sometimes. God and the government! God and my ex-spouse! God and this disease! God and my empty wallet. God and . . . . you fill in the blank.
Fundamental to our teachings -- God is all there is!
In order for you to have a hint of a good vacation (unless you are going to a nudist colony), you better have your luggage with you.
In order for you to have a hint of a life on purpose, a life of peace, a life of joy, power, health and abundance, dust off your belief that God is really all there is - and God is GOOD!
Whether you are on vacation on some exotic beautiful island or sitting in your office at work, do you take time to recognize the Presence of God? As I was working on this talk on my computer it occurred to me that: "This technology is God expressing in and through the mind of man."
This piece of luggage symbolizes the all-encompassing nature of God. Let's now see what we have inside.
3. Our underwear -- in fact, clean underwear! What did your mother always tell you about clean underwear? Wear it -- because if you get in an accident, YOU'LL BE GLAD YOU DID! And usually when we're GLAD -- we're also GRATEFUL. So our next spiritual practice that we need to pull out of our spiritual luggage more often is being grateful! (I know this metaphor was a bit of a stretch -- but fun!)
Gratitude is a causative power. I've said that many, many times! Finding something to be grateful for even in the middle of a not-so-great experience, calls the Good, Capital "G", out if it!
For example -- A grocer went to his guru one day in great distress to say that across the way from his shop a large chain store that would surely drive him out of business had just opened. His family had owned his shop for a century -- and to lose it now would be his undoing, for there was nothing else he was skilled at.
Said the Master, "If you fear the owner of the chain store, you will hate him. And it is hatred that will be your undoing." "What shall I do?" said the distraught grocer. "Each morning walk out of your shop onto the sidewalk, give thanks for and bless your shop, accepting for it prosperity. Then turn to face the chain store and do the same for it."
"What? Be grateful for and bless my competitor and destroyer? Are you crazy?"
"The gratitude and blessings that you give him will rebound as your good. Any evil you wish him will destroy you."
After six months the grocer returned to report that he had had to close down his shop after all. But he was now in charge of the chain store and his life was in better shape than ever before.
4. Clothing or Equipment Specific to Your Vacation Destination If I had skis, poles, ski socks, and a heavy coat, where do you suppose I would be going? If I had a surf board or fins, sun block and a bikini where do you think I would be going? And if I had a shirt? No clue, could be anywhere.
Unique clothing and equipment for unique vacations. Yet, we also pack things that are the same. So what do these clothes symbolize in our spiritual tool kit?
You want to live life from a spiritual perspective? Remember that every single one of us is the same -- we are all one -- and at the same time each of us is unique, yet perfect, for our trip. We each have unique gifts to share; a special spark to offer; a purpose to reveal.
Contained within the infinite luggage (remember our metaphor for God) is each one of us. Some of us resemble ski socks, others fins -- nonetheless, all contained in the one -- really all part of the one.
Do you remember that about yourself and about others?
5. Finally, Our Shoes. Walking our Talk! Affirm the good. Who has affirmations lasered in their brains for immediate recall when a situation gets hairy?
"God is good all the time."
"I am vibrant, dynamic and radiant health."
"I have plenty to spend, to spare, and to share." OR "I have abundance because I am abundance."
"I am strong, calm and centered."
Do you use them!!??
H. Emilie Cady writes in Lessons in Truth: "A sense of bondage can be overcome when we are willing to face the fact; that it is our own limited pattern of thinking that is binding us and not people or things or circumstances. Then we are ready to begin the thrilling task of building, through denial and affirmation, an entirely new concept of ourselves."d
It is only through affirmation and accepting of these things in our pattern of thinking that they may become our experience.
We can't do 10 minutes of affirmations a day or spend 15 minutes a day in prayer and meditation and then go out in the world and think the same old thoughts and act the same old way if you want to transform.
You've got to put on the shoes of knowing the spiritual truth about things and walk around in them all the time! Our shoes, the last thing in our luggage this morning, reminds us to walk the talk!
So, I want to do a brief review. But, I'm going to review our spiritual metaphors in an order slightly different from how I presented them.
1. Luggage - represents the fullness, the allness, the ever presence of God's Good!
2. Clothing/Equipment contained in the luggage, specific to your trip and the same for all - represents that we are all contained within the one, each the same and yet each unique.
3. Shoes - Walk the talk - proclaim your good; make a habit of it! Think it, know it! Live from it!
4. Underwear - Being grateful!!
5. Airline ticket - Surrender, letting go, might I even say release.
Embody these 5 steps in your prayers or affirmations. Prayer is the most powerful tool we can have in our spiritual luggage. When you live from these steps as we've discussed today, you will put some real meaning to Jesus' words "pray without ceasing."e
So . . . let us pray. Father/Mother/God, In the light of spiritual understanding, I behold divinity within all beings. Illuminated by the light of spiritual realization, I radiate peace to bless every being in this world. I focus upon the truth that unites us all, the divine origin and essence we share. I say to all beings, I see God in you. AMEN
aFrom July Silent Unity Prayer Service
bFaith's Fruition A.P. Barton
cHow to Know God, Deepak Chopra
dH. Emilie Cady Lessons in Truth
e1 Thessalonians 5:17