For us to have peace in our lives and in the world, we are called to BE peace. In this lesson for the Second Sunday of Advent, Rev. Nancy explores the idea of peace and gives three peace promoting practices that will bring more peace into our lives. She uses the example of the late Nelson Mandela as a model of being peace as well as the Dalai Lama. She closes with a touching and true story of a Christmas peace during the war in 1914.
One of our favorite Christmas movies is “Miracle on 34th St.” One of its most profound and memorable quotes is: “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”
In this first Sunday of Advent lesson, Rev. Nancy talks about our “un-common sense” the spiritual faculty of faith. Jesus said in Matthew 17: 20: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible to you.” Rev. Nancy illumines this passage as a formula for renewing our faith and gives 3 ways that we can use our “un-common sense.”
It is good to be thankful for the things that we have, and it is even better to establish our minds and hearts in gratitude as the state of our being.
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.— 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Professor Robert A. Emmons at UC Davis agrees: “It’s important to know that gratitude can be a chosen attitude,” Emmons added. “It’s independent of life circumstance. It’s very freeing to know that, and get control over our emotional life. The bottom line is gratitude is the best approach to life. It gives you the perspective to deal with stress…to see ‘the gift in the curse’, during difficult times, and if things are going well, you can really savor it.”
We benefit greatly from our practice of gratitude. The Emmons Lab at UC Davis has done an extensive study on the relationship between gratitude and well-being. Rev. Nancy Oristaglio has included some of their findings in this lesson.
She also talks about gratitude as “the miracle ingredient” in healing and in creativity and she gives 4 ways to “unlock the fullness of your life” with gratitude each day.
We all want to be appreciated. We want to know that we are valued by others, that we matter. In fact, even Fortune 500 businesses are recognizing the value of appreciation.
In this lesson, Rev. Nancy presents the four recommendations made by Tony Schwartz for the work place, as well as her recommendations for our personal lives.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to feel happy when we are afraid. The Bible tells us in II Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” In this lesson, Rev. Nancy gives suggestions for creating for ourselves a world of faith instead of fear by doing three things. We need to understand, perhaps for the first time, that we were created in the image and likeness of Divine Love and Intelligence. We need to believe in ourselves. We need to pursue the purpose for which we were created – that one thing, whether it is being a plumber or a poet, which we can bring to the world in our own unique way.
She relates the true story of 16 year old Malala Yousafzai as an example of this. Malala stood up for education for women and was shot by the Taliban. Here is her story as told to Diane Sawyer.
In our quest for happiness, each of eventually discovers that happiness is a work of heart. As we learn to live from our hearts, we will not only experience more happiness, we will be creating more happiness for others. Celebrated filmmaker Tom Shadyac, after getting into a bike accident that left him with Post Concussion Syndrome and close to death, decided to make a documentary as his last testament. His film, “I AM,” reveals astonishing truths about ourselves, our interconnectedness, and the power of the heart. http://www.iamthedoc.com/thefilm/
In this lesson, Rev. Nancy J. Oristaglio gives tools for practicing heart-centered awareness that will help us live happier, more fulfilling lives.
We all want to be happy. Yet, in today’s world, despite our increased consumerism, advanced technology and the ability to connect on-line through social media, the current statistics prove that we are no happier and no more connected.
So what will make us happier? This lesson is the first in a three part series that gives tools for our everyday lives that will help us connect with our own ability to feel joy. And that is what all want.
Animals play an important part in our lives. They are our beloved pets, our companions, and our teachers of unconditional love. Through our intention to be kind to all animals and other forms of life we can create a culture of reverence for life that will build a “Kingdom of Kindness” in our lives and in the world.
This lesson contains relevant spiritual practices that will help you build a kingdom of kindness in your life.
What if we live in a timeless Universe? Einstein proved time was relative. Hawking says in addition to linear time that there is also “imaginary time.”
What if all the possibilities that could ever exist – or ever did exist – are present now?
What if this realm of infinite possibility is what Jesus called “the kingdom of heaven”?
What if – through faith in our own deeper Christ Mind and the disciplined work of our own imagination – we can create “A New Now”?
This lesson reveals tools that each of us can use to create “A New Now.” Now!
Our personality, appearance, experience, education, and past experiences are not the measure of who we are. When we are ready, we can expand the boundaries of our mind. When we do this, we will also expand the boundaries of our hearts and of our understanding of God, of ourselves, and of our ability to allow God to work through us.
Jesus in the Gospel of John 3:30: “He must become greater. I must become less.” The “I” that must become less is the false sense of “I.” It is the ego. And the ego overshadows our understanding of ourselves as God’s very image and likeness.
As we build our confidence in “A Big God,” we are able to accept our innate self-worth as the instrument of God’s creation.
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