A Church for the One Who Dwells


I just returned from a 10-day transformational tour of sites in England associated with the King Arthur legends. We shared readings from the legends, including the story of the quest for the Holy Grail. This passage is from a book by a Jungian psychologist, Robert A. Johnson, The Fisher King & the Handless Maiden. It addresses part of the story of that quest.

Anything that is put back into the unconscious…once it has been in consciousness, turns dark and becomes a symptom in one’s psychological structure. What has been a conscious part of one’s philosophy or attitude one moment can become a symptom and have compulsive power over one the next moment if one drops or refuses it.

Johnson says that what ought to be a human faculty can become a symptom. In other words, what ought to be part of our capacity to create and to enjoy life goes into shadow when we cease to let it flourish in our conscious life. This is wise counsel, and perhaps can lead to a personal practice of noticing when you are going unconscious, noticing all the things that are happening in your own human experience when you are refusing to be conscious. This includes all the ways in which we, as human beings, adopt some kind of victimhood stance, all the ways that we become aggressive with other people, all the ways that we blame and shame and criticize and judge others. These are all signs that we are acting out of a shadow in ourselves.

It is wise for anyone to become conscious of what is happening in one’s own psychological structure—in one’s own emotional body, and in one’s own attitude and thought process. This leads to a moment-by-moment practice of becoming conscious about what is happening in one’s own human experience.

That individual practice is necessarily in the context of this same issue at work in the entire human experience for all humankind. Truly, this is the crux issue for humanity today. We are in the middle of the solution to that issue, which is to become conscious.

So what is the issue? The issue is that the presence of Being within ourselves, and within all people, and the beauty of that, has gone unconscious. Our own creatorhood has gone unconscious. The result is that spirituality and religion is all too often relegated to a spectator sport—something that does not immediately involve oneself, activating one’s own creatorship. Spirituality and religion is mostly seen as a belief in something that is someplace else; something that one can witness and observe and have deep feeling about, but not something that activates one’s own participation in creation, as a creator. In short, humanity has a hard time accepting how magnificent it is to be alive as an instrument of creation.

The teachings that were offered here at Sunrise Ranch in 1952 were transcribed and turned into two volumes, which are still available. They are entitled The Divine Design of Man. That design is what is in shadow. Our divinity is in shadow, and so we are acting out our divinity as a symptom. We are acting out our love in a shadow way.

I have no doubt, to pick an easy target, that those functioning in the government of the United States are acting out of love—are they not? They are motivated by love, but they are manifesting it out of shadow, out of unconsciousness of their own creatorship and the creatorship of all people. And so it is with so many people everywhere.

There is a magnificent recording of the traditional Christian hymn I Need Thee Every Hour. I have been pondering that statement: “I need Thee.” As a human being, I need the reality of God. We have spoken of that reality as the One Who Dwells, a beautiful poetic way to describe the in-dwelling reality within each of us, The One Who Dwells. So often God is thought of as something over there or up there. But if the reality of God is not the One Who Dwells, what relevance does that reality have for you or for me? It is relevant because it is dwelling within me and it is dwelling within you: The One Who Dwells. As a human being, I need that reality, and I believe you do too.

As a human being, I am the dwelling place for the One Who Dwells. I am the temple of Being who welcomes that reality into me, who readily admits, “I need Thee.” I need not only the life-giving power of the Creator that is within me but I need the conscious experience of that love, of that pattern of design, of that wisdom. I need Thee. At every level of the temple of my Being, I need Thee.

There is the dwelling place that we are as human beings, and there is the One Who Dwells. As far as our human experience goes, would you not say that we need them both? If there was a God somewhere who did not dwell in you, what relevance would it have to your own experience as a human being, or to what is happening on our planet today? I suggest to you that that is why there is such a wholesale discarding of religion, because religion has made itself, in so many ways, irrelevant. God is not irrelevant. But, as I say, religion has made itself irrelevant. To be relevant, it has to worship the One Who Dwells, the one who is dwelling in you and me at every level of consciousness.

There is something else needed for God to be relevant to the human experience. To be relevant, God must have a dwelling place. With no place to enter, what relevance does God have in your experience or mine? God might be master of the Universe, but not really relevant here if I am not that dwelling place, if we are not the temple for the Divine. So, with a minimum of rational thought, it is clear that we need both. We need the One Who Dwells and the dwelling place.

The word Shekinah speaks to these things. The origin of the word appears in the Hebrew Bible and it means “to dwell.” We speak of Shekinah as the evidence of the presence of the One Who Dwells. The word includes the vibration of the divine feminine. It emphasizes the need for a dwelling place, and then what happens in that dwelling place when the Divine is welcomed. Where the Divine is welcomed in the dwelling place, it lights up.

