Reflections on the October 2019 Sunday Services Theme by Jane Midgley, Ministerial Intern
Wholeness was our theme for October, and what a rich one! One of the most inspiring teachings of our philosophy is that we are whole and complete, just as we are. Nothing is missing, nothing in us needs to be fixed, nothing has gone wrong in our journey. Wow, what a relief! That feels good to contemplate. Those of us on our spiritual journey can be very earnest in pursuing self-help courses and very disciplined and even exacting in doing what we think will make us better humans. Let’s take a minute, chillax and breathe, and realize we have got it all going on already.
Wholeness is what we are swimming in if we can allow that truth to be revealed to us through self-awareness and activating the qualities of Spirit that we already have within us, pre-loaded when we came to Earth. This wholeness that is our birthright includes financial freedom and prosperity, work we love, a rich personal life, and robust health, as well as opportunities for spiritual expansion and development. Infinite abundance already exists and awaits our awareness of it.
The month of October was also the month of our Giving Campaign. Our mission is: Love in Action ---> Transforming Lives, Transforming Communities and we are Love in Action because of you. The individual people in our community give of their time, talents, and treasure; this makes it possible for lives to be transformed through our services, classes, and our beautiful facility. We are not only giving to each others’ transformation, but, as our Treasurer Cliff Wintrode pointed out in a talk to the congregation, we give so that others may come in the future and be transformed just as people did so that the Center was there when we came. The Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living has been a community spiritual center in Albuquerque for 54 years! That is a lot of transformation we want to keep going and take to higher heights, as well.
Once we expand our awareness of the wholeness that is already ours, we can get great results toward our experience of wholeness as we give to others what we desire to experience. If you want more love in your life, give more love to those around you. If you want/need money, give money or whatever you have to make someone else’s life better. If you want a better job, go above and beyond where you are. If you participate in the community of the Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living, it is the perfect place to practice this dynamic. Give your time to volunteer at the Center in ways that are fun and rewarding for you. Give whatever you can.
This beautiful understanding of wholeness at the heart of life also includes knowing that the world of affairs and the collective life we all share on this earth is also whole. We have to know in our bones that we are truly all one and connected energetically and spiritually so anything we do affects that whole. As the social scientist and author Brené Brown has said: “Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.” Humans are free to contribute to this oneness any way they choose, and we know that showing up in love and compassion to the Oneness has a positive effect on the whole. So any actions we take to work for social uplift and to help others experiencing injustice is most effective if we can keep ourselves in that loving place toward ourselves and all others. Not always an easy task in a world that sometimes seems truly cruel and backwards. That is why we have community, so that we can support each other in this. (See the end of this post for some processes that help with staying grounded.)
This brings to mind one of my favorite scenes from the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The rebels have lost all their ships but one. Only a handful of rebels are on that ship, and they are looking quite rag-tag and worse for wear. Luke Skywalker is apparently dead. Their prospects look bleak. Rey looks around as her energy sinks and says to Leia, “How do we rebuild the rebel force from this?” Leia smiles at her with her eyes shining and says, “We have everything we need.”
The trick is that what we have may not be what we think we should have. Or we may not be able to see what we have because we are looking for something else. It is a paradox: when we begin to see ourselves and our lives as whole, we can more confidently take that next action step into what wholeness looks like in our own unique life. We each contain the creative power of the universe within us--an unlimited source that keeps on giving--but we need to acknowledge and activate it to get it flowing.
Rev. Amani Malaika got us started in early October with “Oh! The Possibilities!” She reminded us that our founder, Ernest Holmes, said in his book Science of Mind, "The possibility of life is inherent within the capacity to imagine what life is." This is a wonderful reminder that we have to bring our imagination into the process of allowing abundance to unfold through us and into our lives. What is our belief about life and, specifically, our life? Do we see it as wholeness, and do we have faith that this wholeness is ours, even if we don’t yet see all the evidence of it?
Rev. Amani’s next Sunday message was “Staying Close to Yes.” There is always a call coming from deep within us, from our soul and through our heart, prompting us to live our authentic life. We each have a unique way of expressing ourselves in the world, and sometimes it is hard to acknowledge and accept what is trying to be born in our lives.
