Sunday, March 25, 2012

What Is Your Story and Does It Define You?: Part 1

Sunday Service Discussion Notes for March 18 and March 25, 2012

For two Sundays we discussed the topic: What Is Your Story and Does It Define You?

We have discussed how the circumstances in our lives can have the ability to define us, and how we create the situations in our lives based on our actions and decisions. We have the ability to choose what our story is and grow into it. In order to change our path or our life, we must choose to change our story.

Many of the stories that we discussed were negative, unfortunate circumstances to which people may cling, to their own detriment. We also realized, however, that positive circumstances or good credentials can also be a "story" that a person may become attached to, allowing them to define who that person is.

We talked about the many stories that carry ideas and lessons which permeate our lives, whether they be our own stories or those that we hear and learn from others, such as the people in our lives or even groups like religious organizations. Many of these stories make useful examples and serve as timeless guides to help us make choices in life, but we discussed how sometimes when we latch onto the more literal translation of such stories, we can focus on ideas that are not relevant to the core message of the story, and turn that into literal instructions for living. Then we may arrive at "You must eat a certain food on a certain day to be assured of salvation," and create stress in our lives trying to live this story, when the central message was much less literal.

Often we may find ourselves telling our stories by rote. We may catch ourselves in the middle of telling the same story in the same way like a recording that we have re-played many times. It may even seem as though once we have formulated a version of our life or an event, we are able to call up that story and present it again the same way that we did each time before, and the more times we say it, it eventually becomes our truth. We talked about how rote memory was a way to pass information and history down through the generations before the advent of the written word, and that we may all still have a tendency in us, perhaps from racial memory, to memorize and recite, while possibly losing focus on the validity of the story we are telling.

We heard the story of The Duck with the Human Mind by Eckhart Tolle  in which the difference between the behavior of a regular duck is contrasted with the hypothetical behavior of a duck with the mind of a human. The normal duck is in a confrontation, and he flaps his wings, flies away, and moves on with his duck life. The duck with the human mind leaves the confrontation and cannot stop thinking about it; processing, stewing, and making up an entire story in his mind about what happened that he carries with him for the rest of his days. If we have a good story, if may be beneficial to cultivate it. But if we have a negative story, like the duck, it may be better to "flap our wings" and let it drop away.  The reality of letting go of our stories, may not, however be this easy.

If we do not like what our story is, then we should change it. One of the ways to do this is to question the story itself. We talked about the work of Byron Katie, as she asks us, "Who would you be without your story?" She gives us a series of four questions (and a turn around) we can ask ourselves to help us determine if our stories are true and necessary, or if we can let them go:
  1. Is it true?  Is the story or thought we are having true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?  Ask yourself if you can prove objectively that the thought or story is true.
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? How does it make you feel, what actions do you take or not take because of it?
  4. Who would you be without the thought? How might you feel or act if it were not true?
  5. Turn around the concept you are questioning. If you are saying that story X is true, then say to yourself, "X is not true," and test out how you react to this new story or statement.
Ultimately, we agreed that the emotions feed the story, the story feeds the emotions. Individual stories are individual incidences. Your interpretation of the story is what starts the snowball effect that impacts your life.

This discussion was continued on the next week, on April 1st.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Excerpt from Celebration of UMS and Life 1968 to 1988

The Universal Cross
"THE UNIVERSAL MIND SCIENCE CHURCH was founded August 22, 1968 by REV. DAMIEN SIMPSON to promote spiritual unfoldment and its comprehension.

UMS is non-denominational and is open to people of all faiths and creeds. It embraces specifically those who are spiritually lost or dissatisfied with contemporary religions.

The guiding philosophy behind the establishment of UMS is very simple: "LOVE AND LIFT." The center is a home to all who enter, whether it be a busy and successful doctor, the unemployed, the parent, or the teenager. The loved, the loving, the unloved, the unloving: each is welcomed at UMS which endeavors to correlate all religious teachings and sciences in an atmosphere of trust and truth for self-unfoldment. Each is encouraged to express his higher self, while tolerance and understanding is shown for that which he is.

