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(Look at the newspaper, point out some current events, and ad-lib and relate to the path of life.)
You have heard it said that life is more than a destination – it is the journey. But also, life is more than just a journey, it is an adventure!
First, life is a journey; the spiritual path is a journey. We were given the idea that some sort of fulfillment was somewhere out there, some place or some time, but it isn’t. The trick is to know that the journey is the prize, and the opportunity. The walker of the path determines whether the path is good or bad.
This is a practical way to experience the presence of God, as you allow God to guide you, and be your moment-by-moment companion on your path.
Mastering living in the NOW, taking time to see and sense the miracles and the adventure in the present.
This should be our daily commitment. We are 100% responsible for healing this sense of separation from God. We experience and enjoy our path by practicing the presence of God.
We all know what the Ten Commandments are; they are found in the Torah and Exodus. We all know the first commandment: “I am the Lord thy God which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
The Commandments are the promises of God.
Our whole goal is to have no other god, to have a total awareness of the presence of God, and not to have any sense that there is a separation between us and God – just know the one Presence and the one Power.
Jesus has told us that He explains, opens up, and clarifies the teachings. He says that He does this that His joy may be full in us and that our joy may be fulfilled in us. So we are on the path of joy.
We often think that we have to experience joy ALL the time or somehow we are not on the path of joy. Then we discover that the places where we have the most resistance are the places where we have the opportunity to make the greatest breakthrough, and really experience the presence of God working in our lives, and this gives us a greater awareness that God really is with us.
God isn’t going anywhere. God loves you, unconditionally and God is always going to be here where you are. Some of us have experienced a sense of abandonment (perhaps in our childhood experiences). Many of us have had a feeling of conditional love, perhaps in our families of origin. Perhaps it was a situation in which we may not have been loved unless we did everything right.
We can discover that even when we are feeling resistance or feeling separated, it is right then that we can experience the presence of God moving, acting, and being in our lives. That is very exciting. Perhaps the most important thing on our path is awareness of God.
Knowing God in this moment turns this moment into an adventure!
It’s in the place of most resistance that we often have an opportunity to make the greatest breakthrough and to experience the presence of God in a new and wonderful avenue.
When we find resistance, we don’t like it. We feel bad. We can feel separated from God, and we feel off-kilter. Usually, what we do is try to push against it.
We can do this in a couple of different ways. One is that we can deny that it is there: “I’m not going to think about it;” or “I’ll pretend it isn’t really happening.” The second way is: “I’ll start justifying.” We get into trying to justify the situation that leads us, immediately, into the wonderful opportunity to blame someone else or other circumstances. We can say: “The circumstances are thus-and-so, and if they’d just change I’ll be out of fear;” or “Whatever it is I am into with resistance.”
We get into this either/or not thing, don’t we? We are either in joy or sadness. We are either in fear or we are in love. We are either in the presence of God and aware of it, or we are not anything.
We have come to this world of apparent contrast. We have invented this divide; we created it, but we must see with the single eye toward the standard of God.
There is a natural polarity in life – the evening and the morning of the day. Every aspect of our lives has this polarity. Think about it. There is always this opportunity. We can see that there are the parts that can come together as a spiritual whole, or we can see it as separation, fearful that we will be trapped forever on the wrong side of the divide.
So what we do is we buy into the night of life, thinking that it will last forever and forget that it is polarity, the darkness that holds the promise of a new day! There is only one presence and one power, and it is equally and evenly present. It is God and it is good. There is one God. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one God.” Deut. 6:4, KJV.
There are either joy-producing experiences and thoughts or non-joy-producing experiences and thoughts. Your path can be joy-producing or non-joy-producing – it’s up to the walker of the path.
I’d like to read to you from Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet.”
“And one of the elders of the city said, ‘Speak to us of good and evil.’
“And he answered, ‘Of the good in you, I can speak, but not of the evil. For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?
“‘Verily, when good is hungry, it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters.
“‘You are good when you are one with yourself.
“‘Yet when you are not one with yourself you are not evil.
“‘For a divided house is not a den of thieves; it is only a divided house.
“‘And a ship without rudder may wander aimlessly among perilous isles yet sink not to the bottom.
“‘You are good when you strive to give of yourself, yet you are not evil when you seek gain for yourself.
“‘For when you strive for gain, you are but a root that clings to the earth and sucks at her breast. Surely, the fruit cannot say to the root, ‘Be like me, ripe and full, ever giving of your abundance.’
“‘For to the fruit, giving is a need as receiving is a need to the root.
