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
Here is a talk I gave recently exploring the Parable of the Lost Sheep.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep – Rev. Lauri Boyd
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
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
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
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.
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
Check out the Interior Mythos video in which I discuss the experience of The Silence… “self” vs. “Self”
And while you are there, check out all the material on the website. It is a rich source of video curriculum dealing with the depth journey!
I’ve been thinking lately about what it means to live a life of purpose. I look back over the arc of my life and, taken at the surface level, it would seem that my purpose has shifted dramatically in the last dozen years. I’ve left behind the world of corporate America and moved into full-time ministry. And yet, when I look past the surface, it’s not so much that my purpose has changed as that my understanding of what is meant by ‘purpose’ has changed.
In the first half of my life, I thought my purpose was synonymous with my job. Continue reading Living a Life of Purpose
There’s an old song from the 1970’s movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that’s been playing a lot lately in an advertisement on television. I can’t recall what the ad is for, but I’m so happy that it brought the song back into my memory.
The song is all about how we use our imagination to create our experience: “If you want to view paradise simply look around and view it. Anything you want to do – do it. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.” Charles Fillmore would have loved this song! Continue reading A World of Pure Imagination
Did you ever try to describe God to someone? Did you ever try to put your belief and your understanding into words? Usually, when a discussion around God comes up, we quickly realize that each one of us has our own unique understanding of God. When answering from the heart, rather than giving a memorized answer from some doctrine, no two people will ever give the same answer when asked to describe God. Interestingly, I’ve also observed that if you ask the same person at different times in his or her life, the answer also changes.
I think this happens because each one of us is a unique expression of God. Whether we know it or not, when we attempt to describe God, we are describing our own deepest nature and ultimate reality. And as we move through this human experience, our understanding of God changes because we ourselves are changing as we grow in consciousness to allow more and more God to express in our lives.
My current favorite description of God comes from Robert Kegan, a professor at Harvard University who wrote the book The Evolving Self. “God is the name we give to the ceaseless, restless, creative flow of energy in the universe.”