Celebrating a Life Lived for Others

Continuing our series on the importance of sharing your life story, this week calls us to remember a life unlike any other. As the 5th anniversary of Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s ascension or passing into the spiritual world approaches, I want to share with you the dream he dedicated his life to.

I was reminded of his dream the other day, as I listened to Reba McEntire singing “Give the World Back to God.” The words of this song encapsulate much of Rev. Moon’s intention for his life.  Lyrics such as “We can’t live like this, we can’t love like this. We have to give the world back to God” sum up the purpose and energy that shaped his lifelong efforts.

We are all very much aware of the what seems like increasing strife in the world. Whether it be the killing of innocent people, the destruction of love through porn and sex-abuse, or the loss of a vision for peace, justice and unity; we are adrift from the universal ideals we all hold true.  Surrounded by such evils it’s not easy to forgive or believe in the inherent goodness of people. Reba’s lyric, “We’re still worth saving” jumped out at me as something that is true for all people.

God Suffers Along With Us

Rev. Moon, in the course of his life, gave thousands and thousands of sermons and messages – more than anyone else I know. This was because he simply could not do otherwise. He was passionate about liberating the heart of God. When we hear the word “liberation” we immediately think of people around the world who need to be liberated, but who thinks that perhaps God too needs liberating from His suffering. God has been invisibly present in every human tragedy. He has suffered with people in the midst of darkness, seeing things that He never imagined would happen. In moments of suffering we think we are alone but that is not true. God is suffering beside us.

Rev. Moon was awakened to this as a teenager, while praying on a mountainside one Easter morning. Jesus came to him and revealed things about God’s heart that he never heard about in church. No-one talked of the things that Jesus showed him through visions. His life suddenly took on different meaning. He was filled with the desire to restore the dignity of God and humanity. He wanted to give the world back to God, but how to do it?

Rev, Moon spent the next nine years in prayer to understand how to liberate God’s heart. Through his prayer and study, he uncovered many core principles that became central to his teachings throughout his life. For an overview and introduction to these teachings see: Lasting Imprint video series, and other publications here.

In a speech given in 1977, Rev. Moon talked about the state of the world and the task before us, “It’s not easy to restore something to a state better than it was originally.” Anyone who has attempted to restore an old building knows what that is like! But what about people? God must have a dream for his sons and daughters to be restored. He wouldn’t want us to be halfway restored – right? God must want men and women to have dignity and pride in who they are. But to restore something, you have to know what it was meant to look like in the first place, and what went wrong. Then you are in a position to make like new.

Uncovering the Origins of Evil

All cultures have myths about alienation from God or the ideal: an original fall from grace if you like. The pioneering psychologist Carl Jung pointed out common symbols that arise from humankind’s “collective unconscious.” He believed there is a deep knowledge that is common to all cultures and peoples.

Pandora's BoxJung thought we could learn about the collective unconscious by studying the religious and spiritual practices of the world. Through these we can discover what has become a latent memory and uncover the origins of our relational problems.

In his book, Memories and Visions, anthropologist Richard Heinberg said the same:

“People in every culture and age have insisted that evil has a specific cause… that human nature is not natural at all, because it has been distorted by some fundamental mistake or failure that has been perpetuated from generation to generation.”

The field of epigenetics, and particularly behavioral epigenetics, supports the idea that experiences, not just DNA, are handed down generation to generation. Research clearly identifies how the experiences of our ancestors leave their mark on us, even after the experiences themselves have been forgotten.

Dan Hurley, in Trait vs. Fate, published by Discover Magazine explains:

“Like silt deposited on the cogs of a finely tuned machine after the seawater of a tsunami receded, our experiences and those of our forebears are never gone, even if they have been forgotten. They become part of us, a molecular residue, holding fast to our genetic scaffolding. The DNA remains the same, but psychological and behavioral tendencies are inherited. You might have inherited not just your grandmother’s knobby knees, but also her predisposition to depression caused by the neglect she suffered as a newborn.”

Fortunately, Hurley goes on to reassure us,

“Or not. If your grandmother was adopted by nurturing parents, you might enjoy the boost she received thanks to their love and support.”

For good or bad, our bodies and spirits remember. Uncovering the origin of our suffering and healing the wounds epigenetically, and on an even deeper level, spiritually, makes sense.

Secrets within symbols

The question remains: what is that primal corruption of love that religions and myths point to? If love has gone wrong, then how did it go wrong? Every civilization has an origin story, whether it be the Biblical Garden of Eden with the forbidden fruit or Pandora’s Box. They point to the loss of an ideal or struggle within. The name Pandora means “all-giving”. According to the legend, she was the first woman on earth. Her curiosity caused her to open a forbidden box out of which escaped all the evils we experience in the world today. In addition, a Native American myth speaks to how Tepeu and Gucumatz were created of a higher dimension than animals because they could praise their creator but these beings proved unsatisfactory and instead caused trouble on the earth. In a way, all of these stories remind us of the inner struggle we experience in our own lives.

Every world religion describe specific events that disconnected humankind from God. Their stories speak of separation. A lineal thread was broken, setting people adrift from their origin, God.

The conflict within

Rev. Moon spoke of how humankind lost true parental love and couldn’t experience love as God intended. This is the heritage of all civilizations; it is our collective reality.  Ironically, Love is the source of our greatest ideals, hope and joy. Yet when it is misdirected and selfish, love becomes the cause of our greatest unhappiness and pain.

