YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF EMERGES - PART II
During this month we are taking a deep and beautiful look at being who our souls came here to be by exploring qualities of the Authentic Self and creating a road map for arriving at our Center, the place where we began; the place where we remember who we really are -- One with the One.
Fillmore writes in Talks on Truth: "The image and likeness of our spiritual body is as thoroughly defined in us as is the tree in the acorn. Does the acorn consult anything outside of itself as to how it should bring forth a tree? Certainly not. It simply rests in Spirit and unfolds from moment to moment as moved by the impulse within. Exactly the same law is operative in bringing forth the God man. The external, striving, wandering will must stop its restless seeking without, and repose at the center. It must be obedient to that center, and learn the language of Spirit."a
This month, we are learning the "language of Spirit," which are the qualities of our Authentic Self.
I shared a beautiful statement by poet T.S. Eliot last Sunday and want to share it again this week, personalizing it as I did last week: "The end of all my exploring will be to arrive where I started and know the place for the first time."b
And where we started was in the heart of the Divine, the center of our being. Out of the Divine Heart we were birthed and this journey of exploration, of discovery, we are on is all about returning there.
It is about returning to our point of origin, to who we were before we were born, who we came in this world to be before our experiences caused us to began wearing various masks covering our Authentic Selves. So, this month is about returning to where we began and knowing it at a deeper and more profound level.
Last week be began looking at some intrinsic qualities of the Authentic Self. Seven qualities that when we express them we can know we are connected with our Authentic Self.
Or, seven qualities that, when we focus on them and have an intention to express them, we call our Authentic Self forth out from behind the masks we tend to wear to hide.
1st THREE INTRINSIC QUALITIES
So, let's begin the exploration this morning by returning for just a moment to the three intrinsic qualities of the Authentic Self we looked at last week. Who remembers what they were?
Remembering we are connected to the whole; connected to everyone and everything; remembering that we are whole and therefore complete, just the way we are -warts, wrinkles and all. Say with me: "I am whole. I am complete. I am One with the One."
Recognizing the presence of Life within all and honoring it as sacred. Remember Ernest Holmes beautiful words about reverence ". . . if we can bind ourselves together reverently, in love and compassion, in mutual tolerance and understanding, under the cohesive powers of the universal law of good and the beneficence of a divine and universal presence, then we shall . . . lead the world down the pathway of a new enlightenment."c Say with me: "I revere all life because it is part of the whole, and it is holy."
Facing life fearlessly because I know that I know that I know I am one with God. Or as I slightly modify a quote from The Course in Miracles: "If we knew who walked as us, there would be nothing to fear."d
Do you remember your challenge? Choose each year to do one thing that you fear! Did anyone do that this week?
Let's say together: I know who walks as me, so I am fearless!"
That takes us to the fourth intrinsic quality of the Authentic Self, and to introduce it, I want to tell you an ancient story.
An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you."
The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. "I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!"
One boy named Ling was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.
After about three weeks, some of the other youth began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept watering and caring for his seed, but nothing grew. Three weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants but Ling didn't have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by--still nothing in Ling's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed.
Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn't say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow. Eventually, a year went by and the appointed day arrived for all of the youth of the kingdom to bring their plants to the emperor for inspection.
Ling told his mother he wasn't going to take an empty pot. He just couldn't face the embarrassment that he had killed his seed. But she told him he had to be honest about what happened. Although he really, really didn't want to, he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace.
When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful--in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kids laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, "Hey nice try."
When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the emperor. "Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!"
All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. "The emperor knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me killed," Ling thought.
When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. "My name is Ling," he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down.
He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!"
Ling couldn't believe it. He couldn't even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor?
Then the emperor said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow.
"All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the only one with enough integrity to become the new emperor!"
So integrity is our fourth intrinsic quality of the Authentic Self.
In Your (Re) Defining Moments: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be, Dennis Merritt Jones writes: "Integrity is the inner knowing of the truth about ourselves and allowing it to sublimate through our mind and heart from the core of our being; it's the melding or 'integrating' of the awareness of the authentic self within, into our every breath, every thought, and every action wherever we are and in whatever we are doing. Integrity then, is the inner knowing and remembrance of our unity with the whole and honesty is the outer action - how we demonstrate [integrity] in the world."e
When we live from our Authentic Self, the intrinsic quality of integrity moves through us in a way that gives us the strength and courage to be the person we know we came here to be - even when no one else is watching.
Someone once wrote: "The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out."
Or, said another way, living in integrity means: . . . leading your life in such a way that you wouldn't be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.
