03.09.2020

Clarity of Love

Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Featuring: Rev. Richard Rogers
Week #9 of the Ongoing Series, "A Year of Love"

Click HERE to download this transcript.

Click HERE to view Rev. Rogers’ guided meditation during the service.

Alright; are you ready for me? [Congregation laughs]

So here’s my question: How much do you love your life? We’ve got two “very much”s; we’re up to three. Right? Because, you know, this year we’ve been dedicating this year to love. And we’ve talked about loving God; we’ve talked about loving yourself; we’ve talked about loving others. But I also want to talk about loving life.

And so, if you had to give yourself a score from 1 to 10, how much are you loving your life right now? Are you a 7-8-9 or are you a 1-2-3? Or somewhere in between?

Because, for some of us, we’ve been bumped by life. And the reality is that some of us are really sensitive souls. And so, when sensitive souls get bumped by life, there’s a part of us that says, “Life’s just a lot of work. Like, it’s hard.” Right? And so some of us think that the way that we’re going to get through it is, “I’m just not going to open my heart all the way to life. Life’s — it’s too chancy. It’s too dangerous. It’s too out of control.”

And what I’d like to suggest today; I’d like to make another recommendation. And my recommendation tonight is: What would it look like if you dove all the way in and decided to love life fully? Right? What would it look like if you just decided that you were going to love life exactly the way it is?

My administrative assistant when I was at Unity of Naples 10 years ago — 12 years ago; whatever it was. Before she got to me, she was an activities coordinator at a retirement home. And she would tell the story — and I just love this story! She would tell the story of a family that brought their mother into this retirement home. And they were giving her the tour of, “This room is this; and this is the cafeteria; and this is …” And she got to the end of the tour, and Ginger said to her, “I think you’re really going to like it here.” And she said, “I already do.”

Like, there’s this moment — as a soul — where we get to decide about every experience. And we can wait to see how every experience rolls out. And we can kind of play hard to get with life, like, “Unless you really dazzle me, you’re not getting anything from me.” Right? Or we can go into life and just say from the beginning that I’m going to love it. And if we decide — how we decide — defines everything. It opens everything up.

Because, for some of us, we believe that if we get everything that we want, then we’re going to love life. And [laughs] I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been 100% effective at getting everything that I want. Right? [Laughs]

Sometimes I miss the mark! Sometimes I don’t do it! Right? And then some of us believe that, if we’re going to love life, that it’s an internal choice. And I’d like to suggest tonight that it’s both. I want you to be really good at creating the life that you want. But, no matter how it rolls out, I want you to make a decision tonight that you’re going to put yourself to the test, and that you’re going to decide to love life. Just love it!

Because, from a human point of view, there’s only really three ways that you can deal with life. You can live with it and hate it. And for some of us that’s been our strategy, right? [Laughs] That, no matter what happens, we’re going to live with it. We’re going to complain about it. We’re going to feel like a victim. And we’re just going to hate it. And we’re going to feel righteous indignation that it’s so hard — it’s so bad — that we’re just going to hate it. So that’s the first choice. And do we all have a God-given right to be as miserable as we need to be? [Congregation laughs] Amen! Because we have free will, you get to be as miserable in any moment as you need to be. So that’s the first one. We can live with it and hate it.

The second choice is that we can live with it and love it. And that’s also a choice! That we actually decide as spiritual beings, over and over again: Am I going to live with this and hate it? Or am I going to live with this and love it? And really, those are really the first two choices in that, over and over again, we have to make that decision: Am I going to live with it and hate it? Or am I going to live with and love it?

And then the third option is change it. And that’s all we ever get! We can live with it and hate it. Live with it and love it. Or change it. And over and over again, because you have free will, you get to decide in every moment what camp you’re going to stand in. Right? Are you going to fully experience living life and hating it?

And we all have people in our life that are firmly committed to living in life and hating it. And they will tell you what a victim they are. They will tell you how hard life is. They are committed to living in life and hating it. And they have free will; God loves them, even though they hate the whole experience, right?

