UNITY OF VANCOUVER
Happy All Saints Day! Here is a lesson celebrating the Angel that you are and the light you choose to bring to the world. You are loved. Love Bernadette
COMMUNING WITH OUR ANCESTORS – A transitional meditation for bridging the physical and spiritual realms.
As we come to the End and Beginning of the next Turn of the Wheel of the Year, meditating on those who have come and gone before us can give us perspective and direction as we start on yet another cycle of life. This is a time of renewal, when we will rest for the winter and gather our strength for the next season of growth. It is a time to celebrate the past year and look forward to another new one. We learn from our successes and from our mistakes, and we move forward to face what challenges we may have. Celebrating the season by remembering those who are our ancestors is our way of connecting with the earth, our roots and our heritage.
Make yourself comfortable and think about a particular smell, sound or place that has meaning to you or to someone who has passed through the veil to the next side of life. Think about whatever it is that makes you feel most comfortable and connected with those you wish to remember.
Music can help to bring back memories, recent or old. While you may want to use some cue to remember someone special, choose something you can use it to connect with all your ancestors, not just someone specific. Draw to your mind pictures of those who have crossed through the veil and gaze at them a while. Fix the faces and/or names in your memory of everyone you wish to include.
Now clear your mind and settle more deeply into your seat and relax. Imagine yourself walking along a beach, feeling the breezes off the water touching your skin, the smell of salt air and sand beneath your feet. As you begin to relax, scoop up a handful of sand. Feel it in your hand, open your fingers and as the grains of sand fall between your fingers, allow them to represent the cares and worries of the day and let them drop from your hand to the beach, freeing you of any burdens or concerns you may have.
Now allow the scene to shift to another place you love; another place where you feel comfortable, relaxed, safe and loved perhaps a grassy meadow, a wooded forest, walking by the river, or sitting in a church or your home. Now pick a season that you associate deeply with and imagine you are in that place in that time of the year that is most special for you. Perhaps Fall, with the leaves covering the ground and the air beginning to cool. This would seem appropriate for Samhain falls at this time of the year. But you may be drawn to another season or place you hold special for someone who has crossed the veil. Place yourself where you feel the most attraction for what you are about to do. Seated in your comfortable place, call to mind the face(s) of the one(s) you want to remember. Think about what they looked like, what clothes they wore, how they did their hair, what scent they preferred, and the sound of their voice. Give them special attention remembering everything you can.
Look all around you at everyone who has come to you. Now look of into the distance. Do you see someone coming forward out of the distance? Can you make out whom it is coming towards you? Are they waving? You can run to meet them, or you can wait for them to come to you. Is there something you wanted to say, something special you wanted to share? How about just a hug, or a smile. This is your experience & there is no need to tell you what to say or do, you know what to do.
If you look around, you will find many more people coming towards you. Aunts, uncles, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, grandmothers and grandfathers, husbands and wives. There will be faces you will recognize. There will be faces you will not recognize. Ask them who they are if you do not know. I am sure you will find out they are a distant relative who you may or may not have heard of or remembered. If this happens just smile and remember that we are made up of the genes of many people who have gone before us whose names have been lost in time. Thank them all for coming and sharing their special place in your family with you.
Look at all the people who have come before you, who have laid out the chain of events that have led to you being born in this lifetime as you are. They may reveal different forms to you from their different lifetimes. They will show them all to you as talk. You may even glimpse a past life of your own that you may have been part of.
The time is coming to return. So again, thank them all for coming kiss the ones who are special to you and ask that they come again sometime and share a special evening and memory with you. Wave good-bye to them as they return to the other side of the Veil. It will seem to darken as they go, and you will realize that it had been much lighter and brighter while they were here. It was their unique love and joy that they brought with them, it will go with them, but it will not be darkness you are left with. Some light left from the laughter and joy you felt having enjoyed their company will always remain.
Now allow the special place to fade, as you slowly bring yourself back. Once again walking back along the beach, feeling the sand under your feet, the warmth of the sun, then the warmth of this room, the cushion of your seat & the carpet beneath your feet. Open your eyes slowly and Feel the joy left in your heart as you feel connected with a bit of your family, your ancestors, those who have gone before you and who will be with you again. Amen.
IN THE COMPANY OF SAINTS
At first glance, you may not see them but if you look around very carefully, you'll find them to the right of you and to the left of you, in front of you and behind you. They are all around you. Each and every one brings a message, a blessing or something special for you to take or not to take. It’s your choice.
What in the world am I talking about? I'm talking about Saints and there is no place you can go where they will be absent. If you consult Webster’s Dictionary, you'll find all kinds of definitions of Saints. Webster defines a Saint as someone who is blessed in Heaven and canonized by the Pope.
But I think it's bigger than that. I believe that there are Saints that have never been canonized by the Pope. Saints who aren't even Catholic! You see I believe a saint is someone who reaches out to somebody else to help him or her. Someone who is able to think about more than just himself or herself and who can extend themselves beyond their Ego boundaries.
