Practice and Discipline by Teddy Diggs

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On the journey to deepen our relationship with God, one of the most powerful ways for us to commune with Spirit is through a disciplined spiritual practice. These practices are many and can vary from the simple (but powerful) gift of gratitude to affirmations, deep meditation, contemplation and many more. In any pursuit, a spiritual practice reveals the key that unlocks the gates of heaven and allows us the opportunity to recognize God’s innate qualities on Earth. When we consistently engage in our practice, we demonstrate a deep commitment to our spiritual growth. Commitment to spiritual growth is not an easy path, and  it takes more than irregular  practice or a Sunday service to see lasting and impactful vibrational changes. Spirit is a way of life; and a powerful way to live that is filled with self-love, self-respect and constant surrender that results in personal freedom and liberation. Disciplined practice allows us to be available to Spirit and supports our alignment with the divine flow of the Universe.

Spiritual practices such as mediation, mindfulness, and prayer have been instrumental for me in cultivating an intimate relationship with God and they have supported me in transitioning from the ego-self into my spiritual-self. The consistency of these, and other, techniques have been most important and continually aid me in remaining focused on my path. Deeper insight is revealed to me the more committed that I become to each practice, and just like the boundless universe, my ability to grow seems infinite. The practices of gratitude and forgiveness allow me to feel lighter, have more energy and less problems. Through mediation I have discovered a willingness to let go of myself and maintain a tremendous amount of focus. Mindfulness supports me in staying centered and has produced a high state of awareness that I find myself using in every moment of every day. Daily blessings of my energy centers and breathwork ignite my shakti and all of these are spiritual states of being, anchored in Truth that generate sensational states of Bliss and Peace that anchor me in the present moment, every moment. I understand this to be what Jesus the Christ spoke of  when he said referenced the “Peace of God that surpasses all human understanding, will guard your hearts and minds.” When our inner divine light is illuminated through our spiritual practices, the light burns away the ego to reveal our true nature which lies deep within our core. Just as a fire does not extinguish itself when you take your attention away from it, a continuously maintained spiritual flame continues to burn as we live our daily lives, as long as we return to the maintenance of it regularly.

 A practice can seem one dimensional at first, but over the course of time the practice expands and one realizes that spiritual practice reveals itself in every moment. At any given point in time one has the ability to slip into a practice. With a deep intention being  placed behind each practice, we can recognize that it is not necessarily the practices themselves, but their lasting results that are so powerful. Just as the effort of one’s hard work in the gym is not instantaneously apparent, with commitment and dedication over time strength is developed. Therefore, willpower, discipline and intense personal effort are essential aspects of our spiritual growth. Within the Indian scripture of The Bhagavad Ghita, Sri Krishna tells the (spiritual) warrior Arjuna “To those who have conquered themselves, the will is a friend. But the will is the enemy of those who have not found the Self within.” One’s self-will can either be a distraction fueled by the lower-self ego or an engine of Peace for those who “have conquered themselves, by themselves” through genuine self-discipline.

Therefore, for a strong and healthy spiritual practice we must have a disciplined self-will.  A disruption in consistency can easily occur when our egoic, reasoning mind is in control, which usually occurs when we are operating from our subconscious. Self-Discipline has the power to take you beyond your temporary reasoning mind and deliver you to your personal freedom. Self-discipline is like a muscle, the more that you work it out, the stronger it will grow to be. And also like a muscle, it is difficult and counterproductive to lift more than you are ready for. We must start small, with quick and relatively easy things. Then, little by little, over the course of days, weeks, months and years we can continue to add new dimensions to our practice. When I first began to grow my discipline muscle, I started simply by focusing on my breath for 10 deep inhales and 10 deep exhales every morning before I started my car to go to work. I also wrote a weekly intention that I would read to myself each morning upon waking and again at night before bed. I even made it a goal to smile every morning before getting out of my bed. Over time, these practices grew but so did my capacity to lift more self-discipline weight. 

Do not think of your discipline(s) as a restriction or renunciation, rather treat your self-discipline as a gift that you are giving to yourself and to the world. It is a gift that will allow you to reveal more of your perfection.  Every achievement of your discipline goals should be celebrated as it not only empowers you when you honor the commitment that you have made to yourself but it also is a demonstration of self-love and your willingness to do what it takes for your inner freedom. Our lower-self ego misunderstands “freedom” for doing what it wants, when it wants. This does not reflect our true freedom which is our inner awareness of Universal energy manifesting in, through and as our lives. As you continue with your disciplined spiritual practices, they will begin to transmute from being a conscientious effort into something that is honored.   Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith says it beautifully; "the real meaning of discipline comes from being a disciple of something you love." So once real commitment is cultivated, a discipline becomes a blissipline.”