And we all know people that have just made the decision to live with it and love it. And no matter what happens to them — no matter what the experience is — they just find a way to keep rising above. They just keep going higher. And they just keep loving life.

And then there’s those moments where we just realize, I could be angry about this and be disappointed and frustrated; I’m having a really hard time just loving it the way it is. So I’m going to change it! And because you have free will, you get to decide in any situation of your life which three camps you want to be in from moment to moment.

So here’s your homework. [Laughs] Right? I’m going to start with homework. Already. So here’s your homework. I want you to look at three to five things in your life that you’re living in the camp of living with it and hating it. And you ca say, “Richard, that’s not … I am just ponies and pink bubbles.” [Congregation laughs] Right? “That everything about me I just love. Everything about my life I just love. I just love everybody.” Right? Great! Then this talk isn’t for you. Right? [Congregation laughs]

But if [laughs] … If you’re a real person, right? [Congregation laughs] That has stuff in their life, and has kids and ex’s and things, right? Then there might be some issues that you’re living with and hating. And I want you just to be aware of those. Three to five things in your life that you’re looking at that you’ve — whether it was knowingly or not — you have been living with and hating. And I want you to ask yourself the question: Do I want to continue to hate this? Do I feel okay with this section of my life that I’ve been living with and hating? Could I possibly move it into live with and love it? Or am I willing to take responsibility and change it?

Because that’s really all you get! Like, I wish there was a fourth option! Like, we could win the lottery was a fourth option for all of us! Or we all got a magic wand or could wiggle our nose, right? But that’s all we get! We either live with it and hate it, live with it and love it, or we change it. And every time we feel empowered to change that which we’re living with and hating, our life gets easier! It gets bigger. There’s more fresh air.

Because I actually want you to get to the place where 90% of your life you are loving! You are loving your life! You get up in the morning and you love it! You love the idea that you’re alive; you love the idea that you get to create your future. You love it!

Like, in Unity we talk about the Law of Mind-Action. And the Law of Mind-Action says thoughts held in mind produce after their kind. So what it’s stating is that our inner life creates our outer experience.

How many of you have ever heard the rap on men of a certain age? That we get crankier as we tend to get older? Now we all know it’s not true, right? [Congregation laughs] But maybe you’ve heard the rap that men of a certain age start getting a little cranky when everything doesn’t work as well as it used to, or starting to lose it, or goes a little gray. And, you know, people call us old or fuddy-duddies. And there’s this rap that men of a certain age get crankier. And I really want to challenge you tonight to really look … This is just for the men; ladies, this isn’t for you. Right? I really want to challenge you to see if you could love your life more! Just the way it is! If there’s things that you’re hating right now, if you could move over into the love category or change it!

Because the Law of Mind-Action says thoughts held in min produce after their kind. So if I’m thinking thoughts that I hate my life — if I’m feeling that feeling of feeling victimized by my life — in Unity we believe that actually creates a greater experience of that. That we’re actually creating more and more of what we don’t want, instead of really moving into an experience where we love life. And when we love life, we tend to experience more and more things that we love. That like attracts like; the vibration of love attracts the life that you love. If you’re spending more and more of your time and energy hating what’s going on in your life, you can’t help but actually create and draw to you more and more of the things that you hate.

That there is a power in the universe where everything organizes around who you’re being. How you’re feeling. What’s the dominant experience you’re having. And if the dominant experience that you’re having is hating life, let me just take a step back and get out of your way. Because if you’re hating your life, it’s not fun for you or for anybody. And what would happen if you decided that you were going to fully love your life?

Charles Haanel, an old-time New Thought writer, said this: “The Law of Attraction or the Law of Love are one and the same law.” Jesus said, “Give and it will be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, will be running over and put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure that you get back.”

And we usually look at that Scripture in the context of money or prosperity or giving to life, but I want you to see is that, as you’re giving love to life, what if that actually came to you over and over and over in greater and greater ways? That what if you really organized your life about what you love? What if you gave yourself permission to truly live a life that you love?

