Caution – politics (sort of)

I’m an unabashed supporter of the left side of things in American politics. I believe that when we help the most vulnerable, we all do better.

I support strengthening Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and want to see accessible and affordable health care for all (citizens and others) – even if it means I pay higher taxes to support it.

I am appalled by the actions the US Government is taking pertaining to immigrants and I’m no fan of the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But what can I do that will change anything?

I think a lot of us have this same, helpless thought when the latest news story seems to up the ante as the party in charge continues to defy all manner of American values.

At the beach this week, with a lot of time to ponder what is “my work to do”, and to ponder it in the context of this political mess in the USA, I got a couple ideas in my morning, sea shore meditations.

Duck, NC 2019

The idea was sparked by something I read on Facebook that reminded me of a previous post I had written. In essence, spiritual people know the Truth about what happens when we put a lot of energy or attention on something. We need to use that in reverse of what we’ve been doing: we need to shift our focus to what we want to hear on the news, see on TV and know to be happening in our government.

To that end, I’ll be posting a series of focused topics as suggested daily meditations or visualizations. I recently read an article about the power of mass action that cited research indicating that all we need to initiate change in a culture is 3.5% of the population.

If only a quarter of “spiritual, not religious” individuals – which a recent Pew Forum estimated to be 27% of the U.S. population – began to focus on what most mainstream progressives would like to see, things would begin to change, and quickly. So what are we waiting for!?

There are few challenges with the current administration more heart wrenching than the issue of immigrants, and especially children, being housed in horrendous conditions at the border.

The first visualization exercise is to be focused on seeing those detention centers EMPTY; seeing feel-good reunion stories on the news; feeling relief and gratitude for reading headlines that announce that the family separation policy is now defunct.

Each and every time we hear a bad-news story, we can stop and SEE the reality we want in our mind – and know in our hearts that this is already true.

Some may say “this is as good as sending ‘thoughts & prayers’ for school shootings“.

While I get the general sentiment of that argument, most of us can’t physically do anything to stop what is happening at the border (except at the ballot box); but we can hold a new vision for these children and families; the immigrants that our country has welcomed since before its founding.

This can take the form of a brief visualization, or a longer and more intentional meditation focused on the positive outcomes. It can be long or short; on the fly or scheduled. The when, where and how don’t matter – what matters is that we commit to knowing the Truth and turn our attention away from the breaking news to hold a higher vision.

Remember – it only takes 3.5% of us to initiate change. This isn’t hard and costs nothing to undertake. And we can do it anywhere, at anytime.


Affirmative prayer for resolution of the crisis at the US Southern border:

Breathing into this present moment, I know that there is only one Power, and one Presence. This Power and Presence is the beginning and end – the alpha and omega. I know that this Power and Presence expresses in, as and through all of Life, and in, as and through me. And as I accept this for myself, I accept it for each and every person in custody at the US southern border.

I know that regardless of appearances, there is peace, there is hope, and there is resolution. In the midst of this circumstance, Divine Wisdom is at work; cells are opened, doors are unlocked, and detention centers are permanently closed. Families are reunited, and the wounds of separation begin to heal.

As the nation unites around a return to humane and ethical treatment of asylum seekers and immigrants, my heart swells with gratitude. From this perspective of thanksgiving, I release my word into the Law, knowing that it returns fulfilled. I speak it, I know it, I let it go – and so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

The Simplest Message

A Wrinkle in Time – a metaphysical story?

As a young girl I eagerly read Madeleine L’Engle’s award-winning book, “A Wrinkle in Time“. I forget now whether it was assigned as school work or a book I discovered with the help of the school librarian at Park Elementary School in Dover, Ohio. I do remember the story line, the imagery I conjured as I read it and the feelings I carried with me into adulthood from reading it.

I have seen the movie and like it, too but it does differ somewhat in its imagery and I found myself desiring to revisit the original experience from reading it, so I borrowed the audio book version from our local library.

With a 30 to 45-minute commute each way to work, I am able to listen each day to about an hour of the book and with a mixture of sadness that it was over and delight that I had the whole experience once again, I finished the audio book on my way home from work on Thursday, February 14, 2019.

It was apropos, I realized, that I finished this book on Valentine’s Day as the core message of the story was something taught in metaphysical studies and some religions across the world: that LOVE is the only answer to the challenges in life – no matter what they are; no matter how big and scary they appear.

Upon this realization, I have added A Wrinkle in Time (the movie) to my list of Metaphysical Movies that help to teach the principles of spiritual living in a modern context.

