From a Sermon given Winter Solstice Worship Service December 22, 2019
Years ago, when I was learning my craft as a Mental Health Professional—working with psychotic felons at our largest state hospital and going to graduate school at nights to become a licensed psychotherapist—one of my teachers taught me something that has guided my life ever since.
At the time I was struggling to find a way to reach my patients through the heavy layers of delusional thinking that surrounded them, and the rock-solid denial in which they lived to order to avoid looking at the horrible suffering they had endured and that they had carelessly passed on to others in the world. My teacher made one of those simple statements, those statements that come from a spiritual perspective, the ones that involve few words but embody an endless supply of ramifications. He said simply: “Resa, everything your patients tell you is true. Your job is to figure out what it is true about.”
These days I reflect on his words of wisdom frequently. As I watch our political systems degrade into a morass of vicious squabbling; as I listen to the national conversation charged with animosity with half of the country screaming at the other half of the country about what idiots the others are, what horrible people they are for thinking the way they think; as I watch the suffering increase exponentially for those who lack the resources or refuse to participate in the cultural wars that are being played out, I am reminded of what I learned from my patients.
Everything being discussed right now is true, in part. Every position taken by the Republicans and the Democrats and the socialists and the capitalists and the anarchists and the liberals and the conservatives etc. has a kernel of truth in it. For the healers in this room, it becomes our job to figure out what it is true about.
There are so many ways we could approach the subject we need to talk about during this absolutely critical time on Planet Earth. You all know me, though so you probably know that I usually go for broke, at least when I am in an audience where people are listening, when what I have to say has a chance of being heard. So let’s talk about the big picture here.
Let’s start from the premise that only God can know the whole truth. That God IS the Truth. That the Truth actually is a synonym for the divine. We are not the totality of God, but we are as aspect of it. So right off the bat that tells us we need to cultivate humility, know that we cannot know it all, and bend to the Truth as it repeatedly tells us what we do not yet know, in our pursuit of its glory. Or, as my mother would frequently remind my egotistical childhood self, you can recognize the wise man because they are the person who knows that they do not yet know.
That we are not in touch with the sum total of Truth, also tells us about that which my graduate school teacher reminded me. Each one of us, even the most damaged or broken, has at least seeds of the Truth within waiting to be discovered, validated, and explored. When one commits to cultivating that truth, that spark of the divinity, it sets out to burn away all impurities, perhaps slowly at first, but one way or the other, it eventually erupts into a blinding light that calls out all the shadows around us.
Depending on our individual choices, according to our free will and our own internal timetable, we can callibrate our energetic system to a slow burn step by step for many lifetimes or more actively nurture it until it is brought to a raging fire, seemingly overnight. We can even ignore that spark within us until it fades away and is extinguished by the coldness of our heart.
Those among us whose minds are dark and hearts have gone cold–to use the words from today’s invocation from St. Paul–still have some kernels of the Truth for us to discover. . . however small, however buried under the weight of their ignorance and maladaptive choices. And we risk adding to our own ignorance if we do not try and discern what part of their life is based upon Truth, not their truth or even our truth, but the Truth that is God.
Right now, the Truth-seeking that many in our society are doing is complicated for many reasons and it is terrifying for us. Right now many people are living in the “vanity of their mind”–alienated from the divine by their lack of knowledge and the closed nature of their hearts.
Many or most of our political, economic, religious and other leaders have effectively “lost their minds” to the physical pull of the Planet, to ego in the form of desire for power and wealth. These are the people we see every day on the news that brag about how smart they are and are quick to label others as stupid and/or present themselves as holy messengers of God and portray those who disagree with them as sinners.
The spiritual darkness in which they dwell is hellish, a hell they are interested in projecting onto others. They are caught in an endless vortex. In their fear and commitment to ignorance they condemn others and reject any other perspective than their own, thereby effectively cutting themselves off from gaining ground. The more they reject others, the more they create a environment of rejection by others and strengthen the energy around them of isolation and hatred .
We’ve all been there. We’ve all, at various times and to various degrees gotten stuck in the games our ego plays on us. In other lifetimes or maybe even this one, many of us might have just chosen to physically walk away from individuals who have closed their mind and hardened their hearts to an extreme degree. That is no longer an option for us. It’s the digital age; as well as the apocalyptic time foretold from the dawn of our human history in which all will be revealed. There is no physical place we can go to get away from toxic influences for very long. Our salvation lies only along the pathway of following the God of our individual hearts into an unfamiliar spiritual place that transcends the negativity, a place that has humans energetically rising above the tribal level we have operated from thus far. We get to grow up. Praise be to God.
In the invocation we used in this service St. Paul advises us to “put on the new man” created by God in righteousness and true holiness.
What does that mean? What I hear in these words is validation for the idea that now is the time for a shift of consciousness.
Those of us who wish to leave behind the “vanity of our minds” must adopt a different worldview. I hear the notion that the required shift in consciousness, in how we think about and act in the world is so profound that adopting it will make us into an entirely new type of human being.
Perhaps we’ll talk about what this will look like at our services next year. For now I’d like to say a few words about some things that might help this community prepare cognitively and emotionally in the immediate time ahead as we deal with the unfolding chaos around us. Because trust me, the chaos will not be going away anytime soon. The death of the old systems will leave a gap for some time to come, before any new systems can be built.
Those of us healers who have been systematically going through one gnarly growth period after another after another after another will be called upon to share with others how to persevere in the world-wide growth period presently underway. Each of us is going to need to recognize and work with as much of our own truth as possible. Somewhat ironically, that will include looking for the bread crumbs of truth the universe sends us by way of the mirrors of who shows up in our life, not only those brilliant souls we enjoy but also those who have darkened their minds and let their hearts go cold.
