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Try It On by Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith

Try It On. By Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith.
Agape’s Inner Visions Daily Inspiration Guide, September 9, 2020
When it comes to evolving one’s fundamental life structures, most individuals go through life experiencing an “it’s good enough” mindset.  Fearing that a shift in consciousness equals an unguaranteed outcome, they remain willing to settle for what they perceive to be the safety and security of predictability. More directly stated, it’s about living in the illusion that life’s outcomes can be controlled. Bottom line: A life philosophy of “It’s good enough” is a fear-based agreement with mediocrity.Break free from the “it’s good enough” paradigm!  Dare to have the courage to trust in yourself, in life itself.  Try on a state of consciousness that allows you to discover that there is so much good, love, joy, peace, prosperity, and creativity yearning to manifest in your life once you give it permission to do so. Because when you do, there will be an energetic opening that will usher you into a whole new recognition of limitless possibilities, into an unconditional “yes” to this great adventure called Life.

What does this take?  Courage.  The courage to disrupt your comfort zone, to live beyond your coping mechanisms, justifications, rationalizations, manipulations, well-worn excuses that hold you back simply because you fear stirring up your life or what others will think about you. Trust that your life, just as it is, is a trustworthy path to evolving a deeper confidence in the truth that you live in a friendly universe that supports you in every way. Let your reliance be on the reliability of Reality, of Spirit, which are constantly offering you opportunities for enlightened action.

Go ahead—try it all on, even if you don’t know where it will lead you, what Teutonic shakeups will take place in your life, because when you do, you will gladden your heart with the realization that it’s all working together for your good with the full support of the Universe.

Affirmation:

As I free myself from mediocrity and try on my highest potential, I realize that it is a perfect, custom-made fit.

Osho Quote
:
Courage is the spiritual art of living dangerously.

Michael Bernard Beckwith

 

Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith: Go for the Glow By Katy Koontz, Unity Magazine

rev-michaelMichael Bernard Beckwith is hardly your average minister. Sure, he tends to his congregation (Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, California), serves the community, and delivers rousing oratory—but he also walks his talk globally. He’s addressed the United Nations, cofounded an international peacekeeping organization, and presented an award to the late Nelson Mandela. He’s received fan letters from Coretta Scott King and worked alongside both the Dalai Lama and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi. Hearing him speak makes it nearly impossible to ever again doubt our individual luminosity. Below, he talks with Unity Magazine editor Katy Koontz about connectedness, thinking outside the box, and making the impossible possible.

Katy Koontz: You’ve said each person’s spiritual awakening affects the whole planet because we’re all connected, so can focusing on feeling that connectedness enhance our spiritual awakening?

Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith: Absolutely. In the process of awakening through our spiritual practices, we cleanse our filters of perception so we can consciously connect with that which is real with a capital “R”—the ineffable presence of God, the presence of beauty, the presence of love within ourselves, and within all beings. Because focusing on that sense of interconnection speeds up our ability to see that which is real, it amplifies our spiritual awakening.

KK: How do we overcome the challenges to feeling more connected?

MBB: The first thing we have to understand is we’re not here to live a challenge-free life. Challenges come to activate latent capacities longing to emerge in, through, and as us. So when we’re facing a challenge, it’s beneficial to ask ourselves, What gift of growth is this challenge offering me? It’s difficult, because society conditions us to believe success means retiring on a yacht somewhere, whereas authentic success is the evolution of our soul. So when we embrace challenge as an evolutionary accelerator, we realize it’s like a grain of sand in an oyster—we can expect a pearl to follow shortly. 

KK: So much of your work is about being positive, feeling gratitude, and focusing on light instead of shadow. But negative emotions can become addictive. What’s the most effective way to get back on track?