“‘You are good when you are fully awake in your speech;
“‘Yet you are not evil when you sleep while your tongue staggers without purpose.
“‘And even stumbling speech may strengthen a weak tongue.
“‘You are good when you walk to your goal firmly with bold steps;
“‘Yet you are not evil when you go further limping.
“‘Even those who limp go not backwards.
“‘But you who are strong and swift, see that you do not limp before the lame deeming it a kindness.
“‘You are good in countless ways, and you are not evil when you are not good.
“‘You are only loitering and sluggard.
“‘Pity that the stags cannot teach swiftness to the turtles.
“‘In your longing for your giant self lies your goodness, and that longing is in all of you.
“‘But in some of you, that longing is a current rushing with might to the sea, carrying the secrets of the hillside and the songs of the forest.
“‘And in others it is a flat stream that loses itself in angles and bends, and lingers before it reaches the shore.
“‘But let not him who longs much say to him to longs little, ‘Wherefore are you slow and halting?’
“‘For the truly good ask not the naked, ‘Where is your garment?’ nor the houseless, ‘What has befallen your house?'”
Isn’t that wonderful? We have this opportunity to look at where we are wandering in these strange and amazing ways.
Resistance on your path. What does resistance look like? When you cut to the chase, it really looks like our own fear. It might dress itself up as anger or jealousy, but we all know that it feels bad. Do you know that feeling of feeling bad? We can guarantee that behind that, there is an opportunity to be aware that what we are really feeling is a sense of separation from God.
Those states of mind – anger, jealousy, or whatever it is – are based in fear, and they are really just dressed up ways of looking at the world. Feeling separate from God is like a self-imposed block on our path. We all are in need of being restored, because we want to feel complete.
Look at your life if you find a fear there – fix it before it fixes you!
I believe that they are wake-up calls from our souls saying, “Hey, this is an opportunity where you can experience more of the presence of God. This is where you can unfold your spiritual being-ness in another way.” Jesus was very keen on saying “Wake up! Be awake!” These places of resistance can be seen as wake-up calls from the soul.
Jesus said, “Resist not evil.” The word “evil” in its root meaning means immature. I can say, “Yes, I am in the process of unfolding.” That is so much more gentle than having to do it right today. So, Jesus said, “Resist not evil.” Agree with thine adversary quickly whilst thou art in the way with him.” [Matthew 5:25, KJV] So, when the fears come up, instead of trying to push them away and deny them, we can be willing to agree with our adversary quickly while we are in the way with it, and ask for God’s help.
Behind everything is a fear that we might lose something, or not get something we want. There is a fear that we can’t have, be, or experience all that we really are.
If you try to push the fear down, it will only get stronger. It is like holding a beach ball underwater. It fights back; it wants to come to the surface, and to the forefront of your life.
First, acknowledge that the fear is there, however it is dressed up. Whatever you want to call it; it is fear.
Second, look at it in the eye and identify it. Identify the place of separation and what the fear is showing you.
Fear is there as our friend, to point us to the fact that we are giving our attention to the opposite. So, we might as well embrace the fear and say, “Friend, show me what it is I need to heal in my sense of separation.”
Third, plunge into it and start telling on it like a little kid does. And once we’ve told the fear that we are going to tell on it (through counseling or by telling really true friends, or support groups), it starts losing its power immediately.
We can know that we are always wrestling with old beliefs. Only old beliefs keep us wrestling with the fear. We’ve been taught to look at this path as “us and them.” Worst of all, we’ve believed this duality of “us and God.” That’s the really big lie in the path we are all on.
The truth is that there is a polarity – there is us and God, but God is always there. It is our part to play to be aware of this Presence and power.
So we can look at these things, talk about them, get them out, find the place of separation, and then look at the old beliefs. There’s a wonderful passage in Acts 13 where Paul meets up with a Roman commander who has bought into the idea that the Holy Spirit is the direct connection with God, and he is, very happily, going his way. Then, the man meets up with a sorcerer. The sorcerer is telling him the old beliefs and that this is wrong. Paul has an interchange with this man where it is necessary to be done with the sorcerer and to counteract the teachings of the sorcerer who is called the “son of the devil.”
We must confront all these old beliefs, look them squarely in the eye, and bring them to the point of truth.
Mental resistance closes the doors and windows of the mind and shuts out the light of Spirit. When we are seeing stuff that is going on that we don’t like and we have this sense of separation, we don’t have to be like the person who stood on the burning deck, looking brave, while the ship sank. He said that any spiritual person would get a bucket brigade going; they would do something about it.
A spiritual person is a person of positive actions.
