You’ve Got to Enter to Win

The powerful civil rights leader, author and theologian, Howard Thurman, wrote, “Not only is faith a way of knowing, a form of knowledge, but it is also one of life’s great teachers. Faith teaches that God is.” Though the manifestations of God are everywhere Life is, we won’t learn that God Is the One Unseen Cause behind all that exists without faith that all that we see right now originated in a realm of invisible vibration stimulated by thought, and that “what’s next” has already begun within the Creativity of Divinity, the Source Energy of the Universe.

We learn we are one with that Source Energy as we feel Its Invisible Presence within us as stillness, peace, power, love, joy, and well-being. And then, as we focus on thoughts that feel Good to think, and that keep us aligned with Source Energy, we come to know through experience that the “things” in our life begin invisibly  as thoughts before they visibly appear around us. We read in The Science of Mind, “The more spiritual the the thought, the higher the manifestation. Spiritual thought means an absolute belief in, and reliance upon, Truth. This is both natural and normal.”

Faith isn’t required if we believe that what we see is all there is to what is True. Faith isn’t required if we limit our knowledge of what is possible for us and the world to our observations of the circumstances of the world and what it has already become. That’s old news, like learning from outdated books! What is visible has already completed its journey from the invisible to visible. We come to know God Is as we focus beyond “what is” and on “what’s next.” Faith by its very nature requires we believe in something before we see, hear, taste, smell, or touch it. Faith requires our reliance on the Truth that God Is, and God is Love. The experience of trust shows us that as we maintain positive thoughts that cause good feelings to arise within us something good cannot fail to appear in physical form in our life—healing of our body and relationships, and resolutions to life issues. We come to know, without doubt, that there is so much more to see and know about this Life we are living than is visible to our eyes.

When we trust that God Is, we’re at peace with whatever appears to be going on because we know that something Very Good is on Its way! God’s Love is All-encompassing. It never leaves anything or anyone out of Its Embrace for any reason. That is why It is the Power that keeps all things safe. The Unseen Power of Love has woven all of life together with Infinite Grace into a beautiful, seamless Tapestry of Love we share. Love is the unseen Substance of the Universe that holds each of us gently and safely within It, even as It powerfully Sources us with all we need to be, see, do, know, and experience in this life while we’re here. But we have enter fully into Life to win all life has to give us. Deepak Chopra wrote, “Each of us is a unique strand in the intricate web of life and here to make a difference.” Every one of us is here to make difference. Not just the famous, the wealthy, the seemingly powerful, not just the influencers, the inventors, or even the essential workers, but each of us is here to make a difference in our own unique way. The difference we make while we’re here depends on how much trust we have that the Universe knows exactly where we are, exactly what we want, and that It is willing to deliver. The difference we make while we ‘re here depends on how much love, peace, joy, happiness, and enthusiasm we’re willing to allow within us and to emanate from our own unique strand of being so that we add our unique colors to the intricate color and beauty of God’s Design. That’s how valuable each of us is to the extension and expansion of Creation. We make that difference by living fully in the world we see, even as we trust in the One Source of all Life we can’t see.

Despite appearances these days that might suggest there has been a snag in the web of Life or a tear in the fabric of the Universe, and that some us may have inadvertently, or intentionally, fallen through, no one has because no can no matter how out-of-touch with Love anyone may seem to be. We remain, now and forever, One Life created with threads of Unity that are unbreakable. It takes Trust to accept that no matter what we have thought, said or done that seems contrary to Love, Love is loving us still. It takes Trust to believe that no matter what anyone else has thought, said or done that seems contrary to Love, Love still embraces all that lives. Most of us learned from our parents, or Sunday School teachers, that bad behavior must be punished, and we’re all for that as long as they get theirs! But, we read in the Book of 1 Corinthians, “Love holds no record of wrongs.” It is we who do, and there are often enough records in our mind against our self and others to fill the Library of Congress! We might even check out certain volumes to read again and again so that we don’t forget who it is we’re blaming for our not fully living life now, who it is we’re holding responsible for why we’ve stopped believing in our dreams and trusting that we are precious and valuable to life.

