Like most people involved in significant large projects, I’ve had the experience over many years of experiencing disappointment relative to the endeavor in which I’m involved, and disappointment with people. I am happy to report that, thus far, I have transcended that disappointment and I don’t expect that to stop. In each individual case I take the attitude that I am not there to be judge and jury over someone else’s decision. So whether or not they want to do a certain thing, or what they want to do with their lives, is their business, not mine. I am here to offer an invitation, and then to embrace anyone who chooses to undertake what I am undertaking with others. How each one of us approaches that is ultimately in our own hands.
And yet—this is my bid for sympathy—I’ve been doing this for long enough that disappointment piles up. There are points when all these experiences come rushing back to me. I am called upon to do something with all those memories and experiences, and ask myself, what do I make of all that? So you can tell I’ve been in a period of reflection.
What occurs to me is that no, I’m not here to be judge and jury over anybody’s life, and I respect the right of all people to choose what they’re going to do with their life. And yet I do believe there’s something bigger going on, and it’s that that is relevant to me right now.
What I observe is that when it comes to a person in fact living their dream, there is often ambivalence in a person’s experience:
I will if I feel like it, or if I don’t have something better to do, or if I don’t face too much of an obstacle I will live the dream.
If I get enough support, or if so-and-so will do it with me, I will live my dream. I will take a stand as long as it doesn’t seem too risky. As long as I don’t have to put too much at risk, ante in too many chips, I’ll take a stand.
You get the drift. I am depicting ambivalence.
I am contemplating how we address ambivalence effectively, individually and together. My thoughts go to the beast that is spoken of in the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible:
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (Revelation 13:18)
A score is 20, so if you work out the math the number of the beast is 666.
So the number of the beast is the number of a man. Here is a reference to the Sixth Day of Creation, when Man was created, in the biblical story. It was on day six of Creation, after there was light and all the rest, that it is said:
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness….
So even though there have been many scary movies and other things about the beast, it turns out that the beast is a man. It is not such a far reach to understand or see that man has been playing the beast in the world. There are beastly things going on that people do to each other—though I think that rather disparages the beasts—and there is a beastly impact by humanity on the planet.
What is the name of the beast? As I reflect on my own experience and on my observations, the beast is not pure evil. It is not a purely destructive intent. The name of the beast is ambivalence.
Ambivalence doesn’t seem so bad, does it? What’s wrong with Maybe I will, maybe I won’t? What’s wrong with ambivalence is that when it comes to the dream that we are born to live in our life, we won’t live it if we are ambivalent. When it comes to the most important things that are present in our life, if we are ambivalent we won’t do them. Because the most significant and important things in our life are not easy, or at least they don’t seem so. It can seem to us that the path of least resistance is to not do them—to live a substitute life and not take a stand and not take the step that’s ours to take. It’s only when a person overcomes their ambivalence that they follow their dream, that they do what is theirs to do. Ambivalence is the enemy of the dream.
So how do we address this? I’ve got two ways. See how they work for you. The first is the most obvious. If you are meeting ambivalence—the ambivalence that is not only yours but the ambivalence of all humanity—how do you address it? You can first of all address it in yourself. You can’t do anything directly about all those other people. Perhaps you could inspire and encourage, but you don’t have the right of free choice relative to anyone else. I am the captain of my own ship, not anyone else’s.
That’s freedom. I can choose for myself when it comes to the piece of ambivalence that I have inherited. I can notice my tendency to give up, my tendency to act one way in one situation and then another way in another, only because I feel like it, only because I’m ambivalent. I can get over my ambivalence because I open up more fully and more consistently to what I’m passionate about.
How do you stay passionate? You keep opening up to what you’re passionate about. How do you stay true to your dream? You keep dreaming it, you keep opening to that dream, you keep letting it fill your thoughts and your feelings.
Living the dream is a matter of both thought and feeling, and then of action. Ambivalence is too. Ambivalence is a matter of the mind and it’s a matter of the heart, and they go together.