MBB: First, become mindful of the emotions and mindsets that hook you, that trigger you. Ask yourself, Am I caught in a societal point of view such as fear, worry, lack, doubt, or limitation? Then, instead of denying that negative emotion, observe it and try to embrace it. By being mindful that you are in a state of fear and embracing rather than adopting it, you can examine its underpinnings. For example, you can ask yourself, Am I being hooked by society’s fear-mongering about a major event that just made the headlines? Or, Am I triggered by a habitual fear pattern handed down through my family conditioning? Then you can begin to recalibrate your vibration to a higher frequency by choosing another thought—maybe a level of gratitude or thanksgiving.

Second, you can use the vibratory energy of a negative emotion to embrace its opposite. Let’s say you’re angry about something that just happened at work and realize that underneath your reaction is the fear of losing your job and not having enough money to live on. I highly recommend going to a private place and yelling, as passionately as you can,

“I don’t understand why I always have more money than I need! Why is everything always working together for my good? Why is it that I’m always loved and supported by a friendly universe? Why is my life always working?” Emotion has power, and now you have directed the energy of that power to affirm what is true about you and your life. The energy of anger then begins to diffuse.

KK: I love the idea that all emotions are just different degrees of the same quality.

MBB: Isn’t that a tremendous relief? In our teaching we say there is only one God, one power, and one presence, which manifests as love, peace, joy, wisdom, compassion, intelligence, abundance, and creativity. These are qualities of Spirit that are our birthright, which we can cultivate within ourselves through our spiritual practices. In other words, love and hate aren’t opposites; hate is simply a lower vibratory energy of love; greed is a lower vibratory energy of generosity; worry is a lower vibratory energy of trust.

KK: You’ve also said we’re all here for a reason, but it may take a while to realize what that reason is. How can we best use that incubation time we spend in the gap?

MBB: We all have the same life purpose—to reflect and reveal the face of God in a way that has never happened before through our unique gifts, talents, and capacities. Because the universe will answer any empowering question we place before it, the first thing to ask is, What is God’s idea of itself as my life? What expression of God is seeking to express in, as, and through me? Then we begin to catch glimpses, insights, and signs in response. Now, if we ask disempowering questions such as, Why me? What’s wrong? Who’s to blame?we end up getting answers from the database of the human collective unconscious that reflects humanity’s sense of disconnection from Source.

We can also ask, If this situation were to last forever, what quality must I cultivate that would give me peace of mind? Then a quality will emerge—maybe compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, patience, or love. Then, as we begin to focus more on the inner quality rather than the outer circumstances, that quality starts to pervade our awareness and transformation is quickened, while resistance to the circumstances is simultaneously released.

KK: That would make us much more ready to receive the quality when it comes.

MBB: Absolutely. You won’t waste your time in wishful thinking, saying, I wish I would have, could have, should have. If only I had done this … I shouldn’t have done that. Those are futile statements. They don’t strengthen the inner filament that allows you to carry more energetic light. 

 KK: You advocate discerning what we must become instead of what we must accomplish. How can we live in this world and reference ourselves more as human beings than  human doings?

MBB: The more we regularly stick to our spiritual practices, the more we are investing in “being” rather than “doing.” You can’t “do” love, you are loving. You don’t “do” compassion, you are compassionate.

You can’t be anything you’re not willing to become in consciousness. It’s impossible. Unless you earn something by right of consciousness, you’ll lose it. You’ll fritter it away. That’s why many lottery winners end up in their original situation five years later—because they didn’t own their winnings by right of consciousness.

I always go back to what Jesus said: “Be not afraid for I have overcome the world.” So we’re not trying to walk in lockstep with this world. We’re rising above it, meaning we’re in this world but we’re actually living in a different world—the world God sees. The headlines are someone’s perception of an experience happening in the world. That’s not the world I live in. As the scripture says, “Be not conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  

KK: That certainly makes it easier to watch the evening news!

MBB: You’re right! I watch the news at least once a week so I can see what my assignment is for that week—to lift my awareness, see the truth, see the possibilities, and hold that space in my prayers. And I tell Agape’s congregants that the news headlines inform them where their prayers for the world can be directed. If individuals who are waking up aren’t doing that, who will?