We may be thinking that it’s this pandemic, or the problems in our country, that’s holding us back right now. But, if we’re withdrawn now, it’s likely we made a choice not to fully participate in life long before now. Maybe we opened our heart, and expressed our authentic feelings, and we were rejected or misunderstood. We felt criticized for being our self and decided to protect our self from being hurt again. And now we are allowing past hurts to harm our present experiences. What we’re willing to give to others and life may seem enough to get us by in life. But unless we begin to give wholeheartedly now, we won’t feel truly alive in life even when the pandemic has passed. Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Many of us spend our whole lives running from feelings with the mistaken belief that we cannot bear the pain. But we have already born the pain. What we have not done is feel all we are beyond that pain.” It’s hard to trust that it’s okay to let go of past hurts and injuries, and to forgive our self and others, because our painful stories seem so much a part of us they influence almost all we perceive about life. And, they cause us to worry about what others think of us. Often in our relationships we’re more interested in how someone responds to us than in fully engaging from our authentic self. We work to extract approval from them even if we don’t approve of what we’re saying or doing. But there’s really nothing we can do to keep anyone’s approval coming on a regular basis because it’s never really about us. We all look at each other through the filters of our life experiences. Those who are unhappy with who we are, are unhappy with who they are. We can never really know what someone is thinking or why. It’s our worry about what we think they’re thinking that holds us back in life.

Fear of hurtful criticism, or the fear of looking foolish “at our age” if we really let go and live as we feel we could, keeps us off the dance floor of life. We’ve all heard the say, “dance as if no one’s watching,” but it’s hard for us to trust no one’s really concerned if we make a misstep, if we make a point to watch for the missteps of others. We are here to learn from our missteps, as well as our coordinated steps, how to dance with each other. We learn to dance by dancing, just as we learn to trust by trusting, and we learn to live by living.

We can’t control where anyone is mentally and emotionally coming from when they meet up with us, but we can control where we’re coming from when we meet up with them. If we trust in the Goodness of Life, and maintain good feeling thoughts, we’ll be ready for whomever comes our way! It’s not how much we’re loved, but how much we love that matters most. It’s how much we appreciate, and not how much we’re appreciated, that matters most. We can choose to let past hurts remain a hindrance or stumbling block to our willingness to fully live, and fully give, now. But, if we do we won’t discover who we are beyond the pain. The good news is that every moment is a chance to choose to dance, no matter what the current conditions in our life may be. We can decide today to jump into life with both feet even if we’re sitting on the couch because it’s our heart that dances to the rhythm of our soul.

Hafez wrote, “You carry all the ingredients to turn your existence into joy. Mix them!” All the ingredients to turn our existence into joy are still within us. And, unlike the ingredients in the kitchen pantry that get old after awhile, the sacred ingredients we carry within us are ageless! It’s never too late to mix it up with life. It’s never too late to allow unrestricted movement within us that causes us to feel spunky and want to live fully. But, we’ve got to enter into this wondrous, mysterious Earth life if we want to find the treasures we came to discover. The prolific French writer, Emile Zola, said, “If you ask me what I came into this life to do-I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” Are we ready to live out loud? How much love, peace, joy, happiness, and enthusiasm are we willing to express and allow to emanate from our unique strand of being? We all matter to the God of our Creation because the Divine Thread count of every radiant thread is essential to the Beautiful Tapestry of Life. Whether we’re sheltered in place, wearing a mask, or standing six feet away from each other, now is the time for us to choose to live out loud, to enter into this life with the fullness of who we are. How else will we bring about a “what’s next” that will be a joy to live?

Do You Need an Emoji?

We are focusing this month on the Power within us that, as A Course in Miracles tells us, “keeps all things safe.” Our focus couldn’t have come at a more perfect time because we certainly seem to be living in a world at the present time that appears to be unsafe in so many ways. If our sense of health and well-being is dependent on a world of conflict and disagreement about what’s safe, and if we continue to look to a world outside of us to tell us what to believe about life, we’ll continue to feel unsafe in so many ways. But, in view of the seeming impossibility of any kind of immediate physical solution to a world situation that’s long gone viral, it would certainly seem that a Power that keeps all things safe is a Power to give our complete focus and attention to!

It would be a Power to pray to, listen to, surrender to, and feel our oneness with, so we’re able to feel that Power within us. In this way, we become a way for It to express in the world and keep all things safe—our self, our loved ones, and every child, woman and man. It’s a Power that requires trust because It is unseen by the physical eye. It’s a Power that requires faith because we must feel Its Invisible Presence within us before we see It around us. In The Science of Mind we read, “It is well to remember that the enlightened in every age have taught that back of all things there is One Unseen Cause, a common thread that runs thru all, the thread of Unity.” We access that One Unseen Cause, and consciously use Its Power to create our life experiences, through our practice of trust. Our willingness to trust that It’s there, and that Its Intrinsic Goodness is everywhere including right where we are despite appearances that occasionally may seem to oppose our good and Good, Itself.

