Manifesting – Support on Your Journey, Pt. 1

Over the last several weeks, we’ve been talking about different aspects of the manifestation process, about bringing our wants, needs and desires into visibility in our own life experience.

We want to achieve the wholeness that we seek, the fulfillment of the activity of Spirit within us. We want to experience a real movement toward our outer goals in life and experience living in increasingly more desirable conditions, with more joy, more happiness, more wisdom, the ability to function better in all areas of responsibility.

In order to advance into that experience, you must seek a conscious contact with an advanced state of mind, with the super-conscious mind, the Christ Mind, the Master Mind.

In order to have this experience you must believe that this dimension of mind does exist and become enthusiastic about the possibilities that exist for you right now as you establish your own personal contact with the source of all good.

You must know without a doubt that you are one with the flow of all good into your own inner experience and through you out into the world and that it will change any condition, any situation, for the good of all concerned.

Once in that state you must fulfill the conditions to remain there and that’s what the support of a Master Mind group is all about. Thinking, by itself, is not enough. Feeling must be there. And though you can make some headway in your spiritual growth praying by yourself, it can be greatly enhanced and accelerated when we do this together.

In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill said, “The Master Mind may be defined as: ‘Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.’” He then stated, “No individual may have great power without availing himself of the Master Mind.”

In Matthew 18:19-20 we read, “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Napoleon Hill may have been meditating upon this scripture when he made this very significant statement: “No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.”

There are some natural Master Mind relationships that can already exist between two people, such as in a marriage or love relationship, or in true friendship, between business partners, and sometimes in families as a whole. Where those relationships are truly functioning as a Master Mind relationship they are a powerful influence on each other and of all people that come in contact with them.

But we can do more than just take the natural Master Mind relationships that already exist and turn them around and give them positive power.

If you should choose to do so, you can develop a small group of like-minded people, people that you love and enjoy and appreciate, people with whom you experience a perfect harmony of consciousness, as a super Master Mind group.

You only need one person to start your group, start as a very small band of people and let it expand slowly to probably no more than six people. Let new members be added by merit of their consciousness, by virtue of what you feel they can contribute by virtue of their consciousness. Once you have two or three members of the group, the next member can only be added by the approval of the whole group, because you must have perfect harmony, a spirit of harmony and love.

Perfect harmony is essential. The increased energy created through that alliance becomes available to every individual in the group but the group must be established in perfect harmony.

Your goal will be to achieve first of all spiritual wholeness, to establish your conscious contact with God, to make your dedication and your covenant, and to achieve a measure of success, happiness and prosperity, and effectiveness in living.

You must also remember that a Master Mind group is not a brainstorming group of individuals, nor is it a counseling or advisory group. You will be a prayer-based group, a Christ Mind group whose energy will be synergistically multiplied as you pray together, believing for each other more than the individual can believe for himself or herself. Your prayer power will be greatly enhanced by praying for one another.

The Master Mind is the Mind of God appearing in the human being. It has a tendency or need to respond to any individual that becomes aware of it inside them. This is a fourth dimensional mind, experience, and power. And Christ is a name for that level of consciousness which is seeking to unfold itself in the mind and the experience of each of us.

When a person has the experience of the Christ, he or she becomes a new person. And this is the rebirth or regeneration that you and I have been seeking. The Master Mind, then, is another name for the Christ or the Christ Mind.

The super-consciousness, the Christ consciousness, is a person’s only sure guide through life on this earth. And by trusting the infallibility of this guide, you and I know that we are trusting the Mind of God in us – not another spirit, not another person, not another teacher, but the spirit of you, the activity of God within you. This knowing gives you the freedom to open yourself to the inspiration of the Almighty, the infinite presence of God within your own being.

This connection is made through the process that we call meditation, going into the Silence, prayer and meditation, and speaking the word.

Prayer is an activity of the mind, an activity that is consciously and deliberately entered into consistently and regularly. The spontaneous prayer prayed from time to time in some crisis has some value, but it is not a life-changing experience; it will not get you up into the dimension of power and momentum that you want to generate.

Prayer is something that you return to again and again and in a disciplined way, never on our own terms but on the terms of the Mind that we are seeking to be united with.

Prayer is a person taking charge of their inner life, taking charge of their life at both levels of thinking and of feeling. Prayer is deliberately thinking what you should think and deliberately feeling what you should feel simultaneously.

(To be continued in Part 2)

Remember, God is Blessing You, Right Now!

Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham

P.S. I want to acknowledge and express my gratitude for the work done by the late Rev. Jack Boland on the Master Mind principles which I drew upon in part to provide the inspiration for Part 1 of this article.

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Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions.

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Manifesting – Taking Action

“Happiness and personal fulfillment are the natural consequences of doing the right thing.” – Epictetus

An important part of manifesting anything is to take action. Without action of some kind, manifestation just doesn’t happen. But it is inspired action that brings about the highest results.

I’ve been reading the book Zero Limits, by Joe Vitale and Ihaleakala Hew Len, and I was struck by Dr. Hew Len’s assertion that “you are coming from either memory or inspiration – that’s it!”

Your choice is to clean yourself, or not, of the old memories and programs you’ve adopted and unconsciously live from.

He says, “If you are clear, then when inspiration comes, you just act. You don’t think about it. If you think about it, then you are comparing the inspiration to something, and what you are comparing it to is a memory. Clear the memory and you don’t have choice. You just have inspiration and you act on it without thinking. It just is.”

That reminded me of a wonderful letter from a friend and a true testimony to the power of inspiration in moving us to action.

“I often shop the Goodwill and Salvation Army Thrift Stores. I would suggest others stop in those stores not only to see what ‘bargains and treasures’ you can find, but also once in awhile you will encounter someone who might be shopping for clothing for their children, as I once did.  After watching him holding shirts and pants up to his three children to see if they’d fit, he went to the checkout counter, and I got in line behind him.  When he was told the total amount of his purchases, I handed the clerk the money to pay for his children’s clothing.  Of course, he didn’t want me to pay his bill, but I insisted.  I knew in my soul that I was making a difference in someone else’s life.

