ROARING INTO OUR GREATNESS
This month, we are looking at the idea of the "Circle of Life" and, with Maxine singing the theme song last Sunday, we had quite a kickoff, didn't we?
The circle, the cycle, this thing called life of which we are each an important part is an ongoing series of beginnings and endings, of openings and closings, of hellos and good-byes, yes, and even of births and of deaths.
As I stressed last week, there is something very important to know about this circle -- it is not static. It does not loop back upon itself. Rather it is ever expanding, ever transcending and ever growing upward and outward. Or, in the words of Sammy Fontanez: "In Celtic symbolism, the spiral represents the evolution, motion, progress and continuous development of the human-being physically and spiritually."a
Each Sunday this month, inspired by the lessons and, last week the music, from The Lion King, we are exploring this upward spiral of life.
As a recap of the story -- because of some tragic events, our hero, the lion cub Simba, leaves his home and his family, forgetting that he is the rightful king of Pride Rock. He wanders for quite a long time having some interesting and even fun adventures, but not fulfilling his life's purpose. It takes Rafiki, a wise old baboon, to remind him, first, of who he is, and, second, of his place.
We spent last week on the concept of "Finding Our Place," and I gave you a very specific homework assignment. I'm not going to ask if you did it; but I am going to encourage you to do it, if you didn't. And if you weren't here last week and haven't a clue what I'm talking about, go to our website and download last week's talk.
Today, we are going to expand on the idea of "Finding Our Place" in this ever upward, ever progressive, ever expanding circle of life by exploring what it takes to "Roar Into Our Greatness." I thought "ROAR" was an appropriate word for our Lion King theme, eh?!
But for us this morning it means more than just a lion's bellow. Today roar -- R - O - A - R -- stands for:
Reach for Your Resplendency
Open Your Observing Eye
Activate Your Awesomeness and then
Rejoice in Your Resiliency.
1. R - REACH FOR YOUR RESPLENDENCY
1. R - Reach for Your Resplendency
What the heck does "resplendency" mean? Brilliance, magnificence, brightness, radiance, splendor. So when I say Reach for Your Resplendency, I mean reach for your brilliance, your magnificence, your brightness, your radiance, your splendor. Or said another way, reach for your Divine Nature!
Now, why would I say reach, implying it is something outside of you? Of course, it isn't outside of you; so I don't mean reach outside, but rather sometimes we must reach deeply inside ourselves to find what we are truly made of and what we are truly here for! We must reach inside ourselves to find our greatness.
I've heard it said: "We are here to unfold a cosmic destiny, not just make little bubbles and waves."b
We often settle for making little bubbles and waves. But that isn't why we are here! Every one of us is here for a more RESPLENDENT purpose! We are here to express God's Love, be God's Light and live God's Truth!
And this internal reach implies the need to be willing to stretch beyond our comfort zone.
Father Leo Booth was a presenter at a spiritual program with Jean Houston. Talking before the presentation, Jean asked him what he was going to speak about and, when he starting telling her the same thing he always talked about, she stopped him dead in his tracks and said, "Stretch, Leo, stretch!"c
That phrase rings in my head a lot of times when I'm being nudged to reach beyond my comfort zone.
And I am going to have to stretch to know that I can find a close place to rent for under $1500 with 2 bedrooms and one that accepts dogs.
I must tell you that every time I have stretched, I have found something in me that I didn't know I had. I found more and more of my RESPLENDENCY!
2. O - OPEN OUR OBSERVING EYE
2. O - Open Our Observing Eye
It is very, very important that as you make the decision to REACH that you OPEN YOUR OBSERVING EYE -- here's our "O" -- to see if there are thoughts, feelings, or actions that will hold you back from stretching into your greatness.
Our hero Simba was being held back by self-blame for the tragic death of his father. He lived with that shame from the moment he left Pride Rock. He hung on to it even as wise old Rafiki tried to remind him of who he was. He almost let it destroy him, but ultimately chose to open his eyes to see what he was doing.
One of the biggest things that keeps us from stretching is fear - fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of success, free floating fear! There is a little rhyme that might serve you:
Open Your Observing Eye
to see where your fears lie
so you can face them and say goodbye.
