Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Featuring: Rev. Richard Rogers
Week #4 of the 8-Week Series, "The Game"

Click HERE to download this transcript.

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

Alright. So here’s my question for you tonight. Are you ready? Do you have any pet peeves? [Congregation laughs] You know, I know it’s not the highest spiritual truth, but is there anything that just kind of annoys you? Just because, whatever …?

Well, there was an online survey recently, and they identified the 10 greatest pet peeves. Do you want to hear them? Maybe one of your pet peeves is on it, so I wanted to be sure I asked! So here we go!

Number #10 – Turning without signaling. Anybody want to raise your hand for that’s one of your pet peeves? Right?

Alright; how about standing too close when another person’s talking? You ever have somebody who’s like in your space [congregation laughs], and they’re like, “Hello!” It’s like, just take a breath.

Or this one … [Laughs] Clipping their fingernails or their toenails, maybe, in public. [Congregation moans] That is just so gross, right? But I can’t believe anybody would do that, but okay.

Spending too much time on their phone when they’re having a conversation with somebody else.

Any slow walkers? People that are slow walkers is a pet peeve.

Talking during a movie.


Being late.

Loud chewers or drinkers. [Congregation laughs]

And micro-managing. Number one! People that micro-manage another is a pet peeve! I don’t really find it a problem when I’m micro-managing someone else. [Congregation laughs] I don’t … [Laugh] I don’t see the problem, right? I just think it’s being, what? Helpful, right? I’m just being helpful! Right?

So tonight I want to look at our pet peeves. Because I want to talk about non-resistance. And one of the ways to quickly see where our resistance is, is to look and see those places where we’re being annoyed by others, by life, by the moment. And I want you to see tonight: Where are the places in your life where you get annoyed with life?

Because over and over again, what I want you to see is that non-resistance is defined as “the ability” to … “the practice and principle of non-resisting authority.” And I’d make it bigger than that: the practice and principles of not resisting life, even when it feels unjust or it’s not right.

And I look to my own life, right? And I … [Laughs] And I gotta tell you … Some of you are not going to be surprised by this. But one of the places where I am — that it’s the hardest for me to be in non-resistance — is on Game 7, when the Suns are losing by over 40 points. [Congregation laughs] At home. I found I was a little resistant to that! [Congregation laughs] Now I’m sure I was the only one in the Valley that was resistant to that, but it was a place for me where I had to really acknowledge: “I’m resistant! I’m going to talk to these folks about non-resistance, and I was a big old fat resister in that moment.” [Congregation laughs] In fact … [Laughs]

Does anybody … Has anybody played golf to the point where you got so annoyed with what was happening that it was no longer fun? When I was in ministerial school at Unity Village, they had a little nine-hole golf course. And they had a way you could play it backwards, and it was supposed to be 18. But it was really a nine-hole, three-par golf course. And it was a really cute golf course.

And when I was in school, on Wednesday afternoons after lunch, there were no classes. And it was a tradition going way back to the Fillmores, because the Fillmores were getting ready for the Wednesday night service, they pretty much closed the whole campus on Wednesday afternoon. So students would get out and go play a round of golf on a Wednesday afternoon. And I would spend my Wednesday afternoon destroying the prayer consciousness that I had been building all week. [Congregation laughs] Right? You know what I mean by that?

So I would go play a round of golf, and I would be so angry at the end of nine holes that it was like, “I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t do this! I can’t get this upset by something that clearly is not … it doesn’t matter!” Because do you care how many strokes I take in a round of golf? No! You don’t care! I shouldn’t care! Right? I shouldn’t care! But it would wind me up!

And what I want you to see tonight is all the places in your life where you’re still getting wound up. Because at some level, we think, “Well, it doesn’t really matter. You know, it’s just me; I’m getting wound up. This is what I do. These are my pet peeves. These are my upset. These are my things where I get wound up. If I watch the news, I get wound up about this or I get wound up about that …” And there are some things that maybe you can feel worthy of getting wound up about. But most of life does not warrant us getting wound up about it. Us getting angry or upset or disappointed.

And so what I want you to see is: we’re looking today at this whole idea of non-resistance. This whole idea of going with the flow. Of trusting that God is at work in your life for greater and greater good. And we’re using Florence Shin’s The Game of Life and How to Play It. And I love this little book! Every chapter is like five, six pages. A little thing. And we’re just going through each of the chapters. And today is non-resistance.

And in the Webster’s Dictionary, it gives nine — and I’ve added one — synonyms for the word “non-resistant.” And most of these words, by most people’s take, would not be considered positive words if someone called you that. So let’s look at them. First word is passive. Non-violent. Yielding. Tolerant. Submissive. Docile. Obedient. Meek. Resigned. And the one that I added was Wimpy. Right? [Congregation laughs]

Because in our culture — where we highly apprise Type A personality — non-resistance, for many of us, is almost feels like a sign of weakness. Right? That if we’re non-resistance, it’s like, “What happened? You didn’t get an ego? You know, you’re not driving?!?”

