LOVE IN ACTION, PART 2 ,Vision is Your Future, 2-23-2020
Updated: Mar 4, 2020
This morning is week 2 of our Love in Action series. During this 7 weeks we are talking about building a consciousness of abundance … a greater understanding of and connection with God … the Source of ALL our Good.
We're learning that abundance is not something to pray for or wait for – it's right here, right now. This series is all about awakening to the reality that we are surrounded by a vast sea of substance. As we become more conscious of this Truth and learn how to tap into this sea … a whole new world of possibilities opens up to us.
We began last week by creating a shared understanding of what abundance really is. Our working definition: Abundance is the power to satisfy our needs and make our dreams come true. We also saw how essential it is to take responsibility for the lives we are creating. Although God is the Source of all good, abundance can only come into manifestation through our consciousness of it. Until we have the consciousness of abundance, we are powerless to create the experience of abundance.
We talked about commitment last week too … that abundance begins with a commitment to being a giver to life. The Law of Circulation says that as we release the gifts of our time, talent and treasure into the world, we step into the flow of the Universe and open the door to an infinite supply of peace, love, joy, health, wealth and wholeness. I challenged us all to make a greater commitment to living as a giver than we have ever made before. I asked that we all think about how to use our time, talent and treasure in new or expanded ways for this 7 weeks, so that we could experience what it feels like to consciously live as a giver to life. Some of us agreed to state our commitment publicly as a way to add energy to it and be an inspiration for others. You’ll know us by our Love in Action name tags. Those who were not here last week can access the message through our website. If you too want to go public with your commitment and receive a gorgeous name tag like this, just add your name to the list on the foyer table.
The heart of the commitment we’re making, whether public or private, is to become more intentional givers by taking the time to think through what we will give and where we will give it … and then following through on these inner commitments. By doing this, we are going to prove the law of circulation … and experience the promise of Scripture: Give and it will be given to you, pressed down and overflowing.
As an example, here are my commitments for this week. Notice how simple they are.
Giving More Time: I am committed to going to bed an hour earlier and arising an hour earlier and using that hour for an expanded meditation time. I am also going to participate wholeheartedly in the Lenten Prayer Program which begins this week. I dedicate these extra hours to my spiritual growth in recognition that there is NO LACK of time.
Giving more of my Talent: I am going to use my speaking skills to speak in new venues and my writing skills to create new media posts and V-blogs. I am going to be a contributor to our Lenten Prayer Program. I am offering more of my talents in gratitude for them … knowing the power of God working through me makes a difference.
Treasure: I am increasing my giving to this church by $100 each month in appreciation for all the spiritual nourishment I receive here and the support I receive from each of you. And I want to express more of my love and gratitude for all UNITY has given me.
These decisions are a stretch for me but they are not hardships. They are about becoming more of who I am. This is the balance we are looking for in our tithing. A stretch but not a hardship.
This week I want to offer the next step in our journey toward a more abundant life. The theme of today’s message is creating and holding a Vision of higher possibility for our lives. A Vision – of what living a truly abundant life would look like. Because the truth is that none of us will ever rise higher than our vision. Let me repeat that: none of us will every rise higher than our vision. So, on the journey toward greater abundance, it is essential to expand our concept – of what we want – and, even more importantly, of who and what we are.
Evolution is part of the divine plan. Since the beginning of time, Spirit has been unfolding itself into greater and greater expression. Everything in the Universe is constantly engaged in the process of evolution. Humanity, being an integral part of spirit's creation, also lives under the Universal imperative to grow and expand. At a personal level, we sense this as the inner urge to live more fully and get more satisfaction out of life. We crave new horizons – higher ideals – and greater challenges. They make us feel more alive!
Something inside us humans is always urging us into greater expression. When we find the courage to take up the challenge of that urge – and do something we've dreamed of doing -- we experience a surge of energy, excitement and joy.
Many of us experience the evolutionary urge as a subtle restlessness. Lots of times, we think this restlessness is a craving to HAVE more, and so we strive to acquire more things. Or to FEEL more, and so we go looking for greater physical, mental or emotional excitement … sometimes choosing things that are not in our best interest … right? But these things never satisfy for long because what we really crave is the experience that new stuff and excitement give us. Newness. Aliveness. Adventure. Expansion. But what if this inner restlessness is not really an urge to HAVE more … FEEL more or even FIX more of the things we consider wrong with us? What if it is actually the nudge of Spirit to EXPRESS more OF WHO WE ARE … BECAUSE, in our heart of hearts, we KNOW that who we are is much greater than we think we are.
Now there's something very important we need to understand. Spirit is always calling us forward and upward, but our response to Spirit's call is entirely up to us. All of creation has it – this divine discontent – but we humans do not have to respond to it. We can ignore it – we can turn away from it. But the more we do this, the less we experience the Newness, Aliveness, Adventure and Expansion our souls are craving. Yes … we are free to refuse the call of evolution within us – just as we are free to refuse the call of this Love in Action program. Or, we can abandon ourselves to it. We can say "yes" to it, and open ourselves up to a whole new level of living.
You and I have a great deal to say about how greater expression will look and feel every day … what direction this evolutionary urge within us will take. We are designed to be creators … we are GOING to create something in our lives – that's a given. But will we create more ABUNDANCE or LACK? CONNECTION or SEPARATION?
