Being an early riser and compulsive spiritual seeker I got up early on Sunday morning to attend a church service at Avery Fisher Hall across the street from our hotel. I think I'd seen a poster or flyer about it in the hotel lobby. It was a service of the Unity Church of New York City.
I was surprised to find that Les Brown was the guest speaker at the service that morning. Les is a perhaps better known as the husband of singer Gladys Knight - but he is a prolific writer and one of the greatest motivational speakers of all time.
Les spoke on the practical spiritual application of Psalm 23 - it was so inspiring!
At the end of his talk he introduced, to an enthusiastic crowd, the spiritual director of Unity New York - Eric Butterworth; Eric was 84 years old at the time, physically old but still nimble of mind (he died two years later).
Eric spoke for about 15 minutes and I wish I could remember what he spoke about. But what I do remember is having the real sense of being in the presence of a spiritual giant. He led a meditation where he asked us to close our eyes and repeat the word "ONE" intentionally and slowly.
I wanted to stay after the service and speak with him - but the crowd was too large and I had other commitments.
After the service I remember rushing to Barnes & Noble on Broadway to buy a copy of his last book; "The Creative Life."
I was profoundly impacted by being in the presence of this man. However, the tragedy of 9/11 happened and I lost my footing a little and began to wander off in search of comfort in more "traditional" approaches to religion where I could "coast" for awhile. 9/11 injured my faith a little - and drove me off course.
It's been almost 16 years since I attended that service - but the subconscious impact of hearing Eric Butterworth is greater than time and even more profound than the words that he spoke on that day.
A few weeks ago, while journaling, I thought about some of the spiritual highlights of my life and the memory of New York 2001 came to mind and I became aware that I had been influenced deeply in my soul by that encounter. So, I began re-reading some books by Eric Butterworth and felt the spiritual warmth that only comes from the deep heartfelt experience of recognizing the truth that already lives within, buried beneath misguided habits and beliefs accumulated over years of institutional interpretation and manipulation.
So....to net this out..... I began to dig out and find all that I could about the principles of New Thought and Religious Science; the roots of Eric Butterworth's teachings.
I stand amazed. After over 45 years of spiritual searching, and thousands of hours reading and researching almost every religion and philosophy under the sun - I have found home.
I researched various New Thought and Religious Science meetings in the area and last weekend I visited the Bodhi Spiritual Center in Chicago. Now, not only have I found home - I've found the local address!!!
I felt welcomed at Bodhi - they teach about practical ways to be like Christ. Not the easy salvation message of the Evangelical community; but the streetwise, all accepting reality of the life and daily living example of Jesus. I'm sure that I'll become a regular at their services. They pray - not the prayers of "sinners." but rather the affirmations of the loved and empowered beloved Children of God.
There is one, ultimate, loving energy that is present in all that exists.And so it is!!!
This blog will be devoted to exploring the practical teachings of New Thought and Religious Science as I apply their principles to my life. Enjoy the ride......I know I will.