KK: I’ve read you keep an impossibility journal where you write down six impossible thoughts before breakfast (a nod to the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass). Do you still do that?

MBB: I do. I don’t necessarily write six every day. Sometimes I write more, sometimes I write one thing that seems to be just crazy-impossible. What’s interesting is that what I called impossible years ago has now happened—speaking at the United Nations; hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Association for Global New Thought Synthesis Dialogue conferences; giving Nelson Mandela the Season for Nonviolence award; developing Agape’s diverse spiritual community and touching all corners of the world through live-streaming our services. I’ve now added the seeming impossible possibility of humanity creating the radical kind of world peace we envision and pray for—including all beings on the planet having their basic needs met and living in dignity. Even if you were to journal the same thing every day, maintaining an impossibility journal is very valuable because it takes you beyond your current paradigm.

Prayer is another example of a potential paradigm shift. Most people’s prayers are kind of anemic. They contain manipulative factors, meaning they connive or negotiate what they want and when. However, authentic prayer initiates a shift in consciousness where seeming miracles happen outside your present paradigm. That’s where the answers are. That’s where the juice is.

KK: When the things you journal begin to manifest, that confirmation must enable you to reach even farther.

MBB: Yes! Most people live in what I call “small-box consciousness” and require a “small-box vaccine” so that the epidemic of “small-box living” can be eradicated on the planet. This is how to become open and receptive to thinking outside of our present boxes and discovering that the universal laws governing the universe don’t require manipulation to work. The impossibility journal is a way of making welcome that which is already a possibility in the mind of God.

KK: So the possibility already exists energetically, and you’re giving it a fertile place to land, right?

MBB: Exactly.

KK: Your work draws not only from eastern and western mysticism but also from indigenous cultures. Which do you find the most fascinating?

MBB: I love and combine them all because each one has its unique gifts. In the western psyche, there is a separation between us and the ocean, between us and the trees, between us and the animals. That sense of psychic separation is the genesis of a lot of anxiety and abuse of Mother Nature. In indigenous cultures this separation doesn’t exist. They see a tree as an extension of God, not an inanimate, soulless piece of matter. I’ve had many experiences in Africa of conversing with the energetic spirit of trees. The very ground upon which I now stand feels so alive, so electric.

We all have access to communing with nature in this way, but we’ve forgotten how. Everyone can wake up, take their shoes off, and put their feet on Mother Earth and feel their deep-rooted connectedness to her.

I have a massive tree in my backyard and I often do my breathing exercises while facing it and my meditations sitting under it. I embrace the wisdom-energy circulating in that noble tree. I invite all that the tree-spirit knows to be transmitted to me. I do the same with the blades of grass under my feet and with Mother Earth until I become aware of the life force flowing in the tree, in the grass, and under the ground. Many of my indigenous brothers and sisters were brought up this way, but most of the rest of us have to relearn it.

KK: I love that feeling of receiving wisdom from the Earth. I think nature talks to us all   the time.

MBB: Absolutely. Go meditate in the forest, and after a while the city vibration dissolves, you begin to hear the song of Mother Nature’s language. You feel that precious sense of connection. Eventually, you’ll be able to hold that awareness even in the roar of city.

But you’ll find yourself emanating that connection, not looking to get it from the world. Trying to get something sets up a degree of separation because you’re saying, “I don’t have it,” but when you begin to say, “I’m here to radiate it,” then the universe finds a way to place it in your hands so you can give it. So instead of getting, you endup letting.

KK: What a powerful concept!

MBB: It becomes even more powerful when we practice it.

KK: One of Agape’s spiritual practices is participating in spiritual community to enhance spiritual growth. On the flip side, do we each have a responsibility to our communities to grow spiritually?

MBB: Absolutely. In the Agape community, each person is invited to commit to their individual growth in such a way that it benefits the local community and beyond. For example, we have a Sacred Service ministry to increase each person’s compassion, tithing to create a collective awareness of the law of circulation, classes offering spiritual practices for expanding consciousness, prayer circles to uplift and unify the community, and fellowshipping to share the joy of being a community. We take these practices into the larger community, extending the reach of loving-kindness to other drivers on the freeways, individuals in grocery stores and restaurants—anywhere and everywhere.

