Seeing any form of violence in the world disturbs us, as it goes against the very nature of our being. Whether this is towards a country, as Ukraine is experiencing right now, or whether to an individual, animal or life on our planet, it is shocking, deeply sad and can generate anger and fear that in some situations can take us over.
I remember as a teenager walking our dog, Patter, in the park and seeing a man being violent to his pet Alsatian dog. I remember to this day how upset I was, not only to witness the violence, but also thinking that I could do nothing to protect and defend the animal, as I felt scared by the violence. In fact, that is what has stayed with me the most: My fear, anger and sadness at my inability to help.
I remember many years ago reading the WWI poem for my O’ Level English Lit exam, Dulce et Decorum est, by Wilfred Owen, and being dreadfully upset by the actions that human beings made at that time, on both sides of the trenches.
However, what I have come to realise is that whenever any stressful emotions arise in me, I must address them in me before I take any action, or decide not to take action. Any feelings of fear, anger and frustration at my seeing inability to do anything, must first be felt and acknowledged in me.
I do this by simply being present to the feelings that I feel in my body and not making anything wrong with my mind. By being the gentle witness to our own emotional pain, we can then take our own right action, for we find that the emotion, whatever it is, dissolves of itself, leading to a deeper inner peace. It is from this point of balance, harmony and peace that we can then take any steps we are guided to take.
This is the activity of Grace at work. For we are divine beings having human experiences. Not human beings striving to be perfect and getting upset when we do not experience this. It is a profound difference.
As we practise being present to what, in us, is in the way of peace and right action, we know what is ours to do and we can do it. This is what Jesus taught to those around him. The story of The Samaritan comes immediately to mind.
Right action can be in any form. Again, it is not about reacting because something is wrong, but responding from the inner point of balance and peace.
I believe action is required, even if it is simply addressing our own hidden violent thinking, for we live by example. Again, Jesus is the perfect example of this. Whatever happens to one person affects all of us. This is the human experience of being one with everything and with God. There is no hiding from this.
So perhaps, what is happening between Russia and Ukraine right now, is giving us, on a very personal level, the opportunity to heal our inner anger, fear or emotional pain. For as we each address this in us, the world will be changed.
Let us hold Ukraine and all world leaders in prayer. Let us affirm oneness, right action and peace in us and the world. And let us do this as a united front, together.
One of the joys I experienced in my early days of discovering Unity was the letters I received from Silent Unity. They always included a prayer card with an affirmation, or a pamphlet directly related to my prayer concern. I have accumulated quite a collection!
I re-read them from time to time, and I recently came across one with a lovely story about the love of God.
A father took his daughter to a raised level of land where they could stand and see both the ocean, and a lovely valley. He invited the girl to look up at the sky, down at the valley, out to the ocean, and finally all around her. As the young girl took in the landscape and the natural beauty, her father told her that God's love for us is "so high, so deep, and so wide." The girl's response was, "If God's love is so high, so wide and so deep, then we are living in the middle of it!"
The pamphlet is called In the Centre of Love, and I would invite you, for just a moment, to imagine being in the centre of unconditional love. What does it feel like? For me, in the moments when I can sit still and calm my mind, the whole outer world - including my body - disappears, and it is the closest I get to feeling One.
Eric Butterworth wrote that God is a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. It is comforting to know that at the centre of all, it is the power of love that sustains and supports us.
So in this month of February, when we celebrate Valentine's Day, people's thoughts turn to love. And when we hear Ike and Tina Turner sing "Do I love you, my oh my/ River deep, mountain high", let's rejoice for being in the centre of Divine Love!
"Do everything in love" - 1 Corinthians 16:14
Licensed Unity Teacher
In Revealing Word, Charles Fillmore tells us that Truth is ‘The Absolute; that which accords with God as divine principle; that which is, has been, and ever will be; that which eternally is.’
Finally, Paul Hasselbeck (author of Heart Centred Metaphysics) says ‘Anything that acknowledges, verifies, supports or expresses Divine Ideas is called “Truth”’.
I was raised as an engineer and so I like to see things as simply and plainly as I can. So, whereas I wouldn’t disagree with any of the above, I find them a bit wordy; for me Truth is Oneness or, perhaps even just ‘One’.
You see all the problems I face in life come from thoughts of separation, of being cut off from my Divinity, the Christ within.
When I remember that I AM ONE IN GOD and I manage to let go and let God (not always easy, I frequently think I know best!) then my experience of troubles and my fears drop away and I feel the flow (as Eric Butterworth would call it) of Love, in me, through me, as me and all around me.
This is the joy that is mine. Jesus said that he came that we should “have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10) ; he also said “the father and I are one” (John 10:30). So, as One, in Oneness I have life abundantly and I feel joy.
Thank you for letting me share my ramblings; it has set me up for that class and, maybe, I can now answer this question for my students; should they ask!!
Licensed Unity Minister
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Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
In this episode Rev Ken Bradley reflects on 'hope' in our lives, exploring the importance of willingness, courage and 'let go, let God'.
"I am ready to be a channel for prayer, a channel for God's Grace. And when we do then God's love, guidance, wisdom and strength can not be denied they are already pressing us to accept them..."
What does hope mean to you?
"My inner light, my divine identity, is being revealed"
Do you know the true story about a Buddhist monastery that thought they had a clay Buddha statue, only to discover that it was a beautiful solid gold statue, that had been covered up to protect it from marauders many centuries ago.
It is a powerful story with many meanings. Re-reading the story recently, I realised once more that we, as children, all cover up our inner light to keep ourselves safe, to a greater or lesser extent. Because of the confusion and painful experiences we have, not understanding that our parents and guardians know no better themselves, we protect ourselves against the world that seems to be against us. And at the time it was the right thing to do, because we did it. We all need to feel safe.
However, after a while, we may come to see we no longer need to cover up our inner light and being. As we begin to chip away at the old beliefs and feelings that no longer serve us, we begin to connect with our inner being, our divinity. Here our inner light naturally shines, our old ways of being can be released and we grow into our wise, kind, courageous and compassionate selves that we really are. We allow our divine and human identities to more beautifully merge.
Are you willing and excited at the idea of releasing the old identity and connecting with the loving, wise presence within you?
If you are, then the forthcoming season of Lent is one that will help guide you more deeply through the process. Look out for more details about how you can join us through Lent. For we are on this journey of discovery and awakening together.
Full story of the Buddha statue
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Silent Unity and Daily Word UK
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Unity in the UK