“Harmlessness to Helpfulness” by Rev. Christine 5/2/2021
Today’s topic is “Harmlessness to Helpfulness.” The teaching of “Harmlessness” begins in the Old Testament with Moses and the Ten Commandments. These are basic rules for a family and community to live by. They are for a self-governing society. The Ten Commandments were based on spiritual law to do no harm to another person or to yourself. These are guidelines in how to live respectfully together in a family and community.
There were two books that influenced my facilitating spiritual groups. First was the Celestine Prophecy, and the other How to Build a Spiritual Community. From these books I was able to implement guidelines for my study groups and classes.
The basics are about being consciously present; as in waiting for your turn to speak; think before speaking; share from your own thoughts, and not from what the person before you just shared to debate or give advice; and to know when to stop speaking. Its also about being fully present when another person is speaking, to look directly at them and truly listen; there is also a sacred pause between people speaking. In this practice people feel heard, and it creates a safe environment for people to come together and share. There is a new level of respect and comradeship for each other. Every now and then, a person would attend that didn’t want to follow our guidelines. I found sometimes people would rather keep their old ways, even when its not working for them.
This leads me to people following laws out of mandate and fear of punishment, rather than by desire for a better life. An example is following the traffic laws because it makes good sense for safety, or because you don’t want to get a ticket, lose your insurance or driver’s license. Seems when the law is being obeyed out of fear, there develops resistence, and if not valued will be broken.
So going back to Moses’ days and through the years punishments were developed for breaking the Ten Commandments, and the many laws since made for governing people. As we have seen through the years, that even with punishment, that these laws are still being broken. In Divine Science or New Thought, we understand these Commandments being followed as signs of a person that is committed to the spiritual path. They would never think of killing a person, cheating, lying, or driving recklessly. It is no longer part of their consciousness to do so.
Jesus came along to teach the true meaning of the Ten Commandments. Some thousand years had gone by, and mankind still didn’t understand the effects of their actions let alone their thinking and intentions. As Jesus said, its not what you put in your mouth that defiles you, but what comes out.
The Bible lets us know that people were following some 600 rules each day believing this would get them the rewards of heaven. But, in their internal thoughts and actions they were harsh and judgmental towards others. Their daily rituals did no good when all the while having anger, criticism, and fear in their hearts.
Then Jesus came along simplifying it to just two laws to live by; teaching the practice of “Love,” in Matthew 22:37-39, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Just two laws, based on the one Principle of Love. So simply stated, yet as Jesus tells us, takes a complete commitment of the mind, heart, and soul. We move through different levels in understanding of spiritual law. We first have a surface level of understanding which we may follow ritualistic practices; working from the outer. Next we move to practicing the inner spiritual life; meditating and praying in silence gaining the understanding of how our actions, thoughts, and emotions effect our experiences and our world at large. We awaken to our Oneness in God and God as us. We are consciously living and co-creating with God. Then we realize our oneness with each other, all of life, and all of creation which is the higher law of “Helpfulness.”
Jesus teachings move one from just the outward practice of doing, to the heart of being. The first step in committing to a spiritual life is the practice of “harmlessness.” We start by taking responsibility for our thoughts, our conversations, and actions. Earlier this year to kick off the Lent season, we did a 30 day practice of non judgment and no criticism. I remember people asking do my thoughts count — yes they do.
John Randolph Price writes about the practice of harmlessness in his book “The Spiritual Philosophy for the New World,” stating: “With purpose of mind you remove unloving thoughts from your consciousness and practice harmlessness in thoughts and words. You keep loving in your small circle until you can expand your love nature and truthfully say that you love everyone without exception. And that includes anyone who has ever hurt you, anyone who has ever caused you mental suffering or emotional distress, anyone who has ever pushed your button and caused a flare of resentment. You must reach the point where you can radiate unconditional love to terrorists, murderers, rapists, child abusers, religious fanatics, political extremists. You must be detached and loving toward all!”
This means that wherever we get our news; watching TV or internet, read the newspaper, or listen to the radio that we must censor our thoughts. We remain detached, and grounded in our love. We don’t let the outside world rock our inside state of being. Now we are no longer contributing to the problem. We have detached our energy enabling us to move to the next level of “Helpfulness.”
