Merry Christmas!

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The Winter Solstice continues to be one of the most enduring moments for reverence and celebration.  The darkest day of the year has come and hence forth each day shall be filled with more sunshine.  I’m not aware of any civilization that did not make a big deal of the turning point of the year.

So, of course, this became the season to celebrate the birth of Jesus who became the Christ.  It’s pretty well accepted that Jesus was born not in winter, but in the spring and perhaps six years earlier than our calendar suggests.  Since Pisces, the fish, was an early Christian symbol, I’d surmise that the birth occurred under that astrological sign.  This is all irrelevant, of course.  The historical Jesus Christ was one of a handful of master teachers known to us, and his instructions on how to live a more wonderful life have proven itself repeatedly.

Mischief arose when the teachings of this Master were edited, blended, codified, and otherwise rendered theological and political.  All the latter are man-made.  Some of the recent history of organized Christianity is not pretty – the Albigensian Crusade, Spanish Inquisition, and burning witches come to mind.   But this is man acting against man and not reflective of Jesus’ teachings.

But it is fashionable to minimize the impact of Jesus or even seriously question his existence.  I distinctly recall through the years the “absence of evidence” of an historical Jesus.  Why, if the teachings were so profound, many ask, does the principle source for historical information in the region shortly after the death of Jesus, mentions him in only a brief paragraph?  The source is Josephus, who wrote a voluminous history of the Jews called “Antiquities.”  Recently I purchased the complete works of Josephus, because I like history, and because I was curious to read the rare, fleeting, mention of Jesus in the decades following his death.  It is a brief paragraph.  But what a paragraph!

 

3. (63)  Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works – a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.  He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles.  He was {the} Christ; (64) and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and then thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.

 

That’s an account given when many who knew Jesus were still alive.  He must have made quite an impact to earn that paragraph so quickly.

The history is irrelevant.  It is the teachings that shifted much of human consciousness and continues to do so.  Jesus taught that thinking (prayer) was the road to a wonderful life.  Thinking is very personal, therefore the relationship to God that Jesus taught, had to be personal as well.  That, of course, didn’t go over well with Priests or any positioned person to whom obedience and, well, worship were required.  Radical stuff, actually.

So, to celebrate the Christ Mass, is a good thing.  It is a Merry Christmas.  It is a Happy Holiday.  It is as pagan as it gets, for the celebration is ancient.  Adjacent to Christmas, in our modern calendar, is the New Year!  Really, rejoice that the great Teacher came to teach us joy, then embark on a fresh, new year that can be uncluttered with the mistakes (and erroneous thinking) of the previous year.

Why, there’s even a host of robust celebratory music to accompany the season.  Joy to the World!  Happy New Year!

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Appreciating Appreciation

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            Thanksgiving is one of my favorite time of the year.  The very name is positive, upbeat, inspiring celebration – to take a day acknowledge the many things in life for which we are thankful, and, appreciate.  Everyday, really, is Thanksgiving.  I suspect that many people who grouse a lot even cheer up a bit at Thanksgiving.  At least for a little time, they direct their attention to some of the good things in their life.  That temporary shift in attention produces a better feeling.  The question is, why not make such shift routine and feel better more of the time?  Let’s take a look at how this can work.

            Consider emotions as a range of points between two ends.  At one end are the emotions we describe as Joy and Love.  At the other end is the emotion we describe as Despair.  All other emotions, or feelings, are shades of either Joy or Despair.  Many of these shades we call hopeful, hopeless, anger, grateful, fearful, frustration, resentment, jealousy, guilt, boredom, anticipation, optimistic, pessimistic, confident, helpless, appreciation, and so on.

            Every Life is a journey along this scale of emotions.  But what are emotions?  On one hand, emotions are described as a bio-chemical response to a person’s environment.  Through the various senses the brain interprets the people, situations and circumstances and this evokes a “feeling” that may be pleasant or not, depending on the level of danger or comfort.  In this belief, emotions are the result of the world around us.  In order to have a better feeling emotion, to feel better, it is necessary to focus and control the world around us.

            On the other hand, emotions are considered a form of communication within Self.  In this interpretation, what we consider our Self, that is, our physical body and physical experience, is but a small part of our total Being.  While we engage in our daily physical life we maintain contact with our Greater Self, although we are seldom conscious of this.  Emotions are the language our Expansive Self uses to guide us.  When we “feel” bad, it means that our interpretation and attention of our experience is not aligned with our True Self.

            One way to recognize True Self is to remember Jiminy Cricket from the Disney movie “Pinocchio.”  Jiminy advises Pinocchio to let his conscience be his guide.  What we call “conscience” is part of that direct communication with our higher self.  The better we feel, the more we are in sync with our Higher Consciousness.  This belief recognizes our mental attention as the cause of the feelings we have.

            Both beliefs are true.  Which belief is in play depends on the perspective of the individual.  If a person believes that he/she is a product or victim  of external forces, and situations, then emotions will be an indicator of the amount of good or bad experienced.  The bad, or negative, feelings motivate action to fight or escape the pain inducing situation.  The good feelings motivate to fight and struggle to make more changes in outer situations to induce more good feelings.

            However, if a person believes that he/she is a spiritual Being, having the ability to Think and Create, then emotions may be understood to be indicators of vibrational alignment with the Thinking, Creating Self.  Now, that’s not nearly as cosmic as it might appear.  How do you feel when you’ve done something that you believe is good?  You feel “good.”  How do you feel when you’ve done something you believe is bad?  You feel “guilty.”  It’s the interpretation of emotions that is important.  Hey, the cricket got it right.

