Why oh Why?-The Illusion
Sometimes they would wake up and say “ there were monsters, Daddy. Horrible monsters.” and my wife and I would comfort them and tell them that everything was safe, that they were protected,loved, and then there was nothing at all to fear.
Never once did they say “please come inside that dream Daddy and chase those monsters away.”
We would all know that the figures were imaginary, fictitious creations and that the real home life that they were awakening to was one of peace and love and comfort.
Sometimes it can feel as though we could imagine How God might feel. If God were a person watching over us in that sort of way. This is an analogy that works – for a bit.
Often in the Western tradition, God is spoken about as a father. A father who created the world in which we live, and who sometimes in some ways God can come down and either fix things (or not fix things !!)
In the life that we are leading – in the World And The question so often asked, and the subject of doubt and a thousand books, is WHY? If God exists, Why is there suffering, why is there evil?
But what if the life that we are leading Is an illusion like a dream? And God, if God were a person, would know that we were experiencing something but that it was actually non existent. Not that He didn't care or couldn't fix it, but that there was nothing real to fix. And that the truth is that all is well, all is perfect, all is in divine order, as we say in unity..."
In this episode Rev Ken Bradley explores the idea of illusion, thinking about Plato and Aristotle, and Buddha as well as Unity concepts. As always the musing is followed by a reading from the Daily Word archives.
Click the play button below to listen to full podcast episode. There is no need have Spotify
Life is an invitation
Every situation is an invitation to find and know God more fully
Here is a thought that resonates more and more deeply with me: Prayer is to help us find God in the situation, not avoid the situation. Every experience is an open door through which we can discover that God, as love, wisdom, strength, truth etc.) is here, all the time.
Instead of using God to help us fix or avoid the pain, physical or emotional, can we find God within the pain? For pain can be the open door through which we walk, to know God as our life, wholeness, well-being and abiding peace.
In 2021, when I experienced Covid-19 exhaustion, I was able to relax into the exhaustion and know at the same time that God was also present within me as my wholeness and peace. It was an amazing time. There was no fear, only joy. Subsequently, when recovering from a tongue operation last year, I was able to know God as my wholeness and healing, even while my body was in recovery. I did not avoid the pain, push it away, pretend it wasn’t there, or even try to change the pain. I was in the pain, and God as life and wholeness was with me, too.
Let prayer be the open door to know God as your life, wholeness, well-being, joy, freedom, peace – for the way out is through.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Silent Unity and Daily Word UK
A Time of Self Care
Yet, so often, life can get in the way of this, asking more and more from us. It is easy to end up feeling burnt out, exhausted or depleted in some way.
The last thing we remember to do is find time for ourselves, at the one point we most need to. If you are experiencing something like this right now, take a moment to stop and just breathe …
When I realised at the end of last year that I was feeling depleted and in need of time out, I requested a Sabbatical, which our Board, bless them, approved very quickly. As I write this article, I am preparing to go away for a month to relaxing North Devon, to enjoy the scenery, air and space of the West Country.
To be truthful, it took a lot for me to request this. However, I feel relieved that I recognised my need and spoke up when I did, and I am extremely grateful to our Board. Further, I also recognise that this is an example of self-care, encouraging others to do the same. Especially if there is an emotional response to this!
I love my work in Unity and all that I do here. I receive so much from being of service. It is one of the joys of being a Unity Minister. Yet, because as a child, I developed a strong sense of responsibility and the idea that I must work hard for my living, I found myself taking on more and more work, without making enough space for myself to rest and renew. Perhaps you resonate with this as well. Like me, you might love what you do and find it hard to say no to more work.
Yet we can find a way to do this, as Pure Being, the Christ energy within us, never asks us to do anything that removes our health and peace. The opposite is true.
Does this article resonate with you? If so, how can you practice self-care? What can you do for yourself that lifts your heart with joy and peace?
Reflect on this for a moment … Acknowledge your desire for this. Then acknowledge any self-talk that tries to talk you out of it … This is not Christ within talking.
Anything that lifts your heart and mind is only ever for the good for you and those around you. The mental chatter that criticises and condemns is the human personality that operates out of ‘not good enough’ ‘must work harder’ etc.
Take some time this month, especially during this season of Lent, for self-care. Like me, you may take up childhood pleasures like colouring, doing a jigsaw, cross-stitching, walking, reading, journaling.
Whatever it is – you are important enough and worthy enough to give yourself this gift. Because as you do, you will be rewarded with a deeper sense of connection to your True Self and enable a beautiful Easter experience of upliftment and ease.