“Last week while shopping Goodwill, I got behind an obviously very poor mom.  She had a baby and two toddlers, and it was just past lunch time.  She had a small bag of potato chips for the three children to share.  The toddlers were all looking at the candy and potato chips on the display case and begging for more to eat.  They handed her several bags of treats, which she put back.  I picked up several little bags of candy/treats, gave them to her with $3.00 to pay for them.  She thanked me profusely.  When I got home, I went to my mailbox and there was a completely unexpected check for a consulting job I had done about 6 months previously which I had forgotten about.  The amount of the check…………….. $300.00 I was ‘paid back.’   Unbelievable how the Universe takes care of us, maybe not always with money, but with JOY to our soul”. – Carole

In speaking of inspired action, author Alan Cohen says, “Every situation gives us a chance to shine, if we recognize our power as creative spirits. No situation is any one way, except what we make it. You can make anything out of anything. So why not make it perfect?

“The story is told about a man who was walking along a city street when a flowerpot fell off a sill above him and crashed at his feet, missing him by inches. There are four paths of response the man might take. First, the path of knee-jerk reaction: he would yell a curse toward the window or perhaps dash up the stairs, find the owner, and punch him out. Second, the path of the victim: this experience would confirm his belief that the world is out to get him, and he would go about the rest of his day protecting himself from evil, retelling his story many times. Third, the path of detachment: he would rationalize that this was his karma, do nothing, and just keep walking. Finally, the path of love: he would go to the flower store on the corner, buy a new plant, and deliver it to the person whose plant had been blown off the sill by the wind.”

So here are some tips for the next seven days, even if you’re just sitting on your favorite couch. An idea takes time to form in your head and is always at work while you are busy sitting, and positive thinking can help you realize and manifest things that are often thought impossible.

1. Take passionate action toward living your life by design. Talk is cheap. Action puts deposits in the bank of a passionately authentic future. Without action, passion is void.

This is what dreams are made of, where you start by tinkering with your mind, then with your hands. And if the idea weakens, you can always go back to it later until you finish it.

2. Commit to yourself as well as those you love to create powerfully a life you can love. Instead of reacting, commit to creating from your heart and soul, out of love rather than fear. But a dream will still be a dream without motion. Be amazed as the transformation begins.

3. Recognize and embrace the thought that each moment is perfect regardless of its outcome. Every time you hit on something that may appear too extreme, why not give it a shot and see if it will work. You will be surprised to see that there are other ways to get the task done in time. If you are not pleased with the outcome, decide to use that moment to learn from and to make the appropriate shift.

4. Dwell completely in a place of gratitude. Learn to utilize what you have in your hands and make use of it in the most constructive way. Slipping into neediness will become less of a habit when you repeatedly shift toward gratitude, away from a poverty consciousness.

5. Use a passion formula of recognize/re-evaluate/restore in place of the shoulda/woulda/coulda whirlwind. The former is based in increased knowledge and abundance while the latter focuses on scarcity and lack. As you face people or tasks that may seem harder then scaling the summit of the Himalayas, allow yourself to realize that the task is just as important as giving out orders to your subordinates. You would rather be richly passionate!

6. Keep humor at the forefront of thought, laughing at and with yourself when possible. You may find yourself quite entertaining when you loosen up! I am yet to see a comedian ever go hungry even though his jokes are as “old as great-grandma.” Life has so much more to offer than to allow you to mope around in self pity. Humor is very attractive, very passionate and life-giving.

7. Believe that you are the architect of your destiny. No one can take your passionate future from you except for you! Create your life authentically. As long as there’s still breath in your body, there is no end to how much you can accomplish in a lifetime. The concept of thinking big is all about enjoying your work, which will lead to celebrating a discovery that is born within your hands. Watch everything flow into place with perfect, passionate precision.

Without positive thinking in your life, you’ll just be a dim bulb in a dark corner. So instead of subjecting yourself to thoughts of what your life is doomed for, open your mind for divine inspiration and make your path by taking the first step with a positive attitude. Enjoy!

Now check out this video by Dr. Joe Vitale  – click here!

And remember, God is Blessing You, Right Now!

Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham

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Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions.

Please feel free to publish this article in your blog or newsletter or share it with a friend, as long as you include this resource box.

If you’d like to receive weekday inspirational quotes, you can subscribe at Rich Words on the Spiritual Solutions website.

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Manifesting – The Art of Believing

In our video at the end of this article Dr. Joe Vitale refers to Neville, a former spiritual teacher and author who referred to himself only by his first name. I have a book in my library written by Neville and I was led to refer to it as I reviewed the video for publication as a part of this article.

The first section of the book has the title Prayer – The Art of Believing. I’d like to share some of his realizations with you in conjunction with the words of Jesus in order to, as Neville says, “point out the conditions on which prayers are answered, and without which they cannot be answered.”

He speaks of the universal law of reversibility as being the foundation on which its claims are based and that this law is of the highest importance, because it enables you to foresee the inverse transformation once the direct transformation is verified. If this sounds complicated, he follows it with this statement:

“If you knew how you would feel were you to realize your objective, then, inversely, you would know what state you could realize were you to awaken in yourself such feeling.”

In Mark 11:24 it is recorded that Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Neville says, “The injunction, to pray believing that you already possess what you pray for, is based upon a knowledge of the law of inverse transformation. If your realized prayer produces in you a definite feeling or state of consciousness, then, inversely, that particular feeling or state of consciousness must produce your realized prayer.

“Because all transformations of force are reversible, you should always assume the feeling of your fulfilled wish. You should awaken within you the feeling that you are and have that which heretofore you desired to be and possess. This is easily done by contemplating the joy that would be yours were your objective an accomplished fact, so that you live and move and have your being in the feeling that your wish is realized.

“Assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled and continue feeling that it is fulfilled until that which you feel objectifies itself.”

In a later section titled Feeling is the Secret, Neville speaks of the importance of feeling the wish fulfilled before you drop off to sleep.

The feeling which comes in response to the question “How would I feel were my wish realized?” is the feeling which should monopolize and immobilize your attention as you relax into sleep.

He says, “You must be in the consciousness of being or having that which you want to be or have before you drop off to sleep. Feel as you would were you in possession of your wish and quietly relax into unconsciousness.

“Night after night you should assume the feeling of being, having and witnessing that which you seek to be, possess and see manifested.

“Never go to sleep feeling discouraged or dissatisfied. Never sleep in the consciousness of failure. Your subconscious, whose natural state is sleep, sees you as you believe yourself to be, and whether it be good, bad, or indifferent, the subconscious will faithfully embody your belief.

“The subconscious receives impressions only through the feelings and in a way known only to itself gives these impressions form and expression.

“Do not waste one moment in regret, for to think feelingly of the mistakes of the past is to reinfect yourself. Turn from appearances and assume the feeling that would be yours were you already the one you wish to be.

