October 27th Sunday Service Message: Allow Doing to Arise from Being

Every moment is another opportunity to begin anew

There is a well-known corporate slogan that tells us to “Just Do It.”1  In this fifth lesson of six in the Fall Program series, Discovering Your Soul Signature, based on the book of the same title by Panache Desai, Rev. Joanne asks us to flip this idea on its head and to “Just Be It.”

One of the things I appreciate most about Unity teachings and philosophy is the freedom to explore spiritual ideas without religious dogma or clerical authority.  This freedom allows every person to discover for themselves their Truth of Being.  However, there is a potential downside to this.

Many Spiritual Seekers, (myself included, and more often than I might care to admit), will sometimes come to the conclusion that if we just read the right book, take the right class, attend the right seminar, or meditate correctly, that somehow from that we will finally “get it” and become enlightened.  It is true that one of the foundations of learning is repetition.  It is also true that being presented the same information in a slightly different manner can also facilitate learning.

Science tells us that most mammals, especially humans, naturally prefer novelty, so long as it does not come with some perceived threat.  Rats in a lab maze will automatically explore a newly opened section of the maze, and children will automatically gravitate toward a new toy, even when old favorites are readily available.2  Well, I may not be a laboratory rat, but when discovering a new author or encountering a new spiritual concept, I will often move toward that “shiny object.”

There are any number of reasons why people seek spirituality including, but not limited to:  discovering their own goodness, alleviation of suffering, mental stimulation, self-actualization, and discarding victimhood.  In that process, we take certain actions - we read, listen, and practice.  Sometimes the “doing” can become spiritual busy work.  The reading and listening are valuable, but without implementing what we learn by practicing, it is much like reading a description of an orange, or looking at a photograph of an orange, without ever actually having tasted and eaten an orange.  It is much less satisfying, and we receive none of the nutritional benefits.

As we go about our daily lives, we are “practicing” all of the time, whether we know it or not.  The question is, what are we practicing, and how are we practicing?  The “what” that we are practicing are those things we have learned throughout our lives, either intentionally through active study, or from our culture and environment.  Rev. Joanne touched upon the “how” two weeks ago, and expanded on it this week.  We can operate only from one of two States of Being – love or fear.  A reminder of what scripture tell us:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  1 John 4:18

Rev. Joanne explains that all our actions and feelings must, and in fact can only, come from one of these two states.  It is easy to see how positive emotions and their actions come from a place of love.  We care about our children, so we act in their best interest.  We are grateful for our prosperity and abundance, so we share our good fortune with others.  But what about positive emotions and their actions coming from a place of fear?  We care about our children, just the same, but when we act from a place of fear we may be overprotective and not allow them to venture out on their own and grow.  And we may be grateful for our prosperity and abundance, but when we act from fear we may start pinching pennies, and even become stingy, because we fear that our good fortune will not last.

In the same way, our negative emotions and their actions also come from either a place of love or fear.  We may feel envious, or even outright jealous, of some achievement of a friend or acquaintance.  The jealousy itself is not a good thing.  However, when we recognize the feeling, and act from a place of love, it can shift our thinking toward being happy for that person, and motivate us to take the necessary actions in order to achieve or attain something similar.  If we are feeling that same jealousy and act from a place of fear, that is the ultimate double whammy.  In such a situation we might act to sabotage the person’s success, remove ourselves from relationship with them entirely, or even engage in illegal or immoral behavior to balance the scale, such as theft or marital infidelity.

Here is the good news.  We have the ability in every moment to choose to act from a place of love or a place of fear.  This can be tricky, because it is not always clear which is which.  That is where spiritual study and practice come into play.  The more we familiarize ourselves with spiritual tools, such as meditation, prayer, forgiveness and gratitude, and the more we actually practice them, the easier it becomes to have self awareness in any given situation.  And as we practice, our actions become reflexive rather than a conscious effort.  Even the most experienced musicians practice scales.  So too, even the most experienced Truth Students practice from their toolbox.  We do not exercise to get into shape, and once having done so, then stop exercising.  We all know how those before and after pictures look, and it is usually not pretty.  But even if we do find ourselves becoming less disciplined than we would like, we can in every moment choose to begin again.

Beginning Again3
by Frank B. Whitney

It matters not what might befall,
Beyond all else I hear the call
     “You can begin again.”
My courage rises when I hear
God’s voice allay the thought of fear
And when He whispers gently, near,
     “You can begin again.”

When once quite all the world seemed wrong,
Throughout its din I heard His song,
     “You can begin again.”
An inner joy within me stirred,
I treasured each assuring word,
My heart was lifted when I heard,
     “You can begin again.”

Begin again?  Another chance?
Can even I make an advance?
     “You can begin again.”
Begin at once at taking heart
And knowing God – of you He’s part!
New life to you He will impart!
     "You can begin again."

Scripture:

And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you determine what is best . . .  Philippians 1:9-10

Spiritual Practice:

You are invited to create your own spiritual practice around this week’s focus.  You could set the intention to take time each day to sit in the stillness.  You could decide to take time each hour to focus on the breath, imagining yourself as a flute being played by the Divine.  Set your intention and then go about the work of doing it this week.

Like so many things in life, simple does not necessarily mean easy.  It is a simple concept to understand what acting from love or fear means, but not so easy to actually implement it.  Awareness is an important first step in this process.  So this week, I will practice trying to be aware of whether I am acting from love or fear, especially when moved to act by a strong emotion, either positive or negative, by taking a deep breath and counting to ten before doing anything.  How will you practice and “Just Be It?”

Greg Skuderin

1“Just Do It” is a trademark of Nike Corporation.

2Dean, Nicole, The Importance of Novelty, Brain World Magazine, September 2019.

3Whitney, Frank B., Beginning Again, 1938, Unity School of Christianity Press.  This poem was the lead-in to a short book of essays by the same title.