6 Steps to Spiritual Maturity: Step 4

Step 4: Using denials and affirmations, I cleanse my consciousness of all error thoughts.

Gratitude means paying attention – noticing God in the small things. And, in these times, you are my reason for gratitude.

I see God in the comment stream on the Facebook page whenever we go live with our Midday Faith Lift, Wednesday Night Meditation, or Sunday Celebration service.

God shows up as each of you on the Coffee Hour Zoom call following the Sunday service. God moves through our community in the care you all offer one another.

I have also seen and felt God working through the generosity of many of you who have supported Unity Center for Spiritual Growth during these weeks of “Staying at Home” as you continue to support us through your tithes and offerings. Thank you to those who have become consistent givers; we are grateful for your commitment and support.

I have some good news to share with you. We have received funds from the Payroll Protection Plan Stimulus, and we are assured of payroll for the next two months. Your Board of Trustees is monitoring the guidelines that are coming from the Maine CDC and Governor Mills and will keep you informed when we feel it is safe to begin to have services once again from our sanctuary.

I also want to give a shout out to you who have signed up for Automatic Giving. I know this can be a stretch for some to use this form to give of your tithes and offerings. In the reading I have been doing regarding church post-coronavirus, passing the offering basket will not be happening, so we are encouraged to invite you to do automatic giving or to go to our donate button as another online option. Of course, checks in the mail are always welcome.

On Sunday I continued with Step 4 of the Six Steps to Spiritual Maturity. It is: Using denials and affirmations, I cleanse my consciousness of all error thoughts.

This is one of my favorite steps because when I learned about denials and affirmations my life changed. I had learned about affirmations but never about denials. These are “handles to power.”

The most necessary part of learning is to unlearn our errors. Our purpose in Unity is to learn to see rightly. A denial is the first practical step toward seeing rightly by wiping out of our minds the mistaken beliefs that raise such havoc in our lives.

The definition of denial is a declaration that something is untrue; its purpose is to cleanse. We do not deny things out of existence; we deny wrong thoughts about them.

Charles Fillmore in the book Prosperity says, “Denial usually comes first. It sweeps out the debris and makes room for the new tenant that is brought into the mind by the affirmation.”

An affirmation is a strong, true statement about yourself or a situation.

Here is an example to be used if you are longing for Peace of Mind:

• The denial is: This anxiety, confusion, or fear is powerless to take or keep my good from me.
• The affirmation is: Divine love now dissolves and dissipates all anxious, confused, or fearful thoughts, and I am peaceful in Mind and heart.

As you change your beliefs you change your life. Denials are the belief changers.

Take away:

• The tools for cleansing our conscious and subconscious mind are denials and affirmations.
• Both our thinking and feeling is engaged in the process of denials and affirmations.
• Denial is our ability to release the energy and power we have invested in negative (error) thinking…feeling…beliefs.
• Affirmations confirm the conscious recognition of Truth.

This coming Sunday we will complete the series with Steps 5 and 6:

Step 5: I commit to developing a conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation.

Step 6: I demonstrate spiritual maturity by practicing these principles in all areas of my life.

I leave you with this thought from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: “The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination.”

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

When God Calls, Say Yes

Rod Chelberg, MD

Rod Chelberg, MD

Sunday message by Rod Chelberg, M.D. (audio)

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey:

It’s good to be home! I am sure you can relate to this if you do any traveling. Rev LeRoy and I went to Maryland and Virginia and had a wonderful time visiting with friends and I did a couple of board trainings with Unity ministries in those areas.

I am grateful to have excellent speakers to step in when I am gone. This time it was Rev. Barbara Kowalska, Rev. Matt Purinton and Dr. Rod Chelberg. To listen to Barbara or Rod’s talk visit our website and scroll down on the home page and you will find them.

I have always seen November as gratitude month and this year is no different. I have already expressed gratitude for the speakers, however, there is more that I am grateful for. I am grateful that the months of August and September we ended in the positive column for our Ministry Funding Plan (budget). It looks like October will end up in the positive column as well. I tell you this because we had been running in a deficit for the first seven months of the year and with these three positive months, we are making our way closer to positive territory.

