I have been in an attitude of gratitude that is beyond my expression. How can I express the gratitude I feel toward every one who has found New Vista Learning Center and has enrolled in classes? How can I express my gratitude for the technology that links us across thousands of miles and enables us to have fellowship as if we’re all sitting in the same room? Can I aptly express my gratitude for Unity Institute which gave me the knowledge and confidence to bring New Thought truth teachings to others. Can I quantify my appreciation for my ongoing spiritual growth throughout this experience?
As I am grateful to the students and teachers in my life, I am also grateful to Presence and Power, to Guidance and Inspiration, to Source and Substance. As a human being, I desire to “say thank you” to that Presence and Power. And, at the same time, I know It is not a being, not a personality, not a person that gives me things. It is an Energy and Essence, a limitless Creative Cause of all things. It is my very essence, and my inner “ground of being.” It is my innate capacity to use my innate talents to create a world that works well for me and for others. So the applause goes to” All That Is.” Kuddos to the “‘vivifying Life-giving Principle” of my heart and my innate intellect.
My most favorite Unity author is the one and only H. Emilie Cady, whose articles were the first lessons to be published by the Unity movement. Written in 1892, as a series of articles in Unity magazine, it was compiled into a book: Lessons In Truth and published by Unity in 1896, becoming the most influential and longest running textbook used in the training of Unity ministers.
Reading it today we are simultaneously charmed by the smooth, poetic prose of the Victorian era, and distracted by the language that alludes to “separation consciousness” which is paradoxically counter to its teachings. I find myself translating many passages so that I can see past its language patterns and comfortably learn from its truth.
For example, the following passage about prayer is a beautiful expression on the power of being grateful:
“Go even beyond this and speak words of thanksgiving to this innermost Presence, that it has heard and answered, that it does now come forth into visibility. There is something about the mental act of thanksgiving that seems to carry the human mind far beyond the region of doubt into the clear atmosphere of faith and trust. … do not worry or cease from your thanksgiving. Do not go back … again to the asking, but continue giving thanks that while you waited you did receive, and that what you received is now manifest; and believe me, you will soon rejoice and give thanks, not rigidly from a sense of duty, but because of the sure manifest fulfillment of your desire.” – H. Emilie Cady Lessons in Truth Lesson title: Finding the Secret Place.
Sometimes I find myself jotting in the margins a completely re-write so that I can see past blocks from my past embedded theology. Here, Emilie is talking about what we might do while we sit in the silence, awaiting an answer to our prayer. First the original, from the same lesson, then my translation.
“We repeat from time to time, while waiting, words something like these: ‘Thou art now renewing me according to Thy highest thought for me; Thou art radiating Thy very self throughout my entire being, making me like to Thyself — for there is nothing else but Thee. Father, I thank Thee, I thank Thee.’ Be still, be still while He works.”
My translation is an attempt to speak from a consciousness of Oneness; to remind my self that I “live and move and have my being” (Acts 17:28) in the Oneness that we sometimes call God: (note the lower case “s.” That’s my egoic self which tends to slip into forgetting that my True Self is One with/as The One, because That is All That Is.)
My translation: “We repeat from time to time, while waiting, words something like these: ‘I am renewed now, as I am open to my Divine Power and my Highest Thought. Divine Self radiates throughout my entire being, making me reflect the Oneness– for there is nothing else but The One. I am grateful, I am grateful.’ Be still, be still while Principle works.”
I love Emilie Cady! And I love Unity’s casual permission to let Emilie’s truth words from 125 years ago be translated to speak to my Truth.
One of her images, again from the same lesson, speaks to me, the gardener. She is talking about practicing the presence of God by allowing not straining.
“Some persons carry in their faces a strained, white look that comes from an abnormal “sitting in the silence,” as they term it. It is hard for them to know that [Presence] is right here within them, and while in the silence they fall into the way of reaching away out and up after [It]. Such are earnest [people] truly feeling after [Oneness] if haply they may find [It], when all the time [It] is near them, even in their very hearts. Do not reach out thus. This is as though a seed were planted in the earth, and just because it recognized a vivifying, life-giving principle in the sun’s rays, it did nothing but strain and stretch itself upward and outward to get more of the sun. You can see at a glance that by so doing it would get no solid roots in the earth where [Source] intended them to be. The seed needs to send roots downward while it keeps its face turned toward the sun, and lets itself be drawn upward by the sun. … But we are consciously to let it; not merely to take the attitude of negatively letting it by not opposing it, but to put ourselves consciously where the Son can shine on us, and then “be still, and know” (Psalm 46:10) that while we wait there it is doing the work. While waiting upon God, we should, as much as possible, relax ourselves both mentally and physically.”
When you practice prayer or meditation this month, during the season of gratitude, let this be your vivifying, life-giving image of your Is-ness. For so It Is. Namaste.
(In the 6 months since this ministry began, through to the end of the calendar year, I will have engaged 61 students and taught 10 different accredited Unity SEE courses. I have many more planned for 2016, as I help students fulfill their requirements to move on toward licensing and ministry. Watch New Vista SEE pages for new listings coming up in 2016.)