And tonight what I want you to see is the value of trusting life. Let’s shoot that PowerPoint; can you give it to me? There we go. Can you read that? I know it’s kind of … Can you read it? Can you see?

So the center circle is me. It’s you. It’s us. And that’s where we live; that’s who we are. It’s our center; it’s our essence. It’s who we are. The next ring out is the world around us. And then the ring after that is our desires. And what I want you to see is that, for many of us, the way that we see life happening is: “Here I am. This is little old me and I’ve got this big world around me. And my desires are ‘out there.’ And I have to go out in the world to get my desires. And then I have to figure out how to get my desires ‘out there’ and bring them back into me. Bring them back into my life.”

And over and over again, it feels as though sometimes that the world is working against us to get our needs met … whatever our needs are. Prosperity. Love. Relationships. Whatever it is. And it feels like: as I go out to get my needs met, I have to go out into that dark, scary world and figure out how to get my needs met. And then how to drag my needs back into my cave. My desires back into my cave. And then I’m going to be okay.

And so then over and over again, we have this thing that the world looks as though it’s working against our desires. Anybody remember the old O.J. Simpson commercial for Hertz where he was running through the airport to get to his rental car? And he’s doing the full fullback thing, and people are coming. He’s jumping over the luggage; he’s jumping over this. He’s dodging this. And he’s doing the whole thing, right? And that’s, for many of us, how — when we get up in the morning — that’s how life looks to us. Like that the world is going to come at us from all difference angles, and if we’re going to get our needs met — if we’re going to be successful; if we’re going to have the life that we want — we have to figure out how to get through the world to get what we want and need and bring it back into our life so that it works.

And the case that I want to make tonight is that I have a belief that, as we increase our faith … As we increase our faith, our resistance goes down. That resistance really is a sign of a lack of faith. And as we build up a higher and higher degree of faith — faith in ourselves; faith in life; faith that life is working for us … As we build up a higher level of faith, I believe that we can make a case in every one of our lives that we become less and less resistant.

Because if you believe that you’re going to get your needs met, how resistant are you? Pretty low, right? Like, if I tell you you’re going to win the lottery; If I tell you — if I guarantee — that you’re going to win the lottery this week, are you resistant if it doesn’t come from Powerball and it shows up as a Mega Millionaire, or whatever the other one is? [Congregants laugh] Do you care if it comes — if your millions come — from Powerball vs. Mega Million? Like, we don’t care! Like, literally we would not be resistant about one or the other. It’s like, “No; just keep your million dollars. I’m a Powerball guy; I don’t really want your Mega Million. I just want it if it’s a Powerball win.” We wouldn’t care! It would not be an issue! Because all we really care about is being blessed! All we really care about is getting our needs met! All we really care that our family and our friends are safe and that our life is good. We don’t really care …

And as our faith increases, our resistance to everything goes down. And when we notice that we’re resistant — when we’re fearful; when we’re anxious; when we’re upset — what I want you to really check in is: Do I believe that my needs are going to be met in this situation? Because if I’m concerned — or I don’t really believe that my needs are going to be met — then when life comes at me in a way that I didn’t expect or I didn’t ask for or I didn’t want, I tend to get very resistant. “No! That’s not the way my life is supposed to work. No! This is not right; this is wrong! And I don’t want this!” Right? “I do not want this!”

But if I feel like everything I want or need is going to come to — it may not come to me the way I think it’s going to come to me, but it’s going to come to me — it’s like, “Well, I don’t care! Why am I going to lose sleep over that! Let life roll! Surprise me! Because I know my needs are going to be met!”

And every time we’re resisting anything in life, there’s a fear that our needs are not going to be met. Not going to be satisfied. And I’m going to challenge you on this one. Because many of us say we believe in God; we say we believe in God! We say that we believe in a Power greater than ourselves that’s going to bless us. But until we actually believe that it’s going to work on our behalf, we don’t really believe. We don’t really believe our needs are going to be satisfied and fulfilled, and that we get to move on.

And in fact, if you look at that slide — let’s shoot that back up there one more time. See, when we look at life from this point of view — if we look at that our desires are outside of us — then we have to go out into the world to get our needs met. What we understand from a spiritual point of view is that whatever you desire is already within you. Right? True faith is knowing that whatever you want or need is already within you! And that’s why we visualize. Because as we visualize something; as we see ourselves fulfilling a desire; when we see ourselves living the life that we desire; when we see it already accomplished, already real, already happening, we no longer think it’s “out there,” because now it’s in here [points to himself]!

