MASTER'S LEVEL LIVING
This month, our theme is a "Master's Program in Spirituality." Now, in the world of academia, you earn a Master's Degree because you focus in on a particular area of learning or expertise and you master it. And we are looking at a Master's Level of Consciousness, which means to live at the Level of Oneness - more on that in a moment!
Our Master's Program is a short, but powerful, course of study - only five weeks - and if you successfully complete the course, meaning you are here every Sunday and actively engaged in the work as the weeks in between unfold, you will receive a Certificate of Completion in two weeks!
As a reminder, our Master's Program comes from the four levels of consciousness evolution:
* Why Me or Mortal (victim),
* By Me or Metaphysician (through consciousness, I can make it happen),
* Through Me or Mystic ("the Father within doeth the work") and
* As Me or Master (I am one with God)
And as a little heads up, we have identified a fifth level - which we will discuss the last Sunday of the month. So now you really will want to be here, right?!
As a quick review, the first week we took our entrance exam to see where we currently are - realizing that wherever we are in our evolutionary journey is the perfect place to begin our next turn around the spiral of evolution.
Ernest Holmes writes in the Science of Mind: ". . . we can advance only by going from where we are to the place where we would like to be. . . . The way to work is to begin right where we are and, through constantly applying ourselves to the Truth, we gradually increase in wisdom and understanding, for in this way alone will good results be obtained. If day by day we have a greater understanding and a clearer concept, if daily we are realizing more of Truth and applying It in our actions, then we are on the right path and eventually we shall be made free."a
So, it is important to know where we currently are!
Then last week, we explored living from Oneness by listening to Divine Guidance and how we can hone our ability to discern Divine Guidance from ego, fear and other emotions by a three-step process.
* Follow or not follow and then
* Observe the results.
If we do this just a couple of times, we will begin to tell the difference!
And that brings us to today because earning the degree isn't what matters. What really matters is that we operate at Master's Level Living, meaning we take the spiritual principles we've learned in our Master's program and we apply them in our lives.
If we were to ask the average person on the street what Master's Level Living is, they might tell us that it means we've mastered the ability to have things! In fact, the world would tell us that success is based on what we have. But that's the very lowest rung of mastery, not because there's anything wrong with having, but because if all we do is have, we quickly find that that is very empty and meaningless. We really can't have enough stuff to bring true joy and meaning.
Another rung on the ladder of Mastery might be to be a master in what we do or have done. This too is fine, but can be empty, especially when we no longer do what we did that gave life meaning! Just talk to some, not all, but some, retired people. Or parents whose children grow and leave home.
But there's another level of Mastery that begins to emerge with the diligent and disciplined application of spiritual principle and practice and that level is "who we are."
As we grow into Master's Level Living, who we are becomes more open and more generous and kinder and more patient and more loving and understanding and forgiving and prosperous and... this is who I am!
And, at the Master's Level of Living, who I am is one who fully and completely relies on God, one who has learned how to really and truly let go and let God.
Rather than feeling that way - rather than fully and completely relying on God, rather than learning how to really and truly let go and let God -- we might sometimes feel like Atlas holding up the world. We carry whatever the load is.
We know this by the anxiety level we live in, where we feel upset, where we feel concern, where the rub is. That's where we haven't turned it over, where we haven't let go and let God.
When we hear "let go and let God," many of us think of it as two things. I'll let go and then I'll let God.
That isn't how it works. It's in the letting go that we let God. It's a very beautiful and tightrope kind of spiritual practice because it comes from a place of perfect balance.
It doesn't mean surrendering your desire for an outcome. It means surrendering your attachment that it has to come either the way you think it should or even that outcome at all. You don't surrender the desire for it, you surrender the attachment that the desire has to happen. And so you give it to God.
You do everything you know how to do, you work as diligently as you can, you put your full heart toward something, and you still give it to God, you give it over.
