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ACIM and UU - Chapter four, "Wrong mindedness or right mindedness?

God's will
Chapter four

Wrong mindedness or right mindedness? The choice is always ours to make.

If we understand that it is the experience of Love that is more important to spiritual development than knowledge, we come to appreciate the benefit of being right minded rather than wrong minded. What makes the difference between the two is our decision. Human beings have free will and they can decide which thought system they prefer to operate with.

            Wrong mindedness is the based on the ego and right mindedness is based on the Holy Spirit or our Higher Power however we understand it.

            The ego is based on conditional love with the dynamics of “give to get” and “one or the other.” The wrong mindedness of the ego gets enacted in what A Course In Miracles calls “special relationships” and distinguished from “holy relationships.” Society promotes and socializes people into “special relationships” which involve guilt, fear, and grievance. Choosing “holy relationships” brings peace, joy, and bliss.

            Wrong mindedness is based on the erroneous belief that we are the author of our own lives and that we can manage them alone. In Twelve Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, the first step is that our lives have become unmanageable. The second step is coming to believe that there is a Power greater than ourselves which can restore us to sanity, and the third step is to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God.

            Right mindedness is the choice to follow God’s will for us rather than our own will. This choice is the stumbling block for most people and yet can make all the difference in our spiritual growth.

            Universalists have faith in the Unconditional Love of God. It is this faith which supports the choice to turn one’s will over to God’s will. When we bring our will into alignment with God’s will we have a power and strength that is beyond our own understanding.

            The covenant to affirm and promote seven principles is the basis of the Unitarian Universalist faith. The third principle is the “acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.” This acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth goes, however, far beyond the boundaries of  our congregations and applies to all our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

            Jesus has told us that the way to the kingdom is “to love as I have loved.” The Universalists have taken Jesus’ suggestion seriously and say in their churches, “Love is the doctrine of this church. The quest for truth is its sacrament and service is its prayer.”

            At a metaphysical level, the key to spiritual growth lies in a simple choice: the live on the path of the ego or the path of the spirit; to operate from a thought system of wrong mindedness or right mindedness. The choice is always ours and if we choose wrongly at any given time and we do this on a regular basis we can always choose again.


ACIM and UU - Chapter three, "Experience, not knowledge, is the goal of spiritual development."

Chapter three

Experience, not knowledge, is the goal of spiritual development

Experience not knowledge

 

            People, in our contemporary age, like to say, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” What does this mean?

            Religions are organizations which exist to socialize and indoctrinate people into similar values, beliefs, and behavior. Religions are a form of social control and as such they are forces for constraint not liberation.

            Spirituality is a force for expanding consciousness, growth, and development of maturity which involves an awakening from the unconscious influences of society on human awareness.

            Spirituality moves us beyond the ego to cosmic consciousness, an appreciation of the Oneness from which we have separated ourselves. This movement is one of experience of transcendence and completion – that is becoming one with the All. It is a merging of consciousness with the totality of creation which is accompanied by an experience of peace and bliss.

            The arguing over doctrine, ethical rules, liturgies and rituals, organizational authority to control and direct is antithetical to spiritual growth. It is written in A Course In Miracles in the Introduction to the Clarification of Terms: “All terms are potentially controversial, and those who seek controversy will find it. Yet those who seek clarification will find it as well. They must, however, be willing to overlook controversy, recognizing that it is a defense against the truth in a form of a delaying maneuver. Theological considerations as such are necessarily controversial, since they depend on belief and can therefore be accepted or rejected. A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary.”

            Unitarian Universalism is a creedless religion. It has no theology which is considered orthodox. Instead it relies on the perennial psychology of at least six sources.

            Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal religion which asks people to join together with a common purpose of affirming and promoting seven principles one of which is the “free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”

            It is in this affirmation and promotion of its seven principles based on its covenantal agreement with others that Unitarian Univeralism provides and experience of hope, faith, peace, and Love.

            A favorite prayer of Unitarian Universalists is “Love is the doctrine of this church. The quest for truth is its sacrament, and service is its prayer.”

            In Unitarian Universalism the controversy generated by arguing over terms is dispensed with so that joining with others in a common cause of becoming aware of the holiness in the world can be engaged in.

            In this engagement, the Universal experience of Love is pursued and created.


Are gratitude from awareness of utter depedence and compassion manifestations of the same awareness?

Rev. Galen Guengerich, Senior Minister at All Soul's in New York City, says that one of the key components of a Unitarian Universalist theology should be an understanding and appreciation of gratitude. This gratitude, he says, is based on our realization of our utter dependence. I agree with Rev. Guengerich, and today I am reading Osho's book on compassion.

Osho says that compassion is like a fragrance that emanates from meditation by which I think he means awareness of the "interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." In a sense I think that what Rev. Guengerich means by utter dependence generating gratitude, and what Osho means by compassion are pretty much the same thing.

Osho says, "... and I call a person religious who has come to understand that the whole existence is a family. He may not go to any church, he may not worship in any temple, he may not pray at any mosque or gurudwara - that doesn't matter, it is irrelevant. If you do, good, it is okay; if you don't that is even better. But one who has understood the organic unity of existence is constantly in the temple, is constantly facing the sacred and the Divine."
 
Osho says further that compassion can't be forced, it is not a discipline, it is a natural consequence of the awareness of the wholeness of creation. For this I think we not only experience compassion, but also tremendous, joyful gratitude.

ACIM and UU - Chapter Two, "The causes of human suffering."

Human suffering
Chapter two

Cause of human suffering

            The Buddha taught that the cause of human suffering was attachment to people and  things and the inevitable loss and rupture of those attachments.

            A Course In Miracles teaches that, at a metaphysical level, what causes suffering is the separation from the Oneness, “the tiny mad idea,” and the consequent guilt, and fear of punishment.

            The ego teaches us that our salvation lies in special relationships to people and things which is very similar to the Buddhist idea of attachment. When our special relationships fail us, we project our fear and anger onto others and accuse and blame them for not making us happy. This anger, resentment, and grievance is the basis for human suffering.

            Special relationships are based on the two dynamics of “give to get,” “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,” and “one or the other,” “it’s not me, it’s you.”

            The antidote to human suffering is what the Course calls the “Atonement” which is the recognition we can change our minds about the causes of our suffering and come to understand that our suffering is not caused by the other, but by our expectations and thoughts about the other. The “miracle” is changing our mind, our decision making choice, about the causes of our suffering. No one and no thing can make me think and feel and behave any way that I don’t want to. My response to my perceptions is always up to me and the Holy Spirit.

            It is this recognition that I have a decision making mind which affords me the opportunity to forgive myself for my mistaken belief that my happiness, peace, and well being is to be found in blaming others and attempting to change them. Clearing away the obstacle created by this mistaken belief that the other is causing my unhappiness allows me to become aware of Love’s presence  within which is my natural inheritance.

            Unitarian Universalists intuit this reality when they enter into a covenant with each other to affirm and promote their seven principles. The Universalist faith is based on the idea that God loves everyone unconditionally and would send no one to hell. Hell is of our own making when we choose wrongly blaming others for our suffering.

            The first principle of Unitarian Univeralism is the affirmation and promotion of the inherent worth and dignity of every person. It is in this recognition and awareness that we become aware of our own holiness and that of others and in this consciousness the sanctification of the world is created. This awareness ends suffering as we experience what the Course calls the “Holy Instant” of Oneness.