FROM CUTS TO BRILLIANCE
Today's talk is just for you. Let go of any baggage. Say with me:
--I am open.
--I am available.
--I am ready.
This month we are talking about the qualities that create a flawlessly shining gem of a life, using the four C's standard of grading a diamond: clarity, cut, color, and carat. Today we're talking about CUT.
--When a diamond or any gem comes out of the ground, it looks like this: it's rough, and cutting it allows the brilliance to come out. --We can look at our lives in the same way.
CUTS HELP THE LIGHT SHINE THROUGH
So, the 1st point is: Cuts help the light shine through.
--When a craftsman cuts a diamond, they are creating a shape (round, marquise, etc.). A diamond's cut determines its fire, its brilliance.
--Marcel Tolkowsky was a member of a Polish family of diamond cutters, and an engineer by education. He created a mathematical formula in 1919 that could cut the perfect proportions of a diamond for maximum value and brilliance, with the least amount of waste. Tolkowsky established what is now called the American Standard, and is the diamond cutting benchmark essentially worldwide.
--Today they use lasers to cut through diamonds.
--All of these improvements made the diamond-cutting process easier to create more value for the gem. The cuts help the light shine through and create brilliance. The light was already there; it just needed to be uncovered.
--And what looks like a brutal process of cutting and chipping is actually helping create the brilliance.
--In many ways, life is shaping US with the people and events that come into our lives.
--Tama Kieves, an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, left her law practice with a prestigious corporate law firm to write and help others discover and soar in their life's work. She said: "Who you think you are, is a belief to be undone."a
--Michael Beckwith talks about how he put himself through college selling pot. And he was good at it. He says, "What started off as just a little bit for myself became thousands and thousands of dollars a week, and people working for me in Atlanta, Nashville, New York and Los Angeles."b While this was happening, he had a spiritual awakening. He had a dream one night where he died, and when he woke up, he saw the entire world around him differently. He had "died" to his littleness. He was now in tune with a universal vibration that he called "love beauty", his word for God.
--So here he was selling drugs, and he had this spiritual awakening. So, the universe created a "cut" in Rev. Michael's life. He was arrested. But Rev. Michael knew that this was a natural part of the transformation that was happening. He was at peace when he showed up in court. The judge said to him, "Young man, if I suspend this sentence, will I ever see you in court again?" Rev. Michael replied, "No, your honor, you won't." His sentence was suspended, and Rev. Michael's life changed for good when he left the drug life behind and started on the spiritual path.
--The cut in Rev. Michael's life had to happen for him to move forward. As we transform into the new, we must be in alignment with what exists in our life or it will leave. AND you must let go of the old to make room for the new. Are you holding onto something that the universe is trying to cut from your life? Are you ready to make room for the new?
We need to expand our thought until it realizes all good, and then cut right through all that appears to be and use this Almighty Power for definite purposes.
THE CUTS IN LIFE ARE YOUR APPRENTICESHIP IN ONENESS
The 2nd point is: The cuts in life are your apprenticeship in Oneness.
--You are in a lifelong apprenticeship in Oneness. That is your purpose. That is your mission. It can take many different forms. But that's what you're here for.
--An apprentice is one who learns from a master teacher. Your master teachers will show up throughout your life in many forms: they can be family members, spouses, employers, co-workers, you name it.
A senior minister of a church created a sheet for their youth to teach them affirmative prayer. It's an easy process where each step correlates to the same number of fingers.
--Step 1: God is all there is.
--Step 2: I am One with God.
--Step 3: Everything is okay. (What do you want?)
--Step 4: I give thanks.
--Step 5: I release and let go.
--Getting to Step 2 is the hardest. Realizing the immense power within us. You have to embody Step 2 or the other steps don't matter. If you don't recognize your Oneness with Source, you miss the boat completely.
--Rev. Tom Costa, former minister at Palm Desert CSL said: "I was in Religious Science 15 years before Religious Science was in me."c
--I hate to break it to you, but we signed up for the advanced course.
--Anytime you "other" someone else, you are not practicing Oneness.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote a piece call ILLUSION
"GOD and I in space alone,
And nobody else in view.
And Where are the people, O Lord, I said,
The earth below and the sky o'erhead
And the dead whom once I knew ?
That was a dream, God smiled and said:
A dream that seemed to be true.
There were no people living or dead,
There was no earth and no sky o'erhead--
There was only Myself and you.
Why do I feel no fear, I asked,
Meeting YOU here this way ?
For I have sinned, I know full well;
And is there heaven, and is there hell,
And is this the Judgment Day ? "
Nay ! those were but dreams, the great God said ;
Dreams that have ceased to be.
