Friday, December 12, 2008

Consecration to the Highest

As we continue in the book Secret of Being Great we come to a chapter on Consecration.

Wattles talks about dedicating ourselves to the highest and best that we can imagine. To make a commitment to living a life that is fulfilling and wholesome, that brings out the best in ourselves AND uplifts those around us.

And so why don’t we do that? Sounds good to me…..

“By going back to your own center you can always find the pure idea of right. To be great and have power it is only necessary to dedicate your life to the pure ideas as you find them in the GREAT WITHIN” And then he goes on to say: “There are many ideas you have outgrown, and which, from force of habit, you still permit to dictate the actions of your life.” P 212

Uhmmm - that line really caught my attention and in the Wednesday class we looked at that really deeply. What are the ideas in my life, that through habit, I allow to continue to dictate my actions? And why don’t I change them? That is really the big question. What keeps us from doing things differently? From leaving behind old ideas? From stepping out into a new way? Often we see that change is necessary, but we don’t take the steps to bring about that change. What keeps us there? On reflection the only thing I come up with is: fear. Fear of the unknown.

we are afraid. Living life differently means releasing something that we are doing or have now. Living life differently means letting go of something so that we can reach out for something else.

And our minds get in there and start asking the questions that paralyze us: You don’t have the fill-in-the-blank to do that. you’ve never done that before. You’ve always fill-in-the-blank. How will you live if you let go of fill-in-the-blank. Let this go when you don’t know what will take its place? are you crazy?

It would be jumping into a boat and starting to row out to sea - with no idea where we are going, how long it going to take, and how far the shore is, what it will look like when we get there.

Anyone been there besides me?

We stay…. in the habit of our old ways……not always comfortable, but definitely familiar!

What is the answer - how do we move forward when it seems scary and there is no shore in sight?

I love to read about other people’s experiences - because….they inspire me AND I get to see I am not the first one to face this dilemma.

There is a story in the Bible that reflects this human situation perfectly and it is the story of Moses leading the Hebrews out of slavery and into the Promised Land.

Now I know that 15 years ago if I was sitting where you are sitting right now, I would be thinking - oh no - please, not the Bible! Old stories, weird languaging, irrelevant. Lucky for me - although I did not consider myself lucky at the time, my Unity teachers made me study and read the Bible…and so I did.

And the one thing that turned Bible study around for me was the use of metaphysical interpretation. Metaphysics - meta - deeper, beyond, physics - the physical or material world. We are looking for what lies behind the words, the events, the characters.

For instance when we see a child - what do we think of……, innocence, trust, vulnerability. When we think of a fortress what comes to mind? Strong, old, defensive, protected. When studying bible stories and we come to a child in the story - we know it is not just the child speaking - it is the voice of innocence, wonder, trust. When we come across a fortress in a Bible story we know we are not just reading about a building, we are looking at a symbol of strength, defense, and protection.

When we read the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho - we are not reading a story of a general who lived 3000 years ago who conquered a fortress. We are hearing OUR story - of us when we approach those hardened and sealed off places in our hearts……

So how about desert - what might desert represent? Harsh, unknown, lacking in sustenance - see you are all doing metaphysical interpretation already!

So we have the story of Moses - or a small part of the Moses story to look at today and see how that relates to the position we are in or have been in many times in our lives - especially as we contemplate change.

The Hebrew people have been living for about 400 years in slavery to the Egyptians. Many generations of slavery. We do this too. We live with old ideas, with restrictions, chained to an old way of life. As Wattles says: old habits that dictate our actions. Please do not look at these habits as right or wrong its what worked for us at one time, begins to shackle us and keep us from living a full and happy life.

Moses - out in the desert - is attracted to a burning bush and hears the voice of God tell him to go to Egypt and bring the Hebrew people out of slavery and into the Promised Land. And what does Moses say - I don’t think so. Then there is some ‘discussion’ with God - have you ever done that? Heard a higher voice urging you to do something and you have - right at your fingertips - all the reasons why it can’t be done and you are not the person to do this……….God surely must be mistaken. This voice of divine wisdom we hear must be incorrect. Well that is the kind of conversation Moses had with God, and in the end he listened and went to Egypt - he got the people out of slavery and then they wandered in the desert for 40 years.

And this is where we come to the part of the unknowing - of the fear - of the unknown. 40 years of wandering in the desert, not living safely in their familiar homes and not yet in the Promised Land.

Reflect for a moment if there has been a time in your life when you were in a state like this…………..a place where we have left what is not working for us and we cannot see where we are going or how we will survive… It actually has a name…we call it a desert experience or a wilderness experience.

And we begin to question - why did I do this? The Hebrews question Moses: what are we going to eat? How will we find water? They even said - it would be better to be a slave to the Egyptians than to die in the desert.

In our own human story and experience, remember this: once we have made a choice - there is always a part of us that will look back - that will start to even whine a bit - you know things weren’t THAT bad. This is a natural part of this wilderness experience.

And several things happen while the People are wandering the desert with their leader Moses. They begin to trust God for their sustenance - for their daily bread. They begin to trust Moses - their leader. They learn to listen for divine guidance and follow it. They DO survive and as a matter of fact - they even begin to thrive. Slowly a transformation takes place. it happened in the story and it happens in us. One of the profound results of this time in the desert is that for the first time the Hebrews look upon themselves as a People - as a Tribe. All the parts come together and Wholeness is experienced for the first time.

And this is exactly what can happen to us, when we enter into a wilderness experience.

This story has helped me get through some tough times - helped me - not to just survive, but to thrive. I share it with you for several reasons:
we all get stuck
we all get afraid
when we leave the known and enter the unknown, we all question ourselves

That is our human experience. That’s the “physical” part.

And looking at this story metaphysically shows us that
The wilderness experience is part of our spiritual growth
That it is possible to move from surviving to thriving
We can come to know and rely on Divine Power, God
That there is a Promised Land - our new life

Wattles gives us some words of dedication - Let’s use these in our closing in prayer:
“I surrender my body to be ruled by my mind, I surrender my mind to be governed by my soul, and I surrender my soul to the guidance of God”. P.213