            Emotions do not cause your actions and experience.  You are not at the mercy of capricious feelings.  Feelings reflect your decisions and actions.  If you’re not feeling good, then your mental attention is on subjects and situations that are out of sync with your Higher Self.  If you’re feeling good, then your mental attention is on subjects and situations that are more in sync.  Emotions are not created by what other people do or don’t do, or the “what is” that you see around you.

            Emotions are not something to be feared.  Understood as the language of spirit, emotions are a fabulous guide to interpreting and managing Life – follow your hunch, let your conscience be your guide.  If you feel good about something, there’s a reason.  If you feel badly about something, there is a reason.  The reason is you.

            So, let’s say someone is generally depressed, or feels helpless most of the time.  What’s going on here?  The emotion called depression is an after-effect of believing that a person has no power to influence the people, situations, and circumstances around him/her; that they are helpless to improve our life situation.  From this perspective, the person cannot do anything about his/her state of being until someone or something in the external world changes for them.  I’ve called this mortgaging your happiness.  If you believe that you can only become a happier, healthier person IF someone or something does what you want them to do, then it’ll be a long wait, and probably a lot of activity attempting to make others conform to what you want them to do.  HINT:  How easy is it for others to make you do something you don’t wish to do?

            A counselor once had as a client a woman who had been depressed for a long time.  After listening to the woman describe her misery and unhappiness, the counselor asked what she would be doing, this day, if she was not depressed.  The woman listed a number of things she would be doing, IF she were not depressed.  The counselor then suggested that she do them anyway, in spite of the depression.  End of the story:  The woman sought out another counselor.  She wasn’t ready to change her thinking.

            A lesson learned the hard way, for many, is that it is impossible to change other people.  And to give attention to the faults and wrongs of another only increases awareness of those features and diverts the powerful thought energy away from the individual and casts it upon another.  This process was summed up long ago in the adage that you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.  It’s true.  A child gets it.  No matter how much energy and intensity is directed into working a piece of pork leather, it cannot become what it is not – a silk purse.

            Now, this doesn’t mean that a stubborn person can’t or won’t devote years of energy and resources to do so.  A person is totally free to do so.  It can produce great activity, the person will appear very busy, but is a silk purse in production?   An irrational idea, passionately held, is still an irrational idea.  To paraphrase, “it’s the thinking, stupid.”

            The anger and frustration that such a person will feel may be confusing unless it’s understood to indicate that the mental attention is directed to something that can’t be done, that’s out of sync with natural law, that’s not advancing the true desire of the person.

            A long time ago a Greek philosopher, Epictetus, noted that:  “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them…Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable.”

            What can be done, at any moment, is realize that you are able to change your perception of the situation.  It’s not about manipulating others to “get their act together” for your benefit.  It’s about getting your act together in relation to who you are and what you desire, regardless of what others are thinking and doing.  They have the same freedom of thought as you.  And, like you, only they can change their thinking.

            The goal of both beliefs is to feel better, to occupy a better feeling point on the emotional scale.  The ways to accomplish this are quite different.  One is activity based – attempts to change environment and people; the other is thought based – change your thinking.

            There is a short cut with the latter.  We love short cuts!  Instinctively, we know that resistance creates friction and problems.  We know, really, that the path to our highest Good, is swift and pleasant.  Suffering is neither a requirement nor a criteria.

            The “short cut” to live in a better feeling point on the emotional scale is Appreciation.  When we appreciate something, we delight in its existence.  We smile at it.  We are glad that it, whatever it may be, exists and that it is.  Everyone one of us is capable of appreciation.  There is, at every moment, in every circumstance, something that can be appreciated.

            Appreciation is the closest emotion to that which we describe as LOVE.  The list of things, situations, conditions that we can appreciate is infinite.  As Love is infinite, so is appreciation.

            Now, I want to distinguish Appreciation from Gratitude.  Gratitude is definitely moving up the scale towards Love and Joy, but it’s a frequency lower than Appreciation.  Gratitude carries the thought of the unhappiness before – the condition or situation a person is now “grateful” not to experience.  “I’m grateful for my job (because I have been without a job).”  Got that?  The negative is attached to the desired state in gratitude.  Don’t get me wrong, gratitude is a fast track to appreciation.

            But if you can distinguish the two, then you have the ability to appreciate.  Appreciation has no “absence” or “lack” of something attached to it.  Appreciation is simply delighting in the existence of something else, someone, some condition, no strings attached.

            Appreciation is our handy tool in using the fundamental Law of Attraction.  All things in the Universe that are similar in vibrational frequency will cluster, come together.  Birds of a feather flock together.  This is the Law that manages the host of frequencies in all things, including emotions.

            A good analogy has been offered by our friends Esther Hicks and her late husband, Jerry in their Abraham lectures.  If you set  your radio dial to AM 500 you will listen to what is broadcast at that station.  You will be very frustrated if you want to listen to what station FM 90 is broadcasting.  In order to listen to FM 90 you have to tune it in, turn the dial to the signal broadcast by the station you want.  If our emotions are not what we want, then it’s necessary to move our frequency up the scale to a better feeling place.

            Please remember that this is real, genuine, actual, and full reality.  The idea of having a measure of control over your feelings is not a loose feather from Happy-happy land, but physics.

  • ·         Step One:  I don’t like the way I feel
  • ·         Step Two:  Distract yourself from observing/thinking about what angers you or distresses you.  (Notice it doesn’t say “get rid of” or “change”  – distract YOUR attention)
  • ·         Step Three:  Give your attention to something you appreciate
  • ·         Step Four:  Keep  your attention on situations, things, that  you honestly appreciate.