If there's any anxiety, you give it to God, because you can't carry it anyway, and none of us have the wisdom of the Infinite when we are focused in on our finite world.
Only when we let go, do we have access to the Divine Mind from which all ideas and inspiration come. And God's first currency is ideas.
This concept works in the miniscule details of our lives and it works in the magnitude of our lives, and it is Master's Level Living. I want to give you an example of each - miniscule detail and magnitude in our lives, both true stories.
"Miniscule Detail" Example:
This happened a number of years ago to a woman and her teenage son, who was raised in these teachings.
This woman's son was a junior in high school and came home one day and he said, "Mom, I need $80." And at that point in the life of the family, $80 was a lot. There wasn't an extra $80 lying around.
But rather than having a fear, defense-based reaction of, "We don't have $80 just lying around, you know," the mother had the clarity to ask: "Why do you need $80?" And her son informed her that's how much renting a tuxedo cost and he wanted to rent a tux to go to the junior prom, so he needed $80!"
Quick on her feet, the mother said, "Well, son, you don't need $80 dollars. You need a tux. It can come in a lot of different ways."
Isn't that brilliant? To stop and really look at what we want rather that what we think it has to be!?
She continued, "We don't know how to get the tux but that's what you need, not $80. So, keep focused on that and let go, surrender to God, how it will come about. Let's be open over the next week for a way for you to have a tuxedo. Let's stay open to God's ideas (which we know are the first currency!) about how this could happen. How does that sound?"
Frankly, it didn't sound that great to him. He was 16; he didn't want to do that. He wanted the $80 right then so he could go reserve his tux!
And the truth is, the mother didn't want to do it that way either. She wanted the $80 too!
Aren't we like that? We want what we want, in the way we want it and we want it when? Now!?? We don't want to have to give it over. We don't want to trust.
And so we often grab back the issue and "figure it out ourselves," but as I said earlier this month, when we are in the mode of trying to figure things out, we leave no room for God.
But this woman's son reluctantly agreed to give it a week. Three days later, he rushed into the house after school and said:
"Guess what, mom! I was driving home today from school after practice and I got to thinking, if I really believed that God was going to provide a tuxedo for me, then I'd go try one on, and I'd get measured. So, I went to the store and found the tuxedo I want. I put it on, they measured me and wrote it all down and then they wanted 50% deposit. I said, 'Well, I don't have the money right now but I will. Just keep my reservation.'"
And with that, the clerk said: "Wait a minute. You know, the owner of the store was in this morning and had an idea that if we found a high school student who would be willing to wear a tuxedo every Wednesday up until prom, then that student could have his pick of tuxedos for the prom. So, would you be willing to wear a tuxedo to school every Wednesday until the prom?"
Well, he was a ham and said, "Great! I'll wear a tuxedo every Wednesday!"
He not only got the tuxedo of his choice for the prom; at the end of the year, he was voted best-dressed student.
Now getting the tuxedo for the prom, when you're 16, is a big deal. But in the scheme of life, it's just not that big a deal - we could call it a miniscule detail. But it is a beautiful story of how it works. This is Master's Level Living. Surrendering into Oneness recognizing who we are!
But here's perhaps a bigger-deal example of exactly the same thing.
A man named Bob Trask wrote a book called "God's Phone Number" in the 1980s, which, by the way, inspired Neale Donald Walsch to write "Conversations With God."
Wouldn't you like to have God's phone number so you could call up anytime?
Well, what Trask suggests is that we all do have God's phone number, and we make the connection when we learn how to let go.
He tells a story about being a captain of a sailing ship in the South Seas for a period of his life, and he had four crew members and 22 people on board one time when he took them out. When they got offshore, a hurricane came up very quickly. There were 50-foot waves.
In his account of this experience, he said that he had prepared five different strategies for what to do in this kind of event. He had it all planned out and it was not until he had worked each plan, tried every one of them, and still failed, that he finally realized he did not have the answer.
