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“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” – Matthew 6:22-23

Jesus was full of all sorts of mysterious sayings. Many theorize that he must have somehow studied in India to have teachings that are so like their wisdom traditions. My theory is that he was a fully enlightened being, here for evolutionary purposes, and the reason his teachings sound like the esoteric teachings of India is because they are true and were spoken to him by God. When your eye is good, which means when your eye only perceives truth, your whole body is full of light. Jesus’ whole body was full of light; as ours can be also.

But what does that mean and how can we get there? First, we must be dedicated to Truth. “But I am already a truthful person,” you may say. I’m not talking about surface truth. I’m talking about self-honesty and the things we tell ourselves about ourselves. Emmet Fox said, “God is I AM THAT I AM, and you are I AM; and you make your own destiny and your own fate by the things that that you attach to that I AM, for that is what you really believe about yourself.”

In the textbook for Alcoholics Anonymous, one of the most liberating sentences says, “So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making.” The writers of the text are referring to the situations in our lives that have made them unmanageable, but Jesus works from the inside out. He’s not so concerned with our actions as he is with the thoughts that got us there. That’s what “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” means. Thoughts are things; and every action begins with a simple thought.

The problem is, though, that we start thinking long before we can examine our thoughts. Basically, our belief systems are created by small children. I, for example, convinced myself that my Mommy didn’t love me because she brought home a baby sister. That sounds like an outlandish example, but our belief systems about ourselves, and everything, are created by the influences of our families and culture.

A Course In Miracles says, “Everything that comes from love is a miracle…You are a miracle, capable of creating in the likeness of your creator. Everything else is your own nightmare and does not exist. Only the creations of light are real.”

So, the first step in creating a belief system built on truth is to discover and discard the untruths whose foundations were created in childhood and adolescence. These are our made-up nightmares. The best way to begin this process is to examine every thought we have about ourselves and then to submit the thought to this question, “Was this thought created with love or fear?” “Mommy doesn’t love me” was created by fear.

I was born in 1961 when women were to be seen and not heard; and were expected to be pearl and high-heeled-wearing servants of men. The blatant message to us girls was that you must look pretty and act demure to get a man (which also implied that getting a man was the goal!). Unfortunately, because of being separated from my mother at age 8, I developed a serious weight problem and was considered unacceptable by my parents and peers. I was once told, “You’re so fat and ugly, no one is going to ever look at you.” That sentence became my inner mantra. It informed every thought I had about myself. I discovered that drugs and alcohol could keep the self-loathing at bay, but once I started trying to sober up in the mid-eighties, the thoughts, which had become the voices in my head, became more unbearable than ever.

I entered the spiritual path at age 25. At that time, I was exposed to the writings of Emmet Fox and Louise Hay. Both wrote about affirmations: thoughts to help program new ideas about myself. I decided that my new mantra would be “I love myself and accept myself just the way I am.” Unfortunately, when I began, the affirmation was always rebuked with a resounding “You fat slob!” I did not understand then that saying no to the lie was just as important as saying yes to the truth. This is what Jesus meant when he said to first clean the inside of the cup; before adorning the outside. To affirm positive statements without the preparational denial of the untruth is to put new wine in old wineskins. If you’re not sure how to detect the untruths, try sitting in silence for awhile and pay attention to the clamor that tries to distract you.

Back to the story: I continued to do affirmations for over three years before I made a real turn in my thinking about myself. But finally, one day I walked to the mirror and saw something I had never seen before: a valuable and worthwhile person who was doing the best that she knew how with the information she had at the time. On that day, when I said the affirmation, I meant it; and my life began to change for the better.

Doing the vigilant work of denying negative self-talk and adding positive in return is hard work, but it’s worth it because it is the foundational change that led to a willingness to examine my thoughts about everything. It turns out that I had believed many things in my core that were not true or healthy. Today, I am a completely different person than I was when my journey began; because I learned to change my thinking which changed my worldview; just as A Course In Miracles promises, “Miracles honor you because you are lovable. They dispel illusions about yourself and perceive the light in you. Thus they atone for your errors by freeing you from your nightmares. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity.”

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” So next time you catch yourself thinking, “Nobody likes me, I can’t do anything right, or I’m a failure,” remember that those are thoughts that are made from lies. Use love to create the truth by affirming, “I am a valuable and worthwhile person. I matter and I have a right to be here. Nothing can stop me from accomplishing my goals except my limited beliefs in myself and God;” that your “eye” will be good and your whole body will be full of light.

Namaste and Amen

Paige Thomas DeHart

www.youtube.com/watch

www.youtube.com/watch

www.youtube.com/watch

I was called to ministry in 1986 after reaching out to a God I did not believe in. The prayer was simple: “I do not believe in you, but if you are there, please help me.” Three days later, my 25th birthday, a great thought entered my mind: “You are loved. It’s not too late to change the path you are on, but you must turn the other way. But do not be afraid for I am with you always; even until the end of time.” That was 32 years ago; and our relationship has been ever-unfolding.

Following this immediate contact, the Spirit began to inform me that I would be a spiritual leader in the 21st century; that my ministry would be about leading people to the kingdom within. As those that knew me at that time will attest, I began to tell everyone that I was a future leader and expected them to drop everything and follow me. Instead they thought I had a psychotic break; and maybe I did. But that break has continued to shatter my delusions and I am indeed an ordained minister today with the mission of leading people to the kingdom within.

