Saturday, November 24, 2012

UMS Founder on "TRUTH"


Sunday, November 24th, we begin a discussion on the topic of Truth. If you'd like some food for thought on this subject, below you can read the chapter on Success from Perceptions, a book written by UMS founder Damien Simpson.

TRUTH


"Opposition has the ability to reposition you to a point of balance again."

Nothing ruins the truth like stretching it. We must ask, are we seeking truth or finding fault? Many use truth for scolding rather than for correcting. Seek for the truth where there is no victim nor victor, a truth that serves the good of all.

Truth blesses all seekers and never discriminates. To find truth, we must cease to play the right and wrong game.

Truth is not fearful of opposition. We think we have found a truth. We take a stand. We are taught, you must stand for truth, fight for truth, die for truth. Any form of opposition becomes the enemy, the evil one. You know the devil must, for truth, for God, be destroyed. You don't know yet it was probably sent by Him, God.

If you were going to build a room, you wouldn't but all the pillars that support the roof on the same side. At best, you would get a lean-to. You must have opposite pillars.

Opposition has the ability to reposition you to a point of balance again. Opposition exists to reposition your truth, your stand, to a point of balance, for it needs to endure stress with ease.

Get the right slant, if you will. Let the roof eave hold the gutters to let the rain pour off, otherwise we fear the day real truth rains/reigns on all gathered under the roof of personal, collective self-serving truth.

The Scripture says we must stand naked in the field. I don't think this is naked in body, but in spirit, which is our truth exposed. The reason we all hold to our truths, whatever they are, will be revealed. What is whispered in closets will be shouted from roof tops.

Truth for one is not necessarily truth for another. You can be looking at the same thing, but from different perspectives.

Another truth is often just another view we might add to our own. Often, to find truth, we need to quit cherishing our own opinion.

Example: If I sent one person outside to view a building, and he went to the front; and if I sent another and he went to the back of the building, each would have a different viewpoint or perspective.

They could get in a hell of an argument in describing the building, or add to the understanding of both, giving each a more total picture of front and back. If they talk together, they add to each other what they could not see.

I see, through you, what I could not see before. Just be gentle with me, I've never been here before!

One man's food is another man's poison.

One man's junk is another man's treasure.

True motivation or purpose never clashes with outer activities. They actually assist. People cannot change truth, but truth changes people. Do not bend truth down to save your honor. Stand up to honor truth.

UMS Founder, Damien Simpson

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Success


Sunday Service Discussion Notes for November 4th and 18th, 2012


For two weeks we discussed the subject of Success, as we referred to chapter 8 of Perceptions, a book written by UMS founder Damien Simpson. 


We started this discussion with a quote from the chapter of Perceptions that deals with Success:
"Happiness usually requires that we change our definition of success."

Society trains to accept a certain definition of success: having money, owning a house, having a “respectable” career, raising children, owning cars, taking yearly vacations, being beautiful, being famous. We agreed that we should ask ourselves why we want these things. The question was posed to the group: “Have you ever found yourself striving toward something because you wanted to appear successful to others?” Many members said that this was so.

When talking about the myth of the perfect life in his book, Meditation for Dummies, author Stephen Bodian was quoted as saying:

“In my years as a psychotherapist and meditation teacher, I’ve noticed that many people suffer because they compare their lives to some idealized image of how life is supposed to be. Cobbled together from childhood conditioning, media messages, and personal desires, this image lurks in the shadows and becomes the standard to which every success or failure, every circumstance or turn of events, is compared and judged. … Whatever your version of the perfect life - perfect vacations, perfect sex, perfect health, even perfect peace of mind or total freedom from all tension and stress - you pay a high price for holding such high expectations. When life fails to live up to those expectations, as it inevitably does, you end up suffering and blaming yourself. … If only you had made more money, spent more time at home, been a better lover, gone back to school, lost those extra pounds…the list is endless. No matter how you slice it, you just don’t measure up.”