After a while, you realize you’re always in spiritual community, in spiritual fellowship, even if the people around you are not aware of it. You become a conscious bodhisattva, a Christ, praying silently for all, anchoring heaven on earth.

KK: Sounds like a big job!

MBB: Yes, and a permanent one with great benefits! Remember, our genesis was not in our mother’s womb. Each of us, as a spiritual being having a human incarnation, has never been separated from Source—the central flame of all existence. By remembering this, we can return to the interconnectedness we talked about at the beginning of this conversation.

So don’t have anemic prayers. Instead, consciously connect with the presence, to remember that inseparability and to become available to wisdom, to spontaneous goodness, to pure creativity—and I’m telling you your life will glow. Glowing is a very high form of prayer. You glow for God. You glow for peace. You glow for beauty. You glow for abundance. You are the light of the world. Glow!

KK: So seeing an opportunity instead of a problem opens the door to getting through the situation?

MBB: Absolutely. We’re surrounded by opportunities, possibilities, and potentialities. The word problem is related to the word emblem. A problem is emblematic of our particular perceptions and beliefs—the sources of which are most often hidden. This is why individuals on the New Thought path are referred to as “truth students.” We don’t run from challenges, try to hide them under the carpet, or bypass them. We say, This is my opportunity to grow, so I may become more, and never less, than my true self. 

KK: That would make us much more ready to receive the quality when it comes.

MBB: Absolutely. You won’t waste your time in wishful thinking, saying, I wish I would have, could have, should have. If only I had done this … I shouldn’t have done that. Those are futile statements. They don’t strengthen the inner filament that allows you to carry more energetic light. 

KK: You’ve said each person’s spiritual awakening affects the whole planet because we’re all connected, so can focusing on feeling that connectedness enhance our spiritual awakening?

MBB: Absolutely. In the process of awakening through our spiritual practices, we cleanse our filters of perception so we can consciously connect with that which is real with a capital “R”—the ineffable presence of God, the presence of beauty, the presence of love within ourselves, and within all beings. Because focusing on that sense of interconnection speeds up our ability to see that which is real, it amplifies our spiritual awakening.

KK: How do we overcome the challenges to feeling more connected?

MBB: The first thing we have to understand is we’re not here to live a challenge-free life. Challenges come to activate latent capacities longing to emerge in, through, and as us. So when we’re facing a challenge, it’s beneficial to ask ourselves, What gift of growth is this challenge offering me? It’s difficult, because society conditions us to believe success means retiring on a yacht somewhere, whereas authentic success is the evolution of our soul. So when we embrace challenge as an evolutionary accelerator, we realize it’s like a grain of sand in an oyster—we can expect a pearl to follow shortly. 

KK: I love the idea that all emotions are just different degrees of the same quality.

MBB: Isn’t that a tremendous relief? In our teaching we say there is only one God, one power, and one presence, which manifests as love, peace, joy, wisdom, compassion, intelligence, abundance, and creativity. These are qualities of Spirit that are our birthright, which we can cultivate within ourselves through our spiritual practices. In other words, love and hate aren’t opposites; hate is simply a lower vibratory energy of love; greed is a lower vibratory energy of generosity; worry is a lower vibratory energy of trust.

 KK: You’ve also said we’re all here for a reason, but it may take a while to realize what that reason is. How can we best use that incubation time we spend in the gap?

MBB: We all have the same life purpose—to reflect and reveal the face of God in a way that has never happened before through our unique gifts, talents, and capacities. Because the universe will answer any empowering question we place before it, the first thing to ask is, What is God’s idea of itself as my life? What expression of God is seeking to express in, as, and through me? Then we begin to catch glimpses, insights, and signs in response. Now, if we ask disempowering questions such as, Why me? What’s wrong? Who’s to blame?we end up getting answers from the database of the human collective unconscious that reflects humanity’s sense of disconnection from Source.

