We started off Poetry and Prayers of Unity with Unity’s best-known poet, James Dillet Freeman. This week’s poems were “God Bless your Birthday,” as a member celebrated her birthday, “How do I find what Life’s About?” and the classic “I Am There.”
James Dillet Freeman Biography
This link will take you to a PDF document of a Unity publication called Music of the Soul. You will need Adobe Reader or another PDF-accessible program to read it. Music of the Soul
“God Bless your Birthday” – Contemplation Questions
After reading “God Bless your Birthday” in Music of the Soul, think about your own answers to these questions.
1. Would you send this poem to someone you love, without altering it? Is there anything here you would not wish for someone?
2. Do you see any references to getting old, giving up, negative changes, etc?
3. What feeling do you have when reading this poem?
4. Would you like to receive this poem on your birthday? How would you feel after receiving it? What would you do as a result of that feeling?
5. Do any words or lines stand out to you in this poem? For me especially “smilestone in eternity>’
“How do I find what Life’s About?” – Contemplation Questions
Find this poem on Jim’s bio page, linked above. After reading it, think about your answers to these questions.
1. Did you sense the meaning right away, or did you get carried away by the rhythm and rhyme of the poem?
2. What could you “venture farther out” from?
3. What do we often do when “something in me is not content”? I.e. suppress it, think something is wrong, etc?
4. Is something wrong when something in us isn’t content? Do we have a right to follow it and see where it leads?
5. What does it mean to you to hear “Something affirms that I am meant for more?” How do you feel knowing, or trying on the belief, that this is true?
6. How can we “fly?” What does it mean to you to fly in life?
7. Do you feel that “venture farther out” from line 2, and “going beyond the edge of things” from line 7, are related? How so? Or why not?
8. A basic metaphysical principle is in the lines about wings. Think about what it means to you, to have wings “being mainly in the mind.”
9. What “more” can be found in you, from the last line?
I Am There – Contemplation Questions
Read this poem on Jim’s bio page above, or the Prayer section of www.unity.org.
This is one of the most powerful metaphysical poems I’ve ever read. And it’s not just me! 🙂 This poem has been left on the moon, distributed through publications and on CD through Unity, and read by billions of people. Inspiring, comforting and meditative, I ask that you meditate on “I Am There” if you feel lead.
1. What is the “I am” in this poem?
2. How do you feel knowing that an invisible power sees, hears and feels through you?
3. What is the “self” we must get beyond, and later “get yourself out of the way,” in order to know the “I am?”
4. How can we know this presence?
5. Even in denial, fears, pain, loneliness and lack of prayer – this presence is there. Knowing this presence is only good, how does that make you feel?
6. Why do you think the presence has faith in us? To me, it is because we are its creations, and Spirit/God/Universe would not create something unless it knew that creation was good. I.e. all creations are good because they all come from and are made of the presence. Therefore, Presence must have faith in us. What an affirmation: God has faith in me!
7. Just an observation… How powerful to be called Spirit’s beloved! Who says that…? We get honey, sweetheart, love, dear, blah blah blah… And from other people. But to be the Beloved of the Universe? And not just be it, because you are, but when you truly feel that… Now there’s a partner!
This poem, to me, is an intellectual exercise. I don’t know what James Dillet Freeman thought when he wrote it. Technically, it could have ended at the beginning: “Do you need Me? I am there.” End of story.
But because we have a personal/ego mind that holds onto things, gets obsessive at times, and needs to be convinced, Freeman goes on. He offers so many affirmations, aspects and descriptions of the I Am, that by the end of the poem, your “logical” conscious mind can’t help but be convinced that, yes, this is Truth. This is why I highly recommend meditating on this poem!
We had a lot of great discussion on all 3 of these poems! I tried here to offer the basics of that. However, as I said in class, especially with “I Am There,” we need to experience God ourselves. Others can, as I intend to, hold the space and know others’ good. However, getting your own personal feeling of God, when you can know, with or without words, that “This” is the Presence, that’s what I believe metaphysics is about. Not intellectual understanding, etc, but about feeling, and thereby experiencing a better life, because you know God.
If you have any comments, questions or other feedback, please send a message using the contact page. Thank you for participating!