The practice of Trusting Life brings a deep feeling of confidence that all things turn out good for us. Trust gives us peace in our mind that transcends worry, calm in our emotions that transforms anxiety, and a constant happy anticipation of good in our life that excludes doubt. When we feel the Good within us, we’re willing to patiently wait, with a sense of well-being and safety, for Its physical appearance around us. Our trust-filled thoughts that Life is fundamentally Good emit a vibration that attracts to us forms, expressions and experiences that validate our trust that Life is Good. A feeling of well being rejuvenates our body. A feeling of openness brings about positive encounters with others. A feeling of safety allows us to fear no evil no matter where we walk. When we trust in the Goodness of Life we’re naturally open and receptive to our good. We expect the best from people, conditions and situations. We’d rather be peaceful than argue, and we’d rather be happy than right! And yet when we trust, we’re not surprised when we feel good and have energy and enthusiasm for life. We’re not surprised by serendipitous encounters that happen at just the right time. In fact, we’re not surprised at any good result in our life because we live with an expectation of good that feels natural to us and manifests naturally in our life.

On the other hand (or on the other end of the stick) if conditions, situations and events in our life seem to oppose our good more than occasionally, it could be we’re not only not trusting life, we’re highly suspicious of its intentions toward us! We’re not surprised when the tiniest sniffle becomes a full-blown illness, the tiniest pain becomes disabling, or when dishonesty appears to be the motive of everyone around us. If it seems, as Rosanne-Rosannadanna of SNL used to say, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” it’s likely our thoughts are emitting a vibration of suspicion that is attracting into our individual experience plenty of forms and expressions that validate our suspicions: cagey characters, shifty situations, and curious conditions that “just go to show you, it’s always something.” Eckhard Tolle wrote, “It may look as if the situation is creating the suffering, but ultimately this is not so, your resistance is.” It’s our resistance to trusting what we can’t see (yet) that causes us to suffer about what we do see. When we focus on whatever is physically in front of us that doesn’t seem good, as if it’s a cold hard fact that will never go away, we’re right! Whether it’s a condition of our body, the behavior of someone toward us, or the behavior of someone who seems to have power in the world, it won’t go away as long as we focus on it. It is our attention to it, and our determination to get rid of it at all costs, that causes it to stay in our mind and constantly appear before our eyes.

We have to “believe it before we see it.” If we don’t believe that’s true, then we’re trusting in something else and not in the Power that will keep us safe. When we resist letting go of blame for our suffering, that resistance keeps Good from flowing naturally to us through inlets of positive receptivity in our mind that trust opens. Resistance causes us to fear that if we don’t prepare for teh worst in our health, people or situations, it’ll catch us by surprise. So, we’re prepared and not surprised when our health goes from bad to worse, when a tiny disagreement becomes a full-blown argument, or when we’re swindled by everyone we ask to help us. Our efforts to insure we’re never fooled or taken advantage of is the very energy that attracts both to us. Then we say, “I knew that was going happen.” And even though what happened didn’t feel good, often we’re satisfied just to be right. We’d rather think of our self as having psychic powers to detect the bad even before it appears, than to live in the Innocence of Trust that no matter how bad things look, and even if we can’t see how, something good is about to take off Its Cloak of Invisibility right in front of us. There is a line in the lyrics of the song, The Rose, that says, “It’s the one who won’t be taken that never learns to give.” Suspicion ties our mind and emotions up in knots and prevents us from giving from our heart. It blocks the Good of Life from turning out to be good in our life.

Abraham-Hicks tells us, “You’re not here for the relationship with others. You’re here for the relationship with Source. And, from that relationship with Source all kinds of meaningful other things will happen. Joy first and then anything else you have time for.” Which brings us to the title of today’s talk, “Do You Need an Emoji?” I overheard someone say the other day, “What she wrote didn’t sound nice but she ended the email with a smiley so I guess it’s okay.” We’re so used to looking for physical evidence of what to believe before we believe it that we’ll even let an emoji decide for us what we’re willing to believe. But there isn’t an emoji in the world that will help us to trust life if we don’t. How often do we spend our time trying to figure out what somebody meant by what they said before we decide if we’re okay or offended, or if we should feel defensive or not? When we live in suspicion we don’t give others the benefit of the doubt, or the benefit of trust. We look for a hidden meaning beneath their words because there’s often a hidden meaning behind ours. Even if someone means no harm, our doubt in their sincerity, and our lack of trust, keeps our mind in conflict and confusion, our emotions worked up and uncomfortable, and our feelings filled with hurt that contracts us and keeps us from freely giving of our self.

