UNITY OF VANCOUVER
4 Barriers To Spiritual Growth
As we move deeper into the kingdom of God within we find that gentle peace enfolding our souls healing us body & mind. We gather together in a supportive consciousness of love seeking to know God & to bring more God into our lives. Into this consciousness of God’s love, I invite you to bring the people who are in your mind & heart today. The people who came with you in your thoughts today so that you could pray with them & support them in whatever they are experiencing on their life’s journey at this time. Bring them to mind now by quietly speaking their names.
The world we live in has been given to us as a tool in which we can experience life & learn the lessons of our soul. During this time of prayer, as you receive positive light send it on to those you pray with as your gift to them. Now, think about whatever it is in your personal life that you would like support with this morning. Know that in God, you are a perfect expression of light. God has put the seed of greatness in you, the seed of success, of bodily & mental health, of joy & of love because God as the Christ is in you. As we enter the inner chamber of silence, listen quietly for words, feelings, & the very special message God has prepared for you today. During the remainder of this service, continue to seek the kingdom of God, to be receptive to the message & assignment, which comes to you today. For this time together we are grateful. Amen.
BARRIERS TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Can you remember a moment when you said, “At this moment I stepped on the Spiritual Path?” Do you remember a moment you ‘felt something’ stir in you that was deep & real. More real than anything else you experience in your life? Do you remember a point like that? Following that point, do you remember a time when you lost it & felt that you no longer had faith in God? A time when you felt that you weren’t being energized & nurtured at depth on & by your Spiritual Path. Do you remember a time when you felt that you hit a barrier to your spiritual development?
I’ve been thinking about these questions in my own life & something Jesus said that’s recorded in Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide & the road is easy that leads to destruction & there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow & the road is hard that leads to life & there are few who find it.” Jesus is saying the way to change is hard. He said it because he was experiencing it in his own life because it’s the truth.
Jesus was committed to telling only the truth. He said, “You shall know the Truth & the Truth shall make you free.” We don’t always like to hear the truth.
Jesus’ life was not easy. There were barriers on his path of following what God kept telling him to do. There are a couple of events in his life that many of us can easily identify with.
1. is the Temptation In The Wilderness. Have you ever been tempted to put your love & faith in something in the world?
2. Another is Jesus’ struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane. When being on the Spiritual Path is so hard that he asked God if he couldn’t just step out of the role of leader & let somebody else do it. Have you ever felt like you didn’t want to continue doing something you knew you had to do or that God had called you to do—you had been loving, or forgiving or working at something as hard as you possibly could - & you reached a point where you wanted to quit, retire, or at least take a long vacation. It just felt too hard.
The spiritual path is a process of continually swimming upstream. Many people are just floating downstream with the current using the wide gate. A woman once said to me, “I’m glad I found the Unity Way of Life but it seems like I have more problems now than when I first started coming?” That happens sometimes because, “It’s when we open ourselves up to God, we discover layers we’ve been closed to because whatever is there was either too uncomfortable to deal with, or we didn’t have the strength, support (spiritual education, friends, counselor, minister, etc.), or self-esteem we needed to bare our souls to the light of truth& walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death- the Valley of appearances of barriers & out to the other side, stronger & better.
If you think back on your life you can probably identify something you put off doing, perhaps changing jobs or ending a relationship & when you finally did you wished you had done it 10 years sooner. I certainly have things like that in my life. Well, now I understand why I didn’t do it then & I want you to understand too. It really frees us from guilt to know everything is always in Divine Order & we change or solve our problems when we’ve accumulated the consciousness, the resources of growth necessary to move ahead to the next level of consciousness.
Barriers in our lives always have a purpose & the purpose is never meant to punish us. A barrier is always positive. Nothing ever happens for any other reason than to nurture us & encourage us to move farther along the spiritual path. THERE ISN’T ANYTHING, WHICH ISN’T MANIFESTING OUT OF SOME FORM OF SPIRITUAL LAW. I know there are a lot of things in the world that look like they have nothing to do with Spirit but if we say that, then we are saying that there are places where there is an absence of Spirit, an absence of God.
Jesus & Unity teach that God is everywhere, equally present - we have to change how we’re seeing things. We have to choose to see God everywhere present & act from this Truth & not just mouth the words. What looks like a barrier to our human eyes is really a point of progress indicating the transition from 1 level of consciousness to another, what Jesus referred to as a narrow doorway, a very narrow gate so that we can’t take any limited thinking or condition through with us because we are in a very real sense being born anew as we pass through that door.
One of the closest physical & semi visible experiences I’ve had with this that I can share is something I’ve experienced multiple times as I have spent time with someone in the transition we call physical death. I remember 1 man in particular. He dearly loved his only daughter but his wife, mother, father, brothers, sisters; everyone else was on the other side. He was really torn between 2 worlds. He’d talk to his daughter & to people he would identify to her, surprised that she couldn’t see them as he could. At times, including several occasions when I visited him, he would get up & try to walk through the wall to enter into ‘the room’ his other loved ones were in & try to take his favorite rocking chair with him. Of course it was only when he left his physical body & his chair of course that he actually ‘transitioned from 1 room or dimension of His Father’s house to another.’ So you see, we actually ‘hit a wall’, a barrier not because we’ve done something wrong or because we’re being punished but because we’re ready for the next level of consciousness, next level of prosperity or love or whatever is our next progression of good.
