25 Jan

Excerpt from a talk given on 1/16/22 to Unity Church of Greater Rochester 

 In considering this Spiritual teaching about learning to Love thy neighbor as thyself……I remembered that I used to say, “well to the degree that I love myself, to that degree will I love others” ……. But in really looking at this over the last few days, I am hearing even more depth to this. As I listened to   this command more deeply, it appears that to   LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,  it really means To love my neighbor means loving me And loving me means to love my neighbor   In unity we look at the bible metaphysically, and so each character represents something in our consciousness.  The perfection of the Divine, as Jesus represented, is within and it is telling us as we look out upon the earth, we are looking in oneness, there is no separation. And of course, the only way we could do this is from the level of a higher awareness, a higher consciousness that each of us has access to. With all of this in mind, Nat and I were talking about one of the statements I make about God: GOD IS EVERY ONE OF US TOGETHER:  The Rocks, The Trees, The flowers and The Seas and all creatures whether of Fur, Fin, Feather or Skin. Let us look at what this might mean. If God unites us with rocks, then when we behold a mountain, it is easy to see the majesty of God in the Mountain. The sheer strength it possesses and all the ways each of us might see a Mountain. If God unites us with the seas, then we can imagine water as such a potent force that it has carved out valleys and riverbeds and yet it holds us up completely when we let go into it. If God unites us with flowers, then we can imagine how a flower grows from a seed planted deep within the earth. Its seed opens when it has the right amount of water and soil and it reaches for the light, even though it cannot see the light. That is surely true about us……. If God unites us with all creatures, then we can imagine how a horse’s majesty and beauty is also within us. Horses are prey animals and what that especially means is that they are motivated to be with their herd…they know that they need each other to survive and that is true about us even if we have chosen to no longer believe this. If God unites us with dogs, who are predators; what does that say about us? Dogs have this deep desire to please the human. So, even though their nature is a predator, they have learned to understand what their human wants, and they do their best to work with the human to accomplish what the one they love the most wants from them. And we can learn to love as dogs do? So, with all of this in mind, let us look at what might get in the way of us loving our human- neighbor in the way that we can love and appreciate Mountains, flowers, water, dogs, and horses……….  The way to genuinely love someone is to be present with our essence. That is, we identify and connect with our truest self, also known as the Christ within our or Divine Self. From this place of authenticity, Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. So, in this way, we can understand that we are all “equal to”. We are each made in the image and likeness of the Divine, though all different in our unique expression of the Divine So, there is no one or anything that I am not in relationship with. Although, the lizard/survival brain tells us this is not true, and it divides “the other “into groups of good and bad. And sometimes our lizard brain puts others into a group of people who are broken and need to be fixed and  we erroneously believe they need our worldly wisdom and advice to fix them. This practice causes us to make others in to our image rather than seeing the other as whole and well and free and in the image of the Divine. At other times, our lizard brain looks at what the OTHER has, and we may think, “well what is wrong with me”, and then we go down the rabbit hole of shame, thinking we are less than. And the opposite is true as well. Often when we feel bad about ourselves, there is no better antidote than to find someone we can look down our nose at and think they are less than. Once when in an online seminar with Mark Nepo and someone asked him what we can do with all of the violent polarization in our world. Mark did say, that there is no need to put up with someone acting like they are better or as I say:  NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE. HOWEVER, Mark ended his response by saying: WE ARE THEY WE ARE THEY  There is no Other. But a very important caveat is We must learn to be who we are and speak from who we are and language our feelings, thoughts, dreams, perceptions and history ……..we could do a weekend workshop on that and what keeps us from expressing who we are. But for today, let us know When we choose to connect with the presence of love within, we then activate a higher knowing that we are “equal to”, even if we do not fully believe this truth. Then we can use advanced communication tools like listening, reflecting, and also forms of speaking like Non-violent communication to connect in love without attack. AND, when the conversation goes sideways or out of a true equal connection, we can walk away. This is especially important to know this: when we are not communicating from an equal stance, we are not communicating  When  do choose to   connect and communicate, there are no Mountains we cannot climb together, no valleys that we cannot cross, and no problem that we cannot solve together. When we connect in a higher consciousness, answers come out of the blue that would never have come before. So, with all of this in mind, let us take these thoughts into a time of meditation. Breathe into this moment, allowing our attention to go deep within to a small sacred place   ~we are invited to be in holy communion with our higher self, The Christ within us, and as we connect in this sacred place, we are also connecting with all others at this level of being. From this place of high awareness and high consciousness, let us bring to mind someone with whom we love, someone outside of us but with whom we feel a complete and a perfect connection. Let us imagine seeing them, touching their hand, they and touch our hand,  connecting eyes to eyes, heart to heart,  and soul to soul…………  Let us feel that love that is generated when we connect with them. Breathing into a place in our body where we feel this holy love, this love has the ability to transform everything unlike itself. And now from this place of awareness, let us invite another person with whom we may be at odds with  Let is invite them in and they come willingly   and let us take a moment and connect once again to that presence of love that is within and let us know that they are also doing the same and we can allow love to do its perfect work  Let us know that neither is right or wrong we are each made in the image and likeness of God and so we connect at this level. And we breathe into this holy connection and from this connection, with this other,  let us   know we are one….  let us take a moment in the silence and just be together in love Pause……..   ……….. as it was in the beginning is now and ever Shall be, world without end    I invite you now to deepen your breathing but retain an awareness of where this love is within your body  For we are made in the image and likeness of God and we are  heir to the kingdom of all good and so it is Amen

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