Tag Archives: dualism

Planting Me

plant.dreamstimefree_194667At times, Mother Nature seems to play tricks on us.  Just when we think its planting time she throws a fresh blanket of snow on the emerging crocuses and sends us running for our winter coats.  And such is life when we find ourselves ready to plant a new habit, or newfound spiritual idea in our lives.  We’ve just attended the most amazing workshop or read an outstanding book, or visited with a great spiritual teacher.  We’ve kicked some old habit or limiting belief.  We greet each day with a newfound sense of balance and harmony and authenticity.  Then wham! A fresh blanket of snow falls.  Some unexpected circumstance has us seeking the old worn out coat, the old habit, the limiting belief, and we can barely believe the words being uttered from our mouths.

Despite the erratic climate, it’s time to think about planting; whether it’s crops, or flowers, or a more authentic version of ourselves.  ‘Planting Me,’ is showing up as the most authentic version of self; becoming embedded in that; and living, growing and thriving from that consciousness.  ‘Planting Me,’ is planting my highest self in the garden of consciousness.

The earliest spiritual writings utilize the metaphor of gardens, seeds and trees to illustrate the infinite, eternal nature of life and the role of humankind in it.  The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) contribute to our yearning to explain the beginning of the finite world with the story of the Garden of Eden, filled with lush plant life and various trees.  Two of the trees are named; The Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The Tree of Life, God suggests, humankind should use for nourishment and sustenance.  It is the tree that represents life, wholeness and harmony.  The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil however, is the most well known in the Judeo-Christian culture, and the one that humankind chooses to taste.  It is the perception of Good and Evil that leads us out of the experience of wholeness to one of  judgment, division, separation and conflict.

As the story goes, the gates of Eden are then closed to humankind and guarded by angels.  However, if we see recognize angels as divine ideas or messengers of God, we find that the return to wholeness is just a divine thought away.  Like a seed that falls from a tree, we contain all of the characteristics of our Source.  To plant an authentic version of ourselves in the garden of consciousness is to return our thoughts to the image and likeness of God imprinted upon our very being, and to embed that in every thought, every word, and every action.

By turning our thoughts to the wholeness of God, our own minds and hearts are opened.  Eden, the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil are within us.  The choice from which to eat or be nourished is ours in any given moment.

© 2016.  Reverend Eileen DeRosia Patra

Rev. Eileen is an ordained Unity Minister currently serving at Unity of Livonia, Livonia, MI

The Apple and the Tin Man

As I reviewed a clip from the Wizard of Oz last week I observed something I had never noticed before.  Dorothy discovered the Tin Man as a result of chasing an apple.  She had been picking apples when the trees came to life and refused to give away their fruit.  The brainless scarecrow developed a scheme to trick the trees into throwing the apples at them.  Chasing after the discarded apples, Dorothy discovered the Tin Man.

An apple is symbolic of many things.  It is a tasty fruit ascribed with the power to “keep the doctor away.”  When cooked in a pie it is has come to be known as “all that is American.”  But to the spiritual seeker one cannot help but recall the symbolism of the forbidden fruit.  An apple does not appear in the story of Adam and Eve, but it has come to symbolize the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

God warned Adam not to eat of this tree “…for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” But who and what die? Adam and Eve do not die.  They do however find themselves naked, without cover, fear and doubt made visible.  They find themselves outside of the place of wholeness in which the Tree of Life grows.  They find themselves not dead, but disconnected from their Source.  They feel empty, alone, hollow.  What has died is their sense of wholeness.

Chasing after the ill-gotten fruit, Dorothy discovers a man made of tin.  He is hollow, not truly alive.  He is apparently without a heart, the life-giving organ that circulates blood, oxygen and vital nutrients to the whole body.  He is made of tin, a pliable metal, not easily corroded. Yet the tin man has been frozen in time, rusted and unable to move.

To eat something is to take it on, to make it a part of you.  In eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, knowledge of what is divided or not whole becomes a part of one’s consciousness. As spiritual beings it is not possible for us to be outside of the wholeness of God. But it is very much possible to perceive that we are outside of God.  It is possible to listen to an inner voice that seeks an ill-gotten fruit, nourishment from the outer sense consciousness.  It is possible to put on a clothing or identity that is metallic in nature, resistant to the flow of Spiritual life.  It is possible to believe ourselves as hollow, empty, imperfect, unable to give or receive love.