Shekinah is not just a physical dwelling place. It is not just the stones of the Little Chapel at Sunrise Ranch. It is not just the physical structure of your body or mine, although it includes the physical dimension of Being. In the human experience, Shekinah is the human temple, lit up, having union with the One Who Dwells and who is entering that temple. That is not a static thing. It is an active engagement. It is an activation of the substance of the temple, as is obviously true at a physical level. No activation, no body. A body becomes a corpse without activation. With activation, there is a blending of the One Who Dwells with the dwelling place in the physical flesh, and the physical flesh is lit up.

But we are not just physical flesh. At every level of our Being, we are a church for the presence of the Divine to enter and to activate—from our physical flesh to the highest level of love that you and I are capable of knowing. There is a church of that highest love to be activated by the One Who Dwells—to be opened to the fire of that love, and then to be entered by that fire, and so have union with it, to be an active expression of that in life. And so it is with every level of this living church we are.

There is a saying that the human soul is made to give pleasure to the Divine. We are made to have a worshipful existence in life that is all about being entered by the Divine and giving the Divine the pleasure of entering and activating a human soul. How about that for a way to live a human life? I need Thee, and I am also here for Thee. Every part of me is coming out of shadow to be available to be activated, no longer forcing my creativity to come out sideways and in strange ways. No, I am a conscious, active expression of the highest love. I am becoming conscious of what it means to be lit up by the intelligence of the Universe, and allowing that light to enter me and think my thoughts and see me for who I am. See me, enter me, enjoy this human flesh, at every level of this church.

There is a wonderful line from the movie Chariots of Fire. “And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” I feel His pleasure when I sing. I feel His pleasure when I play my flute. I feel His pleasure when I plant my garden. Our whole life is an opportunity to give pleasure to the One Who Dwells. When we do, we become a chariot of fire.

The other part of the saying goes like this: that while we are here to give pleasure to the One Who Dwells, when we do that we have the opportunity to take pleasure in the earth. It is easy to see how the first part of this truth has gone into shadow for human beings who are not really having the experience of giving pleasure to the Divine, but who try to take pleasure in the earth. How is that working?

This is a pattern of addiction. At every level of the human experience, when we are not giving pleasure to the One Who Dwells, when we are not being a church for that, then our attempt to gain pleasure from the world becomes an addiction in every phase of the human experience. There is what we call substance abuse that mostly relates to substances that have no place in the human experience. But we turn every facet of the human experience into an addiction when we have kept out the One Who Dwells. We turn rightful parts into something wrong, and so there is relationship addiction, money addiction, work addiction, sex addiction, and food addiction. All the things that we are meant to enjoy become an addiction when we are not allowing the Divine to have the pleasure of entering us. There is nothing wrong with those things, but they become wrong, they become an addiction, when we are refusing to live a conscious life; and the beauty of the divine design that we have touched has been refused and is now in shadow. And isn’t that what an addiction is? The compulsion of life working through a shadow state of consciousness.

Here, again, is how Robert A. Johnson described it:

Anything that is put back into the unconscious…once it has been in consciousness, turns dark and becomes a symptom in one’s psychological structure. What has been a conscious part of one’s philosophy or attitude one moment can become a symptom and have compulsive power over one the next moment if one drops or refuses it.

Isn’t that the story of humanity? This is operating at an individual level for each one of us. In the living of an individual life, we have the opportunity to notice when something is in shadow—and we have the opportunity to take it out of shadow and be conscious by asking, “What is happening?” What is happening in shadow, but also what is happening of the Divine that is entering me and wants to live consciously? What of the beautiful wants to express itself and share itself with the world in which I am living?

So it is an individual thing. But we are sharing this experience as humanity. Humanity has touched the Divine, it has touched the One Who Dwells in all of us, and allowed it to go into shadow. We have touched the greatness of the Creator that is within us, and the opportunity that we have to be activated by that, to be a church for that as humanity—and we have allowed that to go into shadow. And so what do we have? As humanity, we are acting out that shadow all over the place, collectively, en masse, as nations and cultures, and then as individuals. We are all sharing, as is put in the story, the wound of the fisher king, having touched the Divine and refused it or seen it as something outside ourselves, to be witnessed and perhaps appreciated and be in awe of, without being activated by it. It becomes real when it enters us at every level of our Being.