“Feeling a state produces that state. The part you play on the world’s stage is determined by your conception of yourself. By feeling your wish fulfilled and quietly relaxing into sleep, you cast yourself in a star role to be played on earth tomorrow, and while asleep you are rehearsed and instructed in your part.”

In the book, The Game of Life and How to Play It, author Florence Scovel Shinn suggests that when you wake up in the morning, you start your day off with an affirmation. An affirmation is a declaration of how that day is to be in your relationship with God and with the world.

One of the affirmations she uses is this: “Thy will be done this day. Today is a day of completion. I give thanks for this perfect day. Miracle shall follow miracle and wonders shall never cease.”

It’s a good way to start the day. She’s focusing upon the directions that are given us in the scriptures: “Thou shall decree a thing and it shall be established unto thee.”

So we decree it. To decree is to claim the Truth. And our decree is in the present tense, as though we have already received that which we’re asking for. This day, “miracle follows miracle and wonders never cease.” Get into the feeling of joy, feeling your wish fulfilled.

We’re one with the flow of creative thought. It’s always working. What we feel within ourselves, what we establish within ourselves, what we decree within ourselves, will be established on the outer.

May Rowland was the director of the Silent Unity prayer ministry for over fifty years. If ever you went to her with a problem she would wave her little lace handkerchief and say “Just cast it on the waters!” There’s a beautiful and similar phrase in Psalms 55:22, which says “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you.”

If you have a problem then, you can say “I cast this burden upon the Christ within. I let go of it. I am free.” So you let go of it. And the creative spirit can begin to work for you as you establish yourself in your good.

Spirit works in strange little ways too when we are “in tune” with the infinite. Florence Scovel Shinn tells of a woman who was walking to a friend’s house; it was raining and blustery and she had an umbrella up. Suddenly, the umbrella turned inside out. It wasn’t her umbrella, she had borrowed it, and so she couldn’t just throw it away.

She didn’t know what to do, so she said, “I don’t know what to do with this umbrella. God, I give it to you.” Right then, someone behind her said to her, “Ma’am, can I help you with that umbrella? I work with umbrellas and mend them.” So it says in the book that she gave him the umbrella, went into her friend’s house, and the man was standing there with the umbrella mended for her when she came out again.

But, Florence Scovel Shinn says, the important thing is that there is always an “umbrella man” waiting for you in every situation, always ready to take that problem and mend it. It doesn’t matter what the situation is – you can give it to God. You can give it to God, knowing that the right outcome will take place.

Remember that true spirituality is a way of life. So don’t forget that it applies in practical ways in our lives. We must walk in the consciousness of abundance and in our world at the same time. But we must keep our consciousness centered upon God, the source of all our good. As we keep centered within we see the manifest results of assuming the feeling of our wish fulfilled.

Remember, God is Blessing You, Right Now!

Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham

Click Here for the video with Dr. Joe Vitale

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Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions.

Please feel free to publish this article in your blog or newsletter or share it with a friend, as long as you include this resource box.

If you’d like to receive weekday inspirational quotes, you can subscribe at Rich Words on the Spiritual Solutions website.

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Manifesting – Learning to Let Go, Part 2

(Continued from Part 1)

Exercise: Forgiveness

Now we are ready to forgive. Do this exercise with a partner if you can, or do it out loud if you are alone.

Again, sit quietly with your eyes closed and say, “The person I need to forgive is ___________ and I forgive you for ___________.”

Do this over and over. You will have many things to forgive some for and only one or two to forgive others for. If you have a partner, let him say to you, “Thank you, I set you free now.”  If you do not, then imagine the person you are forgiving saying it to you. Do this for at least five or ten minutes.  Search your heart for the injustices you still carry. Then let them go.

When you have cleared as much as you can for now, turn your attention to yourself. Say out loud to yourself, “I forgive myself for ___________.”

Do this for another five minutes or so. These are powerful exercises and good to do at least once a week to clear out any remaining rubbish. Some experiences are easy to let go and some we have to chip away at, until suddenly one day they let go and dissolve,

Exercise: Visualization

Here’s another good exercise. Have someone read this one to you if you can, or put it on tape and listen to it.

Begin to visualize yourself as a little child of five or six. Look deeply into this little child’s eyes. See the longing that is there and realize that there is only one thing this little child wants from you, and that is love. So reach out your arms and embrace this child. Hold it with love and tenderness. Tell it how much you love it, how much you care.  Admire everything about this child and say that it’s okay to make mistakes while learning. Promise that you will always be there no matter what.

Now let this little child get very small, until it is just the size to fit into your heart. Put it there so whenever you look down, you can see this little face looking up at you, and you can give it lots of love.

Now visualize your mother as a little girl of four or five, frightened and looking for love and not knowing where to find it. Reach out your arms and hold this little girl and let her know how much you love her, how much you care. Let her know she can rely on you to always be there, no matter what. When she quiets down and begins to feel safe, let her get very small, just the size to fit into your heart. Put her there with  your own little child. Let them give each other lots of love.

Now imagine your father as a little boy of three or four, frightened, crying, and looking for love. See the tears rolling down his little face when he doesn’t know where to turn. You have become good at comforting frightened little children, so reach out your arms and hold his trembling little body. Comfort him. Croon to him. Let him feel how much you love him. Let him feel that you will always be there for him.

When his tears are dry, and you feel the love and peace in his little  body, let him get very small, just the size to fit into your heart. Put him there so those three little children can give each other lots of love and you can love them all.

There is so much love in your heart that you could heal the entire planet. But just for now let us use this love to heal you. Feel a warmth beginning to glow in your heart center, a softness, a gentleness. Let this feeling begin to change the way you think and talk about yourself.

In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole, and complete.  Change is the natural law of my life. I welcome change. I am willing to change. I choose to change my thinking. I choose to change the words I use. I move from the old to the new with ease and with joy. It is easier for me to forgive than I thought.

Forgiving makes me feel free and light. It is with joy that I learn to love myself more and more. The more resentment I release, the more love I have to express. Changing my thoughts makes me feel good. I am learning to choose to make today a pleasure to experience. All is well in my world.

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About the Author Excerpted from You Can Heal Your Life, ©1999 by Louise L. Hay. Louise L. Hay is a metaphysical lecturer and teacher and the best selling author of 27 books, including You Can Heal Your Life and Empowering Women. Her works have been translated into 25 different languages in 33 countries throughout the world.

