Last week I said we're called to "be in the world but not of it." This week, Pastor Ricky Thomas of Greater Works Church of God, (they worshiped in our building before stay-at-home), challenged me to go deeper.
What does it even mean ... "in the world but not of it?" In Unity, it usually involves some form of "Keeping the high watch," "Seeing the good," "Claiming the blessing," and generally maintaining a positive attitude no matter the appearance. Important work in consciousness, fer sure!
But it's tricky to execute. Positivism can easily be misused to shield or separate ourselves from experiencing the pain often necessary for transformation. Instead of meeting challenges and transcending them, we avoid them. We stop watching the news. We don't engage in uncomfortable conversations. We stop associating with those who don't share our views. That's okay, even healthy, if we use this time apart to align with love, renew our faith, and build spiritual muscle. But we can't stay there. Moses didn't stay on Mount Sinai basking in God's presence. He brought the Ten Commandants down the mountain to face the stubbornness, rebelliousness and corruption of his people.
I love how Rev. Ricky does in-the-world, not-of-it: "I listen to what's not being said," he confided. He watches the news, but his intention is not about being informed of worldly conditions (though he certainly is). His intention is to discern the deeper truth needing to be brought to light. "The news tells me what to pray for," he said. So where there is strife he prays for harmony. Where there is hate, he prays for love. Where there is rancor, understanding. Where there is pain, healing.
I'm finding this form of news viewing to be a powerful practice. Instead of just absorbing the headlines, often getting triggered by the emotional hooks inherent in commercialized media, I consciously listen for what prayerful energy is needed, and call it forth in myself...in that moment. No longer am I consuming news, I'm employing spiritual discernment to support Spirit's activity in transforming the conditions being reported.
The best part: Practice bringing Truth to your news intake,and your ability to bring divine light to any life experience expands. As Rev. Ricky would say, "Shine on, my brothers and sisters!"