Integrity, then, is the 4th intrinsic quality of the Authentic Self.
Saint Augustine once said: "Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility."f
Humility is a complex word because it can mean different things to different people. Traditionally, it's defined as "the act of being modest and respectful." It is also synonymous with being humble or meek.
In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, we are given a promise about living from humility or meekness, aren't we? What did he say? "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."g
But what we don't probably know is that the word "meek," in the Aramaic translation, means teachable, open, and receptive.
So humility, the 5th quality of the Authentic Self, in at least one way of looking at it, means being open to seeing different viewpoints, receptive to new understandings, not stuck in what our perceptions or interpretations of things are.
So here's a little humility test to see how open or not we are with our perceptions or interpretations.
Listen to the following personal ad that appeared in the Atlanta Journal: SINGLE BLACK FEMALE, Seeks male companionship, ethnicity not important. I am a very good looking girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, and cozy winter nights lying by the fire. Lovingly prepared dinners will have me eating out of your hand. I'll be at the front door when you get home from work, dressed in what nature gave me. Kiss me and I'm yours. Call xxx-xxxx and ask for Daisy.
What is this ad for?
If you are thinking what I think you're probably thinking -- you will be just as incorrect as the more than 150 men who called the number and found themselves talking to the Humane Society about an 8-week-old black Labrador Retriever named Daisy!
OR were you OPEN to a broader interpretation of that ad?
Ernest Holmes in The Science of Mind textbook, writes: ". . . the Divine Presence does not force Itself upon anyone. He stands at the door and knocks; WE MUST OPEN IF WE ARE TO RECEIVE."h
Be open in HUMILITY - open to new ideas; open to new possibilities; open to new ways of being; open to new beliefs; open to others with no need to be validated, approved, loved or feared. Just open and receptive to Life.
Humility is yet another natural state of being when we live from the awareness of our oneness with Source.
That's a great word. What the heck does it mean?! According to the dictionary, it means: "Evenness of mind especially under stress."
Spiritually, it is a balanced and even state of mind with the soul. It means being anchored in a state of mindfulness that is not disturbed with our human emotions -- either negative or affirmative.
There is a story of a king who did not have much equanimity. He seemed to be easily tossed about by life. He got very, very upset when things went wrong; he got all puffed up and filled with himself when things went well -- and he didn't like either. He knew that to be an effective king he needed more equanimity.
So he called all the wise men and his sages in and gave them a commandment. I need you to craft for me a saying -- something short that I can have inscribed on the inside of this ring that will give me comfort in times of trouble and perspective in times of plenty.
Off the sages and the wise men went and worked and worked and argued and disagreed, but finally they came up with the saying -- and presented it to the king inscribed inside a ring. And it said: "This too shall pass."
In Your (Re)Defining Moments, Merritt Jones, writes: " . . .to live with equanimity . . . means we are perceiving whatever is in the moment through the neutral eyes of the Silent Witness. Just as the morning sun shines on all beings equally because it is incapable of judging some of us more worthy of sunlight than others, the same is true of the Authentic Self. It . . . finds neither favor nor disfavor with what is happening in the moment. Equanimity allows us to become the discerning observer of life and practice mindfulness of being in a manner that fully integrates the remembrance of wholeness as a state of being that is available to us at our center, not a condition on the surface of life. . . ."i
And that takes us to the seventh and final intrinsic quality of the Authentic Life, which is . . . . well, sorry folks we have just run out of time. You'll have to come back next week to get the final installment of the Seven Qualities of the Authentic Self J!
Integrity - Leading our lives in such a way that we wouldn't be ashamed to sell our parrot to the town gossip.
Humility - Being open to seeing different viewpoints, receptive to new understandings, not stuck in what our perceptions or interpretations of things are.
Equanimity - Having a balanced and even state of mind and not being whipped about by our human emotions (either negative or affirmative).
Let's conclude our time by bringing these three ideas together in a couple of simple, yet powerful, statements:
"Today my outer actions . . . reflect my inner wholeness."
"In humility, . . . I am open and receptive to Life."
"I face all of life's conditions . . . with ease and grace."
aCharles Fillmore Talks on Truth, p. 97
cErnest Holmes The Science of Mind Magazine, Jan 1991, p. 7
dThe Course in Miracles
eYour (Re) Defining Moments: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be, p. 143, Dennis Merritt Jones
hErnest Holmes The Science of Mind textbook, p. 368
iYour (Re)Defining Moments: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be, Dennis Merritt Jones p. 148