Stocking Your Larder

Over time we should fill our personal larder with our successes and joyous times, memories and stories of the wonderful experiences of life. To do this reminds us of just what a wonderful experience life is. God did not create us to have a life full of suffering and bad dreams and memories.

 If we look around our universe, it becomes obvious that the universe supports life, and it does this abundantly. It isn’t designed to make us suffer.

 So much of our suffering is our memories of those things from our past. Things like our embarrassing moments, or our failed attempt at some goal we didn’t reach. We lament our failed relationships and the dreams we didn’t pursue.

 Instead I invite you to fill your larder with things that succeeded, when you do this, you can simply go back to your collection of memories and pull up a good one instead of a bad one.

Picking the ripe fruit

As we live our busy lives we often ignore or downplay our successes and accomplishments, especially the small things that occur every day. We overlook the gifts we are given by the compliments we receive from others. We fail to value the experiences that we have as we watch others and find joy in their actions. We seldom take the moment to smell the flowers or appreciate the sunset. Head down we forge ahead in our daily tasks focused only on the next step or worse, focused on what has gone wrong instead of what good we have.

 So, my question for you today is what fruit is ripe in your garden today? Will you stop for a moment and fill your basket with the gifts that are surrounding you in your life?

 

Faith in the Face of Fear

It is fear more than any other feeling that can impact our lives. It can limit our reach or extend it depending on our reaction to it. It can debilitate us into total inaction, or drive us to actions far beyond our beliefs. It is often the feeling that turns us inward to self-examination and leaves us wondering if there is really a God or is our universe simply out to get us. It is at this time more than any other that our Faith is tested.

 Depending on how we choose to view fear, we can use it as a vehicle for good, or if we lose Faith in the goodness of the universe, we use it as evidence that we are alone, vulnerable and at risk. But, how do we view our fear as good and beneficial to our wellbeing when we are in the throes of anxiety?

 First we must know the temporal nature of fear. You cannot be afraid of the past since it has already occurred. And in the present moment you cannot be in fear because what you fear has not happened yet. So fear can only live in the future, and only as a possibility, not as a reality because it has not happened yet.

 So fear is a feeling of anxiety of what might be, not of what is.   Henry Woods gives an insight into one way of dealing with fear. “How can this great Adversary be disposed of? Not by solemn warning, but only through a discovery of his beneficence.”   Let us stick to our text: “All is good. When rightly understood there are no exceptions.”

“Someone will exclaim: “What a paradox!” or even: “What an absurdity! Do you mean to say that there is any goodness in fear?” Not so long as it is feared. How then shall the fearfulness of fear be taken away? There is but one possible way, and that is by convincing the fearful that it has use and beneficent purpose, when understood. :

In order for us to take this tract, we are dependent on our Faith. If we live in a universe that is benign and life supporting, created by an all loving spirit that loves us beyond measure, and therefore everything that is, is good by definition. Then the fear I am experiencing must be for my good and I should accept the feeling and examine what I am supposed to learn from the experience.

Sound reasonable doesn’t it. How do I do that?  You always start by taking a breath, thinking about the issue, choosing an action, and taking an action.  The only alternative is to suffer in the fear and become overwhelmed.

 Simply remember that God Loves You! Now use your gifts. 

Do I need to know everything?

Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.

Sherlock Holmes [Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Memories of Sherlock Holmes, “The Naval Treaty,” 1892]

 It would seem to me that we humans are driven to know everything and nothing at the same time. When we learn something, we give it a meaning, or a purpose sometimes far beyond its actual being.

In our search for the meaning of life, we often overlook the simplest of things and fail to see their beauty. As Sherlock Holmes speaks about the flowers, can we see that there are so many things in life that while not serving us as sustenance as food or as resource for the construction of something else their mere existence implies that there is wonder and beauty inherent in life itself. That beauty may give us insight into the possibility that we truly do live in a universe where beauty and goodness are a fundamental staple. And these things exist in the face of and possibly in spite of those things we see as at odds with an inherent goodness.

So the question exists, do I need to know everything, or can I simply rely upon the simple existence of beauty and goodness as the guarantors of a benign and and good universe?

Is this what I really want?

We have made the journey from openness to awareness to choice and here we are with our results. Our lives are the result of the choices we have made and the question looms “Is this what I really want?” I know I chose it but I really didn’t think it would look like this, or maybe I chose it and this is just what I wanted but it isn’t fulfilling.

 What to do, what to do…..

 Ahh, I remember, choose again.

 Your present experience is the life you choose. If it’s not what you want, choose something different and you will get to experience something else. Remember, being open to boundless possibilities gave you a huge menu to choose from. Being aware that you are living in the present moment brought you to the moment of choice.

 So what do you really want?

 Choose and move on in your life with confidence that you are the captain of your ship.

 Rev. Jim Thompson

Now that you are present: what next?

Open to possibility, aware of the world around me, the state of being present.

 Ok, so I’m present, I’m open to new ideas and possibilities, I’m aware of my world, and I have the moment of choice, NOW! But what do I choose, or do I choose?  What if I make the wrong choice? All possibilities are present at this moment.

 There are actually two states of being at this moment, the state of anticipation of the new and possible or the state of boredom where there is no anticipation. Boredom is the place where the past is complete and you have not created a future, you are stagnant. The state of anticipation is the same place only looking forward to what will occur when you choose to create your future.

 Which will you be?

 The journey begins with you choice. Will it be chocolate or vanilla, or how about both? The choice is yours.

 Rev. Dr. Jim Thompson

Are you really aware of the world around you?

This month I am talking about being open and aware, which is truly the state of being present where you can exercise your freedom to choose, and finally be in a place where you can take action in your life.

 Being open is the willingness to leave room in your belief system for boundless possibility

 Being aware of the world around you is the state of being truly present.

 How do we achieve this state of being? Here is the place and NOW is the moment, the only moment in which you have the ability to exercise you power of choice. But to truly exercise this power, you need to be aware of all the possibilities from which to choose from. You must therefore be aware of the world around you.

 You create and exist in a physical world; you are surrounded by other beings doing that very same thing.  If you are to make good choices, good choices being defined as those things that promote life, you need to be aware of your actions and the actions of others you are interacting with, lest you become the implementer of unintended effects. We have all heard it said by someone, I’m so sorry I didn’t mean that. It is very hard to take back a physical effect.

 Being aware does not mean I need to know everything that is happening in the universe, that’s Gods job. You need to be aware of everything that is happening in your sphere of influence. The limits of that sphere are the limits of how you choose to impact the world you live in. They can be as small as the person I’m speaking to in the moment or as large as my mind feels it can extend its impact. But I must be aware of that impact.

 In the end, I am responsible for the world that I create and exist in.

 Rev. Dr. Jim Thompson