As my journey continued, I became aware that the “I am with you always” line is a direct quote of Jesus in Matthew. At that time, I had never read the Bible. But I knew that Jesus was the voice that was talking to me and I began a deep search into the understanding of who he is. That search led me to Unity Church, the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Church, and to no church at all. It seemed that the Jesus I know was not represented properly in any of those venues. To me, the Unity people did not give him enough credit as the living proof that death is an illusion, but the others had him in a box that was so constricted and fear-based that he wasn’t really Jesus anymore. As a matter of fact, I don’t even like to call myself a Christian because it has come to be synonymous with bigotry, racism, sexism, and hatred. That is not the Jesus I know.

I am a follower of the Risen Jesus. I am convinced that he is alive and available because I know him quite well. He has been everything from a mother, father, sister, brother, friend, partner, and my truest self on our journey together. He has taught me everything I know and much of it is interestingly unique from the doctrines of the Church.

First, he has proven to me that he is real and that I can trust him; not an easy task. The final strand of unbelief was extinguished when he literally saved my then 18-year-old daughter from death after being shot in the head in 2015. Second, he has instructed me to get him out of the box and to rest assured that he does indeed have sheep of other flocks that the Church knows nothing about.

Jesus has explained to me that the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Old Testament and the New are not the same Holy Spirit. He told me that, during the time between his death and resurrection, he did great work in opening the gates of hell that earth may eventually become heaven’s promise land. He told me that his risen spirit is the reconciled spirit of good and evil; the spirit of wisdom and understanding. He told me that the point of our existence is to balance our illusions of duality with our examined experiences in order to learn to be in this world, but not of it. I can whole-heartedly exclaim that Jesus saved me from the hell of childhood trauma, addiction, bulimia, mental illness, and the conditioning of this world. He wasn’t about keeping me from going there after I die. He set me free immediately and continually: in every NOW moment.

As mentioned before, I have searched the Christian religion to find a community where my Jesus is the leader, but have been unable to find it. However, I have been led to the most ancient religion of all; Hinduism, where the teachings he has personally taught me resonate. In Hinduism, service to others and adoration of the guru are just as important as they are in Christianity, but they also emphasize meditation and knowledge as being just as important. Each of those paths or “yogas” are helpful to a person like me; who cannot leave reason behind in my understanding of God.

Jesus told me that he’s all about a new yoga, the yoga of relationship. He told me that the Hindus have the right idea in understanding the energy centers, or chakras, in our bodies. He said that the Eastern Mystics focus on the opening of the chakras with the goal of living, moving, and having their being in the final chakra, the crown, which represents a oneness with the universe. He said that this chakra opening is necessary because it is the city on the hill; a beacon of hope sending the call that God is real. But he also said that for me to truly follow him, I must make my way back down to the 4th chakra, the heart, and extend to others from that place where the kingdom lies. Jesus is not about pitching a tent at the top of the mountain. He calls us down from the mountaintop to meet people where he is most needed: in the valley. He told me that we need the vertical alignment of having all the chakras open to have true union with him, but the goal is to extend horizontally from the heart chakra; hence the symbol of the cross.He told me that these two alignments are vitally necessary for the future of both humanity and the planet.

So, that’s the backstory of my ministry. If any of this sounds intriguing to you, then I invite you to join me for gatherings at Spirit Realization Fellowship. You may come with skepticism but remain to discover an abundant inner world.💕

Namaste and Amen

Rev. Paige Thomas DeHart

I have had three abortions; and I have thrown myself on the living room floor and cried out to God for the life of my 18-year-old daughter; who had been shot in the head and dumped on a dead-end road. God was with me in all of those situations; and He is with me now. I am Pro-Choice and Pro-Life.

For me, to be Pro-Choice is not to be Pro-Abortion; as being Pro-Life does not mean being Anti-Choice. And I believe I am qualified to inform concerning the mental and emotional state of many women in that position of choice. We were terrified; so much that we may have aborted the children ourselves!

I do not argue that my unplanned pregnancies of youth were not irresponsible. However, I can attest that the motives behind the abortions were driven by magnified fears; fear that the baby would be damaged due to my drug use, fear that my family would disown me if they found out, and, most terrifying, fear that I was totally inadequate to be a human being, much less a parent.

The greatest joy of my life is being a mother; and the greatest regrets are interrupting the lives of the three souls that were making their way to me. So, I know the wonders of motherhood and the consequences of fear-driven decisions. But I also know that God does not hold my poor decisions against me.

I have spent many long hours with God; hashing out the emotional fall-out of my choices. In the first ten years after the abortions, I was led to name my unborn children and release them into the loving arms of Jesus. But as my relationship with God and my worldview have matured, I have been assured that, in God’s world, my poor choices never happened. They never happened; and I believe that the souls that were making their way to me have indeed arrived as my precious daughters.

There is a principle in Physics that states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. God has assured me that it is the same with Life. I may have made better decisions if I had been lovingly offered alternatives. And I have counseled many women in that decision-making process. Some made the choice to have their babies; and some did not. I know for sure that the ones who had their baby were not disappointed.

So, if you want to help women in that terrifying, decision-making process, be pro-adoption if you want. But don’t forget to be pro-love. Please don’t underestimate the shame and vulnerability of young women making hard choices; and please understand that loud shouts against abortion only cause further despair in the women who have had them. As my old friend Emmet Fox once said, “We are not punished for our sins, but by them.”

Paramahansa Yogananda said that we can deny karma and Emmet Fox said that Christ transcends karma. I have never really understood that until now. If we sleepwalk through life, conditioned by collective environmental programming, we will reap what we have unconsciously sewn.

However, if we do the hard work of awakening, we willingly face the darkness within ourselves, that light may illuminate truth. This is the difference between the pain that gives birth to understanding and the suffering of quiet desperation.

I must become fully human, facing everything within myself, before I can transcend my humanity to the truth of Spirit. As Jesus said, “clean first the inside of the cup.”

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