Sunday, September 30, 2012


Sunday Service Discussion Notes for September 9, September 16,  September 23 and September 30, 2012

For four weeks we discussed the subject of Forgiveness, as we referred to chapter 5 of Perceptions, a book written by UMS founder Damien Simpson.

Week 1: September 9, 2012

Here are some thoughts that were shared during the first week of our discussion:

Without forgiveness, you cannot have love. Love causes change, it does not demand it.

"To err is human; to forgive, divine." ~from "Essay on Criticism" by Alexander Pope

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." ~Luke 23:34

Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

It takes energy to hold a grudge. Imagine picking up a sack of potatoes every time we don't
forgive. Our burden gets heavier and heavier.

We give others power over us when we hold onto a grudge.

How can we forgive? We can accept and let go. We can have compassion for the other person, and what they might be experiencing as well. We can say: "It is what it is"

When someone feels wronged, a relationship can feel irreparably broken, and easy to discard. But like a child who has broken his brand new toy, would it not be better to just try to fix the toy so that we can enjoy it like we meant to in the first place, rather than simply throwing it out? We begin relationships because they bring us happiness - would we not rather return to that state by forgiving those who have injured us than choosing to hold the anger and do without the enjoyment of the friendship?

Our discussion facilitator, Lara, shared with us a book by author Mark Anthony Lord called The Seven Living Words, which contains a section on forgiveness. The author uses a structure he calls The Forgiveness Circles as a framework for focusing our energy on forgiving everyone in our lives, from the very impersonal establishments and institutions of the world, all the way down to forgiving our very selves. Each day we are challenged to focus on forgiving people or groups in each circle, starting at the center and working our way out, and the author suggests specific prayers aimed at the likely possible resentments we may be holding against each.

Week 2: September 16, 2012

What happens when we do not forgive? We can become physically ill. It can cause many of us to "self medicate" through substance abuse or other addictive or compulsive behaviors. It can change the way we might otherwise live. And does this only affect us? It does not. Our anger and frustration seep out of us and have an effect on the people around us, especially the people closest to us.

One of the first people we need to forgive is ourselves. When we hold on to mistakes we have made, or negative self-perceptions, we are actively reversing any progress we might be making in our spiritual evolution.

As in week one of this discussion, the point was again made that forgiveness relieves you of your burdens, allowing you more freedom to carry on with your true pursuits.

Why do we not forgive? Perhaps we have trouble seeing things from the other person's perspective. If we make an effort to understand where another person is coming from, we may be able to be more compassionate for that person, and this can pave the way to forgiveness.

The Book of Luke 23:34 was quoted: "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." This says to us that forgiveness is a process which starts in the very midst of the injustice. It was noted that Jesus forgave his tormentors during his crucifixion, not later, after apologies had been made, or therapy had been received. We should strive to forgive immediately. Lara shared with us the story of a man whose wife and two children were killed by a drunk driver, and how this man chose to forgive the driver right at that moment. You can see Chris Williams, the man who forgave, talk about his experience by clicking here.

Week 3: September 23, 2012

Not forgiving is like a cluttered house: you are completely filled with thoughts of the past, and there is no room left for any new thoughts to be let in.

Many of us may not forgive because we feel that to forgive a wrong that was done to us is tantamount to saying that the offense did not occur at all. We find it difficult for this to agree with our personal sense of justice - if forgiveness means a denial of wrongdoing, then we refuse to forgive. The problem with never forgiving is that eventually there will be no one left who has never done us wrong and we will find ourselves alone in the world. We must realize that forgiveness allows us to acknowledge that we indeed were hurt by the actions of another, but that we have chosen to continue on our journey without carrying that hurt with us as a burden that will ultimately be of no use to either party.

If we forgive someone for hurting us in the past, does that mean that we are giving that person a license to continue to do so in the future? No. We can forgive a person for their transgressions against us, and we can use this forgiveness as a way to divest ourselves of the harmful baggage given to us by the other person, and this will allow us to move on, and remove ourselves from a bad situation so that we may avoid being hurt again. If we do not forgive, we are setting ourselves up to experience a recurring negative situation, as we are not able to move forward. In this way we can unknowingly become "stuck" in a loop of negative energy, that we are maintaining by our refusal to let go.

Sometimes the behavior of others may baffle us. Why is he doing this to me? Why is she acting like that? We should make the effort to try to understand the circumstances surrounding the other person which are causing them to act in a certain way. If we are able to view a situation from another person's perspective, we will be much closer to being able to forgive them for their actions.

