Jennifer “Birdie” Shawker, Communications and Activities Coordinator, LUT Candidate, Unity of SA
This CommUNITY never ceases to amaze me. I let our Board of Trustees know that as part of my work toward becoming an L.U.T. (Licensed Unity Teacher) I’d need to teach three classes. My sponsoring minister, Rev. Judy Beach, allowed me to facilitate a class at Unity of SA this summer, as long as she could Skype in on the first class and observe from Corpus Christi. I was given the go ahead, but told, “Well, it’s summertime, Birdie, people like to go out of town – you might only get 5-6 students.” I thought to myself –that’s a GREAT number for a beginner. I was truly looking forward to easing into my first adult teaching experience with a small group! So with the blessing of our Board of Trustees, I prepared for the class, choosing from a list of books I was given Point of Power by Rev. Dr. Paul Hasselbeck.
You can imagine my amazement when I stood before 25 sets of eyes at my first adult teaching experience. 25 people that were excited about the text for our study, and also something else. 25 people from my church family that told me with their eyes when my confidence wavered a bit that first day, “We are excited about you, we support you, and we want you to succeed.” I took courage in that, and together we did succeed.
Our first class covered a lot of material. We went over a syllabus I provided. We made Heart Agreements about how we would conduct ourselves in class. We had a brief overview of “The Language of Oneness,” and went over the material from the first two chapters. We learned the author’s moving story. (No spoilers! We still have a few copies on sale in the bookstore, so pick one up at the clearance sale this Sunday and read it!) We explored the nature of God, how we are extensions of God, and therefore “Points of Power.” Great fun was had by all with a role playing game where we discovered the many layers of “selves” we possess. In a skit involving a mixed up coffee order at Starbucks, we learned that possessing madeup selves has the potential to make our interpersonal relations quite complicated, and it’s best to be as authentic as possible.
In the second class, we began to learn how to work with the principles presented in the first class. We discovered we do not have to be a prayer chaplain or lay leader in order to lead a prayer. Moving prayers were created by the class for different circumstances by using the format in the book, along with some help from the “Four A’s of Affirmative Prayer.”
We also explored meditation, watched a very funny video about meditation, and discussed our own practices.
In the second class, I also introduced our classroom altar. I invited everyone to bring an item to the class every week, representing the Point of Power practice that they chose for “homework.” Those who brought an item in were given the opportunity to share about it. Every week, our altar had a different look. We all got an opportunity to admire and hear about some beautiful and meaningful practices.
In the third week, we explored the Law of Mind action as well as Lessons and Misattributions. We discovered that we are “Points of Power” that express as Divine when we understand the key idea of the Law of Mind Action: Human beings tend to create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. We also learned that there is no anthropomorphic God sending circumstances our way to teach us “lessons.” However, we can decide to be a “Point of Power” and choose what lessons we learn from circumstances. We divided the class into groups and taught each other these concepts with a flip chart. Little did I know how many remarkable teachers we have in this CommUNITY!
In our fourth class, we discovered that cause and effect are never separated. They may seem as if they are separate if we identify the cause of our feelings as outside of us. For example: “So-and-so did something and this caused me to feel bad.” It’s not a person’s behavior that causes us to feel things, it’s our internal beliefs that are the cause, with an internal effect of feelings. Once this is realized, we can practice prayer in the form of Denials (alternatively called “Statements of Release” or “Negation”) and Affirmations as consciousness conditioners to transform the internal beliefs.
Also in our fourth gathering, we learned about Clarity, Form, and Intent. We discovered that when we are clear about our goals and desires in life, we live a peaceful and focused life. Similarly, when we are clear about our intentions and rationale for them, this improves our relationships. And that it is important not to assume that other’s motivations for their intentions are similar to ours.
At the very last class, we explored the last 3 chapters of the book. They all had to do with staying the course in spiritual practice, and some additional ideas of Rev. Paul’s. We identified potential barriers to daily spiritual practice and created plans to address them. We also demonstrated our understanding of the principles and practices described in the book by performing skits. What a talented group of performers we discovered in our midst!
We had a “final exam” that consisted of a class photograph, featured in this article. The class photo is at the top of this article and is shared with permission. I let everyone know at that time that it was their participation that made the class such a great experience, and I meant it! What a wonderful image of a dynamic group. All enthusiastic Truth seekers and finders. All shining “Points of Power!”
As I suspected they would be – the truly amazing “Points of Power” who took the course were my teachers, and I learned a lot in this first adult teaching experience. I appreciate the lessons that I will carry forward as I continue my L.U.T. Candidate journey and beyond. On behalf of myself and all those whose lives I will touch, let me just say I am profoundly grateful!
Keep watching your newsletter and announcements for future class offerings at Unity of SA. Be sure to join us this coming Sunday for our first of three Minister Candidate visits. And if you are curious about becoming a Licensed Unity Teacher, contact us!