Peaceful Revolution: The Muscle of Discipline

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

Even when I don’t want to talk about weather, I find it difficult not to when, once again, we are hit with a Sunday snowstorm. The good news is that it waited until it was time to go home. As a result of the storm the class “I of the Storm” (no pun intended) was postponed until next Sunday.

Rev. Airin Wolf Minister of Prayer

Rev. Airin Wolf
Minister of Prayer

Many people serve our community, and some are visible, and some are not. I want to acknowledge someone I turn to often, and that is Rev. Airin Wolf. Rev. Airin is a hospital chaplain at Maine Medical Center. When I hear that one of you is in the hospital, I text Airin to see if he is working. Often he is and I ask him if he could make a visit. I tell him who is in there and he makes a point to stop in and pray with them. I am so very grateful for him and the service he provides. Thank you, Rev. Airin!

We are on the next to last muscle in the book Peaceful Revolution. To date we have examined the muscles of hope, empathy, appreciation, conscience, and reason, and this week was the muscle of discipline. The muscle of discipline allows us to control our impulses. The muscle of discipline helps us make good decisions in many ways.

Discipline allows one to control an impulse to lash out. You have often heard “sleep on it” (wait until the next morning). Discipline gives options. Discipline is like gold. Just as gold is a universal currency in the world of economics, discipline is a universal currency in the world of achievement. Gold can be exchanged for goods and services in every country, and discipline can be exchanged for hard work and perseverance in every endeavor.

Self-Control: A Higher Expression of Discipline

Definition of self-control: the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations.

“Cool heads prevail.” — Proverb

Paul said: One of the most important life skills we can have is the ability to delay gratification. This requires self-control, a higher expression of discipline that allows us to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gain.

Self-control deals with the short term, self-discipline with the long term.

Inner Freedom: The Highest Expression of Discipline

There is no authentic inner freedom that does not, sooner or later, also affect and change human history. — Rollo May

Paul says: Although many people take their freedom for granted, far more people do not appreciate or even think about inner freedom. What is inner freedom? Inner freedom means being released from the prison of uncontrollable impulses. Instead of being a slave to every whim, discipline allows us to master our desires.

When the muscle of discipline grows strong, it becomes self-control, a higher expression of discipline that allows us to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gains.

When the muscle of discipline reaches its highest expression, we achieve inner freedom. Inner freedom is synonymous with inner peace and is usually accompanied by happiness and bliss.

Inner freedom is not guided by our efforts; it comes from seeing what is true. — Gautama Buddha

Listen to this week’s Sunday message to hear what Mike Tyson said about what happened when he bit Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1997 and the complete message.

Next week will be the last muscle… the muscle of curiosity.

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

Peaceful Revolution: The Muscle of Reason

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

UNITY CENTER FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH is our new name! At our Annual Meeting on Sunday, after some discussion and sharing the results from the cards returned from many of you with your choice name, it was decided that we would adopt this new name. To be clear, our legal name is Unity Church of Truth; however, we will be doing business as Unity Center for Spiritual Growth. This spring the State of Maine will be widening River Road and the expectation is that we will need to move our sign, which will be a perfect time to have one with our new name and that is lit at night. Over the next several weeks you will be seeing the change in name on publications coming out from us.

Peaceful_RevolutionOn Sunday we continued with the book Peaceful Revolution written by Paul K. Chappell and looked at the Muscle of Reason. I want to share some thoughts that come directly from Paul. On the site Peace Literacy.org he writes this: “Just as language is a faculty that can be developed and strengthened — similar to a muscle — hope, empathy, appreciation, conscience, reason, discipline, curiosity, and imagination are faculties that can be developed and strengthened. These metaphorical muscles, along with peace literacy skills and accurate understanding, are areas of potential growth.’

You have often heard that oil and water don’t mix well; the same is true for reason and emotion. Fear and hatred, for example, strangle reason, where empathy and appreciation give reason the oxygen that it needs to breathe. I have found, and you probably have as well, that when someone is either fearful or angry you can’t have a conversation that is logical and reasonable. First you must get them calmed down and then the chance to have a rational conversation goes up significantly.

Nelson Mandela went to prison a young, bitter, angry man, and while in prison he began to learn the language and history of the prison guards; he began to experience empathy and appreciation for them and understand their motivation and fears. Mandela’s empathy allowed him to think clearly and rationally during incredibly difficult circumstances. We all know what he went on to do, and to be: a nonviolent presence to the world.

Paul writes: “When we use the power of reason to ask the right questions, we become more difficult to deceive and politicians have a much harder time manipulating us. In our struggle to end war, reason allows us to question and refute the myths that keep the war machine running. If we believe the myth that human beings are naturally violent, then peace is viewed as a naïve dream and war seems inevitable. Reason tells us this could not be further from the truth.”