A quote was shared from a book called The Nature of Personal Reality, A Seth Book by Jane Roberts:
"Your own consciousness is embarked upon a reality that basically can be experienced by no other, that is unique and untranslatable, with its own meaning, following its own paths of becoming. You share an existence with others who are experiencing their own journeys in their own ways, and you have journeying in common, then. Be kind to yourself and your companions." This reminds us that each of our fellow human beings is living out an existence that can only completely make sense to that person, and because of this we should have compassion for others, as every individual is, in this way, in the same boat. We should not make assumptions about what others should or should not do or feel, because there is no way for us to truly experience the world in the same way as any other person."

Week 4: September 30, 2012

During the final week of this discussion we talked about trust, as it relates to forgiveness.

Trust is not built overnight. Because we have forgiven someone, this does not mean that we immediately trust them again. It takes time to mend and rebuild trust. Forgiveness is given freely and is unconditional; Trust must be earned. Forgiveness allows you to let go of the past; Trust is built up in the future.

Forgiveness should not be dependent upon the other person. We should not wait for apologies, or for the other party to change their ways before we forgive them. We forgive others not to grant them a favor, but to heal ourselves. Forgiveness benefits our own well being; our mental and emotional health.

When we forgive, our burdens are lifted and we are once again made whole so that we may walk a path of Love.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


This Sunday, September 9th, our discussion will focus around the topic of Forgiveness. If you'd like some food for thought on this subject, below you can read the chapter on Experiences from Perceptions, a book written by UMS founder Damien Simpson.


"Forgiveness is truly a gift to self, it allows love to return to consciousness where there was none."

Love frees the past, hate binds it to you! Love is asked to forgive what courtesy would have avoided. Forgiveness is truly a gift to self, it allows love to return to consciousness where there was none. Forgiveness allows light to return where darkness dwells.

That hurt or bitter feeling we hold onto so tight shows up at all the wrong times, like at great celebrations. Birthdays and weddings are but stages for these bitter feelings to steal the spotlight.

To blame anyone else for what you feel is to lose your power. Look how you choose to act, feel, to be. Choice is also your power. You may choose how you feel! There are no other rules! How you feel has, and is, always your choice. How are you doing?

Any single event, of itself, cannot hurt you. It is when you start heaping that hurt comes and brings its companion, the tear.

What is meant by heaping? Say a friend does something to hurt you, and your mind starts to remember all the other things they did or did not do. They forgot your birthday, or didn't buy you a Christmas gift. You know, "HEAPING." That's how you can get angry enough to make forgiveness seem foolish. If each event is kept in its place, it can be dealt with.

Remember, forgiveness is a gift first to self, for it allows love to return where there was none. What value is the score if there is no purpose in the game?

All too often we let those we love think the mistakes they made are behind them; and the beautiful, righteous persons we are have transmuted these experiences into tender understanding.

For so many, they are merely hidden in the closet. They are your nuclear weapons in case of emergency. They are kept to make sure, in time of necessity, that we win.

The right and wrong game becomes important. The need to be right can assimilate facts and interpret them to suit that need. All too often we set things in motion to prove we are right and times like these make us DEAD right.

In a city of millions, so few of us touch, get to know each other. How important the relationships must be, that in millions we have searched each other out, probably over lifetimes. So often we hear, "There are a lot more fish in the sea." Somehow I really don't think so.

We who have been given unto each other's keeping, must care more for each other and attack each other less. We must never tear at the fabric of each other's being.

It's like a torn garment, once it's tom. It may be mended, but it is not the same. It is a torn fabric. You will read in this book: LOVE CAUSES CHANGE, IT DOES NOT DEMAND IT. We may always make new friends, but the reason, the lesson, the joy is not as definite; somehow, each time we make new friends for old, bad reasons, something is lost.

Friends share tears together, but these tears are the holy water of the soul. When a friend is acting strange, cruel, you might remember, "Fear is the parent of all cruelty." Forgive the part that's cruel - treat and heal the part that is fear.

There are times we react because of an intimate past experience we can't tell anyone for fear they will not like, love, or respect us "if they knew." A husband can make a movement in love, but the wife remembers that move or action with a past experience of incest or rape from a friend/date. Many such experiences leave a scar, and often guilt. "I must have done something to deserve this, but I don't know what!" The wife may be afraid and keep her secret, again out of fear of what her husband might think.

