It's a Matter of Choice

April 2009

Rev. Duke Tufty

Duke Tufty speaks on teachings of Jesus and spiritual awareness
Born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Duke Tufty graduated from ministerial school at Unity Village in 1989 and became the associate minister to Rosemary Fillmore Rhea at The Myrtle Fillmore Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Presently, Rev. Tufty serves both as senior minister at Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City and chairperson of the Board of Directors of Unity School of Christianity.

Many years ago I found myself besieged with problems, challenges, and setbacks from a wide variety of sources. Some of the circumstances were outside my realm of control, and others were directly caused by misjudgment on my part. During that time I felt as if I had wandered into the “valley of the shadows,” and the smallest light of hope was nowhere to be seen. Life lost its luster; the beauty of nature became tarnished; and any sense of satisfaction and fulfillment vanished. It was a difficult period in my life.

As time went by, the difficult circumstances worked themselves out, and I slowly returned to a more pleasant life. As I reflected back on the dark and dismal time, it became apparent that I needed to make some changes to avoid that type of experience in the future.

A clear and objective assessment of my part in causing the problems was necessary—so I wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes again. Upon reflection, I realized that most of the negative feelings I experienced were the result of my reaction to what was taking place and that I had to rise above that way of thinking. It became apparent that, in order to avoid certain mistakes and reactions in the future, I had to bring my thoughts to higher levels of spiritual awareness.

A Higher Consciousness

The principle of ascension was the most relevant point of Jesus’ message. His entire ministry focused on inspiring people to ascend to a higher level of conscious awareness. He encouraged those who were suffering from feelings of unworthiness to see themselves differently, for He knew they were good by nature and the essence of their being was goodness.

Jesus inspired those who were down­trodden with heavy burdens to stand tall and walk confidently. He assured them that they had all they needed to make it through difficult times.

Jesus encouraged those who had suffered a great loss and were grieving the death of a loved one to realize there is no separation in Spirit. In time, their loved one would be reunited with them, but first they had a life to live here and now. And that life could be lived fully.

Jesus ministered to those who were filled with great remorse from an incident of the past or who were paralyzed by fear over what might happen in the future. He called them to rise above those thoughts and reflect on the good that abounds in the present moment.

Jesus’ message to the people of His time is just as alive and pertinent for us today.

Making a Choice

See yourself in the light of truth and know that you are much more than you think you are. See the world in this way too, and in so doing, the relationships, situations, and circumstances you engage in will be more meaningful to you. There is a higher awareness, a spiritual awareness, within you and available to you.

When you utilize your spiritual awareness, you will experience less suffering, anger, disharmony, and fear. It’s all a matter of the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and perceptions you draw on to define what is happening in your life. You have the power to choose the thoughts that define the activities of your life.

This is especially important when it comes to relationships. Eighty-five percent of all the joy, love, and happiness we experience is the result of the relationships we have with other people. Unfortunately the same is true for all the anger, distress, and disturbance we experience.

Jesus taught us—no matter how great or small the relationship—to treat others as we want them to treat us. It only makes sense for us to put into our relationships what we would like to receive back from them. When we do this, we discover the power we have to ascend to a higher level of spiritual consciousness and transform every relationship into one of peace and harmony.

Life can be challenging at times; there is no doubt about that. However, even in the midst of the darkest of times, we have the power to choose the effect the situation has on us and determine how we are going to respond.

Jesus made it very clear that He was the example and not the exception. The peaceful, loving, and harmonious approach He took toward life can be taken by others as well. That includes you and me. All we have to do is choose it.