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Click on the movie Icon on the top Right of this box to view video of the service.

The conversation continues with exploring how we deal with others who don’t see eye to eye.

Note: Sorry we are working to get a new Mic. So the audio was a little hard to hear.

 

Click on the movie Icon on the top Right of this box to view video of the service.

Sit in on a recent discussion during the service of one of the longest running Universalest Church’s in Long Beach. This week we talk about ego, logic, and what hold us back from reaching our goals.

Note: Sorry we are working to get a new Mic. So the audio was a little hard to hear.

Sunday Service Discussion Notes for November 4th and 18th, 2012

For two weeks we discussed the subject of Success, as we referred to chapter 8 of Perceptions, a book written by UMS founder Damien Simpson. 

We started this discussion with a quote from the chapter of Perceptions that deals with Success:

“Happiness usually requires that we change our definition of success.”

Society trains to accept a certain definition of success: having money, owning a house, having a “respectable” career, raising children, owning cars, taking yearly vacations, being beautiful, being famous. We agreed that we should ask ourselves why we want these things. The question was posed to the group: “Have you ever found yourself striving toward something because you wanted to appear successful to others?” Many members said that this was so.

When talking about the myth of the perfect life in his book, Meditation for Dummies, author Stephen Bodian was quoted as saying:

“In my years as a psychotherapist and meditation teacher, I’ve noticed that many people suffer because they compare their lives to some idealized image of how life is supposed to be. Cobbled together from childhood conditioning, media messages, and personal desires, this image lurks in the shadows and becomes the standard to which every success or failure, every circumstance or turn of events, is compared and judged. … Whatever your version of the perfect life – perfect vacations, perfect sex, perfect health, even perfect peace of mind or total freedom from all tension and stress – you pay a high price for holding such high expectations. When life fails to live up to those expectations, as it inevitably does, you end up suffering and blaming yourself. … If only you had made more money, spent more time at home, been a better lover, gone back to school, lost those extra pounds…the list is endless. No matter how you slice it, you just don’t measure up.”

Letting the definition of success come from without (rather than within) can cause us to feel like we will never achieve success, or be worthy. And example was given in the now clichéd TV and movie plotlines involving a high school reunion where the main character decides to lie about their current career or achievements because they are worried about impressing their former classmates. These protagonists were allowing other people to define success for them, whether it reflected their personal desires or not.

image credit: shmilysgoods.com

Stephen Bodian also writes: “As the Buddhists say, suffering is wanting what you don’t have and not wanting what you do have.” The group agreed that meditation could be one technique that would help us learn to focus on the present moment instead of always worrying about what how to achieve future goals.

An entry from the Tiny Budda blog was presented to the group, as writer Jake O’Callaghan discussed the myth that being obsessed with success will bring it (and happiness) into your life. The author relates how he had taken some advice that said he should want success as badly as a drowning person wants air, and shows how his single-minded pursuit of success causes him to be stressed out and unable to enjoy life. He says that at one time he thought, “Once I became successful, I would be happy, right?” He then discusses how he was able to turn his downward spiral around by letting go of his expectations and being present to do the things that excite him here and now. This caused him to be far more successful than the original, more stressful path.

Another example of a way to be present was given from the book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, where there was a chapter devoted to “Living in Day Tight Compartments.” Our lives were compared to large ships, which have water-tight compartments that can be sealed off quickly in the event that the ship sustains damage and begins to take on water. This compartmentalizing restricts the flooding to one small area and allows the ship to remain afloat. If we live each day for itself, treating a 24 hour period like it is a sealed off compartment, we can keep our lives afloat as well. It is only when we begin to worry and focus on all of our past problems and future worries that we “flood” the show structure of our life and allow stress to “sink” us.

We discussed how we can become very wrapped up in the procession of life, always looking to the next milestone and not enjoying the view from out current plateau. Essayist Logan Pearsall Smith was quoted as saying:

 “There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want, and after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.” 