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Ode to Liberty and Democracy for Us

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While twentysome people gathered via Zoom and physically with proper distancing, little did we know that we would unearth gems while holding the U.S. election process in affirmative prayer. Many shared powerful intentions and prayers of respect, equality, civility and more while collectively generating the energy to sustain these. One that stood out and set the tone is Katja Sage's invocation to start this event. Such is its poignancy and clarity that we just had to share it with you. It is worth reading Ode to Lady Liberty multiple times. It starts with quoting the The New Colussus by Emma Lazarus which is inscribed at Lady Liberty's feet in New York Harbor.

 

Ode to Lady Liberty

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips.  “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

                        (The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus, Nov 2, 1883)

Our Lady, Lady of Liberty, ancient and eternal Libertas,
these words are inscribed at the foundation of your statue,
your physical representation in this land.
They are engraven in our hearts
and in the heart of Democracy, itself.
We invoke your healing presence,
your promise of solace and sanctuary,
of all peoples living as One beyond your shores.

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Cosmically Supported

shivaShortly after we played the Lullaby by Billy Joel music video, Facebook knocked many of you off the livestream. They eventually took the feed down.  We are so sorry about that.  Lesson learned for us.  Because my talk was a two-parter, I wanted to post the talk here so you don’t miss anything. 

On June 20-21 we had a unique combination of significant celestial events including the Summer Solstice, a solar eclipse and a new moon, among other things. So, it was a very auspicious day to have offered our first Sacred Gathering service outdoors. And a very energetically powerful place to offer it – our Spiral Labyrinth

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Sacred Metamorphoses

signs of spiritual transformationMetamorphosis is a sacred moment!  It describes the incomprehensible transformation between a precursor life form and its successor.   When a caterpillar is prompted to attach itself to a limb and start spinning its chrysalis, it doesn’t know that it will literally dissolve physically and then somehow the molecules in the resulting goo will reshape it into a gorgeous winged being that will touch deeply the hearts of humans whom it will later encounter.  

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Dancing on the Edge of Mystery

open armsAs beings who have staked most of our learning and experiencing in the physical dimension over however many years we’ve been embodied in this incarnation, we identify all too readily with what we see when we look into the mirror and think back to what we remember from childhood or judge the hidden messages In what we think others are saying and doing when we’re around. 

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Staying in the Middle

meditationThis morning, I found a meditation written and posted by Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron called, "Staying in the Middle."  She wrote, 

“Becoming intimate with the queasy feeling of being in the middle of nowhere only makes our hearts more tender.  When we are brave enough to stay in the middle, compassion arises spontaneously.  By not knowing, not hoping to know, and not acting like we know what’s happening, we begin to access our inner strength.” 

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Taken for Granted

friendsA few days ago, our best friend got news that her thirty something son who lives with his wife and kids in another country dropped dead.  What!!??  Shocking!!!  

This guy was incredibly fit, always taking marathon hikes and bike rides!  He died on a long bike ride.  He’s too young for something like that to happen.  Isn’t he??  I’m in a state of shock, just trying to process that news.  I can’t imagine what our friend must be going through!  

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Your Reimagined Self

We can choose to view this time as a "sacred time-out" -- an opportunity to re-evaluate our usual way of being and perhaps evolve to our next level of expression.  And if we want to be ready to emerge from this pandemic as our best “Butterfly Self” we want to prepare now.  We must use this "cocooning time" to invest in personal and spiritual growth.  Here is your guide for doing that: 

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The Power of A Minute

crystal bowlsOne of the primary shifts of awareness that accompanies spiritual growth in Unity is learning where power lies in Truth.  We learn, for example, to trust our ideas and words to create physical manifestation—not what most of us grew up learning, but absolute Truth nevertheless. 

Well-known 20th century Unity teacher Mary Kupferle wrote about "Minute Prayers".  She was teaching us the consistent power of a minute of thought directed to the same idea repeatedly. 

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A Historic First

masksThis is the First time in history that all of humanity is fighting a war from the same side, all of us friends sharing a common enemy.  

That’s an amazing fact!  

For the first time ever, we can experience what is really possible when all humans, everywhere, join together as one mind in creating a new reality—the first time we can talk to each other world wide, and know what everyone is doing.  

