Sermon I Delivered at Unitarian Universalist Society 11/26/12

Text below video:

The notorious question, Who am I, has been around a long time. Many of us spend a lifetime finding our self and it can be satisfying. But, it can also be tricky.

Four years ago, Doug and I moved from Washington State to Delhi. We sold our farm, our house, and decided, “Let’s get rid of it all.” It took us a year. Tractors, furniture, piano, our children…all of it sold off to the highest bidder. Okay, the children were off on their own after graduating college, but during this experience of getting rid of everything, I had the chance to see who I am not.

I am not my stuff.

It took a lot of years to acquire that stuff and most of the items seemed necessary to learn who I am. I needed the stuff to manifest my creativity, health, and joy. For example, I needed the art materials to be creative. But, oddly, when all the things were gone, I still knew myself. I can still be creative.

It hasn’t been easy, this big change, but the shift in where my attention is focused has caused me to unlearn things about myself that were beginning to ground me in a rut, even if it was a comfy rut. And, by learning who I am not, I am re-learning who I am.

Quite often, other people tell me who I am. Growing up, I heard, “You are Cheryl.” “You are a farmer’s daughter.”

During my teenage years, I took those comments and made them my own. They evolved into, “I am a tractor operator.” “I am a farmer’s wife.”

But, do other people’s comments make me? Do skills define me, or does knowledge make me who I am?

Management thinker, Peter Drucker wrote in his book, The Daily Drucker, “In today’s society and organizations, people work increasingly with knowledge, rather than with skill. Knowledge and skill differ in that skills change very, very slowly, Knowledge, however, changes itself. It makes itself obsolete, and very rapidly.”

I have an example. I remember when it was time for our family to get a new car. The obvious answer was to get a model one step bigger than the car we had since our kids were bigger and we always seemed to have a 3rd kid thrown into the mix. So, the girls and I went car shopping. It was all a big adventure. While test driving a bigger car, I was paying attention to visibility and features. And the girls were in the back seat looking around at all the space. I could see their mental gears kick into action and they soon said, “Mom, we should get a smaller car.”

I was mortified. I was so busy paying attention to visibility that I had been distracted from even giving attention to such a notion. Anyway, a smaller car would not represent who I am, someone whose life is getting bigger. Right? No, not really, I finally admitted. I quickly realized, it was only my pride that was mortified. And, my old knowledge then was obsolete. We bought a smaller car. It got better gas mileage and I could easily drive into all the compact parking spaces popping up all over.

I have a book out titled 21st Century Science and Health. We read “Thought is attracted toward God and as a result, superficial [knowledge] and the body do not become distractions.” As we understand God, we understand who we are.

Have you ever counted how many times during the day we say, I am?

I am cold, I am happy, I am hungry, I am healed, I am a New York tax payer, I am spiritual…. And, because I am a Bible reader, I noticed this I am cliché goes way back.

Now, I don’t believe God wrote the Bible. It’s basically a conglomeration of insights and experiences written by human beings and generally focused on God—instead of technology or the money market—and the stories and history give me pause for consideration.

For example, in the book of Genesis, there are 2 brothers, Esau is the oldest and Jacob is the youngest. When their dad, Isaac, was on his death bed, he wanted to bless Esau before he died. Isaac tells Esau, “Please go hunting and bring me back some food to eat. Then I will give you your blessing.” Esau agrees.

I’m paraphrasing the Bible here but Isaac is blind and his wife Rebekah was eavesdropping. Now, Rebekah favored Jacob. In other words, her attention was pivoted on Jacob. She grabbed Jacob and said “Jacob, take this food I made and go to your dad and tell him you are Esau, then get Esau’s blessing.”

Jacob hesitated, not because this was a really bad idea, but because he sees a flaw in his mother’s plan. “Mom, Esau is hairy, I have smooth skin, what if dad touches my skin?”

“Oh, here, put this sheep skin on you,” says Mom.

So, Jacob, covered in sheep skin, goes to his dad with the food, but Isaac gets suspicious, when he hears, “Hey dad.”

Isaac questions, “You don’t sound like Esau. Are you really Esau?

“I am,” fibs Jacob.

Hindsight tells us, the better answer would have been, “I am not.” Even though it looked like the plan worked, it didn’t, because for the next few decades, Jacob kept getting lied to and cheated by other people. Until finally, Jacob admitted internally, “I am not a liar, a thief, or an outcast.” He had a little talk with God and life improved once Jacob removed from his consciousness that which he was not.

Do I have little talks with God to find out who I am and who I am not? Sure.

Here is a typical conversation. God, what’s with the greying hair? Does my worrying bring on the grey hair? Or, is it because of my genetic code?

What? I am not my worries? I am not my DNA? This answer can be reasoned through. If an organ recipient receives a kidney from someone else, there will be a difference of DNA but the recipient still has the same identity. Or, not to be morbid, but when the body dies, the DNA that I thought was me, will still be lying around on earth for years, but my consciousness won’t.

So… I am not this body. I am not my brain imprints. I am not my mortal history and habits.

I am the image and likeness of divine Spirit.

I am structured and outlined by intelligent Mind.

I am conscious of colorful Love.

My consciousness of divine Spirit is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Yahweh was projected to say, “I am that I am.” I am the reflection of Spirit, the same, yesterday, today and forever.

Our spiritual identity, including all that belongs to the Divine infinite, it is not dependent on this human mortal life.

We’ve all been around those who manifest spiritual consciousness. We even experience spiritual consciousness, but the human mind will throw a hard ball, or feed us something that makes us choke and gag and forget our spiritual state, until we realize what we are choking on is like ice-cream. It melts. Who we are not, melts. As we realize who we are not, spit it out or swallow it and let it come out the other end. Don’t hold on to it.

And, answer the question Who am I, with, I am whole, I am spiritually the same yesterday, today, and forever.

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One thought on “Sermon I Delivered at Unitarian Universalist Society 11/26/12

  1. Rob Nuttall December 4, 2012 at 11:57 am Reply

    “I am conscious of colorful love” – I love that thought.

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