Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Self-Awareness Allows Us to Become Conscious"

Rev. Theodore (Ted) Nottingham
In a timely, yet timeless, message, aimed at those of us struggling with the reality of difficult times, Pastor Ted Nottingham of Indianapolis' Northwood Christian Church, a prolific author and inspired teacher, asks: "(H)ow can we apply in a practical way the great teachings of spiritual masters throughout the ages to the here and now, to this 21st-century malaise, this troubled living that so many of us are in and (can) seem to find no way out of?"

Reverend Nottingham, one of the most informed and transformative voices in America's religious life, draws on the vast teachings of the Orthodox Church and its great spiritual teachers, as well as other esoteric wisdom traditions, to inform his brand of enlightened Christianity, a brand of faith based on the vast untapped, and perhaps unknown, potential of the individual.

"Self-awareness," says Nottingham "allows us to become conscious of who we are in the midst of our external circumstances. Because just by that separation of attention of yourself and the external world, you begin to pull back some of that energy and attention caught up in the struggles of the outer life."

"Through self-awareness," he says, "you are calling yourself home, you are coming back into yourself in a place that is, in some ways, beyond time." The timelessness of the Eternal or Spiritual, being, of course, at the heart of all the world's great religious and wisdom traditions, and it is the essential teaching of Christ's message that Nottingham continually brings home to his audience

"God or Spirit," doesn't just drop into our existence," he notes. Indeed, he points out, "we have to reach up to it metaphorically through consciousnsess, through expanded awareness."

"Most of us," he rightly observes, "are tunnel visioned, funnel-visioned, hypnotized by the outside world, and therefore full of fears (and) full of helplessness, really, in this global meltdown."

"The kingdom of God cometh not with
observation: Neither shall they say,
Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold,
the kindgdom of God is within you."

-- Luke 17: 20-21 --

"My suggestion to you," he advises, "is to separate out, where you can find some peace within that is not completely flooded by the tsunami of the outside world. And from that first step into a place of peace, you can expand into (a) spiritual awareness which give us strength and courage that we knew not that we had; that gives us hope when there seems to be no hope around, (and) the courage to make it through another day."

"This teaching of detachment, he observes, "of recollection, of mindfulness, of remembering the deeper self, all place us in a new relationship to our circumstances."

"Let (these) be teachings for you now in this hard time," Nottingham urges. "Find that peace that you can't find any place else; find that strength that is your spiritual self and ability of your true identity; and, with God's help, may you find your way through these difficult times."

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