Since beginning her career as a Science of Mind minister in 1981, Louise has assisted thousands of people in discovering and using the full potential of their own creative powers for personal growth and self-healing. Louise is the owner and founder of Hay House, Inc., a publishing company that disseminates books, audios and videos that contribute to the healing of the planet. To learn more, visit Hay House.

http://www.hayhouse.com

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Now, be sure to check out this amazing video by Dr. Joe Vitale.

Remember, God is Blessing You, Right Now!

Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham

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Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions.

Please feel free to publish this article in your blog or newsletter or share it with a friend, as long as you include this resource box.

If you’d like to receive weekday inspirational quotes, you can subscribe at Rich Words on the Spiritual Solutions website.

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Manifesting – Learning to Let Go, Part 1

Today we have the start of a powerful two-part article by guest contributor, Louise L. Hay, with special exercises to help you let go and clear your way to greater good. At the end of the second part of the article we have an amazing video by Dr. Joe Vitale which relates to the article and will open your mind to new possibilities. Enjoy!

Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham

Held Back By Your Past? – By Louise L. Hay

Many people come to me and say they cannot enjoy today because of something that happened in the past.

Because they did not do something or do it in a certain way in the past, they cannot live a full life today…

Because they no longer have something they had in the past, they cannot enjoy today…

Because they were hurt in the past, they will not accept love now…

Because something unpleasant happened when they did something once, they are sure it will happen again today…

Because they once did something that they are sorry for, they are sure they are bad people forever…

Because once someone did something to them, it is now all the other person’s fault that their life is not where they want it to be…

Because they became angry over a situation in the past, they will hold on to that self-righteousness…

Because of some very old experience where they were treated badly, they will never forgive and forget…

Because I did not get invited to the high school prom, I cannot enjoy life today.

Because I did poorly at my first audition, I will be terrified of auditions forever.

Because I am no longer married, I cannot live a full life today.

Because I was hurt by a remark once, I will never trust anyone again.

Because I stole something once, I must punish myself forever.

Because I was poor as a child, I will never get anywhere.

What we often refuse to realize is that holding on to the past, no matter what it was or how awful it was, is ONLY HURTING US. They really don’t care. Usually, they are not even aware. We are only hurting ourselves by refusing to live in this moment to the fullest.

The past is over and done and cannot be changed. This is the only moment we can experience. Even when we lament about the past, we  are experiencing our memory of it in this moment, and losing the real  experience of this moment in the process.

Exercise: Releasing

Let us now clean up the past in our minds. Release the emotional attachment to it. Allow the memories to be just memories.

If you think back to what you used to wear in the third grade, usually there is no emotional attachment. It’s just a memory.

It can be the same for all of the past events in our lives.

As we let go, we become free to use all of our mental power to enjoy this moment and to create a great future.

List all the things you are willing to let go of. How willing are you to do this? Notice your reactions. What will you have to do to let these things go? How willing are you to do so? What is your resistance level?

Next step, forgiveness. Forgiveness of ourselves and of others releases us from the past. The Course in Miracles says over and over that forgiveness is the answer to almost everything.  I know that when we are stuck, it usually means there is some more forgiving to be done. When we do not flow freely with life in the present moment, it usually means we are holding on to a past moment. It can be regret, sadness, hurt, fear, or guilt, blame, anger, resentment, and sometimes even the desire for revenge. Each one of these states comes from a space of unforgiveness, a refusal to let go and come into the present moment.

Love is always the answer to healing of any sort. And the pathway to love is forgiveness. Forgiveness dissolves resentment.  There are several ways in which I approach this.

Exercise: Dissolving Resentment

There is an old Emmet Fox exercise for dissolving resentment that always works. He recommends that you sit quietly, close your eyes,  and allow your mind and body to relax. Then, imagine yourself sitting in a darkened theater, and in front of you is a small stage. On that stage, place the person you resent the most. It could be someone in the past or present, living or dead. When you see this person clearly, visualize good things happening to this person, things that would be meaningful to her. See her smiling and happy.

Hold this image for a few minutes, and then let it fade away. I like to add another step. As this person leaves the stage, put yourself up there. See good things happening to you. See yourself smiling and happy. Be aware that the abundance of the Universe is available to all of us.

The above exercise dissolves the dark clouds of resentment most of us carry. For some, it will be very difficult to do. Each time you do it, you may get a different person. Do it once a day for a month, and notice how much lighter you feel.

Exercise: Revenge

Those on the spiritual pathway know the importance of forgiveness.  For some of us, there is a step that is necessary before we can totally forgive. Sometimes the little kid in us needs to have revenge before it is free to forgive. For that, this exercise is very helpful.

Close your eyes, sit quietly and peacefully. Think of the people who are hardest to forgive. What would you really like to do to them?  What do they need to do to get your forgiveness?  Imagine that happening now. Get into the details. How long do you want them to suffer or do penance?

When you feel complete, condense time and let it be over forever.  Usually at this point you feel lighter, and it is easier to think about forgiveness. To indulge in this every day would not be good for you. To do it once as a closing exercise can be freeing.

(To be continued in Part 2)

Know that God is Blessing You, Right Now!

Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham

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Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions.

Please feel free to publish this article in your blog or newsletter or share it with a friend, as long as you include this resource box.

If you’d like to receive weekday inspirational quotes, you can subscribe at Rich Words on the Spiritual Solutions website.

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Manifesting – Gratitude Clears the Way

There are certain states of being which bring certain beneficial results. Gratitude is such a state. It arises from the feeling that we have been blessed, we have received something or we are receiving, or that we have something or we are something.

Given that what we focus on expands, living from a grateful heart makes good sense. We cannot feel grateful and upset at the same time. As we view the world through the lens of gratitude, everything changes. Gratitude cures anger, neediness, high blood pressure, resentment, bitterness, upset stomach, apathy, disappointment, worry, pessimism and general sourpuss-ness.

I strongly urge you to choose gratitude as a way of life. Even in the challenging times. Sure, it’s easy enough to appreciate new kittens, a fast car, warm sunshine, and a pile of cash or a delicious meal. But how do you appreciate two of the kittens dying, a speeding ticket or two weeks of gloomy, gray days?

Let’s look at that. Take the kittens for example. Even though two of them die, I can feel grateful for the time I had with them or for the one that lived or for more intimately knowing the life/death cycle. Or, I can fixate on the unfairness of life because the two kittens died. I can become cynical and close my heart. I truly do have a choice. Choosing a life of gratitude, regardless of the circumstances, creates a far richer, happier life.