            After a while you will feel better and encounter more pleasing situations and circumstances.

            It doesn’t matter what you’re experiencing, it’s always possible, at every instant, to shift your attention from something displeasing to something you appreciate.  Unconditional appreciation sets off a chain-reaction of delight – the more you appreciate, the more you notice to appreciate, which invites more appreciation, which brings into your experience more of what you appreciate…

            A person who spends a lot of their existence living in anger feels better than when he/she lived in helplessness and despair.  Always remember that a “better feeling” for someone else may not be what is a “better feeling” for you.  Our angry person may move into the frequency of frustration, which is a degree closer to Joy and Love, and therefore feels better.  It’s not possible to leap over the scale and go from misery to Joy.  You can only experience what you can experience.  You will have more Joy when you are more closely aligned with Joyful vibrations.  You can, deliberately, move along the scale towards better feelings and more fun living.

            Finally, over the Thanksgiving weekend, a Facebook friend posted a note to all about how she was enjoying giving thanks for the many wonderful components of her life.  I couldn’t resist commenting:  It’s fun to appreciate!  To which she replied:  It sure is!

            Have more fun.  Appreciate Appreciation.

 

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Text of a talk given by George Sewell at Unity of Shreveport

November 27, 2011

Complain? Who? Me?

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(Notes from a talk delivered July 3, 2011)

Several years go Unity Minister Will Bowen and members of his Kansas City congregation began a 21 day challenge to change personal thinking and perceptions by not complaining. It caught on – the purple bracelet.

The 21 day challenge is simple – become aware of how often you complain about something or someone and decide, at that moment, to re-state the thought. The purple bracelet is a reminder to do that. After doing that for about three weeks, it becomes habituated and instances of complaining, gossiping, grousing and bitchin’ are greatly reduced.

But why bother? Maybe it feels good to give someone an earful of what’s wrong with them, or discuss behind the scenes how something could be run better. Feeling “good” is relative. What feeling “good” for someone who usually feels depressed is not the same “good” feeling for someone who usually feels optimistic. Yet the “good” feeling is better, preferred, over the usual, or base, feeling. So, keep that in mind when you hear me talk about “feeling good” – I’m not talking about a euphoric Joy (but I could be) I’m talking about feeling better – good – than the usual state. Feeling “good” is relative to each person.

Your grandmother got it right: If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all. That’s quite different from “if you can’t say something nice about someone, come sit next to me.” (Hint: Both are the Law of Attraction in action.)

The intent to go through the day without complaining is not some saccharine, airy-fairy, crystal gazing, popcorn psychology, goodie-goodie thinking. It is a very real shift in perception, interpretation, and expression that results in a more satisfying day-to-day experience. Remember that Charles and Myrtle Fillmore described Unity as “practical Christianity” – meaning that the teachings of Jesus were practical, down-to-earth, ways of living a more satisfying Life by becoming aware of your thinking.

There are two fundamental belief systems at play here. One is the belief that thinking/thought is an evolutionary response to a separate, three dimensional universe. In effect, the world is something out there and dangerous and only through struggle with it can we survive. The other belief is that the energy we recognize as “thought” is universal, and creates what our senses interpret as a separate, 3-dimensional universe and world. And, because we do think, we can participate in the creation.

It’s not a matter of right or wrong, both beliefs are true, in the sense that belief determines perception, which guides decisions. If a person believes that life is a struggle against a harsh world “out there”, then that world does exist for that person. They may believe that they must struggle to achieve anything or struggle to be worthy of feeling good, or something like that.

For someone who believes that the world is a reflection of thoughts/thinking and by changing thinking the experience changes, than world exists for that person. A belief is not fixed, it changes. The thought process is always evolving. The “Complaint Free” concept is a philosophical change for many.

Everything begins as a thought – a creative impulse of something desired. That thought attracts similar thoughts (thoughts are energy vibrations) and assembles the materials and actions to manifest the desire. Remember that energy and matter are one and the same: E=MC².  Thought is energy, thus thought can express as matter (if you want to look at it that way.) How this creative energy is defined is always evolving. I suspect that in the not too distant future this source energy will be recognized as a quantum Consciousness.

You create your experience every day. You really do. In fact, you’re so good at it, that you’re not aware you’re doing it. For instance, let’s say you’ve decided one day to go out for lunch, or maybe dinner. You thought about what you’d like to eat, where you’d like to eat it, who’d you like to join you, when you’d like to do it, and then you brought together how to get to the restaurant, how you’d pay for the meal, and so forth. You create your experience every day.

What Complaint Free suggests is taking that creation to a higher (more comfortable and fun) level. And it’s based on the Law of Attraction. The Law is inescapable – that which is like unto itself attracts, or gathers. That’s why we have elements – an atom of gold gathers atoms with the same structure. The same with molecules, herds, flocks and the person saying “if you can’t say something nice about someone, come sit by me.”

High and low, it’s the same law, the same process. Remember, we’re so good at using the law that we’re often unaware we’re doing it. As for complaining, there’s a very good reason for reducing the time and energy devoted to examining what is “wrong” with other people, circumstances, situations, and your own self. Simply put, it is not possible to feel Good and feel “bad” at the same time. People usually do not “complain” when feeling good. Chronic complainers seldom feel good, or enjoy themselves.

Now, which came first? Feeling bad, then complaining? Or, Complaining, then feeling bad? Let’s look at the way clinical trials are designed for research for a clue.