The gate is narrow means we can’t carry any thought or condition from 1 level to the next because different levels have different vibratory levels. The 3rd dimension of form appears solid & the 4th appears as space though it is just as full of stuff just the stuff is vibrating at a higher frequency. So remember “What looks like a barrier to human eyes is actually a point of progress, which won’t allow us to carry a previous level of Lack or Victim Consciousness forward.” We hit a barrier not because we’ve done something wrong but because we’ve done something right. Barriers are experienced because in order to pass through we have to become lighter – do some training, prayer work, learning, letting go, meditation that raises our vibratory rate etc. so that we are ready for that next step in spiritual evolution as the attainment of a desired good.
Let’s look now at 4 very specific & common barriers we all experience.
1. MONEY: On the application to Unity’s Ministerial Program, on of the questions is: “How much money do you have in the bank? That doesn’t sound very spiritual does it? How can they judge if I’m ready for a spiritual program by how much is in my bank account? What they realize is that before you get into the Program, if you are still worrying about paying your bills, it’s going to drag your attention away from putting your whole attention on the course of curriculum & instruction. People need to be at a certain point where they have a backlog of money while they go to school so they don’t have to worry about this barrier for the next 2 years of their life. It is hard to be a Unity Minister & the spiritual head of a church if you aren’t able to practice the basic Unity Principles of Guidance through Prayer & Prosperity. A Unity Center just like your own home needs a continual flow of money to continue to operate smoothly & offer spiritual instruction to everyone seeking it. A Unity Center needs a Board of Trustees who also Practice the Presence & the Unity Principles including Tithing. If you aren’t living the Unity Principles to your best then you certainly can’t honestly ask others to do so. We’ve learned this over the years. There are people who want to serve on the Board & who have wonderful gifts to share but who aren’t willing to tithe for 1 reason or another. The more severe the individual’s need the harder it is for them to talk about free will giving & tithing. The harder it is to give a talk, which says, “God loves us but God doesn’t hand us money or teach in our Youth Ministry directly. Money & service has to come from you. God can only do for you what God can do through you.” Without the spiritual courage & confidence that comes from a Consciousness of Knowing ‘truth works’ because of personal experience’ you ‘aren’t in integrity’. Without Spiritual Vision people hear the words & rather than being inspired to live from higher laws they just hear the words as a gimmick & another pitch for money. How many of you have the problem of “Too much money as a barrier?” Jesus said this about having too much opinion & Ego operating in your consciousness & too little faith & Christ energy.
“Truly I tell you, it is harder for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” Jesus said this to the Rich Young Man who came to him & said that he wanted to become 1 of his disciples. Jesus also said “If you wish to be my disciple sell of your possessions & give the money to the poor & you will have treasure in heaven.” Jesus wasn’t talking about money. (Heaven is a Greek word meaning ‘state of expanded consciousness). Have you ever had a time in your life when your life was piled high with stuff that you worried about? For example: You go on vacation but you can’t relax because you take yourself with you. Many times we reach the point on the spiritual path where we realize we need to simply our life. Have you ever been through a time like that? What to do? Clean out your closets & get rid of stuff you haven’t used in 2 years or that no longer fits or fits into your life. The truth is that money is nothing more than a symbol of exchange.
2. TIME: TIME can be a major barrier. People make ‘to do lists’ that get longer as they get older. I have a friend who is really philosophical about this. He said, “I believe in reincarnation. I trust that along with my soul carrying over into my next life, my ‘to do list’ will come along with me.” Either too much time or too little time can be a barrier. Have you ever been confined to a hospital bed when you are feeling pretty good & ready to be home but the doctor says that you still need to be there? Or have you ever been in a waiting room or waiting in line at Fred’s or Target & the clerk is talking away with each person & your precious time feels like it is being wasted.
3. RELATIONSHIPS can be a barrier. We can’t follow Spirit’s Guidance if we are worried about how people around us will react. It is hard to grow when the people closest to you aren’t supportive, don’t share the vision & don’t want you to grow & change. Tell those people “I love you but I must be about my Father’s business.” One of the hardest things we have to do & 1 of the biggest barriers on the Spiritual Path is the realization that once we start to have a Spiritual Path in our life, we must be willing to let go of old states of consciousness & the attachments represented by them. You must learn to ‘listen’ to your own inner guidance system & have the spiritual courage to take the unique steps in our own life knowing that we are continually walking toward & into something much greater. New things come to us, we let go of others & we’ll never have those things in our lives again. We truly do leave ‘our problems’ behind but the catalyst on the spiritual path is ‘challenge.’ We were created to conquer our fears & overcome our challenges according to anthropologists.
4. RELIGION: is a barrier for lots of people. They truly desire to be Godly & spiritual but get stuck in dogmatic beliefs about God, about Jesus & about religion. They get stuck in a religion ‘about Jesus’ rather than practicing the ‘way of life he taught.’ 1 of the things I’ve always liked about Unity is that it allows us to be free to think for ourselves & to evolve our beliefs in our own time. Unity encourages us to be free & supports our freedom. What we think of as barriers Unity calls chemicalization. Chemicalization is a wonderful Unity concept that says, “When things are feeling chaotic, fearful & out of control you are on the spiritual path in a place where old states of consciousness are breaking up so new ones can take their place. If you find yourself calling it bad, thinking that ‘consciousness is paying you back or that you are experiencing ‘bad karma’, remember, we exist in a 1 power system. The best definition for the word ‘Karma’ is simply the word ‘sequence.’ The word ‘Karma’ in ‘Sanskrit’ means ‘sequence.’ It simply means “Whatever I have done up to this point, this is the result, the next thing that comes along my path to help me further along the path. This is what Jesus was talking about when he talked about the narrow gate – that stuff is too limited to pass through. There aren’t 2 powers, there is only 1 presence & 1 power & whatever comes to us, whether it looks friendly or unfriendly, positive or negative, is a God Visitation.
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