Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey
I am very excited as we begin a new year. We have a clean slate in front of us and we get to choose as a community where we put our time, talents and treasures.
Our Annual Meeting is coming up on February 24, at which time we will be electing new members to the board. If you are a member and have been for at least a year and would like to be considered for a board position, please let me, or a board member, of your desire. Also, please attend as it will be a time to share how we can work together to forward our vision and mission. We have a mighty work to do here on planet earth and we are up to the task!
This leads me right into the message on Sunday and the White Stone Ceremony. What was the word or words that Spirit gave to you? Of course, I am not asking you to share this with me or others; however, what I am asking is how does your word fit into our vision and mission? Is there a significant way in which you see a larger role for you to play in the coming year at Unity of Greater Portland? Please send me your thoughts and let’s talk!
In the talk on Sunday I shared about James Doty, author of Into the Magic Shop. His home life growing up was rough. His father was an alcoholic and very abusive to his mother and his children. His mother suffered from depression and chronic pain. So James didn’t get the best of care and guidance. As life would have it at the age of 12, he met a woman named Ruth who in six short weeks would change James’ life forever.
James entered the magic shop in his town and Ruth was tending the store for her son. She had come to spend a few weeks with him from California. Ruth taught James four tricks that he applied faithfully.
Trick #1 – Relaxing the Body. Do this when you know you will not be interrupted. Define your intention, what you wish to accomplish with this exercise. Move through your body relaxing every muscle. Imagine your body now completely relaxed and simply breathe in and out being with your breath.
Breath and relaxation are the first steps toward taming the mind.
Trick #2 – Taming the Mind. Begin by focusing your breath. Find either a word or object to focus your attention on and when the mind wonders bring it back to your word or your object. Learning to tame the mind takes time and effort. Do not be discouraged. This practice will increase your relaxation.
The reward for taming the mind is clarity of thought.
Trick #3 – Opening the Heart. Using relaxing the body and taming the mind now bring to mind someone who has loved you unconditionally, sit with the feeling of warmth and commitment that unconditional love brings. Feel how accepted and cared for you felt even with all your flaws and imperfections.
Are you giving the same unconditional love to one you care for? Can you give that same unconditional love to someone you have a difficult relationship with? Can we see everyone we meet as a flawed and imperfect being just like me and you? Making mistakes, taking wrong turns and hurting us and others; can we bathe them with love, warmth and acceptance? It doesn’t matter how they respond.
What matters is that you have an open heart.
An open heart connects with others,
and that changes everything.
Trick #4 – Clarifying your Intent. Think of a goal, or something you wish to accomplish. Apply trick 1 and 2 and once completely relaxed and with your mind empty think of a goal and seeing yourself as having accomplished it. Sit with the feelings and the positive emotions.
It is with clarity of intent that vision becomes a reality.
These exercises can be found at www.intothemagicshop.com/exercises
Doty practiced these tricks and went on to do great things in the world as a result of a chance meeting with Ruth at the age of 12. Ruth gave James a charge when she was leaving to go back to California and it was “to keep your heart open and to teach these techniques to others.”
James has done just that… he went on to become a doctor and is a Clinical Professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University and founder of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.
After hearing Doty’s story, don’t be quick to disregard the message your White Stone has for you. It is never too late to set the intention to make your vision become a reality.
Next Sunday, join me for a forgiveness talk… Forgiveness: A Doorway to Freedom. At noon Rev. LeRoy and I will be doing a workshop with the same title and topic. As my mentor Rev. Edwene Gaines says, “As long as we are in bodies, we have forgiveness work to do”.
You are a blessing in my life.
Rev. Patricia Bessey