A positive path for spiritual living


Thu, 10/19/2017 - 12:00am -- nstrauss
There is no shortage of evidence that humans are quite adept at mistreating one another. We all have stories and experiences of injustice and pain; all of it valid, all of it hurts, and all of it has had consequences which ripple through our lives. As a nation (species?), we have demonstrated willingness to harm one another in a seemingly endless variety of ways. Please know that the following is not in any way meant to minimize the pain and suffering experienced by anyone.
In our current cultural and political climate, we see xenophobia, misogyny, abuse of all types, systemic racism, acts of domestic terror, and all manner of insane behaviors brought to light. We are discovering that aspects of our democracy we have held as sacred are actually not available to all citizens. We are suffering, and this planet we call home is suffering.
At some point, each and every one of us must choose to focus on Wholeness. We must choose to disengage from the expanding and cascading dysfunction and focus on what it is we actually desire to see in the world. It is important to expose darkness to Light, and it is important to bring Light to our own suffering. As we do our best to follow Myrtle Fillmore's loving advice to "call it all Good", perhaps the current outpouring of shared pain throughout the planet is serving to remind us that we ARE One. Perhaps, having acknowledged the universal pain we have experienced, we could begin to come together in knowing Universal Good.
The short details of my first "#MeToo" are that I was 4 or 5 years old, and the abuser was the teenaged son of our landlord. Of course I didn't tell anyone- he said he'd smash my baby sister's head with a rock if I told. Of course, as with many other women (and many men, too) there were other situations. Of course, I can still remember the smells of that garage and the stale, dusty air in my lungs. But, having lived with that memory for close to sixty years, what I feel more clearly and plainly now is the feeling of grace which flowed through me a few years ago when I realized I had truly forgiven him. And in that moment of forgiveness, I truly realized what we mean when we teach that forgiveness is for us, not the one being forgiven and that forgiveness is the giving of Good in the place of evil. (That which is not of God; unreality; error thought; a product of the fallen human consciousness; negation. From Unity's Revealing Word).
I also realized something else, much, much more important: in all likelihood, what that boy did to me was some variant of what had been done to him. And no doubt his abuser had also been abused, and on and on and on, who knows how far back? In that moment, I knew that within the grace I experienced was also an immense feeling of gratitude, because that particular thread of human dysfunction had ended with me. It was as if I could actually feel the fabric of humanity become just a bit more whole. Not only did I not do to anyone else what had been done to me, I was (incredibly) able to hold the young man in my heart with compassion, and in some way it seemed like the whole thread going back generations and generations was healed in that moment.
Please don't think I'm claiming any "holier than thou" capabilities here. I believe we all have reasons for committing ourselves to spiritual practices, and I know this was one of mine. When I first encountered New Thought, something in me resonated with the message. We all want to be freed from the bondage of suffering. We all want to know that our actions matter. We all want to feel that the world is somehow better because we have walked upon the earth.
I am passionate about teaching the message of New Thought because I have experienced changes in my own life. This is not a bunch of theoretical stuff for me. I struggled with the seeming non-negotiable requirement to forgive for years, decades, even. It didn't seem fair that I had to forgive when so many still seem intent on perpetrating hatred and violence upon the world. Over time, my prayers shifted from being "willing to be willing to be willing to be willing to forgive" into genuine willingness, which was ultimately manifested as forgiveness. In other words, I know this stuff works, because I've seen it work.
I don't know "how" my skeptical yet hopeful willingness shifted to Wholeness, but it did. I don't know why I believed the voices of Emmet Fox, Emilie Cady, Charles & Myrtle Fillmore, Ernest Holmes and the rest, but I did. I don't know "how" our choice to believe in Wholeness brings about change, but I know it does. I don't know "how" we will bring the Kingdom of Heaven into expression through consciousness, but I know we can. One thought, one willing choice, one healed thread of human history at a time. It's not "one and done". I still get angry, I still need to practice, I still need to be willing.
So yes, it is important to acknowledge the pain, but we can't stay there, mired in the overwhelming historical facts of our apparently endless ability to hurt one another. It is important to remember that no one is exempt from the pain, nor is anyone exempt from the responsibility to be willing to forgive. We must each find our path to freedom, and be willing to walk it.  
I am very, very thankful for your Presence in my life. May we each know peace...