Remember the old movie, Oh God? George Burns plays God and John Denver plays a guy who's pretty fed up with his life. In one scene, John Denver's character asks God a question we've all been tempted to ask at one time or another … "Hey God, why did you create the world this way … it's such a mess … and so is my life". And God says to him, "Hey man, don't blame me. I didn't do it. I created the blueprint … the details have always been up to you."
God has given us the motivation and the means. The motivation is that inner urge to move forward. The means is our creative nature and ability. But the details are up to us. We are responsible for what our lives looks like.
This is why our Vision is so important. It is how we map out the details. Our vision for our own highest possibility is our personal roadmap. Through it, we say to the Universe … this is who I want to be … this is what I want my life to look like … this is what I want to experience.
Now you might think you don't have a vision if you've never intentionally created one – but you do. We all do. You just might not be conscious of it – and that’s a problem. Throughout the early years of our lives, we learned what life is all about from the people around us. We learned from how people reacted to us – from what we were told and taught. And we formed a concept – a deep-rooted, unconscious concept of who we are – how life works -- and what is possible for us. There are feelings and beliefs behind this concept – hundreds of them – most held in our subconscious minds. Now we don't have to go digging around in the subconscious to discover what these concepts and images are – all we have to do is look at what is unfolding in our lives. Because our lives are nothing more than the out-picturing of our Vision … whether it's conscious or unconscious. Our lives are our mirrors. And this is very good news. Because if we don't like what is being played out, we can change the vision. Even if we are currently operating from an unconscious and very limited vision, we can construct a conscious vision that is greater and more powerful.
The Kingdom of God – the field of infinite possibility in which we live – has already been given to us. However, we alone must choose which and how much of these magnificent possibilities will become probabilities … and which will eventually become actualities. If our vision for our lives is broad and expansive, we constantly attract greater abundance. If it is small and narrow, we restrict and limit the good that is available to us. So I ask you … are you holding out a thimble to life? Or a cup? Or a bucket? Or a tub? The amount of abundance we experience is all about our idea of what is possible.
You know, we don't have to live our lives unconsciously … we don't have to believe what we've always believed … we don't have to accept what we were taught. We can set those old beliefs aside and build a conscious vision that is much greater. This is a very practical, moment-to-moment decision.
Suppose you have been presented with a new opportunity – like a new job or a new relationship. Well, you are standing at a crossroad. You can let past disappointments be your decision-maker and step back … or you can center in God, open to new possibilities and step out on a new adventure. Life is nothing more than a series of opportunities … some large … most seemingly small. Every time we decide to center in God and make a present-moment decision rather than react from automatic pilot, we are opening ourselves to greater abundance.
OK, this all sounds simple and straightforward. But we all know there are obstacles to overcome. Creating a new Vision for our lives is a profound challenge – because our dreams are always on the other side of our fears and doubts. To claim our dream, we're going to have to face those doubts and fears and choose to move past them.
We all have a comfort zone. Most of the time, we operate within the possibilities that are easy for us to achieve. Well, what is it the 12-Steppers say … If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. That's common sense. Truth is, our personal greatness is way out there – beyond our comfort zone … beyond self-doubt and self-criticism and lack thinking and false beliefs. These things are like a wall encircling us, keeping us trapped in the small life we've created. If we want to have more room to move around … more room for abundance, we're going to have to push that wall outward. AND, the thing is … it's not possible to push a wall outward without touching it, is it? We're going to have to face our inner demons.
This takes courage and commitment, but it can be done. The good news is that there really is nothing we have to face that isn't US. Nothing outside of us can keep us from our greater good. People, places, things, circumstances – they do not have the power. We have the power. The doubts we'll have to face, the challenges we'll have to face … they're rooted in us. That means we can change them.
Here's an encouraging thing to remember – a greater idea always heals a lesser one. Think about this for a moment. The new and expanded vision we consciously create can change and heal the lesser ideas that we thought were true only yesterday. As we learn to trust and believe in a new vision for our lives, it will gradually and naturally begin to replace the false beliefs and fears that stand in our way. So, no matter how many times you fall back into the old thinking, don't give up. Just keep refocusing on the higher possibility. Everything else will take care of itself if we are willing to do this. Nothing can stand in the way of our new vision as long as we continually turn away from the old and return the focus of our attention to the new.
This morning we're going to begin the process of visioning for a greater possibility. If you unfamiliar with a process like this, you may feel a little lost in it. You may have many vague feelings and half-realized ideas. You may find it hard to put your finger on what you really want and be tempted to latch on to the obvious or the general.
During the process this morning I suggest that you try to stay with the vague yearning you feel inside … don't be in too big a hurry to settle on something easy or obvious. For instance, in visioning for abundance in health … you might be tempted to say … I want perfect health … even though you are 85 years old or suffering from a chronic ailment. A better way is to sit with the current reality until an image of what abundance in health would be like FOR YOU, right now, right where you are. Your vision will unfold if you are willing to return to the process on a regular basis. You can re-listen to this meditation on our website if that helps or simply sit in the silence and ask your heart to reveal it's greatest longing.
No matter how vague your vision is at the beginning, you'll find that by staying with the process you will eventually land on an image that brings up feelings of anticipation or excitement … an image that lifts your spirits. Once you begin exploring and following these feelings, you will get clearer and clearer about what the path to abundance looks like for you in each area of your life. Over time, if you are persistent, these images will take hold of your mind and gradually supplant your old, limited ideas of what's possible for you.
So now, let prepare to do a Visioning process together as Cindi leads us in a meditation song …