As I wallowed in the sheer delight of revisiting this old friend and pondered the enlightened lesson I felt emerging from its core, my thoughts turned to the challenges of using LOVE as the answer the to problems we encounter in life: personal, professional or larger.

When we look at a person (or persons) who is ruining something that we hold dear, it can be harder than hard to love them. We may be able to get to the point of neutrality, where we wish them no ill, and stop fantasizing about their demise; but can we ever truly LOVE them and wish them well as they destroy what we cherish? That’s a tall order on the human scale – even for spiritual warriors.

In revisiting the plot and character evolution from the story, I saw the ending in a new light. Meg did not have to love IT to rescue her little brother; she simply had to reconnect with her love of Charles Wallace to break the hold that IT had on him.

Hmmmm,…

When Meg focused on IT, she was angry, frustrated, frightened; to have asked her to consider loving IT would have been a wholly different story – likely with a very different ending.

I began to think about situations and circumstances in my life where a malevolent force emerged and took over something that I cherished and loved. As evolved as I believe myself to be, I can say that it would be hard even now for me to feel LOVE for the ITs that embedded their tentacles into workplaces, neighborhoods, churches/centers, communities and other situations and changed them negatively. But is that truly what is needed?

While we can move into the space where we leave retribution to the Universe, I wonder if the next step is less about forcing ourselves to love the ITs and more about loving what it is that was there before the “…most horrible, the most repellent thing…more nauseating then anything…ever imagined…” showed up?

When a new CEO or VP turns our once-wonderful workplace into a hellhole, we can love the camaraderie we once shared; we can love the good times we remember; we can love the feelings we had about going to work when it was a wonderful place. We may not be able to rekindle that in the same environment, but that doesn’t mean it is lost forever (there are many other places to work!). When a new neighbor breaks up the old gang, and sews discord and dissent, we can love the memories of our community and experiences and we can assemble a new gang in a different community that shares the good and has learned the lessons from the negative experiences.

We don’t have to embrace the IT – and it is instructive to know that some ITs will never transform with our love but will subsume us into their darkness. But we must not despair! This does not mean that have to relinquish our Charles Wallaces either.

We all have the power to leave Camazotz and step away from the power of IT and take with us the good, the love and the beautiful things that we once had and start again; surrounded by the Good but now aware of the ITs in the world – a little older, with some bruises but with wisdom this time.

In our country right now there is an IT at the center of a beautiful dream that was once heralded across the globe as the shining light on the hill for humanity. Unfortunately, many of us are focused on how horrible IT is, when perhaps we should shift our energy, love and focus onto the democratic ideals that are represented by that light – to the republican tenets that inspired men and women over 2 centuries ago to seek a more perfect union.

American flag, freedom, democracy
American Flag – 2017

And if we, like Meg, turn our attention away from IT and laser focus our hearts toward the child that we hold dear – that still-young concept of democracy – I know that we, too will wake up in the garden, a little bruised, and a lot wiser to the dangers in the world – but back in the bosom of the hope, dreams, and love that is America as our forefathers and foremothers imagined it to be.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

The opposite of what we despise

 

Positive - Negative

I have a number of passionate and political friends who can tick off a laundry list of what’s wrong with the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, DC. While I don’t disagree with the criticisms, as a student of metaphysics, I know that whatever we give our attention to will expand. Therefore, those of us with this knowledge and perspective have a job to do – and it’s not to post more angry rants on social media.

In a general sense, there are categories of concern around the current occupants of the Executive branch, and I would list these as follows:

  • supports cutting safety nets for seniors and the poor (e.g. food, shelter)
  • supports cutting access to health care
  • in favor of cutting Medicare and Social Security funding
  • encourages divisiveness among culturally diverse peoples
  • openly hostile to immigrants
  • openly anti-Environmental Protection

There’s much more of course, but this is a good place to begin.

We achieve NOTHING if all we do is point to the spectacle and complain. We can do MUCH if we mobilize to fill the needs in our own communities.

We can SUPPORT our local Food Bank organizations. If you’re not already doing so, start today. If you already are, do more & expand your current efforts.

We can open our doors to immigrants by being present in our community at events where diverse people gather to serve, to welcome & not necessarily just to advertise our Centers. We can develop programming that helps fill some need – large or small, depending on our capacity – to address the separateness that is seeping into the chasms between citizens and non-citizens. Simply advertising Sunday services isn’t enough. Get out there and BE the principles of spiritual living – don’t be content to simply talk about them to the same group of listeners who already think like you do.

