Midweek Faith Lift
December 12, 2018
“Peace in the Midst…..”
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
Every Sunday, at the end of our service, and at Unity services all around the world, we sing “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” It is a powerful affirmation of what is true about peace: it is a practice, and it begins right here, within me. And while, Peace is what is meant to be, it doesn’t matter whether there is peace “out there” or not. If I am going to experience peace, it happens within me, no matter what else is going on around me. It is a practice, this peace business, much like “Practicing the Presence” of Spirit rather than “Practicing the Absence.”
Our journey is to explore all the ways we can engage and refine our practice so that we too, can experience “Peace in the Midst….” Let it begin with us, right here and right now. Where do we look for this Peace that passes all understanding, as it says in Paul’s Letter to the Philippians:
6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NRSV)
When I read this, the first thing that hit me was the instruction, “do not worry about anything.” People have been worrying for a long, long, long time, with no good outcome for all the effort. Peace is not just the absence of worry, or the absence of things to worry about, it goes much deeper than that. It requires prayer, and the practice of letting go and letting God, and then faith or trust that when there seems to be no way, God always opens a way. All we do is let our request be known and then let go and realize Peace. That was one of my favorite and frequently used prayers when I worked in Silent Unity.
When people call Silent Unity, they are filled with worry, fear and energy that is heavily invested in Practicing the Absence of God, not the Presence. Through the process of prayer, I could hear them shift into a place of peace with the invitation at the end of the prayer, “Now we choose to trust, knowing that the Power and Presence of Spirit fills our entire Being and this circumstance. We know that Spirit always makes a way out of no way, even when we cannot see it. We pray all these things in the name and through the nature of the Living Christ Presence that we are. Amen.” Prayer called them, and me, back to that still point of connection with Spirit, that Christ Presence that Paul references in Philippians. And that brought us both to that place of peace that surpasses all understanding. It places both mind and heart in the energy of the Christ, in the realm of Divine Love, from where all the answers flow, all the Wisdom flows.
Ok, that is great! I can get to that still point, when I pray with Silent Unity, but how long can I stay there? What happens when I hang up the phone, and turn on the news or talk to that difficult relative or co-worker? How long can I stay there, in that consciousness of peace? Not all that long, especially in these troubled times where the primary talk is of what divides us. Worry and anxiety are like kudzu or creeping Charlie or knotweed….invasive, with a strong propensity to establish roots and suck the life, energy and water and joy away from everything health ! What to do! I need a mantra!
Rev. Joan Gattuso offers us one in her reading for Dec. 14, in this year’s Advent Booklet. “I could see peace instead of this….”-A Course in Miracles. I have no idea how I can see peace, but claiming it helps to open my mind to all possibilities. “I could see peace instead of this…..” It is a sure bet that if I keep going over all my worry about things, then I will just add to the worry because often I discover even more things to worry about. If I want to change things up, which I do, I deliberately focus on the idea that “I could see peace instead of this…” Ok, put that on my bathroom mirror along with Myrtle’s Prayer of Faith from last week, and I am good to go!
OH DEAR, NOW WHAT?? I feel kinda like Rain Man and Charlie Babbitt! There is always something! NOW WHAT??? Well, in truth, I was hoping, expecting, that if I choose to see peace instead of this, that THIS would go away! How long do I have to look at this? How can I make it go away??? God, please take this away, please remove this circumstance so that I no longer have to see it, to endure it!!! Oh, really? It doesn’t work that way??? Well then how the “heaven” can I be Peaceful, for God’s sake!!
Wait, there’s more to this than I realize. Perhaps I need to cultivate the capacity to see “Peace in the midst of all this…” without getting hung up on making “this,” whatever it is, go away! Because it probably won’t! What you resist persists. Do I want my energy to go to resistance, or do I want it to go to maintaining that Still Point of connection to my higher Self, to Spirit, to the mountaintop perspective? Hmmmm, I need to cultivate the capacity to be with what is there, to not contribute to the discord in any way by resisting and to maintain that point of stillness or peace deep within myself. Hmmm, that is a tall order. How can I do that?