Before a medicine or health practice is made available to the public it undergoes “clinical trials” or tests, to verify that it is effective and does what is claimed. In a clinical trial a group of similar people are recruited – same demographics, same diagnosis if the trial is for a means of treating a disease or disorder, and so forth. This group is then divided into three sub-groups: The intervention group – these people will actually be given the medicine or treatment. The non-intervention group – these people are not given the medicine or treatment but instead a placebo, the infamous “sugar pill.” Otherwise, they go through the same process at the intervention group. The final group is a control group and nothing is done with them.

At the end of the trial period everyone is measured to see what impact the medicine or treatment had. A successful trial (for the makers of the medicine or treatment) is when a statistically significant number of the intervention group show improvements and reduction of symptoms, and the other two groups show little or no change.

The nagging little issue that never goes away is the number of people in the group given the placebo who get better. That percentage is sometimes as high as those in the treatment group. For these people their improved health was not due to the “medicine” or treatment, but their expectation that the medicine would help them. It’s called the Placebo Effect. It’s well known, but because it’s hard to measure and determine cause/effect, at least to science, it’s not given prominence. Oh, some of the control group folks may show improvement, but they likely got distracted with something enjoyable and didn’t pay much attention to the trial.

Now, if merely thinking that you’ll get better by taking a new medicine, which in fact is only a sugar pill, can make you healthier, well, why not make that a regular practice?

A change in thinking and expectation affects your health. Nothing in your Life experience is more directly influenced by thinking than the body.
Rev. Bowen begins his book, “A Complaint Free World” with the story of a man who had headaches at work. He’d come home each evening and complain to his wife about his bad headaches, the bad day at work, and so on. After a while he realized that complaining about his headaches to his wife wasn’t making them go away, so he stopped talking about them. It slowly dawned on him, later, that he no longer had the headaches.

It’s irrelevant which came first – the dis-ease or the complaining. The only variable you have immediate control over is your thought, right this moment. You can think about something else. It costs nothing to change your thinking. You don’t have to have permission to change your thinking. Nobody else can do your thinking for you (nor can you think for someone else!) What wonderful power we have.

One of the first things I hear when discussing complaint free is the statement “but if I don’t complain, how will anything get better?” The person thinks that no-complaints = tolerating bad things/people/situations. Absolutely not. People who manage to reduce complaining actually become better problem solvers when the problem is fact based. An observation of something is a fact: “Waiter, this steak is cold.” A complaint personalizes the observation and adds internal elements: “How dare the waiter bring me cold steak!” The mis-prepared steak becomes a deliberate attack on the person.

The solution to a fact of cold steak is to notify the waiter of the problem and ask that the meat be heated. For the complainer, the waiter is now an adversary and the status of the steak becomes a test of wills. That steak may or may not get heated, or worse.

This personalizing is easily noticed in driving. You know, when that @!Q@!$!!! deliberately cuts you off in traffic, or deliberately pokes along knowing that you’ll catch the red light, or, well you know the scenarios. Is the other driver deliberately attacking you? Perhaps. More likely the driver is distracted and unaware of your presence. But if you interpret the fact as an attack on you, the dynamics change and no longer is it about car maneuvers. Are you going to be able to get the other driver to change his/her lousy driving habits?

Can you ever make someone do something to satisfy you? Can you ever make someone change? Can someone make you do something you don’t want to in order to please them? Can someone make you change?

The answer, of course, is no. But you can spend your entire life trying to make someone act right, or whatever. And you can play cops and robbers with those attempting to make you conform to their standards. The only thing anybody has control over is their own thinking, and thus their own decisions, and thus their own actions. That’s just the way it is.

Becoming complaint free is not about other people, circumstances and conditions. It is about you and how you interpret and thus respond to what you see/hear/smell/touch and sense around you. Personalizing observations attaches your sense of well-being to the actions and behaviors of others and to conditions beyond your control.

Theologian Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr is believed to have first written a form of a prayer that in some form had been around for a while. This is what he wrote:

“O God and Heavenly Father,
Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”

It’s popularly called “The Serenity Prayer” and it is the essence of Complaint Free – change what can be changed and turn loose of attempting to control what can’t be controlled.

“But George,” I hear, “If I don’t complain about it, then all those SOB’s will get away with it.”

That’s a big concern – the wicked going un-punished, whether the wickedness consists of a crime, or insult, or “getting away with theft”, or, the list is endless, actually. Back to the Serenity Prayer!

This in an ancient concern, and it has been continually addressed. For example:
Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”

Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.

King James Bible Matthew 5:39
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

King James Bible Romans 12:19
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

The Law of Attraction ensures that everyone “accounts” for the nature of their thinking – which means their decisions and actions. In effect, “Let Go and Let God.” Certainly that’s what the biblical references state. It’s another way of saying give your attention to what you desire.
Complaining focuses on what you do not want in your experience, yet by thinking about what you do not want you actually bring more of the what you do not want into your experience. That’s the Law.

Oh, and about that irritating person who seems to be the source of so much of your trouble and discomfort – do you want to be like this person and live his/her experience? if not, then you don’t have to align your thinking with theirs. Afterall, you’ve got a full time job simply enjoying who you are, where you are, and what you are experiencing. Ah, now, that’s good.

-30-

Don’t Worry. Be Happy!

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“Yeah, riiiight…” “If you’re not worrying, you don’t understand the situation…”

Okay, we’ve all been there – had some irritatingly cheerful soul spout some nonsense about “don’t worry…think positive” or some such grating platitude, when we’re tangled with a situation that scares us. What’s wrong with the goody-goody unicorn rainbow person that he/she doesn’t get it! I’ve got to worry about it, because if I don’t…”

Stop it right there. “I’ve GOT to worry about it, because if I don’t…” Then what? What WILL happen should you STOP worrying about something?
o Is a loved one suddenly going to wreck their life because you stopped worrying?
o Is some situation going to crater or explode because you stopped worrying?
o Is someone going to think less of you if you stop your worry and suffering on account of someone else?

Well, maybe the latter, but that’s a relationship needing a re-set.

What IS worry, anyway? Worry is creating something you do not want. It’s that simple. Worry is the action of focusing your thinking on something that you fear and do not want. Now, how on earth does that thinking improve anything? It doesn’t. It only increases your awareness of what else is “wrong” or “un-desired.” It’s very easy to worry about a mole hill – then find yourself facing a mountain of grief.

The mental action we call “worry” is an energy launched at something that scares us. “Oh, gosh, I sure hope Fred doesn’t eat too many sweets over the Holidays, it’s bad for his health.” “The weather is terrible, I’m afraid Jane will have a wreck!” Of course the mental activity can be more nebulous and manifest as a chronic dis-ease regarding certain people or situations. I’ve even heard of physical manifestations – warts – in particular.

Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something!

Calvin Coolidge got it right. “If you see ten troubles coming down the road,” he said, “you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you and you have to battle with only one of them.” With an outlook like that, it’s easy to understand why Silent Cal was seldom anxious. Unfortunately, many people see the ten troubles and leap into action ten different ways. Some, fifteen or twenty – a Katrina of diffused activity.

Worry has been described as the interest paid on trouble before it falls due or actually arrives. Many people go through the day paying a very high interest rate on their perceived troubles.

Worry is a part of the natural response to fear. Worry is a mental activity that attempts to satisfy an instinct to do something.
You probably know someone who has said, “I’m worried sick about that.” But what did they mean?

• “I’m worried…” Translation: I’m scared.
• “…sick…” Translation: My stomach is in knots, I can’t sleep, eat, feel nervous all of the time, I can’t concentrate on anything.
• “…about that…” Translation: There isn’t a thing that I can
do about it, the situation is totally beyond my control.

What is the perception in that statement? How is the person reacting mentally and emotionally to “I’m worried sick about that?” The dread and fear are reinforced. Not only are ten troubles about to wreck my life, but they’ve got fifteen more behind them, “heading right for me!” The physical effects of the anxiety are reinforced and the lack of control is confirmed. Yet the worry continues. Something needs to be done about the “bad” things we observe.

Compound worry trumps other thoughts and feelings. The strong statement “I’m worried sick” is heard very clearly by every cell in the body. “Hey,” thinks the little cell, “the boss says I’m supposed to be sick.” What the boss expects, the boss gets. Ouch! You’re the BOSS! Is this what you want?

There is a growing awareness of the connection between attitude, expectation, and health. Certainly some diseases and ailments are influenced by genetic factors, but attitude is very powerful. You’ve read accounts of “the will to live” working miracles in terminal cases. Conversely, gut-wrenching worry and complaining can screw up the heartiest of digestive systems. On the other hand…

Hank’s Curious Math

A lot of people worry about getting older, as if worry will somehow reverse the process. Perception continues to rule. You may know of someone who is “old” at thirty and others who are “young” at eighty. The difference? Perspective. A good example is Hank.

Jovial 60-year-old Hank is smitten with 30-year-old Bonita, who is equally enchanted with Hank. They become engaged. “Goodness,” Hank’s friends remark, in horror, that “she’s half your age!”

“She’ll catch up,” replies Hank calmly. “When I’m 90 she’ll be two-thirds my age.”

In Hank’s perspective, at some point in time, they may very well be the same age. It’s a curious math – but a great attitude!

People are going to do what they are going to do.  You KNOW this, you DO this.  Every two year-old will let you know “you ain’t the boss of me!”

The anxiety that promotes worry is part of the human sensory system alerting us that our thoughts are straying from an alignment with our Higher Consciousness.  The anxiety is the feeling produced by that diversion.  It’s a means for us to re-focus our attention on the Good and create more of it.

Although we may not always understand WHY we feel anxious, we are very good at observing a situation, condition, or person that we believe is causing the problem.  We then leap into action to “fix” the problem.  Or, if we’re unable to do that, we WORRY.   We worry because we believe in some manner, that our concern ABOUT WHAT WE DO NOT WANT will somehow make it better.

During World War II many parents and families were worried about their loved ones in the military or living in war torn countries.  What to do?  Tossing and turning all night, going through the day envisioning all of the terrible things that COULD happen, and engaging in endless conversation with equally worried people resulted in…

…loved one still in war torn countries.  James Dillet Freeman, Unity Poet Laureate, composed a wonderful prayer for those families.  The idea was to supplant WORRY with an equal attention to what was DESIRED.  It worked very well.  We use it today.  It’s called the Prayer for Protection.

Wouldn’t you rather think, envision a loved one surrounded by the Light of God?  The Love of God?  The Presence of God?  Rather than using the same thought energy to envision a loved one surrounded by car crashes, sickness, crime, misery – whatever the hazard.  Which ever you do, you use the same amount of thought energy.  Which is fueling what you WANT?

There’s only one person in the universe who knows what is good for you. And that’s YOU. Period. End of story. No more searching necessary. No longer necessary to ask others what you should want or do.
If one is unsure of their bliss, they may worry – a floating anxiety based on a lack of direction, so to speak. In this situation a person may WORRY about WORRYING. Compound worry!