We can support established organizations that are already performing these tasks. Invite a speaker to a Sunday service to talk about their work in immigrant resettlement; host a mid-week talk on the same thing; dedicate a portion of your tithes and gifts to a specific program related to the issue.

Adopt environmental practices at your Center or Church and go as green as you can. Learn about where to recycle unusual things (like plastic shopping bags, which do not get recycled in the regular trash pickup but are an environmental nightmare); offer an easy drop off for members and visitors and provide transport for things to out of the way recycling receiving zones; invite a local speaker to come and share the issues specific to the environment at a Sunday talk or mid-week event. Walk the talk by using recyclable items in your Center (avoiding things like Keurig K-Cups which are also an environmental disaster – there are several viable alternatives…)

Instead of teaching another old-school, millionaire-sponsored prosperity class hoping to get more members to tithe to you; go out into the community and BE the prosperity you are teaching for a senior center; for a low-income daycare; a Boys & Girls Club – for any community services agency that has a need and recognize that ABUNDANCE is so much more than money.

This past week we voted. Changes are in motion but there’s so much more we can do in our own communities. We have powerful tools; we have deep knowledge. Are we willing to walk the talk of creating a world that works for everyone?

It’s time to put our money where our mouths are – to be the living, breathing presence of the OPPOSITE of what we dislike in our government; to give our energy and attention to that which we desire to expand: compassion, generosity, inclusiveness – knowing that what we focus on will increase.

It’s time to BECOME the change we seek, for ourselves, for our communities, our nation and the world.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

 

A prayer for the nation

spiritual mind treatment for AmericaRegardless of the noise, the fear, the political unrest, I know that there is only One Power. This Power and Presence – the Infinite One – is all there is; the beginning and the end – the alpha and omega of everything. I know that I am an expression of this One divine Spirit as It is individualized in me, expressing through me, as me in each moment of my life. And as I accept this for myself, I know it as the Truth for my country.

Tonight on the eve of an important election event, I rest peacefully in the knowing that the Infinite is ever-present in the hearts and minds of each citizen as they ponder their role in this democracy; as they vote for men and women to represent them and their families in every level of government. I trust that each vote is made with integrity and the earnest desire for the highest and best for all persons in this nation and beyond.

I reject the politics of fear and division, for they have no power. The universal power for Good is greater, stronger and more abundant and It expands to fill every state, every county, every community, every corner of this land. This groundswell of Goodwill permeates the environment and passes, person to person from coast to coast. It is palpable in the air from New York to Seattle, Georgia to California, North Dakota to Texas, Florida to Wisconsin; from North to South, East to West in communities large and small.

Tonight my heart overflows with gratitude for the Goodness that is the abundant Truth of the American people. I am thankful for the generosity of spirit, the welcoming hearts, the kindness and basic decency that are the Truth of the men and women I proudly call my fellow citizens and I celebrate the demonstration of these Truths as they out-picture in tomorrow’s election results.

From this humbled and grateful perspective I release my word into the Infinite Law, knowing that it returns fulfilled; confident that Goodwill, Peace, Integrity and Wholeness are everywhere present in this land – in these United States of America – and so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

 

A Warning for New Thought

Centers for Spiritual Living, Unity, prosperity, prosperity gospelA wave of dislike is unfolding in the larger population that New Thought leaders should sit up and pay close attention to today as it hits close to some foundational and historically popular teachings in the New Thought movement.

As the country moves more and more in a direction that is anathema to the preferences of the numeric majority (think popular vote) with every decision and victory that the 45th president achieves, more attention is being given to the price that he is NOT paying for those political moves, and the reasons.

One significant reason is that 81% of White Evangelicals voted for, and still support the president. This 8-minute video is worth watching in its entirety, but the specific point of concern for New Thought, I believe, is the danger – as we look to strategic planning and building for the future of our organizations – of what many are seeing as the tie between #45 and the White evangelical community: the gospel of prosperity.

Mentioned in the above linked video as “the pernicious influence of the prosperity gospel“, it is not viewed positively by the larger population and is increasingly being linked to the negativity of the current presidency.

We in New Thought would do well to sit up and pay attention to this. This is not the first time that the negative side to prosperity teachings was highlighted – in my writing or the larger media. Now is the time to look closely at WHAT we teach, and HOW we teach it and ensure that we are not, unintentionally, swept up into being branded along with this movement.

