By Diane Donovan-Vaughn –  Sermon 3/31/2018

Happy Easter!

The Full Blue moon is here along with Mercury Retrograde and Easter on April Fool’s Day. Dark energy has been very intense the last year and a half. We have had multiple opportunities to look at the darkness in the world and to reflect on our own inner darkness.

In therapy what I am calling our hell feedback loops are called unfinished business, which often refers to unmet needs and beliefs that we keep repeating over and over from birth. We keep repeating them, often without even noticing that we are repeating them and we often think that we have no control over them. We may feel trapped by these experiences and as if they are outside of our will. They might be manifestations of losing or spending all our money, or losing loved ones. You could be repeating cycles of addiction, even stopping one addiction and switching to another one. You can repeatedly manifest men or women who do not meet your needs or you could repeatedly be the one not meeting the needs of your loved ones, perhaps running away or blaming others to protect your ego. Whatever the loop may be, they all have a common denominator of ego driven choices that are justified by a thought system formed to create them. Others around you may complain about your creations and even try to tell you about them since it is easier to see the hell of others than our own. People may nag you, leave you, disappoint you, get angry at you, get hurt by you, drain you or evade you. You may have a constant desire to control or correct those around you. You may try to run away but hell follows you everywhere you run.

You feel like you are caught in a whirlpool or river and cannot swim out, that if you stopped struggling you would drown as the whirlpool takes you to the bottom of the river. These lessons feel very serious, accompanied by fear, anger, sadness, dread, pain and loss. We have many names for the defenses associated with these lessons like projection, dissociation, sublimation and the like. Defense are employed for fear, by the way. These lessons are frightening even though some would say they are annoying and make you angry. In A Course in Miracles it says that the only two emotions are love and fear. If you are angry, you are afraid. If you are not in love, then look for the fear. Defenses may in fact be the lesson you are trying to learn. Your reactions to life are often the very lesson or hell you keep repeating. Think about hell and defenses. If the only two emotions are love or fear, then hell is fear and learning the lesson is always about love.

The first step in getting out of your own personal hell is to observe your hell, to find your fear. Observe the repetitive nature of your lessons on earth. Why else would we repeat these lessons over and over if not to solidify some kind of understanding for personal advancement? Just like an advanced degree, we cannot advance until we learn the material and often that takes a lot of repetition of some parts of the curriculum. The mind or ego likes to interfere and distract while creating forgetfulness.

It is said that all paths lead to God. This spiraling path we take of repetition is not a mistake. You are not wrong to have a personal hell just because you don’t like it. Personal hells are part of a spiraling path to God. I have read that there is a very direct path to take. However, that path can be much more painful. The direct path is the path of the Bodhisattva.   On this path, one knows they are an ascended spiritual being full of love and agrees to experience and take on the suffering and pain of humanity by returning to it over and over until all beings attain awareness or their own divinity. I mention this path especially today since it is also considered to the be path of Christ, to be crucified or to take on the sins of the world so that others may understand their own divinity or resurrect into their own true selves.

Remember you can resurrect into your divinity. As you observe your spiraling path of repetition or hell, ask yourself this question: “What is the lesson I am learning and how does this lesson teach me to love or fear?” The choice of fear is simply our sleepiness and forgetfulness about how reality actually works. On this physical level, fear is designed to keep this physical body alive and gratified. However, this activity feels completely empty eventually. The choice of love on the other hand is a form of surrender to a higher power, to the oneness or divinity that is who and what you really are. As you surrender to love, you feel completely full and gratified. The more love you embrace, the more you give out, the better you feel and the more love comes back to you. Give love and love returns. Give fear and hell returns. It really is that simple. Will you be tempted? Yes you will. Even Christ was tempted to embrace hell. Turning it down can be very difficult because it appears to be so real. Embrace love and over in the face of hell and then see how fast hell changes to heaven. This is alchemy or the resurrection we celebrate on Easter. Celebrate. Choose love. Resurrect your divine self every time you choose love over fear.

Today’s compassion lesson and practice from <em>A Year of Living with more Compassion – 52 Quotes and Weekly Compassion Practices </em>(Edited by Richard Fields) Selection 35 (pp. 108-109) is by Paul Gilbert, PhD. He chose this quote by Henny Youngman. “If at first you don’t succeed – skydiving is not for you.” Gilbert’s selection offers one of the many repeating ways we learn our lessons, striving for more and more success while overlooking our own true path. Look for who and what you are while you observe the lessons you are learning with compassion and love.

Let’s practice one more time. Take deep connected breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Relax and sink into the center of your being, your true self who is perfectly content and remembers your own divinity. Breathe into that perfected part of yourself having its human life here on earth. From your heart allow compassion to flow into your mind and ego. Allow your fearful hell ridden parts and defensiveness to be bathed with love and compassion. Your path is leading you home. Look at the road behind you. Look at the road ahead of you. Offer yourself love for undergoing all the lessons that you have experienced so far. Establish the love in your heart as the guide for your next step on the path. From this day forward, allow love to light your way. Inhale and exhale slowly as you

listen to this selection from A Course in Miracles about your destiny here on earth:

106 “I am here only to be truly helpful.

I am here to represent Christ, Who sent me.

I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do

because He Who sent me will direct me.

I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me.

I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.”

Namaste.

(Excerpt From: Helen Schucman, Anonymous & William Thetford. “A Course In Miracles ((Original Edition)).” Course in Miracles Society. iBooks.

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