Category Archives: Musings

Universal Benevolence

2016.06.05 Universal Benevolence

By Rev. Lauri Boyd, Minister, Unity of Columbia, MO

“In the simplest language, this practice [of Universal Benevolence] is about keeping your heart open as often as possible.”

Living Originally: Ten Spiritual Practices to Transform Your Life by Rev. Robert Brumet

Universal Benevolence means practicing goodwill and kindness to all persons, and ultimately to all beings. Jesus taught the practice of Universal Benevolence this way – “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12)

The practice consists of three specific intentions: appreciation, kindness and generosity. When we practice appreciation, we choose to consciously recognize the value of the people and things around us. This recognition leads us naturally to the practice of kindness, blessing those around us through our words and actions. Generosity is kindness taken to the next level. It is grounded in the intention to give abundantly at every opportunity.

So what makes this practice transformational? Continue reading Universal Benevolence

Unlimited Forgiveness

2016.05.29 Unlimited Forgiveness

 

By Rev. Lauri Boyd, Minister, Unity of Columbia, MO

“Forgiveness means feeling all your feelings for as long as they are present, and doing this without creating a story of martyrdom, victimhood, or self-righteousness. Just feel it directly without adding anything to it.”

Living Originally: Ten Spiritual Practices to Transform Your Life by Rev. Robert Brumet

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful spiritual practices in which we can engage. It is a cornerstone in many of the world’s great religions and philosophies. It was a deeply important practice to our teacher and wayshower, Jesus. The concept of forgiveness is mentioned over 50 times in the Christian testament. The author of the Gospel of Mark records that Jesus taught, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you.” (Mk 11:25-26 NRSV)

In other words, if Iwant release from anger and unforgiveness, Imust first make the choice to forgive. Consider that Jesus uses the term ‘Father’, not in a literal sense, but as a metaphor for the divine principle of wholeness, the mystical source of all that is. When I am holding onto unforgiveness, I cut myself off from experiencing that wholeness.

Forgiveness is both a choice and a process of healing. Continue reading Unlimited Forgiveness

Deep Self-Acceptance

2016.05.22 Deep Self-Acceptance

By Rev. Lauri Boyd, Minister, Unity of Columbia, MO

“Even if I am unconsciously engaged in an orgy of judgment and criticism, as soon as I become aware, I simply return to the present moment without further criticism or myself or anyone else…I do not judge the judgments or resist the resistance.”

Living Originally: Ten Spiritual Practices to Transform Your Life by Rev. Robert Brumet

When we use the term “self-acceptance” in its everyday meaning, we usually mean something like this:  I have an ideal (or good-enough) image of what a person should be, and I have an image of myself that is consistent with that ideal. Unfortunately, this means my self-acceptance is conditional. Whenever I fail to live up to the ideal, my self-acceptance goes out the window.

The practice of Deep Self-Acceptance, is not about comparing myself to an ideal standard. It is simply, “the unconditional acceptance of my present moment experience, whatever that experience may be.” (p.49) When engaging in this practice, my intention is to be fully present to each experience without resistance, without making up a story, without attempting to control it.

That said, I know that at times I will react, resist, judge and make up stories. When this happens, I simply accept this experience, too. I do not judge the judgments or resist the resistance.

It is also important to consider what this practice is not. Continue reading Deep Self-Acceptance

Radical Self-Awareness

2016.05.15 Radical Self-Awareness

By Rev. Lauri Boyd, Minister, Unity of Columbia, MO

“The seeds of transformation lie within each of us awaiting activation. We cannot control when or how these seeds will come into fruition, but we can develop the conditions that nurture and support the seeds of transformation. We do this through spiritual practice.”

Living Originally: Ten Spiritual Practices to Transform Your Life by Rev. Robert Brumet

When I am engaged in the practice of Radical Self-Awareness, I am aware of myself as an individual, and I am aware that I am aware.

Why is this practice transformative?  As we practice awareness of our body, thoughts and emotions, we begin to notice two ‘voices’ within us. One voice experiences what is – just the facts, ma’am. The other voice interprets what is and tells us what it means. It creates our story.

Let’s look at an example.

Facts – I am walking down the street and I say “hello” to a friend and she ignores me. I feel an instant flash of anger.

Story – I now start making up a story. My friend is rude and inconsiderate. Or maybe she is mad at me. Did I do something wrong?

