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Living on a Teeter-Totter? by Rev. Christine Emmerling DD, 4/14/2024

Today my talk is Living on a Teeter-Totter. As a child I remember going to a park and playing on a teeter-totter or called a seesaw. It takes two people one on each end, the heavier person automatically goes down to the ground while the lighter will go upward. Now we can alter this by using our legs to push ourselves up and down. There can be a point of perfect balance, but that doesn’t last long.

Life can be like sitting on a teeter-totter in having its ups and downs. We may feel happy one moment and then something happens and now we’re feeling unhappy. Sometimes we’re thrown really big life changing events. It can be an accident, disease, breakup, loss of a job, or a death. What throws us off can also be just our boss or loved one criticizing us. Or it can be us judging what we have done or look like. It doesn’t take much to get that mind chatter going or what is called our monkey mind.


Repeatedly rising up and falling back down can be tiresome until we can once again find our inner balance. This doesn’t mean we never feel our emotions, but we know how to bring ourselves back to that center. What used to take days, weeks or months can be just hours or even minutes to reestablish this sense of balance.


Just think what it would be like to live even keeled, when nothing sends us spiraling out of control. Like a boat floating along with the waves. There are the gentle ups and downs, and nothing overwhelms us.


I think of the story of Jesus calming the stormy waters. In Mark 4:35-40 paraphrased: It was evening when Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us cross over to the landing place.” They left in a boat. There arose a heavy storm and wind, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that the boat was nearly filled. Jesus was sleeping in the stern of the boat; and they came and woke him and said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” So he got up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind quieted down, and there was a great calm. And he said to them, “Why are you so fearful? And why do you have no faith?”


When we understand this story metaphysically looking at the inner meaning for us today. The story is about our soul, our consciousness. Jesus the Christ represents the Christ of us, our divine spiritual nature. The boat represents are body, and the disciples are our power centers of our body. A stormy sea represents our subconscious mind and the stirring up our fear based beliefs. Our fearful emotions are overwhelming our body. Then we remember to turn inward and pray. We arouse the Christ consciousness within us, which now takes command and calms us and brings peace to our mind, body and soul.


In this story Jesus the Christ is teaching his disciples that regardless of the conditions they are facing, to stay true to their new spiritual beliefs, to stay strong and practice their faith.

We are always going to be given opportunities to practice our faith. These opportunities, also known as our challenges or problems in life. Is our first reaction is to be upset, angry or fearful? That’s what the disciples did on that boat. But, then they remembered to call upon the Christ. How about if we turn within going to God or Christ first. Then there would be no need for all the other reactions.


We are told In Matthew 13:31-32, The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in the field. It is the smallest of all seeds; but when it is grown, it is larger than all of the herbs; and it becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.


The message here is about the kingdom of heaven which is within us. All these attributes of God are part of our true nature. All we have to do to fully realize our potential is to nurture and have faith. We take what little we do know and put to practice and live it. It is up to us to have the faith to know someday it will grow strong when we nurture giving it our attention. When we take our time to nurture our spiritual nature and have faith that someday we will grow and do its mighty works. Now our tiny mustard seed has become a strong tree.

This begins with putting our faith, our trust in God, the Divine Presence within us and everywhere present. And we lift our energy our frequency of light by focusing several times a day on this ever living Presence within. This living Presence that restores our mind, body and soul to its perfect balance.


Then we have all the little everyday things in life that can just bring us down. It can be our boss, partner, friend that says something that hurts our feelings or rubs us the wrong way. Or it can be that rude driver and all the road traffic, or we’re just having a bad hair day or our clothes don’t fit right.


Some of us have this critic, a fault finder as an internal friend. It is always trying to find what is wrong about situations or what other people do, say or even look like. Now this critic may think its building us up, but that is a cover up for how we really feel about our self.

Eventually I realized that the internal critic is 10-fold worse on the one judging, than it ever is on other people. What we call a bully, is really someone who feels really bad about themself and powerless. Their way to feel better is by taking it away from someone else by saying something hurtful, or picking on someone smaller. Or it can be by getting attention in creating a disturbance.


We have this story in Luke 10:38-42, As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”


At some point in life we have probably felt that we were doing more than our share of the work, and started to judge the other person or people for not assisting more. Yet, it was our choice to do the work at hand, even if it didn’t feel like one. The deeper message here is that we make choices all the time to whether we turn and listen to the divine within us, or let all that busyness, or distractions to take over our lives. It is the better choice to set aside time for our spiritual self, and then afterwards to go about our daily activities.


Then in Matthew 7:1-5, “Judge not, that you may not be judged. For with the same judgement that you judge, you will be judged, and with the same measure with which you measure, it will be measured to you.


Why do you see the splinter which is in your brother’s eye, and do not feel the beam which is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me take out the splinter from your eye, and behold there is a beam in your own eye? O hypocrites, first take out the beam from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to get out the splinter from your brother’s eye.

This is the inside out world. Meaning what is going on within us is projected out into our world screen to be experienced back. This world is like our report card of how we are doing on the inside of ourselves; our thoughts, feelings and emotions - our stuck energy. The only way to get a higher grade is to make our inner changes.


What are these inner changes so that we can see clearly, and have joy in our life? First is to know that God is love, and out of this love God created us of itself. Our true nature then is love. Regardless of how bad we feel or what we do, we can never change our true nature - that of love. All we can do is temporarily forget or believe that we are not good enough.

So let us remind ourselves on a daily basis of the Truth of who we are - our true divine nature. We do this by taking the time to connect with that heaven of God, our Christ Self within us. We read and study about our spiritual nature.


Then we have to practice our faith. We pay attention to what is growing within us, we nurture by putting it to the test. And by the results we know. In Divine Science we teach to start with affirmations or truth statements about God and our self. These nurture our mustard seed to grow strong. While are false beliefs, negative feelings dissipate out of malnourishment. For what we focus on grows, and what we take away from our attention dissipates into nothingness - it has nothing to feed it.


We may have very deep seeded memories, and it doesn’t matter whether they are true or false, they have become as stuck energy. To uproot these, we shed light upon them - the light of truth and love. This light releases and sets this energy free. When we pray or meditate, we follow with a listening state of mind. We go into an inner silence here a quiet peace takes over. This peace is pure radiant light, the healing light of love - God’s love is revealed to us and through us allowing our true nature to shine forth.


Daily we can take a few minutes to reflect on how well we have done that day in being true to our self. We forgive our lack in judgement and miscreations, and know tomorrow is another opportunity to do our best. We always close our day with gratitude, just as we begin each day with gratitude.


Eventually we find our life is no longer like a teeter-totter, with its ups and downs, and maybe moments of being centered and balanced. Now being awakened we can make a new choice to get off that ride. We are now the lamp, the Light of the world that Christ Jesus spoke about.


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