He wrote that the source he was relying on, which was his own mind, his skills, his ideas, did not have the information he needed. Nothing he had ever experienced, heard of or studied about seamanship worked. It took him awhile but he finally realized he was helpless. And he wrote this: "I didn't know before that night that being helpless does not mean being powerless."
Hear that. That is very, very powerful. "I didn't know before that night that being helpless does not mean being powerless. I just couldn't beat the hurricane. I was helpless in the face of the hurricane. As the dictionary says, 'without protection or help, incompetent and ineffective,' like an alcoholic hitting bottom, I finally got it. Unless help came from somewhere bigger than me [and I'm going to add that lives AS me], we were doomed. It took a full hurricane to bring me to this realization. I don't think most people need a hurricane. They can probably sidestep their egos with less encouragement. I had always thought that allowing myself to feel helpless was being dependent, but I was dependent all along. I was ego-dependent. And I couldn't get help from my God because I was unwilling to admit I needed it. The first thing we must do, then, if we want to get divine assistance, is to completely accept our place in the order of the universe."
"The first thing we must do, then, if we want to get divine assistance, is to completely accept our place in the order of the universe." Aren't those powerful words? And what do they really mean?
They mean that we must admit we are limited by our own thinking and it means that we understand unless we are consciously connected to the mind of God - unless we are connected to the wisdom of God or the guidance of God - we won't get Divine Assistance.
It means that we are willing to say: "I can't change the facts. I accept the things that I cannot change. I'm in a hurricane; I can't change that. No amount of fighting the hurricane is going to change that. I can't change the fact that I'm in a hurricane. Everything I'm trying isn't working; every resource I've had up until this moment, everything I know isn't enough. But what can I change? I can change my attitude, I can change my orientation toward the hurricane. I can change my willingness to invite a Higher Power to work in my life. That's what I can change."
Trask went on to write: "Am I willing to do whatever it takes to have the things I want even if it means sidestepping my ego? I asked myself. And then I said yes. I had been raised in a particular religion but I had left that religion. My decision to leave it came after a number of experiences, one of which was that in an accident as a young boy, I had accidentally shot and killed my brother when he was 10 years old. The pain of that, the guilt of that, was reinforced in the church I attended, and I left that church. I had a number of experiences where I felt that God did not respond to my prayers, so for many years, I had no conscious relationship with a higher power. It took that moment, when the lives of 27 people were seemingly in my hands, for me to finally ask a Higher Power to give me help. Suddenly I had an idea, something to do, not one that I had consciously ever thought of before, and then another, and then another, and then another. Not only were the four crewmen and I saved but all 22 of our passengers were saved, as well as the boat itself. There is no physical way that we could have had this happen, considering the hurricane we were in, but there is every way we could have had it happen, considering the God we were with."b
No way it could have happened by the hurricane they were in, but every way it could have happened considering the God they were with.
In the SOM, Holmes tells us: "It is not easy to release our troubles; we are prone to linger with them. But, . . . God is perfect life, and when we enter His light, we are healed."c
So at the Master's Level of Living, what we have and what we do are well and good, but knowing who we are - that's what matters. Knowing our Oneness with the Source of All Life is what counts, and that's where letting go and letting God comes in because if we know our Oneness, we can absolutely let go!
And I realize that saying it is one thing, doing it is another. So, your homework for this week is to consciously and deliberately walk that tightrope balance between being absolutely clear about your God-given dreams, hopes and desires and releasing your attachment to how it comes or even if it comes at all. Give it to God.
Remember, the Master Teacher Jesus said to us, "Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest,"d which means, "Come into the way I am offering you. Come into the path I have laid out before you. I have found a way where the yoke is easy and the burden is light. Let it go, recognize the Source of Life that lives as you, let go of the worry and just open up. You've done everything you know how to do - just let it go."
aErnest Holmes Science of Mind, p. 271
bBob Trask God's Phone Number
cErnest Holmes Science of Mind, p. 501