So here are my “practice tips” on how to stay alive in a dying world, spiritually and physically.
Embrace the big picture. Learn as much as you can from and about others. Psychology has determined that there are five major aspects of what makes up our worldview. One of the most important is “openness.” An open-minded person seeks new experiences and enjoys meeting people from different backgrounds. This creates new neuronal pathways in our brains, makes empathy aka love more possible and allows us to learn from and enjoy life to a greater degree. Most importantly to this group of listeners, it also raises your overall vibrational level and invites in a new level of consciousness.
Unfortunately, many religions, societies and cultures are stuck on fear-based pictures that have them believing their worldview is more “perfect” or “pure” if their members are not exposed to alternative points of view. Don’t buy it. In apocalyptic times it no longer works that way. If you suffer from any programming that invites you to stay safe in your own small world, get rid of it. Don’t think for a moment that you can hide any longer.
LISTEN as much as you can, as deeply as you can, particularly to those with a point of view different for your own, as long as it makes sense.
Recognize that everyone has some of the Truth and is in your life to teach you. They might be expressing 99% bs and 1% truth, but if they are showing up in your life, you can bet that that 1% is pretty vital for you to learn.
On the other side of the dichotomy . . you don’t need to listen to anyone if it is a futile exercise. When people are talking at you rather than with you or at the very least to you, it’s not about anyone learning anything. It may be that the game is just about power and control. In those situations it benefits noone for you to get drawn into the drama. Give them a healing by walking away; and heal yourself remotely by looking in your meditations for what they are bringing forth in you, and search out the pattern of who else with a similar message keeps showing up in your life.
If you determine that certain individuals around you are lost but are still seeking the Truth, engage with them when possible. Share those pieces of truth that are already in your possession, firmly if you must, but do so with much kindness aka neutrality as you can.
By the way, it often helps to cultivate patience. Be mindful of their timing and sparse with your words, as helping others up to the next level needs to be something based their needs as well as your own. If you find your body is angry or grief stricken as you observe the process, own it, run it and pay attention to these valuable clues of what in your energy system still requires healing. Let off emotional steam in private with your friends if needs be, but don’t act on your frustration by allowing it to overwhelm and thereby embitter you; or voice slander or malice towards the other, thereby hardening your own heart.
If the person is promoting evil, call it out. This is the righteousness Paul talks about that is a requirement of the “new man.” There is a world of difference–quite literally—between those who with their words or actions express disdain for the sacredness of God’s created order because they cannot recognize it; and those who recognize the Truth but have turned their back.
The former was the case with my psychiatric patients who had perpetrated great suffering because they had never experienced love. Their ability to cast further demons into the world as they struggled with theirs, had to be absolutely stopped in its tracks, while gently coaxing them into a higher reality.
There are many in the world right now, including many among our national leadership who sincerely wish to know Truth and live in Truth but have little or no actual experience with the divine’s presence. In most cases, the healing of these individuals is best left to the heavenly forces. . .and the election box.
On the other hand, don’t let people who know better get away with glorifying ignorance and channeling hatred because that is an affront to God. When someone knows the truth and is not just “spinning it” because their mind is not open enough to contain the whole of it. . .but is rather consciously rejecting it in order to gain power over others or wealth, we all have to stop them any legal and moral way we can.
When individuals and groups actively work to destroy truth seeking, such as encouraging violence towards those with differing opinions; using deceit intentionally; shutting down truth-exploration systems like higher education and rigorous science; subverting communication systems like the internet and the media; destorying watchdog agencies that exist specifically is to counterbalance the various systemic biases to which human brains are currently prone, and pathways meant to bring justice into the world; etc. it is on all of us to notice these transgressions against the Truth; and stand up to them. Otherwise, your silence becomes a part of the rejection of the divine. There are karmic/heavenly consequences for that you are not going to want to experience.
And finally, Go for the heavens. What I want you to hear this morning is what I understand about the tao, nirvana, the creative blueprint, God’s plan for us, evolution, the master plan, whatever you want to call it. The times we are living in, these times for which many of us have waited our entire existence on Planet Earth, are all about creating Heaven on Earth.
It’s the time to bring the spiritual fully into the physical. It’s a real possibility, folks. It’s actually our destiny. . .but like any destiny, we still have to consciously choose to live it out, in order for it to manifest.
Recognize you can have an ever-deepening version of Heaven-on-Earth now. In all the political debates have you noticed how two people can be in the same environment exposed to the exact same information and bring to the discussion two completely different points of view about what is going on? Have you watched a person who defines themselves as pro-Trump and a person who defines themselves as anti-Trump talk about the Mueller report, the impeachment debate or the latest tweet but arrive at two diametrically-opposite seemingly-incompatible conclusions?
It has always been possible on Planet Earth for one individual to create a completely different reality than another individual. It’s just that right now with the light shining down on all the shadowy corners of the globe and the digital age giving all these different corners an opportunity to argue with each other in real time, we can and do live in and debate contradictory versions of our world. It is consciousness that has the last say in what we create in our reality. You can choose to bring to your corner of the world whatever level of consciousness through which you would like to live.
Do you want to live in the peace and prosperity and love that is God’s gift to all of us? Go for it! Don’t wait for your neighbor(s). Give them a step up as much as you can because among other things, this helps you get more rapidly to where you are going–to the peace and love that offered to all of us. Show them the way, as the way has been shown to us by various individual souls who have tread the sacred soil beneath us, including that humble carpenter from Nazareth who is with us on this winter occasion, as always.
Copyright 2019 by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven