Here is a question to ponder if you are interested in knowing greater joy and creativity in your life. You may not have thought about your experience this way, but the question may lead you into a new flow of spiritual current. So here is the question: Are you struggling with your Creator?
I notice that many people in their life do struggle, one way or another. And for many people, it is an unconscious struggle. They go from one thing to another and struggle through without a strong awareness that there is any other possibility for their life.
For other people, there is a spiritual awakening. The person touches spiritual reality, however they might describe it. They may feel the overwhelming love of the Divine. They may see the beauty of the universal order. Their experience evokes deep response to a reality they had not been aware of consciously.
Having had that experience, they may have actually just signed up for a whole lot more struggle in their life. Because having awoken spiritually, to whatever degree, if a person doesn’t move fully in that direction—if they don’t let go of their unconscious struggle—then they are being pulled in different directions. They are somewhere between being mired in self-concern and aspiring to the spiritual experience that they have touched. Many spiritually awake people find themselves in that state, going back and forth like a pendulum between the usual human struggle and the joy of the creative process. It can be agonizing for a person. Sometimes I think that if I could roll back the clock and put the person back to sleep, they might be happier.
There is another solution. The gentler word for it is surrender. There has to be a surrender of self-concern and self-serving ego if a person is to move out of the pendulum experience to embrace the fully awakened state. The stronger word for surrender is death. There has to be a death of the old experience for the joy of creation to prevail.
In traditional Christian thought, there is a belief that you go to meet your Maker when you die. There are people who are actually looking forward to death for this reason. They picture themselves in heaven and at peace with the Creator. You might be inclined to make light of that aspiration, but it is a beautiful image of internal resolution, of letting go of whatever is torturing the person in this world. It is a vision of the end of struggle and of transcendent joy. Many Christian hymns envision this experience. “Swing low, sweet chariot, comin’ for to carry me home.”
I can’t speak from personal experience about leaving my body and returning to the realms of light. I can imagine that if the spirit that I am wasn’t all involved in being incarnate in this body, that it would have other things to do, and that could be joyful. What is of greater significance for a spiritually awake person is to cease the struggle now. For some, they have given up on that possibility while they live. They are so enmeshed in the struggle that the opportunity to fully experience the joy of creation seems impossible. And the possibility of the death of obsessive self-concern is not even on the table.
It is self-concern that tortures people. If you think about it, all the things that people don’t like, everything that makes them unhappy, that keeps them from their joy and from their creativity, and from the creative spirit within them, revolves around some level of self-concern. Self-concern comes in many flavors—it could be over money, it could be over relationship, it could be over career. Whatever the object of self-concern is, it all has the same root—self-concern. And that is what is torturing the person.
This is particularly so if we have awakened spiritually and we are riding a pendulum back and forth between spiritual awakening and self-concern. We then have the added burden of a sense of shame that we have not fully embraced the reality we have touched. We think we ought to do better. And then we try to do better, whether it’s meditating more deeply or going to more meetings, saying your prayers or doing more yoga. So we try to get over to the other end of that pendulum. And then, inevitably, as long as we’re on this program, we’re bad. We do something bad, we get enticed into something. We haven’t tried hard enough. That is the pendulum state.
So that’s why I am asking this question: Are you struggling with your Creator? Even in the question there is struggle. The question almost assumes struggle because it has you over on one side and the Creator over here, and as long as the Creator is here and you are there, you will be struggling.
So where are the people who have experienced a death, for whom that kind of struggle has just gone away, who are released into the joy of being, the joy of creation, the joy of the Creator, and it is all one? The Creator’s joy is the creation, and the creation’s joy is the Creator. We are in the midst of it all. We are the Creator and we are embodying who we are in the creation. The joy is in being fully surrendered to that experience.
For someone who has surrendered in that way, there is both the active part of the cycle and there is the rest part of the cycle. It all goes together. The joy of being a creator is the joy of creative action. When you are truly surrendered, you can be totally committed to the creative act, but then totally committed to the part of the cycle that is about rest, enjoyment and regeneration. It’s all joy. It is hard to enjoy one without the other. Yes, you can have cocktails on the beach, but cocktails on the beach probably don’t bring deep peace, deep enjoyment, and deep rest. What brings that is the death of self-concern and therefore release into the creative process.