How many of you know that the Christian church in this country basically came out of the Puritan work ethic? Right? It basically came out of this whole idea that, if you suffer long enough in this life experience, and you die, your reward will be in the afterlife. Like, that’s where the … How many of you were raised in a church that was open about that theology? Anybody? A few people? Right?

So it’s this idea that, if we suffer long enough, and if we suffer deep enough, and if it’s horrible enough, there’s good news about that. And the good news is that your reward is going to come in heaven, so there’s this big payback after you die.

Now, if you’re miserable in this life, why would you think that you would be happier in the next? Does that makes sense to anybody? That somehow, if you’re miserable now, you die, so you no longer have a body. But you’re still your same emotional self! And you get to heaven … I think there’s a big chunk of heaven for all the cranky people. [Congregation laughs] Like, all the people that nobody else wants to be around who are miserable in this life. It’s like, don’t send them to the happy end; send them to the cranky end! Because if you aren’t loving it here, what makes you sure you’re going to love it on the other side?

And over and over again, I want to challenge you to love your life. Because, when you’ve been shut down; when you’ve been wounded; when you’ve been bruised; when you’ve been disappointed, it takes a high level of courage and faith to open your heart again and decide you’re going to love it. Because it makes sense to play it safe! It seems rational; it seems appropriate.

But what happens is: you play it so safe — you life so guarded; you live so protected; you live so behind all the barriers that you put between you and life — that you never really get to live full out. You never get to experience all of it. You never get to experience the fullness of life. And what would happen if you just loved your life?

I claim a life that I love. Will you say that with me? [With congregation]: “I claim a life that I love.”

One more time: [with congregation] “I claim a life that I love.”

I love my life. Together: [with congregation] “I love my life.”

Now, hear the inner voice. Is the inner voice in you going, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”? [Congregation laughs] Right? Like, “When did that start? Because I didn’t get the memo!” Right?

And I just want you to really open your heart and your soul and your beingness, your essence, to what would happen if you dove all the way in and let yourself love life completely? And can you actually believe that you could have a life that you want?

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Whether humanity will consciously follow the law of love, I do not know. But that need not disturb me. For the law will work just as the law of gravitation whether we accept it or not.” I mean, this opening line: “Whether humanity will consciously follow the law of love …”

See, I think for many of us, our spiritual life is becoming conscious. That we have lived by so unconsciously that we haven’t noticed that we’ve been shut down. We haven’t noticed that our heart has been closed. We haven’t noticed that we haven’t really been loving every moment.

And what if tonight you decide that you’re going to make an internal commitment to consciously love your life?

I love my life. Will you say that with me? [With congregation]: “I love my life.”

So here we are, and I’m going to invite you to refocus your life on all the things that you love. So I want you to speak about the things that you love. I want those to be the first things every day that come out of your mouth: is what you love about your life. I want you to be that person that annoys everybody because you’re verbalizing how much you love your life. I want you to be speaking, over and over and over again, about how much you love your life.

I want you to be doing what you love. Like, not just as a little 15 minutes, but I want you to spend more and more of each day doing those things that you love the most. I want you to be meditating on what you love. And meditating on the whole idea of living a life of love.

I want you to be wearing the clothes that you love. I want you to be spending time with the people you love. I want you to be filling your mind with the ideas that you love. I want you to be surrounding yourself in the environments that you love. And listening to the music you love.

Like, who doesn’t love a good polka, right? [Congregation laughs] Just … Right? I mean, if polka music is your jam, then I want you to be polkaing before 7! I want that to be the Beer Barrel Polka just coming out over and over and over again!

I want you to be eating the foods that you love. Can I tell you a story? So my whole life I have … And I don’t think it’s too strong. I have hated Brussels sprouts. Like, unless you wrap those little suckers in about a pound of bacon [congregation laughs], I just couldn’t get ’em down. I mean, they’re just … They’re just nasty little things, right?

