The Practicality of Spirituality: Bless the Elevator
by Eric Hellman
This past month, part of my work has been preparing a talk for a local Unity church. Prompted by an idea from their administrator, I chose to do something on “faith” – a topic I’ve never studied much before.
Listening intently to my intuition for several weeks, it felt as though my topic was to be about “faith and works,” and the importance of seeing results in our lives. And with that direction, I began my research.
Finding the Core Ideas
I first dug into the roots of Unity Church, started by Myrtle and Charles Fillmore in the late 1800s. Myrtle had suffered from tuberculosis (TB) for many years, an illness for which there was no medical cure at the time. However, after hearing a talk about the power of the Divine and something called “affirmative prayer,” Myrtle began to apply these ideas in her life. Over time, she experienced a full recovery from TB. Then others (including her husband) asked her to teach them what she did. They experienced physical healings and positive life changes as well. And this eventually led to the founding of the church.
As part of her learning, Myrtle also studied Christian Science, founded by Mary Baker Eddy. Mrs. Eddy had wrestled with illness for much of her own life and, after exhaustive attempts to find health, began to study and apply Jesus’s teachings about it. She eventually experienced healing herself, and went on to teach many others how to do so and found her own church.
Finally, I read more about “faith and works” in the Bible, to see what I might learn there.
It was fascinating reading, because it took me deeply into what three people – who had all experienced or demonstrated healing – had said or written about it. Each one had focused on three key elements: faith, action and demonstration. That is, putting a core idea or belief into action to see if it brings results. This spoke to me, because it has been my own focus for many years as well: Seeing how we can apply spiritual ideas in practical ways, to bring about ‘healing change’ in our lives, our work and our world.
In one of her writings (Healing Letters), Myrtle described six practices which she found useful for bringing about healing or transformation in her life. One of these she called “Bless the body.” And it was this thought that came to me, in an unusual way, about one week later.
Walking into the lobby of my 26-storey apartment building one day, I saw someone seated in a chair, another standing by the front door, and a third looking up at the lights above our two elevators. As he saw me, the second said: “Sorry, we aren’t going anywhere. The elevators are down again.” Our elevators had been on service or out of commission for much of the Christmas season.
Today, again, nothing was happening. Both the UP and DOWN buttons had been pushed. But with one elevator, which was showing “M” for Main, the door was not opening. And over the other, no floor indicator light was showing at all. The person who’d spoken to me said he’d been waiting for 20 minutes.
As I went to notify the Manager, one person left by the front door, another headed for the stairs, and the third simply sat and waited – unable to walk much at all.
When the manager came out and assessed the situation, he looked rather dejected. Yesterday, there’d been two water leaks in the building. There had been other major issues he’d recently gotten through. He just didn’t need anything else.
Looking at him, I thought: “He doesn’t need one more problem to deal with.” Then moments later, Myrtle Fillmore came to mind: “Bless the body,” I thought. So, as the Manager headed back to his suite to call the repair company, I began to pray.
Having done healing, energy and spiritual work for some years, I combined Myrtle’s thought with others. I blessed the elevators, the building and the manager. I saw this as something in my consciousness that at some level I brought forth (unconsciously); and then began to release it in my thoughts and see/feel it released around me.
For several minutes I stood there, looking inward or upward (at the elevator lights). And when I felt it was enough, I stopped.
A Minute or Two Passed...
All of a sudden, the indicator light went on over the second elevator, while the first elevator went down to the basement. I immediately went to knock on the Manager’s door. Out he came, with phone in hand, talking to the elevator company.
At almost the same moment, a grocery store delivery person came to the front door, with a hand cart piled high with boxes of food for residents. Then the man who’d been sitting all this time got up, as Elevator Number One came back to Main and opened. Not knowing quite what to do or say, the Manager went back to his suite – while the rest of us stepped into the elevator and headed UP.
No elevator repairmen were needed that day, or in the weeks since.
Coincidence? Accident? Or demonstration? Take your pick. But as I sat down in my apartment minutes later, I gave thanks for not having to walk up 17 floors; and for the gift this experience had given the grocery guy (who started his deliveries at the 26th floor), for the Manager, and for the man who couldn’t walk very well.
Thinking about Spirituality Differently
What if we began to look at the idea of “spirituality” in a different way? Not just as something that makes us feel good inside (though that’s important), as something we need to do to be “good” people, or as a religious concept we “should” believe in; but rather, as an awareness within that we are more than just physical beings. What if we saw it as experiences and insights into how consciousness, mind and thought work; and as a body of wisdom about how to use these, to make our lives and our world better?
Perhaps Spirituality is really the “inner” sister of the “outer” Science, whose role it is to help us understand how the material world works. And that those three core insights – faith (or belief), works (or action), plus demonstration (i.e. results) – are actually important in BOTH worlds, for helping us to discover what is ultimately practical for daily living.
We all believe in different things. But don't we all want to know the answer to this question:
How can my thoughts, ideas, hopes and dreams, for a better life, become reality?
- - - - - - - Eric Hellman is a communications and change coach, and the Director of the Centre for Spirituality at Work. For more information, see http://www.erichellman.com or contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org