Domestic violence

If everyone wants a love that is unchanging, absolute eternal and unique, then why is it so difficult to achieve? If you think about it, the root of individual and societal problems always boils down to the confusion and breakdown of love within the family. It’s an “always been there” problem, which is why it is so difficult to resolve. The story of Adam and Eve tells us that our first parents lost their original nature and became wounded through selfish and misdirected love. Knowing this, we can start to connect the dots and better understand our inheritance and situation.

Surely, our original nature has no contradiction. Who would create something with an inner contradiction. It doesn’t make sense. Nevertheless, we are burdened by a nature that is not original; a nature with contradiction that creates mind-body disunity and pulls us away from spiritual and emotional health.

We need God’s love

To compensate, we seek love from this wounded place in whatever way we can get it, even when we know deep down that what we are doing is unhealthy and even damaging. With our highest ideals, we seek to be loving and giving, but we cannot control the self-destructive part of ourselves that undermines our intentions and relationships.

Trying to make love work without being connected to the origin of love, God, is like trying to turn on a light bulb without plugging it into the socket. If we want to discover the power to build a love that is unchanging, absolute, eternal and unique, we need a vertical connection to God, the source of true love. Seeking that vertical connection and healing the human soul or psyche has been the quest of all world religions, great thinkers and social innovators. Since we only have one life-time, it is urgent that we find the solution now.

Bridging the gap between God and humanity

Rev and Mrs. Moon have invested their lives in search of God’s heart and a way to bridge the gap between God and humanity.  They have striven to reconnect that lineal thread with God, not just for one religion or people but for everyone. For this purpose, they founded the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

Recognizing that the family is the school of love, and that true parental or unconditional love is what will heal this world, Rev. and Mrs. Moon instituted the Holy Marriage Blessing as an instrument of healing and a means to establish a healthy and even sacred model for love. The Blessing ceremony invokes God’s Blessing on our relationships so that we can be rooted in our original nature – the part of us that is pure and good and true, and from that place create a love that reflects our highest values.

Restoring love as God intended

The Holy Marriage Blessing is a framework to purify the corrupted love that steals people’s lives, and re-establish the foundation to receive God’s original love, life and lineage. Rev. and Mrs. Moon believe that the ultimate purpose of spirituality, religion and faith traditions, as well as the motivation of people of conscience, is to restore truly loving men and women, emotionally and spiritually healthy families and, by extension, a peaceful world. This is what Rev. Moon lived his life for – to restore love as God intended and extend this tradition to the world. Holy Blessing CeremonyFor more information of the Blessing go to www.loveasgodintended.org

Rev. Moon wanted one thing – to create a new tradition of love. That is really the story of his life. He wanted to inherit that tradition to us. He encouraged us:

“The love of God is a moving force. With the love of God, you can cleanse all sins and make yourself whole in the sight of God. Then what is the love of God? It is to love others more than you love yourself. This has been God’s tradition since the very beginning of Creation.  God wanted to love Adam more than He loved Himself. God wanted Adam to love his wife more than he loved himself and Eve to love her husband more than she loved herself. That was the tradition. What we are setting as a tradition today shall remain as a tradition in the future, and this way shall be walked by millions and millions of people in the future.”

Choosing to love and forgive everyday

Last week, a young man contacted me. He works in a very competitive industry. He was struggling with his relationship with his supervisor who was being both unprofessional and just downright mean, creating a toxic work environment.

He asked me how he could respond to this situation. He felt like giving up or retaliating but what good can come of either strategy? I thought about his situation and it struck me – this is why we need a relationship with God. This young man’s struggle is a universal struggle. I have been there – you have been there! There’s only one way out and that is to decide to love anyway. The mantra “Love conquers all” is true! But you can only get to that place by digging deep and connecting to your own original nature – your identity born of the Creator. You have to decide to be a person of love, regardless of what is going on around you. When you do that, you can be happy and maintain an internal equilibrium, regardless of your circumstances.

It’s by connecting to God, and a bigger vision for what life can be like, that we find the power to go beyond our circumstances. Rev Moon shared:

People of the world look down and only see shortsightedly, but we look up with an unlimited vision in front of us. Since we are climbing up, there are a lot of hills to go over and it’s not easy. When you continually go down, however, your sight will be more and more limited until it’s buried in the ground.”

By connecting to a larger vision, we can find the power to go beyond our circumstances and be who we are, which is people of love.

In his poem, Crown of Glory, Rev, Moon explores this very human dilemma and offers a divinely human way out.

Crown of Glory

When I doubt people, I feel pain.
When I judge people, it is unbearable.
When I hate people, there is no value to my existence.

Yet if I believe, I am deceived.
If I love, I am betrayed
Suffering and grieving tonight, my head in my hands.
Am I wrong?

Yes I am wrong.
Even though we are deceived, still believe,
Though we are betrayed, still forgive.
Love completely, even those who hate you.

Wipe your tears away and welcome with a smile
Those who know nothing but deceit,
And those who betray without regret.

O, Master, the pain of loving.
Look at my hands.
Place your hand on my chest.
My heart is bursting, such agony.

But when I love those who acted against me,
I brought victory.
If you have done the same things,
I will give you the Crown of Glory.

 

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