07.21.2021

Mythbusters-Part 1

Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Featuring: Rev. Lori Fleming
Week #1 of a 2-Week Series

Click HERE to download this transcript.

MEDITATION
Rev. Lori Fleming: I invite you to take in a deep cleansing breath and release it slowly as we gently move our awareness within. And take in another mindful breath. And, as we let it go, let go of any troubles or cares we've had so far today ... just gently release them. God will take care of them. And take in another deep breath. And, as you let it go, begin to move your awareness within: into that quiet, still place at the very center of our souls. That place where the peace that passes understanding. That place within where we know God deeply and fully in us and as us and through us. For truly, we are all one.

In this place of peace, we recognize that God gives us all the strength and the power we need to go through our busy days. That, with divine ideas, we begin to create the lives we've dreamed of living: lives of joy with loving relationships. With peace and harmony across the planet. And with prosperity: enough to share and enough to spare. For it is God's great pleasure to give us the kingdom, and we claim that kingdom now as our birthright. To live in abundance. To share of ourselves with each other. To become more peaceful. Because when we become more peaceful, the world becomes more peaceful.

And so, sweet Spirit, we take just a few moments to move more deeply into the silence as we recognize our oneness with the Divine.

SILENCE

Sweet Spirit, we come in gratitude for this time together, of prayer and meditation that brings us closer as a community. We’re so grateful for this evening together; for this time and place where we are uplifted. We are so grateful for all of our blessings. And so we say thank you, God; thank you, God; thank you, God. And it is so. Amen.

 

MESSAGE
Rev. Lori Fleming: So there's this elderly gentleman. And his whole life he's wanted a red Mustang with a white convertible top and white leather interior. Now, he needs a new car, and he figures it'll be the last car he ever buys. So he decides he's going to treat himself. He goes down to the Ford dealer. He makes the best deal. Puts the temporary tag on the car. He puts the top down; he puts the paperwork in the glove department. He takes it out on the 101. He's driving along. The wind's blowing through what's left of his hair. [Congregation laughs] Doing 75, 85. Not much traffic on the 101 this day ... 100, 110, 115 miles an hour.

And all of a sudden he sees flashing blue lights behind him. He goes, "Oh no!" He goes, "I can outrun this guy!" So he floors the car; the car literally leaps forward. You know what a Mustang sounds like when it's, "Brrrvrrrooooom." And then he goes, "Oh, wait! They'll probably take my driver's license away at my age! I'd better pull over." And he puts his turn signal on and he slows down and he pulls over. And he's kind of shaking. And he looks in the rear view mirror. And the highway patrolman opens the door and he gets out, and he hitches his pants up and walks towards him. And the man gets his driver's license out, and he's so afraid he's going to lose it. And the highway patrolman goes, "Son, I've got 30 minutes left on my shift. And if you can tell me why you're driving this brand new red Mustang at 115 miles an hour on the 101, I'm not going to give you a ticket." The man thinks for a minute and he goes, "You see, Officer, it's this way: three years ago, my wife left me for a highway patrolman, and I was afraid you were bringing her back.” [Congregation laughs]

So my talk tonight is called, "Mythbusters-Part 1." And I'm going to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable tonight. I'm going to take some "Unity-isms" and terms, and I'm going to turn them inside out and upside down.

 

Now we know that what we think about all the time creates our world. Right? That's a basic Unity principle. And when we say it out loud, it super charges what we're thinking about with our thoughts and our emotions. And it makes happen faster ... like that gentleman doing 115 miles an hour on the 101.

Sometimes that self-talk in our heads is positive, and sometimes it isn't. In Unity, we have this jargon -- this language of our own: “Unityspeak.” And there are catch phrases that we've developed over the more than a hundred years. And we sort of think we know what they mean. I'm going to tell you something different tonight!

We use metaphors and similes, and we mean something, but they might not mean the same thing to someone else. So this evening, we're going to look at some of the things we say -- maybe in a rote way -- and see exactly how true they really are.

