April 25, 2020


Finding Our Humanity, "How To Embody" Responses To Questions of Forgiveness and Other Teachings in Unity's Christianity

Hosted by

Joel David Lesses
Finding Our Humanity, "How To Embody" Responses To Questions of Forgiveness and Other Teachings in Unity's Christianity
Unraveling Religion
Finding Our Humanity, "How To Embody" Responses To Questions of Forgiveness and Other Teachings in Unity's Christianity

Apr 25 2020 | 00:49:14


Show Notes

In this deep and sacred connection, Reverend Mary Masters and Joel Lesses discuss the moderate, practical and mystical aspects of Unity's message. As fellow students together, shared wisdom insight and questions for one another are explored, deepening understanding of our humanness and humanity. Joel seeks to understand forgiveness and to resolve to do "non-harm." How do we embody: "Forgiveness?" "Presence?" "Faith?" And ultimately "how do we embody Love?" While bearing a cross and burdens is a part of our reality; the everyday acts of compassion and kindness transform these suffering into beauty, happiness and devotion. Many teachers are discussed.The importance of our Creator is explored. A reverent and important conversation on a vital topic.

Reverend Mary Elita Masters has been involved with Unity for over 30 years, since being ordained in 2002, she has served as the Senior Minister at Unity of Buffalo, New York, a position she calls 'a Divine Appointment if there ever was one.' While in Buffalo, Rev. Mary’s ministry has engaged the Appreciative Inquiry process and completed the Transformation Experience as part of its journey to grow and evolve as a vibrant and thriving ministry. Mary’s passion for the Unity movement has been expressed through her service on the Eastern Region Board and now the Unity Worldwide Ministries Board.  Mary served five years on the Eastern Region Board, including four years as the regional president from 2005-09.  She has been a member of the Unity Worldwide Ministries Board of Trustees since 2009 and had the honor of serving as Chair of the Board in 2013-14.  In that role, she ordained the graduating class of Unity Institute ministers and gave the commencement address at the 2014 Unity Institute Graduation ceremonies.  Prior to ordination, Mary was a Licensed Unity Teacher at Unity of Chicago.Her career prior to ministry was in college athletics, serving as an Assistant Commissioner for the Big Ten Conference (and yes, she still is a big fan of college athletics – go Blue!).  She has a master's degree in managerial communications from Northwestern University and is also a graduate of the University of Michigan.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Welcome to another installment of Unraveling Religion. I'm your host, Joel Lesses, and I'm here with a returning guest and, uh, a good friend. I would call her, uh, Reverend Mary, masters of Unity Church. How are you today, Mary? Speaker 1 00:00:14 Good, good, good. And very glad to be here with you, Joel. Speaker 0 00:00:18 I'm so glad to have you. And this, I, we spoke for a moment prior to the show about, uh, what, what, what's this gonna be about today? And, uh, I was just expressing to Mary my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation of her understanding of Christianity from our last talk, both the, the metaphysical, esoteric or mystical element combined with the practical element blended in a moderate way. And, uh, does that summarize things accurately? Or maybe not Mary? I don't Speaker 1 00:00:50 Know. Gosh. Um, well, I was really enjoying just hearing you talk about it, you know, sometimes being in unity and being the minister here, I am sort of so, so immersed in it. And it's wonderful to hear your perspective. You know, I do think we very much are about an experience of God. Yeah. It's not just about talking about God, but having the experience of it, which is the mystical and the spiritual aspect of it. Speaker 0 00:01:17 Absolutely. Speaker 1 00:01:18 And, uh, you know, we are, I think someone has said culturally Christian, but, but, um, you know, we believe there's one God and many paths to knowing God Sure. And, and honoring each individual's Right. To choose their path, to find their path, to let it find them. And whether you use the word God or not, doesn't matter to me. You Speaker 0 00:01:44 Know, it's, it doesn't change what it is, Speaker 1 00:01:45 Does, doesn't, you know, we're still still talking about the same energy and the same presence. Yeah, yeah. Speaker 0 00:01:50 The same omni missions. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:01:52 Yeah. Speaker 0 00:01:52 Yeah. Speaker 0 00:01:54 Terrific. So, so yeah, the Zen Master Dogan, who I'm a big fan of, the Zen Master Dogan, was, um, I think he brought, uh, he brought Buddhism from, uh, I think, uh, China to Japan. He was the transmitter of Zen Buddhism from, uh, yeah. China to Japan. And in there he said a couple different things. He said, there are many languages, but one tongue mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which is exactly your expression and understanding. Yeah. And, uh, the other is that he used to be at a, uh, uh, a, he used to be a student at a temple. And, uh, he studied there for a long time. And one of his disciples, shin Suzuki, who wrote Zenman in beginner's Mind, uh, at this temple, uh, many, many centuries later, uh, had in the book that might be in his mind, talks about how when he was in the monastery, he could not understand that there was anything special about it. Yet when he went away and came back, he saw tears pointing down people's faces when they saw the monks in their activity carrying out these common everyday activities. And I'm just wondering what you think about that. Speaker 1 00:03:15 Hmm. Wow. Well, that, that's a beautiful story. And, um, you know, what came to mind to me as you were sharing that is our Unity headquarters is Unity Village outside of Kansas City, Missouri. Oh, it is. I didn't know that. And, uh, I suppose it's the closest thing to, uh, well, you know, sort of like it's our Mecca <laugh>, you