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A Living Prayer


There’s this peculiar idea that the most authentic Unity leaders are those who speak the names Charles and Myrtle Fillmore the greatest number of times. The most authentic Unity leaders are those who speak affirmations and denials with ease, those who can seat each of the twelve powers in their bodily locations, those who can regurgitate the standing metaphysical associations of biblical terms.


And, of course, the most authentic Christian leaders are those who speak the name Jesus of Nazareth the greatest number of times. The most authentic Christian leaders are those who can quote biblical passages from heart, those who can maintain a certain public image, those who can complete a bevy of prescribed rituals.


And yet I would suggest that neither Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, nor Jesus of Nazareth care how many times their names are spoken in a Sunday service. In fact, I really quite doubt that any truly enlightened being is compelled by matters of self in any form.


I would rather suggest that truly enlightened beings are those who have captured something of a broader view, if you will, and who are compelled to share that broader view with any and all who would grasp that broader view for themselves.


Said another way, I would rather suggest that truly enlightened beings do not invite worshipers. They invite followers. And this can be difficult to hear because it brings us face-to-face with the comforts of what I might call evangelical laziness. It’s easier to worship than to follow, you see; easier to put your hands in the air than to put your feet to the floor. It’s easier to say, “Look at how he lived and what she was called to accomplish,” than to say, “I wonder how I might live and what I might be called to accomplish.”


This is why I say that I’m in the business of furthering the consciousness set forth by our planet’s enlightened beings, not worshiping those who articulated that consciousness in the first place.


After all, as we begin to worship those who articulated a broader view (if you will), we start to argue. Religious sects begin to separate themselves over whose articulator was superior and suddenly we imagine battlefields from which Siddhartha and Jesus and Mohammad and the Fillmores and any number of other articulators are no longer pointing to universal horizons but fighting over personal territories, as if children on a middle school playground.


And as we begin to worship the words they used, religious sects begin to separate themselves over whose text is superior. When we begin to worship the words they used, rich texts (each offering a perspective on just why we all might be scorching through space on a blue-green marble) are diminished or even discarded altogether based upon various extensions of the ridiculous belief that God is in the book publishing business.


As we begin to worship those who articulated that broader view and the words they used, our assemblies of support (and yes, I mean our churches) begin to resemble cliquish clubs – each espousing the right articulator, the right text, the right God and inevitably, the right people. Our assemblies of support begin to resemble dens of egoic vanity, hollow piety, and rampant hypocrisy.


There are those who speak affirmations and denials with ease, who can seat each of the twelve powers in their bodily locations, who can regurgitate the standing metaphysical associations of biblical terms but for whom any consciousness of oneness and possibility and responsibility appear conspicuously absent from their daily lives.


And there are those who can quote biblical passages from heart, who can maintain a certain public image, those who can complete a bevy of prescribed rituals but for whom any consciousness of justice and inclusion and love appear conspicuously absent from their daily lives as well. “Mouths full of scripture and hearts full of hate” is another way of saying the same thing.


I’m in the business of furthering the consciousness set forth by our planet’s enlightened beings, not worshiping those who articulated that consciousness in the first place.


Said more plainly, sometimes I say the names Charles and Myrtle Fillmore and sometimes I don’t. But I will always seek to further their vision for our lives and for our world. And sometimes I say the name Jesus of Nazareth and sometimes I don’t. But I will always seek to further his vision for our lives and for our world.


Now, this isn’t to suggest that we abandon the articulators of our traditions. This is just to suggest that we enter into right relationship with them. It’s to suggest that theirs are not faces given to us for our worshiping so much as theirs are shoulders given to us for our reaching.


We don’t honor them by looking backward and by clapping. We honor them by looking forward and by traveling farther in our lifetimes than they were able to travel in theirs.

It’s like being a parent. If you want to thank your parents, live a better life than they did. Go farther than they did. That’s the thanks they really want. And that’s the thanks any enlightened beings really want as well.


So, if you can tell me where the seat of wisdom is in your body, I think that’s great.