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The Gifts of Crises

pensiveA crisis gives us the opportunity to know ourselves better.  Every time we expérience a crisis, of course, we have changed since the last crisis in our life — so we are getting to know a new self.  

As COVID 19 goes on and on, what are you observing about yourself that you weren’t previously aware of?  

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Happy Sunday

81883It was beautiful this morning
Waking up by brilliant morning light
Amie, our dog , bowing, barking bouncing—
Announcing that it’s time to play— this new day’s so exciting.

Birds all over chirping in their choir
Saying “Hurry! Seize this glorious day!

I Awake, jump out of bed,
Eager— Meeting Friends from Paris To discuss, on Zoom,

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Praying it Forward

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Here are some beautiful assertions to say, reflect on, and wear this weekend and going forward.  

As I read these statements, I’m wearing a top that I haven’t worn in a long time—a lighter weight piece of clothing, flowery and flowing.  

Since I put this top on this morning, I’ve been trying to figure out whether I like the feeling of wearing it.  It’s comfortable enough—but do I like the me that I feel like with it on?  

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The Feeling of Alignment

tree poseDuring these special weeks of "lockdown," I’ve heard some new expressions from people of how they’re feeling—expressions of extreme well-being that used to be very unusual.  

What gives people that feeling of gleeful amazement?  

It comes up in instances where someone has followed inner guidance and acted with complete release about being of service to others.  

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High and Low Vibrations

buddhist stories of wisdom how to calm disturbed mind short storiesI know my thoughts and words create my experiences.  They have incredible power.  The more trusting and loving my thoughts are, the higher my frequency of vibration and the more joyful experience I attract from one minute to the next.  

I actually set up a spiritual channel—like opening a path through the waves ahead—that i can enjoy habitually, as long as I am willing to focus my attention consistently on what i know is true in higher reality.  

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Baby Birds

img 0233I look within. They’ve grown!
They’re blue!
Mom and Pop are busy every minute, and
They’re asleep in bliss.
They’re alive.
We share that,
Baby birds and I,
Shaping energy right now,
Not knowing what comes next—
Content to be.

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Accelerated Learning

bubbles and joyI don’t think I’ve needed to learn so much so fast for decades—probably since I was a toddler learning to propel myself forward on two feet!  It is said that learning is one of our soul’s main reason for coming to earth.  I probably haven’t felt so vibrantly alive since infancy.  

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Prayer and Meditation are the Highest Form of Creative Thinking

malaThis afternoon, one of our spiritual groups in Paris met on Zoom.  It was a wonderful opportunity to learn what is going on half way across the world, as we are beginning to learn how our awareness is changing over this time.  

I found it beautiful and surprising that with each of us in our own space, with individual hearts and minds,some very similar thoughts are coming to all of us, of whatever age or nationality.  

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Family Fun Together Apart

ukrainian easter eggs 1One wonderful trend I became aware of over Easter Weekend is how humans everywhere, brilliantly inspired, are taking advantage of the unusual restrictions that prevail right now to invent new ways to have fun together, even when they can’t travel, perhaps as they regularly do—certainly as they might want to do.  

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Going Back to Normal??

rush hourAs we start looking forward, after Easter, to being able to think about after the pandemic lockdown, I’ve heard people talk longingly about "getting back to normal." 

Upon hearing this, I’ve wondered "Really??!!"  

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Good Friday: A Vital Point in the Process of Regeneration

rassouli spirit of lovePerhaps you, like me, have seen a movie or three about the story of Jesus of Nazareth—or perhaps attended a Christian “Stations of the Cross “ service.  Both are ways to focus our minds and hearts in the cosmic emptiness that lies in the middle between the spiritual mileposts of  degeneration and regeneration—the process of evolving  from one dimension to the next. 

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Claiming Truth

heart rockThink back to our topic a few days ago, about the spiritually inclusive nature of the word “I”.  Affirmations need to be in the present tense and use the pronoun I—not because you or I (or anyone) has any spiritual Importance as a single embodied being.  We don’t.  I am the embodied expression of the whole Universe, though—and all good, all flow, is always happening in the Absolute, 5th dimension.
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Imagine!

imaginatin 2Reflect for a moment on how life was before you started to self-isolate at home (the last 2-6 weeks for most people)?  Compare what you expected and thought back then with your expectations now.  Can you even remember?  To be serious, take the time to list 4-5 expectations that have vanished for you.  