We can also ask, If this situation were to last forever, what quality must I cultivate that would give me peace of mind? Then a quality will emerge—maybe compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, patience, or love. Then, as we begin to focus more on the inner quality rather than the outer circumstances, that quality starts to pervade our awareness and transformation is quickened, while resistance to the circumstances is simultaneously released.

KK: That certainly makes it easier to watch the evening news!

MBB: You’re right! I watch the news at least once a week so I can see what my assignment is for that week—to lift my awareness, see the truth, see the possibilities, and hold that space in my prayers. And I tell Agape’s congregants that the news headlines inform them where their prayers for the world can be directed. If individuals who are waking up aren’t doing that, who will?

We’re not here to live a challenge-free life.

KK: I’ve read you keep an impossibility journal where you write down six impossible thoughts before breakfast (a nod to the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass). Do you still do that?

MBB: I do. I don’t necessarily write six every day. Sometimes I write more, sometimes I write one thing that seems to be just crazy-impossible. What’s interesting is that what I called impossible years ago has now happened—speaking at the United Nations; hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Association for Global New Thought Synthesis Dialogue conferences; giving Nelson Mandela the Season for Nonviolence award; developing Agape’s diverse spiritual community and touching all corners of the world through live-streaming our services. I’ve now added the seeming impossible possibility of humanity creating the radical kind of world peace we envision and pray for—including all beings on the planet having their basic needs met and living in dignity. Even if you were to journal the same thing every day, maintaining an impossibility journal is very valuable because it takes you beyond your current paradigm.

Prayer is another example of a potential paradigm shift. Most people’s prayers are kind of anemic. They contain manipulative factors, meaning they connive or negotiate what they want and when. However, authentic prayer initiates a shift in consciousness where seeming miracles happen outside your present paradigm. That’s where the answers are. That’s where the juice is.

KK: When the things you journal begin to manifest, that confirmation must enable you to reach even farther.

MBB: Yes! Most people live in what I call “small-box consciousness” and require a “small-box vaccine” so that the epidemic of “small-box living” can be eradicated on the planet. This is how to become open and receptive to thinking outside of our present boxes and discovering that the universal laws governing the universe don’t require manipulation to work. The impossibility journal is a way of making welcome that which is already a possibility in the mind of God.

KK: So the possibility already exists energetically, and you’re giving it a fertile place to land, right?

MBB: Exactly official site.

KK: Your work draws not only from eastern and western mysticism but also from indigenous cultures. Which do you find the most fascinating?

MBB: I love and combine them all because each one has its unique gifts. In the western psyche, there is a separation between us and the ocean, between us and the trees, between us and the animals. That sense of psychic separation is the genesis of a lot of anxiety and abuse of Mother Nature. In indigenous cultures this separation doesn’t exist. They see a tree as an extension of God, not an inanimate, soulless piece of matter. I’ve had many experiences in Africa of conversing with the energetic spirit of trees. The very ground upon which I now stand feels so alive, so electric.

We all have access to communing with nature in this way, but we’ve forgotten how. Everyone can wake up, take their shoes off, and put their feet on Mother Earth and feel their deep-rooted connectedness to her.

I have a massive tree in my backyard and I often do my breathing exercises while facing it and my meditations sitting under it. I embrace the wisdom-energy circulating in that noble tree. I invite all that the tree-spirit knows to be transmitted to me. I do the same with the blades of grass under my feet and with Mother Earth until I become aware of the life force flowing in the tree, in the grass, and under the ground. Many of my indigenous brothers and sisters were brought up this way, but most of the rest of us have to relearn it.

 KK: I love that feeling of receiving wisdom from the Earth. I think nature talks to us all   the time.

MBB: Absolutely. Go meditate in the forest, and after a while the city vibration dissolves, you begin to hear the song of Mother Nature’s language. You feel that precious sense of connection. Eventually, you’ll be able to hold that awareness even in the roar of city.