Saints just seem to know that the world doesn't revolve around them, their problems, and their lives. They know either consciously or unconsciously that in God's world there is no ownership, not even of problems. They act in ways that reveal a greater power at work, and reach out with a word, a thought, a smile, and a blessing to another. We've all had Saints in our lives who have reached out to us in a time of need, who have helped us to grow or perhaps spoke just one word to you that changed your entire life. Encounters with Saints are often life transforming. I'd like to share a few stories today about some of them.
The first is a woman, who is a Unity Minister. She is the most amazing person because every word out of her mouth is positive. When she talks about what is going on in her ministry, even if what is going on in her ministry is a negative financial balance, it sounds like the greatest thing that ever happened. "We can’t pay salaries and the church is insolvent. What a glorious opportunity we have here to prove the Presence of God," she says. Once I asked her if she realized that every word out of her mouth was positive. She said, "Yes. Many years ago, I looked at my life and knew that I wanted to do something special with my life. So, I decided from that moment on I would be a blessing to every person, every situation and every experience that came my way." I've had the opportunity to watch her for many years and she is definitely a candidate for Sainthood.
I once sat through a meditation she led and at the end she said, "Don't open your eyes until you have a smile on your face." Then she said, "Amen." I took her advice and ever since I always smile just before I end a prayer or meditation and say "Amen."
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more people stopped their lives and said, "From this point on, I choose to be a blessing.” Wouldn't it be wonderful for you if you were going through some stuff in your life and everyone around you spoke positively and blessed you? And would you accept that blessing or would you shake it off and go find someone who would commiserate with you? Now, ‘commiserate’ is an Interesting word. It translates, "to find a common misery." I believe this world needs more people who will go out each day and be a blessing and less people who are going around searching for common misery. I also believe this world needs more people who are open and receptive to receiving the blessings being given.
My friend and fellow Minister, Bob Barth, told me a story from his own life that I'd like to share that with you in his own words. He said, "I met a saint once who changed my life who came in the skin of my brother. My brother's name is Rick. He has Down’s syndrome but is also mentally retarded. I almost left Unity because of my brother. I was going through that questioning age that you go through during college and I was asking why. My brother Rick was a big "Why?" in my life. I wanted to know why someone who was such a joy and was such love was born with such a mental handicap. I kept asking all my Unity Minister friends. Minister after Minister told me it was just reincarnation; something he had to learn and grow through. I couldn't believe that. It didn't feel right. I was really ready to leave the movement. Then a truly wonderful Minister came to me and said, "Bob, do you know why Rick was born mongoloid?" I said, "No. Tell me. But don't give me any of that reincarnation stuff." He said, "Rick was born mongoloid so he could be on the face of this earth and just love. That would be all he would have to do--just love."
Those words hit me right in the heart because that is all Rick does. He doesn't know good or bad. He doesn't know color of skin. He doesn't know tall or short; fat or thin. He doesn't know any of that. He doesn't see any of that in a person. He just totally loves people because he loves to love. If you see him for the first time, he'll come and hug you. If you see him for the 100th time, he'll come and hug you. If he were here today, he'd be right in the front row and he would have the biggest smile on his face because that love he shares goes right through him and expresses as joy. There is no one who can come in contact with Rick without feeling love."
I heard Bob’s story and it deeply touched my heart. What the world needs today is a little bit more love; non-judgmental, unconditional love. Love, just for the sake of loving. Love, given just for the sake of giving. There is too much love, given for the sake of getting.
Once I attended a Silent Unity Prayer Service at Unity Village, led by Reverend Bill Dale. He was talking about making this world a better place in which to live. He said that many of us don't do anything because we feel we can't make a big impact on the world today. He said that we don't need to make a big impact. All we need to do is change the world a little bit; make it just a little bit better. If we all did that, what would happen? What would happen if we all just loved a little bit more? Maybe this world would be a better place. It's hard to be positive all the time. It's hard to love unconditionally. If it were easy, they wouldn't call it "Sainthood." But I think the world would cease to be a bitter place and start to be a better place if more of us started loving without judgment. It's a matter of choice. We must choose to be positive and we must choose to love.
My friend Reverend Bill Fischer was in charge of retreats at Unity Village for years. I always enjoyed his humor, positiveness and joy but what promoted him into Sainthood for me was how he dealt with a diagnosis of terminal cancer. Bill was supposed to die in 6 weeks to 3 months. There were days when he was flat on his back and couldn’t move; times when he lost a lot of weight and looked like a broom stick. There were days when he could hardly walk. But no matter what day it was he always says the same thing--whether in the hospital, in the house, or in the office. He says it again and again, "I'm going to lick this."