While we can’t always control what happens – like kittens dying – we can always control our response. What would your life be like if you chose to live from gratitude? If you chose to find the good in all situations? If you appreciated challenges for the opportunities they hold?

In the scriptures we read, “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances.” (Thess. 5:16)

And a French proverb says, “Gratitude is the heart’s memory.” I just love that!

Charles Fillmore, co-founder of the Unity movement, says, “It has been found by experience that a person increases his blessings by being grateful for what he has. Gratitude even on the mental plane is a great magnet, and when gratitude is expressed from the spiritual standpoint it is powerfully augmented.”

A grateful heart is an open heart – open to all the magic, wonder and glory life has to offer.

Gratitude, a deep inner gratitude for what you have, is an important factor in the manifestation process and is a powerful magnet for bringing greater good into your life.

You may remember the story of the widow in the scriptures who fell into debt after her husband died; the creditors were about to take her sons away into slavery as payment. She went to the prophet Elisha for help and he said to her, “What do you have in the house?” She replied that she had nothing in the house except a jar of oil. He told her to have her sons go to their neighbors and borrow as many jars as they could, then to pour the oil into the jars. It was only when all the many jars were full that the oil stopped flowing. When she told Elisha, he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

What do you have? Be grateful for that which you have, and let your gratitude for what you have be poured out. You’ll be amazed at how your blessings are multiplied when, instead of focusing on what you don’t have, you are grateful for what you have.

Also, a grateful person is an attractive person. Think about it. Who do you gravitate toward? The person who’s often complaining or the one who has a fun, interesting or heart-warming story to tell? So, the more gratitude you share, the more attractive you are. The more attractive you are the more people you connect with and the more opportunities come your way.

Do you keep a gratitude journal? If so, congratulations! Keep writing in it daily. If not, start one this week. Every day, simply jot down five or ten things for which you feel gratitude.

When you find yourself in a challenging situation, look for something about which you can be grateful. Focus on that.

Also, this week, take some time to meditate on what you have. Let your attention dwell upon something you already have in the physical. It can be anything; something as simple as stroking your pet or watching a sunset, or it can be your house, a room in the house, a favorite chair, your car, or a person. As you rest your attention on whatever it is you have chosen, let the gratitude rise up within you with the feeling, “I just love that!” Let it deepen 100%.

Then, for a few moments, take your attention away from that something and just rest in the clarity of your awareness.

Next, focus on something non-physical that you have or that you are, perhaps a particular quality or ability, again something about which you can say, “I just love that!” Let the feeling of gratitude rise up within you and deepen even more and feel “I am that!” Let it be 100%. Now, shift your focus slightly and realize, “I am conscious awareness!” Let the gratitude deepen as you realize all the qualities of your conscious awareness, the beauty, the love, the wonder, the power, the strength, the clarity, the grace. “I am conscious awareness!” Allow and accept and enjoy the deep gratitude of “I have” and “I am.” Then take a deep breath, smile, and gently open your eyes.

Gratitude sets up the necessary elements for our exploration of manifestation beautifully and gracefully, with very little effort or struggle. And in all cases, alignment with awareness brings us gently into the Truth of God, infinite and ever-present, the Source of abundance in our life. It is a rich unending supply of divine ideas, love, joy, healing, understanding, compassion, wisdom and strength; these and other gifts already lie within us, and they are always available.

Yes, God is Blessing You, Right Now!

Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham

P.S. Enjoy Dr. Joe Vitale as he shares a life-transforming experience.

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Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions.

Please feel free to publish this article in your blog or newsletter or share it with a friend, as long as you include this resource box.

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An Instrument of Joy – 1

You can trust the movement of Spirit. You don’t have to be concerned; everything is unfolding as it should. The wind, or breath, and Spirit come from the same root word, Ruach, which means breath or Spirit.

The movement of breath through you is also the movement of Spirit you can connect with.

The prophet Isaiah talked about that movement of Spirit in us. In Isaiah 61 we read, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, to comfort all who mourn, to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.”

Some hundreds of years later, there was a man from Nazareth, in Galilee, who came into an awakening. From that awakening he was led into the wilderness to deal with the temptations that would call him to use that new power in ways that were not spiritual but ways that were material. He was able to resist those temptations because he had set his mind to his purpose for being.

He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus took upon himself the mantle of Spirit that the prophet spoke about. He said in effect, “I am here as my purpose for being.” And that scripture was his description of the purpose that he saw for himself.

At other times, he said, “I am come that you may have life, and have it abundantly,” and “I am come that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

The Spirit moved through him and touched many people throughout the ages and they, too, took upon themselves the mantle of Spirit and the mantle of the prophet. They, too, spoke from the depths of their heart and from the Spirit within them.

One of those was Francis, of Assisi. He opened his mind and his heart to the Spirit in him and a prayer spoke through him:

“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love:
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.”

This article is the last in our series based upon that prayer. We take the line that is in the first section of the prayer, “Where there is sadness, joy,” and we seek to move from sadness into joy. Not only to move ourselves into joy, but to be a bringer of joy to others. Where there is sadness, let me sow seeds of joy, let me be an instrument of joy.

Sadness comes from a lingering feeling of loss, rejection, of defeat and failure. Sadness is like silt that gathers in a salt estuary, and it covers the true self within us like a blanket, a blanket of defeat. We are not able to see through that blanket, through that silt, through that covering; we are not able to see that our true nature is of God’s presence, that our true self is shining there. We are not able to see that our true self and our true nature is love, joy, peace, and wisdom; it gets covered up.

Then we process our world and we see our world through sadness; we process it through a feeling of lack and limitation. Of course, our world responds in kind.

On the other hand, joy brings us into the realization of God’s living presence within us and we begin to appreciate all that we are, all that we can be, and all that we can do. We begin to let that presence of God express in and through us and touch the hearts and minds of others in simple and yet profound ways.

So, we want to make that movement from sadness to joy. And I want to share with you four steps you can take to make that shift. I call it a dance, a-bun-dance. And it means that you have to get your buns moving in order to be in the flow.

The first step in this dance is to know God as your source, to know God as the source of your good. It is to awaken to your true self. That’s where joy begins, true spiritual joy is when you begin to awaken more and more to the Truth of whom and what you are, that God is the source of all of your good. There are many channels but only one source.

