How to Pray without Talking to God – Part 1

Sunday Message by Rev. Barbara Kowalska, Guest Speaker

This Sunday, at Rev. Pat’s request, I opened a series on Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett’s book, How to Pray Without Talking to God. This book is the basis of training and practice for our Prayer Partners.

How do you pray without talking to God? Martella-Whitsett begins by reminding us of the images of God we may have held since childhood. There was God, the invisible parent who could be loving and demanding as well; there was God, the bodyguard or protector. As we were introduced to the concept of God within, we could imagine God shrinking to fit inside us. All of these images were based on seeing God as something outside us.

In Unity, we embrace the omnipresence of God. Martella-Whitsett explains it like this: “Divine Omnipresence means God is within us, we are within God, and God is everywhere. Moreover, God is everywhere-ness, not a being who is everywhere but the pervasive essence of all.”

As reading Principle 1 and 2 each week supports, our true identity is divine. Martella-Whitsett reminds us:
“Our words and methods of prayer derive from our sense of identity. When we view ourselves as “only human,” we pray to God from a consciousness of powerlessness. When we realize our Divine Identity, we pray from the Divine Consciousness.”

As Rev. Pat reminds us often, we are not sinners. Often unconsciously, we have internalized negative ideas about ourselves from our childhood. We have allowed the Truth of us to be covered up.

Martella-Whitsett uses the analogy of an eagle’s egg. The protective shell protects the embryo as it matures. Then the eagle pecks away at the shell and emerges. Our shell is our external sense self. And to be the fullness of who we are, we, too, can peck away at the shell of our stories, our baggage, and release them to reveal our true selves. We do this through spiritual practices and meditation. She asserts that we mature spiritually by expressing our divine nature.

When you pray, what are you supposing about divinity or divine nature? About yourself?

As we grow in accepting our divine nature, our old form of praying may not be comfortable. Then we can begin learning affirmative prayer, praying from our God-consciousness instead of to God outside of us. This is a process that can be uncomfortable at first.

It may appear our prayers have not been answered when people die anyway, we continue to feel angry in our relationships or do not get instant relief from financial stress. However, the issue has never been whether prayer is answered — how we live is the issue and the answer. We are the answer to our prayers as we realize prayer is not a plea for a particular outcome but a calling upon ourselves to realize what we are to be in a circumstance.”

Affirmative prayer is not traditional prayer. Traditional prayer approaches the divine as a personality that is hesitant, capricious, withholding and must be persuaded or bargained with. Affirmative prayer cultivates our awareness of Oneness. As we pray affirmatively, identifying with our True Nature, the highest truth we can comprehend in the moment comes forth.

This is a learning, an uncovering, a remembering. When we forget, praying brings us back to Ourselves. Every time we bring ourselves back, we are spiritually stronger. We spiral higher and deeper in our awareness.

\As Thoreau said, “A single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”

It is a joy to share this journey with our beloved community!

Barbara Kowalska

The Spiral of the Call

Guest Speaker Marjory Zoet Bankson (audio)

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey: Sunday was a day for celebration… it was the one-year anniversary of the peace vigil that happens the third Sunday of the month. Trish Vogel, who was the one that got this started, shared this during sharing the Good News. Meeting at the rotary of 302 and 202, and reminding people that peace is possible with wonderful signs, between 12:15 and 12:45 p.m. is just one way we can get the message out for peace and non-violence.

On Sunday we also welcomed Marjory Zoet Bankson who spoke at the 10  a.m. service and then shared more in a workshop in the afternoon. Her topic was the spiral of call. She reminded us that over our lifetime we can have many calls. Most often we resist the call until we can no longer turn away from it. Moses is a great example. Remember Moses saw the burning bush and heard the voice of God telling him to go and free his people. Moses had many excuses, and don’t we do the same thing.

She also shared that we are called to let go of some things before we can receive the new call. I am reminded of when I got the call to ministry. I resisted for a long time and then when I finally said “yes” it meant I had to let go of my sense of responsibility to my mother and let go of my identity as race car driver, Joe Bessey’s mother, who was running his trucking business. Once I let some people know that I was going to apply for ministerial school, then the ball got rolling and I started the process. Marjory says it is important for us to let some know of our call so that we can be supported as we lean into it.

Each transition we go through gives us the chance to ask “who am I,” “what is my work” and “what is my unique gift.” Transition always begins with endings, moves on to a wilderness period, also known as the void, and only then do we reach the beginning of something new, remembering always that it is our true nature to be creative, to be always birthing new ways of sharing our planet together.

This Sunday (October 27), join Rev. Barbara Kowalska as she will be speaking on prayer.

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

The Sacred Medicine of Sacrifice

Sunday message by John Two-Hawks

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey:

What a great weekend we had…it started on Friday evening with delicious food before the John Two-Hawks concert. High five to Michelle Neas and Dee Capoldo for their cooking and serving. We then had an awesome concert. Thank you to all who attended.