The first one -- you may have said this yourself; I've said it hundreds of times: EVERYTHING IS IN DIVINE ORDER. Doesn't it feel good when you say that? "Oh yeah! God's got this!" We live in an orderly universe. This is true. The earth rotates around the sun once a year, and the earth spins once every day. It's orderly. It's predictable. We can count on it. We can calculate the time that the sun rises and the sun sets every single day way into the future. And we can even make those scientific calculations when the earth wobbles a little bit, and it changes a little bit.

We're pretty good at this! You know, we know where the stars are. We know the force of gravity holds us in place, unless we get to go up in the spaceship with one of those billionaires that paid for their spaceships with our Amazon earnings. [Congregation laughs] They didn't invite me! During the pandemic, I spent a lot of money on Amazon! I bet you've got Prime boxes in your garage, just like I do! [Rev. Fleming laughs]

So exactly what is divine order? Do we believe that there's a God outside of ourselves orchestrating everything in the universe? Are we marionettes? That gods are pulling our strings? Is there predestination? When I was in the Presbyterian Church, we talked about that a lot. Is there? Is there? I don't know. Is everything that is going to happen to us already predetermined? I hope not! Are we puppets following some kind of a divine script? We've been taught we have free will, right? Doesn't that mean we get to make choices? We teach in Unity that we can change our world by changing what we think and what we do. I know this is true, because I do it all the time ... and I know that you do, too!

There's no such thing as divine order as we think about it. Here's what Mr. Fillmore has to say. Charles Fillmore was one of the co-founders of Unity; this is his book, 12 Powers of Man. He says: "We can never exercise dominion until we know who we are and what we are" -- meaning that we're spiritual beings -- "and, knowing, bring forth that knowledge into the external by exercising it in divine order, which is Mind-Idea-Expression."

Mind are the ideas in God's mind that come into our minds, and then we work on them, put them together, and create them in the world. That's what divine order is: it's the universal process of co-creation with God.

In Christian Healing, Mr. Fillmore says it this way: "All people who have studied metaphysics and understand what the action of the mind recognize that there is one underlying law. And that, through this law, all things come into expression. There is one Universal Mind" -- that's what we call God -- "the source and soul origin of all real intelligence: first in Mind, then Mind expresses itself in Ideas, and then Ideas make themselves manifest."

 

This is how we divinely order our world. And it comes into expression through the process of Mind-Idea-Expression. Now, when we get one of these divine ideas, it may not be fully formed. You may have to have a couple more divine ideas to go with it to put it together like a piece of a puzzle.

But this is our point of power! We had ideas for many years ... the gentleman had this idea of a red Mustang for many years, and he finally went out and bought one. Over the years, he knew exactly what it was going to look like. He wanted a red one. He wanted white leather interior. He wanted a convertible top. He kept that idea in his mind for a really long time. And the expression part is going out to the Ford dealer and buying the car. It would have just been an idea if he didn't act on it!

God's not out there somewhere divinely ordering everything. Divine order is the process, itself, we use to bring out effects. We can divinely order our experience, or we can mis-order our experience; it's up to us! And if you mis-ordered it, you get a chance to do it again. It's always a do-over!

So instead of saying, "Everything is in divine order," what is we were to say it this way: "I am divinely ordering my life now by consciously creating my life with divine ideas." I am divinely ordering my life now by consciously creating my life with divine ideas.

The next one is: I ATTRACTED THIS TO ME. Now, I've said that; I'm not really sure what it means! But do we attract everything to us that happens to us? Or worse: Has someone committed metaphysical malpractice on us by saying, "How did you attract that to yourself?" [Congregation laughs] Don't do that; that's not nice. Can we attract whatever we want with our minds and our thoughts and our actions? Even better: Can we not attract what we don't want? Oh yeah; that's a good one! What if we add emotion and then act?