There is nothing inherently wrong with making up stories. The problem occurs when we don’t realize we are making up a story, and we end up believing the story is the truth.

The Practice of Radical Self-Awareness allows us to separate the facts of our experience from the meaning we have assigned to it. This gives us options. Continue reading Radical Self-Awareness

New Beginnings

2016.05.08 New Beginnings
By Rev. Lauri Boyd, Minister, Unity of Columbia, MO

“Today is a day of new beginnings.” No matter who you are this statement is probably true for you to some degree. New Beginnings happen in our lives as a result of change, and change is the one constant in this human experience.

Though we experience many types of changes over the course of our lives, some challenge us to redefine who we are and how we relate to the world around us. We call these changes ‘transitions’.

Each transition actually begins, not with a New Beginning, but with an Ending. In order to redefine who we are, we must first let go of our old definition of ourselves.  The great spiritual teacher Jesus of Nazareth understood this. He taught, “Truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24)

And, like a seed, we do not move immediately from an Ending into a New Beginning. When a seed falls, it goes into the soil and remains there for a time. It experiences a time of incubation, sometimes called The Void. During our time of incubation, we make contact with Spirit, with our Higher Self. This encounter enriches us with renewed clarity, deeper wisdom and an infusion of strength and power. This is a deeply important part of any journey of transformation.

Having experienced the Ending and the Void, we are finally ready for a New Beginning, but what do we do? Continue reading New Beginnings

Let’s Get Real

Let’s talk about what we mean by ‘real’. Consider a model in which there are two aspects to reality – Absolute Reality and relative reality.

In this model, Absolute Reality is reality as experienced from the perspective of Infinite Oneness – the perspective of Eternal Timelessness. In this capital ‘R’ Reality, there is only Oneness and we are One with that Oneness. In the Absolute, we are indeed pure expressions of God, radiant, whole, perfect and complete all the time. There is only Good. There is only Light.

Relative reality describes reality as experienced from the limited perspective of our human existence. This is reality as experienced through our five senses – sight, sound, taste, smell and touch – and as processed through our human reasoning mind. This reality is temporal and impermanent. This is the reality in which Infinite Oneness manifests itself into this physical universe. And, our experience of the relative is governed by our limited human ego consciousness.

We human beings live in both of these realities – The Absolute and the relative. Continue reading Let’s Get Real

What is a Minister?

When most people think about ‘the call to ministry’ they think about a person who has decided to make ministry his or her job – what he or she does for a living. When most people think of a ‘minister’ they think of the person who presides over the service at a church or spiritual center on Sunday morning. Or, they might think of the person who serves as a hospital chaplain, or a military chaplain or a prison chaplain.

I imagine that very few people who have not made this career choice would think of themselves as ministers. And yet, I believe that in a very real sense, we are all called to ministry.

What is a minister, really? Continue reading What is a Minister?

Li Chen and the Plum Tree – a post-modern Parable

Li Chen and the Plum Tree – a post-modern Parable

By Lauri Boyd, MDiv

Once upon a time, in the ancient land of China, there lived a man named Li Chen.

Li Chen lived in a beautiful orchard, and every day when he awoke, he would walk among the trees. When he found just the right tree for that day, he would lay down on his back under the tree and open his mouth, and the wind would blow, and the fruit of the tree would fall into his mouth. Li Chen would eat until he was full, and then go happily about his day.

Continue reading Li Chen and the Plum Tree – a post-modern Parable

Walking the Labyrinth – Excerpt from Dark Matters

My own awareness of my shadow began as a battle with chronic depression that started when I was only ten years old. I spent many years battling against this depression, first learning how to survive it, and gradually learning how to manage it. Yet I had no understanding of it as a signal from my subconscious or as an opportunity for deep healing. To me, it was simply ‘the enemy’. Then, in July of 2003, I had a transformational experience during a weeklong retreat at Unity Village in Missouri.

The Vision

It began with a vision during a guided meditation led by Rev. Robert Brumet. What I saw was a vision of myself enveloped in incredible sweetness and light. It was beautiful, true and pure, and it smiled at me with such love. Then, after a moment, the image began to change. It started darkening around the edges. It started smirking instead of smiling, growing ugly. It seemed as though the being of light was a shining mask superimposed on top of a much darker being. I could see the darkness around the edges and through the cracks in the light.

Continue reading Walking the Labyrinth – Excerpt from Dark Matters