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.
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