How have you changed ?  How has the world around you changed?   Would you have believed such change was possible instantaneously? 

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Acting, Not Reacting

stonesMost humans are reacting most of the time. If we reflect on this process, it becomes clear that energetically, when we react to something, we hold its energy and  vibration in our consciousness.  We know from the power of ideas and words, that the thoughts and feeling we welcome into our consciousness keep the same energy reproducing in our experience. When we are reacting anxiously to a threat, we are inviting more of that threat to persist in our lives.  This vibration and attracting then perpetuates itself in our life.  

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Miracle of Life

spring lamb 1“I am a Miracle of Life.  I am a Living expression of divine strength and wholeness! “

This affirmation card fell off my desk yesterday, face up.  As I looked at it and resonated with it, I began to realize it’s an important awareness for this point in our retreat from viral risks.   The affirmation itself is straight out of the writings of the Fillmores on the subject of health and wholeness — expressing a powerful way to keep expressing ourselves as the creators of Universal life experience.  

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Creating Happiness

happy cupSo, how happy are you managing to be in the midst of Covid 19?  

“HAPPY???!! “ You may ask.  “What does that have to do with anything? “. 

Well , yes, deep, steady joy is always what our life is about.  It’s our essential nature.  It’s the consistent message of mystics and sages. Mystic Meister Eckhart, for instance, taught. “God expects but one thing of you , and that is that you come out of yourself and let God be God in you. “ 

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Waiting

eastern bluebird 58f8c8ba3df78ca15978a2beBluebird — Waiting
 

This morning early, there he was again—
The bluebird sitting at the tiny hole
That serves as entry to their nesting box,
Feeding his mate as she waits and waits—
Isolating from the world to incubate new life.

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Fearless Living in Uncertain Times - Invitation to Shift Your Perspective

n perspective 628x314A couple of days ago, a friend sent the beautiful message below to a classmate whose mother had just left the earthly plane.  

"There is No Death

          I am standing on the seashore.  A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she is a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

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Fearless Envisioning in a Time of Uncertainty – Homeopathic Remedies

homeopathyToday, I want to put on my hat as a classical homeopathic practitioner.   

Amma Resonance Healing Foundation (ARHF),  a non-profit organization based in The Netherlands, has shared with the homeopathic community a free preventive and treatment for the Covid 19 illness, which they developed and are distributing free of charge as a global public service – feel free to forward this to those you care about and suggest that they do the same.      

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Please Join Me Here in the Joy of Shared Consciousness!

Joy, laughter, and music are among the the most amazing gifts of being physically alive!  If you’re reading this, you ARE physically alive at this very moment.  Some of the most delightful moments of shared consciousness that I’ve ever experienced have taken place with human babies under one year old – real babies, not yet able to use language.  In these experiences, despite our lack of shared words, the baby and I have nevertheless shared our awareness and found the sharing delightful.

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Sharing Mind and Prayer Across the World

circle of prayerOver this weekend, I invite you to join with me in envisioning and enjoying in our imaginations the image of ourselves, of all those we love, and a huge throng of others as well fully accepting their power to live whole, healthy and free.  We are all one, and we express that divine oneness with the name God  gave to Moses from the Burning Bush in the book of Exodus:  “I Am”.

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Meditation for Wellness and Health – Using our Divine Powers of Strength, Faith, Power, and Courage

meditation techniquesOn Sunday, March 20, in my talk, I promised that I would publish this meditation affirming our spiritual powers of Faith, Power, Strength, and Will, all of which we can use to strengthen us in body, mind, and spirit during the present pandemic. We can be safe by using common sense in our actions and also holding in our minds images of strength and power.  I invite you to join me every day in saying and thinking the meditation reprinted here:

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Fearless Living in a Time of Contagion - Reflections for Positive Envisioning

breathwork 2By experiencing this time of uncertainty we learn about Oneness.  A large part of our human genome consists of genes for various micro -organisms – bacteria, viruses, fungi, and many other life forms that are PART OF OUR OWN HUMAN GENES. This oneness with other beings protects us from most potential damage from infection. What an elegant concept!  Divine Order! 

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Fearless Living in a Time of Contagion - Reflections for Positive Envisioning

abundance sunToday, I would like to share with you, the prayer of Mooji, a widely known teacher of Advita Vedanta, who grew up in Jamaica and whose present ashram is in Portugal.  He is teaching that the current pandemic, though it seems fearsome, is actually the loving gift of the Universe to strengthen humanity and to give us the opportunity to rethink how we are living, so we discover how we are poisoning not only the world around us but also our own lives with our obsession over material success and personal power. 