And over and over again, if your good is “out there,” you’ve kind of missed the whole spiritual point. That your good is never “out there!” It may look like it’s out there — it may look like you have to go out and get it — but because you haven’t really first seen it within yourself. You haven’t really owned it within yourself first. And that’s where we all come back to is: Can you see yourself living the life that you desire? So visualize it!

And that’s why I believe that Jesus said in Matthew 5:39, “Resist not evil.” Right? And so much time and energy in spiritual religions and movements have been about resisting evil. Like, there’s this belief that we’ve got to stop this. This is bad! We’ve got to stop it. And Jesus said, “Resist it not.”

There’s a Turkish playwright, and I’m probably going to mess up his name, but I’m going to give it a shot. Mehmet Murat Ildanm. And, as I said, a Turkish playwright, and I found this quote, and it’s so good I have to share it with you. He said this: “In moments when you feel that life is unbearably heavy, surrender yourself to the circumstances for awhile! When life hist you hard and makes you fall down, take a rest a moment on the ground! Non-resistance will give you the time to gather your strength.”

See, we live in a culture that over and over again is about telling people to go out and get what they want. And if they feel at odds, or they feel challenged, or if they feel like there’s a problem, then our ego kicks in and we feel like we have to conquer it. We have to master it. We have to subdue it. We have to make it smaller so that we can feel big.  And over and over again, what I want you to see is: the more that you believe in a Power greater than yourself — the more that you believe in God — the easier this thing becomes!

So how do you know when you’re in resistance? And I’d like to suggest tonight that the way that we know that we are in resistance is when we are having a feeling that we don’t like. When we’re feeling anger, disappointed, upset; when we’re controlling; when we feel overwhelmed … at that moment, we know that we are in resistance to this moment. We are in resistance in life.

So how do we overcome it? The first thing that I’d like to suggest that we do when we’re in resistance is to STOP. And for many of us, when we’re in resistance, the idea of stopping feels like failure. When you’re in resistance to traffic, do you just want to pull over and relax? No! You want to push through it and beat them and get out of the parking lot or get out of the problem … Get out! [Laughs]

My grandparents were … My grandfather was about 5’7″. My grandmother’s about 5’2″. And every generation of Rogers’ grew about six inches. [Congregation laughs] And when my grandfather got angry, my grandmother would make him go in the house and count to 10. Has anybody ever seen that happen? Where my grandmother would make him go in the house and count to 10. And if he wasn’t angry before … [Congregation laughs] He would go and sit down, and he would be hot mad about having to go back in the house. And you could just see him count to 10: [Gruffly, imitating his grandfather] “One. Two. Three.” And then he was just … He was just getting more and more upset. So the idea of stopping didn’t really … It wasn’t a generational thing. [Congregation laughs] Right? It was more of an acquired learning. Right?

But over and over again, what I want you to see is that, as we want to practice non-resistance, the first thing that we have to do is learn to stop. We have to be able to stop! Because the reason that we don’t want to stop most of the time is that we don’t want to have a feeling. We don’t want to feel out of control. We don’t want to feel what we’re feeling. So we keep pushing it through so we don’t have a feeling.

In the 23rd Psalm we read this:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still waters;
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me on the path of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want; He maketh me lie down in green pastures.” What I really want you to hear is: How many times has God asked you to stop? To trust that it’s all going to work out? And instead of stopping, we keep pushing through, still thinking that there is a great honor in conquering — to overcome. And over and over again, what I want you to see is: The moment you get upset, the entire Universe asks you to stop. Take a breath. Feel what you’re feeling. And that takes us to the second step. Right?

That once we stop, we have to do a feeling inventory. So what am I feeling? Right now, when I’m upset about this or that, what’s my feeling? Am I feeling? Or am I feeling sadness? Am I feeling grief? What am I feeling?

And then the third step in this process of non-resistance is: Is there anywhere in you where you could surrender to God? Those of us who know about the 12 Steps: Step #2 is “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Step #3 is, “We made the decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.”

Like, over and over again, what I want you to see is that, as we truly believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we are willing to stop. We are willing to have our feelings. We are willing to release our feelings. And we are willing to re-surrender to God.

And I really want you to look at the places in your life tonight where you’re upset about yourself; about not getting what you want; about not getting your needs met. And I want you to really stop and say, “What is it that I’m feeling about that? Do I feel victimized? Do I feel powerless? Do I feel disappointed? Am I angry? Am I upset? What’s the feeling that I’m having? And am I willing to give that feeling to God? Am I willing to give all those feelings to God? And am I willing to surrender to a Power greater than myself that can restore me to sanity in this moment?”

Because I think we’ve all had the experience of feeling insane by our drive to make something else happen. And over and over again: Are you willing to stop for a moment? Do a feeling inventory? Feel your feelings. Surrender them; give them to God. Purge yourself of them. And re-surrender.

