ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE, ELIMINATE THE NEGATIVE
This month we are studying the Power of Release. The color is Russet, and the disciple is Jude Thaddeus. What we want to learn and practice this week is to honor our power of release and use this inner ability to liberate ourselves through choosing, cleansing, and forgiving. We choose freedom rather than bondage.
Elmer Davis said, "It hurts more to have a belief pulled than to have a tooth pulled, and no intellectual Novocain is available."a
I HAVE THE POWER TO FREE MYSELF
Know that you have the power to free yourself. We have Release as a power within ourselves. We have the ability to change our thoughts, to change what we believe and do, to release the negative and accentuate the positive.
Release is the power we have to free ourselves, to liberate ourselves, to let go of anything that may imprison, enslave, or hold us down - any tyranny, repression, bondage, or addiction. We have the freedom to be the God creation we are designed to be.
The "release" power has been called "denial" and "renunciation." These terms can be misleading. "Renunciation" sounds like we are supposed to renounce the world, the body, sex, pleasures, and material things. "Denial" may be mistaken to mean "psychological denial" or "repression." Renunciation of the world or denial of our emotions is not healthy for us. The fourth and fifth step in AA, facilitate this practice of release and freedom.
In olden times when pioneers joined wagon trains to come west, they had to pack up their whole household for the trip. But because the family and all their things had to fit into a covered wagon - they had to look to see what was really important to take with them. Then they had to let the rest of it go. They had to release those things that weren't of high enough importance to bother with taking. They had to take only what they needed for survival and what they would need once they arrived at their destination.
All along the way, as they traveled, if there were problems and they had to lighten their load so that they would be able to make it - they again had to evaluate what was really important and what they could now release.
Then as they neared the end of their journey they encountered their greatest challenge of all. They had to cross the Rocky Mountains. To do this, they had to, again, lighten their load and decide what was really important, and what could they now release.
We, too, need to learn to do this in our life journey.
RELEASE AS A POSITIVE PROCESS
Release is a positive process, and we CAN learn release. This is our ability to cleanse or let go from consciousness any beliefs, thoughts, mental images, actions, or practices that are preventing us from achieving our full potential as expressions of God.
We all make mistakes. We all get upset sometimes. We all have to "cast out devils" from our consciousness and life. We all need to forgive others and ourselves. Pencils have erasers. Word processors electronically remove incorrect or unwanted copy.
We can release in a positive and freeing way: So close your eyes, and concentrate on your breath. Allow yourself to relax
1st Recognize it. Think of a belief that no longer serves you.
2nd Face it. Look at the fact that this perhaps was a belief from your childhood, when you were little and everyone else was big and scary. Or one that worked for you as a child, but is no longer working or necessary.,
3rd Let it go. Tell yourself that you truly want to now let this belief go, that you truly believe that it no longer serves your higher good. See it floating away from you.
4th Replace it with something better and healthier. Look at the belief and ask yourself, "If this isn't valid, then what is a true and valid belief that serves me now?"
5th Make restitution whenever or wherever possible. Make amends if someone got hurt in the process - even if it was your own wounded child. So just contemplate if there is anyone to whom you need to make restitution.
We cannot ignore problems or negation or injustices. A "dream deferred too long" will explode. Release is not a stick-your-head-in-the-sand, pretend-it-doesn't-exist and just be "Pollyanna"-about-everything power.
So now open your eyes and come back to this room.
FORGIVENESS FREES US
If you are someone who is experiencing a relationship challenge or has unfinished business with someone; if you are someone who bears any kind of grudge or resentment; if you are someone who suffers from a recurring pattern in your life or feels you are stuck; if you are someone who considers him/her self a victim of any kind or has suffered any kind of abuse; if you are someone who has not forgiven their parents; if you are someone who is dissatisfied with their life in general - you need to learn that forgiveness frees us.