Letting the definition of success come from without (rather than within) can cause us to feel like we will never achieve success, or be worthy. And example was given in the now clich├ęd TV and movie plotlines involving a high school reunion where the main character decides to lie about their current career or achievements because they are worried about impressing their former classmates. These protagonists were allowing other people to define success for them, whether it reflected their personal desires or not.

image credit: shmilysgoods.com
Stephen Bodian also writes: "As the Buddhists say, suffering is wanting what you don’t have and not wanting what you do have." The group agreed that meditation could be one technique that would help us learn to focus on the present moment instead of always worrying about what how to achieve future goals.

An entry from the Tiny Budda blog was presented to the group, as writer Jake O’Callaghan discussed the myth that being obsessed with success will bring it (and happiness) into your life. The author relates how he had taken some advice that said he should want success as badly as a drowning person wants air, and shows how his single-minded pursuit of success causes him to be stressed out and unable to enjoy life. He says that at one time he thought, “Once I became successful, I would be happy, right?” He then discusses how he was able to turn his downward spiral around by letting go of his expectations and being present to do the things that excite him here and now. This caused him to be far more successful than the original, more stressful path.

Another example of a way to be present was given from the book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, where there was a chapter devoted to “Living in Day Tight Compartments.” Our lives were compared to large ships, which have water-tight compartments that can be sealed off quickly in the event that the ship sustains damage and begins to take on water. This compartmentalizing restricts the flooding to one small area and allows the ship to remain afloat. If we live each day for itself, treating a 24 hour period like it is a sealed off compartment, we can keep our lives afloat as well. It is only when we begin to worry and focus on all of our past problems and future worries that we “flood” the show structure of our life and allow stress to “sink” us.

We discussed how we can become very wrapped up in the procession of life, always looking to the next milestone and not enjoying the view from out current plateau. Essayist Logan Pearsall Smith was quoted as saying:
 "There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want, and after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second." 
The group was asked how well do you think they enjoy the things that you have earned? Their house? Their car? Is their high paying job making a difference in the level of joy they experience versus their first job as a waiter or cashier?

image credit: blogs.longhollow.com
Comedian Greg Fitzsimmons has a bit where he says of himself and his wife, “As a single couple, we are no longer able to hang around with married couples 'cause they cannot be in our presence without getting very annoying. It's always like, 'So, when are you guys getting married? Huh? When are you getting married? When are you guys getting married?!' I dunno, you're married -- when are you gonna die? You're already married, death will be next. When are you gonna die? Because that’s the next step” Through the humor he makes a serious point when he goes on to say that fear plays a key part in the choices we make. We are afraid, don’t know what to do, so we create institutions (like marriage and careers) to help herd us through life. When we come to a crossroads, we can be afraid to make a decision, and maybe we use society’s goalposts to make a choice for us instead of using our own judgment. If we’re afraid, others can make our choices for us.

We also discussed the need to spend more time counting our blessings. We agreed that most of us do not place nearly enough value on what we already have, and may take for granted the great gifts we live with each day. We were asked to think about how much money we would take to give up some of the things we take for granted. Would you take $20 million for your right hand? How about $1 billion? What about your eyes? Your spouse, children? We were reminded that many of the things we already possess are priceless.

Many hands were raised when the group was asked who would admit to spending at least some time during the previous week fretting over things they lacked. We find ourselves complaining while we enjoy abundance.

All agreed that wealth does not ensure happiness. We chase things we don’t need without taking time to ask how the end result is going to make us feel. It was also notes that our failures can open the door to something new, and that we don’t have to let failures cause use to give up our passions. We have a choice to either get back on the horse, but also take the time to ask ourselves if this path (getting back on the horse) is what we really want to do.