First, getting back to center, breathe and realize that even in the midst of chaos, I don’t have to DO anything except “Be Still and Know.” Remember what is on the wall above the door in the Book Nook from:
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.” (NRSV)
When I am Still, I know that the Power and Presence of God is greater than that of nations, of all the earth. Even in the midst of un-peace, I can pause, pray, be still and know. It is a practice, which takes mindfulness, repetition and discipline to cultivate. It takes healing ourselves at depth, a conscious decision to heal.
The Hawaiians have an ancient healing practice that is called Ho’oponopono and here is a true story of how it was used:
A therapist in Hawaii was called in to help at the Hawaii State hospital where the insane patients were totally out of control. The ward where they kept the criminally insane patients was a dangerous place. Psychologists would quit on a monthly basis and the staff would call in sick a lot or simply quit. People would walk through the ward with their backs against the wall because they were afraid of being attacked by the patients. It was not a safe place to work.
Dr Ihaleakala Hew Len, an expert in the spiritual practice, Ho’oponopono, was asked if he would work there and see what he could do. Dr Hew Len (for short) agreed to see what he could do and worked there for three years and by the end of that time the ward was closed because all the patients had healed. Dr Hew Len never saw any of the patients professionally or counseled them at all. All he did and agreed to do was review their files.
While he studied their files, he would work on himself – he would repeat a mantra over and over – and miraculously, gradually all the patients began to heal. After a few months of Dr Hew Len being there, patients who had been shackled started being allowed to walk freely; others who’d been heavily medicated, started getting their medications reduced; and those who had been seen as having no chance of ever being released, were being released and freed.
Not only that, but the staff began to enjoy coming to work. Absenteeism and turnover disappeared. They ended up having more staff than they needed, because patients were being released and all the staff were showing up to work every day. What happened to change things so dramatically?
Dr Hew Len explained, “I was simply cleaning the part of me that I shared with them.” The only way I can explain it is this… Ho’oponopono recognizes we are all part of one consciousness, and as such, everything that is in our experience is affected by our actions/reactions. We are responsible for everything we experience!
Dr Hew Len explains, “total responsibility for your life, means that everything in your life, simply because it is in your life, is your responsibility. In a literal sense, the entire world is your creation.” In other words, we are living in a shared consciousness/a shared hologram if you like, where if one person’s consciousness changes, it can change the whole. The only consciousness we can heal is our own. When we heal, we consciously and deliberately contribute to the healing of the whole.
What is the practice of Ho’oponopono? It is an ancient Polynesian healing practice and it consists of four statements that are repeated with energy and intention and the willingness to heal oneself.
What was the mantra Dr. Hew Len repeatedly used?
It was very simple:
Please forgive me…. I’m sorry…. I love you…. Thank you
Sometimes he might change it to just:
I love you…… I love you…. Thank you….. I love you….. Thank you
Or some other variation of the phrases, whatever he was moved to say
over and over, addressing that part of himself, which was suffering and hurting.
Who or what was he addressing? He was addressing that aspect of his consciousness he shared with that person. The fact that this person was in his experience meant that they shared a part of the same universal consciousness, so if this other person was suffering, that meant a part of him was also suffering and needed healing. By addressing that aspect of himself and giving love to it, feeling sorrow for the distortion in existence, projecting love towards it and accepting the infinite’s unlimited unconditional love that by focusing healing on that aspect, it would be healed. He would then just thank the Infinite for healing that problem.
With each repeat of the mantra, he would address a new layer, deeper and deeper, until the healing manifested and he was guided to move on.
As Dr Hew Len says, he continually cleans the “data” of whatever it is that is troubling and painful. He just keeps “cleaning” himself, wherever he goes, trusting that the Infinite Love/God Source will take him wherever he needs to go.
Last week, we experienced how hope moves into faith. This week, it is Peace that becomes lasting with true healing. What are you waiting for and how will you step into the process of peace and healing?
Blessings on the Path,