As we move out of Lent into Spring and Summer, we are busy, here at Unity UK, preparing our summer events as we arrange to be together again in person, not least at our Unity retreats and celebration days.
Everything we do, whether online or face-to-face, is designed to support and enable us, as human and spiritual beings. Where do we begin? By practising the presence of God.
How? We practice affirmative prayer and stillness, turning our attention to the One Presence, God, out of which all life is formed. ‘The One’ is to be experienced within us ( “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10) as well as around us in life and nature. Yet getting still can be hard when we lead busy lives, when we are struggling with challenges, or in pain.
This is where our prayer ministry, Silent Unity, and its devotional booklet, Daily Word, support us, reminding us that whatever we are experiencing, God as our good is always here in our midst. Although it may not feel like it, our challenges (or suffering as Buddha described it) are in our lives to remind us to focus once more on God as our love, life, wisdom and good judgement. This helps us to stop making people or situations wrong in our minds, so we can come to know our oneness with God more fully, in ourselves and each other. (“The Father and I are one.” John 10:30). Now we are more able, with compassion, kindness and courage, to live from this awareness; and to learn to focus on what is good and perfect and true, rather than changeable, uncertain or frightening.
This goodness is within us, not as a separate identity but as our True Self, our awakened Christ awareness. My practice is to be as present in each moment as much as I can: to my body and emotions and to the ground beneath my feet. Being present, without the critical mind, helps me connect with the Ground of Being, Pure Awareness. I have made space for God and can experience my true nature. Now I can take right action, for me and life around me.
This is an ongoing practice – something to practice each day. We all need help and support with this for we are not supposed to struggle alone. Here at Unity we believe in the power of spiritual community. Because of lockdown, many found their way to our online services, and a deep, abiding experience of family and connection has grown. This continues through our morning and midday prayer and meditation services, as well as our monthly service and weekly evening meditation.
However, what we are now getting excited about is being able to come together in person again:
Until then, I encourage the practice of loving kindness – to yourselves first and then to those around you. Face your challenges with compassion, courage and kindness for you are not alone. Further, recognise that when we experience something as wrong, we are being invited to respond with authenticity and integrity to our own right action – what can we do to help bring more love and wisdom into each situation?
Then, when challenges seem to strike, reach out to our prayer ministry. We are here to listen, support, love and reconnect with God here in our midst. As we are reminded in Matthew 18: 20, “Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Have a beautiful Spring. We look forward to being with you soon.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Unity in the UK