Jesus taught and demonstrated the power of freedom by forgiving. We forgive not because it is a nice thing to do, but because we hold ourselves in bondage and limitation when we do not freely forgive. Forgiveness releases us to be healthy, prosperous and peaceful. Forgiveness releases the person who we feel has wronged us or hurt us. We go through the release process in its five steps as we just did. We desire only good to come to the person. We do not necessarily either approve or forget it ever happened, but we desire good for that person and ourselves.
WE NEED TO FREE OTHERS & FREE THE PAST
We need to free others and free the past. We also need to learn to release some things and people who are very dear to us. Perhaps there is a loved one who needs to live his (or her) own life. Maybe we have a job we have really enjoyed, but it is time to take the next step. It may be a part of our body that needs to be removed.
These parts of our lives may need to be replaced by a new or better way. Favorite shoes get old and finally need replacing as do some outworn ideas, beliefs, habits, concepts of God, religious practices, pastimes, or cherished relationships.
We cannot hold on to the past or the way things were. Life is dynamic, which means changing. We are not fickle and faddish, needing change just for the sake of change. But we are one with the upward, onward, progressive spirit of life, realizing that death and resurrection are continually being lived out by us.
THE DISCIPLE JUDE THADDEUS REPRESENTS THE POWER OF RELEASE
The disciple Jude Thaddeus represents the Power of Release. Suné Richard writes: "Jude, also called 'Judas,' should not be confused with Judas Iscariot. Very little is heard of Jude, except indirectly, but he was a brother of James the Less, and is believed to have been of the family of Jesus."b
The author of the Book of Jude warns his readers against false values and particularly calls to accountability the covetous, "grumblers, malcontents, and the bombastic in speech."c The author obviously thought there were people in the early church who needed to be more aware of their actions and negativity.
Charles Fillmore says about Thaddeus, or the Power of Release, that "It is just as necessary that one should learn to let go of thoughts, conditions, and substances in consciousness, body, and affairs, when they have served their purpose and one no longer needs them, as it is that one should lay hold of new ideas and new substances to meet one's daily requirements. Therefore, it is very necessary that we develop a right balance between receiving and giving, laying hold and letting go."d
In Neale Donald Walsch's book, Revelations, he talks about releasing what is no longer working in the world, in our religions, in our politics, and in our lives. He talks about release in the Five Steps to Peace.
1. You can choose to acknowledge that some of your old beliefs about God and about Life are no longer working. Do you think you are ready to release some of that old stuff?
2. You can choose to acknowledge that there is something you do not understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which will change everything. Do you think you are ready to release the idea that you understand?
3. You can choose to be willing for a new understanding of God and Life to now be brought forth, an understanding that could produce a new way of life on your planet.
4. You can choose to be courageous enough to explore and examine this new understanding, and, if it aligns with your inner truth and knowing, to enlarge your belief system to include it.
5. You can choose to live your lives as demonstrations of your highest and grandest beliefs, rather than as denials of them.e
So as we release all that we no longer need - we are infilled, if we are willing, with a new understanding, a higher understanding.
I would like to close with a story about a college professor who had studied Zen Buddhism all of his professional life. He was particularly taken with one Zen Master. He had always wanted to meet this Zen Master; it was his life's dream. Then one day he actually had the opportunity to do just that. He traveled to Japan and was invited to have tea with the Master.
They sat down together and as the Master was brewing tea for them, the college professor began to tell him everything he knew about Zen Buddhism. He related all the books he had studied, all the different techniques he knew,
The Zen Master asked him if he would like some tea, he said he would, and the Master began to pour tea into his cup as the college professor continued to talk about his great knowledge of Zen Buddhism. The cup filled with tea, but the Master continued to pour. The tea now filled the cup and the saucer, but the Master still poured the tea as he listened to the professor. Soon the tea was pouring out on the table and spilling down the professor's pant leg. The professor jumped up and said, "Stop, the cup is full. You can't pour anything more into it."
The Master smiled and said, "You come to me because I am a great Zen Master. But you are like this cup. Until you release what no longer serves you - there is no room for anything else."
aElmer Holmes Davis, American news reporter, author, Director of the United States Office of War Information during World War II, Peabody Award recipient.
eNeale Donald Walsch, Revelations