In Mr. Fillmore's book, Revealing Word, which was not published until after he died -- it was published in 1959. And this was before the book and movie, The Secret. He writes: "Law of Attraction is the law in which all conditions and circumstances and affairs in body are attracted to us to accord with our thoughts we hold steadily in consciousness." Steadily in consciousness.

Now my three-year-old grandson has learned to say, instead of Ready-Set-Go, he goes, "Ready-Steady-Go!" [Congregation laughs] I don't know where he got that, but that's how I remember this. What we steadily hold in consciousness.

We don't attract everything that we think about or pray for. Some of you may have a lottery ticket in your wallet or your purse right now. And I bet, if you bought more than one, you've probably never won a million dollars. [Rev. Fleming and congregation laugh]  I know I never have! [Rev. Fleming laughs]

So we don't always attract everything we think or pray about. But, in order to steadily attract things to us, we create this "thought atmosphere." And it can be positive or negative. I imagine that it's like if you're a comic/cartoon, and you've got that bubble over your head. That's your thought atmosphere! In order to steadily attract things, we use this thought atmosphere to hold our intentions.

Remember the character, Eeyore, in Winnie the Pooh? He's always going around, "The world's …” [Rev. Fleming frowns, mumbles and grumbles] Don't do that! Don't do that! He's got a negative thought atmosphere. My very first Unity minister in Cincinnati was Jack Barker, and he used to say, "If you're having a really bad day, just go ahead and have the worst bad day you can have! Get it over with and then change your mind." [Rev. Fleming and congregation laugh]

So we can build this steady thought atmosphere as a direct reflection of what we are steadily thinking. If we're thinking positive thoughts, it leads to positive choices and actions that lead to positive outcomes. It sounds simple, but it may not be that easy.

But the good news is: you get to self-select whatever you're thinking about! If you're thinking something negative, just turn it around when you notice it.

When I first started in Unity, one of the things I learned was how to program for parking places. [Congregation laughs] I don't know if you've ever done that, but it's a way to use your mind to start this thinking thing, right? And so I would get to the store, and I would remember to program for the parking place, but I'd always have to drive around a couple of times until someone would pull out. Then it dawned on me: Why don't you start doing that when you get in your car and you pull out of the driveway? That'll give it a little more time to happen, and you won't have to drive around the second time. Try it! It works! [Rev. Fleming laughs] Why? Because we're steadily creating our thought atmosphere.

So if you're thinking about buying a red Mustang ... You know how, when it's time to get a new car, and you try to decide what you want, and you start seeing it everywhere on the road? Well, if we start thinking about a red Mustang, we're not attracting it to us like it's some kind of a Mustang magnet. Because, if we were, we'd have red Mustangs in our garage; we'd have red Mustangs on our driveway; we'd have red Mustangs all over our street. This whole parking lot would be full of red Mustangs ... and it's not. [Rev. Fleming laughs] We're simply noticing them -- not attracting them. We're noticing them, because they're a prominent part of our steady thought atmosphere. It's not like having a Mustang magnet; it's like having red Mustang radar. You notice 'em.

Instead of saying, "I attracted this to me," what if we said: "Through my power of concentration, I attract my good to me." Through my power of concentration, I attract my good to me.

The third one is [says liltingly]: ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD. Cue the violins and the hearts. [Congregation laughs] La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la! Well, we usually say this when something bad has happened, like we've lost our job, or we didn't get the job we wanted. [Says liltingly]: "Oh, all things work together for good!" This is a classic Unity Pollyanna attitude. [Congregation laughs] I know, 'cause I do it myself! Uh huh. Uh huh.