know, it's where Unity was founded, and it is our world headquarters, and, and it is a very sacred place. Oh, it sounds like beautiful buildings and campus. And, and, and, you know, that's where silent unity, where people have been praying 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mm. Every day of the year for 20, 120 years. Oh, goodness. I remember the very first time I went to Unity Village, I was just, I mean, I was just in tears as I drove up and moved in or drove in the driveway and Speaker 0 00:04:13 Really Speaker 1 00:04:13 Campus of buildings. Yeah. And remember when I stepped into that building where silent unity is headquartered, particular building, the energy was just so thick. It was, was like, like, you know, the prayer, energy and consciousness. It felt like you could slice it like a loaf of bread. Speaker 0 00:04:31 Yes. It becomes tangible. It Speaker 1 00:04:33 Was just tangible. And, you know, and then when I went to seminary and study to become a minister, I lived there for a couple of years, and finally I came time to leave, you know, to go out into the world. And on the one hand, I, but I remember at one point just before I left, driving past the campus and looking over at Unity Village, and, and it is a place that I've always considered so sacred, but then I just finally felt in my heart that yes, that's a special place, but every place is, you know, that that energy is everywhere, really. And, um, and that was really a profound moment for me when I, and it still is special to go back there, but to know that, well, maybe it was just my time then to finally take that energy out into the world, or to, to share it more broadly. Yeah. But, oh my goodness, I kind of, anyway, that's what came to mind to me when you talked about the, uh, the monks and the monastery. Speaker 0 00:05:35 It would make sense, right. That we go to a very holy, sacred place, and then we get sent forth when we mature Yeah. To, to disseminate or to expand the light, right? Speaker 1 00:05:47 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. I mean, uh, to be an expression of the light. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:05:50 How beautiful is that? Yeah. Speaker 1 00:05:52 So, and, uh, and so those places exist in every spiritual tradition. And, and they are every, you know, I guess we, you know, I feel that we can have that experience everywhere. I can have it going for a walk Sure. In the woods, or listening to beautiful music, or being with, you Speaker 0 00:06:11 Know, brushing our teeth, Speaker 1 00:06:13 Brushing out, doing Yeah. The ordinary things. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:06:16 But, uh, you know what's so interesting also, Mary, is that, um, of course there would be many languages in one tongue, Uhhuh, because, and really how could these many languages that express the, the one true expression mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we have a shared condition, a human condition mm-hmm. <affirmative>, how could it be any otherwise? Yeah. Why would it be that a system of thought would dictate and separate and truly what is in us and between us is completely unified. Yeah. It is only in our minds that we separate this from that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? Speaker 1 00:06:54 Yeah. Yeah. I think that's really true. And, and that is one thing I love about Unity is we don't like to refer to ourselves as a denomination. Um, cuz denomination implies separation. You know, you separate denominations of money or bills or, you know, that focuses on what's spread or other, we like to think of ourselves as trans denominational mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that it's about sort of building the bridges or finding those things we have in common with each other. And, you know, I just figure, well, you know, God, you know, we have so many different, you know, people are different in different places in their life and in their spiritual journey. And so people need different things at different times. Yes. And so they need different kinds of experiences or for things to be language in different ways. And, and, uh, it's like somebody said, we're all going to the sink party. It's just some of us are running and jumping, and some are skipping and some are walking, or some are crawling. Speaker 0 00:07:59 That is Speaker 1 00:07:59 True. How are you Speaker 0 00:08:00 That is true. Speaker 1 00:08:01 Wondering in the desert <laugh>, but ultimately we're all going the same place. Yeah, Speaker 0 00:08:08 Absolutely. You know, I always, I always thought about this that, um, I, I'm very curious, I hope I don't catch you off guard with this question. Oh, I know. But, um, you know, I'm wondering, uh, there's such an emphasis on, uh, Jesus and the teachings of Jesus mm-hmm. Speaker 1 00:08:23 <affirmative> Speaker 0 00:08:23 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which as a teacher, he was a good teacher. Speaker 1 00:08:28 Yeah. Speaker 0 00:08:29 But I was wondering, what are some other teachers that you have, maybe even just from the New Testament, and what do they teach you? There's always this, there's the tendency to focus, like there's the light on Jesus, and, but there were many great teachers around him Speaker 1 00:08:42 Throughout. Yeah. Oh boy. I mean, absolutely. And you know, of course, Buddha and Lasu and from many spiritual traditions in Moses, and Yeah. You know, I'll tell you, one person that developed a great, uh, fascination with over the years is Paul, the Apostle Paul. Oh. Paul. You know, and, and I love one author writes about him, you know, Paul is both appalling and appealing. <laugh> Uhhuh, yeah. Yeah. That he, he said a lot of wonderful, wonderful things and did a lot of wonderful things. And he also, you know, said some pretty appalling things. You know, it's, you know, many people cite references that he said, you know, to just, to justify slavery or justify oppression against gay people. And some of the things that we most dislike <laugh>. Sure. Of course. You know, progressive Christians come from Paul. Yeah. But then he said so many great things, and Speaker 0 00:09:36 As, as a human being who is awake, that is appalling to Speaker 1 00:09:39 Anyone. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:09:40 Anyone who is awake Yeah. Who knows Speaker 1 00:09:42 Themselves. Yeah. You know, but I just, um, but you know, it, you know, we can sort of think that I can see, you know, aspects of myself and every character in the Bible. And that's what metaphysical, inter interpretation is really about. And, and really, as I've studied Paul's life, it actually really fascinates me, the contrast between Paul and Jesus. Oh. Because Jesus, in his whole lifetime, we don't think he ever traveled more than maybe a hundred miles from his birthplace. Oh. And, and, and we don't have anything written down by Jesus. You know, all the only reference we know is the, it says one time in one of the gospels, he wrote something in the sand, you know, but there are no letters or hanging, you know, and there's, whereas Paul traveled thousands and thousands of miles, you know, and, and many people feel that Christianity, that Christianity exists today because of Paul, more than because of Jesus, you know? Speaker 1 00:10:43 Yeah, yeah. And of course, the mode of travel back then, you know, he used the most modern form of transportation and communication they had at the time, you know, boats and foot and donkey and writing letters. You know, he was a prolific writer. Wow. And all of the, you know, half of the New Testament are letters, you know, many of which are attributed to Paul. And, but, but he kept, and he, he kept moving a lot. You know, he moved from town to town to town. And one time, um, you know, and, and his ministry spanned like 40 years, you know, Jesus. Three years. So, you know, but, and one of the things that fascinates me about Paul is he kept having to move from town. He'd go one place and he'd talk or preach or for a while. And, and then he'd have to move on. Speaker 1 00:11:33 And there were usually one of three reasons why he moved on from one. And, and we can all think about that for ourselves when we move on from one experience to another. Sometimes he moved on cuz he was being stoned and he had to move on to save his life, you know, to get outta town, to get outta dodge, to Absolutely. To live, to preach another day. You know? And then sometimes he moved on just cuz he had a vision, you know, he walked up in the middle of the night and he vision, I'm supposed to go now to, to Corinth, or I'm supposed to go to another, you know, and then sometimes he just moved on because his message fell in deaf ears. You know, he was preaching and nobody was interested. So Speaker 0 00:12:13 Preaching to the stones, Speaker 1 00:12:14 You know. And I felt, well, sometimes in our own lives, I have to make change in my life either cuz I'm in pain and just, you know, we change, relate, get out of a relationship cuz it's uncomfortable or, or you know, uh, a job or living situation, people move cuz it's really uncomfortable. And that's why Paul, or sometimes we move because we have a vision of something better we wanna move towards. Speaker 0 00:12:38 Absolutely. Speaker 1 00:12:39 Or sometimes we change just because things are flat, you know, we're not Speaker 0 00:12:45 Flat or the very nature of why Jesus wrote in the sand, because everything is changing. Yeah. Yeah. Nothing is permanent Speaker 1 00:12:51 Here, so, so I just see so much about his life. You know, you talked about other great teachers. Yeah. That I just, when I look at all the travel that he did and the reasons he kept having to move from town to town, I think, well when, look back at my life, every major change has been for one of those reasons. And sure. Either I was uncomfortable and unhappy or, or I had a vision of something I wanted to move forward or, or I just wasn't resonating with the people I was around. I needed to find something new and Yeah. You know, and that's true for us today. And Speaker 0 00:13:25 That is the amazing thing about we're Speaker 1 00:13:27 All Yeah. Teachers for each other. Speaker 0 00:13:29 Yeah. We are. How, you know, it's true Mary, we are all truly, I think more than we are teachers, we are students. Speaker 1 00:13:36 Yeah, yeah. Speaker 0 00:13:37 Right. This is the way that I, I've actually said this often and feel it deeply. I never want to be considered a teacher. I only want to be a student. Mm-hmm. And there would be times where cuz truly before the one we were all just his, his students mm-hmm. We were just his students mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And he is our teacher. And, uh, yeah. So we may take the role of holding hands together in class. Right. Uhhuh <affirmative>. But, uh, this is a shared experience, Mary, and there is no mistaking here that there is really no human that is a teacher other than what God designates at for each one of us to be in the various roles of the darkest, dark and the lightest light. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it is God's will that we more than we choose what we will be, we are chosen for what we will be. Mm-hmm. Speaker 1 00:14:22 <laugh>. That's beautiful. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:14:24 I think it's true, Mary. I think it's true. Yeah. Yeah. That's been my experience. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:14:31 And so, you know, what you're talking about also, as, you know, what the Buddhist referred to as the beginner's mind. Yeah. You know, always being open and, uh, and we can even, you know, repeat and experience many times, but always approaching it with a beginner's mind. Yeah. Something or some, some gift in it, something new. Speaker 0 00:14:54 And so I, I feel called to, I feel called to express this to you. It's really interesting, this, this is arisen, but I've done a, a massive a kind of like, uh, I've done a lot of work on myself mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, and I know that this is true, all of us. And I'm wondering, what is your take on, like, just, let's take it from a few different lenses, Uhhuh forgiveness itself. Yeah. What is it, how do we, how do we really begin to embody or, or mystically forgive ourselves, others and be forgiven by God. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, what, what, what, what are your feelings about this? Speaker 1 00:15:37 Wow. That's a, a wonderful question. And I don't know, I guess the thought that came to mind as you were speaking is, um, you know, that to really, truly forgive, you know, it's being at a place of peace within ourself, maybe realizing that there's nothing really to be forgiven. Um, and not that terrible things don't happen. Or, you know, sometimes people really do some very hurtful and harmful things. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but, you know, one of our unity writers talks about to forgive means to give four, to give something in return for Speaker 0 00:16:28 Can I tell you that this resonates deeply with my experience? Because I think I had a friend, uh, who said one time, I've been thinking about this a lot lately. It is in self forgetting that we find, and this forgiveness is really a forgetting of one's self, one's ego, identity and psyche, ah, for service to you when all that is around me. And so my work and forgiveness really becomes something of eroding or erasing or removing my identity, my ego. And then what am I then what am I? And I am, there is nothing to forgive because there is really, in a sense, nothing here, uhhuh, <affirmative>, nothing. That is me. Right. Uhhuh Speaker 1 00:17:09 <affirmative>. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:17:11 So I'm, I didn't come to that conclusion or place by myself. That was our exchange. Right? Yeah. And so thank you for that. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:17:20 Oh yeah. You're welcome. And, uh, you know, forgiveness is, is part of our spiritual journey, I guess, you know, we all experience sometimes hurts or regrets or disappointments or things that we wish we had handled differently. Um, but it's kind of, it's kind of about sort of making peace with it Speaker 0 00:17:44 Yeah. Speaker 1 00:17:45 Within ourselves, you know, so that we can move forward and continue to live with an open heart and mind. Speaker 0 00:17:52 Isn't that, isn't that what we all are wanting? Yeah. Like, just to live in openness. Right. Speaker 1 00:17:56 It's just sort of to, to to just get to a point where we don't allow whatever has happened or however we perceived what happened Sure. To shut us down or to have us hold back from being fully engaged in the world, Speaker 0 00:18:13 You know, and what is, what does that mean fully engaged in the world other than like fully embodying this moment, right. Speaker 1 00:18:20 Yeah. Being in the present moment. Speaker 0 00:18:22 Just being, being this, being this itself. Speaker 1 00:18:25 Yeah. Being, you know, trying to just be present to whatever comes up, be present to people that present themselves to situations. Yeah. Letting go of our judgment mm-hmm. <affirmative> about whether something is good or bad or right or wrong or for us or against us. And Yeah. Speaker 0 00:18:51 Do you think we have an inner compass? Speaker 1 00:18:53 Oh yeah, of course. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, and that's what in unity we refer to it as the Christ self or, or higher self, you know, still small voice or the defined Speaker 0 00:19:06 Presence. Still small voice. Yeah. My friend once told me that a long time ago, she listens. It's still small voice. Speaker 1 00:19:12 Yeah. You know, and, and, you know, and so it's, I don't know, I suppose an art and a practice to begin to learn to listen to that and to try to, you know, a lot of times that is probably the most commonly asked questions, how do I know, you know, <laugh>, if this is divine guidance or if it's my ego talking, or how, how do I know, you know, about any decision trying to make, you know. And I think we can have some, some ways of kind of discerning that a little bit. You know, does it bring you peace mm-hmm. <affirmative> versus does it bring you something unlike peace? And is it for the highest good of all? Or, um, Speaker 0 00:20:00 For the bene the benefit of all beings, Speaker 1 00:20:02 For the benefit of all beings, Speaker 0 00:20:04 The benefit of all beings. But I'll tell you what you say is so true and resonates with my experience in this simple litmus test, Uhhuh <affirmative>, that if I make a decision, and it is for the benefit of all, I feel a subtle good feeling, Uhhuh, <affirmative>, just that nothing, nothing earth shaking. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. It's just a subtle positive feeling. Yeah. When I think about something for myself that I want or need that maybe I don't, but I feel I do, or that I'm taking from another Speaker 1 00:20:41 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Speaker 0 00:20:43 The opposite happens. Yeah. And it's in, we are embodied in our compass, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, our body is the compass. Speaker 1 00:20:51 Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's true. That we can, you know, sense it, you know, I think sometimes I think of myself like a human pendulum. You know, sometimes people use pendulums to You show me a Yeah. Show me a you know, we can, Speaker 0 00:21:06 My good friend Claire does that. Yeah. Does Speaker 1 00:21:08 She? Speaker 0 00:21:09 Yeah. And her mom, Pam Speaker 1 00:21:11 <laugh>. Wow. Well, and I think there are more and more people today that are seeking, um, seeking a spiritual experience. Oh yeah. Speaker 0 00:21:37 They are. And so this is very interesting too. How do we grieve, how do we grieve Mary? Oh. Because they're in this world of sorrow and suffering, the backdrop of which is perfection, love, and beauty. But we have to get through the sorrow and the suffering in us. Speaker 1 00:21:59 Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:22:00 And so, I don't know, what do you, what do you, what do you