Rev. Amani shared that Mark Nepo, author of 7,000 Ways to Listen, said: "Saying yes is the beginning of all flowering." This is because as we say yes to what is coming from our soul, we enter the realm of possibility, which is the realm of the infinite possibilities within Spirit. We are then able to bring into manifestation the expression of wholeness that is ours and tap into the true abundance of life. Saying yes is, therefore, a magical practice. As we increase our understanding of what is prompting from within and trust enough to act form that, we will grow our lives in a wonderful way.
On the third Sunday of October, Rev. Rebecca Allen led us in “Conversation with Wholeness.” She emphasized that affirmative prayer is our amazing tool for co-creating our wholeness and our life with Spirit. Our word – what we say – is our superpower because Spirit assists us in accomplishing whatever we say we want. How cool is that? Except not so cool when we realize that we have been speaking some not so self-loving stuff into being.
When we are conscious of what we are saying, when it reflects what we want to create, and when we line up our beliefs and feelings with what we want, the results absolutely move our way. Rev. Rebecca talked about people saying things like, “I am a fall risk.” Certainly that is not what that person wants, but clearly that is their self-perception. She calls these kinds of prayers (everything we speak is a prayer) “drop-kick prayers.” They seem so small, but they move our lives in a direction we don’t desire, and they keep us from the awareness of our wholeness and our unity with Spirit.
The fourth Sunday I spoke on “The Whole Enchilada.” We love our enchiladas in New Mexico, and we love the deliciousness of eating the whole enchilada, in which all the ingredients combine for success. Sometimes in our lives, though, we leave out one of the key ingredients. The key ingredients for the whole enchilada are (and ya gotta have both to be living in wholeness):Oneness: the vast unity/deep multi-sensory experience/bliss we experience in those beautiful moments in nature and in spiritual practice and services, andMe as an individual participating in life and acting in the world from my particular passions, skills, and talents. Our Founder Ernest Holmes tells us that our individuality is a unique signature, real and indestructible, AND that it exists within the wholeness of Spirit. We get it all--this tactile, beautiful, challenging, inspiring world in which we move totally as a unique being and the universal oneness that is the core of life itself. You could call it “divine action:” acting from within the knowing of unity and then from your unique place. This is the path of the positive evolution of humans and the world and only we who are devoting ourselves to spiritual unfoldment put these powerful ingredients together.
In the Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes shared a prayer that speaks to this: “The Divine is not incarnated into anyone else in just the same individual way that it has in me. I am unique and forever individualized. All good is now mine and is now manifest in my experience. I do not compete with anyone, for I am and remain forever myself. This self is united with all selves, but is always an individual and unique self.” He said there is a dance between the unity with all and the individual signature so let’s dance away and change the world!
Here are two processes for you to use to stay spiritually grounded as you act from the integrated and whole place we talked about all month:
Steps to Taking Action from Inspired and Spiritually Grounded Place
Step 1: Look within first
Step 2: Name and feel your feelings
Step 3: Look for the “I am” statement that you are believing in the middle of your feelings (e.g., I am just one person, I am confused, I don’t have the resources, I am not experienced)
Step 4: What do you need?
Step 5: Be grateful for the opportunity to re-balance by going within and connecting to your divine essence and practicing being that divine essence
Step 6: Who will you BE? Choose the Spirit quality or qualities that you are and say “I AM…” (e.g., I AM power, I AM confidence, I AM truth, I AM a center of divine action)
Step 7: Listen for an authentic action, using your unique skills/talents/passions
Step 8: Be vigilant and stay humble
Just remember: SNAP Settle your body Name your feelings
Appreciate the opportunity to practice
Practice being who you have come here to be
Adapted from the Q Process, developed by Dr. Gary Simmons
“Just Like Me” Exercise
Breathe and get centered. Bring someone to mind that you hate, or have a conflict with, or have put outside your heart, or who is just different from you. Then close your eyes and bring them into your awareness. Say these out loud to yourself. See what comes up and journal on it. Be gentle with yourself; it is a process to get to compassion.
Step 1: "Just like me, this person is seeking some happiness for their life."
Step 2: "Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering."
Step 3: "Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness, and despair."
Step 4: "Just like me, this person is seeking to fulfill their needs."
Step 5: "Just like me, this person is learning about life."