08 December, 2015

Once Again Out of Necessity

Dear Dr. Anna Price, Dr. Robert Price, Dr C Wil Mercer, Dr. Durrell Watkins, Mr. Mark Hicks, Rev Sherri James, Dr. (Bishop) Barbara King, Rev Donna Caldwell (aka “Mom”), Tuyet Julie from Facebook Unity Group, and lastly to my beautiful partner in crime Ireene Joanne:

Back in 1999 when I decided to formally train and pursue acting, I made it adamantly clear that my intention was to be an actor; not a singer, not a comedian, not a dancer, but an actor.  It was na├»ve on my part because learning the foundation of each of those other disciplines would augment my skills and craft as an actor.  The last thing I viewed myself as was a writer.  I felt that there were tons of talented playwrights and screenwriters out there to create those wonderful roles to portray and my focus was to develop my acting craft.

A few years passed and out of sheer frustration, I found myself adding “writer” to my title along with “actor.”  One could only audition for the “angry Asian guy, the nerd, the Americanized dutiful son coming out of the closet to immigrants from Asia parents,” and “the villain” for so much.  So I began writing in order to create roles that I personally would’ve loved to audition for.  

I felt compelled out of necessity to hang my shingle out as a writer as well as an actor back in 2001-05 when I became a part of the San Francisco Asian American Theater Company’s New Works Incubator collaborative unit, serving in both capacities. 

Nowadays, I’m beginning to get that same itchy compelling feeling regarding the teaching and ministering of New Thought based Truth.    

I don’t consider myself a minister by any means.  In fact in 1997 I spent my entire summer in Asia with The Salvation Army USA Western Territory Service Corps program.  This was a program where college-aged, early career young adults were assigned to a summertime mission, oftentimes overseas.  A part of the reason for the program is to compel those in the program to consider becoming a Salvation Army Officer (minister) and to undergo their Officers Training Program.  It was during that trip that I concluded that I was nowhere near being such material and for the next two years after Service Corps, I contemplated what to do next in my life.  That’s when I returned to school (California State University, Hayward) to finish my BA in Ethnic Studies and to pursue acting full time after graduation.  

I lived the life of a “true artist” going from one project to the next temp job to the next gig while attempting to remain “faithful to Christ.”  When I say that, I’m talking about the basic evangelical POV with the concept of Original Sin and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I was at one point convinced that I was going in the “right” direction when I was attending a church that was pastored by someone who was trained at the infamous NYC Neighborhood Playhouse (a world famous acting school founded by the legendary acting guru Sanford Meisner) I even attempted to convince myself that I was going in the right direction as I visited various mega churches in Singapore, including City Harvest Church, which has been the center of a recent church scandal.    

When I signed up for a personal development class that came highly recommended by an acting colleague in 2007, my spiritual life started taking drastic and sudden abrupt turns.  Actually my life in general began to take drastic sudden abrupt turns afterwards. 

The further down the personal development rabbit hole I traveled, the more materials from the New Thought Movement I began to study, unaware what New Thought was.  The first “A-ha” moment for me was when I first read Eric Butterworth’s Discover The Power Within You back in 2010-11.  This was a book that to me, reconciled this wedge I felt between my initial beliefs in Evangelical Christianity and the personal development courses I underwent from 2007-11. 

Soon afterwards, I dug up an older book I had placed in storage because a Sunday school teacher told me to burn it, and I don’t believe in burning books that people tell me to burn.  Back in 1995 when I began to attend church, I came across a book called Transform Your Life by Dr. Barbara King and was inspired by what I read.  As an appreciation for the mentoring I received from my then Sunday school teacher, I gave him a copy of the book, only to have it returned to me with the “polite suggestion” for me to burn my own copy of the book as it was determined that it was not truly a Christian book per se.  I may not have burned it, but I placed it away from reach over the years both physically and even mentally.  I did not know at that time that both Dr. Barbara King and Eric Butterworth were both part of the same theological/philosophical vein. 

If there were such a thing as “geeking-out on New Thought,” that would’ve been perhaps the most accurate description of me especially after May 2011 when I officially left the mainstream (Evangelical) Christian church and began attending New Thought based CENTERS.  While clearing out my apartment recently, I must’ve came across as least $8-10K worth of books and home-study courses on New Thought, meditation, and law of attraction.  Unfortunately, “geeking-out on New Thought” does not necessarily guarantee a healthy return on investment from all those courses and books, in-person courses, and tithes.  Nevertheless I continued to explore the possibility of creating a teaching/facilitating forum in Singapore and inquired about formal advanced teaching through Unity School of Christianity only to find out that they were no longer Unity School of Christianity.  The academic dean at that time inquired about my interest via email and I explained to him that I was interested in helping plant Practical Christian churches in Southeast Asia particularly in Singapore.  His response was that they were no longer Unity School of Practical Christianity, that they discontinued the Masters of Religious Studies program I was inquiring about, and was I aware that Seicho No Ie is based out of Japan?  Because of the bizarre last reply, I decided to hold off on looking for another place to pursue advanced studies in New Thought. 