We so often think “My good has to come from this particular channel.” But when we do that, we cut off our good. God is our source. And don’t just take my word for this, you have to apply it in your own life; you have to experience it so that you know for yourself. You don’t just know about, or just think about, but you know for yourself that God is your source.

When you know that, then you needn’t worry about anything that comes along in life, because if God is your source you always have available to you everything that you need, everything. And your life will unfold in right ways if you stay centered on that knowing.

Moses, as he led the children of Israel toward the Promised Land said this to them, “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he that gives you the power to get wealth.” And, of course, wealth includes every aspect of the richness of life.

Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, said, “We must not fix the avenues through which our supply is to come. Trying to fix the channels through which our good must come is one of the ways in which we cut off our own supply.” And Jesus said, “O come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.” It has always been there for us, always. God is our source.

And God is Blessing You, Right Now!

Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham

(To be continued in Part 2 of An Instrument of Joy)

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Rev. Alan Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to enjoy more articles and/or subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions, at www.spiritualsolutionsblog.com

You can also go directly to the blog, at http://spiritualsolutionsblog.com/blog/

Feel free to share this article in its entirety with a friend. You may also reproduce and publish this article if you also include this reference box. Thank you!

If you’d like to receive the very popular Rich Words, featuring weekday inspirational quotes, you can subscribe above to the right on this site.

Special thanks to those of you who have sent tithes or love offerings for Spiritual Solutions. I am very grateful for your generosity.

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An Instrument of Light – 2

(Continued from Part 1 of An Instrument of Light)

We all have times of darkness in our lives. I remember the story of Terry Waite, a representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury in England.

He was taken as a hostage in Beirut in 1987 and spent five years imprisoned there; the only thing that brought him through was his spiritual awareness. He said they did all kinds of depraved things to them in prison there, but the thing that they could not take away was their spirituality and their morality. By clinging to that they were able to win over their captors. We all have something to draw on.

I had an email from a friend who in a short space of time, last year alone, lost two very close friends, his grandmother, and his brother; all had died in a short space of about eight months. His reaction to it all was one of overwhelm. He withdrew from everything; no one saw him for weeks on end. Then he had a letter from someone who said how much his life had touched theirs, how he had helped them.

In his email to me he said, “I had a realization that I had touched people’s lives in a positive way, that I was able to help people. And I came out of that darkness in a moment of realization that I could be of service and help to others. I had more purpose in my life because of what happened during this last year.” I’m sure that whatever he chooses to do now will have an even greater impact on everyone.

There’s an ancient story in the Bible, and a story that is told in different cultures, about a man who is swallowed by a great fish. In the Bible you’ll remember that man was Jonah. God had called him to go to Nineveh and speak to the people who were in a sense of darkness and needed someone to bring them out of that and to recognize their God again.

Jonah refused to go. In fact, he went to Joppa and got a boat that was going to Tarshish, as far away from Nineveh as he could get. We may do that sometimes, when we feel a calling within us, we run in the opposite direction.

What happened was that a storm blew up. Jonah had a feeling that the storm had something to do with him. The sailors were all upset. They said, “How did this storm come about, is there something here that has caused this?” So he told them, “I think it might be me. You need to throw me overboard because then you’ll be saved and it’s all right; I should have followed my calling and done what God told me to do.”

So, finally, the crew drew lots and they agreed to throw him overboard. They threw him overboard, and you’ll remember in the story that he was swallowed by a big fish. We think of it as a whale, but it doesn’t say whale in the scripture; it just says a great fish. He was in the belly of this fish for a long time. And what was the fish doing when he was in its belly? You can imagine him sitting in the belly of the fish and meditating, “What the heck am I doing here? Where am I going?”

Do you ever feel like that in the darkness? You see, this story is a myth, an allegory of the darkness, the dark night of the soul. The night sea journey is one we all go through, that darkness, that dark night of the soul. We go through that night sea journey; it seems like we’re in the belly of something, we don’t know where we’re going, it’s dark all around us, the waters are around us, and we don’t know what’s going to happen or where we’re going to end up.

Where he ended up, of course, was where he began in the first place; the fish spit him up on the land again, and finally he went to Nineveh and taught the people. We all need spitting up out of the belly of the fish from time to time so that we may become ourselves, free and unrestrained.

So the story of the night sea journey is an allegory of the movement through birth and rebirth. It’s like going from one life to another. And that’s what the darkness is about; we’re in a liminal state. In the Tibetan Book of the Dead it’s called a Bardo, the state of Bardo, where you’re moving from one life and not yet ready for another life.

And that’s what’s going on in the darkness; we’re learning what our soul needs. When we have those experiences of the dark night of the soul we tend to go deeper and deeper within ourselves to find a new purpose in life, to find the Truth of ourselves. We’re kind of in between lives; we have to let go one life and we have to be born again into another life. It’s not easy to be born again, so we resist it and we’re at a loss, we’re “at sea.”

Jesus talked about being born again. “There was a man named Nicodemus who came to Jesus in the night.” He came in the night, he came in the darkness of his own soul, and he came to Jesus. And Jesus told him, “You must be born again.” He said, “How can a man be born again?” And Jesus said to him, “I tell you that everyone is born of the water and of the Spirit, and that you must be born again.” You must be born of the Spirit.

What he was telling Nicodemus was that he had to go back to his primordial beginnings, just like in the book of Genesis, which starts off, “The darkness was upon the face of the deep. . .” That was before the light came. “. . . and the Spirit of God was moving on the waters of the deep.” There was a merging, an interpenetrating of that breath, Spirit.

So Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he had to go back to those beginnings, to that womb, to the waters of life. We, like Nicodemus, have to go into that flowing chaotic feeling, and then open ourselves to the breath, to the Spirit of God, which is moving on the waters within. And from that movement comes light, light comes from the movement itself.

St. John of the Cross said it’s not the light where you find the healing. He said, “If a person wishes to be sure of the road they tread upon, they must close their eyes and walk in the dark. It’s the darkness that offers the best way, not the light but the darkness itself.”

It’s in the darkness where you find a luminosity beginning to come within your own being. The opponent is not the darkness; it’s our rejection or denial of the darkness. We must accept it, embrace it, and be present in it.

It’s only by being present in it that we’re able to release the darkness. And by being present in it, it’s a natural movement of the Spirit of God moving on the face of the waters. And our next experience is, “Let there be light.” Then there’s light, there’s light that comes.

This isn’t only for individuals; it’s for groups of people too. We find it way back in the scriptures in Isaiah where it says, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Upon those who were in darkness a great light has shined.” So it’s for groups too.

