The old axiom, “If you don’t like St. Louis weather, just stick around and it will change” proved true in mid-May. One day we were enjoying temperatures in the 50’s — and the next day it was almost 90 degrees, sending most of us rushing to our thermostats to turn on our air conditioners. We like to be comfortable! And scientists tell us that it will only be a matter of time before we are all wearing smart, thermo-regulated clothing that can help us feel cool and comfortable all day long!
We may be getting better at controlling the climate in our outer world, but we seem less successful controlling our internal guidance system! In Letter from the Birmingham Jail , Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made the distinction between being a thermometer or a thermostat. A thermometer is a reactionary instrument that reads and reflects the outer environment. It doesn’t change the temperature; it is designed to be influenced by it. In contrast, a thermostat sets the desired temperature without regard to the current environment. It doesn’t react; it regulates. So, the question for each of us is, “Am I a thermometer or a thermostat?”
Too often we seem to be thermometers, reading and reacting to outside stimuli. If someone asks, “How do you feel today?” we might say, “I don’t know. I have to check the weather forecast, the stock market and/or the traffic report.” Or, “I have to see what my partner’s mood is, or wait until I get to work to see how my boss treats me.” In this consciousness we become happy, sad, fearful, or angry based on what others do and say. And sometimes we hear people say, “He made me SO mad” or “She really upset me.” The truth is no one can affect our mood without our consent! Unity legend Reverend Eric Butterworth wrote, “No one ever makes you mad. No one gets you upset. You are upset because you are ‘up-set-able.’”
When we choose to live as thermostats, we take our cues from our internal guidance system. We control the climate wherever we are. When a friend or colleague hurls hurtful comments at us, we refuse to take them personally. When someone is unkind or angry, we respond with love. When chaos surrounds us, we respond with peace.
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us, “ But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also.” Metaphysically turning the other cheek means turning our pivotal souls away from negativity and hurt to a higher form of energy. Aligned in the peace of the indwelling Christ, we control the climate. And our positive energy goes out into the world and does its mighty work – establishing harmony and joy. So, through the hot St. Louis summer, let’s all set the intention to be thermostats.