LET LOVE SHINE FORTH
"What would I love?" is our theme question for the month, and each week this month we have focused on the idea of living a life we love and loving the life we live. We have done this is a variety of ways and today, this last day of our series, we are going to "Let Love Shine Forth."
Because as we let love shine forth, we not only experience a life we love living, but we attune our hearts to the Divine Heart and feel God's never-ceasing Love in, through, as and around us.
And speaking of the Divine Heart - David McArthur is giving an all-day Heart Math seminar on March 7 from 9-4:30 at Unity in Walnut Creek. This is an opportunity that won't come around again any time soon - so get up there and learn the Heart Math techniques, you will thank yourself for having done so.
I love the opening song. It's entitled "May I Suggest."
"May I suggest - May I suggest to you
May I suggest this is the best part of your life
May I suggest - This time is blessed for you
This time is blessed and shining almost blinding bright
Just turn your head - And you'll begin to see
The thousand reasons that were just beyond your sight
The reasons why - Why I suggest to you
Why I suggest this is the best part of your life."a
I love the line, "This time is blessed and shining almost blinding bright." How perfect for our theme today and most definitely true when we let Love Shine Forth!!
So I want to spend our time together today:
1. Looking at three ways we can Let Love Shine Forth,
2. Giving you a brief example of someone doing this in a most unlikely place,
3. Ending with an incredible writing from Ken Wilber, a modern-day philosopher and mystic, that deeply moved me and is a perfect way to end our morning of Letting Love Shine Forth and our month of loving life.
OPENING THE FOUNTAINHEAD
Charles Fillmore, Talks on Truth, wrote: "Love is in the world in a diluted form as affection between husband and wife, parents and children, friend and friend, but it can be made manifest in its original strength and purity by each man and woman's opening the fountainhead and letting its mighty currents stream forth."b
I love the idea behind that quote - that love can be made manifest in this world in its original strength and purity when we open the fountainhead and let its mighty currents stream forth. But, that idea begs a question, doesn't it? How, in fact, do we open the fountainhead? What does that even mean?
We probably all have different perceptions of and answers to that question and . . .
Some would say, it takes a lifetime of spiritual practice for us to do that.
Others would say, we have to have a personal, mystical experience of feeling God's Love before we can do that.
And yet others might say, we have to reach spiritual enlightenment before we can do that.
And those who say those things may be correct - they are correct for themselves if they believe in those ways - but I want to suggest it is something you can do today, right here and right now. I want to suggest three tangible, practical ways to open the fountainhead and let the purity and strength of Love's mighty currents stream forth from you - or to let love shine forth!
These three ways were found in an article in the Science of Mind Magazine called "Reviving the Heart of Humanity with a New CPR" by Dennis Merritt Jones, which really inspired me. He writes: "Mending the heart of humanity [for our context, we could say "opening the fountainhead"] sounds like a daunting task, but if we are willing to be proactive and act mindfully, rather than react mindlessly (or hopelessly), it can be revived. We must each become experts at administering spiritual 'CPR' to every person with whom we cross paths on a daily basis. This includes our face-to-face encounters - both intentional and by chance - as well as the countless people we may connect with via the Internet or see on television while watching the world news. Distance does not matter; because we all share the same name - Human beings - we all share the same heart."c
And I want to suggest that when he says: "We must each become experts at administering spiritual 'CPR' to every person with whom we cross paths on a daily basis". . . we must include ourselves in this mix. So, here is the "CPR."
So what exactly is compassion? I like Jones' definition: "Compassion is the capacity to imagine what it must feel like to live in another person's skin and take appropriate action to help alleviate suffering when possible."d
That's a good definition and one that I believe is innate in all life! There was an amazing scientific study done in Canada to see if rats had empathy and compassion for one another - and, my friends, they do!
In this study, some of the rats were caged and others were in a very large enclosure, basically free. Researchers watched what the free rats did for a month's time and found that they kept liberating the caged rats. They figured out how to open the latch and kept letting them out over an entire month, which the researchers said ruled out simple curiosity as a motivation.
What's more, the free rats would liberate the caged rats even when the trapped animals exited into a separate cage, which showed that the free rat wasn't simply seeking the reward of schmoozing with its friend.
