I was in my mid-thirties residing in Concept House, a substance abuse rehab center. I had been there for two months and was coming back from a precipitous life downfall. I didn't realize it at the time, but events during my stint at Concept House turned out to be critical turning points in my life.
Among other things, it was the first time I practiced in-depth self-examination. As a result of this self-assessment, my perception of who I am and reality's nature took a dramatic turn. Over time, I began to take my power back. I slowly released myself from self-created bondage in a belief my life was over. My transformational journey began.
The journey was kicked into high gear when I befriended a fellow Concept House resident who also happened to be a former professional basketball player. My friend invited me to go to a community he and others were encouraged to go to for spiritual support during their rehab process. When we talked about the community, it sounded like a church. At the time, I had an acute allergy to anything that smacked of religion, but my friend kept bugging me about going. Finally, I said, "If you don't bother me about this again, I'll go this one time." He agreed, and with great reluctance, I did go.
Going to that community that day was a game-changer for me. It propelled me to a new direction in life. To this day, I remember the speaker and what he said because his words where specifically for me. I was sure someone had given him a copy of my file to use as research for his presentation. Among other things, he said, "You are perfect just as you are. You can release your past and begin again. You have the power to create the best future you ever imagined if you live from your true identity and practice a few universal spiritual tools." Today, those words sound like common sense, but for me it seemed like a radical idea at the time.
My belief in what I thought was possible for me and my life changed. I delved into learning as much as I could about this spiritual path known as New Thought/Ancient Wisdom. One of the texts I studied was H. Emilie Cady's book Lessons in Truth. I re-read it every year. Although the language is dated by today's standards, and the lessons are repetitive, the principles in Cady’s book are timeless and work … when practiced.
In Lessons in Truth, Cady writes about freeing yourself from bondage, recognizing and claiming our divine birthright, and the efficacy of scientific prayer. She also writes about what faith means, and what the “Secret Place of the Most High” is, and how to find that place. Those lessons are just a few of the topics Cady covers. The first page instructs the reader to "lay aside, for the time being, all previous theories and beliefs." And, if there is anything you do not understand or agree with, park it until you have read the entire book. After completing the course, Cady says, "you have the choice to return to your old beliefs and way of living." Cady’s Lessons in Truth helped me and others to transform our lives for the better.
Cady's ideas bring me to 2020. It has been, and continues to be, a tough year for many. COVID-19 is not the only challenge. There is an acute sense of separation in this country and the world economically, politically, and racially. There is also the challenge that affects every being on the planet - climate change. However, like that speaker said to my community many years ago, there are solutions to these challenges. We have the power to create a new future for ourselves and the planet. Moreover, those timeless principles that Emilie Cady covered in her book are relevant to our country and the world's collective problems today.
All problems may appear mental, emotional, physical, economic, political, or historical, but all solutions are spiritual. The New Thought/Ancient Wisdom teachings are ready to be applied to the crises we are currently experiencing. If we can use these principles to help transform our current collective challenges, we can change the moment and create new possibilities for 2021 and beyond. Toward that end, I will take the teachings of Emilie Cady and incorporate them in a series of Sunday Lessons that ask, "How can we apply Cady’s eternal Lessons in Truth to today's pressing issues?" It goes to reason that what works to transform an individual can also evolve our society and our world.
To create the space in 2021 for something new and phenomenal to happen in our lives, we must clear out anything from 2020 that does not serve us or is weighing us down. Those weighty matters include harmful habits, limiting beliefs about ourselves, baseless fears, and/or petty ego concerns. When we let go of such issues, an empty canvas appears ready to paint a future only limited by our imagination.
I invite you to join me in this journey in consciousness. As we let go of those parts of 2020 that no longer serve us, let us embrace a future that reflects the highest and the best of the human spirit.
Peace, blessings, and a great 2021!