WE ARE HERE FOR LIFE
WHAT WE WANT TO LEARN & PRACTICE
The month of December we will be exploring the Power of Life. What we want to learn and practice this week is that we are interested in not just adding years to our lives, but even more, in adding life to our years.
GET (A) LIFE
So - "Get a life!" What does it mean to you to "get a life"? We think or even say this expression sometimes when people are minding someone else's business, wasting time, being petty. But we all want to "get a life - a good life!"
We have studied and worked extensively this year with our Twelve Powers. What a life journey this has been! Think about where you were last December, what your life looked like, and what you felt like.
How much more life we are manifesting than we did before. How much more of our Powers have been discovered and positively applied in our lives. How much more balanced we are, as we have brought our Powers more under the direction of our God Self. How many milestones of progress there have been in this Year of Power.
It is good to survey the growth and progress that we have experienced this year. If we don't sometimes look back - we don't realize how much we have grown. Many changes may have taken place that reconfigured and reformed our life, so it is quite different than it was. What has this period in your life been like for you?
In January we started the twelve power lessons by studying Faith. Faith is always where we start our spiritual journey Faith is the perceiving power of mind. Jesus said, "Have faith in God"a - which tells us to focus our mental attention on the good, on the limitless flow of renewing energy. How did your Power of Faith manifest in your life after January? Do you feel you have more Faith now?
In February we studied Love. This is our ability to know oneness with all and to desire that only good comes to all. Love heals, harmonizes, renews, prospers and unites. Love is our ability to share, and to draw together. Our consciousness of love casts out fear, loneliness, and ego demands. Think about how your Power of Love showed up in your life after February.
In March we studied Strength. It says in (Isaiah 30:15) "...In returning and rest ... shall be your strength..."b True strength is quietness, inner confidence, the ability to keep your peace, non-resistance, the love of enemies, not being provoked, and giving good for evil. Strength is also a balance between thinking and feeling, logic and emotion, conscious and subconscious, intellect and intuition. So think back - how did the Power of Strength manifest in your life this year, do you feel more of that inner quiet strength?
In April we studied Judgment or Wisdom. This is your ability to discern, evaluate and make decisions. Judgment is the ability to "make up" your mind. Heaven and hell are states of mind that we create by the decisions we make in the courtroom of our mind. So how did the Power of good Judgment change your life this year?
In May we studied the Faculty of Power. This is your ability to convert an idea into words you speak, actions you take, and things you build. We learned to own our own power, to not give it away, and to be poised and centered in our power. How did your Faculty of Power manifest in your life after May - did you call your spirit back?
In June we studied Imagination. This is your ability to form thoughts, mental pictures and positive images. You also have the ability to be aware of the flow of images that just come to you. Think about how your Power of Imagination showed up in your life after June.
Then in July we would have looked at our Power of Understanding had I not broken a hip. This is your ability to make sense of all your other Powers and of life. It allows you to know that Divine Mind stands under all things. It is being aware that what stands under you is the eternal growth process. So think back - how did the Power of Understanding manifest in your life this year?
In August we studied Will, the ability to be willing toward God. It is the executive faculty of our minds. We are God's executives. You are the CEO of your life's enterprise. You are the one who can get the job done with God. So how did the Power of Will change your life this year - have you found yourself more Willing to grow spiritually?
In September we took on the Faculty of Order. This is our ability to know what is important and to put our life in order. It is putting first things first. We learned to seek first the kingdom of heaven (spiritual consciousness and values) and then to add all things to this. Order helps us to establish and maintain worthy personal and social priorities. How did your Faculty of Order manifest in your life after September - did you get your ducks in a row?
Then in October we explored the Power of Enthusiasm or Zeal. This is our ability to be fired with energy. It is our urge to stretch, our drive to excel, our desire to improve and contribute. So how did it feel to sizzle with Zeal in October?
And last month we studied the Power of Release - the ability to give a "no, thank you" response to the untrue and undesirable.