But you’ll find yourself emanating that connection, not looking to get it from the world. Trying to get something sets up a degree of separation because you’re saying, “I don’t have it,” but when you begin to say, “I’m here to radiate it,” then the universe finds a way to place it in your hands so you can give it. So instead of getting, you endup letting.

 KK: What a powerful concept!

MBB: It becomes even more powerful when we practice it.

KK: One of Agape’s spiritual practices is participating in spiritual community to enhance spiritual growth. On the flip side, do we each have a responsibility to our communities to grow spiritually?

MBB: Absolutely. In the Agape community, each person is invited to commit to their individual growth in such a way that it benefits the local community and beyond. For example, we have a Sacred Service ministry to increase each person’s compassion, tithing to create a collective awareness of the law of circulation, classes offering spiritual practices for expanding consciousness, prayer circles to uplift and unify the community, and fellowshipping to share the joy of being a community. We take these practices into the larger community, extending the reach of loving-kindness to other drivers on the freeways, individuals in grocery stores and restaurants—anywhere and everywhere.

After a while, you realize you’re always in spiritual community, in spiritual fellowship, even if the people around you are not aware of it. You become a conscious bodhisattva, a Christ, praying silently for all, anchoring heaven on earth.

KK: Sounds like a big job!

MBB: Yes, and a permanent one with great benefits! Remember, our genesis was not in our mother’s womb. Each of us, as a spiritual being having a human incarnation, has never been separated from Source—the central flame of all existence. By remembering this, we can return to the interconnectedness we talked about at the beginning of this conversation.

So don’t have anemic prayers. Instead, consciously connect with the presence, to remember that inseparability and to become available to wisdom, to spontaneous goodness, to pure creativity—and I’m telling you your life will glow. Glowing is a very high form of prayer. You glow for God. You glow for peace. You glow for beauty. You glow for abundance. You are the light of the world. Glow!

The Universality of the Life Visioning Process by Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith

Michael Beckwith - waterWithin our core self is an indelible blueprint of unrivaled individuality—the singular being that each of us exists to express. In this three-dimensional movie called “Life” there are no stand-ins, body doubles, or understudies—no one can fill in for us by proxy. Realization of this truth alone eliminates the need to imitate, conform, limit, or betray our loyalty to the originality of Self. Imagine the sense of freedom birthed by removing your carefully crafted masks fashioned by societal forms of conditioning and instead responding to what comes into your experience directly from your authentic being. This form of self-trust is the way of the heart, the epitome of well-being.

The innate capacity possessed by every human being to self-contemplate, to consciously participate in cultivating awakened consciousness raises existential questions relevant to being a spiritual being having a human incarnation. For example: What is my true purpose in life?  What sustains the universe and my own life?  Are there laws governing the universe that I can work with? Why do I feel that I’ve lived before? What is my contribution to making a difference on the planet?

Encountering the spectrum of life’s possibilities through intentional questioning is where the juice is. Life Visioning is the universal spiritual technology that enables you to see the invisible and hear the inaudible—in other words, to intuitively catch the answers burning in your consciousness that are beyond the static of the five senses and surface mind.  Visioning is a practice that sensitizes and utilizes the inner sixth sense of intuition, allowing us to encounter truth directly, without the process of reasoning.

The Life Visioning Process is a practice for becoming more deeply acquainted with yourself and for using what you discover as rich material for taking your next evolutionary leap in consciousness. It is a universal method that complements any existing spiritual practices in which you currently participate. In fact, you may find that it enhances your practices as you vision for the next step in your unfoldment.

You have taken an incarnation to awaken the enlightened expression of who you are and, while you are gracing the planet, to deliver your talents, gifts, and skills as your unique contribution to the world. The purpose of visioning is not simply about the narrow confines of personal fulfillment; it is an expansion of consciousness into the realization of your true Self.


Dr. Beckwith’s life is a living testament to building spiritual community. In the 1970’s he began an inward journey into the teachings of East and West, and today teaches universal truth principles found in the New Thought-Ancient Wisdom tradition of spirituality.