We get in those times of darkness, but as we are present with them then the light begins to come. And it’s not like we’re an eye seeing in the dark, but we’re like a candle that is burning in its own luminosity. We find that luminous sense of our being beginning to shed light within us and as it does, we become the light.

We become the light of the world and we can know for others, too, that the light is within them; we can know that, because it’s true. The very core of our being, beyond the darkness, is the light. When the Spirit of God and the darkness come together, the result is always light.

So, in any time of darkness, for yourself or for others, if you can just breathe it in, turn to it and be present with it, be there with an attitude of acceptance of the mystery and interest in that mystery, knowing that somehow in all of that, God is present and the light will come.

Then breathe in that Spirit breath and the focus begins to change, luminosity begins to grow and the light begins to shine in you, because what you are is the “light of the world.”

And God is Blessing You, Right Now!

Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham

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Rev. Alan Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to enjoy more articles and/or subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions, at www.spiritualsolutionsblog.com

You can also go directly to the blog, at http://spiritualsolutionsblog.com/blog/

Feel free to share this article in its entirety with a friend. You may also reproduce and publish this article if you also include this reference box. Thank you!

If you’d like to receive the very popular Rich Words, featuring weekday inspirational quotes, you can subscribe above to the right on this site.

Special thanks to those of you who have sent tithes or love offerings for Spiritual Solutions. I am very grateful for your generosity.

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An Instrument of Light – 1

As we continue in our journey of becoming an instrument of God’s peace, we come to the next step. So let’s review how far we’ve come:

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;

Yes, now we go deeper, to “Where there is darkness, light.”

All of us at times have had our world filled with darkness; I don’t think there’s anyone living, unless they are very small children, who have not experienced some tragedy, some loss, some bereavement, some failure, some rejection, all of the things which cast us into that experience of darkness when we don’t know where to turn. We feel lost, and adrift, and we’re not sure what is happening to us.

So we want to see how we can navigate that darkness when it happens in our lives, to find the light that is there and also be a light to others when they are going through dark times in their lives. How do we do that? And how do we become a candle on the water to others?

All of us, in a very real sense, have a need for light in those times of darkness. Yet all of us come to a point where, also in those times of darkness, we find that we have a deeper amount of growth that goes on there. We come to a deeper sense of ourselves.

So if you are looking for more meaning in your life, more substance in your life, a deeper experience of living, then be aware that when a period of darkness comes that’s what it’s all about, about finding that depth in ourselves. It has not come to defeat you; it has come to enrich you. Sometimes we resist it, we fight against it, but actually there are many gifts to be found in those times of darkness.

Friar Giovanni Giocondo, in 1513 said, “There’s a radiance and a glory in the darkness, could we but see. And to see we only have to look, and I beseech you to look. Life is so generous a giver but we, judging its gifts by their coverings, cast them away as ugly or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor woven of love by wisdom with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me that the angel’s hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence.” It’s cosmic wisdom in the darkness.

I’ve had my times of darkness too. One of my deepest times of darkness was when I lost my youngest son. When he was twenty-six years old, he took his own life. That’s a hard thing to bear. He was England, I was over here in the States; I was in Roanoke, Virginia.

I received a telephone call from my daughter in England, and I was out of the house but when I came back there was a call on the message tape, “Dad, please call me right away. It’s urgent.” In that moment, I somehow knew that it was something to do with Carl, my son.

I called her back, and she said, “It’s Carl, Dad, he’s dead. He took his own life. He hung himself.” There was this kind of animal cry that came out of me from way down deep. Into my mind flashed all the stories that were told about suicides and their lot as they go on. Immediately, the next thought that came in mind immediately following on that negative thought was the realization, like a voice speaking to me, “He is enfolded in God’s love.” And I knew it; I knew it in that moment. “He is enfolded in God’s love.”

Of course, I went to England and Kathryn did the service in Roanoke on that Sunday. I went and I did the service for my son with close family and friends.

Before that, when I arrived in England my sister met me and drove me to the hospital where my oldest son was with the coroner in his office; he had to identify his younger brother. I waited in a side office and my son finally came in and we saw each other and we fell into each other’s arms in a shared anguish, and we clung to each other.

The feeling I had in that moment I always remember, and I can only describe it as a fierce joy. A fierce joy. I was holding my son who was alive. We were sharing in something that was of great importance to us, in the loss of my son and his brother. A dark time indeed.

We had the service and then we had to go to an inquest. At the inquest it was horrible, because there they recounted all the steps of what happened. He’d gone into a barn in a field. He’d had an upset with a girl friend and that was the final straw for him. He’d been on some medications and was exchanging drugs with friends.

And this was just the final thing for him and so no one would find him, or so he thought, he walked into the country and into a barn. He found some rope there and a ladder and he hung himself from a beam in the barn.

At the inquest, the farmer who found him told us how he found him. Horrible to recount all of that, but in a sense it was a catharsis to be able to know the steps that were taken there, and the things that were found in his pockets that the police officer shared with us and asked if we would like to take these items. There was a little tin, like a tobacco tin that some of his friends used. He didn’t smoke himself, but he was an artist and he used to paint these little tins and give them as gifts. There was a pocket knife, and a letter from me. Then the police officer said, “And here’s the rope.Do you want this?” I was horrified. I said, “My God, of course not.” Why would he show me that?

So, the darkness. And for a very long time afterwards it was as though I carried a great, grey, granite stone, right here in the pit of my stomach. But gradually, gradually I felt God’s presence come like a light which ate away at that stone and dissolved it. It took time. And it’s still there of course, it never fully goes away but it gets easier as the years pass; this happened in 1992, so it’s quite a long time now.

But it’s still there, isn’t it? When you go through those times, you never forget them. They have a tremendous power and impact upon you. But they also have a power to have you examine your life in a new way when you experience that darkness with the loss of someone, or you’re going through a serious illness.

In 1998, Kathryn was diagnosed with colon cancer and she had to have surgery. Fortunately, they were able to get it and she was fine but then had to go through radiation.

But the hard part for her in the darkness of her night was being strapped down in that room for the radiation. They had to tie her feet down, and she felt like her freedom was being restricted, because they tied her down and then they disappeared, they left her tied down while they did the radiation.

And the only way she was able to deal with it was to repeat to herself over and over the words of the Twenty-Third Psalm. They became a solace to her, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me.” Knowing and feeling that reality.

