I "belong" in ways that go beyond even my b...iological family, because of the fellowship
The music is inspiring,
Our Minister, Rev. Larry inspires, teaches, encourages
We wish everyone a warm and wonderful Merry Christmas. Unity will be holding two Candlelight Services this evening at 5pm & 7pm. We welcome each and everyone.
Already Whole, Already Holy
This is a time for us to remember who we are. There is blessing and wholeness already present and available to us. It is a time for kindness, and for deep caring for ourselves and those around us. It is important for us to see the blessings that are there.
Matthew Fox, in his book Original Blessing, recalls for us the four pathways we can follow on our journey toward truth and meaning. One is the Via Positiva, the Path of Joy. Seasons of change may... be stressful. They may also be opportunities to more deeply connect to ourselves, to others, and to God. When one intentionally walks along the Via Positiva, it is marked by the qualities of hospitality, humility, gratitude, justice, beauty, and blessing.
These qualities are what our world and our community need more of, maybe now more than ever. When our experience in the world becomes stressful, and we experience conflict, the Path of Joy gives us an opportunity to see and experience it differently. A critical component is how we care for ourselves and others. Ae spiritual seekers we might find our way to not just survive, but to thrive during change.
The Via Positiva and its inherent qualities are all the intentional desire of our spiritual nature. We must have faith and trust that this is so. Our physical body is designed to heal. It is the same with our spiritual body. We must trust in the midst of challenging times that healing will happen.
We must also practice mindfulness. Notice what is present. Notice what is hurting in ourselves and others. Notice our vulnerability. Remain clear and calm. Be in right relationship with ourselves and the world. Thich Nhat Hanh speaks to this.
“If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not "washing the dishes to wash the dishes." What's more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can't wash the dishes, the chances are we won't be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future -and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness
In a spiritual community we need each other, especially when there are challenges. We are called to remember that we are whole. We are called to participate with an open heart. We are called to be in alignment with God, with ourselves and with each other.
As Hildegard of Bingen reminds us: “Good People…you shine with radiant light."
Based on the Sunday, February 18, 2018 message by Lora Barnett
Please join us for this important and interesting discussion Friday, February, 16, 7:00 PM at Unity of Santa Barbara
Finding the Gift - Must Be Present To Win
If we listen to the voice within us, we hear that everything is a gift for us. Every moment, everything coming toward us is a gift. It is hard for us to understand that. It is easy to see the gift in the things we like - but what about the fires and mudslides, what about conflict or loss in our homes, our work, our church. Can we see the gift in that?
Finding the gift may take years to discover. Probably the greatest lesson in the int...erim is finding a way to continue to live in a way that we lead from our heart, regardless of what is happening. Can we lead from love in spite of the turmoil and the challenges?
The Universe and our higher selves are busy bringing us all these lessons for our growth. Meanwhile our lower selves are busy trying to push these lessons away. If we understand that on some level we are asking for these lessons, why would we say no to them when they appear in our lives? We need our problems to stretch ourselves, both in the outer realm and the inner spiritual realm.
When bad things happen, many times we will hear “why would God let this happen?” This supposes there is a God “out there” pulling strings and manipulating what is happening in the world. But we believe that God is within us and all around us, and that God is love. So the real question is “what am I going to let happen when I meet these things?” What is my choice going to be in how I meet what I am facing?
There is always that fork in the road where we get to choose love, or fear. What we have operating within us is going to let one or the other of those two choices happen. Our peace is not dependent on what we are seeing out there, but rather it is the choice we make about HOW we see it. A Course in Miracles (ACM) says “I could see peace instead of this.” We can choose to see peace or we can see chaos.
“Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter. It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward. It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises.” A Course in Miracles, Lesson 34.
Sometimes the question is not ‘how can I find the gift in this?’ but rather ‘how can I be the gift in this?’ It is a shift from what’s in it for me to what’s in it from me? What can we bring to any situation that is loving, that shines with divine light, that brings the potential for healing? Again, it’s that fork in the road. What do we choose?