Bad News Gives Us More Reasons to Make a Difference

Bad News Gives us More Reasons to Make a Difference by Heidi Stevens of the Chicago Tribune:
“The news is a prayer request from our society,”
Michael Beckwith, founder of Agape International Spiritual Center, told me last week.We were talking about gun violence, which has claimed more than 160 lives so far this year in Chicago.
Beckwith and his organization agitate for nonviolence. Agape has local outreach programs throughout the nation, including Chicago, that feed the homeless, provide community service, work with at-risk youth and counsel people in prison.
‘You Are Not Special’ calls on teens to put their privilege to good use I asked Beckwith, who’s coming to the Chicago area as a featured speaker at the Celebrate Your Life convention June 12 to 15, whether he looks at the headlines out of our city and feels, just for a moment, a little hopeless.
“Once you have your own spiritual authority, you don’t really look at the news for news,” he said. “You actually look at the news to see how you can make a difference in the planet.
lRelated Life & StyleCory’s Project channels grief into aid for cancer familiesSee all related8 “You read the newspaper and see the different issues — environmental degradation, violence, problems within our prison system, problems within our medical system,” he said. “And you think, ‘How can I serve? What’s my role? If something moves me emotionally, what’s my role in making the world a better place?’”
This strikes me as a particularly powerful week to put Beckwith’s approach to the test.
The shootings haven’t slowed down. A total of 960 people were shot here by May 31, according to the Chicago Police Department.
Meanwhile, we’re left trying to make sense of the abrupt, awful death of Aimee Coath, the Flossmoor woman who was struck by a CTA bus Tuesday.
Well of Mercy surrounds women and children with sense of home, hope We’re reading and sharing Sheryl Sandberg’s gorgeous tribute to her late husband, Dave click for more info.
We’re reconsidering Joe Biden’s two-week-old Yale University graduation speech, in light of the loss of his son, Beau.
cComments Got something to say? Start the conversation and be the first to comment. Add a comment 0 “It’s not all that difficult, folks, to be compassionate when you’ve been the beneficiary of compassion in your lowest moments,” Biden told the graduates. “Because when you know how much it meant to you, you know how much it mattered. It’s not hard to be compassionate.”
We’re witnessing the opposite of compassion, in presidential hopeful Ted Cruz’s decision to mock Biden at a stump speech Wednesday.
We’re talking endlessly about Caitlyn Jenner and what it means to finally own your truth. We’re seeing millions of people embrace the moment, even as others condemn her.
We’re watching the Duggars prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that their daughters are sacrificial lambs, slain at the altar of fame and false piety.
What do all these events have in common?
Apart from being the news — apart from being “a prayer request from our society” — they represent a mirror held up to humanity, reflecting back our culture’s progress, our prejudices, our priorities, our dumb luck at surviving another day.
I’ve always had an allergic reaction to the belief that everything happens for a reason. I’m not convinced that it does.
But I like the idea that we can be called to action by the circumstances that grieve us.
“Once we realize that we’re not powerless, then we can ask, ‘What is ours to do?’” Beckwith said. “Are we going to be apathetic? Lethargic? Resigned to negativity?”
What a shame, if so.
“It takes courage to think you can make a difference,” Beckwith said. “But the world has changed and grown because people have taken stands and said, ‘This has to change: Slavery has to end. Women have to be able to vote. We need child labor laws. We need consumer laws.’
“Everything started with someone saying, ‘This can be better.’ Someone who said, ‘I can dream a different dream.’”
hstevens@tribpub.com
Twitter @heidistevens13

Extended Awareness by Michael Bernard Beckwith

Extended Awareness:  The Possibilities of Quantum Consciousness by Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith.