But what I really want to know is whether you are listening for that divine blueprint – that perfect pattern – that exists within the heart of every human (a wisdom, if you will) that knows a sufficiency for all of life, a harmony among all of life, a balance between all of life – to speak to you.


And if you can tell me where the seat of faith is in your body, I think that’s great as well. But what I really want to know is when something of that divine blueprint – that perfect pattern – rises in your consciousness in the form of a personal mission, a personal commitment, a personal gift, are you willing to live into it?


Said another way, are you willing to live into the highest you – a you that is as much unknowable future as it is comfortable present? Are you willing to live into the highest you even though society might not get it? Are you willing to live into the highest you even though precedent, statistic, popularity might not support it?


Because that’s the real point.


And if you can tell me what Jesus said about life, I think that’s great.


But what I really want to know is whether you are willing to change your mind. Oh, it seems such a simple question! What I really want to know is whether you are willing to be made new. What I really want to know is whether you are willing to repent (if you will), to change directions.


If you want to realize a richer outer life, are you willing to cultivate a richer inner life? If you want to realize a greater value without, are you willing to cultivate a greater value within? If you want to realize greater love out there, are you willing to cultivate greater love in here?

Because that’s the real point.


And if you can quote Myrtle Fillmore on her physical healing practices, I think that’s great.

But what I really want to know is whether you are willing to speak kindly to your body – to apologize for any hatred, to apologize for any shame, to apologize for any ingratitude. What I really want to know is whether you are willing to behold your body as the miracle it is, exactly as it is.


What I really want to know is whether you are willing to step away from our obsession with ages and aches, with wounds and wobbles, with incongruencies and inconsistencies, even with moles and pimples and warts long enough to say, “Thank you, body of mine! Thank you for bringing me to this place today. Thank you carrying me thus far through a human incarnation. Thank you for the gift of a hug from a giant dog. Thank you for the immense privilege of a baby’s breath. Thank you for the indescribable beauty of Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto, second movement. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

Because that’s the real point.


And if you can espouse passage after passage after passage about neighbor and hospitality and welcome, I think that’s great.


But what I really want to know is whether you’ve really gotten over your stuff with Muslims. What I really want to know is whether you’ve really gotten over your stuff with women, with men, with people of color, with these kids these days, with “others” wherever you might find them in your consciousness and in your circles.


I was stunned on last week’s short getaway to learn of no small numbers of people working to establish entire towns rooted in their concepts of racial superiority – not then, but now. And not over there, but right here in the Pacific Northwest.


What I really want to know is whether that person (and you know who that person is for you) what I really want to know is whether that person could get a warm meal from you if fate placed them at your doorstep in an hour of need? Could you set your stuff aside, if even for an hour?


Because that’s the real point.

And if you can quote Unity’s first tenet by saying, “There is only one presence and one power,” I think that’s great.


But what I really want to know is whether you see through that same lens when you’re buying a food item or tossing some trash or posting on social media. Does the choice before you honor God in all, through all and as all?


What I really want to know is whether the ancient and transcendent concept of one presence and one power has so saturated your seeing-ness that compassion has saturated your beingness?


Because that’s the real point.


Has your love for God translated into your love for life? Because if it hasn’t, all you have are pretty words pointing to a journey you’re unwilling to take. You’re still sitting in the dessert worshiping golden calves.


That’s my prayer for you, you see: May you be so burdened by the awareness of God in all, through all, as all, that compassion becomes your inconvenient companion in all moments going forward.


It was in a letter that Einstein offered something similar, "A human being is a part of the whole, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation."


Jesus is recorded in the latter of the four gospel accounts as having taught that those on the path will come to recognize each other, not by which dogmas they parrot, not by which symbols they wear, not by which personalities they worship, not by which rituals they perform. Those on the path will come to recognize each other by their love. Those on the path will come to recognize each other, not through a flamboyance of trappings that would keep people apart but through a depth of self that would draw people together.



We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord

We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord

And we pray that our unity will this day be restored

And we’ll know we are family by our love, by our love

Yes, we’ll know we are family by our love


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