“All the Christ inside me wants is for me to stay in touch.” Choose to find the gift. Stay in touch with love.
Based on the Sunday, February 11, 2018 message by Charley Thweatt
Chaos and Loss in Transformation
Change and loss are a given. Everything is created and everything dies and is transformed. This applies to people, businesses, and spiritual communities. Everything must change. The Buddha tells a story of a mother whose child has died, begging Buddha to bring her child back to life. The Buddha tells her he will do it if she brings him just one mustard seed from a household that has never experienced any loss. Searching from house to house, vi...llage to village, the woman is not able to find such a household.
Transformation tends to have a very positive connotation. It is something we seek on our spiritual path. But more often than not it happens in dark and difficult places. It can involve pain, loss, grief, and releasing before something new emerges. There are cultures that have initiation rituals in which a person is removed from everything they know, given a difficult challenge from which they wonder if they will ever return, and are transformed by the experience. In some ways our current culture is in a time of Initiation.
Chaos is the primordial void. It is the unformed from which everything came into being. It is part of the natural order of the Universe. Yet do we allow ourselves to go into chaos willingly? No, we don’t. It is the same with grief. Grief comes from the same root word for gravity – a downward pull. Traditional cultures know that grief is a part of life and have rituals for grief that involve singing and dancing and expressing sadness together. Our western culture struggles with this.
The news and social media overwhelms us with sad stories of loss and destruction 24/7. We can become immune to the grief of this. We have become addicted to speed and novelty, and how fast we can get to the next interesting thing. We jump over our emotional responses. When loss comes to our own community, we may experience some difficulty activating our sense of belonging, and how to help and support each other. It calls for us to slow down and be present to what is happening in our minds and in our hearts.
As we move through a time of disruption and chaos, let us remember to honor our grief. In the Mayan language the word for grief and praise is the same. We will come to lose everything we love. And in the process of releasing we will allow something new to be created. We activate our love and our faith. We rest in the trough of the wave, trusting that the wave will return us to its crest. We allow what is present to be transformed.
“The tears I shed yesterday have become rain.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh~
Based on the Sunday, February 4, 2018 message by Alexis Slutzky.
Bling It On! - Adorn yourself for an amazing cause.
Unity's Global Outreach is a supporter of The Mayan Families 501(c)(3).
This FUNdraiser features an eclectic collection ranging from vintage to contemporary. There’s something for everyone....
Just be-CAUSE and just in time for Valentine's Day. 💗
Divine Audacity: Dare to Be the Light of the World
A Course in Miracles gives us what might be a mandate for how we live our lives. “Today I will accept the truth about myself. I will arise in glory, and allow the light in me to shine upon the world throughout the day.” Lesson 237.
Charles Fillmore says it like this: “It is your mission to express all that you can imagine God to be. Let this be your standard of achievement; never lower it, nor allow yourself to be belittled ...by the cry of sacrilege. You can attain to everything that you can imagine. If you imagine that it is possible to God, it is also possible to you.” Can we step into agreement with that?
Jesus quotes Hebrew scripture when he says, “I have said you are Gods – sons and daughters of the most high.” And he reminds us that we are “the light of the world.” It is time for us to bring that light to the world. We are it, we are the ones. We don’t have to wait for someone to save us or bring the light to us. We already are the light.
The power of God is in us, and lives through us, as us. We are Divine. When we forget and don’t claim this, we disempower ourselves. We think we have to stay within certain boundaries and keep ourselves small. We believe that looking within is not the thing to do. We fear the negatives we might find there. But all the great teachers have taught that the Truth of us is Divine. The negatives are not the truth.
In some ways we are similar to a rock geode. When you break it open you find magnificent beauty and light. That is who we are – the preciousness of the Universe. Life has a way of cracking us open. When this happens, we can choose to either be caught up in our reaction to circumstances, or we can find the light and be that.
