Three Steps to Freedom

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One of my favorite Moses stories occurs in the fourteenth chapter of Exodus. Pharaoh has finally let Israel go, but then he has a change of heart and decides to wipe them out. Israel’s escape is blocked by the Red Sea. They see the Egyptian army thundering down on them and they are terrified. Moses issues a set of three instructions that can help any of us under much lesser extremes. “And Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.’”

Fear not: Get control of your emotions. Fear squelches the creative imagination and is by far the most unproductive, debilitating emotion we can harbor. Moses simply says, stop doing that. You have a choice. Take the first step and stop your out-of-control habit of fearing. This advice, fear not, is repeated at least 33 times in the Bible.

Stand firm: Just watch where your mind goes when you are challenged. What if this happens? What if that happens? What if nothing happens? It’s all over the place, not firm at all. To stand firm means to center yourself. Stand firm in the idea that greater good is working out through this situation. What spiritual principles do you accept as true? Are you standing firm with them, or are you waiting to see what happens before you will trust them? This is your opportunity to take the high road, to demonstrate the power of your new insights.

See the salvation of the Lord: Now you are to visualize a successful outcome, and not necessarily the one you think is best. Do you suppose Israel had a collective visualization and imagined the Red Sea opening? I doubt they ever would have imagined that. How can you visualize an answer you cannot imagine? You see yourself happy, content, filled with the peace of knowing the storm is over. Does it matter how it ends? No, it doesn’t. It only matters that you learn to hold your peace and continue to live your life successfully in spite of appearances.

Practice applying these three simple instructions in any situation that arises and see how quickly those pursuing Egyptians become a non-issue.

 

 

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Your Life is Holy Ground

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Moses is undoubtedly one of the most famous and beloved Old Testament characters, possibly because we all relate to his efforts to set his people free from their Egyptian enslavement. It’s a story we can all identify with. At one point in Hebrew history, Egypt was an answer. The tribes of Israel moved there because of famine in their own land. Later, Egypt became the problem, as a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph saw the growing Hebrew population as a threat, thus enslaving them.

Moses was raised in an Egyptian household and was spared the hardships of his kin. One day he killed an Egyptian who was mistreating a Hebrew slave and he was forced to flee Egypt and live as a shepherd, reconnecting with his roots. While in the solitude of the countryside God speaks to Moses from a burning bush, calling him into service for the task of freeing his people.

Moses represents the understanding of God as law, a quantum leap from the view that God is capricious, moody, and completely unpredictable. The understanding of God as law means that when certain conditions are met, certain consequences are inevitable. Someone described affirmative prayer as the act of setting certain mental and emotional conditions that make a specific outcome inevitable.

According to the story, God’s will for the Hebrew people was the condition of prosperity and absolute freedom. It was the understanding of God as law (Moses) that brought them out of captivity and into their land of plenty. So it is with us. We may be waiting for God to act and bring about our freedom. The voice of God reminded Moses that the place upon which he was standing was holy ground. Like Jacob, Moses did not know he was in the presence of God.

When we realize that we are in the presence of God, that we are now standing on holy ground, we stop asking God to do things for us and begin to affirm and visualize the desired condition coming into manifestation. When we see and hold to a truth, we are creating an internal condition that makes certain external consequences inevitable, like 1+1 always produces 2.

You and I now stand in the fully operating kingdom of God. Dwell on what you want, expecting it to come about, and you will see a positive change for the better.

Understanding Grace

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One of the most famous references to the idea of grace comes from the familiar hymn, Amazing Grace. The hymn began its life in 1772 as part of the sermon notes of John Newton, a former English slave trader turned preacher. The last verse, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years …” was added decades later by, many believe, John Rees. These lyrics were eventually set to a borrowed tune called, New Britian.

The first line, Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, makes total sense when you consider Newton’s slave-trading history and subsequent conversion to Christianity. He undoubtedly felt that he had been spared a very long and miserable afterlife. He would have appreciated the more modern cliché, There but for the grace of God go I, which means that something bad that happened to others could just as easily have happened to him, were it not for God’s grace.

Clearly, the idea of grace is linked to a religiously inspired worm of the dust mentality. Webster defines grace as “unmerited divine assistance,” which points to the concept of God as the moody old man who regrets having created this problem known as the human race. The grace of God, like this limited view of God, are both products of humankind’s low spiritual self esteem.

There is no such thing as unmerited divine assistance. Jesus pointed out that the sun shines on the just and the unjust, that the prodigal son created his own suffering and that a man born blind was not so stricken because of either his or his parent’s sins.

God is love and love operates by law, unchanging and predictable in its nurturing behavior. Does an airplane fly by grace, or because it fulfills known and predictable laws of gravity? Frankly, I would not board a plane whose flight depended on grace. I will board one that flies by law.

The concept of grace can be a major stumbling block in our forward movement of developing spiritual consciousness. It is good to understand how we see our relationship to God. Do we think of ourselves, as Emerson said, as the “permitted” wretch, or have we embraced ourselves as expressions of the Infinite, worthy of all the support and assistance this freeing truth implies?

New Beginnings

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Life unfolds in cycles. If you observe these cycles closely you will see that there are times when things seem to be falling apart and other times when they are falling in place. We’re often confronted with this classical question: Is the cup half full or is it half empty?

This question points to a very important idea that we all need to keep in mind. Your answer is determined, not by the condition of the cup, but by how you are feeling at the moment you are viewing it. If you are optimistic and full of expectation, the cup will be half full. If you are feeling weak and vulnerable, beat by circumstances, the cup will appear to be half empty.