She, like me, had lots of practice of going within, finding that presence and power, and in that moment she was able to move through those words and remind herself that her freedom was not in being free physically from being tied down, but was in her heart, it was inside. And she was able to go through that experience and move beyond the claustrophobic feeling during that restriction of her freedom.

And thankfully, she is completely free of that cancer and there has never been a recurrence of it.

(To be continued in Part 2)

Know that God is Blessing You, Right Now!

Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham

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Rev. Alan Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to enjoy more articles and/or subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions, at www.spiritualsolutionsblog.com

You can also go directly to the blog, at http://spiritualsolutionsblog.com/blog/

Feel free to share this article in its entirety with a friend. You may also reproduce and publish this article if you also include this reference box. Thank you!

If you’d like to receive the very popular Rich Words, featuring weekday inspirational quotes, you can subscribe above to the right on this site.

Special thanks to those of you who have sent tithes or love offerings for Spiritual Solutions. I am very grateful for your generosity.

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An Instrument of Hope – 2

(Continued from An Instrument of Hope – 1)

The next day, in the afternoon, I went in the orchard again thinking I’d have a time of quiet and meditation. It was a beautiful day; it was very cold, in November, but it was blue sky and the sun was shining. I sat under an apple tree and I looked up at the sky; I could see a bare branch of the apple tree outlined against the blue sky. I thought, “How barren it looks, just like my life feels right now.”

Then I noticed on the tree like little scars where the leaves and fruit had fallen off. As I looked, I could see the beginnings of little buds there along the branch and I had an experience of seeing the life process in the tree and realizing there would be a rebirth of the tree in the spring and the renewal of it, that again it would bud and leaf and bring forth fruit.

I began to align it with my life as well, that somehow in that moment, seeing the process of life in the tree I saw it also in myself. And I knew that my life also would be replenished, would be renewed, that there would be another season. It was such a wonderful feeling; I still had a lot of doubts and fears but there was a stillness and calmness there too.

I wanted to imprint the memory of that tree on my mind. So the next day I asked Kathryn, an artist, if she would go with me to the art supply store to get some paints and a canvas. She showed me what to get and how to mix the palette and so on, and I did a painting of that tree branch and the blue sky beyond it. It was probably not a very good painting, but it served as a mandala for me so I could remember that moment when my life was transformed to some degree.

Later on, I discovered that the Carmelite monk, Brother Lawrence, many centuries before had a similar experience with a tree. So I felt a special connection with Brother Lawrence, whose whole focus was on practicing the presence of God.

My despair was turned to hope as I aligned myself with the life force that I found in nature, and out of that came something beautiful. It was only about a week after that experience that it was Thanksgiving, and I went to the Thanksgiving service at Unity Village.

I’d never been to a Thanksgiving service before, in fact I don’t think I’d even been conscious of Thanksgiving before because I’d only been in the States for a couple of years or so and in England we didn’t have Thanksgiving Day. We had Harvest Festival but we didn’t have Thanksgiving.

I went to the Thanksgiving service with Kathryn and some other classmates. Sig and Janie Paulson were ministers there, and it was in the old Village Chapel which was in the administration building at Unity Village before the Activities Center and the large chapel that’s there now was built. We were all sitting there together toward the back, and Janie Paulson started to lead a meditation of thanksgiving.

All of a sudden I began to feel that sense of thanksgiving rising in me for the new life that was there, and that no matter what had happened I would be OK and that God would see me through. Tears welled up in my eyes and overflowed and I cried.

After a while I managed to stop and then Sig got up there and he started his message with affirmations of thanksgiving. And the tears started again, and I couldn’t stop crying. But they were tears of thanksgiving, and all kinds of tears.

At the end of the service I rushed out of there and went to the Peace Chapel, a little chapel with only six chairs in there. I didn’t bother with the chairs when I first went in, there was no one in there and I lay down on the floor and just sobbed.

Then I became very quiet and I sat in one of the meditation chairs and I had a peaceful, deep, calm experience, where I felt God’s presence with me.

After that, things began to pick up for me and everything began to come together. What had been despair, instead of chaos, became a time of order and beauty and love. Kathryn and I became close friends, and later as you know as we left ministerial school it blossomed into a deep love for one another. It all started right there. But despair turned to hope.

There were two things in that process I’d like you to grab hold of. One was when Kathryn said, “Hold on. You’ll be OK, you’ll come through this.”

It says in the scriptures, “And it came to pass.” Well, things come to pass, don’t they? So we have to know that if we hold on then the things that are troubling us have come to pass. They are not going to stay there; we’re going to move through them.

And the other thing is the recognition of the need to connect with that life force which is always present within us but that we’re not always aware of.

There are different ways of connecting, and for me at that time it was connecting with the life process in nature, in a tree, that spoke to me and became a part of my own being.

In times of despair and chaos, sometimes that is a new life coming about. Carl Jung talked about that. He said, “Chaos is like an egg, and out of the egg arises the phoenix and a life of liberation.” He said that you have to recognize that chaos is something to be sought, rather than something to be avoided.

We do tend to avoid it; we want to fix it right away. If there’s chaos in our lives we want order and we try to fix it and we set a goal and we strive for that. But sometimes the best thing to do is just hold on and wait, and that movement of the seasons in you will bring about a change, will bring a movement toward a goal that arises from within; an outer movement from that inward movement. So our part in a time of chaos is sometimes just to embrace it in a sense, and wait.

Paul Tillich, in a little book called The Shaking of the Foundations, had a section on waiting and he said this: “He who waits passionately is already an active power himself, and this is the greatest power of transformation in personal and historical life.” “He who waits passionately . . .” There’s nothing passive there in that kind of waiting.

It’s the same kind of waiting that Jesus talked about in his parables, and particularly in the parable of the traveling householder (in Mark 13).

He said, “Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch therefore – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning – lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.”

It’s a passionate waiting and watching for that which is called the Lord. The Lord comes; the Lord of your being comes. There’s a greater self within you and that greater self is the Lord of your being, ready to come into your experience if you’ll hold to the high watch, the high watch of hope.

And what have you to be alert to? Be alert to the good, because that’s what the Lord of your being comes to bring in to your life; it’s good. So hold on in those times and look for the good, look to that presence and power of God, keeping the high watch. Hold on; keep the high watch, the high vision, and high hope.

Remember, God is Blessing You, Right Now!

Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham

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Rev. Alan Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to enjoy more articles and/or subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions, at www.spiritualsolutionsblog.com

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