The people who can access the light within are needed in this world – now maybe more than ever. Who do we think we are? Can we be audacious enough to be who we truly are – to stand in our truth – to speak our truth?
We must have the courage to shine our light in those moments when what is happening is not the highest good for ourselves or others. We speak our truth not to denigrate others, but to call them to a higher level of awareness, and to remind them of who they truly are. The need to be true gives us the courage to be the truth and bring that light of truth to the world.
Find your divine audacity, and be the light in the world.
Based on the Sunday, January 28, 2018 message by Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett
The Answer Is Yes
All the goodness, love, happiness, and well being we think is missing, in Truth is here right now. We wish for a better day. Today is that day. We know there is something deeper and truer in each moment, and we are right.
There is a ‘Yes’ that many of us are saving for the future. We have a habit of saying ‘no’ to the present because we believe our happiness is in some perfect day that has not arrived yet. The disciples of Jesus asked repeatedly when the Kin...gdom of God was coming. They did not understand what he meant that the “Kingdom is at hand.” It is today and it is within us.
The present moment is like some of our family members – it just shows up. We don’t get to choose whether it shows up or not. We do get to choose how we are going to be with that. We can’t always control outcomes, but we can manage and welcome the moment.
We are called to allow and embrace all the thoughts and feeling we have in the present. We tend to want to push away the negative. But what if we were to embrace everything that shows up in our life. Rumi writes in the Guest House, “Welcome and entertain them all!”
The world right now is presenting much that we might be in resistance to, and it is difficult to imagine how we would embrace what appears so negative. We must remember that when we resist, we close off our hearts, and cut off the realization of other possibilities. Our creativity and our sense of divine guidance are diminished.
Eckhart Tolle writes that when we say ‘this should not be happening,’ we are making ourselves “morally superior to reality.” Acceptance of the present moment frees us from the confines of resistance. It also frees us from the striving to try to make things look different from what they are. This does not mean that we should not take action to help make the world a better place. Tolle reminds us to “Accept – then Act.”
In a state of acceptance, we find our gratitude returning. We again perceive ourselves and others as whole and complete, and become aware of expanding possibilities. We reconnect with the Kingdom that is already at hand. It is saying yes to the life we already have in this moment. Breathe in. Call off the search. Be here.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Based on the Sunday, January 21, 2018 message by Rev. Larry Schellink
Ramp up your prayer consciousness with Rev. Linda’s approach to affirmative prayer. Beyond the basics, this seminar promises deepening understanding of Unity’s core message of Oneness in prayer, in language, and in practice. Get ready for re-education about GOD and your spiritual capacities by which you can respond powerfully to life’s circumstances and intentions. No formulas. No formality. Just real Divine You learning more about how to BE the answer to your prayers.
Training is based upon Linda Martella-Whitsett’s books: How To Pray Without Talking to God and Divine Audacity
Suggested donation $20 per person
All power you could ever need lies within you. Become the embodiment of your Divine Identity! Based upon Rev. Linda’s book, Divine Audacity, learn powerful physical, mental, and spiritual activations for your amazing spiritual capacities.
Suggested donation: $20 per person
Where’s God in This?
The recent tragedy in Montecito has shaken us. Even though there are tragedies everywhere in the world almost on a daily basis, it is more difficult when it happens in our own community to people we know. We struggle to find meaning in suffering. We wonder about the presence or absence of God in the situation. Theodicy is the theological and philosophical inquiry into reconciling why an all-powerful God would allow bad things to happen. In Unity, our unde...
We will gather in sacred space to bring love and peaceful presence to those affected by the recent mudslides in Montecito. Emiliano Campobello along with other musicians and spiritual leaders will co-create with music and prayers, a field of deep care and faith-based support. Donations will go to the Direct Relief organization.
99The Q Process, January 13th, 2018