UNITY OF VANCOUVER
“Healing Your Heart, Healing Your Mind”
Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
August 24. 2008
All Rights Reserved
Healing Your Mind, Healing Your Heart
Rosemary Fillmore Rhea, the granddaughter of the founders of Unity said her Uncle Lowell Fillmore, oldest son of Myrtle & Charles used to welcome everyone to the Sunday meeting by saying, “We are all here because we are not all there.” Like his parents, he had a wonderful sense of humor.
“All of life is a process of spiritual healing & we are looking for healing all of the time.” Every time we take a vitamin or even turn on the T.V. to zone out after a day of stress, we’re looking for healing. Everything that happens to us, without exception, little & seemingly insignificant or large & life altering, pleasant or painful is part of a healing process.
Life gives us opportunities to realize this in the moments when we’re aware that one chapter of our life is closing & another, yet unknown is about to open. One way of being is over & it’s time to begin being something else. In one chapter of my life I was a Psychologist. In this chapter, I’m a Minister. The transition between the two was unskilled & often very painful for me because the human tendency is to want to manipulate & control life; to edit out things that make us feel uncomfortable, things that are inconvenient & things that literally rip our hearts open.
I’ve had my share of such experiences. & I find that it’s much better to begin to heal my heart than to first have it broken. & much better to heal my mind than to continually to go through the kind of experiences that force me out of my comfort zone to face what I think are my worst fears; the things I pray will never happen to me or anybody; the things that I think will kill me if they do.
Every successful experience of true healing is a 3-step process.
1st Something happens that causes us to let go of a long held & often cherished & sacred core belief. That’s where a lot of life’s discomfort comes from. We don’t like to let go of those kinds of beliefs. They are like security blankets for us & we want to hold on to those beliefs as traditions that define us & make us special.
A belief is a concept held in human mind not Divine Mind. Therefore it is subject to change. Only God is changeless. All things of the earth are temporal. They come to pass. Any part of our human life is subject to change & will change as long as we’re alive. As long as we’re alive we are going to have our beliefs challenged. Often when those precious beliefs are challenged it cuts to the very core of us. It hurts.
2nd The 2nd part of the process every experience in life offers us is the chance to go walking through the wilderness. To get out of our comfort zone & to start walking in the strange, unfamiliar, uncomfortable territory that we were clinging to our beliefs so we wouldn’t have to face.
The 3rd part of the process & the most liberating is the chance to learn how to trust life. To learn that there is an orderly sequence & divine flow to everything that happens in life. As it says in Ecclesiastics & “to everything there is a season & a purpose under heaven.”
How many of you have seen the musical Fiddler on the Roof? It’s a story about a Jewish man named Tevye whose mind was set in a traditional way of viewing life & how simply living his life forced change on him. For example: He has 5 daughters & every one of them decides to marry in a different way outside of their Father’s Tradition, including his beloved 3rd daughter who marries outside of their faith.
Each of his 5 daughters whom he loved, challenged him to let go of a long held cherished belief; a part of the core of his being. (They can represent our 5 senses.) Ultimately he’s forced by the circumstances of his life to move from his beloved Anatevka into new territory. The story is a wonderful metaphor illustrating that “life is a process of spiritual healing & we’re healing all of the time.” We can look at Tevye’s example & say, “Those were all ridiculous beliefs. We don’t have to marry within our faith. We don’t have to wear a shawl over our shoulders to prove our devotion to God. We don’t have to wear a cap or veil on our heads.” Many of us are old enough to remember such limiting traditions & say, ‘Thank God we have grown so much more open mined & open hearted.’
Right now, can you list your top 5 most cherished, core beliefs? Are you willing to let them go? Are you willing to walk through the wilderness to a new belief? Are you willing to trust in the spiritual healing process of life?
We get into trouble when we begin to think that our beliefs, no matter how evolved & illumined, are actually the way it is; the absolute or True Reality. The truth is: Nobody knows the way it is. & Anyone who thinks & tells you that they do is being extremely presumptuous or naive. What you ‘think’ is nothing more than what you think. You don’t know the way it is for me & I don’t know the way it is for you. Buddha said true wisdom begins when you say, “I don’t know & I know that I don’t know & I don’t know what I don’t know.” But what I do know through personal experience is that the harder we hold on to a belief, the more resistant to change we are & the harder life is for us because we don’t know what will make us happy & bring peace. We don’t know that we’re eternal spiritual beings who are already whole & one with everyone & everything. We don’t know that Life lives us & will unmercifully prune us until we bear true fruit. We are being driven forward by something much greater than anything we can possibly conceive or comprehend with our intellects. Something that’s telling us that it’s time to give up trying to act like we have it all together.
I’m at the point where I don’t think God knows how it is either. God has or is the ability to let go & unfold naturally, like a caterpillar into butterfly. Imagine a world in which, we all get beyond what we want to hold onto, what’s comfortable, conventional & convenient & consistent for us. Imagine a world in which we are willing to bravely walk together through the wilderness to a completely New World.