But the heart is never missing.  We may have allowed fear or ego to close the heart.  But opening the heart is a simple matter.  It begins by breathing.  Yes, I said breathing!  Paying attention to our breath, we bring our focus to the area of the physical heart and the heart energy.  Here, we draw our attention away from whatever seeks to cause us pain.  Here we allow God to breathe through us.

God breathing through us is like the oil applied to the Tin Man.  It loosens our stuck parts.  It allows us to rediscover our authentic voice.  It allows us to open our hearts to God’s presence in us and in all things.  It allows us to leave behind the story that has frozen us in time and begin an inner journey to wholeness.  As you breathe right now in this moment, imagine that it is truly God breathing through your heart.  As God breathes through you all your parts, all your thoughts are oiled and renewed. The heart opens wide to let God in. The heart is never missing.  It simply needs to be opened to the inflow of God, the Tree of Life.

© 2015 Rev. Eileen Patra

Living In Color: The Metaphysics of OZ, part 1

In preparation for ministry, Jesus told his disciples if they entered a house and were welcomed there to stay and bless that house. And, if they enMINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAtered a house that did not welcome them, they should leave that place and shake the dust from their feet. This is practical advice. Who has not tried to influence the mindset of another who does not welcome your ideas? And how successful has that been? How much energy was expended?
          A house is more than a building in which we live. It is a mindset or consciousness. If we enter a mindset that is unwelcoming or discordant, we are advised to leave that place too. Leave that mindset. Leave that consciousness behind and shake off the cosmic dust. Yes. I said cosmic dust; the energy and thought patterns that cause our Light and energy to feel dull, clouded and heavy.
          In the film, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy shakes off the dust of the black and white house, and steps into a world of Living Color. This is a very different place. It’s not the dust bowl of  Kansas anymore. In the center of this strange new land lies a golden path, an expanding spiral that leads Dorothy on a journey of self discovery.
          When we are willing to let go of  black and white thinking; the idea  that something is either/or, right/wrong, better/worse, my way/the highway, we expand. We  create a space in mind for a new idea. In the midst of obstacles or the cyclones of life we may feel an urge to run away. But being willing to step into new ideas or greater thoughts we open ourselves to, infinite possibilities.
          Dorothy grows on her journey and discovers her own inner power. Each of us have a Dorothy within us. We have a desire to grow and expand, to reach beyond limitation and feelings of  powerlessness. We have a desire to find our true home, a place in consciousness where trouble melts like lemon drops. We can learn from Dorothy’s adventures and the steps she takes along the yellow brick road.
          When Dorothy races the cyclone back to the farm, she finds the cellar door locked. Seeking shelter she goes  to her room where she sees her challenges and attachments passing by  through the window.  She  sees them from a new perspective. They are a bit smaller in the window.  We open a window in our minds when we go to our room to pray. When we go to our inner sanctuary to pray we reconnect with the Power of God  within us which is greater than the obstacles before us.
          When Dorothy opens the door to a strange new land she leaves behind the dust and enters a  new and colorful land of possibility. We enter a place of infinite possibility when we release what is not in harmony with our true selves. We step into a path of expanding consciousness when we say yes to new ideas and spiritual stirrings. We expand when we let go of what we’ve always done, thought, and said to embrace a new way of being. We expand when we shake off the dust of judgment, shame and  blame. We expand when we release the belief we are powerless and step into authentic power.
          In this house we are welcome and empowered. In this consciousness there is peace and harmony. Here we discover that troubles melt like  lemon drops. Clouds dissolve revealing the Light of God shining through us  and whatever we dare to dream we have the power to make come true.
© 2015 Eileen Patra

Polytheism or Monotheism?

From time to time, as a Unity minister I have heard Unity accused of being polytheistic, a belief in many gods, based on our belief that God is present everywhere; as much as in the sky as in the earth, as much in the sun as in the moon, and as much in the transcendent realm as within each and every one of us.

This is not polytheism. Rather, it is the epitome of monotheism to recognize that God is indeed everywhere; the one Power, one Presence active in my life, in the world, in the universe and in the heavenly realm into which the universe continually expands. Unity’s belief in one power, one presence, God the good, expels even a belief in a power opposed to God. Belief in a power opposed to God is in fact a form of dualism or dual theism

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Although it is feasible for the human consciousness to believe itself separate from God, this is in fact not possible. There is only one Power active in every cell of our being. God is the one Power, one Presence in which our individualized consciousness lives, moves and has being. We have, however, been gifted with free will, an ability to see, hear and experience the world in a way which blocks this presence of God from our view. Dispelling the belief in separation is at the very core of Unity’s work in the world.

© Rev. Eileen Patra