Spiritual Teacher, Mooji said: "Consciousness shakes off the littleness of being and finds the infinite space in which all things have a place. Be in your universality."d
We will always feel some fear when we reach the edge of that which we have known. When we reach the outer limit of our experience.
The next time you feel like you can't do it, you don't have it in you to stretch into your greatness, just remember these facts about some very influential Biblical figures ...
Noah had a drinking problem
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was unattractive
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Sampson was a womanizer
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young -
David was an adulterer and a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Jesus
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer...AND
For heaven's sake, Lazarus was dead!
No more excuses for not stretching!! OPEN YOUR OBSERVING EYE while being gentle with yourself and be willing to release whatever will keep you from stretching . . . so that you can then . . . .
3. A - ACTIVATE YOUR AWESOMENESS
3. A - Activate Your Awesomeness
This is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. In The Lion King, this happened the moment Simba opened his eyes to his self blame and shame and chose to return to Pride Rock and take his rightful place as king anyway!
I've heard it said that whenever we are willing to stretch, we will get butterflies - the trick is to teach them to fly in formation!
Christian Larson, The Pathway of Roses, talks about what happens when you begin to Activate Your Awesomeness: "The interior you is the you created in the image and likeness of God; it is therefore evident that when you begin to live with the life and the power of the interior you, the expression of real greatness and real spirituality will begin. And from that moment on, you will not be limited to the power of the personal self; instead you will fill the personal self with that divine power from on high that is limitless, inexhaustible and invincible."e
I'd say that's pretty awesome!
4. R - REJOICE IN OUR RESILIENCY
4. R - Rejoice in Our Resiliency
And so as you are Reaching, Observing and Activitating, there may be a time or two when things don't go exactly as you think they should! That doesn't mean retreat. It doesn't mean you did anything wrong. It only means now is the time to rejoice in the fact that you are a resilient being. Able to persevere and stick to it! Let me give you an example.
There was once a local dog show. Not exactly the kind of dog show you would expect - there was one very unusual contest - the 'dog jumping' contest.
Only two dogs remained: a feisty brown dog -- full of bounce and keen to please his master; and his sleek, black opponent, a dog that seemed full of poise and confidence. Each dog was given three attempts to jump from a standing start up a wall to a ledge on top.
At the first level, the brown dog jumped and struggled to pull himself up to the top, but missed and fell. He was lovingly caught by his master and encouraged to try again. He did, and just barely missed. On the third and last attempt, somehow he managed to claw himself up to the top. Success!
Then, the black dog received his master's signal. He jumped to the top first time, no problem.
The contest continued. Each time the height was raised just a bit and each time the brown dog missed, missed again and then somehow struggled to the top on the third attempt.
The black dog jumped cleanly to the top, first time, every time. The crowd started to feel uncomfortable. It was obvious that the black dog would ultimately be the winner. Why didn't the judges stop this embarrassing situation and just declare the black dog the winner?
The level was again raised by several inches. And, as before, the gutsy brown dog tried and missed, tried and missed again and then somehow on his third attempt managed to claw his way to the top. Then it was the black dog's turn. He jumped and, for the first time in the entire event, he missed.
He still had two more tries, but the black dog refused to try again. No matter how hard his master coaxed him, having missed once, the black dog simply gave up. The brown dog won the contest!
It seem as if the black dog already knew what it could do and had developed little or no persistence. While the little brown dog was not yet done exploring her own potential.
I love this statement: We should all shoot for the moon. Even if we miss it, we'll be among the stars.
There you have it, my friends. This morning's formula, if you will, for "Roaring Into Your Greatness."
- Reach for Your Resplendency
- Open Your Observing Eye
- Activate Your Awesomeness and then
- Rejoice in Your Resiliency
This is all so that we can live from our Divine Nature. So that we can wake up to our Divinity and take our rightful place on the path of life unwinding - the ever upward circle of life!
bRev. Michael Beckwith
dMooji (born Anthony Moo-Young, 1954) is a Jamaican spiritual teacher based in the UK and Portugal.
eChristian Larson, The Pathway of Roses, p. 5