The group was asked how well do you think they enjoy the things that you have earned? Their house? Their car? Is their high paying job making a difference in the level of joy they experience versus their first job as a waiter or cashier?

image credit: blogs.longhollow.com

Comedian Greg Fitzsimmons has a bit where he says of himself and his wife, “As a single couple, we are no longer able to hang around with married couples ’cause they cannot be in our presence without getting very annoying. It’s always like, ‘So, when are you guys getting married? Huh? When are you getting married? When are you guys getting married?!’ I dunno, you’re married — when are you gonna die? You’re already married, death will be next. When are you gonna die? Because that’s the next step” Through the humor he makes a serious point when he goes on to say that fear plays a key part in the choices we make. We are afraid, don’t know what to do, so we create institutions (like marriage and careers) to help herd us through life. When we come to a crossroads, we can be afraid to make a decision, and maybe we use society’s goalposts to make a choice for us instead of using our own judgment. If we’re afraid, others can make our choices for us.

We also discussed the need to spend more time counting our blessings. We agreed that most of us do not place nearly enough value on what we already have, and may take for granted the great gifts we live with each day. We were asked to think about how much money we would take to give up some of the things we take for granted. Would you take $20 million for your right hand? How about $1 billion? What about your eyes? Your spouse, children? We were reminded that many of the things we already possess are priceless.

Many hands were raised when the group was asked who would admit to spending at least some time during the previous week fretting over things they lacked. We find ourselves complaining while we enjoy abundance.

All agreed that wealth does not ensure happiness. We chase things we don’t need without taking time to ask how the end result is going to make us feel. It was also notes that our failures can open the door to something new, and that we don’t have to let failures cause use to give up our passions. We have a choice to either get back on the horse, but also take the time to ask ourselves if this path (getting back on the horse) is what we really want to do.

We concluded our discussion with a reading from Perceptions to remind us that if we want to be a success, we would be better off not dwelling on our failures:

“Mutt and Jeff were two rats used in a behavior experiment. They were both champion swimmers, not normal behavior for this species of life. One night Mutt got caught in the wheel of his cage. He struggled all night to get free, to no avail. The technician found Mutt and freed him. The video tape kept on the cage revealed what had happened to him. Well, they gave Mutt a rest, but when the time came to resume the experiment, Mutt would not swim. Mutt just plain gave up. One traumatic experience and he forgot that he was a champion swimmer. Did you forget, so to speak, that you are a champion swimmer?

road-220058What Is Metaphysical Spirituality?

The word “metaphysical” literally means “above the physical.”  All religions are metaphysical to a degree in that they accept various beliefs on faith, not on physical evidence.  Metaphysical Spirituality is a science, philosophy, and religion and is based on the life, teachings, and demonstrations of all Master Teachers.  It seeks to understand the invisible, spiritual nature of all life which transcends the physical, material plane in which we now live.

Two hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin defined a great religion as one that creates the deepest peace.  In 1958, Rev. Dorothy Flexer and Dr. Russell J. Flexer, realizing a need for deeper peace in the lives of people, founded a new religion which they called Metaphysical Christianity.  Rev. Dorothy grew up  a Presbyterian in Pennsylvania seeking to understand the truths of life and death.  In her teens, she recognized and began to develop her spiritual abilities as she studied with other mediums especially her teacher Ethel Post Parrish of Camp Silver Belle.

Rev. Dorothy and Dr. Russell under the guidance of their spirit teachers, founded the Shrine of the Master of Tampa in 1947 and the Shrine of the Master Church of Sarasota in 1949 as part of the Spiritual Episcopal Church. They were pioneers in bringing metaphysical teachings to this area at a time when orthodoxy was the dominant religion and alternative teachings were not easily accepted.

The center’s congregation met in June of 2011 to answer the question, “Does the term Metaphysical Christianity properly describe our teachings?” The answer was no, as our teachings go beyond those of just one Master Teacher. They reflect the teachings of spiritual truth as taught by all Master Teachers of mankind’s history. The congregation believed that the term Metaphysical Spirituality would be more inclusive of our teachings and beliefs. Therefore, as of this time, the name of our philosophy was changed.

As a science, Metaphysical Spirituality searches for, investigates, and analyzes the principles of life on earth and in spirit.  It seeks to clarify and classify demonstrations of spiritual and psychic power.