The happiest people are those who delight in their Life and SHARE that delight. Not everyone understands that of course. As I said earlier…
Don’t Worry, be Happy! Yeah, riiiiight!
Worried about someone’s health? What can you do? Be healthy yourself and envision them as healthy. Enfolded by the Love of God, if you will. That’s what Jesus did. In the presence of such powerful vibration the dis-ease aligned with the EASE – and the person had what we consider an instant healing. It CAN happen that fast.

People who are unhappy equally like to share their misery, or, in most instances, are so practiced in worrying and focusing on what they don’t like they lose their awareness of HOW they are thinking. Borrowing an old Russian joke:

A Russian, an Englishman, and a Frenchman were walking along the road one day when they spotted a muddy lamp lying in the ditch. The Englishman picked it up and the Frenchman cleaned it. Suddenly, a Genie appeared in a puff of smoke. Greatly relieved to be free of her tiny prison, Genie offered to grant each of her liberators one wish.

The Englishman thought for a moment. “Genie, I wish that I owned a great estate with a full staff to wait on me and my family.” Poof! It was done.

The Frenchman thought for a moment. “Genie, I wish to be a famous poet and have hundreds of beautiful women clamoring to make love with me.” Poof! It was done.

Genie turned to the Russian. “And what wish may I grant for you?”

The Russian thought for a moment. “My neighbor has a new car and I do not. Wreck my neighbor’s car!”

People think like that. It’s the belief in a finite universe where there is a limited amount of everything including happiness and if someone HAS something, it is at the expense of someone else. This is nonsense. But it is an old and very entrenched belief.

If the Universe operated that way you could go to the hospital or wherever, get an injection of some terrible bacteria and become incredibly ill. Once you became sick, then magically some sick person somewhere in the world would be cured. You can try it. In a fashion, many folks do. But it doesn’t work.

Do I want to be happy?  True story:

Tommy liked his job. Tommy enjoyed his job so much that he actually looked forward to going to work each day. As the foreman of the shop he had a good crew to work with. It wasn’t that long ago that Tommy became enamored with Suzette, one of the administration staff at the facility. They married. Suzette and Tommy were very happy with themselves, their children, their jobs, and their life.

That was his problem.

Generous by nature, Tommy permitted his brother, separated from his wife and out of work, to live with them while he looked for work.  Tommy’s father was ailing and he also joined the growing household.  Coming over for regular bar-b-que’s and holidays were Tommy’s other siblings and relations.  Their lives were filled with problems, resentments, illness, and legal issues.  Tommy was concerned for all of them.  He and Suzette felt blessed and happy while nobody else in the family did.

Tommy began to feel badly about feeling good. One day he discussed with his boss how he felt guilty because his relations were having so much trouble and his family had it so good. The boss understood, and was prepared to help Tommy. “Tell you what I can do, Tommy,” said the Boss.

“You’re fired.”

Tommy was stunned. His boss continued. “Feel any better?” he asked. Tommy was too flummoxed to answer. “Now, as I understand it, some of your relations are jealous of your happy life and that bothers you. So, to help out, I’ve fired you. Now they’ll be happy, right?”

By that point Tommy was thinking more clearly. “But it won’t change anything, except now I don’t have a job.”
“You felt guilty about having a good job didn’t you?” asked the Boss.
“Well, yes,” replied Tommy.
“So by losing your job, you’ll feel better?”
“I don’t know about that,” said Tommy.
“Won’t they feel better, now that you’re in the same boat as them?” remarked the Boss.

“No.”
“Doesn’t  losing your  job help them?”

“No,” mumbled Tommy.
“You mean to tell me that their lives aren’t going to get better just because you got fired?”
“No.”
The Boss smiled.  “Well, if losing your job isn’t going to help them, then you might as well keep it.”  Tommy sighed relief.  “However,” noted the Boss,  “You can’t keep feeling guilty.  Your having a job doesn’t keep them from doing anything.  They’ll be just as miserable regardless of how happy and Suzette may be.  That about right?”

Tommy scratched his head.  “I hadn’t thought about it like that.  My good life doesn’t mean they can’t have a good life.  It’s up to them.”
“Bingo.”

So, don’t worry.  Be happy.

-30-

A Complaint Free Halloween

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The following is the text from my talk at Unity Church of Shreveport, October 31, 2010:

Boo! Well, that didn’t scare anyone. You’ve GOT to STOP Complaining! Aha! That got a reaction – “Oh, Yeah? MAKE ME!” From this point on I could list several ways how you’re life could be more cheerful, delightful, fun and joyful if you managed to go through each day without bitchin’ moaning, griping, gossiping or complaining. You’d probably listen, politely, but you’re already in a defensive, protective mode because I said “You’ve Got to Stop Complaining.” Of course you can complain. But you can also reconsider. You might even choose to complain less and appreciate more. That, of course, is totally and completely up to you.

We’ve just completed the first of two experiments for this morning. We’ve confirmed that each of you is perfectly normal and perfectly healthy – your instinctive response to “You’ve GOT TO…” tells me that. That response is hardwired into the oldest portions of the brain. As soon as you perceive a threat from any source your entire system automatically kicks into a fight and protective mode. You are ready to begin “le resistance.” You can choose otherwise, but your system is ready.

This response is so powerful and automatic that it leaps into action even if it is you who speak or think such words to yourself. Is this the language of your thoughts: I’ve GOT to do this?

Heck, no wonder you might be complaining – you’re locked in a struggle with yourself and not anything “out there”. Now that’s scary.