Sunday followed with John sharing the sacred medicine of sacrifice at the 10 a.m. service and his well-attended workshop was on the wisdom of the sacred hoop. I wouldn’t do justice to sharing high points of the talk, so I suggest you listen for yourself…

Someone asked me how we get such wonderful speakers, and I shared how blessed we are; most all contact me and say they are coming to Maine and could they share their gifts. For John and his wife Peggy it was their first time to our wonderful state, and they loved it. I feel blessed that we have the space to have them stay with us and we get to really connect and they leave as new friends.

Marjory Zoet Bankson

Speaking of wonderful speakers, next Sunday we will be hosting another guest. Marjory Zoet Bankson will be speaking at the 10 a.m. service and doing a workshop following lunch. The topic of the talk and workshop is on our calling in life.

In an article that was written on Marjory a few years ago, she was asked by Letha Dawson Scanzoni, the author of the article, to tell how she began thinking about the concept of the call. Marjory responded, “I would say it goes back to the period when I was about 13 or 14. I used to practice the pipe organ in a mortuary in Bellingham, Washington, because the mortuary was warm, and the church was cold. Seeing people who were dead gave me a sense that life itself was sacred. And if life itself was sacred, then my life was sacred.”

This experience marked the beginning of an alternative way of looking at her relationship with God and what it means to be loved by God.

Later in the article…She talks about a balance between work and quiet and firmly believes that spiritual disciplines can help us maintain that balance. They remind us that we belong to a bigger picture as part of God’s creation.

“If we can find ways of stepping into God’s more timeless realm — Kairos time, it will give us a sense of spaciousness and a sense of knowing that we have all the time we need,” Marjory emphasized. “I think that would be a tremendous antidote for the poison of the intense time pressure that people seem to be living with today.”

We must learn to see ourselves as part of a larger picture and know “that we belong to God’s story, which is much bigger than our individual lives.” Once we realize that, “we can know that if we miss the call the first time around, God will call again.” The biblical Samuel’s calling is a good metaphor. “God isn’t going to leave us sleeping. When the call comes again, this time we can wake up.”

Hope to see you on Sunday!

You are a blessing in my life
Rev. Patricia Bessey

Exploring the Roots of New Thought & Uniity

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

John Two-Hawks

I am very excited that we are hosting John Two-Hawks this weekend. It starts on Friday night with a concert and concludes on Sunday with a workshop. I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t highlight John’s accomplishments and why it is important for you to make this a priority on your calendar.

I am taking information directly from John’s website, and it is only a portion of his background. Check him out on YouTube as well to hear his beautiful flute music.

John Two-Hawks has established himself as an extraordinary performing and recording artist whose success in the music industry can be directly attributed not only to his immense talent but to the lessons he learned in his formative years. John overcame incredible odds to arrive where he is today, and he has always believed that when we heal, we can rise up from the ashes and claim our dreams. Having risen from those ashes himself, he has laid claim to some very impressive accomplishments….

Making His Mark….

John’s incredible music has earned him Grammy® and Emmy nominations, Platinum Album awards, been featured in Fox Searchlight movies, HBO films, and programs by The History Channel. He has toured the world and performed for audiences as large as 12,000. Two-Hawks’ signature brand of music is known and loved by millions around the world.

…his music – all of it – springs forth from a heart that has known suffering, and experienced healing. This is what is so present in all of John’s music, and imparts that unique, one-of-a-kind feeling of power and empathy. You can just listen, and know that you are not alone, and that you really do have a brother and a friend in John Two-Hawks….

John is bringing his Native American heritage to our Season of Inter-spiritual/Intercultural Celebration. This past Sunday I shared the roots of New Thought and Unity as a part of our Season.

What is New Thought?

New Thought is the term used to describe the metaphysical movement that began in the nineteenth century. It is a system that practices what Jesus taught – healing, unity, cooperation, seeing the good in others, and trusting God for all of our needs.

Where did New Thought begin?

Would you believe right here in Maine. A clockmaker by the name of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby is considered to be the “father” of New Thought. He lived from 1802 to 1866.

Quimby is considered the “forefather of the mental science healing groups.” He was perhaps the first to set-up what we now call controlled experiments. It has been written in more recent times that Quimby “made many discoveries which have not yet even been dreamed of by modern psychiatry.” One thing he came to feel over time was that it was religion itself that was making so many of his patients sick.

There are many to follow Quimby including the Fillmore’s, founders of Unity. This is a talk worth listening to… click here…It is a great history lesson and reminder about the roots of the New Thought movement, there have been many people who planted seeds for the next generation.

Some of us like to think of the Unity movement as an example of this, that in many ways we are ahead of our times. The question to be asked is what seeds of consciousness do you want to plant?

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.