Many spiritual teachers have, as a standard principle, adopted the concept, life is consciousness. The condition of the cup need not determine how you feel. Determine how you feel and the condition of the cup will take care of itself.

Have you noticed during one of your low moments, how easily an encouraging word or phrase from a book or a bible verse can suddenly inspire you to a new way of seeing? A cup that looked half empty moments before now suddenly becomes half full … and filling. Do not get discouraged in your emotionally low moments! Refuse to set your course by these brief seasons of low visioning. Always remember that in the “twinkling of an eye” everything can change because you allow yourself to change the way you see.

Each new moment is a potential new beginning. It does not matter how negative you have been even one moment ago. You can start now to set a new energy in motion. Create a positive, encouraging affirmation and begin saying it, grasping the joy and emotional expectation that lays the groundwork for your success. Refuse to be the victim of circumstance or personality. In those moments when you slip back into the half-empty mode, remember that life is dynamic, that there is every reason to hold to even the tiniest glimmer of hope, declaring that the good you desire is now coming forth.

We stand at the threshold of a new year. See it as not only half full, but brimming with possibilities of unimagined opportunity!

Intelligence and Order

Forth Sunday of Advent

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In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus is on the meditative process. Follow the same preparations from the first week. Bring your awareness into the region of the solar plexus using the simple statement, I Am.

Open your mind to the quickening presence of intelligence. Your entire being is already permeated with intelligence. The functions of your body are all governed by it. You see and experience intelligence as order in your breathing, the beating of your heart, and all the many activities within the universe of your body of which you are not even aware. You see intelligence in the flower, in your pet, in the birds and the clouds that sail across the sky.

As you relax and let go, get the sense of this truth that you are completely immersed in intelligence and that your life is now unfolding in perfect order. Affirm:

The very essence of my being is intelligence.

My mind is clear. My thinking is orderly. I see things in their highest relation to the whole.

My vision is clear. My soul is imbued with the wisdom of the universe.

In all I do, I move forward in confidence and in peace.

Release all feelings of uncertainty about your life and know the intelligence of your soul is guiding your every step. Lift your spiritual eyes away from all appearances and see yourself as a conduit through which infinite intelligence is expressing as you.

Everyone and everything becomes part of your success in living. If your life seems to be pushing you to the left when you think you should go right, then know the intelligence expressing as your soul is now at work. Do not strain to work out plans or struggle to control events. Hold fast to the truth that the wisdom of your soul is directing your life, that the order and success you desire is unfolding with every new development.

Power and Strength

Advent Series, Part 3 of 4

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In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus is on the meditative process. Follow the same preparations from the first week and bring your awareness into the region of the solar plexus using the simple statement, I Am. See and feel your soul radiating power. Power manifests in a wide range of ways, from the unfathomable power of the sun to the simple unfolding of a leaf. Power divides our cells and fuels all aspects of our being.

Power rises in your being as physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength. You may call on strength to hold a steady course, to take one more step when your world seems to crumble around you, or to steady your faith in the well-being of a loved one. Strength may manifest as the courage to make an apology or it may express as the power to say no to behavior you know as destructive.

With your attention focused at your center, sense the power of your soul rising from your innermost depths and radiating throughout your being. Affirm:

I am an expression of pure power. The full radiance of my soul empowers me to steadfastness in all that I am and all that I do. My strength is boundless, my power has no limits.

If you are feeling powerless to do anything about some condition in your life, release the emotional energy of helplessness as you use this affirmation. Again, do not try to make anything happen or even look for changes in your life. Simply allow the flow of power to rise in your being and know it expresses as the strength you need, as you need it. Take a series of deep breaths. With each one, breathe in power and breathe out strength. Power is the essence of your being. You are never without it.

 

 

 

 

Love and Understanding

Advent Series, Part 2 of 4

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In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus is on the meditative process. Follow the same preparations from the first week and bring your awareness into the region of the solar plexus using the simple statement, I Am.  See and feel your soul radiating love. This beautiful energy of love works for the highest good of all concerned, sometimes attracting and sometimes repelling or dissolving, depending on how the highest good is to manifest. Whether love attracts or dissolves is not a decision you make, but one you trust love to sort out as it flows in and through every aspect of your being and your life. Love lifts your vision in a way that imparts the understanding to see and know what needs to be done. Affirm:

I am guided by the understanding that love imparts.

Love is my essence. Love is my being.

Love is the balancing action in all my relationships and all conditions in my life.

See your body immersed in love. See every aspect of your life, especially those areas that are troubled, completely engulfed in the love that radiates as your soul. See love doing its perfect work and become willing to do your part in that work when the understanding dictates. Loving your neighbor may result in strengthening your relationship or dissolving it. This is a much better alternative than trying to force yourself to love them because you think you are supposed to. You may not always be able to muster the kind word or take that right action that will bring agreement with another. Still, you can know that invoking love will fit all the pieces together, will tie up the loose ends, and move all concerned to their best and highest good. Love reveals that this is true even when your good intentions at diplomacy fail miserably, or fear drives your own actions. The love that expresses as your soul is greater than all human frailty. Your unloving thoughts and actions or the unloving thoughts and actions of another do nothing to alter love itself. Love does not depend on how loving or unloving you are.

Let all of this go and simply see your entire being immersed in love. Experience love’s healing warmth. Let it melt away your stress and your struggle to be loved. You are more than loved. You are love itself.