What you may think of as wrong between you may have nothing to do with either of you. We must then know the difference between seeking truth and finding fault. If we make mistakes, then make them on the side of charity.

The Universal Law teaches us: "As we forgive, we are forgiven. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."

Once we become mindful of forgiveness and its virtue, we then become mindful of God's forgiveness to us. Bucky Fuller stated, "On this planet we learn by trial and error, and we must give each other that right."

We must accept apologies when given, and act to show they are accepted. We need to count on forgiveness, it keeps our loving alive. Jesus stated, concerning Mary Magdalene, "Much is forgiven her for she loves much."

We, at times, cannot help but "key" into past and fearful or guilt ridden experiences. Something someone says; a red car went by ("it" happened in a red car) whatever; when these things that go bump in the night key in, our friend can be the lock by which the problem can be brought out of the cage of the past; and lock and key work together to free the mind and comfort the soul.

UMS Founder, Damien Simpson

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Sunday Service Discussion Notes for August 26 and September 2, 2012

For two weeks we discussed the subject of Experiences, as we referred to chapter 4 of Perceptions, a book written by UMS founder Damien Simpson.

To kick off the discussion, some definitions were read as food for thought:

  • Experience: the apprehension of an object, thought, or motion through the sense of mind. An event or series of events participated in or lived through.
  • Apprehension: the fearful anticipation of the future. The act of seizing.
  • Apprehend: to take into custody, to grasp, to understand.

 Several passages were quoted the relevant chapter of Perceptions.

One participant stated that experiences are learning opportunities. He gave an example of the way "near misses" with other ships at sea are always recorded as a way of learning from these incidents in the future. Even these close calls are learning opportunities. It was said that, "You can't become old and wise until you have been young and stupid."

We asked the question, "When are experiences bad?" One person said they can be bad when we don't welcome the experience. We profit from all experiences, good, bad, and neutral, although this prompted another person to raise the question, "Why do we need to judge experiences as either good or bad at all?"

Many agreed that all forms of energy will out themselves in one way or another. It can manifest in a constructive way, but if restricted or suppressed, it can burst out in a disruptive way, like a car accident.  If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could be the recipient of such a burst of repressed energy.

We asked: What sort of events do you invite into your life based upon the type of energy you are putting out? Do we know? How does a very young child have the tools to know how to prevent a bad event? Some of us thought that through reincarnation that we set up life circumstances and lessons for ourselves, and that these may sometimes be difficult or unpleasant. Others thought that we cannot control the events themselves, but we can only control how we respond to them. One participant pointed out that even the horrible things that happen in life help to mold you into the person you are today. Another stated that we can try to learn from our experiences, and that we have a choice as to whether we react positively or negatively. He gave an example of two people he knew who had experienced a similar terrible event in their lives, and talked about how each of them had responded to it very differently, with one person turning to addiction as an escape, and other using the experience as a tool to help others deal with the same type of trauma.

Damien was quoted as saying, "It's not what you're looking at, it's what you're looking through."  People can be present for the same event and experience it different ways. Our experiences are colored by our perceptions. Someone noted that they tried to remember when having difficulty with another person, that they have no idea what the other person has been through. He stated that he used this reminder to keep himself in check when he might say something rash when he does not know the whole story. Another member noted that our opinion of a person may be different than someone else's opinion, based on our two different sets of experiences with that person. He gave an example of a family member who was held in low regard by many in his family. He talked about how their experiences with this person had been negative, so they all held poor opinions of him. His experiences, on the other hand, had been very positive, so he saw this family member from a completely different perspective. Our experiences with others can influence your relationships, which in turn can influence the path they take.

How often do we create our own experiences? We are reminded to be specific in our prayers, because tomorrow we may be praying to get out of what we prayed to get into today.

What do we do with experiences after they are done? Our facilitator, Lara, described a dream she had in which she was carrying around a backpack. She kept collecting stones to put in the backpack along her journey, and it became heavier and heavier. There came a time where she needed to take her leave of the place she was in, but the only exit was too high for her to reach. She had to decide to take the stones out of her pack, and when she did this, she was able to float away and leave as she pleased. What are the stones you carry in your backpack? With them, you are heavy and cumbersome. Without them you can float. Problems happen when we can't let go of old experiences. Where are you putting your energy? Are you using it to carry the stones or to fly to freedom?

"Most of the shadows of this life come from our standing in the way of your own sunshine." ~Emerson