Forgiveness: A Doorway to Freedom

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

As a church consultant I tell leaders and boards to let your people know what you as a board are thinking about and working on so that when you bring it to them, they are not hearing it for the first time. So I get to practice what I preach.

Over the years Unity of Greater Portland’s name has evolved. Many of you probably don’t even know that the Charter name is Unity Church of Truth. I don’t know the history of when it began doing business as Unity Church of Greater Portland. In 2016 when we revised our bylaws, we dropped the word “Church.” What we are now thinking of adding is this: Unity of Greater Portland Spiritual Center. How does this resonate with you? Do you hear this as a broader definition of who we are and the values we represent? We want to hear from you since this is a decision we all want to feel is right. Talk with me or a Board member about your thoughts.

Forgiveness was the message this past Sunday. Here are root meanings of forgiveness from Aramaic, Greek and English…to cancel, untie or let loose, to lay aside, not to grasp.

Dr. Wayne Dyer said: “When we forgive another person, we are really saying, I no longer give you the power to control how I think, feel or behave. I now take responsibility for myself.”

Over the years many books have been written about forgiveness. In The Energy of Money book, coach and author Maria Nemeth says this about forgiveness:

“What people do is what they do. I believe that everyone believes what they’re doing, in the moment, is the “right” thing to do. You can’t always know a person’s motivations. If they did it deliberately to hurt you, they must have had their own good reason for it. This is, by no means, at all, excusing bad or miscreant behavior. It is only to say that the reasons why are irrelevant. They belong to someone else and they do not alter what has happened.”

She goes on to say: “It’s a bit like splitting the bonds of an atom, and the net effect is movement and power on your path toward your dream. You will move more quickly on your path if you forgive.” Bottom line: Forgiveness is an inside job. Forgetting is not a part of the equation. Neither is confessing. Remembering helps you to heal and supports you in the future. The person you are forgiving doesn’t even need to be present in your life or on the planet. But forgiveness can free up energy for you.”

I found the need to do forgiveness work while in seminary to free up my energy in order to live without judgment and blame. I shared my story on Sunday.

If you are holding non-forgiveness toward someone, give yourself the gift of forgiveness so that you too may know the great joy that is the result of living without judgment or blame.

As Mohandas Gandhi said, “The weak never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Forgiveness is about our freedom, not others.”

In the book Forgiveness Therapy, David W. Schell sums up the forgiveness process when he says: “Forgiveness takes courage and determination. Dig deep and you will find the strength you need.”

This coming Sunday is on the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; we have a special service planned that focuses on peace and has an element of creativity that you will want to join in on.

You are a blessing in my life.
Rev. Patricia Bessey

Light of Release: The Power of Cleansing, Renunciation, and Repentance

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

This past Sunday a newcomer was at the 8 a.m. service and after the service was over he and his friend came and sat with Rev. LeRoy and me and had a cup of coffee. He asked me a question which he said he asks often of people and it was, “Can you remember a significant time when you saw synchronicity in your life?” My response at the time was, “I can’t think of a specific incident, but I see many if I stay awake.”

Then as I began to write this article I had an aha moment that is related to his question. Here it is: Last week in Heart Thought we said goodbye to Maria Lundy, grateful for her service in the kitchen. We had a plan to keep lunch going and asked many of you for your support during lunch that day. Later that afternoon I got a text from Ingrid Avery, asking if she heard correctly that Maria was leaving the kitchen. I told her that yes, she had heard correctly. She then let me know that she was ready to return to the kitchen and pick up where Maria left off. I just love how synchronicity works. Welcome back, Ingrid! Divine timing is always perfect. By the way – the soup Steph made on Sunday was scrumptious. We are a remarkable team!!

The eleventh power of the Twelve Powers is Release, and my talk was The Light of Release: The Power of Cleansing, Renunciation, and Repentance. From co-founder Charles Fillmore in his book The Twelve Powers of Man: There must be renunciation or letting go of old thoughts before the new can find place in the consciousness. This is a psychological law, which has its outer expression in the intricate eliminative functions of the body.

The first way we practice release is through cleansing. The cleansing action of release is meant to be gentle, allowing rather than forcing. It is meant to clear the body and mind, restoring equanimity.

The cleansing action of release restores our awareness of our original and true divine nature (pg. 178).

The second way is renunciation. Releasing human consciousness is releasing our sense of limitation. We release our belief that “I am only human,” and we uncover our Divine Identity that has been intact all along. Spiritual release is crossing out in consciousness our human sense of self so that our true Divine Identity shows itself.

Spiritually, renunciation takes place when we cultivate an open mind and open heart, giving up every thought and belief we have clung to, becoming teachable through the activity of spiritual understanding (pg. 181).

The third way is repentance. The Greek word for repentance is metanoia: “change in mind or consciousness.” The English translation means to return, restore, come back or turn back. Rev. Linda in the book Divine Audacity says that repentance and forgiveness work together. Think on this: When we understand that to repent is to change our mind, to return to our awareness of our true nature, what is there to forgive? Returning to our Divine Identity or Infinite Self, we have restored our awareness of oneness.

