Midweek Faith Lift
June 29, 2022
The Parable of the Seed Growing Secretly
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
June 21, 2022
The summer solstice is when the sun is the furthest away from the equator, making it the longest day of the year. All spring, you've been planting seeds, starting projects, and embarking on new beginnings. It's once the summer solstice pours sunshine all over your world that you get to see what those seeds have since grown into. It's a day to indulge in the thrills that life offers.
"Summer solstice is a celebration of the return to light, reminding us of the light within and the potential of our cosmic sense of unity. It is about awakening. It is about an omnipotent symbol of ascension and the ultimate triumph of light over darkness."
– Natalie Kuna
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, today I lift my face to the sun. I lift my spirit to this longest day of brightness and to the promise that life is good. I bask in the warmth of a Life Presence that invites me to play hard, give much, and to be a conduit for all the love in the Universe. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
We are celebrating the return of the light and the impact of the light on our earth, our gardens and our psyche! Happy Solstice, Happy Summer! And a huge thank you to all who held the space while I was away….Heather Withers, Clark Ford and my dear husband Todd! Words cannot say how grateful I am for your dedication, your presence and your wonderful talks! I read them all while I was away! Thank you for sharing your bright and beautiful light with our Unity community! We are all so blessed! AND a BIG thanks to Lizmari, Jim and Elza and Susan Wolfe for managing the online, behind the scenes drama of all that happens to create the Sunday service experience! You are the best and we as a spiritual community SO appreciate you!!
This morning we are exploring the Parable of the Seed Growing Secretly, which is all about what is NOT fully lighted in the sunshine. It is all about what is growing secretly in our subconscious mind
24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and it will be added to you. 25 For to those who have, more will be given, and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.”
The Parable of the Growing Seed
26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle because the harvest has come.” (NRSV)
This is a really insightful and interesting parable that challenges us to look inward to see what is in our subconscious mind as we look at how it is bearing fruit. The passage that Dr. Michael has chosen includes verses 24-25 which essential tell us to pay attention because what you hear, what you send out is what will come back to you. What is it that you hear internally, because that is what really matters, and often it is the most difficult to hear, for all of us!
The power of the subconscious mind to bear fruit really is the essence of this parable. The seed “cast onto the ground” is cast into a place where it can no longer be seen. What is so powerful is that we do not always know what has been programmed into our subconscious mind until we see what actually germinates. Both our weed thoughts and seed thoughts grow together even as we sleep, or as we are unconscious or unaware. As Dr. Michael says on p. 97 of The Hidden Parables:
It is here in this vast sea of consciousness that includes his deepest and most ancient memories, the consciousness of humanity and the consciousness of God, that the seed springs up and “he knoweth not how.”
We don’t understand the mechanism by which the germination of these thought forms happens and we don’t need to know that. What we do need is to cultivate the awareness that these thoughts are there and they do manifest in our world, both for good and for ill. It is all part of our human/divine journey in the Universe that is God.
Our subconscious mind was first identified by Sigmund Freud and then was further explored by Carl Jung who identified the energy of archetypes and the “collective unconscious.” We are in another period in history where we are seeing more clearly what is in our collective unconscious as we see the racism, violence, fear and the energy of white supremacy. Looking at all this, experiencing it is not pretty, but it is necessary if we are to heal it, make different choices and cultivate subconscious thoughts that produce a full head of grain that actually nurtures and spiritually feeds our culture, our collective souls. We are in a process of waking up to really “see” what we have created so that we can make different choices.
This past week at the Unity Conference, the theme was “People Get Ready…” and the keynote speakers primarily addressed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Global Survival. What was striking in this Conference is that the leaders and speakers from Unity spoke honestly about the history of Unity. In the 1950’s and 60’s Unity practiced racial segregation, much like the culture at large. What resulted from that is Johnnie Coleman’s church and training center in Chicago in the 60’s because she was not allowed to live on grounds at Unity Village. Rev. Dr. Ruth Mosley founded the Unity Urban Ministerial School in 1979 to address the unique needs of urban and inner city Unity ministers and ministries. LGBTQ individuals were not allowed to be ordained if they were “out” and the income of their partners could not be counted as part of their financial support to attend seminary. This did not change until 1994!
John McMahon, Board President of UWM for the past 2 years acknowledged how much Unity Worldwide Ministries needed to wake up. A group of 12 black ministers approached the Board with concerns about how “white” the Board was and other policies. John shared that the Board, as a group read White Fragility, by Robin De Angelo, to explore how embedded white privilege has been in the collective Unity consciousness. There are now many more people of color on the UWM staff and Board. The group of 12 black ministers was invited to develop a workshop for the 2022 Convention, which I attended. It was very good and especially effective in supporting white ministers and Unity leaders in the “waking up” process! It meant getting comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, not something we usually embrace.
What struck me in all this is that Unity is finally telling the whole truth about its history and no longer trying to paper it over with positive platitudes like saying “it’s all good” when in reality it isn’t. There was a quote from activist, Angela Davis that reads as follows:
"I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept. You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all of the time. Radical simply means 'grasping things at the root.'" - Angela Davis, activist
How powerfully appropriate that Angela Davis speaks of radical transformation that asks us to “grasp things at the root!” That is precisely what we are talking about here: allowing what has taken root in our subconscious mind to become visible so that we can see it and no longer passively accept it. It is not easy, but that is what our Way Shower, Jesus, is advising us to do in this parable.
How do we discover what is in our individual and collective subconscious mind? The quiet of meditation often allows thoughts and feelings to surface that are not entirely pleasant or welcome. Our challenge is to NOT paper these over with positive affirmations but to cultivate a path of inquiry so these thoughts/feelings/beliefs/reactions can inform and then educate us about the seeds we might be unwittingly sowing. We have to cultivate a willingness to be uncomfortable as we delve into the subconscious mind.
There are several features of the subconscious mind that will help us to know about when we do this work. The first is that our subconscious mind is not very discerning, more similar to a 3 year old than a mature adult. It also does not proceed in any logical or rational way and it does NOT understand negatives. This means that if you plant the words, “Have no fear,” all it hears is “Have fear.” So our journey in working with our subconscious mind is to plant positive statements that are simple, such as “I feel safe, I feel secure.” Another powerful thing about the subconscious mind is that it is entirely self-focused, so that whatever we might think or say about someone else, it always registers that to be about us! Whoa…..now that really gets my attention! That is true motivation to just observe, not judge ….others and myself! Right?!?!
My personal awakening began many years ago in the public schools when I worked with an African American special education consultant as part of our team. She was an outspoken advocate for minority students and confronted me more than once about my suggestions regarding students of color, and rightly so. It took awhile for me to grasp that however, and let myself be educated by her. I recall sitting in a meeting with staff and parents when she confronted me about the plan I had for a particular student. Did I feel defensive? You bet….and you know what popped up from my subconscious mind? At one point in history, I could have “owned you” as a slave, and at that point, I felt sick to my stomach and said nothing more. It was part of my awakening process, sick stomach and all. But it began a powerful, healing journey of waking up for me!
It is the time of light, of the Summer Solstice, and let it be a time of waking up for all of us to see the light that we are with love and gratitude and honesty.
Blessings on the Path,