On February 27th I was honored to become an ordained Awakening Together Minister. My certificate says that I completed 72 weeks of classroom study, and I remember somewhere in that long stretch of weeks that we can get attached to concepts that often lead us astray as we travel our spiritual paths. Before I started the Minister Preparation Program (MPP) my concept of being a minister held that I had to somehow maintain a level of purity in the classical sense of being sinless. As I progressed through the course I often ran up against this concept and felt like an outsider that would eventually be discovered and publically scorned for aspiring to become something that I could never be because of my sinful secrets.
Needless to say, and as a great comfort to me, this concept is gone. Why is it gone? It is gone because I learned from my classmates and our teacher that our feeling of unworthiness is a common core belief we all have, and during those 72 weeks the awakening to our reality dissolves the concepts we held when we entered the program.
Upon my signing up for the program I mentioned to Regina I was not necessarily interested in becoming a minister and I can now see where that resistance came from. Now that I have finished the course I am beginning to feel quite proud of my accomplishment and my new title. I am awakening to the understanding that as I minister I am providing the ministered and myself the opportunity to awaken to our reality. The teacher is also the student.
The Minister Preparation Program is clearly a gift to anyone seeking to come to know themselves and I cannot give enough thanks and kudos to Regina for being the instrument that brought this program to fruition. It was extremely interesting, educational, and deeply spiritual.
Have I reached the pinnacle of purity? Hardly. Even as I seek to allow these words to flow from spirit I sit in the suffering of this physical body. Even as I have experienced overwhelming emotions of love during the 72 weeks, I still experience suffering from this defective sack of skin and bones. I have highs and lows, the highs coming from guiding people to the truth of their being to the lows of the constant reminder of physical suffering. Who, therefore is the minister? Can I be both a minister of truth and a suffering human being? Only if I maintain my belief I am this body. It is of course not enough to adopt the belief we are not this body, but quite another to come to know this.
There are more than a few of us that entered the MPP with physical defects that we live with daily or moment to moment. It is probably why we are on this spiritual path as we seek relief from our suffering. All of us come to the realization that books, words on paper, hours of classroom, do not alleviate us from this suffering and we often grow despondent. Where is our refuge, our relief, our healing that is promised if we simply forgive? Our healing comes from our ministering to others, our service to others, which leads us away from self to knowing Self. I know this to be true because when I am in service to others I feel only joy, and when I am not, I feel only suffering.
Be a minister to yourself first and then you will become a true minister to others.