The free rats also freed the caged rats even when they had the option of bumping open an identical container and obtaining five chocolate chips for themselves, which showed that their motivation to help was greater than their desire for a tasty treat.e If that quality is innate in rats, then it must be innate in us as well.
I love Ernest Holmes' take on it. In A Holmes Reader on Practical Wisdom: "Compassion and caring are the ties that bind us together in mutual understanding and in the unified attempt to uncover the Divinity in each other. Compassion is the most gentle of all human virtues, for it is the outpouring of the Divine givingness through all."f
Here's a beautiful true story of the power of compassion.
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house rather than try to sell his goods.
However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water.
She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?"
"You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness." He said..... "Then I thank you from my heart."
As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and humanity was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit, but now he was fortified.
Years later that same woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.
Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.
Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. Although she was older, he recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day forward, he gave special attention to the case. After a long struggle, the battle was won.
Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all.
Finally she looked, and something caught in her throat when she read these words..... "Paid in full with one glass of milk." Signed Dr. Howard Kelly
Isn't that a beautiful story of compassion? Too bad it's not entirely true. It's been embellished from the true story to tug at our heart strings. It did, didn't it? But so does the true story!
Here is what is true according to his biography written by Audrey Davis:
"On a walking trip up through Northern Pennsylvania one spring, Kelly stopped by a small farm house for a drink of cool spring water. A little girl answered his knock and instead of water brought him a glass of fresh milk. After a short friendly visit, he went on his way. Some years later, that same girl came to him for an operation. Just before she left for home, her bill was brought into the room and across its face was written in a bold hand, 'Paid in full with one glass of milk.'"
Dr. Kelly was never an impoverished student who had to sell door to door to put himself through medical school. Rather, he was the son of a well-to-do family. On the day described in the "milk" anecdote, he did not find himself with only one thin dime and was hungry. And there is no account that he decided he would ask for a meal at the next house rather than try to sell his goods.
The Davis biography of Dr. Kelly contains no mention of the "glass of milk" girl's being "critically ill," of her local doctors being "baffled," or of her being sent to Baltimore because she had fallen victim to a "rare disease." In fact, nothing is said of her case to indicate that it was at all unusual, or that her life was in any way in jeopardy. Other than for Dr. Kelly's writing off her bill for that long-ago glass of milk, her case was not remarkable in the least.
So why is the true story a story of compassion? Dr. Kelly, in his regular practice, charged significant fees for his work with patients who could afford it, but used those fees to underwrite medical care he provided free-of-charge to the less fortunate.
By his conservative estimate, he neither sought nor received a fee in 75% of his cases. And, for years, he paid the salary of a nurse to visit and care for those of his patients who could not otherwise afford such treatment, providing them with both a doctor and a nurse without charge.
Now I would say that is true, no frills compassion!
Now to the "P" of our CPR. Henry Drummond in The Greatest Thing in the World, commented on the beautiful passage from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13, which you may know, but I will recite anyway:
Love is patient; love is kind;
love is not envious
or boastful or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice in wrongdoing,
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
And now faith, hope, and love abide,
these three; and the greatest of these is love.
About this, Drummond wrote: "Love is Patience. This is the normal attitude of Love; Love passive, Love waiting to begin; not in a hurry; calm; ready to do its work when the summons comes but meantime wearing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Love suffers long; beareth all things; believeth all things; hopeth all things. For Love understands, and therefore waits."g
Opening the fountainhead occurs when we call on Love, which is patiently waiting! We call on Love by realizing and revealing the presence of God in the present moment.
Oh, but how impatient we can be. Waiting for a computer to turn on, waiting for a light to change, waiting for our partner to arrive when he or she is late, waiting for our spiritual growth to show results in the world, and waiting for the world to become a better place! How impatient we can be.
Dennis Merritt Jones writes: "Patience is the ability to breathe and be with what is in the moment, trusting that as we continue to mindfully mend our own hearts one day at a time, the collective heart of humanity is also mending. The practice is to be patient with ourselves and all others, remembering that it can take time to mend a broken heart - especially one that belongs to 7 billion human beings."h
And finally, "R" for Reverence. To practice reverence is to look past the form and see the sacred presence of God in, as, and through all things. To practice reverence is to remember that there really is only One of us here.