There is an inner impulsion within the human being which is commonly interpreted as the engine that drives personal success, that earns credentials and accolades which result in magnificent acquisitions — the external more, more, more of which there is never enough to satisfy. For even when we have succeeded in meeting many or most of our outer goals there remains an awareness of an illusive “something,” an emptiness that is yet unfilled.
Is there any validity to this awareness? Is there something woven into the fundamental fabric of our being that urges us to seek fulfillment beyond the offerings of the external world? Affirmative evidence is offered by Andrew Newberg, M.D., in his book on brain science and the biology of belief, Why God Won’t Go Away:
As Gene and I sifted through mountains of data on religious experience, ritual, and brain science, important pieces of the puzzle came together and meaningful patterns emerged. Gradually, we shaped a hypothesis that suggests that spiritual experience, at its very root, is intimately interwoven with human biology. That biology, in some way, compels the spiritual urge.
According to both ancient and contemporary spiritual traditions, there is a passageway into an extended awareness of our true nature, that aspect of ourselves that can be accessed when our preoccupations of the conscious mind are quieted. As we enter through this passageway, we lift the veil that hides the inner paradise in which we truly live, move, and have our being. India’s great philosopher, Sri Aurobindo, aptly describes it this way: “The full delight of being is intrinsic, self-existent, automatic; it cannot be dependent on things outside itself. In the spiritual knowledge of self, the first step is the discovery of the soul, the secret entity, the divine element within us.” From this wisdom we can conclude that there is no permanent or ultimate fulfillment from anything outside our essential Self, our soul-self. This leaves little wiggle room for us to postpone seeking out spiritual practices by which we may evolve an extended awareness of our at-onement with First Cause, which some call God, Brahma, Spirit, or no name at all.
Jill Bolte Taylor, a 37-year-old Harvard-trained neuroanatomist, experienced a massive stroke when a blood vessel exploded in the rational, time-oriented left side of her brain. Within a four-hour time span she lost the ability to walk, talk, read, or write. Her knowledge of how the brain works allowed her to recognize that she was having a stroke and seek immediate help. At the very outset of her eight-year recovery period, her consciousness shifted into the right brain where she experienced a state of nirvana, what she described as an extended awareness of herself being “at one with the Universe.” Andrew Newberg explains this extended awareness: “various key brain structures and the way information is channeled along neural pathways leads us to hypothesize that the brain possesses a neurological mechanism for self-transcendence.” The degree to which we activate this innate capacity to self-transcend, so do we cultivate an extended awareness of the Self.
As we progress in self-transcendence, the sense of separation or involvement with the personal mind expands into an awareness of the unique emanation that each of us is as an individualized expression of the One Mind that is everywhere in its fullness. That which is happening cosmically begins to happen through us locally. In such a state of awareness the plenitude, beauty, peace, joy, bliss, compassion — these transcendent yet eminent qualities of being are activated within us. It is a process of awakening to our true nature which places us in harmony with the fundamental order of Existence. Modern Zen master Huang Po describes the ultimate state of being he calls One Mind in this way: “All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but One Mind, beside which nothing exists. Only awake to the One Mind.” This One Mind is the very life force that animates and sustains existence, that is the evolutionary impulse within the universe and each individual.
The personal mind — predominantly the left side of the brain — wants to figure out how all of this happens. The “how” is a delay tactic of the ego so that our sense of being a separate self doesn’t dissolve right on the spot! Self-transcendence is our birthright. Everything that we need is already within us, announcing itself through the inner impulsion to grow, develop and unfold. How do we cultivate an extended awareness of Self? First by an identity shift which acknowledges our at-onement with the One Mind. We then grow confidence in our capacity to become a fully enlightened being. As an enlightened being, we live from a state of cosmic consciousness, a conscious awareness of our oneness with all life.
When we consider current scientific studies of the brain relative to the field of quantum consciousness, the evolutionary possibilities for the individual and our global family are limitless. A genuine state of cosmic awareness expressing through an individual or a whole nation is distinguishable as scientific knowledge of life, life lived in attunement with cosmic laws. Living from such a state of consciousness holds the potential for governing our world by super-wisdom which results in cooperation rather than competition; in unity rather than division, in oneness rather than separation.

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