Show leadership through love

Not long ago, after service on Sunday, I came across two women who were engaged in a verbal battle and a physical tug of war over a coat.
One woman was insisting that the other had her coat while the other woman was accusing her of trying to steal hers. The exchange became very heated while all other conversations in the hall came to a halt.
Being close to the activity, I managed to step between them and say, “Ladies, may I suggest another alternative?”
They both looked at me as if I were from another planet. But that did manage to bring the argument to a stop.
At that moment another woman walked into the hall and announced to her friend in a loud voice, “I just realized that I walked out with the wrong coat on.” It was an exact duplicate of the one that was being argued over.
Both women had been incorrect in their arguments. The first woman did not have the second’s coat and the second woman was not trying to steal the first’s coat, she just mistook it for her own.
The more right we think we are the more wrong we become. “If anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well.” Matthew 5:40.
This year my teaching and learning focus has been on The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapters 5 – 7, which is organized around the Beatitudes: eight statements or Attitudes of Being that begin the Sermon and form an index or table of contents for the remainder of the Sermon.
Each Attitude has its parallel in the Eight Limbs of Raja Yoga and the Eight Fold Buddha’s Path; this points to the universal nature of these core teachings of Jesus.
This month I have been working with the sixth statement, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
This is an attitude of focused faith, a consciousness of God alone as the only real presence and power. All else are false appearances, illusion, unreal projections of error consciousness.
As one of my teachers, Yogi Bhajan, would say, “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.” God is creator and creation.
Everything is an expression of God, an expression of love. Sometimes a dark, ignorant and polluted expression, but it is an expression of God nonetheless. When we can see past the darkness to see the light and to be the light, then we are beginning to see God.
Civic, political and religious leaders plus other significant people in our lives who focus on the darkness are missing the mark and leading their friends and followers astray.
They tend to use guilt and fear, which are powerful motivators, to control and manipulate others.
Guilt and fear are legitimate emotions that can serve as sign posts for our own journey; we can use them to correct our own thoughts, words and actions; they are internal feedback that we are not seeing rightly, for when we see God in all there is no need for guilt or fear. In Islam this is the Great Jihad, or spiritual struggle, to purify ourselves.
To be pure is to filter out all the impurities that have adulterated our minds, our thoughts and feelings, our inner most being: our heart.
When we come from a place of love, an awareness of the presence and power of God in all, then our hearts are pure.
We can begin by practicing the presence of God, rather than the apparent absence. When we focus on worldly things, the darkness, God appears to be absent from our sight.
When we focus on the Divine within all, the light, God’s presence makes itself known in our sight.
This is our opportunity to “Be perfect (complete, healed, whole,) therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
Blessings of peace, joy & love. Rev. Matthew E. Long, Peace Unity Community.

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