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t found this process to be very easy. The change of any deeply ingrained habit requires time for us to move from one way of thinking & behaving to another. Perhaps that’s what this new millennium is all about or the end of the Mayan Calendar: The healing of the human family in a profound way. The recognition of our wholeness is coming upon us. In your own life, do you see areas of life, where the way you thought things were supposed to be are breaking down? What happens when they do? How do your react? Do you move through life’s 3 step healing process willingly or do you try to hold it together? When things really start to crumble instinctual humanity reacts by clinging to the way life has been up to that point rather than letting go & beginning a new chapter & moving on into the endless possibilities of the future. Some in the world are struggling & trying to turn back time by rebuilding old models in any way they can including military force & threats with nuclear weapons & others are using these things to ‘force the future.’ But before we can heal the hearts & minds of the world out there, we have to heal our own heart & mind in here by eliminating the inner ‘know it all’ & by voluntarily letting go of core beliefs that limit & separate us.
The minute you or I think that we know how something has to be, we are inhibiting the healing process life wants to bring to us. The moment you say, “I believe this is the only way” what you’ve automatically done is erased every other possibility. & God, “being no respecter of persons” will say, “Well, that’s fine. If that’s the way you think it is, BUT my life will continue to happen to you. You will not become exempt from people or circumstances & they will eventually have their way with you because I love you & I want you working with me. I want you & all of my children to be free & whole & prosperous.”
Here’s what we need to know about beliefs
1. The beliefs you hold about anything are just your beliefs.
2. They are your ‘handles’ for moving through the infinite cosmos in a way, which you think, gives you a unique physical expression.
3. They are the potential for the joy you can have with other people & the whole experience of human life – or the pain.
4. As soon as you begin to believe a belief is the way or the final solution’ be aware you are holding on & stopping movement in some area of your life. And like a damn holds back water, life force & power is building behind that area of blockage & it will break through the ego. It will break you in order to set you free just as a bird 1st breaks from its shell.
5. Life is a constantly changing river of energy & you have free will as the choice of either lying there freely & floating & flowing with it or trying to anchor your faith by holding on, clinging & forcing & trying to work your own agenda.
In Fiddler on the Roof, it was Tevye’s love for his daughters that changed the way he perceived life. A lot of times, it is the people we love the most who challenge our cherished beliefs. It is love that forces us to change the basic way we perceive life. Some small life occurrence isn’t enough to change a fundamental belief about life. It takes something very powerful. & Isn’t love the most powerful thing there is?
If you have situations in your life with people you love not behaving in the way you think they ought to or not living their life according to standards or expectations you have set up, just like Tevye & his 5 daughters, begin to see your love for that person as the fuel, the motivator that can lift you out of thinking they should be one way & to learn to accept them just the way they are.
Only the people we really care about can drive us to examining our beliefs & a willingness to exchange one belief for another. Nothing can get ‘to us’ like love. & What’s more important? People conforming to your expectations & your idea of what they should be or ought to be, or love & loving & being loved?
As we continue forward into the new millennium LOVE will become the number 1 energy & essence of importance. It will become the energy that fuels us & everything. It’s already happening. Look what happened with Martin Luther King & the liberation of African American rights in this country, women’s rights, gay rights, children’s rights, animal & plant rights, & earth & planet rights. We are individually & collectively being given the chance to put love ahead of our personal agendas & ahead of our own ideas of how things have to be or should be.
As soon as you find yourself in a difficult situation, instead of thinking: somebody did something wrong or did me wrong & I need to defend & protect myself & try to control things, as soon as you realize something is amiss in your world, recognize ‘Here is an opportunity to change a core belief within myself. Welcome that opportunity. Walk with courage & boldness into the wilderness of what you do not know, trusting in God the good omnipotent.” Do this enough times & finally out of this process, you will learn to trust life. & When you trust life, you don’t have to expend nearly as much energy as you do trying to control & manipulate it to work out the way you think it needs to work out. Imagine the energy that will set free in your life to do the things you are here to do & that you dream of doing!
‘There is only one presence & one power in the universe God the good omnipotent.’ I’ve been telling myself that everyday since, February 14, 1977 when I attended Unity for the first time. It took me years to really believe it & to feel it inmy heart as trust & I am still learning to live it.
The 21st century is calling us to become spiritual pioneers. & Every single one of us is needed because not everyone in the world is in this place right now & hearing these words. Many people are still living in a physical, mental, emotional & spiritual Dark Age of not knowing what life is all about; of not knowing life is a learning process & a healing process. Spirit has called us here today to be a part of a growing band of souls who believe that there is a new way of life emerging on planet earth; a recognition that all of the pain, torment, difficulties & challenges in our communications & interactions with others, is part of a Global Healing Process that is taking us right where we need to go. If your heart & mind can be filled with faith that this 3-step process is God working in & through your life, you can help yourself, your family, your friends, the planet & everyone & everything on it move smoothly & much more comfortably & peacefully into the Coming Age of “Peace on Earth Good Will toward Man.”
I thank each of you for being a Unity student & I commend you for being willing in your own life to take on the important task of healing your mind & healing your heart & being a true Spiritual Pioneer.
© Unity of Vancouver, 2004 All Rights Reserved.