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Sunday Message for July 25, 2021


Let's begin with a prayer: Mother, Father, God; we are now open and accepting of our individual spiritual growth. We welcome it, we accept it, we commit to it in our lives. We see obstacles as God-given detours in our best interest. When we don't understand what God is saying to us, we relax as we live in the question. We know that all will be clear as we turn control over to God. Thy will be done. Amen.,

This month, we have explored two books that have been on my "must read" list -- Living Big by Pam Grout, which we explored the first two Sundays of the month and The Universe Has Your Back: How to Feel Safe and Trust Your Life No Matter What by Gabrielle Bernstein, which was last week and today.

Today we dig into two Universal Truths from The Universe Has Your Back, and they are:

Obstacles are Detours in the Right Direction; and

The Universe Speaks in Mysterious Ways

Embodying these two Universal Truths will move us to a great place of trusting Life regardless of what may be going on in any given moment and, of course, to Living Big (to swing back around to our first book)!

Obstacles are Detours in the Right Direction and the Universe Speaks in Mysterious Ways.

Well, those statements sound good, don't they? Great titles of book chapters too!

Obstacles are detours in the right direction. Yep, sounds really good. Sounds like a solid, Spiritual Truth, doesn't it?

And the Universe speaks to us in mysterious ways - ways we might not always get at first. That sounds good too!

And we can roll those statements off our tongues here this morning, and they feel good. Yes, obstacles are merely detours in the right direction. Yes, I might not always get it right away, but I am getting divine messages all the time.

Yes, I can say yes to those Spiritual Truths! Here this morning, I can proclaim those truths with vigor!

So it's easy to say there are no sick people, but this will never heal those who appear to be sick. It's easy to say that there are no needy people. Anyone can say this whether they are wise or otherwise. But, if we are to prove this to be facts in our experience, we must do more than just announce a principle no matter how true it is.

So, we need to do more than just announce the principle "that obstacles are detours in the right direction" even though it is definitely true.

We need to do more than just proclaim "yes" to the notion that the Universe is guiding us and directing us even if we don't at first get it!

And what is it that we need to do more of?

Just like all spiritual Truths; for them to be our Truths, for them to be alive in us, for them to have power in our lives, we must KNOW, we must EMBODY, we must become LIVING, BREATHING, WALKING testaments to the Truth - and we must do this even in - NO, especially in -- the face of the detour; in face of the mystery that makes no sense to us!

As we said last week, it is easy to say "obstacles are just detours in the right direction," "The Universe has my back," and even "the Universe speaks in mysterious ways" when everything is going great.

It is when things go to . . . , well let's just say when they don't go the way we would like, when the detour actually hits, when things don't make sense -- that is when the true spiritual work begins.

So, you may have a situation in your life right now that looks "the worst." You may look around at our societal, political, environmental climate right now and say it's the worst.

And it is a spiritual imperative that in the moments when we say "that's the worst" that we immediately turn to the Truth knowing that this is a detour leading me in the absolute right direction; that it is the Universe speaking to me in a way I just can't at this moment understand.

I know I can look back at my life now, as I'm sure you can, and the shtuff I went through, the obstacles I had to overcome. At the time I didn't understand, and it wasn't too pleasant. But at this point now, looking back, I can see that I was going in the right direction to end up here doing what I'm doing and knowing myself better than ever before.

Sports psychologists once did a study of elite athletes who were struck with some adversity or serious injury. Initially, each reported feeling isolation, emotional disruption and doubts about their athletic ability.

Yet afterward, each reported gaining a desire to help others, additional perspective and realization of their own strengths.

In other words, every fear and doubt they felt during the injury turned into greater abilities in those exact areas. Psychologists call it adversarial growth and post-traumatic growth.

'That which doesn't kill me makes me stronger' is not a cliché but a fact. The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels us to a new level of beingness.a

Bernstein gives us some counsel on how to live more fully into these Truths and I believe a way to bring on, perhaps even more quickly, the realization of that good. It is counsel I have given before, but we haven't always practiced this, so we get it again.

She writes: "The key . . . is to let go of all outcomes. When we get hung up about how something 'should' turn out, then we disconnect with the flow of universal guidance. The energy behind a 'should' mentality is controlling and manipulating. The Universe does not align with that energy. Therefore we cut off communication and receptivity. It's when we let go of the outcome that we open up our perceptual worldview and allow ourselves to be guided."b

So I have a couple of questions for you today:

What would you do differently if you knew that the Universe really did have your back?

What if you knew you were always getting messages from the Divine?

How would you relax and let go of control?

Let's go on a little journey together:

Imagine yourself sitting comfortably in a safe space that you love. See yourself at ease. Settle into this space and know that you are held, protected and supported. You are safe. Now, take a moment to acknowledge an area of your life that you've been controlling.

Allow yourself to feel whatever feelings arise when you focus your attention on this situation. Honor what comes up for you and continue to breathe long and deep.

In your mind's eye, begin to hold a vision of a small golden basket placed in front of you. This basket is illuminated from the inside out. When you're ready, gently place the area of your life that you've been controlling into the basket. Offer it up and surrender it fully. Set the intention now to fully release the need to control and allow the Universe to take over. Take a deep breath and honor your willingness to surrender.

Now get an image of a beautiful angel stepping behind you. The angel gently places his or her hands on your back and assures you that it is safe to let go of your need to control. Then the angel picks up the basket and flies away with it waving good-bye. You have released it to the Universe, and it is being taken care of. Sit in stillness for a few minutes as a new relaxed energy settles in.

And then silently say:

Thank you, Universe, for helping me see this obstacle as an opportunity. I have let go of control and now let you lead the way, regardless of how mysterious that way may be. I rest in that assurance with ease and grace. And so it is.c

aThe Obstacle is the Way p. 57
bThe Obstacle is the Way p. 89
cadapted from meditation on p. 94

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