This coming Sunday is New Year’s Eve, officially marking the end of UCOH’s “Year Of Transformation.” As a spiritual community, we experienced a major transition, saying good-bye to Rev. Steve Bolen, our beloved retiring Senior Minister for the past 10 years and saying hello to Revs. Brian and Kristen Grandon, our new, dynamic duo, Senior Co-Minister team who will lead the UCOH community into the future.
Also on New Year’s Eve evening, the UCOH community will be saying goodbye to 2017, and hello to 2018, at the annual Burning Bowl service, one of our most popular events every single year. The Burning Bowl service is a powerful, transformative experience, that presents each one of us with an opportunity to express the creative power of renunciation, together with our spiritual family in a communal experience.
Saying No, To Say Yes!
Through the simple act of writing down anything we desire to release on a piece of flash paper, then ceremonially throwing it into the fire of a burning bowl, we symbolically renounce, release and eliminate that which may be limiting our highest good. The Burning Bowl service uses the elemental, purifying power of fire as an expression of renunciation. Unity co-founder Charles Fillmore acknowledged renunciation as one of the “twelve powers” enthroned in humankind. Our “twelve powers,” or creative faculties, are intended to facilitate our spiritual development.
The Burning Bowl service is also a way for us to acknowledge changes we may be experiencing in our own lives, and then consciously engaging them in order to facilitate our own transformation. It is a way for us to cleanse the spiritual palate, so to speak, so that we may clarify our intentions and recalibrate our vision for the new year. The power of renunciation empowers us to say no to that which limits our experience, so that we can say yes to that which expands and transforms it.
Renouncing Resistance, Engaging Transformation
As I wrote here recently, change is inevitable. In truth, it is perpetual, the only true constant in the universe. Changes are always changing, but that does not automatically mean we are being transformed by them. Change may be inevitable, transformation is not. As we engage the need for changes in our lives in order to transform our experience, encountering resistance is inevitable. But, resistance can easily be overcome through the correct use of denials and renunciation.
In his metaphysical classic, The Twelve Powers, Charles Fillmore placed the energy center for the power of renunciation in the lower intestinal area of the body’s digestive system, symbolically representing the natural capacity of our bodies to eliminate waste and toxins. Just as our body naturally eliminates that which is no longer serving its nutritional needs, the power of renunciation enables us to eliminate anything in our consciousness that is not serving our spiritual needs. Simply put, we renounce resistance to engage transformation.
The Burning Bowl service experientially offers an opportunity to achieve this end. Through the fire of renunciation, we release the past, to reveal the newly born present moment, and the creative power it holds to manifest a dynamic new future. If we wish to embrace the transformative possibilities that change represents, we must say no to the past, to say yes to the new future.
Saying No To Change Is Saying Yes To Resistance.
Life’s persistent invitation to change inevitably creates the experience of resistance in our consciousness. There is a natural human tendency to resist changes, before we become willing to move through them. However, from time to time, many of us get stuck right there in that moment of fear, resisting the transformation that the changes are calling us toward.
If we are saying “no” to the changes, we are actually saying “yes” to the resistance. Persisting in our resistance keeps us saying “no” to the creative potential of a new, transformative future. In such circumstances, we are misusing or misdirecting the power of renunciation. We are saying “no” to the changes, and to the new future. Every time we say “no” to something, we say “yes” to something else. If we say “no” to the future, we say “yes” to being stuck in the present to a past that does not exist.
Change Is Inevitable. Resistance Is Optional.
The good news is the power of renunciation empowers us to flip the script. Instead, we can say “no” to the resistance to change and “yes” to the new future. We already know there’s nothing really behind us, except as we may imagine it to be. The future is ours to write any way we wish. But we have to be willing to say “no” to anything that blocks us from moving forward, anything that impedes us from saying “yes” to the fullest expression of our spiritual and creative potential.
The choice is always ours. We are free to stay as stuck as we want for as long as we desire, even unto the end of our lives if we so choose. However, when we grow weary of being stuck, when we get sick and tired of being sick and tired of the same old, same old, the power of renunciation is right there waiting to empower us to begin again. This New Year’s Eve, use the Burning Bowl service as a sacred ceremony that empowers you to release the past, and to create a new, dynamic future in 2018.