At UMS we take a long, hard look at ourselves: our fears, prejudices, worries, limitations: all of the negative qualities which entrap us mentally and spiritually. We learn we must not blame anyone except ourselves - our own thinking - for the conditions of our lives. We learn to handle Truth - and Truth can hurt before it sets us free.

We discard the habits of accusing, judging, condemning our fellow man (and ourselves) - and learn the lessons of acceptance, understanding and forgiveness.

We say goodbye to a wrathful, vengeful God - and discover a God whose pleasure it is to "give us the Kingdom". We find that God is alive and well and living in one another. We not only believe in God: we experience Him.

We accept certain paranormal beliefs such as ESP, astrology, faith healing and other physic sciences. We don't make a religion of them, but utilize them and are delighted that scientific laboratories are now confirming what mystics and Masters have been teaching for centuries.

We believe our church is unique. We don't try to convert anyone and welcome people of all races and creeds. Our only wish is to help you expand your consciousness until you understand the eternal Truth behind all great religions and to promote the growth and understanding of oneself. "We are not here to see through people. We are here to see them through."

From all the religions, take the fire and leave the ashes. We are indeed part of the New Age Movement. We are just older than most who are now finding and enjoying the fruits of Our labor. We feel a special calling to show the function of the Church and the Spirit in this New Age."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Unity and Separation

Sunday Service Discussion Notes for March 4 and March 11, 2012

For two Sundays we discussed the themes of Unity and Separation.

Each of us has a different perspective on what Unity or Oneness means to us. We talked about how in order to understand Oneness, we must each experience Separation, so that the two may be contrasted against each other and we may be able to differentiate, and understand when we are experiencing one or the other. In other words, to know that you are in harmony, you must experience dis-harmony; tumultuous times.

Oneness could be a state of mind that makes you "hum" in tune with the Universe. Each of us has a different vibration to our "hum" which would not be possible without Separation from each other. So Oneness and Separation are two necessary sides of the same coin.

Oneness is the metaphorical tapestry of the Universe, in which each of us is one thread. We are all part of the great One, and a little tug on any one of our threads can affect changes in other parts of the tapestry, but we each are still a single thread, different from our neighbor, which is Separation.

Separation, we discussed, makes it harder to connect to others, to our community, and spiritually. We find conflicts between what we see, feel, and hear.

We talked about today's world of myriad choices.The multitude of options can make it hard to find a simple and direct path to walk. Even among religious organizations, there are so many competing philosophies and denominations, each proclaiming that they are they best, the One, and The Only One that is true. This can lead to confusion as we are faced with even more choices.

In the new Information Age, the profusion of communication technology can be overwhelming. We each have to use these new media in a way that is best for us individually (Separation). Some of us may feel constantly bombarded with news (most of it bad), advertisements, and all sorts of other information coming at us fast and furious, and may find that it helps us connect to the One to regulate the incoming tide of information by turning off the TV or internet. Others of us may feel that we can best utilize our new technology to connect on a more frequent basis with friends and loved ones that we might not otherwise get to see or talk to very often, or we feel connected to the larger world by keeping abreast of current events in the new global community that the internet has brought us.

How do we get around this feeling of Separation so that we may be aware of Unity? Use what is inside of you, to know how to use what is outside of you. Use your environment in a way the feels right for you. What works for your neighbor may not be effective or helpful for you at all. We discussed the phrase, "All paths lead to Mecca." Find friends that share your interests and views, people you can help, and people who can help you. This gives you purpose and satisfies your quest for knowledge and growth. In your community, pay attention: there are neighbors your soul gravitates toward - get to know them.

Spiritually, find what feels right to you from what is available in the world. The Universe will align and move you in the direction you are supposed to go.