Rev. Kimerie Mapletoft
I have been thinking a lot about fellowship recently. Partly because I have been running a Unity discussion group and listening to a lot of very engaging retreat talks given by David Davenport, Unity Maidenhead’s minister, a generation ago. And partly because I am part of a 12-step programme where daily fellowship, ‘sharing experience strength and hope,’ is a central heart of our spiritual growth.
Our modern digital world can be a very lonely place. No HD screen or Dolby sound system can replace the human presence. A touch is so much more important than a touch screen! Yet if you go on the train these days you find so many souls huddled over their iPhones, cutting themselves of from the sights and sounds of the outside world.
In some ways of course we are more open to each other than people were in the past. Taboos have been overcome. We can talk more about some quite intimate things. But so much of this sharing is done impersonally, via the internet. How often do we dare to speak our truth directly to our partner, our neighbour, or our work colleague? Do we even tell it to ourselves?
Each morning at Unity we gather on Zoom to prayer and meditate around the Daily Word reflection for the day. It is a very warm, open, and supportive place – although of course we meet each other only via an online screen. Phones can provide a more direct encounter. Here at Taplow, where we run the Silent Unity prayer line, people ring in every day, often because they feel hurt, even paralysed by loneliness. We rarely meet these people, but often feel so very close to them – and this closeness, in the act of prayer especially, is so very healing and uplifting.
Are there other ways in which we can cut across the impersonality of our twenty-first century world? Eric Butterworth, one of Unity’s most popular and inspiring writers, once told the story of a chance meeting with a young teenager in a New York subway. Seeing this young person by chance across a crowded carriage he was struck by how lonely and vulnerable the boy looked. He wanted to go up and hug him! But of course he could not do that. Instead he shut his eyes and prayed. When he opened them, their eyes met by chance for the very first time. Instinctively they both smiled. Eric Butterworth said that he never forgot that moment in his life.
So I don’t think we have to tear down our digital culture to get through the isolation. Sometimes it can be as simple as a chance smile across a train carriage. The important thing for me is to be open to the moment. And I think that our Unity journey helps us so much in this - perhaps the greatest single thing I can do in my day.
Unity media producer
CANDLEMAS- return to light
Candlemas is a Feast of Light and Hope. Traditionally it celebrates the Presentation of Christ to the Temple and the Purification of the Virgin Mary, associated with feminine, Mother energy.
Candles would be blessed for use throughout the year. Candles representing indwelling light and new beginnings.
Returning to the light as the days grow longer, this could also be a metaphor for reconnecting with our inner Joy. Renewing our strength and light from within.
To observe your own simple candlemas ritual.
Gather yourself and some tea lights, candles, Incense or a special object that will represent LIGHT for you.
Place them in front of you or hold them.
Take some breaths. Breathing in calm and peace and breathing out letting it wash over you.
" I am open to receiving light into my life"
Visualize light surrounding your object or candle. Send your positive thoughts and prayers to it.
These can then be used as a focal point during mediation or prayers. Sending light back to you whenever you put your attention to it.
Light and Blessings everybody.
By Stephanie Bridges
Love is the truth of who we are
Traditionally the month of February is when we celebrate love due to St Valentine’s Day, commemorated on 14th February, when the Roman Catholic Church remembers this Saint who is associated with courtly love. Many people give and receive cards, chocolates and perhaps even share a delicious meal together, to celebrate the love in their relationship. Yet there are two sides to this experience of course. I still have memories as a teenager, hoping to receive a Valentine’s Day card and not getting one – quite traumatic in many ways for a girl who wanted to be loved. Thankfully, I can now seek and find a deeper meaning, as this is what we do in Unity!
If you look him up on Wikipedia, St Valentine was a clergyman who ministered to persecuted Christians, and was eventually martyred. Well – here is something we can reflect on. Perhaps this is what love is really all about: serving each other, without fear of what it might mean for us. Stop here a moment and feel this … The willingness to be vulnerable … the willingness to let another person get close to us and still feel safe … This is what Jesus, as our way-shower in Unity, did after all. He loved, spoke up for and healed the sick and poor in his community. We are not all asked to share love this way. However, we can connect to the Love within and find ways to love and support each other.
Let us celebrate love, because love is the underlying truth of who we all are. You may hear me say that as human beings, we come from love, we abide in love and we all return to love. Sadly, many of us have forgotten this. Yet we are never separate from Divine love, because God is love and as Jesus taught, the Father and I are one, a statement each one of us can make real for ourselves. Moreover, one day we will all experience putting our bodies down so our spirit can return to the knowing of itself as Love. Let us not wait until then to make this real.