Bill was a living example of Spiritual Courage. His cancer was so bad that they immediately started looking at resumes for his position. Six years later he was still in that position and doing the job that he loved. How? Every day he set a goal for himself. He went to work even when he didn’t have to go. He went to work even when he could only spend two hours at the office. He went to work when he had to have his wife drive him in. He went to work, because he wanted to go to work, because he knew he was going to lick that diagnosis. He started by setting goals for himself.
For example: He set a goal for himself that he could walk from his office to another staff member’s office without losing his breath. He set a goal that he could go from his office to the Unity Village Inn to be with Retreatants for lunch without having to use a wheelchair. And then he set a goal for himself that he was going to go golfing. He just kept setting these little goals. Some people laughed at his goals, but he set them anyway. Some people cried hearing his little goals. They said that he should just allow himself to be sick. They said that he should just go home and enjoy whatever days he had left until he died. But Jim didn’t let other people’s viewpoints and fears deter him. He just kept setting little goals for himself and accomplishing them every day.
In addition, there were people who were actually very angry with Jim just because he was sick. They were angry because they believed that if Unity Ministers practice what they preach they wouldn’t get sick or get cancer. Jim just ignored all those judgments and made a goal, to stop doing guilt. If he set a goal to play golf and he only played one hole of golf and then quit, it would be OK, he would not feel guilty about it.
Do you know what? It never happened. He never played less than nine holes. When Bill finally retired from his position of Retreat Coordinator, they held a huge party. He passed in his sleep a few years ago, 20 plus years after that terminal diagnosis. Bill is a Saint in my book because he took the Unity principles and lived those principles to the best of his understanding regardless of what others thought or how they interpreted them.
I think what the world needs now more than ever are more Dorothy Pierson’s, Rick Barth’s, and Bill Fischer’s. I think the world needs more Saints like Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, Eric Butterworth, and Emmet Fox. People who not only outlive their diagnosis but like Bill also set goals and do exciting things rather than lying in bed waiting to die. People who don’t abort a baby the doctors say may be defective. In today’s world, a baby like Rick might not be given a chance to live a life at all.
The purpose of this talk isn’t just to talk about Saints I have known like Dorothy, Rick and Bill. The purpose of this talk is to recruit you. Do you remember the old Uncle Sam posters that said, "I want you?" Well, I believe that God needs more Saints and that God wants you and me and people who are willing to join us in learning how to go out and be a blessing of love and to have spiritual conviction and spiritual courage. So, I'm asking you to take 5 steps that will help to make this world a little less bitter and a little bit better place in which to live. I’m asking you to take six simple steps that will help to put you on a personal path to Sainthood.
1. Be a blessing in every situation that comes your way. Be a blessing to other people, organizations and to anything and everyone.
Do these six simple things and take one step at a time to Sainthood by being an Angel, a being of Light in your own life. Unity talks a lot about Angels, not as supernatural beings, but as higher thoughts that are messengers of God. Choose to 'think higher' and become a Messenger of God. Be a light bearer and light bringer. Represent God in whatever moment you find yourself. Add to the light each moment of the day and do not contribute to the darkness, ignorance, lack of faith and fear in the world.
I want to share a little story with you called ‘Lunch with God.’
A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six pack of Root Beer and started out on his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie.
She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word. As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever. When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?" He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!" Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, "Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?" She replied, "I ate Twinkies and drank root beer in the park with God." However, before her son responded, she added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."
Never underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring. The smallest kindness has the potential to turn your life or the life of another completely around for the good. I believe this is truer today than ever before because of how the current situation has forced us to cover our smiles and limit and eliminate hugging and touching. We have to be much more creative in sharing our love and light, but we can and must do it.
I am going to close with a poem by my friend Reverend Jim Rosemergy, author of the book "A Daily Guide to Spiritual Living," called "To A Friend."
TO A FRIEND
There was a time when I thought God walked beside you.
But now I see God moves with every step you take.
There was a time when I thought God loved you,
but now I feel you are the love I often speak of.
There was a time when I thought God had blessed you
But now I know you are his blessing to me.
Open yourself to the possibility of your own Sainthood. No matter what you are facing in your life you are not alone. You are in the Company of saints.
BONUS JOKE TO PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE
One day, Joe, Bob and Dave were hiking in a wilderness area when they came upon a large, raging, violent river. They needed to get to the other side but had no idea of how to do so. Joe prayed to God, saying, "Please God, give me the strength to cross this river." Poof! God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across the river in about two hours, although he almost drowned a couple of times.
Seeing this, Dave prayed to God, saying, "Please God, give me the strength and the tools to cross this river." Poof! God gave him a rowboat and he was able to row across the river in about an hour, after almost capsizing the boat a couple of times.
Bob had seen how this worked out for the other two, so he also prayed to God saying, "Please God, give me the strength and the tools, and the intelligence, to cross this river." Poof! God turned him into a woman. She looked at the map, hiked upstream a couple of hundred yards, and then walked across the bridge.
God bless you and have a great day!
What do you think?
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