This time of year, many of us have peace, love, and joy on our minds, especially after the challenges of our 2020 holiday season. However, we may not experience as much peace, love, and joy as we’d like just because the busyness of the season includes so much running around, and preparation for the holidays.

But one thing I have learned over this time and trial of the pandemic, is the power of peace. I used to believe that peace was something I would earn after I accomplished everything on my to-do list. But then that meant my state of peace was at the mercy of the events and conditions of my life that I still had to deal with. And how often do any of us get our entire life managed enough to experience peace?

If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “I just need a moment’s peace,” or “what do I have to do to get a little peace and quiet around here,” you may have fallen into the same trap I did. 

Peter, an apostle of Jesus, quoted Psalms 34:14, stating that we must seek peace, and pursue it. 

We are not supposed to wait for peace. We are supposed to choose it. And then practice it.

This may seem hard, especially when you consider that there seems to be so much to worry about right now. But consider this; when was the last time worry and anxiety inspired you with a solution to what was causing your worry and anxiety?

Psalms 46:10 reminds us to be still, so we may know God within us, and in our lives. It’s this stillness, in the midst of the storm of life, that allows us to find peace that is always available to us. We just have to seek it, and pursue it by taking some time for ourselves to pray, praise, or give thanks. And remember that something beyond our comprehension put us on this planet to do good, in our lives, and in the lives of others. And that “something,” whether you call it God, the Universe, Light, or Love, has got your back.

I used to believe that if I struggled in any way, that it must be karma. And, if I wanted to have a great life I had to be super positive, and super nice, even when I didn’t feel like it.

So I’d be super nice, upbeat, positive, optimistic, and say yes to helping out (a lot) and still nothing would change!

Ernest Holmes, the founder of the Science of Mind, explains that Karma isn’t a system for punishment. Rather, “Karmic Law is the use that man makes of his mentality. It’s not inevitable retribution. At any time we can change our thinking and set in motion…” a new experience. 

Karma is about why we make the choices we make.

If a friend asks you for help painting their kitchen, and you say yes, why did you say yes?

Was it because you are excited for your friend to finally get to fix up their kitchen? They’ve been talking about it for a while, and you’ve gotten to be involved in the process, so helping paint is the next natural extension of you getting to help your friend?

Or was it because you feel like you have to, otherwise your friend will be mad?

The difference here is get to vs. have to

When you get to do something, you do life with vibrant, enthusiastic energy.

When you have to do something, you do life with resentment, or obligation, or victimization energy.

Either way - why you choose to do anything directly influences how you experience that next thing you do.

We develop mental tendencies based on how we choose most of the time. They become unconscious programs driving our thoughts and choices. So, if someone feels obligation in the things they do in their life, after a while, it seems like everything feels like obligation, and like they never get a break. 

So to clear karmic tendencies, shifting our attitude is not enough. Really, if you sat here long enough, even if you were grumpy you could think happy thoughts and eventually not be grumpy anymore. 

However, Karma clearing comes when we make new choices so we show up in our lives in a new way.

So if you really don’t want to help your friend paint their kitchen, shifting your attitude is possible (but not necessarily helpful) - I’m grateful to have a friend, and they do do a lot of nice things for me, this isn’t really a big deal, I should just help them paint.

But did that shift in attitude make you suddenly want to help them (yay - I get to help), or did you still really not want to help paint (man, I have to help paint)? Sometimes shifting our attitude into fake positive thinking just helps us justify why we aren’t being authentic and honest with ourselves and others.

Right thinking and right action mean two things:

Being honest with yourself (I really don’t want to paint a kitchen).
Being honest with your friend (no thanks, it’s too much physical work for me). 

And then choosing in a way that aligns with that truth. 

Karma is not punishment, it is a mental law; and it can be changed by right thinking and right action.

Ernest Holmes, SOM pg 95.

Because Karma is a mental law, it's about how we do what we do; unconsciously, out of habit. And how we do what we do is based on our mental tendencies.  This is why someone who has road rage thinks all drivers are idiots and out to get them. It doesn't occur to them that maybe that person that just cut them off was distracted, or not paying attention.  We develop mental tendencies (habits) around how we do what we do. For example - victim consciousness is a mental tendency - a way of habitually showing up in the world. Someone with victim-consciousness, no matter how well their life may be going, will find all the reasons why the Universe is against them. Because our mental tendencies tell our brain what to filter in and filter out! If we claim victim consciousness, we are telling our brain to filter out anything that would suggest we are the least bit empowered, and ONLY let through the filter all the reasons why life is hard, and we should feel sorry for ourselves. However, when we are in a mental tendency, we don't think about being "stuck in that rut" lol. We will usually find some perfectly reasonable explanation why something out there just made our life hard. To "change our karma" so we can change our lives, we have to look at mental tendencies - and how we show up in the world on autopilot. How are you feeling? You may not realize you are stuck on auto-pilot, but you will notice how you are feeling. If you are struggling, suffering, blaming, or judging; chances are you were on autopilot. Whatever task you were just involved with; ask yourself how you felt doing that task. For example: Did you feel resentful having to clean up after someone else? Did you feel obligated to help a friend move? Did you take something personally? Did you feel victimized because someone got impatient with you? We discover our mental tendencies by how often we experience those particular feelings. If lots of things make you feel resentful, then that's a tendency. If lots of things make you feel victimized, then that's a tendency. So this is the first part of our 10 Day Karma Challenge: we pay attention to our feelings while we do what we do.  How are you showing up to life? 

Over these next few days, write out what you are feeling throughout your day. How did you feel while cleaning up? How did you feeling driving? How did you feel running errands, doing chores, returning phone calls? 

Many people are awakening to the importance of spirituality in their lives, yet find that traditional churches fail to meet their spiritual needs.

Here at Unity of Yucaipa, we offer what may be the missing piece in your own quest for spiritual understanding and community. Unity, which offers a practical approach to Christianity, is based in New Thought, which is a spiritually based philosophy that focuses on the Divinity in every person.

At Unity, we believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and that every person is divinity seeking to experience itself. We are not bodies that house souls, we are souls that have a body. We trust in the wisdom of the heart, and honor the spiritual truths found in all religions.

Join us as we LIVESTREAM on Sunday at 10am, and discover the Unity difference.

Rev. Deanna

Receive Joy Everyday