It’s time to pay more attention to the way you think about yourself, everyone else, and everything else. If your thinking, and, in turn, your conversations, consist of a lot of complaining, then you don’t “got to,” stop complaining. But you could decide to explore the subject.

Many of you have read Rev. Will Bowen’s wildly popular book “A Complaint Free World.” His congregation’s exercise with the purple bracelet to not complain for 21 consecutive days has caught on world wide. Many folks have taken that challenge and some even succeed. Most lurch through the process – they find it stunning how much of their conversations and interactions with others consist of complaints and gossip. That finding changes things.

I know of folks who have ordered the purple bracelets for distribution to their colleagues so they will stop complaining! That’s totally missing the point.

Google “A complaint free world” and you’ll find their website. You can do that now. Thirty years ago if I’d have suggested that you google something, well, I doubt you’d have the same mental image as you did just now. Some of you have known all about “Google” forever. Good! You’re already accepting immediate access to information. Information is not knowledge, however, but knowledge must have information.

Many people are comfortable taking up a cause, something they feel good about. Fine. Let me suggest joining the movement to end Ear Pollution. Let’s define Ear Pollution as the amount of complaints and complaining spoken. Do the math. Wow! Actually, this really is pollution and detrimental to a joy filled life. Don’t worry about your “carbon footprint,” become more aware of your “complaining footprint.”

Misery loves company. You’ve heard that. Perhaps you’ve been part of the company. That’s another demonstration of “Birds of a feather flock together,” which is a cliché for the Law of Attraction. It’s axiomatic that people who complain are not happy and that unhappy people complain.

So, what IS a complaint? First off, it’s “an expression, mental or verbal, of grief, pain or dissatisfaction.” We see, perceive, something we don’t like and we immediately want the opposite. That’s noble, and human nature. It really is. We inherently know that the Life experience is meant to be one of joy. If it’s not, then something’s amiss. Our system kicks into action to “fix” whatever the perceived problem or condition is. We’re ready to fight it!

How we respond depends on our philosophical belief system, or mind set. There are two:
• External Forces influence me and if I can control them, then things will be better and I’ll feel better.
• External observations are a result of my interpretation. If I change my perception (thinking) then I’ll feel better.

One is re-active. One is creative. You decide. Some basics about complaining:
• A complaint is NOT a statement of a fact
• A complaint is NOT an observation of someone’s behavior
• A complaint IS personalizing the observation or fact.

There are complaints and there are statements of fact. Facts are neutral, complaints are charged with negative energy.
Complaining makes it all about your external observation. You enter a struggle belief that it/he/she/them must change in order for you to feel better. So, why do people complain? According to Rev. Bowen:

Get Attention A primary need people have is to connect with others. A person may complain to a stranger about the weather or a local sports team as a means of starting a conversation.

Is it hot enough for you? (Hello!) The traffic was horrendous this morning. (Talk to me)
Remove Responsibility People will complain to avoid trying to improve society and themselves.
Nothing will ever change. (I don’t have to try because what I do won’t make a difference.) My vote doesn’t count. (So I won’t bother)
Inspire Envy A complaint may be a cry of superiority. It implies that the complainer feels they don’t have whatever fault they are complaining about.
Nobody ever thanks me for anything I do. (I do more than anyone.) My boss is incompetent (I’m superior to her.)
Power People often complain to incite others to abandon an alliance and switch to their point of view, and/or build support and power by focusing on what’s wrong with another’s position.
He is not a good leader. (Tell others I should replace him.) Her idea is wrong. (Support my idea instead.)
Excuse poor performance A person about to sing before a group may complain they have a scratchy throat to lower expectations should they not sing well.
Which do you think the following statements represent, Complaint or Fact?

I feel cold.
Why is this room always so cold?

He’s wearing jeans and boots to the office today.
Check out Mr. ―Business Casual in his faded jeans and scruffy boots.

Our revenues and profits are at historic lows.
Business stinks.

I feel tired.
I’m so tired.

This client is a basket case. You’ll never make him happy.
This client has a reputation of being difficult to please.

It is your belief system that is in play. If you believe that your happiness and well being depends on a capricious enivronment and the behavior of others, then you will see yourself as a victim – if you “complain” enough, someone or some system, may take pity on you and grant you relief (which makes you even more dependent on the person or system and more to complain about!)  That’s different from presenting and discussing facts in search of a solution to a problem.

Unity is based on the other approach. “If you’re unhappy with your life, change your thoughts” – Charles Fillmore. “It’s an inside job,” Rev. Joy Walker. We’ve already established that anyone will resist an external command, or force, to GOT to, MUST, SHOULD, etc. History is filled with external forces, such as government, religions, education, imposing rules and beliefs on people – think/do what we want or you will suffer! There are people who will plea for legislation, regulations, ordinances, Board actions, cliques and decrees to “give them” relief. War on Poverty, war on drugs, war on, fill in the blank. IT NEVER GOES AWAY because the attention is on the problem! That’s complaining. More complaining always results in observing more things to complain about.

It can get personal. It is said that behind every illness lies a complaint. The physical body responds to the thinking, or dominant thought patterns. In a real sense, chronic complaining and the mind-set it creates, affects health. In a sense it’s the question: Does a sick person complain because he/she is ill? Or is a person sick because he/she complains? You don’t find people who are happy complain, certainly chronically. I think that gives us a big clue. All you have to do is survey people you know, and yourself as well, and you will see the strong connection between dis-ease and chronic complaining.

