The Kingdom of Heaven is Here Now – Tim Torres, Unity of SA Prayer Chaplain and Board Treasurer
Life at the “End” of the Rainbow. I was asked to present the message in our Sunday celebration this Easter Sunday morning. I titled it, “Life at the ‘End’ of the Rainbow.” Spoiler alert: I’ll be talking about rainbows and the resurrection, and the common message they hold for us.
We can live our lives right here and now in the presence of something that makes the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow look like a dirty, rusty penny.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46.
How would I describe life at the end of the rainbow (the kingdom of heaven)? As a Resurrection!
I experience my divine identity.
I look to what is True and eternal, beneath and beyond appearances.
I feel my emotions, but they do not control me or my life.
I know my thoughts, but they do not control me or my life.
I experience the storms of life, but they do not diminish my sense of well-being.
I have no fear of lack. If I sense any false limitation, it does not control me.
The universe provides my daily bread.
I appreciate all the good in my life.
I am in a state of equanimity most of the time.
I have positive relationships.
I am in the flow, often.
My life has meaning and purpose, whatever they are.
I appreciate my accomplishments, whatever they are.
I experience the love universal, Oneness; I feel my shared divinity with all that is.
And how do we get there? It’s a poorly kept secret – spiritual practice.
Psychologist Bridget Greenville-Cleave offers a variety of exercises in her book, Positive Psychology: A Practical Guide, for having a more joyful experience of life. Psychologists have shown that we humans have a “negativity bias.” It takes awareness of three positive experiences to equal one negative experience in our subjective experience. We remember unpleasant experiences better than we remember pleasant experiences. And the duration of the experience doesn’t seem to matter very much.
Therefore, many of the exercises in her book are aimed at improving awareness of the positive: creating, remembering, and savoring positive emotions, positive relationships, engagement or flow, meaning and purpose, and accomplishments. One chapter, titled “Appreciative Inquiry,” a process for implementing change based on accentuating the positive, rather than fixing the negative. It’s based on the idea that what we pay attention to, increases. Other chapters in her book address mindfulness, emotional intelligence, resilience, exercise, nutrition, and more.
Does any of that sound familiar? Unity has been teaching much of it for more than a century.
What I was struck by, in reading the book, was how much the exercises resemble spiritual practices that I have been using for many years to enjoy a better experience of life.
Something that stood out for me was her description of the “miracle question.”
Imagine that in the middle of the night, when you are fast asleep, a miracle happens and the problems you have been having are solved just like that. But since the miracle happened in the middle of the night, nobody tells anyone that it happened. When you wake up the next morning, how will you notice that the miracle has happened? What will be different?
You might want to reflect on that question for yourself, on your path to Resurrection.