It's like we're imagining God out there with a magic wand making sure, "Oh, yes! You! Everything's going to work out just fine!" There's no benevolent presence out there shepherding us through life with a magic wand. There's nothing guaranteeing us a safe passage if we're experiencing something bad. Who or what is doing this working? Is it random? [Points to a congregant]: "You get a red Mustang." [Points to another congregant]: "You get a bicycle." [Congregation laughs] Wait; wait! [Points to first congregant and then another]: "You didn't earn the red Mustang; you get the red Mustang." It's through merit! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

No; truthfully, sometimes bad things happen to good people. It's because we live on Planet Earth in the human condition. We have to deal with these bodies, and sometimes we get cancer. Sometimes we get sick. Sometimes we lose people we love. Sometimes we lose our relationships. It's all part of the human condition.

Losing someone you love is a normal part of life here on Planet Earth. And you may have experienced that very early on when you lost your goldfish or your pet dog. But is God like some vindictive old man portrayed in the Old Testament? Bringing us locusts and pestilence and boils, and taking away our family? Nooooo! No, no, no, no, no!

We live in the world of Cause and Effect. If you drive your red Mustang off a bridge, you're probably going to get hurt. That's Cause and Effect. There's no deity out there waving a magic wand and bringing good into your life. But the good news is: There's no deity out there with a magic wand bringing bad into your life. There's no guarantee that everything will turn out the way we want it to. Stuff does happen: sometimes disturbing stuff.

But the truth is that it's up to us to engineer goodness into the human experience by cultivating that thought atmosphere of only good. When we have a negative thought -- and we will; we're human -- just replace it with a positive thought as soon as you notice it. It's up to us to act in accordance with the dreams that we want to create.

If you're dreaming of writing a novel, you have to sit down at the computer and start writing. It's not going to write itself! I know; I've got two or three I should be writing; maybe you do, too! We're free to choose in every moment: this or something better. We have free will! We can be selfish, or selfless. We can be stingy, or we can be generous. We can be mean, or we can be loving. It's up to us!

Instead of saying, "All things work together for good," what if we said, "I'm responsible for creating everything I experience in my life, because I focus on the good I desire." I'm responsible for creating everything I experience in my life, because I focus on the good I desire.   

The fourth one is: I'M RIGHT WHERE I'M SUPPOSED TO BE. I don't know what this means! Is someone outside of us predetermining where we're supposed to be? Well, if you have a 10 o'clock doctor's appointment, that's where you're supposed to be. Okay; I get that part. But this ... This reminds me of taking a small child bowling, and you know how they give them one of those little balls? But if they don't put the bumpers in the gutters, they roll the ball over into the next two lanes? You know?

If we believe we're right where we're supposed to be, we're in this narrow frame of mind. And we may not trust our intuition or our instincts or our internal guidance system for direction. It's like believing we're on this narrow path, and that's the only place we can be. So we won't stray too far from where we're "supposed" to be. That should be a dirty word! There is no "supposed"! We have instincts and intuition and this beautiful internal guidance system within us. It's perfect! It always gives us good advice and good information if we'll just listen to that still, small voice within!

Your friends don't know the best thing for you, but the Holy Spirit does! Saying, "I'm right where I'm supposed to be" ... I think it can be a cop-out for not taking charge of our lives. I think it's giving our power away!

Trust this: we are who we are. We're where we are because of choices and actions we've made in the past. Period. But that doesn't mean you have to stay there! Not because some divine being put us here; you have the opportunity to make other choices to create a better life for yourself. God's not separate from us ... not "out there" doing something to us. We're all one with the Divine. God does not have a predetermined plan for us, except for us to reach our highest and best good. To do some good work on the planet. To be more loving and peaceful with each other. That's all God wants for us. We can express as much good as we want. We can express that power of God within us any time that we choose. Or not. It's a choice.

The level of good in our lives is based on our level of consciousness. And the good news is: We can change our choices and actions any time we want. So instead of saying, "I'm right where I'm supposed to be," I'm going to say, "I'm right where I choose to be." I am right where I choose to be. That's my point of power.

And the final one is: THOUGHTS HELD IN MIND REPRODUCE AFTER THEIR OWN KIND. If you were here last week, I think you heard me say that! But some of you were home watching the Suns game, I know. [Congregation laughs]

Thoughts held in mind reproduce after their own kind. This is one of the first things I learned in Unity! It's a catchy phrase; they all are! If I'm thinking negative thoughts, I'm going to have negative outcomes. If I'm thinking positive thoughts, I'm going to have positive outcomes. But does everything that we think about and concentrate on, and have that steady thought atmosphere about, produce in the material world? No! Thank goodness, because I know what some of you are thinking! You've told me! [Congregation laughs] No! Not all our thoughts are manifest, thank goodness!

This is too literal; it oversimplifies a complex and dynamic Unity principle. It makes us think that everything we think comes about in the world, and that's not true. Thank goodness. If it were true, you would have all won a million dollars the first time you bought a lottery ticket! [Rev. Fleming laughs] Or your driveway would be full of red Mustangs!

I actually ... Somebody hit my car at Costco, and I had to get a new bumper. And they gave me a Mustang. And, first of all, it sits on the ground. And, second of all, it goes, "Vrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr." [Congregation laughs] Even when you're doing five miles an hour, it sounds like you're doing 75!

So any thought that we have over and over and over and over again creates a deep neural pathway in your brain. It begins to form thoughts together in this pathway. And we add emotion to it -- when we really, really, really, really want that red Mustang! -- it makes it more powerful. And when we start to visualize that red Mustang -- the one I rented wasn't red; it was white. Too bad! Imagine the smell of the new leather, feel the wind in our hair as we're driving. Thinking those thoughts steadily begins to produce results. But until you go to the Ford dealer and buy it, you're not going to own it.

We have to put feet on our prayers. We can't sit there and wait for it to happen to us! We have to do the actions that make our dreams become a reality.

Wayne Dyer says that there are four levels of manifestation for creating whatever you want in your life. He says that the first level is: You think, "Hmmm. I'd like to have a strawberry ice cream cone." And you get up and you go to the freezer, and you make yourself a strawberry ice cream cone.

The second level of manifestation is: You think, "I'd like to have a strawberry ice cream cone," and you say, "Hey, son! Go make me a strawberry ice cream cone!" And your son brings you a strawberry ice cream cone.

The third level of manifestation is: You think, "I'd like to have a strawberry ice cream cone," and your wife comes into the room and brings you a strawberry ice cream cone!

And the fourth level of manifestation is: You think, "I'd like to have a strawberry ice cream cone," and it's right there. That's the level of manifestation I want!

So instead of "Thoughts held in mine reproduce after their own kind," let's say it this way: "What I think about and act on becomes my reality." What I think about and act on becomes my reality.

So what do I want you to remember tonight? Instead of saying, "Everything is in divine order," say, "I am divinely ordering my life now by consciously creating my life with divine ideas."

And instead of saying, "I attracted this to me," "Through my power of concentration I attract my good to me.”

Instead of saying, "All things work together for good," say, "I am responsible for creating everything I experience in my life, because I focus on the good I desire."

And instead of saying, "I am right where I'm supposed to be," say, "I am right where I choose to be."

And instead of saying, "Thoughts held in mind reproduce after their own kind," say, "What I think about and act on creates my reality."

The good news is, my friends, we are in charge of our lives. And that we can create the world that we love by changing our thinking and changing what we are doing.

Let us pray:

As we close our outer eyes, we come in gratitude for this time together. For these words that lift us up out of our old ideas, that connect with divine ideas, and come together to be manifest in the world to create peace and love and joy and prosperity in our lives. And to leak over out into the world to create all of that for all of humanity.

Sweet Spirit, we're so grateful for this time together tonight. Thank you for each and every person who's here. Bring wholeness and healing to every part of their body and mind and spirit, so that we can live in the kingdom of heaven. Thank you, God! Amen.

Thank you!

Copyright 2021 Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center/Rev. Lori Fleming

Location and Contact Information

Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center

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

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