On Sunday mornings if you attend the 10 a.m. service you hear testimonies from folks during “Sharing the Good News” how working the Unity principles in their lives has dramatically improved the quality of their life. It isn’t uncommon to hear that a family relationship has been restored and it is attributed to prayer, meditation and knowing that everyone is inherently good. That a situation they had no idea would be resolved was because God is everywhere present and when they were willing to surrender, let go and let God out of the blue the solution was made visible.

I am so grateful for our children and our teachers. It warms my heart when the little people come in and share with us what they learned in their time together. When their lesson was to go outdoors and find paper cups upside down and uncover a light under them and know that the light is within them and not to hide it.

I am grateful for our dedicated folks in the kitchen who prepare a banquet for us each week. I heard one of them say I love cooking here because I get instant feedback and love for what I enjoy doing. I praise the kitchen crew because they make it possible for many in our community to sit down to a meal with other people and engage in great conversation. Many of you eat your meals alone all week and look forward to breaking bread with others on Sunday.

I think you have a sense of the importance that Unity Center for Spiritual Growth has in the lives of so many. My role and that of the Board of Trustees is to ensure that it is well funded so it continues to be a beacon of light for all who are seeking a spiritual community in which they can foster relationships and deepen their own spiritual walk.

Here is where I am going to ask you to help ensure this…there are several ways you can do this. You can set up automatic giving where you tell us how much you want to give on a weekly or monthly basis and provide us with a credit card and it will be automatically charged according to your direction (cards for this are in the seatback pockets).

Most banks have a free bill pay program where you tell them who to send a check to, how much and how often and it gets taken care of by your bank. This is the option that Rev. LeRoy and I use.

You can give by using your phone. Download the app for QR Reader and you will find in the seatback pockets a laminated card for giving and it has a QR Code on it. Just scan it to your phone and it will automatically take you to our donate button on our website. If you don’t have a QR Reader and don’t want to bother downloading it then just go to our website www.unitygreaterportland.org and click on the donate button and you can do your transaction there.

Of course, checks and cash still work as well. By taking one of the electronic options you are supporting this ministry with regular giving whether you are there every Sunday or not. The latest data on church attendance is that most people attend only twice a month. By enrolling in one of our automatic giving programs you can be sure you are seeding the future for those who are looking for a spiritual home and to find what you have found here already.

So please hold with me that before December 31, 2019 rolls around that we will have our deficit covered with extra to spare. If you have any questions you know I am always available, as are the Board members.

This Sunday I will be doing Part 2 from the book How to Pray to God Without Talking to God.

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

Days of Awe: The Jewish High Holy Days

Rev. Joel Grossman

Guest Speaker Rev. Joel Grossman

Days of Awe: The Jewish High Holy Days
The Jewish high holy days, called the 10 ”Days of Awe,” start with Rosh Hashanah, the “head of the year,”  which begins on Sunday night, September 29, and ends with Yom Kippur, the “day of atonement,” on October 9. This talk focuses on the ways the Jewish people celebrate and observe this holiday period.

Rev. Joel Grossman, our guest speaker, is an Interfaith Minister who has been a hospice chaplain for 14 years and is presently Director of Spiritual Services with Constellation Hospice, Newburyport, MA. He has had a private practice as a spiritually based psychotherapist since the late ’70s. He is a founding member of the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine (ChIME), an interfaith seminary based in Portland. Joel is a past president of his synagogue, Congregation Ahavas Achim, Newburyport, MA, and led Kabbalah classes and Jewish meditation sessions there for many years.

That Just Blows My Mind

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

On Sunday afternoon LeRoy and I attended the CHIME ordination celebration along with others from our community. We were there to especially celebrate Abigail Adams and Rick Arn; both have been a part of our lives for a while.

CHIME (the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine) has ordained many who are part of our community, and we have a deep connection to the organization and those within it. They are doing great work for the transformation of our world. Thank you, Jacob Watson, for your vision many years ago and for Patricia Ellen and those who are carrying the vision forward.

A reminder that this coming Saturday will be the music party with Deana Gurney and Wiley Beverage. Mark your calendar now so you don’t forget! Rev. Jesse James will be in Maine and will be there as well.