We concluded our discussion with a reading from Perceptions to remind us that if we want to be a success, we would be better off not dwelling on our failures:

“Mutt and Jeff were two rats used in a behavior experiment. They were both champion swimmers, not normal behavior for this species of life. One night Mutt got caught in the wheel of his cage. He struggled all night to get free, to no avail. The technician found Mutt and freed him. The video tape kept on the cage revealed what had happened to him. Well, they gave Mutt a rest, but when the time came to resume the experiment, Mutt would not swim. Mutt just plain gave up. One traumatic experience and he forgot that he was a champion swimmer. Did you forget, so to speak, that you are a champion swimmer?


image credit: neuralwiki.org

Saturday, November 10, 2012

UMS Founder on "SUCCESS"


Sunday, November 11th,we begin a discussion on the topic of Success. If you'd like some food for thought on this subject, below you can read the chapter on Success from Perceptions, a book written by UMS founder Damien Simpson.

SUCCESS


"A simple rule is to start now, be happy now." 

Dependability has a much more satisfactory market than cleverness.

Happiness usually requires that we change our definition of success. A contented man is one who enjoys the scenery along the detours. Many people have the right aim in life, but they fail to release the bow to send forth the arrow of desire to the target.

A simple rule is to start now. Be happy now. That attitude will put you at your optimum and when you are at this state you automatically do your best. Doing your best, combined with persistence, will bring you success. If we don't reach success it is because along the way we decided that all the effort it takes is not worth the goal. This can be a wise decision. So many are determined to be successful, even if it kills them, and even if they are indeed unhappy. There are many unhappy but very successful people. They are among those who need to change their definition of success.

One other deadly attitude to success is the "if only": If only I were younger.—If only I were smarter. — If only I knew him/her.

The "if only" attitude is an excuse for not trying. This is an example of a judgment that has nothing to do with the truth.

Success is affirmed daily, felt daily, lived daily.

In Dr. Irene Kassorla's research book,"Go For It," she found that successful people failed 75% of the time.

Now let me tell you a story Dr. Kassorla told me about Mutt and Jeff.

Mutt and Jeff were two rats used in a behavior experiment. They were both champion swimmers, not normal behavior for this species of life.

One night Mutt got caught in the wheel of his cage. He struggled all night to get free, to no avail.

The technician found Mutt and freed him. The video tape kept on the cage revealed what had happened to him. Well, they gave Mutt a rest, but when the time came to resume the experiment, Mutt would not swim. Mutt just plain gave up.

One traumatic experience and he forgot that he was a champion swimmer. Did you forget, so to speak, that you are a champion swimmer?

Nothing of itself hurts, it's when we heap it all on ourselves that it hurts. We go back and gather all the hurts together and then we cry. Heaping kills the ability within us to take the lesson straight on, and thus be victorious.

Bucky Fuller said, "When you find you're up against the wall, it doesn't necessarily mean to quit or stop. It may mean make a left or right turn."

Blame no one. Thank everyone. You made it here. Yes, you are here. Let's go on, SUCCEED. Your essence is still THERE.

UMS Founder, Damien Simpson

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Faith


Sunday Service Discussion Notes for October 28 and November 4, 2012


For two weeks we discussed the subject of Faith, as we referred to chapter 7 of Perceptions, a book written by UMS founder Damien Simpson.


We reviewed some definitions of the word Faith:

  • A strong or unshakable belief in something, especially without proof or evidence
  • Trust in God, and in His actions and promises
  • A conviction of the truth of certain doctrines of religion, especially when they are not based on reason
  • Confidence or trust in a person
  • Any set of firmly held principles
  • Allegiance or loyalty, as to a cause or person


image credit: notsalmon.com
As a group, we asked the question, “What is faith?” and we arrived at four different types of faith that we could immediately recognize:


  • Blind Faith
  • Child-like Faith
  • Experiential Faith
  • Spiritual Faith


Blind faith, we discussed, is a faith that is not based on proof. The expression “Faith is blind” means that we will accept information or ideas at the word of another without evidence. Some people believe that God will provide for them regardless of empirical evidence that this is so.

Child-like faith appeared to us to be an innate trust (found typically, as the name suggests, in children) that we will be taken care of. We noted that child-like faith can be destroyed when ideals are not met in the real world, such as when a parent fails to protect a child from harm. This requires the faith to be rebuilt over time, and when this is not possible, it may now look more like the next type of faith we discussed: Experiential faith.

