One of my favorite poems is Tired of Speaking Sweetly,by Hafiz. In it, he says that if the Beloved had His choice, he would be “ripping from your grip all those toys in the world that bring you no joy” and wanting to “rip to shreds all your erroneous notions of truth.” I think this is a good test to apply to the beliefs we are holding. Are they bringing joy? Are they really bringing life? Are they really making us happy, really? Or is there something that we are believing fervently, sincerely, with the best of intentions, which in the end may be an erroneous notion of truth that does not bring life, that is not bringing us joy? I believe that is the test to apply to our thinking and to our beliefs.
My father was an intelligent man in many ways, but not always kind in the way he spoke to us as children. Nonetheless, I appreciate all the gifts he brought to my life. As a boy, if I did something that was unthinking, he would say this: “Dave, use your head for something more than a hat rack.” Ouch! That was a hard way to bring his message. What I came to understand about my father was that he had an amazing ability to think deeply about his life, to decide what was true for himself, and then live his life by that. And he wanted his children to have the same experience. Often I saw the world quite differently from my father. But still, I have come to admire a rare quality in him, rooted in the belief that a life is lived best when you think deeply about it.
Are you willing to think freshly and newly about things? To really get to the bottom of whatever it is, and not settle for the easy answer or what you have always believed or what you were taught once or read once? What you believe may be absolutely and eternally true. But even if it is, has it penetrated deeply in your heart? Has the way you live your life really taken it into account?
We have a mind that was created for a reason. There can be a tendency to laziness of the mind, to fail to think the matter at hand all the way through; to settle for prejudice and bias. Television proliferates that limited way of thinking, particularly at this time of year: people settle for election slogans, much of which amounts to lies, if we were to tell it like it is. But those lies are told and they are often listened to and accepted. For some, it seems easier to accept those lies than to do the hard work of thinking and penetrating what is really going on in our world. The emotions usually get involved in the process. Whether a person is liberal or conservative, deep feelings get put behind that slogan that is a half-truth at best. And does that bring life, in this case for America? And the same thing is happening in people’s individual lives.
How about real thought? Real thought isn’t just calculation. It might include some calculation, but it isn’t just that. Real thought is thinking that opens up to love, and to the possibility that love could be present in our world, and love could be love in our world. And I put it that way because there is only one power of the universe, which is love, but it doesn’t always come out that way for people. The real nature of that power is oftentimes mistranslated in the human experience so that it comes out as conflict, violence, war and destruction.
That’s the first point of creative thinking that’s conceded by most people: they believe that universal love could not fill this world. And then they attempt to figure out how we can make the best of it. That is a primal error that is made in most people’s thinking.
Real thinking begins with openness to the possibility that love could manifest in our life. If A is universal love, and C is the manifestation of that universal love, then the critical factor is B, which is that quality of conscious awareness that lets universal love manifest in human experience so that A + B = C.
Impossibility thinking is stupid thinking; it’s ignorant thinking. No matter how good our calculations are, if our thought process begins with impossibility we will never reach a satisfactory result. We ought to learn to recognize that kind of process in ourselves, when we tell ourselves, “No, it couldn’t. Oh, it’s impossible. Nothing good can happen here.”
I understand that when Martin Cecil originally suggested to the man who built the Dome Chapel at Sunrise Ranch that it should be an elliptical geodesic dome and the builder replied, “Oh, no, not a dome!” in essence, Martin said back, “A dome! Yes, a dome. That’s what’s possible.” Possibility thinking prevailed, and the Dome was designed and built.
Earlier this month, the Trustees of the global program of Emissaries of Divine Light met to consider the future of our collective work. Our meetings carried forward the vision that had come to us when we met on retreat in March at High Noon, Ros Ovenstone’s apple farm near Cape Town, South Africa. We did intensive planning work to see how we might play our part to let the vision we had manifest.
We have no illusion that what will actually happen in the few years to come will be just what we plan. My friend Michael Costello, who was a construction executive in New York City building skyscrapers, confirmed to me that when you draw up blueprints for a building, it never comes out just like the blueprints. It is even more so in life. As it’s said, if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. But if you want to make Him really hysterical, try not planning! Because while skyscrapers may never come out just like their blueprints say they should, I am sure that they come out much better than they would without blueprints.
Planning has the advantage that it exercises the mind so that the mind can be much better prepared to thinking spontaneously, taking into account all the unforeseen factors that show up. This season, the pro football team in Colorado, where I live, has acquired one of the most brilliant quarterbacks to ever play the game, Peyton Manning. He directs the efforts of his team, making changes to the play right up until the moment the play begins. His willingness to scrap the play that has been called—the plan—based on what the other team is doing, drives them crazy. I’m sure that he has been studying plays for a long time, and he knows how to improvise because he is so excellent at designing plays, not because he has neglected it.
I observe a strong tendency, in the Western mind particularly, to think it is in charge of everything. For many people, their own thought process bosses them around and tells them what to do from moment-to-moment and from day-to-day. It likes to consult its partner in crime, our feelings. It will say, “I just consulted with my feelings, and now I can tell you exactly what you ought to be doing here.” This is the basis for ignorance, not intelligence. What if we realized fully that our minds are here to work for us? Their role is to assist us to fulfill the purposes of love. So we need to give them a workout. We need to tell them to open up, to stop being so stupid, to stop being so closed off, to stop being mired in impossibility. Open up! Let love in. Love could manifest in our life in all kinds of wonderful ways. I’m not just talking about having a romantic partner or significant other. I am talking about the wonder of the power of the universe, manifesting in our relationships with other people and in all that we do, and in all the forms of life around us. It could happen. It is happening as we let it.
So our minds can get busy being a part of that. They can get busy in thinking through how you’re going to let it manifest. But that doesn’t happen for a person unless they demand that their mind go to work for them. And stops doing stupid things that bring you no joy, that don’t work or that make you unhealthy. Stops doing things that make other people not like you, things that make you lose money—things that lead nowhere except to pander to feelings that can act like a pouty little child who hasn’t gotten its way.
We are not made to be bossed around by our thinking. We are here to boss our thinking around, to put our thinking to work so that our consciousness can be B—the means for love to come into the world. So that what we do can bring the wisdom that allows the wonder of love to manifest the strength and virility of life.
A+ B = C. The power of love that is behind the whole universe is already in place. The wisdom and intelligence of the universe is accessible to us. That could fill our thinking. We could live a life that reveals the wonder of love.