It’s been officially declared (and, judging by the ripple of excitement coming from the congregation, ratified) that 2012 is the year of ACTION! This is the year when the church and all its individuals will be looking at getting in motion with all these wonderful principles we learn. If they ever were merely theoretical for anyone, that time has passed!
And I have to tell you: it’s making my palms sweat a little. I don’t generally think of myself as an “action” kind of gal. My husband always calls our dog an “action hound” because he wants to be playing and running and engaging you at every possible moment. He’d rather play than eat, which is saying a lot for a dog. This is NOT me.
All my life I’ve treasured the contemplative life, the kind of life that values solitude and quiet. And a lot of the time that involves sitting still. Which suits me just fine. But, upon consideration, I realize that I am in action most of the time and always have been. It doesn’t look like running a marathon, but it’s definitely moving. I’ve come a long, long way in consciousness. (In much the same way that Henry David Thoreau said he had “traveled a long way in Concord.”)
When we think of getting into action, of DOING things, we usually think of jumping into some kind of project with both feet, doing lots of heavy lifting, “making a freeze and a thaw,” as my Grandma used to say. And nothing makes me happier than seeing things get done. My son has been helping me with the heavy lifting as we’ve been emptying the attic and re-doing the guest bedroom. It’s a big job but extremely satisfying to my soul to see that kind of change being wrought. I said once that a “great day” for me means seeing something beautiful and getting my work done. So I am about the doing.
But I’ve learned that nothing really gets done, at least not well, until you first change your consciousness. Everything begins in consciousness, everything from a chair to a computer. Think about it: everything has its beginning as an idea. That’s a matter of consciousness. So before we run off and start doing things, we must first know that we have that firm kind of foundation under us that will support all that action. That foundation is built on Principle.
Why is it that 98% of New Year’s Resolutions are broken by January 23? (A quote from a survey!) It’s because we let our enthusiasm and desire for change get ahead of our consciousness. We’re trying to do something different with the same consciousness that created the undesired condition in the first place. Work on changing the consciousness first and the desired change must then outpicture.
Changing the consciousness involves getting a clear vision of what we really want. We can grab a lot of things out of a hat (lose 20 pounds! Make $50,000 more! Meet the perfect partner!) but even if we do achieve these things, will they give us what we really want? What if what we really want is financial freedom? Maybe $50,000 more won’t do it (and it probably won’t since we tend to spend right up to our breaking point, and then some: we have to change our consciousness about priorities and what freedom really feels like). What if what we really want is vibrant and consistent health? Maybe losing 20 pounds won’t do it (and it probably won’t since most diets are set on a yo-yo string which actually damages your overall health). What if what we really want is to feel loveable and important? Maybe a “perfect” partner won’t do it (and, in fact, it won’t: there will be no one to love you until you become a person who loves, including loving yourself).
Changing the consciousness involves making a commitment to spiritual practice. We have to put into our consciousness on a daily and consistent basis those thoughts and ideas that support positive change. It has to be done on a daily basis because the thoughts and ideas that are creating the problems in your life are working on a daily basis! Every day you are subject to the race consciousness ideas that “There is not enough” and “I am not enough.” Every day you are living from false beliefs that you accepted years ago, perhaps unconsciously, out of hurt and disappointment and misunderstanding. Each time you do your daily prayer work or even repeat an affirmation, you are helping to undo a strand of the rope that keeps you tied to lack, limitation, and frustration in your life.
From this firm foundation of new consciousness, you can take off running. You can start to choose the most appropriate actions for your own life and then get busy with them. It may look for a while like you’re “just sitting there,” but believe me, you’re traveling.
Love, Rev. Mary