How do we rise above blame and live in a no-fault state of mind? How do we rise about suspicion and learn to trust? Don Miguel Ruiz wrote, “Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean.” It is who we are in the world that creates our experience of the world. When we are impeccable with our word and we speak with integrity, we are more likely to see that impeccability and integrity in others. “I’m sure they meant nothing by that.” But, whether they did or didn’t, our trust in their intrinsic goodness kept us happy—peaceful in our mind, uplifted in our emotions, and open to a good outcome. It’s not about blindly trusting the world as it appears to be, but rather as A Course in Miracles puts it, it’s about trusting in the world because we know it’s not governed by the laws the world made up. It’s governed by a Power that is in us but not of us. It’s our trust in that Power that keeps us safe, and keeps us feeling good and seeing good.

When we trust that all Life is intrinsically Good, and we live with a deep confidence that all things turn out good for us, they turn out to be good for us. We trust our intuition. We trust the guidance that comes from the Holy Light within us that never tells us “don’t trust the darkness.” It simply guides us to the Light. The mystical poet, Rumi, wrote “Feel the sweetness in your own heart. Then you may find the sweetness in every heart.” As we feel the sweetness in our own heart, it’s easier for us to feel that sweetness in another’s heart. When we find the feeling place of Love’s Flow within us we won’t need an emoji or anything else in the outer world to convince us that Life is Good. Feeling good, easy, lighthearted, and filled with trust will be so natural to us that we’ll feel it despite appearances that only occasionally seem to oppose our good and Good, Itself.

The Cooperative Universe

Deepak Chopra wrote, “In the light of trust, as it develops slowly over time, you will find that you are a privileged child of the universe, entirely safe, entirely supported, entirely loved.” In a month like October that includes ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night, in a year such as this one that has often felt more frightening than any Halloween night,  and in these seemingly uncertain times where so many of us may feel unsafe, unsupported and unloved, developing trust in the Universe is a very good thing. In fact, trust is vital for our health, happiness, well being, and peace of mind.

Now some of us may trust that God has a plan for us and the rest of humanity, but that it’s either an afterlife plan waiting for us beyond “the pearly gates” if we can just sacrifice enough here to get in, or that it’s such a long-term Earth plan (because we, humans, don’t seem to be interested in doing things any differently) that we may not live long enough to see the Divine plan manifest—to actually experience in our lifetime a world living together in peace, love, safety, health, and abundant good for all. The good news is that the Power of Trust we’re focusing on allows all the good we desire for our self and the world to manifest here and now, while we’re still here to enjoy it!

In A Course in Miracles Manual for Teachers, we read, “The teachers of God have trust in the world because they have learned it is not governed by the laws the world made up. It is governed by a power that is in them but not of them. It is this power that keeps all things safe.” The Power we’re focusing on as we talk about the Power of Trust is the Power that keeps all thing safe: The Power of God’s Love within us. We are so loved that we’ve been given power by Love, Itself, to create for our self forms of Love and expressions of Love from within us that can manifest as a world of Love around us. The Trust we’re focusing on as we talk about the Power of Trust is our trust in the Intrinsic Goodness of the Universe of God’s Creation, the very Universe in which we live right now despite any appearance that seems to contradict that Goodness. And, we’re talking about our trust that no matter what we’ve thought, said or done that seems contrary to Goodness, that Goodness lives in us still and is there to guide us whenever we choose to trust It.