This will not be as simple as some may think. CSL and Unity would do well to totally revamp, if not step back from, the teachings around prosperity along with the elevation and adoration of toothy teachers from the 20th century who have hawked these teachings for decades. It’s time to embrace more fully the concepts of “a world that works for everyone” as a core tenet and downplay – starting TODAY – the emphasis on prosperity.

If we do not actively and intentionally separate ourselves from teaching prosperity as a staple or core offering, we risk great damage to the brand; damage that may result in the absolute “graying out” of the movement.

To be clear: I am NOT saying that we STOP teaching people how to think more prosperously; I am NOT saying that we STOP teaching people how to shift from a lack mindset to an abundant mindset. I AM saying that we need to be careful about publicizing the old school prosperity classes as a way to attract new members and should probably step back from the programming that pushes tithing on unexpected income.

Instead, why not focus programming on reaching out to feed the hungry, support Veterans with PTSD or raise consciousness and funds for a local animal rescue group using the principles and teachings of Holmes, et al? These efforts look a lot like “a world that works for everyone” – at least more so than a millionaire telling the group that they need to tithe to the millionaire when their own hard work (spiritual and/or physical) nets them some additional money or income.

There’s an old saying: ” if it looks like a duck, has webbed feet and QUACKS,…it’s a duck“.Centers for Spiritual Living, Unity, prosperity, prosperity gospel

While I am not suggesting that we are ducks of the brand identified negatively in the video I shared; a lot of our member organizations – to an outsider’s eye – have webbed feet and quack And this is dangerous to the organization as we look at the societal and demographic challenges facing all of organized religion.

We would be wise to understand the emerging political discourse, evaluate our perspective and practices; and think clearly and intentionally about how we want to present ourselves to the world. Then it’s time to make the right pivot for the times we live in today.

This will not be easy, but it really is simple.

A world that works for everyone is much larger than money or material wealth – and CSL/Unity leadership – ministers, practitioners and lay leaders – (should) know this more than anyone else.

The time is now to teach THIS Truth.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

Entitlement

The political atmosphere in the United States is at a fevered intensity this morning as the country lines up on one side or the other around the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice.

Beyond the political implications of whether he is confirmed or not, I was struck by the energy of entitlement that was on full display.

Mr. Kavanaugh asserted with vehemence in his Senate testimony that he was being railroaded; over and over again putting forward his position – that he is entitled to the position, and entitled not to be judged negatively – no matter the evidence.

I have never cared for those with a sense of entitlement. It is the energy of spoiled frat boys; the energy of executives who feel justified in quietly dumping their stock while preventing other employees from moving retirement money out of the same falling stock (e.g. Enron); the energy of a board member who looks the other way on tax reporting requirements for his golf buddy, the board president.

When these entitled individuals get called out, they inevitably get an innocent look on their faces, turn their palms up and claim that they are innocent, made a mistake or are caught up in a witch hunt.

“I didn’t know,…”

“I trusted [insert convenient scapegoat],…”

“I honestly did my best,…”

and then there’s this jewel – most often used when the accuser is female,…

“She’s overreacting.”

In some cases, this may be true. We can all make mistakes and none of us is perfect.

The best way to tell the difference between an honest mistake and the acts of an entitled jerk who got caught is to see if there’s a pattern or if it’s truly a one-time event.

An honest mistake by a genuine person will be followed by a life that demonstrates their core integrity. An entitled jerk will show his or her stripes again (& again).

Aside from the politics of the situation, it’s harder to believe Mr Kavanaugh’s protestations of innocence as more women come forward with eerily similar stories.

Likewise, the “I didn’t know” defense loses all its steam when it is followed by a 2nd misstep – one that is not owned up to until it is discovered by someone else (a pesky, overreacting female, perhaps).

As I prepare to fly out of the tropical paradise that is Miami, I’ll hear snippets of the continuing Supreme Court saga. I have opinions certainly, but mostly I have a bad taste in my mouth as I’ve been reminded by this very public spectacle of the clear pattern that emerges when someone is an entitled jerk as opposed to a fallible human that made “an honest mistake”.

As we attempt to discern right from wrong in situations and circumstances that are personal, local and national; we would do well to remember that a one-time mistake is very different from repeat behavior.

While actions may not rise to the level of rape, bank robbery or embezzlement – they are most certainly an indicator of abject arrogance.

The world needs more compassion and caring; not entitlement and arrogance. When we see it, we need to call it out, hold people accountable and refrain from apologizing – no matter where it occurs.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path