If there ever was a “bottom” from geeking out in New Thought, it’d probably was back in the fall of 2013 while receiving a free meal from the local foodbank with a Joseph Murphy prosperity book in tow.  From that point until now things have finally turned around.  Slowly but surely I’ve had meals to thank God for, a return to full-time employment in 2014, prayer chaplaincy in 2014 with my local Unity church, a trip to Manila in 2015, and lastly, my new bride in November 2015.  Though there were numerous spiritual panic and frustration moments, I can now savor situations to be thankful for. (Although truthfully even in the panic moments are there lots of things to be thankful for) 

Eventually, I contacted the Fillmore College, (Run by Dr. Charlie Smith), Barbara L King School of Ministry, Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary, and the Samaritan Institute of Sunshine Cathedral where I’ve had the privilege of taking courses from both JCTS with Dr. Robert Price and Samaritan Institute with Dr. Durrell Watkins. 

My wife grew up Catholic and I’ve been very thankful that she has a very open heart and mind.  She became very active with my Unity church the moment she stepped through the doors.  She asks a lot of questions about what the teachings are and where in the Bible was it based off of.  The more we discussed, the more I see the urgency for this teaching to continue to grow in Southeast Asia.  Hence why again that gnawing inside is urging me on continuing the route to further my studies and plant and grow the movement there.  When I visited her and her family in Manila back in February 2015, I was unable to connect with the Unity center there because of the travelling distance between the center and where I was staying. I know that counties like the Philippines and Singapore would gravitate towards the New Thought teachings. 

But my wanting to spread the teachings of New Thought isn’t so much a Southeast Asian thing.  As I type this, we are now recovering from the aftermath of the shooting that took place in San Bernadino, California which was a month after another mass killing episode in Paris, France.  People from polarized sides are coming out of the woodwork debating about what can be the solution to all of this carnage.  For those of us in the New Thought arena, I present a “what if” scenario:

What if the teachings of New Thought regarding accepting personal responsibility in both thought and actions became common knowledge amongst the entire world population instead of it being some sort of debated theory, that the vast majority of humanity (70% or highter)knew and believed in assuming self-responsibility for their thought and actions? Would that and could that have made a difference in either of the two incidents?  Would either of the incident have even taken place in the first place under such a premise? 

So you could see the importance of why the teaching of New Thought should be spread, not so much as some sort of religious revival, but as a means to empower people with tools in order to cope, deal, and thrive with life in general.  The collective consciousness of humanity currently operates out of a premise of scarcity when in Truth, abundance abounds.  Even personally I have a struggle to remind myself in the Truth of abundance as demonstrated with my food bank visit a couple of years back.  It’d sure would be easier to be reminded if more people were around to remind me, and that’s the thing about spreading the teachings.  The more people learn about what is taught in New Thought, the larger pool of support you, me, us are surrounded with. 

Here’s the deal with the current world situation.  Nothing that the mediots (media+idiots) present to the public will ever go away whether they’d be news of the dismal state of affairs or the corresponding polarized suggested solutions.  We as metaphysicians know it’s an “inside job.”  I’ve shared this on one of my assignment submitted with Dr. Durrell Watkins:

"This is not a humanity problem per se, this is a Divinity problem. The root cause of all the problems we’re currently observing is that we created a world where we choose not to acknowledge one another's humanity within a Universe that created, designed, and wired us to affirm our Divinity."

Let that sink in for a bit.  In a Universe where we’re created in the image and likeness of our Creator, we created a world that doesn’t even acknowledge each other’s humanity, let alone our Divinity.  We’ve created this artificial pecking order on who’s entitled to this artificially scarce resources while treating and reacting to each other accordingly.  

So again I present this scenario: if we have more of our population aware of an abundant universe while tapping into this Divine consciousness, honoring each other’s humanity AND Divinity, while accepting full responsibility for our thoughts and actions, how much different would everything be? 

So how’ bout it…who’s with me in stepping up and spreading the tools to uncover our Divine self?  We’re told to visualize the end result.  What is the end result that you see of what I proposed?  Is it possible?  Then can we start?  What about now?

Who's down?