By Janis Fontaine
Do you think of God every time you open your purse or wallet, enter an ATM or use your credit card online? Is it a prayer that the transaction goes through? Do you feel sick to your stomach or have a tension headache because you and money aren’t getting along?
The Rev. Gregory Barrette, senior minister and chief executive officer of Unity of Delray Beach Church since October, says lots of us have money issues, and some of us have relationships with money that are toxic. Barrette (you can call him Greg) just wrapped up a four-week class in January based upon the best-selling book The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity, by Edwene Gaines.
“Money is like energy,” Barrette says. It goes where it’s directed but if it’s not under control, it can cause chaos.
In some places of worship, the only time people talk about money is when they’re asking for it. Unity’s programs focus on providing practical solutions to real problems.
Barrette also teaches skills like meditation and dream interpretation that can help us find our way. As a teacher, he simplifies the work of theologians and complex thinkers like Eckhart Tolle for the rest of us.
“At Unity, we don’t believe the point is getting people into heaven,” Barrette says. “We want to help people live better now, in this moment. It’s about spiritual growth rather than being ‘saved.’”
Barrette doesn’t mean better as in richer or thinner or even more successful in your career. He means your soul has grown. Soul characteristics are universal: things like honesty, compassion, ethics, gratitude, humility, charity. That’s what our soul aspires to and it’s why, when people are especially wise about spiritual matters and the human condition, we call them “old souls.” They’ve had time to grow.
Barrette says meditation is an important tool that teaches practitioners to go deeper into themselves, “mining the depths of your soul. Meditation is a lot like exercise: Everyone thinks of it a little differently.”
And like exercise, the more you practice the better you get, but you’ve never fully realized your limits. You can always learn more, so Barrette drives a couple of hundred miles twice a month to see his meditation teacher.
Learning and growing spiritually is a process Barrette calls “unfoldment.” Some might call it “enlightenment,” but that sounds like there’s an on-and-off switch — you’re either enlightened or you’re not — whereas our spiritual lives happen on a continuum, expanding and evolving and moving toward perfection.
Perfection isn’t about what you’ve achieved in this life or how perfectly you achieved it, but how much your soul has grown as a result of it. Say you’re rich, but miserly — a real Ebenezer Scrooge! Rather than being visited by three spirits, Barrette says, one way to encourage your soul to grow is to pay attention to your dreams. In dreams, your soul and your subconscious aren’t censored.
They speak to you, often in symbols.
In February, Barrette will teach a workshop with simple instructions to “let your dream symbols speak.”
The process for taking control of your dream life is tailored to each person. And Barrette says anyone can do it.
Everyone has intuition to some degree. Some of us listen better than others, but we’ve all had those “feelings.” When someone sneaks up behind us, but we “feel” them coming, or we’re approaching an intersection and we slow down for no reason and some guy running the red light would have hit us but misses us.
Dreams are little vignettes from our subconscious mind that tell a cryptic story.
Barrette says solutions to our problems are in those symbols if we know how to read them. Barrette will teach a workshop called “Dreams: Letters from God” at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Unity.
“In 90 minutes, I’ll teach participants why they dream and the importance of dreaming, how to remember your dreams and how to interpret them so they can be used to solve problems. The simple, specific technique will allow them to interpret any dream.”
Register for the course by calling Unity at 276-5796, or visit unityofdelraybeach.org. A free-will offering will be taken.
Janis Fontaine writes about people of faith, their congregations, causes and community events. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.