feel about that? What Speaker 1 00:22:07 Do you think? Well, I think it's really important to, to be authentic with our feelings. Yeah. You know, to me, way to grieve is to, to just allow yourself to feel the feelings. And, you know, the grief, we go through many, there are several stages and faces of grief. There's shock and numbness and sadness and anger and abandonment. And, you know, Elizabeth Kuer Ross wrote about these things, and then eventually you get to a place of acceptance, hopefully. Um, but, and I like, um, Brene Brown, who has written a lot of books. She writes about sharing your story with people who have earned the right to hear your story. Speaker 0 00:22:52 This is vital. Speaker 1 00:22:53 This is vital. You know, and so some people, it's not safe to open up to, you know, it's just not appropriate to kind of expect to open up and share deeply. But, you know, to find people who you really feel like you've earned the right to hear your story, you know, that. And, uh, Speaker 0 00:23:09 I, I'll say this about that, you know, when you know and if you don't know Yeah. It's not there. It's not presenting. Speaker 1 00:23:15 Yeah. Yeah. So it's no judgment, but just finding Sure. Finding the people that it, where you feel safe, where you can really kinda share what's going on and be authentic. Yeah. People who have maybe sh shared that experience in some way. And, and, uh, so they can share their experience, strength, and hope. Speaker 0 00:23:45 So Mary. Yeah. Um, so we've laid the groundwork in a very, very kind of circuitous way. Right. <laugh>, it's been like little windy, but like, where are you at right now? Like what, what what is arising for you? Oh, Speaker 1 00:24:03 Well, you know, gosh, one thing right now that is arising is I have a dog Oh. That, um, is almost 14 years old. Oh. And she's very sick right now. I'm sorry. We're kind of getting to the point where we're gonna need to decide about, um, helping her make her transition, Speaker 0 00:24:23 You know? And she's helped you so much in her Speaker 1 00:24:26 14 years. This is the first time I've ever had a pet. Really? Oh, yeah. A dog. And, uh, so this is my first time going through, of course, I've lost loved ones and my parents, and Yeah. Been present to a lot of people passing as a minister, but this is the first time I've gone through this with a dog. Oh, yeah. And, uh, so, so, uh, yeah. Speaker 0 00:24:46 Can I tell you this? My, I had to put down my Isaac, who was a golden Oh. In 2012. Uhhuh <affirmative>. He was 14 also. And my sense of him, he is much more prepared for it than I was. Yeah. And it's much more natural for him than it was for me. And I think preparation for that is, is, you know, I mean, that is, that is like such a pure expression of unconditional love mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative> what dogs offer, you know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, uh, it's, it's a very, it's, it's just, it's, I still think about him, you know, he's my puppy, you Speaker 1 00:25:29 Know, Speaker 0 00:25:30 <laugh>, he's my puppy. He'll always be my puppy. Yeah. It is difficult. Speaker 1 00:25:34 So that's kind of the, my, my edge right now of my own spiritual growth and learning is just being present. Yeah. For Perkins. And it's our dog's name Perkins. It's a little girl. Aw. And, um, and she's been the love of my life, and she's been, she is such a wonderful dog. What Speaker 0 00:25:54 Kind of Speaker 1 00:25:54 Dog is she married? It's a boxer terrier. Terrier <laugh>. Speaker 0 00:25:58 You can't help but laugh Speaker 1 00:26:00 And smile. I know. She looks a lot like, if you ever saw that movie, Benji Uhhuh, there's a dog, Benji. Oh. She looks like Benji. And Oh, I don't a cute dog. So, oh. So just, you know, trying to, you know, listen deeply to know when is the right time and how to do this. You know, obviously we're talking to a vet, but just to, to, uh, and preparing myself and for this change, you know? Yeah. Speaker 0 00:26:28 There's a saying in Judaism that, uh, the righteous, righteous souls, whether they incarnate as dogs or giraffes or people, righteous souls are even more powerful after their passing than they are even in life. Oh, really? They're not limited by the confines and the limitations of the body, and therefore, their goodness is expressed much more freely. Speaker 1 00:26:56 Wow. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:26:59 Huh. So I know Isaac looks out me. Speaker 1 00:27:02 Yeah, Speaker 0 00:27:02 Yeah. And your Perkins will look Speaker 1 00:27:04 Out. Yeah. And, you know, that's what I, you know, I think a lot of people have said too, that, you know, that they understand at soul level, you know, that this is a natural process for them. It's just our, our own human sort of attachment, you know, letting go <laugh>. So, ah, so that's one thing that's kind of right up for me right now. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:27:33 Yeah. Hmm. Hmm. Speaker 0 00:27:47 This brings me to the next thing that I think is arising for me mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and that is meditation. Speaker 1 00:27:53 Oh, okay. Speaker 0 00:27:56 Does Unity have a certain meditation meditative practice? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, is it meditation on scripture, medi meditation in walking, or is it a meditation of self? Speaker 1 00:28:08 Hmm. Wow. Well, that's a great question. And actually, meditation is a very important part of our practice. And, and we call it, um, um, sitting in the silence, you know, although of course you can, I believe you can meditate. Walking meditations are wonderful. I love to do why we have a labyrinth out behind our church. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's another form of walking meditation. Um, but our co-founder, Charles Fillmore, especially, he talked about, he said, gee, there's all these different ideas in the world. Every, every religion says that they're the one, they're the one right away. And he said, you know, I'm gonna, the way I'm gonna deal with all this babble is go straight to headquarters. There you go. And what he meant by that was sitting in the silence Oh, my listening, having his own direct experience. Oh. And, and so that's probably our primary form of meditation. Speaker 1 00:29:06 And, and it can be like mindfulness, you know, focusing on your breath to get centered. And I mean, there's kind of five basic steps to, to the meditation and know relaxation and focus and concentration and realization, and then gratitude. And, but it's basically just sitting and waiting in the silence. And, and sometimes it's helpful to read something before you start, you know, whether it's from the Bible or any, any kind of inspirational reading, um, or to listen to music before mm-hmm. <affirmative> or guided meditation, or chanting or sound, or just using a gong or something. You know, all those things are, are sort of, I just think of as meditation helps, you know, <laugh> things that, um, and just whatever it takes to kind of just call, you know, calm yourself. And, and then, you know, it's really the mindfulness practice about, you know, every time you notice your mind has wandered, come back to center. And so it, I find it helps a lot to you, some kind of mantra affirmation. And even if it's peace, peace be still Yeah. Something, one word love, Speaker 0 00:30:24 You know? Oh, that's, Speaker 1 00:30:26 Or an imager having a picture in front of you. Sure. People use lots of different things, Speaker 0 00:30:31 You know, it's funny. Questions themselves are, have implicit in them a need to return to something. It is the mind wandering, oh, bringing it back. Uhhuh, <affirmative>. Do you feel like, I think that like, yeah. That there is a quietness beyond thought, Speaker 1 00:30:52 Huh? Yeah. Yeah. I think that's very much true kind. I, I think it would just like a still point. And sometimes that's the word I focus onto stillness or still point. It's kinda an experience or a feeling beyond words. Speaker 0 00:31:23 Many people are uncomfortable with silence. Mary. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do you find this? Speaker 1 00:31:28 Oh, yeah. Yeah. Definitely. And I guess that's why our world is always so busy, you know, we're so inundated with noise and sound and radios and Yeah. I have a friend that leads a meditation group and he calls it Friends of the Silence. Oh, that's nice. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:31:58 You know, it's kind of interesting that what in psychology, some call the shadow self or the unconscious uhhuh <affirmative>, uh, it thrives on noise. It thrives on past, future, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I've found this in my own explorations of self, that, um, the deeper I go into my past, the more I worry about the future. Right? Mm. It's really very, it's a very exacting kind of science or mathematics mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And the deeper you go into your sorrow is really like, it can throw you ways, trajectories in places that are terrifying. Mm. But the thing that I want to say is that, uh, I really feel through many, many years, maybe decades of work, that you come out of that in a way that is clear. And when you are clear, you recognize not only that you are light, but that there is not a thing on this earth that can happen to you that can diminish that light. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, what we are cannot be diminished, but we can have the illusion of the experience of being diminished. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Speaker 2 00:33:13 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Speaker 1 00:33:15 Yeah. I think that's true. Well, how about for you on your meditation practice or spiritual practice, what have you? Fun works or, Speaker 0 00:33:44 You know, it's really for, since about, I read a book called The Snow Leopard by Peter Matherson, and about it got sent to me, and those who know me well, don't want to hear it <laugh>, Speaker 0 00:33:58 Because they're like, oh, God, here we go again, the Snow leopard. But I talk about it, and I haven't spoken about it because it was the seminal work in my life. Oh. That, um, and Peter Matheson was a, was a student of Zen Buddhism, Uhhuh <affirmative>, who lost his wife Deborah, love to Cancer. Oh. And then went on a journey with a geologist, George Chow, and through, uh, through, uh, the mountains of Nepal and Tyt. Huh. And, uh, it's a beautiful book. And it was in the seventies, and it won the National Book Club Award. Oh. But, um, Matheson was a curious guy. I actually saw him speak in Pittsburgh where he autographed a copy, and when he looked up at me, uh, it was like a, it was a presence that was like, so focused and concentrated, but free. Speaker 2 00:35:00 Hmm. Speaker 0 00:35:01 And he was, uh, AF seemed pretty free to me as a person, openness. And so that zen has always, zen has always been, uh, and Zen being just literally means meditation. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's Diana, the Sanscript, Diana, oh, the Japanese Chan. And then when it went, or the Chinese chan mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and then, uh, came to Japan. It was Zen. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, uh, that word is literally just meditation. Speaker 1 00:35:31 Oh, Speaker 0 00:35:32 Okay. So, uh, there are practices which I follow, which are just counting the breaths, Speaker 1 00:35:37 Uhhuh <affirmative>. Speaker 0 00:35:38 And for as long as I can, I do that. Speaker 1 00:35:40 Wow. Great. <laugh> <laugh>. Oh, that's wonderful. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:35:53 So we, we've spoken a lot about the teachers, different teachers, Speaker 1 00:35:57 Uhhuh <affirmative>, Speaker 0 00:35:58 Paul and other people, Buddha ue. Um, I was wondering if we could turn our attention to the one Speaker 1 00:36:07 Okay. Speaker 0 00:36:08 To headquarters, as you say, Speaker 1 00:36:10 <laugh>. Speaker 1 00:36:16 Yeah. Well, I, I, I, you know, and this, this is one of the things we, um, remind people of a lot, that, you know, the one is not a man up in the sky or a person in the cloud, you know, that it's, it's an energy and a presence. And so we try to be kind of mindful of our language. When we pray, you pray, dear, your loving mother, father, God, it kind of sounds like you're talking to somebody like a person as opposed to connecting with an energy or a presence. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, uh, and so, you know, really, I think language is a little bit limiting to try to describe an experience sometime, but it's, um, so prayer isn't so much talking to someone, but it's change. It's not to try to change something, but we think our prayer is to try to change ourselves. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, to kind of get into a place of openness and receptivity so that we can allow a greater experience of that oneness. And then it may come through us as a feeling of peace or harmony. It may come through us as a follow, as a divine idea of something we're meant to do. Or, or, Speaker 0 00:37:52 How quiet can you get Mary? How quiet can you get Speaker 1 00:37:56 <laugh>? Oh gosh. Shit. Speaker 0 00:38:02 It's a, it's a, well, that is kind of in a sense, bottomless, isn't Speaker 1 00:38:05 It? Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I think so. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:38:13 I mean, the one that creates this place, the one that creates this place, the supreme, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think is a good way for me to, yeah. I don't know what to say about it other than what, what can you say really? You know? Mm-hmm. Speaker 2 00:38:45 <affirmative>. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:38:48 Well, I, you know, I think of, Speaker 2 00:38:51 Um, Speaker 1 00:38:54 Think of it as like an energy, a vibration, a fe feeling that we can sense. Yeah. You know, people have different sort of preferred modes of experience, you know, natural, you know, some people are more kinesthetic, they feel things, people are more auditory. They hear something, or some people are more visual. They will see colors or images of something. And other people could meditate for an hour and they say, I didn't see anything <laugh>, nothing. Somebody else describes something they describe, but we experience it differently. You know, it's all good, <laugh>. Speaker 0 00:39:34 Yeah. It's good. It transcends even that. Yeah. And it's not going the other way. It's just beyond good. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:39:41 Yeah. Speaker 0 00:39:42 It's just beyond good Speaker 2 00:39:44 <laugh>. Speaker 0 00:39:47 The other thing that, that arose, um, was, uh, I want to talk about this, and I don't, I don't like the way that the Torah or the Bible phrases is cause it says male and female, he created them. And I think there's been another source of great, kind of like dissonance or disharmony with people Speaker 1 00:40:08 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Speaker 0 00:40:10 But let's strip away, let's strip away. Cause I think it's vital to do it is, uh, the platonic idea of one soul halved. You, you know, this, this notion that, uh, and rah is taught that there is a soul mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that God touches and severs it for the two halves to descend in this world to come together. And it's this, it's, it's, it's, uh, the soul of two faces. The faces are facing outward, and in God's great compassion, he serves the soul. So they may meet face to face in this world. Mm-hmm. Speaker 1 00:40:50 <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Well, I mean, we think meta physically, um, in the Bible that men represent our thinking nature. Uh, and female characters represent our feeling. Nature heard that. And we all have both the masculine, the feminine. We do, Speaker 0 00:41:06 We Speaker 1 00:41:07 Do, and thinking and the feeling nature within all of us. Speaker 0 00:41:09 Absolutely. Speaker 1 00:41:10 So it's not about Speaker 0 00:41:11 People looking Speaker 1 00:41:12 Different groups of people at all. It's about our oneness. Everyone has thinking and a feeling nature. Speaker 0 00:41:18 Oh my Speaker 1 00:41:19 God. We both have masculine and feminine in us. Absolutely. Whether you're, you know, a female body or a male body and others, your masculine nature, which is tends to be more about assertive and doing things and getting things done. And the feminine nature within everyone is the receptive part of us that is, and, Speaker 0 00:41:38 Um, they say, they say in Judaism, yeah. I'm sorry, I just wanted to interject this. Yeah. In Judaism, they say the same thing. They say that, uh, men, men kind of tend to shape or create the world to, to more the world. Women appreciate it as it is. And then these two things together. Speaker 1 00:41:54 Oh, Speaker 0 00:41:54 Uhhuh. Yeah. But it's the same is what you're saying. Yeah. Yeah. I didn't mean to interrupt Speaker 1 00:41:58 Though. Oh, no, that's fine. And, and, and so we all have those qualities within us, or those capabilities, and sometimes one side's strengthened more than another or expresses more, but Yeah. Speaker 0 00:42:14 I know. I have a creative writing professor who Oh, um, he, he said, he said to me, and I, I was down there a long time ago, and he said, uh, Joel, I remember when I discovered my sweet sister within, you know, <laugh>, which is this kind of like very beautiful openness about the nature of like, spirit. And like, there is, we are blended. We are blended. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, and we want to, we want to carve up or tend to carve up. We don't want to, but we do, we tend to carve up into this is masculine and this is feminine, but the beauty of the mystical life really tends to be mm-hmm. <affirmative> a a falling away of black and white into a beautiful, beautiful shade of gray. Speaker 1 00:43:02 Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:43:20 So sometimes the Tibetan monks come, right? Speaker 1 00:43:23 Yes. Yes. And, uh, although they're not coming this summer, unfortunately, um, we usually get them when they're going down to Lilydale and Uhhuh <affirmative>. They come the weekend before, the weekend after. And I guess they're not scheduled for Lilydale this year. Oh. But they will be back next year, 2017. Speaker 0 00:43:41 That's exciting. Speaker 1 00:43:42 <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. But we've probably hosted them eight or 10 years in a row, or, uh, of the last 12 years. It's been a big part of, part of our experience, our ministry, and, you know. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:43:54 We love doing it. They're, they're beautiful. Speaker 1 00:43:56 So they're beautiful. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:43:59 I know you gave, you offered, you had on the table outside. Speaker 1 00:44:02 Yeah. Yeah. That's a, a kind of a scarf that the monks, um, was blessed by the monks. And they, um, when the monks come, different people in our community host them, put them up in their homes for a couple overnights while they're here, and then they usually give that scarf to the people that have host the families. Oh, sweet. For some reason, bill realized he had a couple extra, and, and he wanted to put them off for people to anybody that would like one. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:44:30 So I Speaker 1 00:44:30 Thought that a little pouch that they, Speaker 0 00:44:32 It's gorgeous the pouch, Speaker 1 00:44:33 Isn't it? Yeah. It's really great. Oh Speaker 0 00:44:35 My goodness. It's maroon and it's cold embroidery. Beautiful. Speaker 1 00:44:39 Sure. Good. I'm really glad you saw that. Speaker 0 00:44:43 Oh my goodness. I felt called to it, and I know it, it's gonna go someplace. It belongs. Speaker 1 00:44:47 Okay, good. Yeah. Yeah. It's been a great honor to be able to post them once and Yeah. So Speaker 0 00:44:55 I bet they love this place. Speaker 1 00:44:57 They do. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It's funny, every year there's a few that are the same and then different ones, and I think they, they come here from, from India, you know, where they're monastery is for about 12 months, and they travel around, and then they get rotated to go back and different ones come. And so, but yeah, we love having them here, so, okay. Speaker 0 00:45:26 Let's see. Speaker 1 00:45:27 Is that about, well, Speaker 0 00:45:29 I Speaker 1 00:45:29 Don't know enough material, or Speaker 0 00:45:30 How are you feeling? I just wanted to check the Speaker 1 00:45:32 Time. Yeah. You feel Yeah. That's pro. I, Speaker 0 00:45:34 I feel free. You feel good? Yeah. We covered such a wonderful amount of stuff, and we covered it just right. I feel, Speaker 1 00:45:40 Is that okay? Good. Speaker 0 00:45:42 I think so. Speaker 1 00:45:42 There's something to work with. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:45:45 So, Mary, in closing, I just want to say a couple things. Um, um, uh, you know, it's interesting that, uh, even when we do something anonymously, when we pray for people anonymously, Speaker 1 00:46:09 Uhhuh, <affirmative>, Speaker 0 00:46:11 Uh, it returns to us in a way, even with a more profound kind of, uh, effect. And we get caught off guard because we were so selfless in our expression of things. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, in the St. Leopard Matheson sat across from his wife Deborah, love, before she passed away in the story in the book. It was a natural experience. And, uh, he began, uh, chanting. Speaker 1 00:46:37 Oh. Speaker 0 00:46:38 And, uh, he had been in meditation a long time prior, and he, he was so clear, um, when he saw her in the bathroom the day before, she, she, he had a, he had a foreboding of her death. Speaker 1 00:46:51 Wow. Speaker 0 00:46:52 Hmm. And when he sat across from her, it just happened that he sat across from this meditation, he chanted with such theory for her out of a great compassion for her mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that something in him broke open. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> a kind of like crack in the intellect and psyche <laugh>. And all he described was that there was this smile. Right. Wow. And, uh, it began to engulf the room, this smile mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, uh, he wanted to inform the smile about Dee, who he called his wife Dee mm-hmm. <affirmative> and her cancer, but he knew it was not needed. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> all was, will be and is known mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so he just enjoyed the presence of the smile. Wow. Speaker 1 00:47:42 Yeah. Speaker 0 00:47:42 And so it was so beautiful, and I feel like, uh, it was through that selfless, selfless, selfless chanting that, uh, math and was touched in that way. And so, uh, I just want to say thank you so much, Mary, for spending time with me. Is there anything in closing that you'd like to offer or say, or that comes to mind? No, Speaker 1 00:48:07 Not that I can think of right now. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. I can say feel complete. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:48:19 Is there a closing prayer that you'd like to offer or Speaker 1 00:48:22 We good? Okay. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. Why don't we just, just give thanks for this time together, that we, we bless your work, Joel, and your ministry in the world, and all the ways that you touch people's lives with this radio program and with your work. And in so many ways, we see you going forth as a light in the world, letting your light shine even more brightly. And may all that you do be a blessing and return to you a hundred fold. Thank you, God. Amen. Amen. Mm-hmm. <laugh>, Speaker 0 00:49:05 You are so sweet. Thank you so much. Speaker 1 00:49:07 Oh, you're welcome. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I, Speaker 0 00:49:12 You gotta get going. Okay.

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