So one night my wife is eating these things, and I said, “What are those? They smell really good!” She said, “I don’t want to tell you.” I said, “What do you mean?” She goes, “Well, because you’re like so anti-what I’m eating, that I don’t even want to tell you how good they are.” And I said, “Well, you didn’t even make me any!” She goes, “Because you don’t like them!” And I said, “Well, let me just try one.” And I put these little suckers in my mouth. They were like … They were like … They were crunchy on the outside; they were soft and she rubbed each one with avocado oil and then put sea salt on them. And they were [chef’s kiss]. [Congregation laughs]

And I realized how many times I’m still operating on what I thought I hated. Like, I have a “big boy” taste palate now. [Congregation laughs] You know! [Laughs] If I can like Brussels sprouts, I am a full-grown man now! Right? [Congregation laughs] Like, there is just all kinds of opportunities for me, right? I’ve already got into … I made it all the way into sushi; I’m now into Brussels sprouts. There’s just no limits to where I can go! Right?

And what I want you to see today is: I want you literally focusing on the aspects of life that you love, and seeing if you can expand your life to hold more enjoyment, more good, more God, more peace, more love than you’ve ever held before.

Because if you’re not loving your life, there is nothing more sad. Can you imagine really living 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 years, and not loving it? Like, that’s tragic! I know culturally it’s been happening for generations upon generations upon generations, but it’s still tragic! This is the kingdom! It’s all around us! if we’re not loving it, we’ve missed it! if you’re not loving this day, you missed it! That God is fully present! This moment is infinite! This moment has every possibility!

I love my life! Will you say that with me? [With congregation]: “I love my life!”

One more time like you really mean it: [with congregation] “I love my life!”

So you ready for your other two homework assignments? So I really want you to do … The first one I already shared with you. I want you to look to three to five things in your life that you’ve already made the decision that you’re going to live with and hate, and see if there’s room for a little transformation there. If you can move it into the love column, or if you’re going to move it into the change column. You get to decide. Three to five things that you’re living with in your life that you’re hating.

Second thing I want you to look at as a homework assignment about loving your life is: I want you — and this is going to sound kind of “foo foo.” I want you to write a love note to life about all the things that you love about your life. And I want you to write it weekly, monthly, yearly … whatever, however much love you can tolerate in your life. But I want you to write a love note to life about every good thing. Because the more we focus on the good things, the more the good things expand in our life. So I want you to write a love note to life.

And the third thing I’m going to invite you to do — if you really want to love your life — is: Every night before you go to bed, I want you to think about three to five things that you’ve loved about your day. And if you have a partner in your life that you can share these things, then it’s a great way to go to sleep. Because, instead of going to sleep worrying about all the things we tend to worry about, you’re actually going to go to sleep thinking about the three to five things every day that you literally love about your life. And you’re going to give voice to it. And you’re going to begin to notice it.

Because gratitude expands us. It expands our soul. And when we go to the highest level of gratitude — when you really look at what you truly love about your life, and you give voice to that — it expands in every level of your life.

That, over and over again, you have a choice. You can live with it and hate it. You can live with it and love it. Or you have the God-given right to change it. And that’s just true.

Will you pray with me?

And I invite you to open your mind, your heart, your soul to the activity of God. And I want you to feel your internal commitment to love your life. That, however old you were or whatever was going on in your life where you decided that life wasn’t safe — that you couldn’t trust it — I want you to make a new choice tonight. I want you to make a soul choice that you’re going to love life. That you’re going to create a whole new operating system. That you’re going to download a whole other way of being in the world. That you’re going to decide every day that you’re going to love your life. And we allow that to be so. We allow that to be true. I love my life! I love it! I love it passionately! I love it with my whole heart! I love life. So i the name and through the power of the Living Christ, we give thanks. And so it is. Amen.

 

Copyright 2022 Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center/Rev. Richard Rogers

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Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center

1500 E Greenway Pkwy
Phoenix, AZ 85022
Phone: (602) 978-3200

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