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Fearless Living in a Time of Contagion - Reflections for Positive Envisioning

unity2How many people do you know who aren’t just a little scared right now?  The antidote to fear is to replace anxiety producing thoughts by imagining repeatedly what we actually want to see rather than what we fear, even if that’s a challenge.  First, we need to remember our good and loving God/ Universe. Then we need to state positively what we want to experience, and deny all power over our minds to any negative ideas.  

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Community Forum Recap 2019

Community

Exciting News to Share!

If, for some reason, you missed our Thanksgiving Potluck and Community Forum last Sunday (Nov. 10th) here’s a recap of what we shared.  And by the way, the potluck was amazing!  Thank you to all who brought something to share.  It was perfect!

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New Bulletin Board by the Trail

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The trail sign began at UCP's envisioning retreat in July 2019, when Chris Egle proposed his idea of having a bulletin board for our trail devotee neighbors. Victoria purchased the actual boards, complete with locking doors, and Mark set to work designing and building the structure from materials already in hand.

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We're All In This Together

Flower-Bed-Vision-Board

"We're all in this together." That's what one of our teens wrote on our Flower Bed Vision Board this Sunday. That simple expression encapsulated the feeling we all walked away with after the service. 

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Loving Our Planet

rainforest-2

This month we are focusing our attention on Mother Earth, our relationship with nature and how we can better care for our planet.   As people committed to spiritual awakening, we also embrace a reverence for all life and celebrate this interdependent web of all creation of which we are a part.

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Adopt a Highway - June 2019

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The group cleaned the entire 4-mile stretch in less than two hours, with 12 people!!!

The cookout was wonderful before launching out, an impromptu “love feast” party!  A special shout-out to Jude for taking on the grilling and providing nourishment, and to all who brought dishes to share.

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Saying “Yes” to Your Adventure

Adventure

Giving birth to and nurturing your best self, or nurturing a world that works for everyone, is an adventure of a lifetime.  All adventures are thrilling, but sometimes they’re enormously challenging.  That’s because you are asked to stretch, grow and break out of the little box that has kept you small.  How do you venture on when this happens? 

Pay attention to…and follow…these six “guideposts” on your journey.  They will support and empower you every step of the way.

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Paris Burning?

Notre-Dame-burning
Flames on Notre Dame... No ...
But there they are...
The roof alight — they say it’s wood. Tower crumbles,
Painful sight, 
My heart weeps, thinking about a thousand years
of music, wars, tears, and worship. 
All in flames. 
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Jesus the Good Shepherd

Jesus-The-Good-Shepherd-Celebration-smaller

On Sunday April 7 we gathered on the Serenity Trail for a celebration to welcome the statue of Jesus The Good Shepherd to our Sacred Spaces.

Rev Rosemary provided the following titled “The Lord is my Shepherd from New Thought Perspective”.

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A Magical Christmas

Christmas-2018

It was a magical Christmas Eve here at Unity Center of Peace as we were treated to empowering ideas, beautiful music, inspirational readings, and shared candlelighting...

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A New Divine Presence

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We're blessed by the recent addition of a spiritual master! Jesus has officially taken his place out in our Sacred Spaces on the Serenity Trail and is quite visible from our back deck...

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Connected in Love: Engaging Citizenry

Connected-in-Love

Monday evening we gathered together in a powerful group Intention Circle and held the whole election process in our hearts...

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Evolving Thought

meditation-at-sunset

The beautiful combination of profound spiritual concepts from the wide variety of sources led to a basic philosophy that became known as New Thought. It includes these ideas…

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Adopting a Highway

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Did you know that UCP is part of North Carolina's Adopt A Highway cleanup program?

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A Newer Thought

Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson

The last few weeks we’ve been exploring the roots of New Thought (of which Unity is a part.) And we’ve discovered this beautiful patchwork quilt of various influences from a variety of different sources...

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Starting off the Youth Academic Year Right

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For this new academic year, we will have a full program for kids aged 3 to 18 (Grades Pre-K through 12. ).  
 
We are following Unity multi-age curriculum, devoting 1-2 months to studying and practicing each spiritual and emotional skill.  We will be covering self-esteem and emotional intelligence subjects such as recognizing and talking about feelings, defusing stress, learning harmony and compassion, being of service, and other kinds of awareness for loving, non-victim consciousness.
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