Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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Paulo's version of mind over matter is fairly direct.  If you believe you can overcome the physical obstacle you will.  His example is the bending of an iron bar.  If viewed as heavy and forbidding , it will over come the mind.  If the mind realizes that as pressure is applied to the bar in an effort to bend it, it will initially resist the change in form.  As the pressure is continued in the effort to bend the bar, the metal begins to gain heat from the action of stress.  As the metal bar heats, it will begin to soften and then begin to conform to the pressure applied. Continued pressure equates to an increase in heat and softening of the metal, with the original goal of having the bar conform to the minds desired shape.  With continued applied pressure the creation of the desired shape takes place.  In the area of matter over mind, If one decides that the difficulty of overcoming the obstacle is beyond their belief in over coming, then only failure will follow, with all it's mental and emotional ramifications.  the end result is a guarantee of failure.

What I gained in the concept of mind over matter is not all that different in concept.  In my case the matter is the false apparition of the limits and denials projected of the physical world.  This is not to say that I can jump off the top of a tall building and not suffer the consequences of my actions, as gravity is not a false apparition.  The limits we place on ourselves in relation to the physical world and interaction within its natural realms are the ones I speak of.  To use myself as an example an example, I am a survivor of horrendous brutality, and for many decades was a victim who was to be held to blame for what had happened and that in self perception was no different than my tormentors.  Fully convincing my self the the true nature of others was base, self-serving and vile, regardless of how they acted.  When I began to develop a new world view, I found myself seeing miracles in the smallest and most mundane of things.  The tenacity and resilience of the weed that I constantly battled with,  the return of each season and the beauty which each in turn holds, and the innate good heart and love of most people.  Mind over matter was not a choice of what to pick and choose from. good or evil, it became the journey of embarrassing the joy of life and the joy of helping others to find their own path to truth.  It is a journey where I constantly must look beyond the "limits" imposed by my being encumbered with sever mental illness, and realize the only limits are the ones I impose upon myself.  I was told that I could never work again.  So, instead I hold one unpaid elected office and eight other volunteer positions.  On the other hand.....   Matter over mind, I will speak for me only.  It is so very easy to surrender to defeat and allow my fears of people, places, things and the physical world in general drown out the life in my soul and smother my connection to our great creator. The two choices in essence are either to believe in mind over matter and travel the journey I take regardless of the challenges I will overcome, or accepting the choice of matter over mind the allow the self-destruction of my very being to take place.

You ask what grievances that I still hold against myself.  There are to many to share within one simple writing.  The clearest is not the worst by any means...  During times of "armed conflict" you at times have the ability to make a decision as if it is necessary to take life.  I made the decision , not based on need but based on cold twisted reasoning.  I took the life from two people that I did not have to for reasons that are beyond reason themselves.  When you live with the rage of a storm consuming your whole essence, then the outcome is of almost any action will be inhuman.  The major grievances that I hold to myself is the projection and fantasizing of doing to others what was wrote upon me as a small child and throughout my life.  I am in a lifelong battle against this illness and do fear that some day I may be so horrid as to act out my own life's experiences acting upon another.  I have been in psychotherapy for over a score of years and this is what keeps me grounded and in check.  I use twenty six separate psychoactive medications per day, prayer, and have the most wonderful help of my counselors and doctors .  They give me someone to trust in to some degree, and help me keep my head screwed on straight.  I gravely doubt that I would ever act out, yet if the fantasy can be there, I see it as a short trip to becoming one of the vile ones that  have peppered my life.

How do I deserve the punishment placed upon myself?  Simply put, it works as a preventative countermeasure.

In the way of blessings, that is easy, my life experience has made me more respectful of all who have suffered at the hands of others whether it was by individual act or institutionalized sicknesses such as hate based beliefs.  I am able to be comfortable with all socio-ethnic and racial groups, as I most personal and brutally understand what it is to be the outsider, the reject for the sake of just existing.

The blessings have given me the ability to since another's suffering and not just at a level of "oh, you look like you feel bad", but at a much deeper level where I know not only the pain they feel, I can since the cause of it,  for what reasons I do not comprehend. Seeing the cause of the pain I am often able speak directly to them about it without being offrontive.   One example of many was when I was in NASAP in San Diego at Mirmar Naval AirSAtation due to a compulsive-addiction  problem on my own.  There were several instances in which I could fell the pain of another and would know why it was there, this is but one.  A young marine was not doing well in the program and holding back from going to the point of her pain and dealing with it so that she could move on with her life.  We were sitting in the smoking room where men and women could meet and talk late at night when sleep would not come.  We. both were regulars.  One night it was just the two of us and I asked her point blank, why she did not want talk about the sexual abuse she had endured, rape.   What we talked about that quiet nite will always remain between the two of us.  The point being, that she did bring up her anguish to her counselor and group, began to leave her undeserved self guilt behind and was able to finally move on with her life, receiving the help she so richly deserved.  As she got ready to leave our community she turned to me, gave me a big grin and said "I Love You and then blushing, said but not in that way!"   This kind of making contact had happened many times before, and has happened many times since.  I also have moved on, and through my meeting these people and sharing a small bit of their lives I gained the strength to face my own mental illness.  I see myself at the weak link that came along at the right time to join up with another and find mutual strength between us to overcome what what must be met that day.

Rev. Jim


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