So look at your life now, in comparison to what it was last year at this time - and see how you have grown in your twelve powers to create a better quality of life for yourself.
There is a wonderful story about a taxi driver who was a little surprised when his fare, an elderly woman, gave him an address and asked him to drive through downtown to get there. He suggested a shorter route, but she replied that she was in no hurry. Her destination was a hospice, a place where people go to die. The driver turned off his meter and headed for downtown. As they drove through the darkened streets, the old woman pointed out places that were significant in her life. The building where she once worked. The coffee shop where she met her husband. The old ballroom where she had gone dancing. The taxi driver listened respectfully as she recounted the story of a life well-spent in love and work and responsibility.
Eventually, they reached the hospice. The taxi driver brushed away her money and gave her a hug before the attendants led her into the building. As he drove off, the taxi driver reflected on the opportunity he might have missed if he had been in a hurry, if he had not taken the time to care about this woman.
ADD MORE LOVE FOR LIFE
So let's talk about life. One way to get a good life is to add more love for life. A TV -talk-show host asked the question, "If you had to make a choice to either love or be loved, which would you choose?" Most people chose "to be loved." Why? "Because it's safer." However, wise students of life know better. We can only find love by expressing love. Love is not "out there" somewhere, but only inside us.
As we studied in the Love Power lesson To Love Is to Live, we love to live and live to love. The "two" are one experience. The more love we pour into our lives, the more alive we will be.
Charles Fillmore was particularly involved with love as a way to renew and regenerate his body. He titled the "Love" and "Life" chapters in The Twelve Powers, "Regenerating Love" and "Generative Life."c As you read the chapters, you will find he became convinced that sex is lust, and should be avoided because he believed it destroys the body. This opinion is not held or taught by Unity today.
Regardless of Mr. Fillmore's particular views on sex, he had a great consciousness of universal love and service to humanity. He said:
Let your attention rest for a few moments every day at the heart center in your body, the cardiac plexus, while you declare silently: You are the abode of love. You are filled and thrilled with the mighty magnetic forces that love uses in doing its work. You are powerful and active to do only good, and you see only goodness and purity everywhere.d This was taken from a book called, The Essential Charles Fillmore.
When Charles Fillmore was near the point of transition at age 94, it is remembered by long-time Unity School teacher, Vera Dawson Tait, that he asked people to sit and read passages about love to him. He must have felt that these words about love read by his friends would be as a healing and blessing balm to infuse his soul and body with life.
I AM A LIFE GIVING SPIRIT
Sig Paulson in his book, Your Power to Be, uses these affirmations about life: "I am a life-giving Spirit expressing myself through a miracle-working faith, a rhythmic will of good, a growing understanding, a vivid imagination, a vibrant enthusiasm, a deepening inner sense of authority and decision.
I am a life-giving Spirit expressing myself through a feeling of love, wise action, a sparkling joy, a resilient strength, a forgiving attitude, a thrilling sense of aliveness."e
LIFE IS EASY TO UNDERSTAND
Life is the one power that seems easy to understand, and that may be the reason why we often do not understand it very deeply. Life is a natural expression of our being, and it is what gives expression to all the powers. Without life, the other powers cannot express themselves in this earthy realm.
Ancient Eastern scriptures speak of the life force being like a coiled serpent seated at the base of the spine, a tremendous source of energy and power lying in wait, ready to respond to the command from the individual, through meditation or the spoken word, to rise up and bring forth a new level of aliveness.
What is life? Well, it is a spiritual power. We know that. But it is so much more. Life is the most precious gift of God. We don't often see that until we face death.
We dissipate our life force, not by sexual activity as many early metaphysicians taught, but by being all too often consumed by the littleness of life. When we do so we miss out on the magnificence of life that is possible.
I would like to close with a story about author and professional speaker Debbie Ford. She was leading a workshop at a large hotel a few years ago when the fire alarm suddenly went off. Hotel management assured the workshop participants that this was a false alarm, but they were unable to disable the mechanism. A recording played constantly over the hotel loudspeakers warning people to exit the building quickly. The workshop participants asked Ford to continue her talk. But the recording in the background served as a powerful distraction.
