ARE YOU BEING GOD'S WAY OR ARE YOU IN GOD'S WAY?
Let's start with prayer: We know that God is a Love that has no end and a Power that knows no bounds. God's healing power of Divine Life is restoring, healing, and revitalizing our world in this very moment. We let go of any fears or anxieties, and we affirm that all are safe, healthy, and protected. We bless all those who support us in maintaining vibrant radiant health. We express Divine Life in all we think, say, and do. We bless our global family with radiant health, peace of mind, and abundant love. Amen
This month of July, the month that summer vacations usually begin in earnest, we have a vacation theme each Sunday morning focusing on the idea that our consciousness never takes a vacation. In fact, wherever we go - whether it's on vacation or to the grocery story wearing a mask -- our consciousness goes ahead of us, preparing the way, determining exactly what our experience shall be.
Today, we continue this theme with a question: Have you ever been driving to your vacation destination and encountered a road block? It may have delayed you for minutes, perhaps for hours. Perhaps, you even had to take a detour to continue your trip. Perhaps it was such that you could not get there at all! We all have, haven't we?
So, how are roadblocks a metaphor for our consciousness? Well, we build roadblocks in our consciousness all the time. So, this morning's fuel for conversation is this question:
Is your consciousness allowing the fullness of God to express through you or has it set up roadblocks?
Or, to use today's title:
Are You Being God's Way or Are You In God's Way?
BEING GODS WAY
To begin discussing today's theme, I want to share two statements that seem paradoxical. In The Revealing Word, Charles Fillmore writes, "Spirit is the I AM, the individuality."a
And Ralph Waldo Emerson, who had a huge influence on the development of metaphysics, said: "We must get our bloated nothingness out of the way of the Divine Circuits."b
So which is it? Are we Spirit individualized or are we bloated nothingness?
This seeming paradox is beautifully illustrated in one of my all-time favorite stories that appears in the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book.
It is the story of a group of monks who had in their a monastery a giant CLAY Buddha.c The clay Buddha was enormous - 10-1/2 foot tall, 3/4 as wide, weighing over 2 1/2 tons. In 1957, the monastery was being relocated and so everything, including this giant Buddha had to be moved.
When the crane began to lift the giant statute, the weight of it was so tremendous that it began to crack. What's more, the rain began to fall. The head monk, who was concerned about damage to the sacred Buddha, decided to lower the statue back to the ground and cover it with a large canvas tarp to protect it from the rain and try again to move it the next day.
Later than evening the head monk went out in the rain to check on the Buddha. He shined his flashlight under the tarp to see if it was staying dry. As the light reached a place where the Buddha had cracked, the monk noticed a little gleam shining back at him. He thought, how strange. As he took a closer look at this gleam of light, he wondered if there might be something underneath the clay. He ran inside, got a chisel and hammer, and very, very carefully, in just a small spot, began to chip away at the clay.
As he knocked off small shards of clay, the little gleam grew brighter and bigger. Many hours of labor went by before the monk stood face to face with the most extraordinary thing he had ever seen -- a golden Buddha.
Historians now believe that several hundred years before the head monk's discovery, the Burmese army was about the invade Thailand. The monks in the land at the time, realizing that their country would soon be attacked, covered their precious, priceless gold Buddha with a thick outer covering of clay in order to keep their treasure from being looted by the Burmese.
Unfortunately, it appears that the Burmese army slaughtered all the monks, and the true nature of the Buddha was buried with them until that day in 1957 when the Buddha was to be moved!
Spirit is the I AM, the individuality -- that's the golden part!
We must get our bloated nothingness out of the way of the Divine Circuits -- that's the clay!
Using our metaphor for today, our job is to remove the roadblocks/clay of our consciousness so that we might express our Divinity/get to the gold.
The Truth is you are THE WAY OF GOD. May Roland, in her book, Jesus Christ, An Ever-Present Reality, wrote: "We believe that when you said, "Lo, I am with you always", this is a literal truth. This does not mean that he does not work for us, but rather that he works through us to accomplish what needs to be done."d
So, Say aloud with me, will you: I am the way of God.
In The I of the Storm, Gary Simmons writes: "You ARE the way of God. Your entire being is created to be an expression of God. Everything real in you gives expression to God. Sometimes, however, you are in the way of God's expressing through you. It's important for you to know the difference -- between when you are being the way of God and when you are in the way of God."e
So, let's do a little experiment. Imagine picking up a young child and holding her close in a loving embrace. Imagine the love that flows through you to the child. When you love the child, can't you just feel God's love loving through you?
Whenever you are allowing God to move through you, you are the way of God. A child's purity, innocence, need for love invites you to open your heart completely, unconditionally, so the fullness of God's love can be shared, doesn't it?
And in your experience of being the way of God, is there any lack? Is there anything that can make the moment better?