Christopher Foster wrote the words to a brilliant hymn, Where Beauty Might Be Born. It contains these words: For God did make the earth a womb where beauty might be born. What a beautiful thought, that the whole earth is here to be impregnated by the seeds of the Divine, where those seeds can blossom and become fruitful.

For that to happen in our human experience, something else has to happen first. Because God did not just make the earth out there a womb where beauty could be born. God made you and me as that. He made us a church that could receive the Divine, where the reality of the Divine could seed consciousness. The seeds of the Divine could be sown in you and in me, in our mind and heart, and those seeds could be held and they could bring forth life. This is the grand experiment which is a human being.

There is a new human being born. How does that happen? Does it just pop out one day? That is not how a human baby is born. I guess there are rare circumstances where a mother does not know she is pregnant and gives birth. It is hard to imagine how it could ever happen, but apparently it does, very occasionally. But we know how it usually goes. We are aware of a cycle of gestation. There is a seed that is planted, not only the seed from the father but the seed of the Divine that enters the developing form.

So how about the new human in our human experience? Are we going to be walking down the street one day and out it comes, the new human? It comes because I become a church for the One Who Dwells. I become a church for the new human. It can enter me—that creativity, that love, that wisdom, that intelligence, comes into me. And then the seed of that is in me, it is in consciousness, and something grows. It is born through me in my life, through all the levels of consciousness, from the highest love to the most physical, and everything in between. It comes forth—the new human.

It happens according to natural law. The same laws that govern everything else—the laws of life—are operational at every level of the human experience. They are clearly operational when it comes to the species and human birth at that level. But they are operational at every level of human experience. The new human is conceived in consciousness and then born through conscious expression into the world.

I hope that you can feel that we, together in this time, are a living church. We together are allowing ourselves to be entered by the One Who Dwells, knowing that we need Thee, ever more deeply, ever more openly. And why? Do we have some particular end in mind? There is a result of this communion. You might write a song; you might create something new from the seed that is sown.

But still, why do we open to the Divine? Is it not enough to simply offer the pleasure of that? To simply enjoy that communion and enjoy what we know when we allow ourselves to be activated by that creativity? Do we need an ulterior motive? Do we need to tell ourselves, It would be good for this, that, and the other thing if I opened spiritually?

I feel His pleasure when I run. That is enough.

This is what the word worship means. We have a communion to know together in that worship, with no other agenda than to know the pleasure and the joy of what happens when we are worshiping together in that way, allowing ourselves to be entered by the One Who Dwells, and thus allowing Shekinah to be present. We have the joy of communion in worship in that way. And then we have the joy of the communion of unified radiation of that reality into our world, in our creative endeavors. Our creative endeavors achieve something related to the earth and enjoyment of the earth, but they are also an opportunity for communion, are they not? Working together, creating together, sharing the act of creation—that is not a lonely thing. We get to share communion in our creation.

What I notice is that what ought to be communion among human beings, when it goes into shadow, turns to aggression and conflict. That is communion in shadow. It comes out as combativeness and blame, criticism, judgment. Isn’t that fun? It is deadly.

These are the crux issues that we face as humanity. They show themselves as symptoms in so many ways, whether it is global warming, nuclear war, terrorism or whatever world problem you want to look at. The symptoms are rife. Try to treat those symptoms without treating the cause. Good luck.

I hope that in my writing and your reading of these words that we have, together, become a church for the One Who Dwells. This is the solution to the world’s issues. But perhaps we could just do it for the Divine pleasure of it. Perhaps that would be the solution.

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November 1, 2018 9:50 pm

Ngugi, so glad you found my blog. All the best!

David Karchere

Ngugi Kimani
Ngugi Kimani
September 9, 2018 2:06 am

This is the heart of Being the Church!
I am so glad i came to this site..by Chance? No.
Thanks again

Fiona Gawronsky
Fiona Gawronsky
November 14, 2017 1:47 pm

God is an experience…
God is to be experienced.
To be alive for this; to feel His pleasure – this is life. This is Being alive!

Andrew Horwood
Andrew Horwood
November 8, 2017 10:04 pm

How sad that such the simple design for a human life (Love the Lord Thy God – be a Church for the One Who Dwells, and love one another) has become so seemingly difficult to comprehend! It’s hard to think of something simpler. What’s been missing is the living evidence in enough people that this simple design works; results in a “new human”, as we finally get to function as designed, AND get to experience the joy and pleasure of that! Once the joy and pleasure are experienced, it’s hard, but not impossible, for that to go unconscious again. Humanity as a whole is still working toward the 100th monkey. I can make sure that in my own living I am one of the monkeys giving evidence of being a Living Church for the One Who Dwells. For this have I come.

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