In Unity we teach affirmative prayer. Affirmations. But we also teach denials. And denials aren’t psychological denials. The way we use denial when it comes to prayer is believing that nothing can keep us from God. Nothing can keep us from good.

So whatever situation that you’re in resistance to tonight, you have believed that it can keep you from God. It can keep you from good. It can keep you from the life that you want. And Unity’s understanding of denial is that that Power; that Presence … That person — that situation — has no power to keep you from the good that God wants for each and every one of us. And as we move the awareness off of the object — off the situation; off the person — and bring it back into our own area, back to ourselves, then everything in our life begins to move and flow. And we begin to feel that activity of God.

See, there’s a concept that’s called “binary thinking.” Binary thinking says — like in binary computer language. Binary thinking is: it’s either going to be this or it’s going to be that. And when you have a desire or a goal in your life, most of us — our mind then figures out how it’s going to go. And when it doesn’t go that way — because it rarely goes that way! When it doesn’t go that way, we move into resistance.

And one of the teachings that I just love is: when we move beyond binary thinking, it says to come up with 10 ideas how your desire could be fulfilled. And it says that, even if some of those ideas are just wacky — like you win the lottery or the Tooth Fairy comes and just drops it in your life, or whatever it is. Right? But the moment you move beyond three or four ideas of how your good could come to you, then we move beyond binary thinking and then we become open to the infinite possibilities of God.

See, all of us think, “Well, my good’s going to come to me. I’m going to get this new job.” Or, “I’m going to win the lottery.” Or, “I’m going to get married.” Or whatever, whatever, whatever. And it rarely works out that way! Because God isn’t limited by our own binary thinking; God has an infinite number of ways to bless you!

So when life isn’t going the way you want it to; the way you expected it to; the way you believed it would, instead of getting angry and upset and disappointed, you could just be curious. “Well, I know my good is coming to me. And now I’m just going to be curious how it’s going to show up! Because there’s an infinite number of ways it could show up! And I just want to be curious how it could show up! I’m not attached to anyway, because I don’t really care. The ‘how’ is unimportant. It’s not about me! I’m just open and receptive to all the ways that God could bless me.”

So here we go. In every situation, there are three options. You can push; your ego can push and drive; you can try to make it happen. The second way is that you could notice when you’re upset, when you’re disappointed, when you’re frustrated, and you could make a new choice. And the third way is: you could live in the moment. You could actually play this game of life realizing that it’s rarely going to happen the way you think it’s going to happen. And your needs, in faith, are 100% going to be met.

Now, if you’re non-resistant, and you just “go with the flow,” do you think that’s a higher level use of energy, or a lower use of energy? Higher! Do you think you would take less energy or more energy to go with the flow? Less, right? If you get in a raft and you go with the river, does it take less energy or more energy than if you’re trying to paddle upstream? It’s less! To go down river is always easier!

And what I want us to really look at over and over again: when we’re in resistance, we don’t fully believe in God. We don’t! We believe that the only way that our good is going to come to us is “this” way. And it never happens that way! Because God is limited by your thinking. God is not limited by your mental framework. There is an infinite number of ways that God can bless you, and God uses them all!

Your only job is to trust that everything you desire is going to be fulfilled. That’s your job! And then the other part of your job is just to stay curious and be interested in how it unfolds. Because you don’t know! And it doesn’t matter! It truly doesn’t matter how your good gets to you. It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter who cooks your food; it doesn’t matter who fixes your car, as long as the food is good and your car works, right? We don’t care about the details!

So you ready for your homework for tonight? Today I want you to play in the idea that your good is always going to come to you. I want you to set a new benchmark; I want you to set a new paradigm; I want you to set a new belief system that you’re good — whatever it is, no matter how big; no matter how great; no matter how fabulous — that you’re good always comes to you. And that you have the faith to trust that your good always comes to you. Whether it’s love or joy, abundance, health … whatever. That your good always comes to you. And that you absolutely let go of the “how.” That the “how” is just none of your business anymore.

Your job is just to believe and be curious. That’s really your only job: is to believe and be curious. And every time you get yourself wound up, I want you to go back to your job: “My job is to believe and be curious. God’s job is to figure out everything else. My job is to believe and be curious. God’s job is everything else.”

Will you pray with me?

I want you to open your mind, your heart, your soul to the activity of God right here, right now. And I want you to build up that sense of believing within you. That you can let go of the details. I want you to clearly identify yourself as a believer. “I believe in God. I believe in possibilities. I believe that all of my needs will be met with gentleness and grace and ease. And I believe that life could be easier than it’s ever been before! I believe all of my needs will be met with grace and ease! So I just stay curious. I stay open. I stay receptive. I stay in the flow. I stay in the grace of God.”

So in 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

Location and Contact Information

Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center

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

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