As a philosophy, it studies human character, the processes of the mind, and the nature of our relationships with others.  It studies the laws of nature as they pertain to the seen and unseen expressions of life, and bases its conclusions upon observed facts.  It emphasizes right living and personal responsibility.

As a religion, it offers an understanding of the Prime Source of the universe, which is the God Power and of Natural and Spiritual Law. Alignment with these laws is the highest form of cooperation and co-creation with the Prime Source. Most importantly, it teaches one how to unite with the powers of the universe to further humankind’s progress as well as one’s own.

Metaphysical Spirituality emphasizes seven spiritual laws which, when followed, form the essence of right living.  (See the Spiritual Laws)

Though Metaphysical Spirituality is called a “new” religion because there is nothing quite like it among the present-day philosophies, it is actually one of the oldest religions in the world.  It is the pure religion that Jesus taught to his disciples, but which orthodoxy has misinterpreted through the ages until its essence has all but disappeared into a cloud of dogma, fear and guilt.

Metaphysical Spirituality embraces the spiritual truths found in the teachings of Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Mohammed, Moses, Gandhi and other spiritual masters.  Truth is truth no matter where it is found.  Some of the great wisdom and philosophy of the Eastern religions has endured for centuries and can be found in the writings of western scholars and theologians.

Christianity, at 2,000 years old, is still one of the newer formal religions in the world today and the New Testament is one of the newest holy books.  It is clear to those who study Metaphysical Spirituality that the teachings of Jesus are based on thoughts and ideas that he gained from the Eastern philosophies. Their teachings have been represented in many of the other Bibles of the world such as the writings of Patanjali, and the teachings found in the Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads, The Dhammapada and many more, as well as the teachings of the Essenes. The Essenes were a Jewish sect that practiced a discipline of meditation, healing and spiritual communion with the Divine Source of all power.  Jesus and his family were all members of the Essenes whose writings were found in hillside caves of Qumran, by the Dead Sea in 1947.

Those who think that Christianity was solely the formulation of Jesus are misinformed.  He studied in monasteries and mystery schools of Egypt, Babylonia, England, India, China and Greece and was taught by masters, astronomers and astrologers.   Jesus was a highly disciplined, spiritual person and was well informed about the spiritual truths taught in the holy books of Brahmanism, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism that go back thousands of years.  They all teach the same truth.

Jesus was also a man who worked to overcome the human weaknesses that we all face.  To be a “God” in human form would distance him from those whom he came to teach.  The people would not be able to relate to him unless he had come from a similar background and had weaknesses of the ego to overcome.  Jesus was able to put into practice the spiritual truths he learned during the early years of his life. His gentle method of relating to everyone regardless of position, income or race, made him an effective and sought after teacher.

The Christian Bible is one of the holy books that Metaphysical Spirituality embraces.  The Bible is a collection of 66 individual books written over a 1,500 year period.  Each book was written for a specific audience and in order to fully understand the author’s message, we study the political, social, economic and religious systems that were in place at the time the material was written.  The writings of the Bible can be broken down into three basic categories:  Jewish history, spiritual teachings and the basic tenets of theology of the early Orthodox Church.

Important to the study of Metaphysical Spirituality is the knowledge of the continuation of life beyond the physical and the existence of spirit guides and teachers.  Most of these teachers have lived at one time on earth and seek through the Law of Attraction, to guide us as we go through the physical journey.  They seek to impress us through intuition and the psychic communication with the important decisions of life.  Their desire is help us but not live our lives for us.

Vibrational healing is another important aspect of Metaphysical Spirituality and another of the sacred sciences brought from the ancient mystery schools.  Healing-by-the-laying-on-of-hands is an integral part of the church services at the Sarasota Center of Light.  All are welcome to experience this form of healing.

Metaphysical Spirituality is not just a religion, but it is a way of life.  To its followers, it provides a pattern for living and the key to the mysteries of both sides of life.  Metaphysical Spirituality emphasizes the spiritual principle of personal responsibility in that we are all responsible for the conditions of our lives.  We are co-creators with the Divine Power not puppets on a string waiting for outside influences to move us in one direction or another. Realizing this as a truth brings great liberation from the fears of the unknown and an awareness that our lives are the result of our thoughts and actions.

See the Original Article www.sarasotacenteroflight.com