On Sunday I started a mini-series titled “Minding the Mind.” The title for last Sunday was “That Just Blew My Mind.” I opened with a quote from former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes Jr. that says: “A mind that is stretched… can never go back to its old dimensions.”

What I was talking about was mind-blowing experiences: when we learn something for the first time that alters our lives going forward. When our minds are stretched by new information, we are never able to go back to our old way of thinking about it.

I shared a mind-blowing experience for me, which I won’t go into here; however, you can hear it by listening to the talk.

Ernest Holmes writes in the Science of Mind book, “As God’s thought makes worlds and peoples them with living things, so our thought makes our world and peoples it with our experiences [and I will add “individually and collectively”]. By the activity of our thought, things come into our life [individually and collectively!] and we are limited only because we have not known the Truth.”

Holmes goes on to say: “We have thought that outside things controlled us, when all the time we have had that within which could have changed everything and given us freedom from bondage. We automatically attract to ourselves just what we [think we] are, and we may set it down that wherever we are, however intolerable the situation may be, we are just where we belong.”

Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, writes in Atom Smashing Power of Mind, “To be ignorant of mind and its laws is to be a child playing with fire, or a man manipulating powerful chemicals without knowing their relation to one another. This is universally true; and all who are not learning about mind are in like danger, because all are dealing with the great cause from which springs forth all the conditions that appear in the lives of men and women. Mind is the one reservoir from which we draw all that we make up into our world, and it is through the laws of mind that we form our lives.”

Yes, we create our own reality! And the reality we create is limited for one reason and one reason only: because we have not known the Truth. What is the Truth that we have not known?

The real mind-blower is: God in me, as me, is me!

Next Sunday Rev. Barbara Kowalska will be sharing “In the Field” at the 8 a.m. service, and Rev. Todd Glacy will be sharing “The Vibration of Creation – Being an Instrument of Love” at the 10 a.m. service.

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

Everyday Sacred

Vaishali Mamgain

Vaishali Mamgain

Sunday message (audio) by Vaishali Mamgain

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey:

April has arrived… we have another winter in the box and I don’t know about you, but I found it to be a bit challenging. However, we are ready to put the heavy clothes away for another year and lighten up both physically and emotionally. A sure sign of spring is hearing the birds chirping in the morning. We have a woodpecker that we hear every morning pecking outside our window. Another sign of spring is the patches of grass that are now showing up as the snow melts. What was really the tell-all that spring is in the air was on Sunday when the children shared that they had been planting in the gardens. When I asked what they planted the response I got was “food.” I want to expand on what the children were doing and let you know that after the service and lunch this Sunday the Season for the Earth team will be hosting a meeting, and you are invited. This meeting will be to plan the activities that will be included in the season, along with a timeline for preparing the beds and starting the seedlings for planting. Come and add your energy and ideas.

On Sunday we also hosted Vaishali Mamgain as our guest speaker. What a delight she is… a native of India, she is the Associate Professor of Economics at USM and is the director of the Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion. Her talk was titled Everyday Sacred. It is being awake to everything around us… and to bridge contemplation and science. She gave us the science connected with breathing and gratitude that we practice in our daily practices. She also introduced us to “nexting” not “texting,” which I could so relate to.

The important message was that we are all in charge of our own path. The everyday sacred is remembering the world is replete with possibilities. We are all here to hold the space for each other… we hold up a mirror for each other.

She talked about the importance of nature and also to acknowledge our bodies and how they are changing and there is a vulnerability in that and it is beautiful; however, our culture doesn’t allow that. We have to be our inner teacher as the world is not going to let us appreciate the present, and that takes us away from appreciating the Sacred.

She ends with a Mary Oliver quote: “Attention is the beginning of devotion” — devotion is to our own path and to our own awakening.

She also gave us some practices to access the Sacred, and, whether you were there on Sunday or not, I invite you to listen to her message and practice the simple exercises she gives us.

This Sunday is Potluck Sunday, and I want to acknowledge you for the plentiful potlucks we have been blessed with… thank you for sharing and giving our Kitchen Staff a break.

Also, on Sunday we will have an ensemble from Women in Harmony sharing special music with us. My talk title is “Who Do You Think You Are?”

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