“Helpfulness” is another word for compassion. In Matthew 25:40, “Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me.” And in verse 45 “...Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of least of ones, you also did not do it to me.” In other words, in serving mankind you are serving God, for God is in and as all, even those that are beggars, thieves, mentally ill, and have committed horrible crimes. They are equally in and of God, even if they themself don’t realize it.
And, Jesus also clarified that it is easy to serve those you love, those that are closest to you. But, that we also need to serve those we have called our enemy. In Luke 10:30-35, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, this term is still used for those that do good in the world. The story begins with a man robbed and wounded by thieves left to die on the side of the road. A priest comes along, and walks around him. A Levite looked upon him, and crossed to the other side of the road. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. He took him to an inn, and tended to his wounds, gave him room and board, and even some money to get on the road again. Never asking for anything in return.
This Samaritan a stranger to the land, extended himself for a helpless man on the road. Not questioning, not knowing if he was wealthy or homeless. The Samaritan served him as though he were serving God. And so he was.
We hear of doing Random Acts of Kindness. Just for the act of doing and bringing joy and hope to others. There is also, Paying it Forward; where a person gives to you and you give to someone else without any attachment.
Nona Brooks, from her book “Mysteries,” chapter on Thought Transference. In her own words, “The greatest of all methods of thought transference is spiritual realization of the unity of all men. There are many of our brothers seeking the best; let it come persistently from you and me... Let us feed the spiritually hungry. This means cooperation with the law of love. There are seekers everywhere -- in homes, schools, and offices -- and there are broadcasters everywhere. Remember that we can broadcast truth from the kitchen as well as from the platform. Let us be sure that we are receiving our messages from Spirit, and then, broadcast these and no others to the world.”
Accordingly, we can provide our spiritual work, helping the consciousness of the world from wherever we are. It can be just a minute or two here and there. When we bring our focus within away from the worldly scene, and lift our thoughts and feelings in gratitude and in love, we are connecting with the Divine Presence within everyone - for we are one in Spirit. These few moments can help to change the consciousness of the world. In these moments of silence, inspiration and guidance may come to take some sort of action. Then its following through which can be random acts of kindness, or paying a kindness forward. Its all about opening our hearts, and allowing love to pour forth from us.
John Randolph Price writes in his book “A Spiritual Philosophy for the New World” of the “Permanent Atom of Universal Love.” This Atom resides in our heart. It is a crystal atom that opens up and radiates as we focus on it in love. I invite you to join me in activating our Universal Love Atom. Get comfortable, and close your eyes, take in deep full breaths and fully exhale.
Say to yourself “I AM Love, I Am Loved, I Am Loving. I feel the love vibration in my heart. I feel it expanding throughout my entire body; the mental, emotional, and physical body -- all love. All there is is love... love... love...
In your mind’s eye see that Atom of Universal Love in your heart center. Imagine it as a shining Crystal of Love, a glistening Jewel of Love. Focus on it with clarity of vision, and know that all the love in the universe is concentrated right there, within you. Now see it slowly open to release its light. See the radiant rays begin to flow moving and filling your entire energy field... your mind, your feelings, your body. See yourself as a Center of Divine Love. See the Love Essence radiating and filling the room where you are, and continuing to flow in streams of Golden Light... moving out across the land to encircle this planet. See the radiance of your Permanent Atom of Universal Love flowing like a mighty stream and see this world filled with the Light of Love. Now say to yourself:
I am Universal Love in radiant expression. I silently, powerfully and intensely radiate my love, and I send it everywhere without exception. I see it flowing into my family, my loved ones. I see the Cosmic Rays of Love going before me to envelope and permeate everyone in my consciousness.
Those who have rejected me, who have hurt me, who have not recognized my true worth, I send my love to you with no conditions attached. I love you for Who and What you are. I love everyone without exception. I love everything without exception. I am the mighty power of God’s love in radiant expression, and I let my love go before me to heal and harmonize every condition in my life.
My light of love is now joining with others who have opened the Crystal of Love and together we are saturating this world with love. Love is radiating deep into the center of the world, and expanding out into the universe. All there is is love.
And so it is!
Bring your attention back to your breath, now to your body you may want to stretch a little, and open your eyes.