There’s another verse in the Bible, a teaching of Jesus. He says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21) Where a person’s treasure is in the dream, their heart is in the dream. And if your heart is in the dream, your mind is in the dream, and you’re over your ambivalence.
We have the opportunity in our life to allow our thoughts to be stayed on our dream, and to take our heart along with us and have our heart value the dream. The more we are centering our thoughts on the dream, the more our heart is with us; and the more our heart is with us, the more our thoughts are going there. And before you know it, we’re living that dream. We’re embodying it in our life, we’re manifesting it. And because we’re not ambivalent, when the challenges show up, we’re walking through those challenges—maybe learning, maybe growing, maybe doing it a different way. But we’re not stopping. There is no stopping when we’re over our ambivalence.
Here is the second way to address the ambivalence of the beast. That beastly nature is in us when we are ambivalent, but it’s also in humanity as a whole. And while I don’t think you or I have an inclination to judge individuals, we could address that whole pattern that’s in humanity that sometimes shows up in us and sometimes shows up in people around us. Many years ago, here in this Dome, I gave a talk subsequently entitled “One Beast, One Angel.” The truth is that we are all angels incarnate in human form. That is the truth of what a man is, what a woman is. It’s also true that there is a larger angelic reality that incarnates through all humanity. Yes, there are angels, but there is one Angel. All the angels together make one Angel, in concert, in harmony. One consciousness, one reality, one identity—the Angel.
There’s one Angel, and there’s one beast, which is the mass consciousness of humanity that has largely lost consciousness of who it is and why it is here. Here is the beast—one beast. We have the power, as the one Angel, to address that one beast. We can confront the beast and ask:
What do you think you’re doing to this planet for which you are responsible? What do you think you’re doing to your fellow man? What kind of a life do you think you are living, if you think you’re living it for yourself? How could you be ambivalent about the very source and core of your own life, of the power within you, of the Universal Love that’s within you? How could you be ambivalent about that in another person?
How could you take the attitude “Maybe yes, maybe no—I might be kind today, but then again I may not,” when it’s your very nature to be love in expression? How, when faced with the opportunity to be spiritually awake and conscious and bring divine light into the world, could you make some other choice?
Of course there is no answer from the beast who is lost in ambivalence. There are excuses that go on forever, there are reasons, but not real answers that make any sense.
We are here to be the one true answer. From the standpoint of the beast, there is no answer. But deep in our own soul is the truth of a man, is the truth of a woman. It is this truth in expression, in this moment, in every moment, that is the answer. It is us proclaiming in our living, “Yes, I am the Angel incarnate.”
I suppose that could be a statement of pretense, a claim made to puff oneself up in an arrogant way. I say it’s a statement of humility that perhaps should be accompanied with “Yes, I know I haven’t always acted like that; yes, I know I have fallen prey to ambivalence and to patterns of excuse. I know I haven’t always expressed the fullness of who I am and revealed that fully.” But in all humility, the truth is that I am the Angel incarnate in human form, and I have the character and qualities of the Angel to give in expression in simple yet wondrous ways in every moment of my life.
It is said that every snowflake will plead not guilty when questioned about the avalanche. Few people acknowledge that they are part of the beast. The truth is that we are not just the snowflake, we are the avalanche—one way or another. We are either the beast or the Angel. It is easy to see the avalanche of the beast in expression in the world in which we live; not so easy for most people to see the avalanche of the Angel. That avalanche is obscured by the media, obscured by the very state of consciousness in which most people live.
It’s hard to look out at our world today and not come to the conclusion that there is some terrible kind of spiritual amnesia that’s affecting humanity and creating a state of ambivalence. We have the power to overcome that amnesia and ambivalence in ourselves. And when we do, we have the power to assist another to overcome it in themselves, and then to bring a totally different opportunity to humanity as a whole.
Ambivalence is the beast. Angels live the dream.