The only reason anyone does anything is because they believe it will make them feel better, be happier, more joyful. If the results of thinking or action do not result in genuine delight and joy, then something is creating resistance, blocking the flow of health, delight, and joy.
There is a profound saying found in “The Gospel of Thomas,” one of the Gnostic Gospels surviving from early Christian sects. It is Saying 2: “Jesus said: Let one who seeks not stop seeking until one finds. When one finds, one will be disturbed. When one is disturbed, one will be amazed and will reign over all.”

Disturb means “to alter the position or arrangement.” Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened, ask and you shall receive. What are you seeking? What are we knocking for? What are we asking for?

Joy. So we seek, and we find complaints, negative energy. And where does this come from? US. What is found is a shift in perspective which changes the way we perceive andinterpret our world. The finding is disturbing – previous beliefs and positions are altered. It doesn’t take much to create this shift.
or many years it was part of the Unity Sunday Service to include a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. The congregation would affirm together, rapidly:
Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not in temptation but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen.

Nice, but notice the difference when spoken more slowly, and deliberately, as the then minister decided: (spoken slowly)
Our Father which art in Heaven Hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom, come Thy Will, be done On Earth, As it is, in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and, forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for Thine IS the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever.
Amen.

For our second experiment, when we end the service in a few moments with the Prayer for Protection, let’s do something different. Following the Peace song, let us pray together James Freeman’s wonderful Prayer for Protection. BUT, let’s flop the last line. You know: “Wherever we are, God Is, and all is well.” Let’s say instead:
“Wherever God IS, We ARE. And all is well.”

A little shift in perspective. Happy Halloween.
-30-

The Joy of Thinking

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It is said that when the student is ready the teacher will come forth. Now the teacher may be a person, a book, an experience – it can take many forms but always it arrives with the information/learning the student was seeking. Ask and ye shall find comes to mind. For as long as I recall, I’ve been fascinated with the universe, life, the nature of what we’ve called God, history and the human experience. I mean, really. I recall being 10 years old and playing “Army” at school and was one of those “shot” and fell to the ground. While lying there my pre-adolescent brain explored the death experience. “Hmmm, what if I were really dead…” what would it be like? Would I be pleased with my life to date? What might I regret not doing in the future? All sorts of heady ponderings for a kid lying in the grass.

Several years ago an acquaintance who knew of my broad interests asked if I was familiar with the work of Jerry and Esther Hicks. No. I was loaned one of their tapes and thus was introduced to “Abraham.” I knew about cause and effect, the power of thought, and such and, to a degree the Law of Attraction. That’s a natural law that is self-evident – birds of a feather flock together, and there’s no keeping them apart. Yet I had never encountered such a precise and dogged application of this universal law. It explained a world of experience.

What Do I Want, and Why Do I Want It…?
When you acknowledge what you do not want, and then ask yourself, “What is it that I do want?” you begin a gradual shift into the telling of your new story and into a much-improved point of attraction.
You get the essence of what you think about—whether you want it or not—because Law of Attraction is unerringly consistent—therefore, you are never only telling the story of “how it is now.” You are also telling the future experience that you are creating right now.
Excerpted from Money and the Law of Attraction — 3/31/09

Where does inspiration come from? Where does an “Aha!” moment originate? What happens when you have that cartoon light bulb light up with the solution to a problem or a plan of action, or the correct decision? Why would someone (it’s probably happened to you too) glance at their phone just prior to it ringing? Or have the thought of someone just before running into them in the mall, or the phone going off, or whatever. It doesn’t require calculus to grasp that there is a great deal of information and connection surrounding us. What follows is from the Hicks website:

Abraham (from the website)

Abraham is a name. A symbol. A feeling. Evocative-yet simple-like we want our names to be.
But who, or what, is/are, Abraham . . . really?
Workshop attendee: “. . . you’re a very attractive woman, too.”
Abraham: “We’re usually a nebulous mist, so that is quite a compliment.” (Laughter)
Louise Hay calls them “some of the best teachers on the planet today.”
To Dr. Wayne Dyer they are “the great Masters of the Universe!”
A veritable who’s-who of authors, speakers and teachers continue to publicly acknowledge and praise the immense value of the wisdom that is pouring forth through Esther.
Abraham has described themselves as “a group consciousness from the non-physical dimension” (which helps a lot!). They have also said, “We are that which you are. You are the leading edge of that which we are. We are that which is at the heart of all religions.”
Abraham has told us through Esther that whenever we feel moments of great love, exhilaration, pure joy, stoned-out bliss…when we feel that Energy Flow rushing through our bodies, that is the energy of Source, and that is who Abraham “is”.
“Jerry and Esther never used the word channeling,” Abraham reflects. “It is used when applied to them, but they have never used it, because it means many things of which they are not, you see.”
“You could leave the channeling out of it. Call it inspiration; that’s all it is. You don’t call the basketball player a channeler, but he is; he’s an More

Prophecy?

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The “Scott Heard Around the World,” as it’s called now about the Senatorial election in Massachusetts yesterday, reminded me of the stage comedy Ms. JB. Well, yes, I wrote it. The two-act comedy is about Jeanette Bobette Lambert’s entry into local politics to run against her Ex in a race for Mayor. Breaking with her political family, and sparing with the political guru managing her campaign, JB (as she is called) insists on presenting her platform to voters for their approval. What’s radical about her position? Repealing municipal ordinances and regulations that no longer serve their intended purpose, such as a tax to build a bridge remaining in effect long after the bridge is paid for. There are other issues, of course, but they are Jeffersonian. In fact, a central character literally portrays Jefferson elucidating a critical position. It’s fun and, it seems, perhaps a bit prophetic?

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