Still, because we rely so heavily on what we can see physically, and trust and faith require our believing something or believing in something that we can’t see, hear, taste, smell, or touch yet, we may be wondering how we can be expected to trust the Universe, or even slowly develop trust over time, when so many things these days almost everywhere we look seem to be going in the opposite direction of what we want to see and experience in this Earth life. We might even be thinking “This isn’t why I came!” But, then again, maybe it is because there is nothing like vivid contrast between what we want to see and experience, and what we see and experience we don’t want, to encourage us to learn to trust in more than what we can experience with our five senses. Oscar Wilde wrote, “All good experiences have come from trusting the universe. There is no other way to live or love. Otherwise you create your own prison.” We create our own prison with thoughts, words, conversations, and actions that are dominated by what we don’t want and why we don’t want it, and why we’re not happy that whatever is going on is going on! We’re so used to not seeing what we want—not because we can’t have it but because we’re not looking in the direction it’s coming from—that we’ve stopped asking for what we want in life and settled for complaining about life. We settle for such a small, lackluster version of our self and life when we’re created to extend and expand a Universe of limitless possibilities!

We’ve forgotten our life, in all its ways, arises from within us, and that within us is a realm of unlimited power and potential no matter what may be going on along our life path in any moment. In the Book of Hebrews we read, “Things that are seen came into being out of those things which are unseen.” We’ve forgotten that our thoughts and feelings are the unseen substance out of which our life comes into manifestation. We may be a little rusty when it comes to faith and trust in those things which are unseen because we’ve been relying so much on what we can see physically and “the laws the world made up.” We’ve been focusing so long on what’s already in front of us we’ve come to believe that it’s all there for us to experience in this life. We look at our body, relationships, and everything else around us, and then focus so often on what we don’t want, e.g., illness, conflict or lack, that we forget our life is governed by the Power of the Love of God for us that is within us and ready to give us whatever we want.

We live in a cooperative Universe that always delivers. All we have to do is ask and it will be given to us. But, we have to let it in, and we won’t if we don’t trust in the Goodness of Life and who we are in It. We resist our good with a belief in own unworthiness and our stubborn view of what is possible (or not possible) for us and the world around us. The poet, Rumi, wrote, “Do you know what you are? You are a manuscript of a Divine Love letter. You are a mirror reflecting a noble face. This universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself. Everything that you want, you are already that.” We’d have no problem trusting that the Universe has our back 24/7 if we had faith that our safety, support, health, and well being are already ours. The Universe always answers “yes” when we ask for whatever we ask for, but we have to anticipate that “yes,” and expect to receive what we’ve asked for. The Universe always supports us in all we desire to be, do and have. We just have to let go and stop resisting being, doing and having it!

We read in The Science of Mind, “A marvelous sense steals over the one who waits on Good, and in patience bides his time. A feeling of some Unseen Presence silently creeps over the waiting thought. Though you cannot trace it, you must trust it.” Still, so often we want to trace it before we trust it! We want definitive proof before our eyes. “I’ll believe it when I see it” is such a human mantra that we’re used to looking for physical evidence of what to believe before we believe it! In 1989 Wayne Dyer wrote a wonderful book titled, “You’ll See It When You Believe It.” Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus said basically the same thing, “It is done unto you as you believe.” We’ll see it done when we believe it will be done “unto” us. In other words, we learn to trust the Universe by trusting the Universe! So often we’re afraid to dream because we don’t trust that our dreams will come true. We’re afraid to ask because we don’t want to be disappointed if we don’t get what we want—better health, happier relationships, increased financial freedom, or inspiration when we feel stuck in some situation. We let past disappointments cause us to resist our Present Good.

We can only develop trust that the Universe will give us what we want by finding the feeling of trust first, by letting our self feel what it would feel like to have whatever it is we want. Whatever it is we want, we want it for the feeling it will bring. What does good health feel like, ease and happiness? What does a loving relationship feel like, intimacy and contentment? What does financial abundance feel like, freedom and peace of mind? What does inspiration feel like, excitement and enthusiasm for life? We increase our trust by letting that good feeling grow within us before it physically manifests. It grows as we feel the reality of the inner evidence of it, like a baby moving in our womb, and we abide in patient trust in the unseen out of which everything is made. Trust opens us to receiving the wanted in our life because we’re looking in the direction it is coming from.

We read in The Science of Mind, “My confidence in The All Good is complete. My faith in the Power of Spirit is supreme. I have no doubts or uncertainties. I know my Good is at hand and I realize that no fear can hinder that Good from making Its appearance in my life and affairs. I know that my Life and Good are complete.” The Universe always has something very, very good up Its Holy Sleeve. It gathers all the unseen cooperative components together just for us. We just have be a cooperative component in our own desires by celebrating the Good even before we see it, and then looking for it with trust that It’s there.