Personally, this idea and experience of abiding in Love is powerful. It holds me, reminds me that I am forever safe and guides me through all my human experiences, good days and not so good days. It is my spiritual truth, whenever I tune in.
The question is … how can I express the love that I am in each moment? How can I love myself more fully as a spiritual being having human experiences? How can I support myself through these human experiences? How can I love another and support another through their human experiences? Because we only ever deeply feel the love that we are, when we share it unconditionally.
We all have our own answers and views about this. Is any of this even true for you? If yes, how can you follow through, being an individual expression of the Divine, of God. For we all express ourselves uniquely. Yet, I suggest, we each came to this earth to express the love that we are. In the midst of every challenge, we can tap into the God-energy of love and wisdom and find a way to express love, even if it is simply a touch or a smile.
This month, yes please give someone a beautiful card. Tell them you love them and perhaps share a meal with them. It does not have to be romantic or your life-partner and it does not have to be on 14th February. Any day, you can express the love that you are.
If you have any beautiful stories you can share, please email me. Here at Silent Unity, we know that you are love and you are loved. May you find a way to share this love with those around you.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Daily Word and Silent Unity UK
Giving is truly an activity of the heart. Indeed, when our hearts are open, we give automatically – we cannot help ourselves. We willingly give our time, our attention, our loving support. In addition, when we do this consciously and joyfully, we witness the bountiful blessings experienced by the giver and receiver, which brings even more joy.
In my experience, giving conditionally, in other words giving in expectation of getting something back, blocks our good, for ultimately it gets in the way of the joy of the experience. For instance, when giving a gift and expecting, but not receiving a thank you letter or acknowledgement, I have felt disappointed and upset. My heart closed and resentment or anger affected my body, mind and heart – not a good thing for me or anyone! I am learning to give simply for the joy of giving. To let any result go is freeing indeed.
This year, my intention is to keep my heart open; be present to everyone and myself, to let the natural love that I am, we are, flow. Being present in this way, I have already witnessed deeper blessings in my relationships, which feel more beautiful because of this.
My question to you is, how can you support yourself to give and receive with an open, loving heart, without any condition attached? Can you see where the giving has been conditional? Perhaps journal, draw or create something that helps you reflect on this for yourself this week and this year. I would love to hear of any realisations you have had; any clarity that has come from this reflection.
Letting Go of holding on
The beginning of a New Year is a wonderful time to focus on the good you are looking to experience in the coming year.
This is not a list of resolutions of things you should do. It is a knowing of what you would like to experience more of. Thus, every January, Unity hosts a Burning Bowl Ceremony, leading us through the experience of letting go of what is no longer needed, to make space for the new good that is desired and anticipated. This good which is good for everyone. Although in Unity we normally do this in January in fact this process can be used at any time of year as each day we begin anew.
I dedicate this day
I dedicate this day to God working perfectly through me.
Take a quiet moment to let these words sink in...
What does this mean to you? Does it mean taking time to be still? Perhaps taking time to dance, sing, play, walk in nature, find a way to help someone. Perhaps it may mean peace, good health, guiding light and other practical ways you can experience God within, through and as you.
You may like to journal your thoughts or be creative and draw or paint something, even build something.
Let yourself be inspired - the light of God shines brightly in you. Celebrate all the ways you can know this, for yourself, today, and every day this year!
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Daily Word and Silent Unity UK
At this, the darkest time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, life invites us to take lots of quiet, reflective time, to go within to our inner being, step back from the activities of the world, and simply BE. Are you doing this for yourself?
Personally, I feel I am being called to rest and be quiet. There is a new energy coming into the world, and it is only in quietness and stillness that we can really recognise and receive its energy and power. This is witnessed in the Gospels when Jesus took himself apart from the world to pray – to be with his Abba.
As we rest in spiritual stillness, our Pure Self can experience its perfection, its fullness, its true light, which is so much more than our bodies, minds and lives.
At the turn of this New Year, let us all welcome in the abiding experience of our True Being. And know, with gratitude and expectation, that Spirit is working through you, me, all of us, to bring forth the fullness of the Christ energy.
This is the call – this is the awakening invitation … are you listening?
For our deepest joy comes when we really experience our spiritual self that has no separate identity – it simply is and rejoices in Being. Let us rejoice and BE, together.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Daily Word and Silent Unity UK
Unity in the UK