Herein is a demonstration of true abundance. When you are the way of God, you experience the abundant life that Jesus told us about -- "I have come so that you might have life and have it more abundantly."f
Now here comes the hard part. Imagine someone who has hurt you or treated you unfairly. See this person in front of you as you did with the young child. What's the difference? Now, are you the way of God, or are you in the way of God? The difficulty you may feel in loving this person unconditionally is in the way of God. Do you see this?
No doubt you have every justification for your feelings and good reasons for not warming up to the person. But can you see that you are literally in the way of God when you are not willing or able to love in the same way as you would if this person were the child you so eagerly embraced?
Is this person any less deserving of God's love? In fact, this person needs your love JUST as much as the young child. Can you see that had this person been loved the way a child is unconditionally loved, this person might have had a different relationship with you, a difference that might have freed both of you from being hurt or disappointed?
Our intention is not to make excuses for others' hurtful behavior, but rather to awaken, in the deepest sense, to that of you which is the image and likeness of God. As the Apostle Paul said: "Behold as in a glass (or mirror depending on the version of the Bible you read) the glory of the Lord; we will be changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."g
This perception is necessary to a full understanding of spiritual healing. Healing is not something God does for us; it is our remembering what God is. "Awake thou that sleepest, that Christ shall shine upon you."h We are asleep to the wholeness that we are in Spirit.
A good illustration of this idea centers around a man asleep on a bed. Let's say you can look into his dreams. He seems to be out in a blizzard, struggling with the wind and snow. You want to help him. How? Wake him up - simply that.
Our job is to awake from the dream that we are anything other than the WAY OF GOD!
Meister Eckhart (the German theologian who lived in the late 1200's, early 1300's), said, "God is bound to act to pour Himself into thee as soon as He shall find thee ready (bloated nothingness/clay out of the way). God expects but one thing of you; that is, that you should come out of yourself insofar as you are a created being, and let God be God in you."i
So -- What does BEING THE WAY OF GOD look like and NOT look like?
From the Tao Te Ching by Lau-tzu in about 500 BCE:
"We are born soft and supple;
Dead, we are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
Dead, they are brittle and dry.
Thus, whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life."j
If you are . . . judging -- blaming -- fearful -- dishonest -- unwilling -- unforgiving -- doubting -- rigid -- stubborn -- unkind -- resentful -- feeling unworthy or inadequate -- or just plain negative, you are likely IN THE WAY of God.
You are the WAY of God when you are: open -- willing -- flexible -- affirming -- supportive -- accepting (of self and others) -- trusting -- you are radiating the life of God in all that you are and do.
If a conversation becomes blaming or condescending, you bounce into the discussion with openness and understanding.
If people are stuck in how a terrible situation looks or feels, gently and lovingly remind them of the infinite possibilities that surround them, thereby being a vehicle for creation. Because you know that is a fundamental law of life -- as we see the greater possibilities, we create the greater possibilities.
If someone gets upset, you help him or her look on the bright side and not take too seriously the opinions of those whose only purpose is to rain on the parade.
You bring a playful energy to situations as you fill yourself with the awareness that you are the way of God.
New Thought writer Eric Butterworth wrote: "There is Something within us that can lead us and direct us if we will but let It. It is higher than the thought of any man; It has nothing to do with creed, or profession, or confession, or the restriction of theological dogmas. It is in the integrity of our own mind, in the silence of our own soul that we find the immediate Presence of the Divine Being inhabiting us and the universe. It is a Presence within us which every great thinker has sensed, which all the poets have sung about, and all the great spiritual teachers have proclaimed. We are told to repair to our own mind, get away from the objective confusion and struggle of life, and enter this secret place. We enter this directly. We need no guide, no mediator. There is nothing that can keep us from it. There is no power that withholds it. It is ours to accept."k
I shared a statement from the Sufi poet Rumi on the first Sunday of the month and it feels very appropriate to share it again this morning: "Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there."l
We met in that field two weeks ago with a very powerful "Circle of Love" meditation. We won't do that again, but I do want to meet in that field again. So, close your eyes and travel to that Field of Infinite Possibilities; it is the Land of the great "I Am"! Let us go there now -
I radiate goodwill to all mankind in thought, word, and deed. I know the peace and goodwill that I radiate to every person comes back to me a thousand-fold. Whatever I need to know comes to me from the God self within me. Infinite intelligence is operating through me revealing to me what I need to know. God in me knows only the answer.
The perfect answer is made known to me now. Infinite intelligence and divine wisdom make all decisions through me, and there is only right action and right expression taking place in my life. Every night I wrapped myself in the mantle of God's love and fall asleep knowing divine guidance is mine. When the dawn comes, I am filled with peace. I go forth into the new day full of faith, confidence, and trust. Thank you, father
aThe Revealing Word, Charles Fillmore
bRalph Waldo Emerson
cChicken Soup for the Soul
dMay Roland Jesus Christ, An Ever Present Reality
eThe I of the Storm, Gary Simmons
g2 Corinthians 3:18
jTao Te Ching by Lau-tzu