So Ford decided to use this distraction to her advantage. She asked her audience, "How many of you would choose to listen to this alarm all day? If you could turn it off, wouldn't you do so?" Everyone agreed that they would. Then Ford made the point that many of us do walk around all day with distracting, destructive warnings going off in our head. We think to ourselves, "I'm fat, I'm too shy, I don't have what it takes, nobody respects me, I'll never make it." Many of us, if we monitored our self-talk, would find that it was filled with negative messages, little warnings, that constantly distract us from living our lives to the fullest. And we have the power to turn off this "alarm" in our head simply by replacing each negative statement with a positive statement. So this month, let's explore ways to live our lives to the fullest.
XMAS TREE CEREMONY
And let's start the Christmas season off joyously with a ceremony that explores the symbolism of the Christmas tree and all its ornaments.
Each year we, like little kids, eagerly await the trimming of the Christmas tree. But let's look behind the tinsel and trimmings to what they represent.
The TREE itself is a symbol as its branches are ever green. They remind us that the life of God is eternal and is constantly being renewed in us. The tree, as we do, reaches up to a higher understanding of God. Its branches reach outward on all sides, as if to welcome all races of people and all creeds.
On the tree are strings of LIGHTS symbolizing the Christ light. The many colors remind us that each of us expresses good in his own way, yet draws life, strength, and wisdom from God, the source of all good. Even as Jesus Christ became the light of the world, so can we let His light shine forth through us to bless our world.
We place colored BALLS on the tree. Many colors are reflected from these shiny balls, yet the colors seem to harmonize. This is symbolic of the different races, creeds, and nations and indicates that they can live together in peace and harmony. Jesus was born to point the way to peace among men. The Christ Spirit in all men will teach them how to solve their problems so that there will be justice and freedom for all.
Next we have a tiny ANGELS for our tree. The angel is a symbol of the Christlike thoughts that help us to express more of the Christ Spirit. At Christmastime we can send angel thoughts or thoughts of good will to people all over the world.
Now we have toy HORNS to sound our Christmas joy. When we hear the notes of "Joy to the World," let our hearts be filled with a deep abiding joy, the joy that comes to us when we love God and do His will.
Beside the horn we now hang a golden BELL. For hundreds of years at Christmastime, the bells have chimed out the message, "Christ is born." "Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, if He's not born in thee, thy soul is all forlorn."
A BIRD perches on a branch of our tree. It is the dove of peace, reminding us that if we truly want peace, we must let peace express through us. We must live peaceably with others.
Here are long strands of bright BEADS and tinseled CHAINS for our tree. Does it not seem that the beads are smiles that lead from one person to another? And the links of bright tinsel represent the deeds of kindness that link many human hearts in understanding and love.
Now on our tree we place SANTA CLAUS. Here is the Spirit of giving, all dressed up in a red suit. We can express the spirit of Santa Claus in our giving, too. We can send love and a blessing along with our gifts.
We place on our tree a tiny white LAMB. The lamb is a symbol of innocence and purity. It reminds us of the Good Shepherd who told His disciples, "Feed my sheep." As modern disciples, shall we give spiritual food to those who hunger for a better way of life?
Our tree needs a crowning touch. At the very top we place a shining STAR. What memories and thoughts that star brings to mind! We see the Wise Men who followed the star to Bethlehem, and we know that the light of the Bethlehem star still shines to guide men.
And now that the tree is trimmed, let us turn in thankfulness to the Father and know that: 'The star of God's light shines within each of us, to help us keep the Christmas Spirit through all the year.' May you have The Spirit of Christmas which is Peace, The Gladness of Christmas which is Hope, and The Heart of Christmas which is Love.
cCharles Fillmore The Twelve Powers
dThe Essential Charles Fillmore: Collected Writings of a Missouri Mystic
eSig Paulson Your Power to Be