Science Of Mind text states: "God in me is unified with God in all . . I am one with all people, with all things, with all life. As I listen in the silence, this voice of all humanity speaks to me and answers the love that I hold out to it . . . I AM ONE WITH LIFE. I wait in the silence while the Great Spirit bears this message to the whole world."i
We don't open the fountainhead by forcing something or someone, even ourselves, to change. It actually comes from revering and loving what is.
We open the fountainhead when we hold for ourselves and others the same awe and appreciation we feel when we look at something beautiful, like a mountain or an ocean, for each of us is beautiful in a profound way.
In the SOM magazine article, Jones wrote: "Contained within the wisdom of this awareness lies the potential for the healing of the heart of humanity. How could we possibly conspire to do harm to another when we see ourselves and the living presence of the Divine in that person?"j
Let me give you a brief real life example of someone combining Compassion, Patience and Reverence to let love shine forth from him. This is a letter from Prison Inmate Leo Wright:
"I'm going to tell you something that I want you to always remember, 'I'm going to make you very proud of me!' Somehow I am going to reach the hearts of every inmate in this place. At least I'm going to die trying. Like Martin Luther King Jr., 'that is my dream.' Though Dr. King phrased it in his famous speech as a "dream," he was really promoting leaving a better world in which everyone was equal and free. How was he able to do this? Simply put, he saw, felt, heard, smelled, lived and breathed a different reality in his mind than most other people at that time. The power of his vision convinced millions of the justness of his cause. So on that same note, I see, feel, hear, smell, live and breathe a different reality in my mind for the people that Society has regarded as unchangeable. Please don't get me wrong, I do understand that Society is not to blame. Most of us made the choice not to choose love over fear. But like I said to you before, I would like to apply for the job of showing these guys that LOVE is the way to freedom!"
Leo has decided to do this by becoming a New Thought Minister while he serves the remaining many years of his sentence.
How might we be like Leo, giving C - Compassion, P - Patience and R - Reverence to the world? In this way, we open up our fountainhead and let Love's mighty currents stream forth from, as, around and through us.
And let us bring our time of "letting love shine forth" to an end with a poem by Ken Wilber. Just close your eyes and let this be your prayer:
"As Plotinus knew: let the world be quiet. Let the heavens and the earth and the seas be still. Let the world be waiting. Let the self-contraction relax into the empty ground of its own awareness, and let it there quietly die. See how Spirit pours through each and every opening in turmoil, and bestows new splendor on the setting Sun and its glorious Earth and all its radiant inhabitants. See the Kosmos dance in Emptiness; see the play of light in all creatures great and small; see finite worlds sing and rejoice in the play of the very Divine, floating on a Glory that renders each transparent, flooded by a Joy that refuses time or terror, that undoes the madness of the loveless self and buries it in splendor.
"Indeed, indeed: let the self-contraction relax into the empty ground of its own awareness, and let it there quietly die. See the Kosmos arise in its place, dancing madly and divine, self-luminous and self-liberating, intoxicated by a Light than never dawns nor ceases. . . .
"Let the ecstasy overflow and outshine the loveless self, . . . and sing . . .triumphantly with Saint Catherine, "My being is God, not by simple participation, but by a true transformation of my being. My me is God!" And let the joy sing with dame julian, "see! i am god! see! i am in all things! see! i do all things!" and let the joy shout with the Zen Master, "This very body is the body of Buddha and this very land the Pure Land!"
"And this Earth becomes a blessed being, and every I becomes a God, and every We becomes God's sincerest worship, and every It becomes God's most gracious temple. . . .
"And I - I rise to taste the dawn, and find that love alone will shine today. And the Shining says: to love it all, and love it madly, and always endlessly, and ever fiercely, to love without choice, and thus enter the All, to love it mindlessly and thus be the All, embracing the only and radiant Divine: now as Emptiness, now as Form, together and forever, the Godless search undone, and love alone will shine today."k
aMay I Suggest by Susan Werner
bCharles Fillmore Talks on Truth, p. 64
cArticle February 2014 Science of Mind Magazine "Reviving the Heart of Humanity with a New CPR" by Religious Science minister and author Dennis Merritt Jones, starting at p. 22
dDennis Merritt Jones
fA Holmes Reader on Practical Wisdom, Ernest Holmes p. 61
gHenry Drummond The Greatest Thing in the World, p. 14
hDennis Merritt Jones
iScience Of Mind Ernest Holmes p. 299
jDennis Merritt Jones