There are no such things as fear, or sin ;
There is no you--you never have been--
There is nothing at all but me!"d
--Someone asked Baghwan, "How do I stop judging others?" Baghwan smiled and said, "You don't understand. All I see is me."e
--It is so easy to judge in the human experience. I think about how often I have judged others, especially when I've been offended. My judgment turns into righteous indignation. "How dare they!"
--I recently read an article by Rev. Lloyd Strom. The quote that stood out to me was "You cannot offend an enlightened being."f Wow.
--He went on to say that "the only way that we will ever be able to live in a world where we are not offended is to learn how to forgive all those who offend us. Therefore, whenever we are offended, we are being provided with an opportunity to learn how to forgive more readily, and more fully. Consequently, the fastest way to become enlightened is to allow ourselves to be offended by everyone, and then consistently forgive them, until we are no longer offended by anyone."
--THIS is your apprenticeship. As long as you are harboring resentment, anger, or ill feelings toward anyone, you have work to do. YOU have a cut to make in yourself! You cannot shine when unforgiveness dims your light.
--Rev. Lloyd Strom: "If you can't forgive those who offend you, you have no right to speak of love."g
LIFE WILL POLISH YOU, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT
The 3rd point is: Life will polish you, whether you like it or not.
--You can choose to NOT learn from the polishing, but you're simply delaying the inevitable.
--In an 8th grade class, a science teacher brought in a tumbler. He took a raw geode, threw it into the tumbler, turned it on, there was a terrible racket as the rock bounced around, and then after a period of time, he turned it off, and produced a beautifully polished stone with no rough edges.
--Have you felt like you've been in a tumbler?
--The universe has shaken you to awaken you!
--What if the cuts in your life were there to help you?
--I would like to read you Cory Booker's credo:
"When they criticize you, love them for teaching you humility.
When they heap scorn upon you, love them for helping you discover your resiliency.
When they doubt you, love them for giving your dreams greater courage.
When they point out your faults, love them for their accuracy.
When they wound you, love them for showing you your capacity to forgive.
When they try to stop you, love them for making your resolve even stronger.
When they cast you into darkness, love them for helping you discover your inextinguishable light.
And when you stand victorious, when your love has conquered the impossible challenge, invite them to stand with you so they, too, can see love's power and possibility."h
From Audrey Hepburn in "The Nun's Story". Talking about The Living Rule:
--When Audrey Hepburn and her father go to the convent for her to begin her training to be a nun, she and her father talk with the Mother Superior. After the Mother Superior walked away, her father says, "She's what's called a 'Living Rule'". What's a Living Rule, Audrey asks. Her father replies, "If this convent burned down today, along with every other church in this city, as well as all the sacred scriptures, anyone could look at her and know by her actions what our spiritual principles are."i
--I've thought of that many times. I want to live my life so that I am modeling these spiritual principles to the best of my ability.
--Could you be a living rule?
--Living rules exhibit the same love and light when things are going well, as when they are not. No matter what tumbles life has for them, they shine.
Here's what I know: that you promised to awaken in this lifetime. And the cuts in life that come your way are there to help you awaken.
Many people, when they found out Rev. Sally Robbins was moving to NC, asked her, "Why North Carolina?" She replied, "Because that's where Spirit told me to go."
--People have said to her, "You're brave."
She said, "I don't think I'm brave as much as I know that I take my apprenticeship to Oneness seriously. My apprenticeship means that I am willing to go where I'm led. My apprenticeship means that I trust that Spirit has a bigger idea for me, and I can't wait to find out what it is!"
--Where will your apprenticeship lead you? Maybe not across the country, but I know that it will lead to a bigger version of yourself.
I have talked with other ministers about people we've met along our spiritual path: Jack Addington, John Randolph Price, Marcus Bach, Roy Eugene Davis. And we've reflected on how many of these Giants aren't around anymore. And in thinking about that, I remembered a fellow student in my ministerial class saying to the class just before we graduated, "During our training we've learned about the Giants of new thought. Someday they'll be talking about us as we take our place as Giants in new thought. He didn't say that from a place of braggadocio, he was saying that is who we are - giants!
--Who are the giants in this room? You are.
--You are meant to be brilliant, meant to shine so that all can see.
--The cuts in your life are there to help reveal the magnificence that is already you.
--You are meant to shine, my friend. So, shine on!
cRev. Tom Costa
dElla Wheeler Wilcox ILLUSION
fRev. Lloyd Strom
gRev. Lloyd Strom
hCory Booker, Senator from NJ
iAudrey Hepburn "The Nun's Story"