Have you been bad today? Are you trying to do better, trying to make up for what you didn’t do, trying to make it all work out, trying to make two ends meet that just never meet? You just may be struggling with your Creator.
Here are some words from a beautiful book, first published in 1936 by Lloyd Arthur Meeker, who wrote and taught under the name Uranda. The book is Seven Steps to the Temple of Light. It is a pattern of meditation. Uranda suggests that the reader read each step every day for a week and then go on to the next chapter. Recently, we republished it in a beautiful illustrated edition with beautiful oil pastels by Dave Holman that are hanging in the living room of the Pavilion at Sunrise Ranch. The pastels show the movement in Colorado from the plains in the wee hours of the morning up through the foothills and into the mountains over the course of a day, so that the final illustration is in the high peaks in the late afternoon. Dave did a majestic job of creating these illustrations.
The words probably seemed somewhat archaic when the book was first published, and that is even more the case today. He wrote the book in the style he did by design, because he thought he could access a different level of awareness with people if he spoke in the way that he did in this writing. This is from the second chapter, Tranquility.
Tranquility relates to the mental nature of the outer man [or woman]. In it is the perfect Peace of the Wonderful One within. In Tranquility is the everlasting attitude toward external events wherein one can truly say, “NONE OF THESE THINGS MOVE ME.” Tranquility is the supreme virtue of the outer man, for therein is perfect freedom from all external turbulence—perfect freedom in the limitless Eternal. In Tranquility all unwanted characteristics are dissolved, for nothing of a destructive nature can abide therein. Tranquility springs forth from the Fountain of Realization. Let Love Radiate, without thought of results.
The outer mind of man is necessary to man’s salvation, yet is it the snare that prevents men from entering in. The function of the outer mind is not to attempt to direct the affairs of men, for it is rightly ordained as a Channel through which the Wonderful One, even the Lord within, may direct all things on the material planes. As an Open Window for the Inner Being, the outer mind is Perfect. That outer mind which is Tranquil, and one-pointedly centered in the One within, is an Open Window through which the glories and powers of the Wonderful One may shine forth into the world in Perfect Service to mankind. Such a mind is an Open Window through the veil, through which man may see and know the wonders of heaven, even the Realms of Light.
The Way of Tranquility is the Way of the Wonderful One, for he who puts his full and complete trust in his Father within, remaining centered in Him, knowing Him as the One Source, is he who is Tranquil. To such an one the tempests and stormy waves of world uncertainty are nothing, for I AM THAT I AM speaks the blessed Word, “Peace, be still,” and for him there is a great calm. A Tranquil Mind lets the Son’s Light in, and all clouds of darkness are dispelled. He who is Patient can be drawn up into Tranquility, and therein he finds Realization. Tranquility flows forth from the One within, calming the waves that distort the vision, removing the mountains that prevent release, pouring the soothing Oil of Love upon the feverish brow of the weary one who turns whole-heartedly to the Lord. This is the Way. No matter how hard anyone may strive, struggle, fight, or attempt to use the outer-mind willpower, Tranquility is no more than a dream until the weary one turns to the Lord and puts his trust in the Wonderful One within. Then it is that he finds Peace. Then it is that Tranquility enfolds him. Then it is that his outer mind lets go and becomes an Open Window for the Service of the Lord within. In Tranquility is the supreme virtue, and through it shines Radiant Love.
This man, in 1936, was bold enough to make these promises to you, and they have come to you today through your reading of his words. This was his promise to all that he met and all who would hear his words: that there was an experience available if they would follow this simple direction, if they would allow their outer mind to be truly centered on the Wonderful One within, as he spoke of that inner reality. He promised that as the outer mind was surrendered in that way, there would be peace that came through that person, known by that person and shared with their world.
That promise is still extant, still an offer that is available to each and every one of us—made plain by these words, but available regardless of these words. That potential, that opportunity, is available for you and for me any time there is a release of self-concern and a surrender. It is a surrender to the knowing and the wisdom that is so easily available to us from within, that so easily comes through us and brings steadiness and calm and assurance, and a knowing of what to do.
Thank you for sharing this meditation. In the commitment to come home to the place of tranquility, you and I offer that invitation to everyone with whom we connect in whatever way.