Eckhart Tolle reminds us: Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.

Affirmation: I claim release now. I let go of anything that no longer serves me, so I can let my Infinite Self shine!

Next week will be The Light of Life: The Power of Animation, Vitality, and Presence.

You are a blessing in my life.
Rev. Patricia Bessey

The I of the Storm: Tell Me More

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey —

Summer is close at hand! In just a couple of days we turn the calendar to June. When we move into June it’s a sign that school will soon be over for the summer. That isn’t the case here: Our teachers and children meet every Sunday year-round. In the summer the curriculum is more relaxed, and it is also an opportunity for you to bring a special fun activity to the children’s program. The teachers and children welcome you with great enthusiasm and all that is required of you is to give them a date you will be there and to bring the activity. Everyone that spends time with these bright lights feel blessed and fulfilled from the experience.

Are you wondering how well we did with the Eat, Play, Love auction? Let’s hear a drumroll… the dollar net amount is $5,119.23. Well done to all who participated and contributed to make this a success.

This past Sunday was the fifth talk of six using the book I of the Storm, written by Unity minister Gary Simmons. It was focused on these three little words, “Tell Me More.” The teachings from this phrase has been far reaching for me.

I want to explore a principle and a skill we can use to dismantle the separation that is occurring when we feel defensive or resistant. This occurs when we are being judged, when we are being criticized. Do you remember what Jesus said about judgment? He said, “Judge not, lest you be judged.”

Whenever we have a judgmental feeling or a critical feeling about someone, what does that signify to us, what does it show us? It points out for us something that we don’t like in ourselves, something that we’ve not been able to look at directly in ourselves. Any time we judge someone else, we are judging our own self.

What does it mean when someone criticizes or judges you? What it means is that it is not about you – it’s about them. When you react to the criticism or judgment, or when you are resistant or defensive, you choose to make it about you.

When someone judges or criticizes you, if you can remember not to be resistant or to become defensive, you have an opportunity to see how this might be for you as opposed to against you. It may be about what is missing in a relationship, it may be about what the other person needs or wants, or it may be about something you said or did. And the magic way to embrace a criticism or judgment is to say three magic words – “Tell me more.” If you say, “Tell me more,” you are staying connected to the other person, you allow that other person to tell you what this is really about, and you let the underlying need be revealed.

This coming Sunday at the 10 a.m. service we will be hosting Jon Mundy.

At the 8 a.m. service, the talk title is “Living in the I of the Storm.”

You are a blessing in my life.
Rev. Patricia Bessey

I Of The Storm: Who Is Your Enemy?

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey —

Last Friday night was a big night at Unity of Greater Portland. If was our Eat, Play, Love fundraiser featuring The Flukes, which by the way were awesome. We will certainly invite them back again. This is a group of about seven people who came together six years ago, none of them knowing how to play the ukulele, and now they are about 30 members strong. They were very impressive!

The silent and live auction was so much fun. Thank you, Patti Lacombe and Steph Plourde, for entertaining us as our auctioneers. We had wonderful items to bid on as well as many service items. The live auction included a three-night stay at an Airbnb cottage on Vinalhaven, a week at a condo in Albuquerque, New Mexico and a weekend at another Airbnb in Cape Elizabeth.

A loud shout-out to Amy Cousins, Patti Lacombe, Bonnie Dalrymple, Cindy Uhl and Matt Purinton, who were the organizers of the event. There were many others who helped make it all come together, for whom we are so grateful. Thank you all for a well-done event.

On Sunday the message was “Who’s Your Enemy?” We are continuing talks from the book I of the Storm by Rev. Dr. Gary Simmons. What are the storms in your life? Jesus called those things that appear to be against us “the enemy.” We may believe the enemy to be our body, an illness, divorce, death of a loved one, prosperity challenges, etc. However, the enemy is not any of those things.

• The real enemy is the belief that any of these things can be against us.
• The real enemy is when we feel separate from God and separate from each other.
• The real enemy is when we are caught up in misperception.
• The real enemy is when we feel intense, aggressive competition.
• The real enemy is our defensiveness.
• The real enemy is our way of relating to the storms in our life.

The “I” that Simmons talks about is at the very center of our being. It is found within our hearts and these centers can never oppose each other because this is where we truly connect. Hearts never battle; only heads do. I have purposely bolded this, as it should never be forgotten. The heart leads and the head is second in command. However, for most of us it is just the opposite, and then we find ourselves in conflict.

Feeling love and joy helps us open our heart space. Feeling love and joy synchronizes our head and our heart energy – and that extends our energy field. Consciously choosing to open our hearts, we stay connected with others. When we shift to the heart, we feel the oneness of our divine connection and experience the Presence within. This gives us access to deeper understanding and wisdom. By moving our attention to the Presence of God, we can allow Spirit to guide and direct our actions, no matter what is happening in our lives. That is the “I of the storm.” We experience the “I” by feeling love.

This coming Sunday the message is “Tell Me More.” This one is a game-changer when you apply this teaching to a conversation that may be somewhat contentious. See you soon!

You are a blessing in my life.
Rev. Patricia Bessey