Experiential faith is that which is based on experience, proof, or a high probability that events will unfold in a specific way. This type of faith is not innate, but built up by the individual via their history of experiences. Many people feel most comfortable with this type of faith because they know that there is evidence to support it. They are able to have faith that the Sun will come up every day, because it has come up every day in past.

image credit: store.moa.byu.edu
One participant gave an example of this type of faith by relating the story of “The Miracle of the Gulls”, in which the first Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake City area of Utah experienced in 1848 a devastating onslaught of insect pests (now known as the Mormon Cricket, a type of katydid) that was quickly destroying their crops. According to some pioneers’ accounts, a hoard of seagulls arrived at that time and began to prey upon the invading insects, and ultimately their crops were saved. This story is used as an example within the Mormon faith as a real life proof that God will take care of them.

Spiritual faith appeared in our discussion as a faith which is based on our belief in a higher self or higher order to the Universe. This type of faith hinges on an understanding that “it all works”. That there is a larger order to things, and that our purpose is to find where we fit into that order. One of the ways that we can do this is to simply “jump in and flow” with the tide of events. It was suggested that if you have not found that feeling of “finding home”, you should maintain faith that there will be an answer to whatever is going on in your life. That things occur as they are supposed to, and that no matter where you are walking, you are on the right path.

Sometimes, situations can arise that shake our faith in this Grand Plan. How do we know that we are on the right path? We each may choose different ways to assure ourselves that we are moving in the right direction: some of us devote attention to taking better care of themselves, or making different decisions. For some, it involves listening to their Higher Power or intuition. For many, they know they’re on the right path because it just “feels right.” It was observed in continuing this line of thought, we need to pay attention to when something feels wrong as well, as this intuitive warning system may be able to prevent us from continuing down a wrong path.

Others believed that there is no such thing as a “wrong” path - that we can ever be in the wrong place, and that we will always be where we need to be to learn what we need to learn.  An example of this was given by a member who lost job after 30 years of service. He was scared. What would he do now? But as events unfolded, he saw that everything fell into place.  This experience has taught him to believe that things happen the way they are supposed to happen, and may not necessarily be what we have planned.

Someone stated: Without faith, you cannot have hope. When it came to the subject of hope and faith, we asked if it was possible to have one without the other. One participant said that he thought that hope must come first, before we can have faith. It was noted that within 12-step programs, such as AA, that people are asked to get rid of their expectations. We discussed whether expectations were the same thing as hope. One member said that she tries not to have expectations, and that this helps her avoid having her expectations go unmet.

As story from Perceptions was used as an example of the metaphysical aspect of how our expectations manifest, sometimes despite what we hope for:

“Let me tell you a little story told to me by my first teacher. A woman reading the Scripture is moved by the words, "If you had the faith of a mustard seed, you could move a mountain into the sea." She thought these were holy words and faith could do all things.
While reflecting, somewhat EUPHORIC, out her garden window, she noticed the pile of leaves she had raked together earlier in the day. Thinking of the Scripture, the words so fresh and strong, as if looking for a chance to be proven or expressed, she thought, "If faith can move mountains, then I believe I can move that pile of leaves." She went to bed that night with faith that the leaves would be gone. When she woke in the morning, she rushed to her garden window. With a sigh she said, "Just as I thought, they're still there."

Faith is this case is a confidence that something will happen.

image credit: loadpaper.com
This prompted another member to discuss the need for Faith + Works. The idea that faith needs works; that nothing will simply be handed to a person because they have faith. He used the example of mountain climbers who set out to scale Mount Everest. They can have faith that they will make it to the top, but they must also put forth the effort (the works) to get there. Someone in the group said: “You’re never really lost unless you give up.”

What is faith? Faith is something in our minds and in our souls, our way of life, and our beliefs.

Can we say experiential and spiritual faith go hand in hand? In a way all faiths go hand in hand and we are capable of having more than one kind of faith at the same time. In fact we are all connected in the word faith.

Expect miracles.