Charles Fillmore wrote a pamphlet called THE PURE REASON AND HONEST LOGIC OF PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY (1920 Edition). The information in this pamphlet is as relevant today as it was when it was written. You can read the complete pamphlet here to hear what I shared from it, listen to today’s talk.

The takeaway from this muscle is when we harness the muscle of reason in the 21st Century we can build solutions to our national and global problems. Paul writes, “We must also build an economic system that values people over profit, a fair society where people are given opportunity, and technology that allows us to live in harmony with our environment. Above all, we must build a global civilization of peace and prosperity that unleashes our full potential as human beings.”

Next week it will be the muscle of discipline.

Join me next Sunday after the service for a two-hour workshop on The I of the Storm.

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

Sadako and the 1000 Cranes

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

I love it when a plan comes together as it did on Sunday. I also love it when I am working with folks who do what they say they will do with clarity, focus, ease and grace. The folks I am talking about are Pat Bartke, Trish Vogel and Yaeko Collier. Pat brought an idea to the Seasons Team and it was unanimously received; however, it had a lot of moving parts. Pat and Trish teamed up and got it done! If you were at the service on Sunday, you would have been involved in the kick-off for the 5th year of the Season for Nonviolence.

In January 2015 we began the first Season for Nonviolence… and each year since we have expanded and built on what we have previously done. It begins on January 30 and ends on April 4…what do those dates stand for? January 30 is the assassination date of Mahatma Gandhi and April 4 is the assassination date of Martin Luther King Jr… these two men dedicated their lives for nonviolence and died for the cause.

The theme for the message was the story of Sadako and the 1000 cranes. It is a story of a Japanese girl of 11 who was vibrantly alive and an enthusiastic runner who couldn’t sit still and was looking forward to helping her class win a race in her next year of school.

The date is 1954, just 11 years after the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Although many were not directly affected by the bomb, the amount of toxic material was still in the atmosphere and folks were dying from leukemia.

Sadako began to have dizzy spells while running and fearful to tell her parents; she just lived with it until one day she collapsed at school and was taken to the hospital. There she was diagnosed with leukemia. It was devastating for her and her family. Her friend Chizuko cheers her up by folding a crane out of gold paper. Chizuko reminds her of an old legend: If a sick person folds 1,000 paper cranes, the gods will make her well. Sadako is inspired. Once Chizuko teaches her to make the cranes, Sadako works on creating a flock. Her brother helps her hang each bird from the ceiling of her hospital room.

Sadly, however on October 25, 1955, Sadako dies. She had completed 644 cranes and her class went on to complete the remaining 356 so she could be buried with 1000 cranes.

The crane has become a symbol of peace and hope. In 1958, a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane was erected in Hiroshima’s Peace Park. A plaque on the statue reads: “This is our cry, this is our prayer, peace in the world.”

Masahiro, Sadako’s brother, hopes we can learn a lesson from Sadako’s short life. He said, “Her death gave us a big goal. Small peace is so important with compassion and delicacy it will become big like a ripple effect. She showed us how to do it. It is my, and the Sasaki family’s responsibility to tell her story to the world. I believe if you don’t create a small peace, you can’t create a bigger peace. I like to gather those good wishes and good will and spread to the world.” The goal is to make sure “that humans never experience that day again,” said Masahiro, board chair of Sadako Legacy.

He’s guided by what President Kennedy said in a speech to the UN General Assembly in 1961 about the potential for destruction posed by nuclear war, “Mankind must put an end to war — or war will put an end to mankind.”

Pat and Trish have created a beautiful bulletin board honoring Sadako and the 1000 cranes. Pat also put together packets with directions and paper, enough to make 25 cranes for folks to take home, make and bring back and they will be strung on our tree in the sanctuary.

As a highlight of the service Yaeko Collier, one of our long-time members and from Japan, gave us a demonstration on making the cranes. It was so much fun… I then saw folks at tables in Unity Hall getting tutored on how to make them. Please, each week return what you have made, and they will be accounted for and strung for the tree.

Should you not make all that you have, please bring back the unused paper for others to take. Let us see how long it takes to get to 1000… our goal is to be there before the Season for Nonviolence is complete.

This Sunday (February 3) I will be starting a series of talks on the book Peace Revolution written by Paul K. Chappell. We will be looking at the Muscle of Hope.

Plan to stay following the service for additional activities: Healing Service, A Course in Miracles and a meeting for the start-up of the Season for the Earth and our Unity gardens.

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

Peace Literacy

This week’s note is coming from Steph Plourde at the Peace Literacy Training at Saint Joseph’s College with Paul K. Chappell. It is difficult to pull out one piece to share, because all the content is so powerful. The piece I am finding most helpful is the understanding that every…

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