When we find we have these places of resistance, we should not deny them but we need to invite God in to deal with them. Just as Jesus met the old social beliefs in sorrow and suffering and death, and rose triumphantly out of them, so you have the light and the power to meet the race beliefs in sorrow and lack and failure and death, and to rise out of them, in the true Christ thinking. Your own willingness to follow Jesus and to come into spiritual consciousness and to develop and use the Christ power will determine your growth.
The longest, most difficult way back to the “Father’s house” is the way of experience. The short-cut is in being receptive and obedient to the leading of God in thought, word, and deed; putting God first in your life.
When we renew this faith in us that God can transform these points of fear, we can then go out and not act as if in a sense of pretending, but put into action as steps in the direction of being aware of the presence of God.
We can use our rational minds to know that when we feel badly about ourselves or feel separate, it is an opportunity for a breakthrough. What we are really saying is: “I want to feel the presence of God within me.”
We can have lots of fun with this and open up more avenues of our lives to let this be our own true experience. On the path, when we meet resistance, we can welcome it as an opportunity to transform the old belief system, and have another place where we can allow God to be a very present experience in our lives.
I wish you every opportunity to experience more of the presence of God in more areas of your lives.
God bless you!
PRAYER / MEDITATION______________________
Let us take this time to relax, and consciously and joyously seek the awareness of God through the silence of prayer – that place where we remember who and what we really are.
Think about God.
Relax a little more, and become aware that the chair is supporting your body. Be aware of your back being supported. Be aware of your feet on the floor. And, if you will, be aware that the place where you sit is supported with deep foundations into this supportive, wonderful earth.
Relax into the presence of God. Be aware that God is supporting you, and your life with deep foundations.
Rest in the silence of prayer …
Allow yourself to enjoy remembering that our earth created by God is very supportive; God loves us, unconditionally, and accepts us just as we are. Remember that God’s sun and moon shine on us, no matter how we may feel about ourselves or others.
Let us remember that the trees will have an abundant supply of leaves, all joyously celebrating the presence of life on earth. And they are sharing that abundance with us at any time we want to be aware of it.
We have this wonderful, mothering aspect that loves us and accepts us just as we are, and showers love, joy, and goodness upon us. As we remember that we live in this wonderful, supportive place, let us be aware of the connection we have with all of God’s universe.
Remember how wonderfully ordered God’s universe really is. The planets move in perfect order. The universe supports the entire oneness of this universe. Just as God supports you, and is with you on your path.
In this sense of support, we can truly remember and relax, even more, as we sit here, knowing that we are supported and that we are a part of the wholeness and good of God.
Rest in the silence of prayer …
We are important. We are important enough for God to give all of God’s goodness, intelligence, wisdom, life, and truth, in and through us. We remember that we are all children of God. We remember that our connection is never broken unless we choose to feel separate.
We are children of God.
Ours are the hands and feet of God to produce good on humanity’s path. Ours is the intelligence through which God expresses to bring wisdom into humanity’s thoughts.
We remember that our bodies are always renewed, restored, and regenerated in this wonderful order of God life.
Truly, it is God’s life living us. And we choose to do God’s will by fully living this life.
We remember that God gives us all gifts of life, intelligence, talent, and ability. God gives the gift of joy and expression through us, and this is a very living and real part of this truth.
Rest in the silence of prayer … be even more willing than ever before to be aware of the presence of God life in every cell of your body. Speak words of God’s truth to your body, knowing that it is the light, life, and intelligence of God expressing at all times. God’s love is the truth of every part of your being.
Rest in the silence of prayer …
We have no need to fear, for surely God is the love that is expressing in, through, and as us.
We can breathe a sigh of relief to know that we have enough love to give, and that our love is totally worthwhile, for it is God’s love. We have enough love to give, for God’s supply of love is endless.
We have no doubt. And if we find points of doubt or fear, we can quickly remember the truth that God is with us NOW.
We have no need to wonder if we are enough, for surely we are equipped by the all-ness and the is-ness of God.
We know that God gives–without any sense of having to earn it–the gift of God’s presence, the gift of God’s love.
God gives to us so that we can give to others.
We can know we are the gift and we are free to give. We give, freely, of this love to every man, woman, and child on our path.
As we give ourselves permission to love more freely, we can give ourselves permission to live more fully than ever before. We feel this fullness, this light, and this love in every part of our being, as we are, joyously and wondrously, fully aware of our bodies, our presence, as being evidence of the presence of God here and now.
In Jesus Christ’s name, to this truth we do say … Amen.
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Christopher Ian Chenoweth